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“Recipe For Success”
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 15 May 2009

Take
2 Cups of Asian/Britsh/American hospitality - WARM
1 Tablespoon of Britsh humour - VERY DRY
Mix well with ambience,good service and delightful accomodation.
Pour over 3 "hot Dogs"
What do you have?
PURA VIDA !!!
Buen provecho/Bon apetit!

  • Stayed: May 2009, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Carryfinca
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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602 - 608 of 769 reviews

Reviewed 5 May 2009

On our way out of Costa Rica, we managed to work in an extra day, and we decided to stop in at the Pura Vida, where everyone had been raving. In fact, we managed to stop in on a Friday, which is when they go to market. Berni and Nhi go on Fridays to the large open-air market, and you can tag along for a small fee (that really isn't so small).

The experience is pretty cool, but I'm not sure if it's really worth it. Then you get to come back and have a dinner prepared for you from the ingredients. That dinner is definitely nice, but you can get a dinner most any night - the only real difference is that you can help pick things out at the market. It's definitely something worth doing, I'm just not sure if it's not overpriced.

Only one other thing really bothered me, and that is that the main lobby area really held the stench of the dogs. I say this with a bit of dread, because I'm a dog person, and I do love the dogs, but it really had a tendency to reek.

The guest rooms were fine, and quite nice actually - but for overall peace and tranquility, I preferred the Trapp Lodge across town.

  • Stayed: August 2007, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank jayseae
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 May 2009

We're English so we don't do gushing! We booked Pura Vida Hotel on the recommendations of previous visitors and we weren't disappointed. The Katydid villa was perfect for the 4 of us and breakfast was superb. We began and ended our holiday in Costa Rica here and had 3 fantastic meals - all different and all tailored to our various veggie and non veggie needs. And no-one gave us a hard time when we got back late from Tortuguero. You can have as little or as much information from Bernie as you want; he organised the car hire and recommended Jungletom; we were very satisfied with both. And his sardonic, quirky sense of humour kept us amused for the rest of the trip! Like I said, we're English so we don't do gushing.

  • Stayed: April 2009, travelled with family
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Thank ashbyashby
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 April 2009

The grounds really are as lovely as everyone says.
We only managed to eat one breakfast (early flights on other mornings) but it was the best breakfast of our stay in Costa Rica, wonderful fresh fruit and more. They packed a "take away" for us the other mornings, which was appreciated.
The hotel is on the outskirts of Alejuela, not a walking around neighborhood, but only a short taxi ride to attractions and restaurants. Berni, Nhi, Jose and Rebecca will cheerfully get you pointed in the right direction.
Very convenient for the International airport, vastly more personality than the big chain hotels.
We stayed in the Katydid and Toucan rooms, both wonderful, although I'd advise spending the extra few dollars for the Katydid if it's available.
We also arranged our car rental (from Toyota in Alejuela) through Berni. they dropped the car off and picked it up at the hotel. Pleasant and convenient. Driving in Costa Rica wasn't as bad as I expected, but you really should get GPS as directions are a challenge. The roads are narrow, unsigned, often crowded with trucks and sometimes dirt. Unless you are happy making the occasional aggressive passing maneuver, plan to take a very long time to get anywhere. I enjoyed the drives.
Our 8 year old boys loved Pura Vida. We'd all go back to Costa Rica just to stay here again!

  • Stayed: March 2009, travelled with family
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2  Thank mdmss
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 April 2009

My family and I have stayed at Pura Vida Hotel on multiple occasions we just love it! The rooms are lovely and spacious and the gardens are wonderful. Last time I was there Berni took me on an evening tour of the gardens to show me all the enormous and gorgeously healthy orchids he has growing everywhere throughout the place (beyond the specimens in the Orchidium). It was truly impressive. My daughter cannot get enough of Nhi's cooking - she's always asks to come back either for Nhi's wonderful dinner's (if you are lucky enough to schedule one) or her mouthwatering breakfasts. Berni and Nhi are wonderful hosts filled with lots of knowledge about the area and lots of spots in Costa Rica. They also do a lot of work to help support the community they are a part of. A trip to Pura Vida Hotel is certainly time well spent!

  • Stayed: January 2009, travelled with family
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1  Thank trvlbug625
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 April 2009

My Boyfriend and I stayed here our first few nights in Costa Rica. The hotel was just on the outskirts of Alajuela and a great place to start. Our room had been destroyed by the earthquake a month prior and the owners were very accomodating in moving us to another room. Although this didnt have a view of the volcano, it was very nice nonetheless. Very clean, sunny and airy. The staff was great, they went though all the in's and outs of getting a taxi to/from town safely (esp with our atrocious lack of Spanish) and how much things should cost. There are a number of tours from the hotel to the coffee plantations, Butterfly gardens (MUST SEE!!!!) and we were able to check out the local farmers market with was so interesting! They also told us the name of some AWESOME restaurants nearby. We celebrated Valentines day at La Princesa Marina which is a large open air restaurant with some GREAT seafood. the next day we checked out Jalapeno's which is a Costa Rica restaurant that has awesome mexican food made by a Columbian who trained in New York (!!!!).
The gardens around the hotel are well maintained with enough trees for privacy at the individual rooms (which are in little 'cabins' of their own). Our friends stayed in the Rainforest Casita which is quite large and has a separate sitting area and dining area.
The main office has a computer with internet free to use and TONS of costa rica travel books and pamphlets for ideas. the breakfast was huge and tasty with a crazy variety of fruits and served on the patio overlooking the gardens.
The only negative aspect of our stay was that we were late checking out since we ended up getting lost on our way back from Poas volcano (there are NO street signs in CR!) and we ended up on the far side of San Jose which took us another few hours to finally get back hotel to check out/ pick up our bags from our rooms which were already cleared out with our bags which were already packed. Despite calling ahead to let them know and to get directions back, the owners were none too pleased. Unfortunately this meant we left on a bit of a sour note.
Regardless, if you remember to be on time (and not 'pura vida costa rican' time), this is a good place to stay.

  • Stayed: February 2009, travelled with friends
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Thank chocolatetwistcone
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 11 April 2009

The author of this review stayed in our Orchid Room in February, and traveled with another party who stayed in the Rain Forest Casita at the same time. The issue pointed out in the review in fact has nothing to do with the Orchid Room guests at all, but related to their friends in the Rain Forest Casita.

When our guests check out and wish to leave their luggage in a safe place so they can go sight-seeing for the day, the Pura Vida Hotel provides complimentary luggage storage for as long as the guests would like. All we ask for is that the guests pack all their belongings and vacate the room so we may clean it and leave it ready for the next incoming guests that day.

On their last day, the Rain Forest Casita guests asked to check out late at 12:30pm. We agreed and let them know we needed them to be clear of the room by then so we could clean it for incoming guests. After the party has left the hotel, our staff went into the Rain Forest Casita to clean and discovered that it wasn't completely vacated. There were pants draped over a chair and other "open items" nearby, along with three packed bags. Our staff is not allowed to touch guest's "open items" during room cleaning and therefore were not able to completely ready this room.

We mentioned this to the Rain Forest Casita guests when they called at 1:15pm; they said "we are coming right back".

The guests arrived around 3pm. As a very small hotel, we have limited staff and had to keep them around in order to clean the finally vacated room. Meanwhile, the incoming guests for the Rain Forest Casita had to occupy themselves while waiting for their room to be ready.

We will do our very best to accommodate all our guests requests hoping that guests will express them and, though we tried in this case, it didn't work out perfectly.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 April 2009

If you are flying into San Jose, you should definitely make Pura Vida your first and last night stay. It is a super quick drive or cab ride from the airport. That is just one of the many great things about this cozy little hotel.

Bernie, Nhi and the staff at Pura Vida are incredibly friendly and accommodating. They understand that this is the last stop for a lot of people and did not hesitate to wake up at 4am to get us checked out, provide a to-go breakfast for us and call a cab for the quick (less than 10 minute) drive to the airport.

The property is absolutely beautiful and so relaxing. You can tell they spend many hours working on their garden. We enjoyed just sitting in the middle of the garden outside of our casita and take in the view of Poas Volcano (only about 30 km away).

The room we had was very simple and comfortable and the shower was really nice! We loved waking up to the sounds of all the birds and critters outside our room each morning. It was definitely a reminder that we were in Costa Rica.

Rivaling the friendly service and the beautiful gardens was the incredible food! We had no expectations and were completely blown away. For breakfast, we had a big plate of fresh local fruit, eggs, a small fruit smoothie, yogurt with granola and the best bread pudding we have ever tasted.

If you are there on a Friday, you should definitely sign up to join them at the Farmers Market tour. Bernie and Nhi are wonderful guides and it was really fun to learn about the local produce and see them picking things out for dinner that night. Everything was so fresh. We loved every meal we had in Costa Rica, but dinner prepared the folks at Pura Vida that evening was definitely the best of the entire trip!

We just got home yesterday, so we might have to wait a bit, but we are definitely ready to go back and stay at Pura Vida.

  • Stayed: April 2009, travelled as a couple
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Thank travelpattersons
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 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 63 B&Bs / Inns in Alajuela
Price Range: £63 - £127 (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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