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“Great Place, Great People”

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Vista Guapa Surf Camp
Ranked #4 of 29 Jaco B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Denver
Level 3 Contributor
20 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 69 helpful votes
“Great Place, Great People”
Reviewed 8 March 2011

This was a wonderful place to learn to surf. The staff is so friendly and helpful. Their surf programs are reasonably priced and the instructors were great.

The accommodations are not luxurious, but they are clean and peaceful. Also, there was a/c, which is a must in this area. There is a bit of a walk up to the rooms. The breakfast was included in my program, and that was also wonderful. I highly recommend this place!

  • Stayed February 2011, travelled solo
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Helpful?
1 Thank girltravelingforfun
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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121 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (12)
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English first
St. Louis
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviewed 23 February 2011

We spent 4 nights with 3 days of surfing with Vista Guapa, originally we had a 3 night package, but we enjoyed it so much we added another night. The staff and instructors were such wonderful people that there is no way we would not return again soon. We are first time surfers and they had us standing up in the waves on our first try. The camp grounds and bungalos we stayed in were beautiful and the meals were perfect! Can't wait to get back ASAP, for an entire week stay!

Stayed February 2011, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank reedfromthelou
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York City, New York
1 review
Reviewed 9 February 2011

I've stayed at many all-inclusive resorts. None have given me the kind of "Welcome Home!" feeling that Vista Guapa does. After the scenic hour-long drive from San Jose to Jacó, Alavaro pulled up to the cozy lodge I affectionately call base camp. The high ceilings and wide-open windows let all the beautiful Pura Vida air and sunlight in. The camp dogs lay around on the porch, reminding you that despite the surfing to come, you are encouraged to relax. There's a crystal clear pool steps away, with trees offering some shade from the Costa Rican sun. And the small yoga deck stands tall like a life guard stand over the pool.

I was surprised at how large the room was. There may be two yoga decks plus the porch outside my cabin, by I could easily practice in my room without every touching the furniture. I was happy to find a coffee maker stocked with Cafe Britt on top of a mini-fridge stocked with water. And the A/C made the room a welcoming retreat for afternoon siestas. On the porch, hammocks and easy chairs made watching the sunrise over the mountains or sunset over the ocean feel like I was living inside a painting.

Meals were so much fun. Breakfast is made to order at the camp. I'm a huge fan of the local gallo pinto (rice and beans) and blackberry pancakes, but they also offer eggs, etc. The meals come with a generous fruit plate, a delicious fruit smoothie drink, and plenty of coffee. Dinners are at local restaurants. El Rey Marino is my favorite. Their plantain chips with black bean dip are amazing.

The reason you are probably at Vista Guapa is for the surfing. As a complete newbie trying to overcome my fear of water, Alvaro had his work cut out for him. We started with a lesson on dry land. He was very patient with me, quickly building my confidence and trust. When I began to panic as I stepped into the ocean, he calmed my nerves and reminded me he wouldn't let me drown. Once out on the ocean, he gave me time to relax before picking the perfect first wave for me. With his guidance, I got up on my first wave and rode it all the way to shore! Over the rest of the week, Alvaro and his patient and professional team of surf instructors worked with me to not just overcome my fear of water, but to kick its butt!

This may not be what I like least, but it's a fair warning to others. The cabins are uphill. I think it's great exercise for the legs. But don't worry if you're too exhausted after surfing or it's too dark after dinner. They'll give you a ride up!

  • Stayed January 2011, travelled solo
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Helpful?
Thank caelmo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Los Angeles, California, USA
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 26 January 2011

This place is the best Jaco resort (and maybe best Costa Rican resort) to learn to surf and have an authentic Costa Rican experience. It is best suited to couples, groups of friends, and families who are interested in learning how to surf and want a more rustic experience (e.g. no TVs) than might be offered at a mega-type resort. If you are looking for pure large hotel luxury, you should go to Los Suenos Marriott resort.

Our group was looking to enjoy Costa Rica's West coast and learn how to surf in the meanwhile. We wanted a typical Costa Rican style vacation, equal parts active and relaxing. In our experience, Vista Guapa fulfills this travel niche as well as any resort on Costa Rica's Pacific coast.

One differentiating aspect of Vista Guapa is the staff. Alvaro (part owner and jack of all trades) and the rest of this group take care of just about everything for you in the same way a friend would. For example, our group had different interests and wanted to participate in a number of activities. Alvaro was helpful arranging this for us. I suspect a hotel concierge would have been able to provide an adequate service, but we would definitely have lost some of the personalization that our group required.

One instance particularly highlighted the benefit of working with someone like Alvaro who is trustworthy. One of our group experienced a severe injury in the middle of the night, requiring immediate medical attention and rush service to San Jose via ambulance. Alvaro was up with us the whole night working through the ordeal and arranging transportation via ambulance to San Jose. Note this would have been an impossible task at any other hotel, as Alvaro had to call every independent ambulance operator he could think of to find one who would respond at 4 in the morning.

The surf instruction is a major selling point of this resort. Jaco is a major surf destination, so you see a number of other surf schools in the water. It is fairly obvious observing other groups instruction that Vista Guapa's staff is head and shoulders above everyone else. Surfing is pretty tough, and Vista Guapa's staff makes it possible for beginners to enjoy and experienced riders to challenge themselves.

Outside of the staff and the surf instruction, there are little things that you'll notice about the resort. The construction is done well. The beds are high quality. The food is fresh (not true of all Costa Rican cuisine). The place is kept in very good condition. All told, the place kind of reminds you of a typical "bungalow-style" resort when you arrive, but upon further inspection, it is clearly constructed and run at a level of quality and service that is vastly superior to a typical bungalow resort.

One thing to note about Jaco. None of the (good) resorts are on the beach because its not a particularly nice beach. The better resorts are off the beach in the hills surround Jaco.

I'd encourage anyone to give it a shot!

  • Stayed December 2010, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank emilller77
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Washington DC
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 January 2011

VG is absolutely one of my favorite places in the world. I've been there 4x, both alone and with friends, and will be coming back forever. Alvaro and everyone else at VG love to see a smile on your face and do everything they can to keep it there, in the water and out. The grounds are gorgeous and spotless, the food is incredible, and the surfing is, by all accounts, some of the best in the world for both beginners and advanced. I've taken other lessons, but none come anywhere close to the care, commitment and expertise at VG. I know this sounds too good to be true, but for surfing, relaxing, and meeting terrific people, it's hard not to fall in love with VG...

  • Stayed December 2010, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank lovedVistaGuapa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Medford, Massachusetts
Level 4 Contributor
36 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 December 2010

Alvaro and Durby were awesome teachers. Not only was I able to get up on my first day surfing, but I was able to catch a few waves and turn in both directions after 6 days. Breakfast was great and everything was really clean. This is a great getaway for couples or groups. I would definitely come back

  • Stayed November 2010, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank als1978
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Palisades Park, New Jersey
1 review
Reviewed 13 May 2010

I just recently stayed at Vista Guapa and minus the steep climb to the room, I couldn't have been more pleased. The staff was incredibly hospitable, the facilities were clean and the landscape was well kept. You were greeted with smiles always and the camp staff truly helped to make this an experience I'll never forget. (I can speak Spanish now!) On top of all of this, the experience and encouragement of the surf staff has made me a better surfer and I can only strive to get better and return. I truly could not have asked for a better place to make my inaugural visit to Costa Rica and I can't wait to book my next trip. PURA VIDA!

  • Stayed May 2010, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank MKim_101
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Vista Guapa Surf Camp

Property: Vista Guapa Surf Camp
Address: Las Lomas de Jaco, Jaco, Costa Rica
Region: Costa Rica > Province of Puntarenas > Jaco
Amenities:
Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Shuttle Bus service Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 29 B&Bs / Inns in Jaco
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:3 star — Vista Guapa Surf Camp 3*
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Our Eco-Lodge features lovely guest bungalows all with an unobstructed view of the ocean, each with two individual rooms with private baths, air conditioning, two Twin beds or one Queen-sized bed and large decks with hand-crafted, native-wood furniture and comfortable hammocks for relaxing. The decks are ideal for enjoying the breeze, watching the sun rise over the hills and set over the Pacific Ocean, or taking in a visit from the family of macaws living near the property. Our bungalows are equipped with small safes for the storage of valuables, small refridgerators for snacks and drinks, and coffee machines for that morning wakeup. We do look to promote a relaxing environment and for you to "unplug", therefore our rooms do not have TVs, telephones or Internet connections, enabling our guests to enjoy the Pura Vida of Costa Rica. We do offer business center servies and free WiFi in the main house. We have a lovely pool and two Yoga decks which also serve as our massage decks, one of which looks out over the ocean, the other over the pool. Our massuese can also offer services on the deck of your bungalow or in your room, and couples massages are available as well. Other spa services such as manicures, pedicures, and haircuts and styling can be arranged. Our concierge is available 24 hours a day to meet all of your needs including shuttle services into town, tour bookings such as camopy tour, horseback riding, ATV, crocodile and much more, private fitness and Yoga instruction. Our staff of professional surfers and SUP surfers are the #1 rated in Jaco for surf and SUP lessons. We currently staff a 5-time National and Central American Champions, as well as other top-ranked professional surfers and SUP surfers. All staff members are certified by the International Surf Instructor Association (ISA) and are certified in CPR, First-Aid, and Open-Water Lifesaving Techiniques. We also currently staff a veteran Beach Lifeguard that worked in Texas, Hawaii, and California, with EMT and Big Surf Rescue training. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Vista Guapa Surf Camp Hotel Jaco
Vista Guapa Surf Camp Costa Rica/Jaco

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