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“Best last night in Costa Rica” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Pura Vida Hotel

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Pura Vida Hotel
Ranked #1 of 59 Alajuela B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
New York
Level Contributor
9 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Best last night in Costa Rica”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 August 2013

Although we ended our trip to Costa Rica by staying here, we wish we could've stayed longer because of this place. The friendly and knowledgeable staff were so welcoming and helpful. Because of the low season, they even upgraded us for our room. All their suggestions for restaurants and places to visit nearby were spot on. Breakfast was fantastic and a cut above any other breakfast we've had in Costa Rica. All the other guests staying there were outgoing and sociable. We spent some time before our morning flight just chatting with Berni, one of the owners. The compound of the old coffee plantation turned B&B felt safe and welcoming with the beautiful gardens. We would definitely stay here again and hope to in the future.

  • Stayed July 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank ak352
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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719 reviews from our community

Traveller rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (128)
Date | Rating
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  • Dutch first
  • English first
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  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Brooklyn, New York
2 reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 August 2013

We first discovered Pura Vida hotel six years ago when looking for somewhere to stay close to the airport after a late night arrival. We've revisited many times since both as a place to rest to/from the airport but also a destination in and of itself.

Berni and Nhi are terrific hosts. Berni with his adorable, quirky sense of humor and Nhi's amazing culinary talents - I highly recommend spending a Friday at Pura Vida - visit the local markets with Nhi in the morning and then enjoy dinner by Nhi in the evening. Bliss!

The gardens at Pura vida are lush, and tropical, as you'd expect. I'd love to spend a day there with a good book but confess there's so many day trips throughout the central valley within easy access of the hotel, that it's a luxury I've yet to indulge in.

On our last visit, some (all?) of the rooms had been upgraded. They were fine before but even more homely now. The rooms/cabins are laid out throughout the garden, giving an extra element of privacy.

I cannot recommend Pura Vida highly enough.

  • Stayed March 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Derek D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
17 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 August 2013

Our flight into San Juan was over 3 hours late due to storms. Add to that the extra 2+ hours through a backed-up customs terminal, and we were a couple of tired, grumpy travelers when we arrived after dark to our destination. Right off the bat, our host Berni welcomed us and with his cheery disposition, one couldn't stay cross. We originally had the 'ORCHID' casita booked, but were upgraded to the 'RAINFOREST'. I must say that the room, the layout, the bed; were all top notch. The treat however would take place in the morning.
Up early for coffee and birding, my wife was in heaven with the grounds inside the compound that made up the hotel. From the urban/suburb street settings outside the gate, we found ourselves in a riot of colors of plants, butterflies, flowers. It was a relaxing way to spend an hour prior to breakfast. At breakfast, we were given some basic tips about the country from Berni & a couple of other guests. After the blah of the previous days travel, it was a good way to start our driving tour of Costa Rica.

Room Tip: The hotel is about a 15 minute drive WEST of the airport (which itself is west of San Jose). Since w...
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  • Stayed June 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank snurb55
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
alajuelanorth, Manager at Pura Vida Hotel, responded to this review, 7 August 2013
Thanks for coming!
Yes actually Alajuela is closer to the airport - 5 minutes to Alajuela central but 25 to 35 mins to San Jose central if no traffic. And yes we are a bit closer to Arenal - there is no need to go into San Jose itself if you are heading for Arenal the next morning as many of our guests are.

Thanks again for spending the time to review us,

Berni
Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Marlborough, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 August 2013

In July it was our umpteeth visit to Pura Vida. It is conveniently situated near our Dad’s house, so it’s a great place to stay. From the very first visit, it felt like home away from home; and now many years later, it still continues with that homey feeling.

The owners Berni and Nhi are always welcoming and very gracious with all our requests. Best thing of our visit to Pura Vida is enjoying Nhi’s wonderful cuisine. It’s as good as any four star restaurant in the States and always guaranteed to be the very best meal we have while in Costa Rica. Her creativity always amazes and makes staying at Pura Vida extra special.

Room Tip: The Volcano room provides the best view any time of day or night.
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  • Stayed July 2013, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank MariaKittyMom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
alajuelanorth, Manager at Pura Vida Hotel, responded to this review, 7 August 2013
Thanks guys for another nice visit, and best wishes to Dad. See you next trip, Berni & Nhi
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
12 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 28 July 2013

I just loved our stay at Pura Vida which is where we stayed on our first night in Costa Rica before flying out to Puerto Jimenez the following day. We stayed in the Mariposa villa which had 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. I loved the outdoor kitchenette and patio! I also loved the hammock right outside our door! We were greeted with frozen fruit smoothies which were delicious and 4-legged friends! We loved having dogs around since we are huge dog lovers.....Bandit being my favorite. He was my companion and always wanted attention! The grounds were lush and tropical! The rooms were clean! The breakfast was exceptional and consisted of a beautiful fresh fruit platter, fresh-baked banana bread, parfait, and smoothies! The staff were wonderful! It was a little noisy at night due to barking dogs and motor bikes passing by, but the hotel provides you will ear plugs which blocked out the noise for me! I slept soundly! We will definitely stay there on our next visit!

Room Tip: The Mariposa Room was at the end of the walkway so provides more privacy!
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  • Stayed July 2013, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Lauren P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Antonio, Texas
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 28 July 2013

This was our first stop on our central Costa Rica tour. Beautiful, serene place hidden behind a compound like entrance. Carlos and company were excellent hosts in Berni's absence. Mariposa room was great for the two couples on this trip. Breakfast was more than adequate with great presentation. Our last stop was in San Jose and my wife wished we had stayed at Pura Vida instead. I guess she really liked it. Oh, Bandito will wear you out chasing and retrieving fruit.

Stayed June 2013, travelled with friends
Helpful?
Thank Ken G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Tucson, Arizona
Level Contributor
54 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 July 2013

The Pura Vida was our landing and departing hotel. We got in kind of late so we ordered the late night supper. It was waiting for us along w/ a bottle of champagne be/c we were celebrating birthdays. And as Bernie says...they like to celebrate. We didn't want to go running of the next morning so we stayed 2 nights. The dinner of lamb at the hotel the next night was very good. 2 tours were recommended to us. The ARA Project was very interesting. We trooped around the grounds with about 20 dogs in tow. I didn't feel the Doka coffee plantation was really worth $20 though. The driver Bernie arranged was great. Drove us around and told us all sorts of interesting things. I'm sorry to say I have forgotten his name. We stayed in the Toucan room on the way in and the Mariposa on the way out. Both rooms were clean and welcoming. We did have one small problem on the way in but it was taken care of by the time we got back 3 weeks later. That was a dog named Lola. She was completely out of control. Our transportation to the airport was arranged for us and on time both times. I would recommend staying here to anyone.

  • Stayed June 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank wanttotravelmore123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
alajuelanorth, Manager at Pura Vida Hotel, responded to this review, 8 July 2013
Thanks so much for the nice review.

The guide you mentioned is named Sterling - he has been our main guide for 10 years and started with us as a taxi driver. Since then he has employed a number of his family as drivers and guides for the hotel and has become an expert in the flora and fauna of Costa Rica while always welcoming guests with a big smile and a joke or two. This is in line with the Pura Vida policy of requesting that at least one member of guests families include someone with a sense of humor :-))

For those who prefer a different more "earthy" coffee experience we also recommend El Toledo coffee - much more detail here on the "my village tour" on our website. Probably the finest (and best reviewed) coffee experience in Costa Rica - near Atenas and #1 on TripAdvisor.

As for Lola (a young German Shepherd), we tried to work with her for a year with training and support but it did not work out. Luckily she has a new home with Carlos our manager. She was way to frisky for some guests and now is happy as a lark 10 km away with the family of Carlos in a large compound getting plenty of love and attention. The campus at Pura Vida is quieter now with our 2 geriatric shepherds, Max and Yaggi and a new friend Bandit who lives up to his name stealing mangoes, lemons and sticks from the other shepherds.

Thanks again for the nice review, we appreciate your visit and time taken to talk about it,

Berni
Manager
Report response as inappropriate
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

Property: Pura Vida Hotel
Address: | Just 4km North of the 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 59 B&Bs / Inns in Alajuela
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
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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