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“Great Place to stay”
Review of La Palapa

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La Palapa
Certificate of Excellence
Mid, minnesota
Level Contributor
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Great Place to stay”
Reviewed 13 April 2013

We returned yesterday from a week at La Palapa. Having never been to CR before I did a lot of research which left me a bit confused. Overall the ratings were good for La Palapa although some posters had some security issues. And its always the negative reviews that we remember the best. Anyway, during our stay in CR we felt completely safe at all times. When we arrived at the hotel we were greeted by Denny, who turned out to be a wonderful host throughout the week. He speaks great english and is very accommodating. We walked thru the main building into the courtyard area and took a immediate right turn. And Denny, said "here is your room". Wow, it was right there, just off to the side of the courtyard/dining area, which is very nicely shaded. I didnt see any other rooms around ours at all, they sit back further than ours, but still nice. There are two big trees that make up the support for the palm, awning that covered a small tile porch. Two chairs and a small coffee table are on the porch for relaxing just out our room. Which was nice but with our room in the heart of everything there were more tables/chairs scattered around for relaxing. And the best part is the ocean is just a short distance away. Everything was right there, it was a perfect setup. A sliding glass door is the main door to enter the room. The door is a large, divided door with the other half of the door also glass. Serving as a great 7-8' picture window for a fantastic view of the palm trees and ocean. Upon entering the room I immediately noticed two individual, twin sized beds and a loft above the beds with another queen size bed. The size of the room is plenty big for two people, even though it sleeps four it could be cramped with four people if everyone was trying to dress at once. But who does any sitting around the room anyway. One wall was all closet area with shelving with alot of storage space. A good sized refrigerator and a wall safe are added benefits. Although if someone wanted to get the safe off it could be done. But with todays modern tools, nothing is safe anywhere. The lighting in the room is sparse, and the bathrooms lighting isnt much better but good enough. The shower was large and the water was super hot and hard to regulate. The best is to turn on the cold and slowly add hot. The room comes with a wall mounted tv, not a flat screen, but who cares about tv. The air conditioner worked good and the ceiling fan is also nice to have. Overall the room could use a some attention for a fussy traveler. But we had no issues and felt it to be very unique and fit our needs.

Daily breakfast is a bonus, its a $10 item on the menu, saving a couple $20 if they choose to eat there daily. There are cheaper items on the menu, with the breakfast they offer being the most expensive. One is started off by coffee, orange juice, followed by a plate of fresh fruit. Normally, a pineapple ring with mangos, pineapple pieces, watermelon, and cantaloupe. Then the main course will differ depending on your order. Usually, eggs, sausage, pancake, toast, and cereal.

We ate supper the on our first night. I had the red snapper and my wife had lobster. We were both surprised on the amount of food we were given. I was given two red snappers and a plate full of other items that I cant remember now. But I do remember being over-stuffed. The lobster there isnt like a Maine lobster, but a decent size for the price, plus all of the extras on the plate make for great meal.

Denny arranged for us to spend a couple of nights at Aernal and a tour we did while there. One thing he offered to do blew me away. He offered for us not to have to pay for our room for the two nights we would be staying in Forutna. Unfortunately, we booked our room thru priceline.com, not La Palapa directly. We couldnt change our reservation thru priceline since we were already there, which is understandable. Next time I will book directly with them. Getting to another point. When we checked in, we were given the option to pay cash for our visit or credit. Cash meant we would save the 13% tax that must be charged to our credit card. Or he said they could split it up, meaning pay some nights cash and others credit card. Obviously, they like cash, and who doesnt. We ended up paying 5 nights cash, two credit. I told him we would see how much cash we had at the end of the week. I'm not a ATM guy, but at the end of the week we paid cash for 5 nights,and cc 2 nights. The savings is about $12/night cash. On seven nights, that would be like getting one night free.

A few tips for anyone staying there. The ocean is close and the waves can be big at times. When you first arrive and want to swin, be sure you SEE rocks in front of the hotel. If you dont see any rocks, dont swin there. The tide comes in and out several hundred feet daily. At high tide the rocks are covered, at low tide they are visible. The best bet is to turn right and walk down the awesome beach for a few minutes and watch where others are swimming. The ocean there is the warmest water I have swam in anywhere. The water is also very shallow for a long ways out making it good for children. But supervision is a must, big waves are never too far away. They show up every few minutes at high and low tide. Being the water is so shallow there, the big waves make it a fun place to swim, surf and boogie board. A turn to the left and a 5 minute walk will take you into even shallower water without a rock in sight. Its not uncommon to see 1000' of sand before the water during low tide to the left of the hotel, the elevation it that flat.

For the price, service, and location, I couldnt have been happier in a place that costs several hundred dollars/night. With the ocean right there and the uniqueness of our room the I would certainly do it again. And highly recommend it to anyone who doesnt think they have to stay at a place fit for royality. For the average traveler, which I saw a lot of in CR, it will fit the needs.

  • Stayed April 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
4 Thank Reap
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (24)
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English first
Denver
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 8 April 2013

This place is seriously a little gem! Understand its slightly outdated and not Americanized at all. It is very clean, the breakfast is great and it feels like its private hotel when you are there. If you are looking for nice beach front lodging with an amazing location you've found it. I stayed in room 1 for 3 nights and had reservations with the Hilton Papagayo, checked out of the Hilton Papagayo after 1 night and returned to the La Palapa room 5 for 2 nights. Both rooms were clean and functional and were in good condition, just slightly outdated. It's a cabin/beach bungalow type feel, with very good A/C. Prime location! Wake up, walk out for breakfast in your board shorts take a swim, catch a surf, everything is in walking distance. The canopy of trees is amazing maybe 30 yards wide by 50 long and there is the beach, you could live out of your room all day enjoying the activities restaurants and shops and just stop back at the room whenever. I also stayed at the Diria in Tamarindo, the Hilton Papagayo. I stay in Hotels 150 + nights a year and each has their expectations. While we were there the hotel had a few shady Gringos leave without paying, not cool and probably explains the review below.

Room Tip: Room 1 is spacious and has a king bed and is only 1 floor.
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  • Stayed March 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank Jardie L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Scottsdale
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviewed 25 February 2013

This hotel has a great location in the center of the action of town toward the back and right on the beach on the front. I would describe it as a small boutique hotel with some of the friendliest staff we ran into in Costa Rica. We did feel comfortable with overnight security checking our car and in general keeping riff raff out. The problem is the rooms: bad lighting, short celings, a ladder to get up to the second bed on the second floor and in general small hostel type rooms. In my room the air conditioning was on the second level so the person staying in that area froze while the person below was sweeting. All this being said, if you only sleep in your room you will be ok, and enjoy the location and people. Breakfast was quite good.

Room Tip: Don't be afraid to ask for a different room, I should have.
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  • Stayed February 2013, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
Thank rdmsundevil
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Boston
Level Contributor
8 reviews
Reviewed 29 January 2013

We just returned from an 11-night stay at La Palapa and could not have been happier. Yes, it's rustic; and no, it's not the Ritz. But it is very reasonably priced, the ambience is out of this world, and the staff could not have been nicer . . . especially Ferdinand!

For the money, I thought breakfast (included) would be Continental, but there is a choice of Continental, American, and Costa Rican. And the smoothies are addictive. Try the banana / strawberry.

We rented SUPs from Marco (Costa Rica Stand Up Paddle Adventures) for the entire stay. Marco is a Costa Rican and retired dentist; we also hired him to do a little sightseeing, rather than renting a car. Well worth the investment. His wife, Lydia, is an artist and has a shop on the circle adjacent to Nougie's. Lovely wearable art.

We loved dining at Nibanna -- the Greek pizza is outstanding.

We hated to leave!

Room Tip: We stayed in #7, which is away from the restaurant noise.
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  • Stayed January 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank debnahant
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Austin, Texas
Level Contributor
203 reviews
45 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 87 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 January 2013

I waited a couple months to write this review because I hate leaving negative reviews that have an impact on someone's livelihood but I use Trip Advisor for all my travels and if people aren't honest this site would be worthless. I'll start with some positives: Great location, friendly staff, on the beach and great breakfast buffet included.

The main reason for my low rating is that I was robbed here. While we were next door at dinner someone used a crow bar to pry open the door and stole my bag which was all packed up since we were leaving very early the next morning. The night manager was a European guy and he was absolutely no help at all. I was shocked at how unhelpful he was. Literally shrugged his shoulders and said I'm sorry. I had stayed at a hostel the night before and went there to use the phone and internet to call my banks and have credit cards cancelled.

The next morning the owner was extremely helpful. He drove me to the next town 30 minutes away because the police in Costa are a joke and only "tourist police" will help you and the "tourist police" in Tamarindo decided not to show up that day and no one knew when they would. He also went to his house and got an old bag for me to put my toiletries and a few other items the thieves missed.

There is zero security at this place. The keys to all the rooms hang in the lobby and nobody watches them. Anyone could come in off the street and grab a key. There's no lighting outside the rooms so the people eating dinner 30 feet away never noticed someone breaking into my room. Lighting would ruin the ambiance but the door frames are rotting so a child would have the strength to break one with a crowbar. The owner's wife told me "There's a of crime in Costa Rica you have to be very careful with your bags." so clearly she knew that locking them in one their hotel rooms was reckless. This is just unacceptable. If guests can't safely leave a bag in the room don't operate a hotel.

Aside from the robbery here are the reasons for the bad rating:
- Bugs everywhere, yeah I know it's Costa Rica I spent 3 weeks there at places half the price of La Palapa and never saw near as many bugs
-The shower drain was clogged (that's just lazy management)
-The bathroom window was just a screen so the music from the restaurant next door was loud in the room ALL day
- Lighting in the room was very poor and even in the middle of the day it was hard to see
- The AC unit was 6 inches from the bed upstairs so my friend was freezing while I was downstairs sweating
- The walls are paper thin, I could hear every word of a TV coming from somewhere and banging around from what I think was the kitchen

  • Stayed November 2012, travelled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank TXtourst
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
lapalapacabinas, General Manager at La Palapa, responded to this review, 22 January 2013
Dear readers and clients,

We were a little shocked and disappointed to read this comments. Just to go over a few points:
We are very sorry for those who is going on with this young man, know that we are working on each negative customers comment. Maybe we're right to note us that way but if we could also note our customers we would assign the same note. Fortunately, at least Tripadvisor give us the OPPORTUNITY to respond to our customers that help better understanding the story because we also believe that we deserve the rules of the hotel to be respected.

As mentions young man, yes effectively his bag has been stolen and we really regret that and had taken the appropriates security measures. But we cannot tolerate this attitude either.
The room was reserved by two young men. When they arrived they didn t want to pay the room at check in, and this rule applies to all our customers and well displayed on the reception and mentions by all personel when customers arriving.

Our staff is always trying to help our customers with any questions or problems, but we must also say that the young man who was EXTREMELY drunk this night when came at the reception to declare the robbery.

Thank you for mentioning our kindness as we were feeling bad about what happened and that because it s extremely rare it happens (2nd time in 3 years).

We also be personnaly stolen but NOT in our Hotel, that you mentionned, but on the beach that was 1h from our place. We think that you didn t untestend the story or just want to justificate your review.

Regarding the rooms by itself we are not a 4 stars hotel and don t pretend to be it but our place is clean and we also improve every year our rooms as soon as we took this hotel, that is quite recent.

I just also want to remind you that you said us: ”I had been stolen in each pays when I visited, it’s not my first time”. So, we just want to say to you be carrefull and to apply the elementary security in your futures trips. Don’t come back to your room at late night drunk and with girls what is logically forbidden.

P.S. We want that all the clients who want to have any informations about our hotel, to visit our reviews on other site, like a booking site or to take the time to know us through our website. Thank you
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Level Contributor
36 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 January 2013

First of all I would like to mention that the cabanas on the beach are lovely and have a great view over the ocean. The housekeeping was also great and cleaned our room every day.

We stayed in the hotel for 3 nights. We did not book in advance. I went to the place while my girlfriend was waiting (it was very difficult to find a place between Christmas and New Years). The (young) guy at the reception told me that he had a room but it was only for one night. I accepted it (better than nothing). Later he told me that he may have a room for longer and asked me how long we wanted to stay. I said that we didn't know yet ("maybe one night, maybe two, maybe longer..."). That was OK. I asked specifically when we had to decide how long we wanted to stay. The answer was "when you pay you decide how long you stay". We paid for one night and the day after and two days later for another night. We didn't write anything down (for the avoidance of doubt: we hadn't confirm anything whatsoever).
After the third night we told the guy of the reception in the morning that we would check out the day after. That was fine (obviously, because we did not agree anything else). When we came back at the hotel in the afternoon this guy told us that there was a problem because his manager put us in the hotel planning for an additional two days. The guy spoke about "our problem". I off course responded that I regret the misunderstanding but that it is with all respect not our problem since we did not booked the room for these nights. The guy acknowledged this but explained to us that his manager had a problem with the situation and that he wants us to pay the room for the 2 nights. After 20 minutes of arguing and the guy calling (probably with his boss) it was all of a sudden no longer a problem. The guy told us "its OK, no problem, but next time please tell us as soon as you know when you are want to leave".
The day after we checked out early in the morning.
This is the background. Now to the money missing part. We went to Cuba and for that purpose we still had a lot of cash money. We counted it while we stayed the hotel because we wanted to know how much it was. We wrote it down on a note put our money (euro's) in the wallet of my girlfriend and put it in the safe of the hotel room. And guess what: on the day we checked out (we went to Monteverde) we counted the money again. I still don't know why we did it. But we did it. And there was EUR 200 missing. We were extremely surprised as you will understand. The amount stolen was the same amount that we would have paid if we would have stayed an additional two nights.
I have emailed the hotel and the response spoke for itself: most of the words in the email were about cancellation policy, that we had to pay for the 2 night (again: we did not book the room for the 2 nights) etc. Shameless!

So if you go to this place (because the place itself is nice), don't put money in the safe in the room and that trust the people of the hotel.

  • Stayed December 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Mark E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
1 review
Reviewed 7 January 2013

Pros:
- friendly, hardworking staff
- excellent beach front location, ocean visible from most rooms
- delicious, filling breakfast with local and western options including eggs, sausage, coffee, tea, juice, and plenty of fruit
- restaurant part of hotel was enchanting, situated on the beach
- two girls offer massage services on the hotel property, starting at 20 dollars for half an hour. Massage was well worth it
- hotel close to everything we needed;supermarket, pharmacy, doctors office, surf shops,interbus booking office, bars and restaurants

Cons:
- discrepancy in quality of rooms, while all rooms are fairly simple, certain rooms have been recently upgraded and are more charming (we stayed in rooms 3 and 4, 3 was more modern with upgraded bathroom and nicer view)
- loud at night on weekends, especially Saturday with surrounding beach clubs. Night sound was not as bad. If you are looking for peace and solitude, would look at other hotels
- restaurant was slightly pricier than others in town, although we didn't eat anything but the included breakfast (see above. However, expect to pay 10 to 20 dollars for a decent restaurant meal in the area which was more than we anticipated

Room Tip: Would ask to stay in room 3 over 4.
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  • Stayed January 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Wveej
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about La Palapa

Property: La Palapa
Address: Main St, Tamarindo, Costa Rica
Region: Costa Rica > Province of Guanacaste > Tamarindo
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #28 of 81 Speciality Lodging in Tamarindo
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Hotel Class:3 star — La Palapa 3*
Number of rooms: 7
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
La Palapa Hotel Tamarindo

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