We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Perfect first night in Costa Rica”
Review of Pura Vida Hotel

Best prices for -
Check In dd/mm/yyyy Check Out dd/mm/yyyy
Prices are for 1 room, 2 adults
Show Prices
Compare best prices from top travel sites
and 1 more site!
Pura Vida Hotel
Ranked #1 of 67 Alajuela B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 14 March 2008

The Pura Vida was the perfect place to spend our first night in Costa Rica. We stayed in the Toucan Casita and had plenty of room. There was a living room and a bedroom with 2 twin beds and a queen and our family of 4 was very comfortable. The room was spotlessly clean with fresh flowers and had every convenience you might need (hair drier, fridge, etc.). Berni (the owner) did everything possible to make us feel at home, including providing a snack when we arrived late and hadn't had much dinner.
The breakfast was included and was one of the nicest breakfasts we had in Costa Rica, with fresh fruit, yogurt, toast and more. The gardens on the property are beautiful.
We would highly recommend the Pura Vida for your first night. It's conveniently close to the San Jose airport, and a great place to start (or end) your trip to Costa Rica.
In the interests of full disclosure, here are the negatives we found about the Pura Vida (and these were really very, very minor and in no way should prevent you from staying there):
- There is some noise from the surrounding streets, including some traffic and roosters in the morning. Obviously you are in a city and there isn't much that can be done about this.
- The curtains in our room were made from very thin fabric. They didn't do much to keep out the light in the morning. We had to be up early anyways so it wasn't a big deal at all.
- The owners have 3 large german shepard dogs that sometimes wander around the property. The dogs were very well behaved and our kids enjoyed petting them. So this was not a negative for us at all. But I mention it for others who might have allergies or fear of dogs.
Again, we very much enjoyed our night at the Pura Vida. Berni does a great job of making everyone feel at home. Also, Berni helped us arrange a car and driver who we used for 3 days (Alajuela to Arenal, Monte Verde to Manuel Antonio and Manuel Antonio back to San Jose). Sterling (the driver) was FANTASTIC and I'd highly recommend him. He provided a 10 person air-conditioned van and was happy to stop anywhere we wanted to visit. He spoke both Spanish and English, and was very knowledgeable about Costa Rica. If you need a car and driver, just ask Berni and he can set it up for you. Berni also provided some advice on what to visit during our drives. He made planning our trip a lot easier.

  • Stayed: February 2008, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
1  Thank Rhonda S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Write a ReviewReviews (802)
Traveller rating
Traveller type
Time of year
Language

695 - 701 of 802 reviews

Reviewed 9 March 2008

We arrived at the Pura Vida Hotel at 11pm and left at 8am the following morning so our experience there was limited but quite positive.

We stayed in the Rainforest Casita, which was simply but nicely done with a huge, beautiful bathroom, cozy living area and king bed. The gardens on the grounds are gorgeous and it smelled so good when we arrived, we sat outside and just enjoyed it for a good long time. Breakfast was very nice and the dining area is charming, with beautiful views of the gardens.

The only thing I would caution potential guests about has been mentioned before - there is a fair amount of road noise at night. Our casita was closer to the road than some of the others, so we probably heard more of it than if we were staying further down the slope. But even so, we were sorry we hadn't planned to stay longer.

Stayed: February 2008
1  Thank Casitagirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 February 2008

We stayed at the Pura Vida one night in February on our way back through San Jose from Arenal to Drake Bay. The co-owner, Berni quickly checked us in and escorted us to our room, the Mariposa, filling us in on the hotel information as we went. The room has 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, sitting area and kitchenette. Furnishings were basic but adequate.

We had reserved dinner for the evening and were so happy we did. Excellent 3-course dinner for $25 with fresh ingredients and very nice presentation in a beautiful outdoor dining area. Berni filled the guests in on some of the interesting ingredients and Nhi, co-owner and fabulous chef came out and chatted with each of the guest towards the end of the meal. They are both very personable and have a wealth of Costa Rica knowledge.

Because we arrived after dark we had to wait until the following morning to see the beautiful gardens. Absolutely gorgeous. You'll want to take some pictures here.

We thoroughly enjoyed the complimentary breakfast of coffee, fresh fruit (best we had in Costa Rica), delicius bread pudding, and special for the day - yogurt with granola. We had to leave earlier than the normal breakfast hours and they offered us an early breakfast without us even asking.

Berni checked us out as we finished coffee at the table and called a cab for us to the airport which was there in 5 minutes. It's a quick ride to/from the airport. It's 20 minutes from downtown SJ, so if that's where you want to be this isn't the place to stay.

Only possible cons for you which were of little concern to us: the rooms are basic and have no TV; they have 3 great docile german shepards which hang around the dining area; it's not quiet at night, but no place we stayed in Costa Rica was.

Delightful stay. We would definitely return and highly recommend!

  • Stayed: February 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank gridley
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 February 2008

This lovely enclave just outside the bustle of Alajuelo is a perfect place to begin, end or actually stay while visiting Costa Rica. Berni and his wife are transplants from the US and bring a worldly ease to helping travellers feel comfortable and welcome. We arrived just at dark and appreciated the explicit directions (including a tip should the road be blocked - which it was!) The food is as delicious as the reviews say - the accomodations attractive, spacious and private. Excellent beds. You still get some traffic noise, but NOTHING like the noise closer in the city itself. Next time we will plan on spending time there - its location makes it the perfect place to start or end your trip. A nice touch is if you use their rental car arrangements, you can catch a cab there then a car will be delivered to you - we didn't do that but it would have simplified things. And, if you have to leave real early they will pack you a "to go" breakfast, which was also a nice touch. As a first timer to CR I appreciated all the information on their website. Highly recommended. Note: This is not the Pura Vida Resort and Spa that is also apparently in the area.

  • Stayed: February 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Thank midgemom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 February 2008

We arrived from wintry Canada late in the evening and were welcomed by Rebecca and Berni. They had prepared a delicious boxed snack for us, and upgraded us to the Volcano Studio room, which was tastefully decorated and very comfortable. In the morning the room was a bit noisy due to heavy traffic on the road that runs alongside the property (I think this particular room is the closest one to the road). There was a beautiful view from our window. Breakfast on the terrace was delicious, including a wonderful fruit tray. The hotel garden is stunning, with a wide diversity of flowers, plants and trees, many birds and butterflies, and some playful dogs. When arriving or leaving Costa Rica from San Jose, this is a perfect place to begin or end your trip!

  • Stayed: January 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank Ams_Yyz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 February 2008

Bernie & Nhi are some of the most hospitable property owners we have ever met. This is a beautiful property in a beautiful country. The gardens are gorgeous and the casitas are well-appointed with lots of the little extras that make you feel at home. We stayed two nights after arriving in the country and stayed in the Volcano Room. This is a 2nd story room off of the dining area and has a spectacular view of the Poas volcano and the countryside. We had several problems with the room, mostly related to noise and plumbing. The room is the closest one to a busy little road that runs beside the property at the Pura Vida. It seemed like there were only two types of vehicles on this road, either 2-cycle motorcycles (the rat-a-tat kind) or large trucks that liked to downshift outside our room into the wee hours of the night. Neighborhood dogs make a lot of noise too. The shower wouldn't put out enough hot water to be able to take any more than a lukewarm shower. Before we left the Pura Vida to tour Costa Rica I talked to Bernie about the problems we had with the room. He was aware that the room has "sound issues" and he said that they are working on some solutions to the problem with new windows and perhaps a redesign of aspects of the room that might affect the soundproofing. He also appreciated the information about the hot water problem and said that he had had problems with the water heater that services that room. Since we were going to stay one more night before going home Bernie offered another room, the Toucan, at no additional charge for that upcoming night. This is a much larger casita away from the road. By the time we came back to the hotel one week later, for our final night, Bernie had changed out the water heater to the Volcano Room! You can't ask for much better service than that! Our stay in the Toucan Room was wonderful, and much quieter. Nhi is a wonderful cook and the breakfasts were great. You won't see her in the mornings, however, since she is up until 2 or 3 AM cooking. If you get the opportunity on a Friday be sure to go with her to the market. It's a real treat to watch her interact with the vendors. She's a ball-of-fire and just a fun person to be around. Her meals are excellent. Bernie has a wealth of information for his guests about the country and takes the time to share it with you. The 3 large German Shepherds are no problem, they're very docile and like part of the family. All in all this was a wonderful experience, especially after our hosts solved some of the initial problems we had. I don't really think they can solve all of the soundproofing problems at this property, since the road is so close. Take some earplugs.....problem solved!!

  • Stayed: January 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Thank lmban
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 January 2008

This was our second visit to Pura Vida, and we loved it both times. The casitas are clean and comfortabele. The grounds are beautiful-privateand quiet iwth beautiful birds and flowers. The dinners, prepared by the owners, were some of the best we've ever had. And the breakfasts, included in the price, tasted great and were almost too pretty to eat!
The 3 pet German Shepherds were great fun - made us feel like we were visiting in a friend's home.
We used a wonderful local guide, Alexis, who took us to his own butterfly farm, a local coffee plantation and a coffee processing plant.
Pura Vida's a great place to start and end a trip to Costa Rica, since it's only minutes from the airport.

  • Stayed: January 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Thank Deb-Bill08330
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hotels you might also like...
Travellers also viewed these Alajuela hotels
2.9 mi away
Hotel La Rosa de America
Hotel La Rosa de America
#4 of 27 in Alajuela
709 reviews
2.1 mi away
Xandari Resort & Spa
Xandari Resort & Spa
#1 of 27 in Alajuela
915 reviews
3.6 mi away
Hotel Robledal
Hotel Robledal
#6 of 27 in Alajuela
319 reviews
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices
2.9 mi away
Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton San Jose Airport
2.3 mi away
Tacacori EcoLodge
Tacacori EcoLodge
#8 of 27 in Alajuela
373 reviews
2.6 mi away
Hotel Buena Vista
Hotel Buena Vista
#1 of 1 in Pilas
723 reviews
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices

Been to Pura Vida Hotel? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Additional Information about Pura Vida Hotel

Address: Tuetal Sur | 4km North of SJO International Airport, Alajuela 20101, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Region: Costa Rica > Province of Alajuela > Alajuela
Amenities:
Business Centre with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Suites Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 67 B&Bs / Inns in Alajuela
Price Range: £71 - £133 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Pura Vida Hotel is located 4km north of the SJO International airport - we provide a free taxi pickup for international arrivals. Breakfast is included and an excellent dinner is available with reservations (or late meals for late arrivals). Touring services include car rentals delivered here, private vans and as much touring advice as you wish - we are experts on Costa Rica. We have arrangements with Toyota Car Rental for deals on car rentals. Our idea is simply that this is a place we would like to stay at when we travel. ... more   less 
Reservation Options:
TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Booking.com so you can book your Pura Vida Hotel reservations with confidence. We help millions of travellers each month to find the perfect hotel for both holiday and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
Also Known As:
Pura Vida Alajuela
Hotel Pura Vida
Pura Vida Hotel Costa Rica/Alajuela

Is This Your TripAdvisor Listing?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing