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“Wonderful Hosts in a Lovely Oasis….”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of Pura Vida Hotel

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Pura Vida Hotel
Ranked #1 of 60 Alajuela B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Thousand Oaks, California
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Wonderful Hosts in a Lovely Oasis….”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 May 2014

We stayed at the Pura Vida our first night in Costa Rica. We couldn’t have asked for a better place to stay, or, more attentive host! Our plane arrived at 8:30 p.m. and we followed Berni’s instructions to catch a cab (which he paid for) to take us to his wonderful B&B, just 10 minutes from the airport. It made our nighttime arrival into Costa Rica safe, convenient and easy. Once at the hotel, we enjoyed a bottle of wine on the open air terrace with Berni. He showed us to our lovely Casita which was clean, spacious and comfortable set amongst the beautiful garden grounds. The Pura Vida is truly an oasis in the midst of Alajuela. The breakfast was outstanding – we regret we didn’t have the opportunity to enjoy a dinner there. In fact, my one major regret is not spending one more night at the Pura Vida. I thought it was going to be just an overnight close to the airport but with Berni’s knowledge and love of the country and Alajuela, we experienced a more “authentic” CR and we could have enjoyed much more given another night.

After I booked the room, Berni sent a confirmation email in which he mentioned if we were interested to bring books for the local elementary school. We brought books and were so fortunate to have Berni transport us and 2 other couples to the school to deliver the books and tour the school. It was truly one the highlights of our trip to CR. It is amazing the way that Berni has virtually built the library at this school with the help of his guests. If you opt to bring books, I would suggest bringing Spanish language books because although the children are taught English, Spanish is their language and it seemed to me most of the books people bring are English and they need more Spanish for the kids to read and enjoy.

Prior to arriving in CR, I had not planned out all our arrangements, specifically, how we were going to get from Alajuela to our next destination; The Arenal Volcano Observatory Lodge. In that we had read a lot about lousy roads and poor signage in CR, we weren’t sure if we wanted to rent a car or take public transport. Berni and trusted staff assistant (I wish I could remember his name because he was extremely hospitable and helpful) arranged a private transport for us which I know was difficult because it was the last minute and everything including car rentals were booked.

Be sure to check out the Pura Vida website – it is filled with clever quips, helpful information about the hotel, Costa Rica and travel ideas to make your trip more informed and enjoyable.

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank theresaC_69
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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733 reviews from our community

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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 (137)
Date | Rating
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Silver Spring, Maryland
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 April 2014

We stayed at the Pura Vida on our first and last nights in Costa Rica. We had a great experience. The grounds are lush and beautiful, the food is wonderful, and the owners and staff are super friendly and helpful. We stayed in 2 different private villas, each with a spacious bedroom, bathroom and sitting room, as well as a small private patio with lovely views of the gardens. The owners, Berni and Nhi, speak perfect English and are a great source of advise on where to go and what to see in Costa Rica. Nhi is an exceptionally gifted, creative chef, so we recommend making advance arrangements to have dinner at the hotel. I wish I had arranged to rent a car through Berni--Berni can have rental cars delivered to the hotel-- which would have been much better than dealing with Hertz at the airport, which was a nightmare.

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank LisaJane2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Portland, Oregon
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 21 April 2014

We stayed at the Pura Vida Hotel on the last night of our 2.5-week trip to Costa Rica. Our group of five stayed in the Katydid Casita, and the layout was just perfect for our group. The grounds are beautiful, with many plants and birds. It is very relaxing and peaceful inside the compound.

  • Stayed March 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Linden C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 19 April 2014

This was our first visit to Costa Rica and we could not have found a better entry and departure accommodation. The cassitas were clean, roomy, and decorated with art and crafts of the region that the owner's collected. The property grounds were nicely landscaped,and secure. Best of all was the wealth of knowledge Bernie imparted about travel around the country and places to visit both on his web site and in person. A bit of British wit in both cases. If you need to rent a car the whole experience was fantastic through Bernie rather than the airport. You can have your vehicle delivered at breakfast and leave it at the property when you are ready to depart the country. Peace of mind and Pura Vida!!

  • Stayed March 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank James M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Montreal, Canada
Level Contributor
3 reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 April 2014

We have stayed at Pura Vida for the past two years on our entry and departure from
our Costa Rican holidays, and have received great travel information from Bernie who
has given us excellent ideas as to where to stay and visit throughout Costa Rica.as well as
arranging car rentals etc, the Meals here were superb, rooms were great, everything extremely
well appointed and well thought out. Cant thank them enough... hope to return soon. If you plan to travel to costa Rica, don't miss this experience.

Room Tip: All rooms are great
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  • Stayed March 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Bruce J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Loveland, Colorado
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 17 April 2014

We arrived early after an overnight flight(7am) and had a delightful breakfast, then were able to check in early. The gourmet dinner later that evening, prepared and served by Nhi and Berni was superb! Room, food, service was everything we hoped for. But best of all- the help we received before we arrived, with touring ideas and suggestions. They asked our interests, then paired us up with a guide for a few days of birding before and after our planned tour. Alexis was terrific, and we saw more rare birds and butterflies than we did on our 10 day tour afterward! Many thanks for a wonderful vacation!

Room Tip: Read the descriptions and ask Berni!
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  • Stayed February 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Betsy W
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, 18 April 2014
Thanks for the great review! Alexis is indeed a most excellent guide - he spent years in the coffee business and today, on his farm, grows pupaes for butterfly attractions in Costa Rica. His flora and fauna knowledge is often called on when someone can't identify something or needs an expert in some field - we have had the pleasure to work with him for many years and whenever I am stumped on something in the garden he's the first person I go to. Just as an example, a passion vine which does not give any fruit (but has given us 10's of thousands of flowers over the years) one day pollinated and gave us a unique form of passion fruit I had never seen. Alexis when shown the fruit immediately knew which bee likely did it and that it did not live in our area but must have been blown in on a wind some time previously.

One thing I do want to note for other future guests - we do a number of trips here that are not entirely predictable - such as the birding trip Alexis put together for you or our "my village tour" put on by another of our excellent guides. We can never guarantee what will happen with these trips which we put together based on special local knowledge. We may not know exactly where the Quetzals are but we probably know where their food is. We know about the now very rare working trapiche (ancient sugar processing with oxen driven grinder) but it doesn't run like clockwork every day. We know of a very wonderful coffee farmer doing interesting organic work but he will not be there every day as he is a coffee farmer not a formal tourist attraction. We will endeavor to put together a fabulous day based on what you tell us but unlike the crocodiles at Disney, our crocs do not open and close their snouts on queue :-)) Whatever happens on your day with one of our guides it WILL be interesting though.

Thanks again and glad we could help!
Berni
Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Billings, Montana
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 16 April 2014

The owner, Bernie, gave us exceptional attention; not to much, not to little. Small touches, such as fresh flowers in our room and on the dining table, were impressive. Bernie is intelligent, kind, and friendly. He is honest and frank in speech and a bit of a scholar on the history of Costa Rica. His love of the region is apparent. His small staff is equally impressive: courteous, intelligent--sort of like the butler in a P.G. Woodhouse story. I am confident you will enjoy staying at the Pura Vida.

Room Tip: We stayed in 2 relatively quiet rooms.
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  • Stayed February 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Dan S
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, 18 April 2014
I find it very hard to disagree with a word you say :-)) Gracias and thanks for taking the time to say 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: Tuetal Sur | 4km North of SJO International Airport, Alajuela 20102, 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 60 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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