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“Peaceful retreat but be vigilant”

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Pura Vida Retreat & Spa
Ranked #11 of 26 Hotels in Alajuela
Certificate of Excellence
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Peaceful retreat but be vigilant”
Reviewed 2 February 2013

This is a peaceful retreat on a nice property if you want to relax, take some yoga classes and get spa treatments. It is not plush but is comfortable. However, there is not much else to do and the property is not close to any evening or night time activity. The staff are attentive and helpful but beware and review your credit card bill closely before you check out as you will probably find out that you have been overcharged or charged for services or items you did not purchase. The property had a very low occupancy rate while we were there and the front desk staff may have been asked to make up for this by sneaking "extras" into guests' bills.

Room Tip: Take a torchlight with you as the pathways to the rooms aren't well lit and although the propert...
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  • Stayed December 2012, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Lavender J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Eduardo M, Manager at Pura Vida Retreat & Spa, responded to this review, 4 February 2013
Hi Lavender J,

We thank you for submitting your review of Pura Vida Spa on Trip Advisor and value feedback about your stay. This way we can build on our strengths and, where necessary, correct and improve our weaknesses. We, as the staff and management of Pura Vida Spa, pledge to consistently meet or exceed our guest’s expectations in order to ensure complete customer satisfaction.
However, your suggestion that the manager asked the staff to steal from guests is something I cannot take lightly. Our mission is to maintain the highest standard of conduct in all of our actions. If there was a discrepancy in your bill, the front desk manager should have been contacted so that the situation could have been rectified. If you have any concerns with your bill, please do not hesitate to contact me via email, Eduardo@puravidaspacr.com.

Thank you,
Eduardo Morera
General Manager, Pura Vida Spa
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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169 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 (52)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Toronto, ON
Level 4 Contributor
22 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 January 2013

We stayed for only one night (sadly) but the one night was very memorable! We were greeted by fresh juice and ice cold towels to wash up. Service was prompt, friendly and all around amazing! The grounds are stunning and the views breathtaking. We loved the food! We were able to enjoy three healthy flavourful meals, lounge by the pool and walk the grounds. I also must say that my sleep was the deepest, longest sleep I had in a while. The setting is serene, the air fresh and it's quiet! The hotel was also able to accommodate our request for a late check-out (this may not always be possible, in our case our room wasn't booked the day of our departure). We loved our stay and would recommend this hotel to all our friends!

The only possible downside is that the yoga options are limited. I would expect more class options from a yoga retreat. There were only two classes a day and none on Wednesdays. This was a bit disappointing. A word of caution I would give is to make sure your taxi driver knows where this hotel is located. Ours brought us to another similarly named hotel and we winded up driving around for 45 minutes looking for this place.

If you're looking for a quiet & beautiful retreat, look no further! You won't be disappointed.

  • Stayed December 2012, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank Canadian_Nomad_123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Flagstaff, Arizona
Level 5 Contributor
54 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 January 2013

The single black spot of our eight day Costa Rican holiday: made so by incompetent and uncaring hoteliers.
To begin with, this property does not show up on GPS, or Google maps. After three hours of fruitless searching, we went to the airport and found the red cabs, and after some discussion, found one to follow to the property. Even he had to stop and ask. There are NO signs - and no parking on the grounds. Check in was further flawed by a manager who was more interested in the yoga bunny-of-the-day. Also, evidently, lighting the paths to rooms would be "unzen", but twisted ankles, are, of course, of no consequence. By the time we got to the food, the trout had sat under a heat lamp too long and was tasteless. The bartender, luckily, was a nice chap. Then we had to tear the manager away from his "friend" to get help with luggage, even though it was still during regular hours. The next morning, our tour guide for a whitewater rafting trip, couldn't find the place either. We couldn't reach them. The hotelier complained bitterly at being disturbed by his call - and by me trying to find the guide. Most innkeepers we encountered in CR (or anywhere) would have been up and trying to help us. Instead, he was barely civil, sarcastic and indignant at being woken. The grounds are lovely by day and do have a view. The cabin was clean and cute, Bring your own flashlights, and DO be convenient for them, and ask NOTHING, especially normal service, of the management.

  • Stayed January 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
2 Thank Carol H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Austin, Texas
Level 3 Contributor
15 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 December 2012

We were greeted with fresh juice and had lunch waiting for us on our arrival. The staff was VERY accomodating and friendly. We practically had the place to ourselves so the staff to guest ratio was something I'll unlikely see again anywhere else. It was a little worrisome the resort was so empty because I want it to stay in business so I can go back!
-The rooms are simple but clean. I had some sugar ants but we made friends. I had room 201 with two single beds and the view of the mountains and city was phenominal.
-The grounds are lush with amazing tropical plants and flowers. The resort is surrounded by coffee fields so you can drink coffee and watch it being harvested at the same time. We enjoyed the few sunny hours a day by the pool and the cool nights in the hot tub after dinner. There are a few hammocks to read books in and a computer room for those needing to connect with the outside (me!).
-The included three meals a day were FRESH, healthy but very satisfying with soup, salads, fresh fruit, flavorful veggies, healthy starches and a meat protein option. The desserts were also made from scratch. The passion fruit cheesecake was our favorite! They also have fresh juices, smoothies and wine for extra charge.
-The spa treatments and therapists/healers are the most legit I've had. I've been to and worked at many spas and including some of the best in the US and these were out of this world. You can opt for a traditional swedish or try something more healing like watsu or "body talk." Everyone in my party had wonderful experiences with them. The prices are similar to US prices but also include taxes. They were VERY reasonable considering the quality/value. Honestly at times I wasn't even sure how you could put a price on some of the experiences I had. But they did and it was more than fair.
It is a bit untraditional because you go sign up for your treatments when you arrive on a board in the center of the property. Different therapists and treatments are available weekly. It's actually really nice the way they do it and if you need help or have questions the staff is available to assist.
-The yoga instructors were experienced and engaged. The yoga studios are unbelievable with lots of space and gorgeous views. I'd love to attend or even plan a yoga retreat here.
-It is close to the airport and San Jose, making it easy to get in and out and if you want to explore the city you can. I'd recommend the hot springs tour (but not the included lunch at the springs).
-We went on our own to Sibu Chocolate and arranged transportation via the hotel. If you like chocolate I'd recommend this trip as well.
-This is a great girls getaway or if you are on a solo or group personal journey go for it. It could be OK for couples but if participate in some healing treatments be prepaired to be emotionally charged. For most couples Id recommend this paired with a few nights at the beach as well.
-I'd highly recommend a minimum of 3 or 5 nights!

Room Tip: Room 201 has a GREAT view.
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  • Stayed December 2012, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
4 Thank JRALEIGHW
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Columbus, Ohio
Level 5 Contributor
62 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 November 2012

This is not your ordinary all inclusive vacation get away. Pura Vida is nestled in the rain forest, on the pacific side of Costa Rica. Once you enter the gates, you've entered a space of tranquility. The grounds are lushly green and not starkly manicured. The food is indescribable. Chef Marisol oversees a talented kitchen staff who turns out vegetarian meals that are so delicious, you wait, with mouth watering, for each one in happy anticipation.

The staff is centered on meeting your needs. They are helpful without being obsequious. They are willing to entertain any request and will go the extra mile in helping you arrange day trip and visits to local sites.

I've taken a culinary program here for the last 4 years. I'll be back.

Room Tip: There are no bad rooms. Talk with the reservations reps to select a room that work for you
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  • Stayed November 2012, travelled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank Sheila C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Mauricio G, General Manager at Pura Vida Retreat & Spa, responded to this review, 9 November 2012
Let us start by thanking for your kind and rewarding comments, we really appreciate it and are fully committed to give you the best of us in each and every time you come back!!! Its always so nice to see you again!!

Culinary experiences are so deep and rich and can be lived so intense with Pura Vidas delicious cuisine and so vividly in Pura Vidas Holistic Gardens that it makes your experience a change in all senses.
Thanks again and many blessings, see you next time,

Your friends at Pura Vida
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Seattle, Washington
Level 4 Contributor
42 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 October 2012

I was looking for solo yoga getaway and ended up meeting friends I'm sure I'll have for life! I did a 5 day package at the last minute and enjoyed much of it.

Pros
- lots of friendly people
- free wifi
- loved the healthy food
- so close to the airport (took a red eye, checked in and jumped right into a yoga class)
- lots of body work modalities to choose from
- lovely staff
- peaceful energy, beautiful grounds
- pool

Cons
- was not a big fan of the excursions (next time I'd skip these)
- not enough yoga classes!
- not near the ocean

  • Stayed March 2012, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank dkrmd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
MgratPuraVidaSPa, General Manager at Pura Vida Retreat & Spa, responded to this review, 9 November 2012
Dear friend,

Thank you much for letting your thoughts get to us, we always appreciate the feedback from our guests so that we can improve our services.
We are also very glad to know that you made new friends, a beautiful part of your experience that maybe you were not expecting.
Blessings and hope to see you again in the future!
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Wanaque, New Jersey
Level 4 Contributor
17 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 August 2012

I visited Pura Vida Yoga Spa and for the Mind-Body-Spirit retreat in July and I cannot say enough about this wonderful place. The grounds are stunning and respect for the environment is evident in everything from the layout of the buildings to the care given to the gardens to the food preparation.

My room was simple but superb. I stayed in a deluxe chalet. It was actually built into the mountainside. My door was sidewalk level but the rest of the building was actually suspended on supports over the side of the mountain. Two of the walls were entirely glass and one had a door that lead to a balcony extending further over the side of the mountain, so that entering my room, I actually felt more connected to the landscape than I did outside my door. Beyond my immediate spectacular view, San Jose could be seen in the distance. If this is hard to follow, it is because the experience was just beyond words. Bear in mind that there are other accommodation options, including tents and standard rooms with shared, separate bath/shower buildings. I’ve always had to balance a love of camping and the outdoors with my desire for running water, plumbing, and a comfortable bed. This room met these requirements perfectly. I’ve never felt so close to nature; yet convenience and comfort was always a few steps away at most.

The food was delicious and fresh. The salads and vegetables were creatively prepared. Chicken dishes were super moist and flavorful. The fish selections were decent, but less impressive than the veggie and chicken options. The staff was warm and friendly. The excursions were fun and the tour guides were engaging and knowledgeable. The Watsu massage was amazing. There was a perfect balance between activity and opportunity to relax.

One of the experiences that I found most memorable was the understated garden walk. This was not hyped at all, and was merely listed on a daily event calendar. I decided to go, basically expecting a brief, “Identify the pretty flowers” afternoon stroll. I could not have been more pleasantly surprised. Major kudos to Satya for patiently sharing her vast knowledge and deep respect for the earth’s bounty. She led me and another guest on a tour in which we saw, touched, and smelled plant after plant, some familiar and some less so. We touched and smelled Stevia and Patchouli leaves, which I had only seen before in bottled or packaged form. Satya showed us the proper way to extract aloe from an aloe vera leaf. I made a little swatch out of Citronella grass and later put it on my nightstand to ward off mosquitoes (not necessary as the elevation was so high that I never saw a mosquito). Before this, I never thought about where citronella in candles came from... factories? As we walked, someone from the kitchen staff came out to collect herbs and lettuce to enhance the evening’s meal. I never before so deeply felt the connection from earth to table. There were also butterflies everywhere. It was just magical, as close as I can imagine to a Garden of Eden.

The yoga instruction also deserves mention. The quality varied considerably, with the morning yoga being as good as any in my favorite home studios or on retreats led by yoga masters. The late day yoga was just okay, with a lack of clear instruction or safe sequencing of asanas. That said, the morning yoga classes made up for any shortcomings of the afternoon/evening classes. For this, all credit and deep thanks go to Leonardo. He taught the morning classes with clarity, intelligence, and encouragement. He challenged us and created possibilities that would not be available without his expert preparation and guidance. Translation? After struggling with Crow pose for twelve-plus years, I eased into it under his direction. For this, I will be forever grateful. By the last class, Leonardo led us through most of the Ashtanga Primary series. He provided modifications for beginning students and he challenged those of us who were ready to go deeper. He inspired a stronger dedication to my practice and I have taken this home with me.

I came to Pura Vida Spa to step out of my comfort zone, to see new things, to challenge myself, and to relax. I have found all of this and more. I returned with a renewed inspiration and confidence to deepen my yoga practice and a rekindled connection to and appreciation of this beautiful earth, and to life. I am so grateful.

Room Tip: There is some noise in the rooms from the valley below the resort (motorcycles and trucks coming up...
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  • Stayed July 2012, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank LoudWritr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
MgratPuraVidaSPa, General Manager at Pura Vida Retreat & Spa, responded to this review, 13 September 2012
We are delighted to read your comment about the wonderful experience you had in Pura Vida. It gives us a tremendous amount of energy to keep doing what we love!
Thank you for taking the time to let us and everyone know about it!
Your friends at Pura Vida
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 Retreat & Spa

Property: Pura Vida Retreat & Spa
Address: Mts SW From Minisuper Pavas 800 | Pavas, Carrizal, Alajuela 20103, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Region: Costa Rica > Province of Alajuela > Alajuela
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#3 Spa Hotel in Alajuela
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Pura Vida Retreat & Spa 3.5*
Number of rooms: 51
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
World-Class yoga instruction, acres of natural beauty, delicious healthy cuisine and spa services unrivaled in Costa Rica await inside the cloistered walls of this magical retreat. Tropical rain forest, active volcanoes, mountain cloud forests full of rainbows, breathtaking beaches and exhilarating white water rafting beckon the adventurer in you, all within a few hours drive of our eco-chic spa and wellness resort in the world's greenest country. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Pura Vida Spa & Yoga Retreat Hotel Alajuela
Pura Vida Spa And Yoga Retreat
Pura Vida Wellness Retreat Spa
Pura Vida Retreat & Spa Costa Rica/Alajuela

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