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“Oasis near the San Jose airport”
Review of Pura Vida Hotel

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Pura Vida Hotel
Ranked #1 of 63 Alajuela B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 5 March 2013

Stayed here one night at the end of a 2 week trip around Costa Rica. Clean and well designed room with a view - Volcano Room. Was a little noisy in the morning when the traffic, dogs, and roosters started up in the neighborhood. Ate dinner at Jalapenos in Alajuela - excellent recommendation from Bernie, one of the owners of Pura Vida hotel. Bernie hooked us up with bag lunches for breakfast since the our flight was leaving early. He also had a reliable cab ready to go when we needed it! Thanks!

  • Stayed: March 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank fionnbahr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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354 - 360 of 783 reviews

Reviewed 1 March 2013

The owners of this quaint yet sophisicated B&B are extremely cordial and accomodating to their guests. The rooms are lovely. The dogs will steal your heart. The grounds are stunning. The meals are second to none. Every time I stay at the Pura Vida I am served fabulous food prepared with the freshest ingredients. Pura Vida is the ONLY place I stay when I travel in and out of the country.

  • Stayed: February 2013, travelled solo
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Thank fincaojodeagua
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 February 2013

Here's what we loved about the Pura Vida Hotel - it wasn't just a hotel. It was a hotel with pretty rooms, a garden, a wonderful restaurant (one of the best meals of our vacation), and Berni, who helped us with transportation, and made some quite excellent suggestions for things to round out a great vacation. Little things like being able to leave our rental car at the hotel rather than driving it to the office made a huge difference. Definitely recommended to others.

Room Tip: Just look on their web site - the descriptions were very accurate.
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  • Stayed: February 2013, travelled with family
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1  Thank Susangk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 February 2013

An oasis tucked away in a drab neighbourhood near the airport. Grounds are amazing. Make sure to enjoy Bernie's quirky humour. Breakfasts are a treat and dinners are even better. Bernie's wife is an incredible chef. Excellent wine cellar too. If you want to take advantage of excursions or activities in the area Bernie will make it happen. If you can book Stirling as you driver go for it. He is very knowledgeable and an excellent tour guide.

  • Stayed: February 2013, travelled with friends
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Thank figment_99
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 February 2013

After a bad start, we really enjoyed our stay at Pura Vida.
Let's start with the good... Carlos! Carlos is fantastic! He greeted us the first morning with a huge smile, which never left his face. Whatever we needed or wanted, he was happy to provide. He made us feel like we were the most important customers he ever met. With 15 minutes notice, he arranged for a terrific tour with a very knowledgable local guide. When we returned, he seemed absolutely delighted that we had a delightful time. The day we left, he made us a great lunch-to-go and seemed genuinely sorry to see us go. Thank you, Carlos! :)

The breakfasts were delicious and dinner, prepared by the owner's wife Nhe, was superb! The hotel is very comfortable and quaint. The grounds are lovely with many artistic touches. The hotel is a relaxing and secure sanctuary inside of a busy city.

Now for the bad. This hotel is nearly impossible to find if you are not familiar with the area. We searched for over two hours with no luck. Bernie, the owner, said there was a map on the website, but we were unable to find it using an iPad. Our first call for help was answered by someone who did not speak English (and unfortunately, we do not understand Spanish). The second and third calls were futile because we did not know where we were, so they could not give us directions. Finally, after asking directions at another hotel (which got us closer) and flagging down a Red Cab (the driver didn't know of the Pura Vida), we were able to call again and tell the owner where we were -- which he said was very close. When we asked him to come to us and lead us to the hotel, he at first refused. After I pleaded with him, he reluctantly agreed to drive to our location. He arrived in a few minutes and led us to the Pura Vida. His brusque manner made us feel that we had really annoyed him and that we had somehow done something wrong. He made no attempt to help us with our luggage, but was more concerned with giving us instructions on how to treat his 'special-needs' dog which has behavioral issues. (We are all animal lovers, so it wasn't that we minded the instructions, but rather the rudeness and lack of normal courtesy to new customers.) I could go on and on with more details, but suffice it to say that we went to bed wishing we had gone to the Marriott Courtyard.

Fortunately, we were greeted in the morning by Carlos' smile and our trip ended on a very positive note. Perhaps we just caught Bernie on a bad day...

  • Stayed: February 2013, travelled with friends
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1  Thank Stephani M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 February 2013

Loved this place, tucked in an "oasis" on the edge of San Jose. The accommodations were spotless, lovely, and the food made you want to stay a long time and just enjoy the gourmet food and presentation. The owners were very accommodating and made us feel at home.

Room Tip: We stayed in the Rain Forest Cottage and it was great.
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  • Stayed: February 2013, travelled with friends
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Thank Mari4022
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
alajuelanorth, Manager at Pura Vida Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 18 February 2013

Thanks for the compliment! Indeed a compliment in a country essentially known for some of the best coffee in the world.

Berni
Manager

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Reviewed 14 February 2013

We chose the Pura Vida Hotel in Alajuela for two reasons: there were 5 of us traveling together and the casitas were a perfect way to be together and secondly we needed to rest before departing for our tours through the rainforests and National Parks. We immediately fell in love!!!!
Our hosts Nhi and Berni were friendly and manager Carlos was ver accommodating. Our casita was amazing! We settled right in and enjoyed the gardens and hammock right out in front.
Dinner (although served a little late) was fantastic. Breakfast (included in the price) was great as well.
The only drawback to the casita was the road noise. Earplugs were provided in the bathrooms and at first we wondered why. We couldn't open our windows to enjoy the evening breezes because the noise was pretty intense!
I would recommend this hotel to any adults on an adventure to Costa Rica but would NOT recommend it for children.

Room Tip: Bring a noise machine to block out highway noise and this hotel will be a little slice of heaven!!!
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  • Stayed: February 2013, travelled with family
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Thank ChrisV8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
alajuelanorth, Manager at Pura Vida Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 18 February 2013

Thanks for the nice review of "paradise in the city". We are sorry about the noise that night . . . the Katydid Casita is the closest to the road and the 2nd bedroom can sometimes be noisy. Your particular night was a "payday weekend" and noisier than most if I recollect correctly. I think you were the guests on a Friday night. Yes that IS why we provide earplugs - sometimes the boys in the neighborhood get a bit rambunctious on their motorcycles. If you come again I'd recommend going a bit deeper into the garden - the Mariposa is quieter for example.

We appreciate this review and you have got me thinking about a sound barrier wall I can make on the smaller of the 2 bedrooms next to the road. I expect to erect it in the next low season.

Thanks for your input and or the constructive review. It is much appreciated by me and the team here at the Pura Vida Hotel.

Berni
Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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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 63 B&Bs / Inns in Alajuela
Price Range: £74 - £143 (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 
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Also Known As:
Pura Vida Alajuela
Hotel Pura Vida
Pura Vida Hotel Costa Rica/Alajuela

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