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“Overpriced, not a Costa Rican vibe!”
2 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
Denver, Colorado
2 reviews
“Overpriced, not a Costa Rican vibe!”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 June 2009

Pura Vida Hotel is overpriced, many other hotels in the area are better value, half price and includes a free shuttle to the airport. Hotel has a dog smell due to three large dogs on property. The owner has an attitude and does not represent the Pura Vida energy!

  • Stayed June 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank travelkitty800
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, 28 June 2009
Not everyone is a “dog lover”. There are “cat lovers” who may be “dog haters”. It’s a matter of personal likes and dislikes and there is nothing wrong with that. The Pura Vida Hotel has three friendly German shepherds named Max, Yagi and Lobo who live in the main Casa and roam the property freely. However, the dogs have been taught to never enter the guest casitas and they do not venture in. We also notify all prospective guests through our first email response that we have dogs on the property and there are photos of the dogs in “the Pura Vida Hotel Garden Photos” page of the hotel’s web site. There have been many positive mentions of the dogs from TripAdvisor reviewers who have stayed at the Pura Vida Hotel right here on this site.

The Pura Vida Hotel is unlike “many other hotels in the area” because we are not the “economy place to spend the night” on your way somewhere. Our guests come to us looking for a unique experience in lodging, food and trip planning. We provide gourmet dinners with advance reservations, farmers market tour on Friday afternoons; arrange for car rentals and trips with knowledgeable local English speaking driver/guides. We also provide services for those wanting a base camp for their tropical adventure. Our rates are posted on the Rooms page of the hotel’s web site along with a description of each Casita. We provide a free airport taxi service for international arrivals at the Juan Santamaria airport to make it easier on your inbound and to avoid confusions right after landing in a foreign country.

Although we try our darn best to provide the best accommodations and a unique experience for our guests, we cannot please everyone, especially people who may be unamused by “British humor” or dogs that roam freely on the property. So far the huge majority of our guests and those that keep coming back have been OK with that.

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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
Maryland
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 June 2009

Pura Vida Hotel was our destination prior to leaving Costa Rica. It's only 20 minutes from the airport. The hotel grounds are like a botanical garden. The rooms are beautifully decorated, the dinner cooked by Nhi was delicious, and it was a great way to end our weeklong vacation. While planning our trip Berni was extremely helpful in making suggestions and he arranged our incredibly wonderful driver, Sterling.

  • Stayed June 2009, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank sara720
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Rising Sun
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 20 June 2009

We grabbed a taxi from the airport and were dropped at the hotel in short order. There was no waiting for a hotel van and Pura Vida even picked up the taxi fare. Berni (owner) showed us the gardens, walking paths, wifi, restaurant and had great answers to our many questions. I was fortunate that it was Friday when Berni & Ni (chef & Berni's wife) offer a tour of the local market to select the foods for the dinner. I tasted, smelled, and visually feasted on an amazing variety of foods that I can no longer pronounce. Ni only picked the freshest, unmarred produce and gently stored them so they wouldn't bruise. Ni is all about quality. That night I experienced truly fine dining at the hands of Ni with a party of our friends. We were all dazzled!!! Berni & Ni even joined us for an after dinner drink. Every patron there was smiling and seemed happy. That was a plus too. I slept like a baby to the sound of refreshing light rain hitting big waxy leaves just outside my window, and was awakened by birdsongs. What a place! What nice people there! I'd give them 5 stars anytime.

  • Stayed June 2009, travelled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank SpanishBeverly
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Delray Beach, Florida
Level Contributor
55 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 19 June 2009

Overall, our one night stay at Pura Vida was a very pleasant way to begin my first trip to Costa Rica. The website has a wealth of information about Costa Rica and you get a feel for Berni’s sense of humor throughout. Prior to arrival, Berni was very helpful and informative via several emails back and forth. I am a dog lover and looked forward to the three German Shepards which pretty much ignored us. The room (Volcano) was very nice; simple, pleasant and clean and all that we needed with beautiful views from the balcony. It was convenient being so close to the airport, but the only downside was night noise from the ‘city’; the barking dogs and motorbikes kept me awake, though my friend was able to sleep through it. AC was not provided or needed with the windows open but then we couldn’t shut out the noise. I am wondering though, if a room on the ground level, insulated by the vegatation, would be quieter and I’ll ask this question before going back. The gardens were lovely and provided many photo opts for me and a playground for a variety birds we saw. The shower was spotless and produced plenty of hot water. Both beds were comfortable. The staff provided very good service from the moment we walked in. We did not have dinner there, but took a taxi into town for some local fare, breakfast was ok. The fruit presentation was beautiful; plentiful and tasty, the muffin and parfait I thought were so-so. We went on a tour with Berni to a local school and I would highly recommend this. It was a great introduction to the culture and the children are just beautiful. As a side note, we had an exceptional experience with our driver/guide, Sterling, who is affiliated with the hotel. He gets 5 stars!

  • Stayed May 2009, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank golfngirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Rockford, Illinois
Level Contributor
11 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 June 2009

After the loooong plane ride, crazy lines at airport,Busy car traffic-- what a delight to ring their bell, be escorted into a safe private parking area and then the lovely grounds which we were shown. Our cottage was lovely, clean, tastefully furnished and had a coffee pot and coffee which we enjoyed sitting out in the heavenly yard. Everything before Pura Vida a little crazy and hectic for 2 non Spanish speaking Gringos, but our energy was restored, we ventured into the mountains the next day, got lost but knew we would be welcomed back, had a marvelous dinner with Bernie and Nhj each stopping to check that all was fine, good conversation about Costa Rica and a wave as we headed down the road for 3 weeks of the most beautiful country. Highly recomend everyone try to stay at least overnight at the Pura Vida on you entrance into CR to regroup yourselves, use the Pura Vida as homebase for the day trip "up into Paos", and end your stay 10 minutes from the airport your last night. One last thing, please do bring a book at least for the children in
Paos. Everyone can bring 2-50# suitcases, so pack one for yourselves, one with school supplies or books.

  • Stayed April 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank fiesty10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Yorba Linda
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 June 2009

This place was so nice that it prompted me to give my first review. My mother and I arrived into San Jose airport, which isn't in San Jose, but in Alajuela. Pura Vida Hotel was only 4km away, so we were there in about 10 minutes, which is a big plus for coming in at night. Berni paid for our taxi ride, so we didn't have to worry about exchanging money and getting ripped off. The grounds/gardens are very beautiful, and Berni and Nhi were awesome hosts. Any questions we had, they answered. They helped look over my itinerary and told me what are some good things to do and what not to miss. He organized a private driver (Alexis, who I highly recommend) who also happened to be a naturalist, so we had a driver, tour guide, and translator all in one.
The breakfast they served was superb, consisting of a lot of different tropical fruits, oatmeal, toast, eggs, and bacon! We also had the three course dinner at night, prepared by Nhi, which was amazing. Our rooms were very spacious (had the recently remodeled Volcano room) and very clean as well. We went to Poas volcano and hiked there, Doka for its coffee tour and butterfly gardens, and Sarchi for the botanical gardens. I was afraid that being rainy season, we would be unable to do anything, but it only rains in the afternoon and night, so mornings are the best times to go out. Overall, I can't say enough how awesome Hotel Pura Vida is, and it was the perfect start to my trip.

  • Stayed June 2009, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank vivalavida913
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
encinitas,calif.
Level Contributor
42 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 29 May 2009

this hotel is the perfect place when beginning your vacation or spending your last night incosta rica. the volcano room is new and beautiful. we had a fabulous dinner and they sent us packing for our early morning flight with a great to go breakfast. we would not stay anywhereelse. their gardens are so pretty and the orchids, too many to view. can't wait to visit again..

  • Stayed May 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank encinitassusan
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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