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“Pura Vida love.”
Review of Pura Vida Hotel

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Pura Vida Hotel
Ranked #1 of 65 Alajuela B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 16 April 2014

My mom and I visited Costa Rica in Februrary 2014. Pura Vida was our home on our first and last days there. We stayed in the Katydid cottage the first night, and the Mariposa on the last night. Both rooms were beautiful, clean, inviting, spacious and oh-so peaceful. Personal hammocks?!? Need I say more? Berni and his team facilitated our car rental with an English speaking Toyota agent - without a hitch. Both days we came in hours before the check-in time with no problems, Carlos made us comfortable in their beautiful outdoor dining area until the rooms were ready (which was not long at all!) The power went out in Alajuela the morning I was flying out (5am) and Berni came down to find me with a flashlight to ensure I got in a taxi and made my flight. The breakfasts were delicious and they even packed me a to-go lunch for my early morning. I can't imagine a more wonderful place to start and finish our Tico adventure. It was truly a wonderful experience and I will definitely be returning one day.

Felicia & Mary

  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled with friends
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Thank felwat
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 April 2014

Thanks Felicia & Mary for the really nice review.
We look forward to you joining the many returnees we see every year, thank you again,

Berni
Manager

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292 - 298 of 795 reviews

Reviewed 15 April 2014

We recently stayed at the Pura Vida on our last day in Costa Rica. This small bed and breakfast has our highest recommendation and we can be particular. We stayed in the Volcano Room and could not have been more pleased. The room was spacious and well appointed. The room has a balcony overlooking the volcano.

The owner, Bernie, provides a wealth of information to all prospective guests in advance of their stay. Wifi is included at no cost. By the way, he has a delightful sense of humor and goes out of his way to make his guests comfortable. If you have an early morning flight from San Jose, Bernie will be waiting for you to call a cab and provide you with a to go breakfast. The hotel dogs are great.

Do not miss the gourmet dinner prepared by his lovely wife. It will be one of the best, if not the best,meals you will have in Costa Rica. It is a three course fixed priced feast. The meal is prepared with fresh ingredients obtained at the market that day. An intimate dinner at the hotel after a long day of travel makes the stay even more rewarding.

The property is located a short distance to the airport in Alajuela. It is located on a former coffee finca. The grounds are lush and beautiful.

The only negative is some traffic noise during rush hour. The noise dissipates as the evening progresses and does not interfere with sleep. Both the beds and pillows are well above average.

Why stay at some impersonal hotel chain when you can be engaged with hospitality and warmth by some truly kind and caring innkeepers in a lovely setting at a reasonable price?

  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Luigi53SD
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 April 2014

We stayed in this beautiful oasis on our last night in Costa Rica. I selected it based upon its proximity to the airport (less than 10 minute drive) as well as the wonderful reviews. It did not disappoint. In fact, the only disappointment was ours, that we did not have more time there. In hindsight, I would have scheduled our first night there as well, as they had wonderful information available about Costa Rica which I think would have been helpful in the transition to the trip. We were a family of four traveling for the week, and requested to have dinner at the hotel that evening. Knowing that we had kids in tow, they were very accommodating in the menu for that night. It was wonderful - absolutely delicious and fresh and flavorful, while also being "kid-friendly". Berni was kind enough to arrange for our taxi and send us off to the airport at an ungodly hour with bags of portable breakfast food. We very much hope to return and would recommend Pura Vida without hesitation!

Room Tip: There is some traffic noise as well as very early-rising roosters in the vicinity so you may want to...
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  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled with family
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Thank katmom43
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 April 2014

Arriving at the San Jose airport late at night, wading through the dozens and dozens of cab drivers shouting at you in spanish all trying to get you to take their taxi can be a bit daunting. Pura Vida had e-mailed explicit directions which cab to take, how to find them and a short orange taxi ride, I arrived at the hotel. I was greeted by the owner, given a quick introduction to the hotel and ushered to my room. The room was very nice, clean and comfortable. The next morning I awoke refreshed and ready for further travels. The included breakfast is somewhat limited (I am allergic to dairy so the yogurt and bread/cake I could not eat), but the tropical fruit plate and fresh juice was delicious. I did not have dinner here, but from all reports the food is excellent. Take time to walk the gardens of Pura Vida, they are lovely and create a green oasis full of orchids, bougainvillea, herbs and palm trees.. I wondered why there was a basket with earplugs in the bathroom. A word of advice, use them, morning comes early to the tropics and between the loud birds, cicadas, airplanes taking off and landing and traffic noise, it will be an early start for you too, unless you are one of those people who can sleep through anything !

  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled on business
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1  Thank daanddo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 March 2014

This is great bed and breakfast just 10 minutes from the SJO airport in Costa. We enjoyed many of its fabulous aspects. However, a few very serious negatives pulled this down to just a "very good" rating. First the many wonderful pros: 1) gracious and enjoyable hosts; 2) beautiful large back yard with many plants and birds made this a paradise of its own just 10 minutes from the airport; 3) excellent food - the breakfast was very good, but the dinner the night before beat the breakfast by far - it was as good or better than any food we had in Costa Rica; 4) the casita we stayed in (Katydid) was attractive, featured nice amenities (with 2 bathrooms with showers for the two bedrooms), and was clean; 5) loved the two german shepherds, especially Bandit, who loved to play fetch with any stick, mango fruit or other object he could find on the property. Now for the very significant cons. First, traffic noise was just terrible. The reason this review is titled "Paradise Almost Lost" is the invasive sounds of traffic nearly spoiled the relaxing feeling of sitting in the back yard and enjoying the beautiful natural setting created by the hosts. It seems motorcycles (I could swear they had no mufflers) would come by throttling their engines at maxim capacity about ever 5 minutes. The noise continued into the night, which made sleep difficult. I was able to sleep with a pillow over my head (learned from years of sleeping with a snorer), so I can't downgrade it too badly. But if you plan to stay there on a Saturday night and you are sensitive to traffic noise, then don't. The casita even had a note that earplugs were available for Saturday nights, so we must have hit that square on. The second big negative was the double/queen bed in the main bedroom. I generally think hotel beds are too hard, but this one was like a rock. But worse than that, anytime my wife moved on the bed, the whole structure (not just the mattress) moved, so that woke me up a few times. My two adult children sleeping in the other room on twin beds said the beds in that room were great, so it may just be this one bed in this one casita that really should be replaced. The pull out couch for my teen daughter was pretty bad. These are often not very good at hotels, but this one was tilted toward the feet at an angle of about 5-10 degrees and she could feel the springs quite well through the little mattress. Normally, these negatives would have caused me to give this place a poor rating; however, the positives in this bed and breakfast were so positive, that I felt it deserved a "very good" rating. With a few changes to the bed and pull out and probably if you stay on another evening, this rating would be excellent.

Room Tip: Avoid Katydid if you have a family of 5 and plan to have 2 in the main bedroom and 1 on the pull out...
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  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled with family
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Thank Ken H
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 17 April 2014

We are glad you enjoyed most of your stay with us. I do want to address the two issues you had - yes it was noisy that Saturday evening with some boys playing on motorcycles. Yes that does happen in Costa Rica but most nights they go to bed and all is quiet later on. We are 10 minutes from the second largest city in Costa Rica and civilization does impinge on our lives some nights. The Katydid Casita is the closest to the road but we do try to mitigate the natural environment by providing an oasis for our guests. We appreciate your positive comments and ratings.

So far most of our guests have enjoyed the large rooms of the Katydid Casita and so far we have not had complaints about the mattress. We try to please the majority of our guests with our decisions on rooms and amenities. I checked the bed and it is indeed a firm mattress with box spring which most guests prefer. I have now done an informal survey of other guests for their opinions on this bed to make sure - we just got a really good Tripadvisor review for that Casita and indirectly that mattress, but I will ask more people how they feel about the firm bed and then decide. We do appreciate your comment and listen and act.

Finally the extra pull out bed is a standard variety double pull out convertible couch - many families appreciate this facility and we do mention this in our web site and email. Otherwise we have checked the "tilt" and it appears to be level. Also our staff, when there are 5 or 6 people in this Casita, provide an extra mattress pad for the pull out bed to help mitigate the pull out mattress. I'm not sure if you had that that night on the bed? If you can let me know directly that would be great. In the meantime I'm going to see if there is a thicker pad we can get. We'd much rather be "Paradise Found" and do whatever we can to provide a Costa Rican experience and not just a "place to stop over".

Our goal simply at the Pura Vida Hotel is to offer a "place where we would like to stay". This idea helps form every decision we make and we take your comments to heart. Thanks for staying with us and taking the time to comment and nonetheless giving us a good review.

Berni

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Reviewed 22 March 2014 via mobile

Pura Vida hotel was the ideal way to start (and end) our first time to Costa Rica. Our flight was delayed by 3 hours so we ended up arriving very late to the hotel but we were greeted warmly and made to feel right at home as soon as we arrived. We received a room upgrade and a yummy snack before retiring to our excellently appointed and very clean accommodation. The gardens at Pura Vida are lovely and well worth a walk around. There are thoughtful touches in the decor which really give you a sense of Costa Rica even if like us you have arrived in the dark very late at night. The next morning we had to leave very early to catch an internal flight, we were given a tasty packed breakfast and a taxi was waiting to collect us after a very restful night's sleep. We stayed here again another night before our flight home and had a bit more time to soak in the gardens and watch the many birds over a delicious papaya welcome drink. We were recommended an awesome Mexican restaurant for dinner which we really enjoyed too. I can't fault this place and we will certainly be back again on our next visit to Costa Rica.

Stayed: March 2014, travelled as a couple
Thank travel17483
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 March 2014

Hotel Pura Vida is THE place to begin and end a trip to Costa Rica--and it is an outstanding destination in itself. The owners go out of their way to ensure a no-hassle experience--and one that is also unusually enjoyable. On their website and when you arrive, they give you all the information you could possibly need to have a great Costa Rican experience, from other wonderful bed and breakfasts in other parts of the country where they have personally stayed, to how you can help a local school. They will pay for your taxi from the international airport (only ten minutes away) and arrange for your rental car--and they know whether or not you will need four- wheel drive where you are going. The individual casitas are full of Costa Rican crafts, and each has a private sitting area in the garden to watch the hummingbirds and blue morpho butterflies. Orchids hang overhead in the dining area, and many plants on the grounds are labeled.
Most outstanding are their dinners, some of the best food I have ever had in fifty years of traveling. My traveling companion is allergic to fish, but they have never made her feel that this was a problem in devising the menu. I recommending ordering their dinners every night you can. They also provide coffee makers and excellent coffee in every casita for early risers.
The owners and staff make you feel like valued guests, and that they are delighted you are visiting their country.

  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled with friends
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1  Thank zxccaq
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member 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 65 B&Bs / Inns in Alajuela
Price Range: £71 - £139 (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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