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“Charm and ambiance made our stay”
Review of Pura Vida Hotel

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Pura Vida Hotel
Ranked #1 of 60 Alajuela B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Buffalo
1 review
“Charm and ambiance made our stay”
Reviewed 7 November 2008

The grounds were well kept and beautifully landscaped. We stayed at pura vida on our way back from Manuel Antonio. We had a long drive and the staff was helpful and accommodating. We had reserved dinner, well worth it. One of the best meals on our trip. Thank you.

  • Liked — The food
  • Disliked — Difficult to find
  • Stayed October 2008, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank xian3000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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765 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (144)
Date | Rating
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English first
Milwaukee, WI
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
Reviewed 18 October 2008

My wife and I stayed at Pura Vida with another couple in early October 2008. Working directly with Bernie (who owns the Pura Vida with his wife Nhi) via e-mail was very easy. (http://www.puravidahotel.com/)

We were so impressed with the beautiful grounds, accomodations, breakfast, and Bernie's sharing of Costa Rican flora and travel tips that we immediately reserved a spot at Pura Vida for our last night in Costa Rica as well. We wanted to visit the Arenal Volcano and the Pacific coast, or we would have probably stayed at Pura Vida the entire trip.

We stayed in the 2 bedroom/2 bath Katydid casita our first night in Costa Rica and it was great for 2 couples. The last night each couple had their own casita (Toucan and Rainforest) which were as charming, clean, and comfortable as the Katydid.

The facilities, food, and service at the Pura Vida Hotel are top notch, and I recommend it wholeheartedly. I also strongly recommend that you do the Farmer's Market visit and special dinner on Friday afternoon with Bernie and Nhi if your schedule permits. Berni and Nhi were great at explaining the preponderance of new (to us) vegetables and fruits and how they prepare them. Then Nhi whipped up a delicious dinner of fresh and unusal salad, delicious red snapper and vegetables, and a delectable dessert, all made fresh with ingredients purchased hours ago at the market. It was the perfect end to our trip.

  • Liked — Great gardens, location to airport, and awesome staff
  • Disliked — We didn't really need it, but if you require Internet access only dial-up is available.
  • Stayed October 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank DJWick
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Montreal, QC
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 14 October 2008

All of the positive reviews here on trip advisor are on the money. Pura Vida was our first and last stop as well as a midway stop on our Costa Rica honeymoon. It was the perfect place for a "home base." We didn't have to deal with downtown San Jose as the hotel is in the suburb of Alajuela, a close ride from the airport. We left some of our luggage while we went rafting for 3 days which was perfect. Although Berni and Nhi were away while we were there, their other employees (esp. Rebecca) were more than accommodating, giving us room upgrades when available, helping us with dinner suggestions, and serving us that delicious Pura Vida breakfast we heard so much about. The rooms were very nice, EXTREMELY clean- no AC but totally not needed. The gardens are, as others have said, like a little oasis in the city. Read the positive reviews- they say it all. Pura Vida is wonderful.

YES they have dogs- they are big but harmless and we love dogs so we had no problem with them. They wander free on the grounds so if you are deathly afraid of dogs, they could deter you. However, they are not jumping licking dogs and are very sweet.

NO Pura Vida is NOT the Hilton. You can hear street traffic, neighborhood dogs, and roosters. It got pretty cool at night so shutting the window with the ceiling fan on was just fine for us. Pura Vida IS the real Costa Rican experience, with the food, the staff, the artwork, the casitas, and the people. (yes, there are modern amenities- hair dryer, fridge, internet in the lobby, alarm clocks, etc) I travel to experience a country, not to stay in a carbon copy hotel room that I could find anywhere. So, in conclusion, if you want AC, TV, and ugly carpet, stay at a chain hotel. If you want to experience Costa Rica at its best, stay at Pura Vida.

  • Liked — loved all of it
  • Disliked — for us, not a destination location, but a great place near the airport
  • Stayed September 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank kerry300
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
NJ
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 14 October 2008

Our flight to Costa Rica arrived late so we stayed at the Pura Vida overnight before driving to our final destination the next day. Then we also stayed at the Pura Vida on our last day in Costa Rica before our early morning flight. We originally picked the Pura Vida because of its proximity to the airport. However, we discovered many more reasons why it is a good base for a Costa Rica trip. The setting is beautiful with wonderful gardens and a spectaular view of a volcano. The rooms were very comforable and spacious. Best of all was the food, We ate breakfast on our first day there and dinner on our last. Both meals were a wonderful treat - a feast for both the eyes and the palate. We also went on the tour provided by the owners of the local farmers market. This was tremenodous fun with a chance to sample some delicious tropical fruits that I had never seen before. Last, but not least, the oweners of the Pura Vida were a complete delight. They were very welcoming and gave us a tremendous amount of helpful information. I would definately stay there on my next trip.

Stayed October 2008
Helpful?
1 Thank slenington
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
st06
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 10 October 2008

We only stayed at Pura Vida for one night, but were impressed with the service. Berni accommodated a (near) last minute change in travel plans with no penalties or hassle.

The hotel was clean and the management was extremely helpful in arranging tours, suggesting places to eat, and offering advice on visiting the country.

We only had two disappointments:
First, the timing of our trip coincided with the owner's own travel and dinner was not available. Second, we were beset by a neighbors' rooster at an extremely early hour! Obviously, this is beyond the hotel's control.

All in all, we would recommend Pura Vida as a great place to stay. The grounds are beautiful, the service was very good, the price was reasonable, and the location is extremely convenient to the airport.

  • Stayed September 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank st06
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SHARBOT LAKE
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviewed 10 October 2008

A wonderful garden setting yet close to everything. The minute you arrive you are made to feel right at home. We stayed here twice this trip. Our Rain Forest bungalow is highly recomended for it's space,unique design and beautiful views.

Berni and Nhi are wonderful hosts and the entire staff is DEDICATED. Nhi prepared a wonderful gourmet dinner and the recomended wines were perfect. On the morning of our departure Rebecca arose at 5:30 AM to prepare us a box breakfast....now, that's dedication.

With only a few bungalows and rooms Pura Vida offers wonderful intimacy. Berni is a great source of information and quickly accomadated our needs.

We will definitely stay here again.

Mel & Tina Henderson

  • Liked — unique accomadations, meals and terrific staff
  • Disliked — pathway to bungalow can be a bit tricky with my bad knee
  • Stayed September 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank CanadianRoadWarriors
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Idaho Falls, ID
Level 3 Contributor
7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 October 2008

We stayed at the Pura Vida on our last night because it was close to the airport. We enjoyed the beautiful garden; the staff was friendly and helpful, the rooms clean, and the dinner excellent. The bathroom is small but adequate. The car park is locked and safe. They help a local school by donating books and invite guests to bring a few books in their luggage, but this is entirely optional. We did so and left them for the staff to deliver. The web site says they will change up to $50 for guests, but they were unable to do that for us; out of cash that day, I guess. We had a very early flight and the staff arranged a taxi and boxed our breakfast. There was a gecko in our room-not surprising since this is the tropics. We found it charming rather than annoying and left it alone. All-in-all we would stay there again.

  • Liked — Garden, Location
  • Disliked — Small bathroom
  • Stayed March 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank RobertD66
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

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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