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“Amazing Property and Owners”

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Hotel La Palapa Eco Lodge Resort
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Portalon
Portland, Maine
1 review
“Amazing Property and Owners”
Reviewed 4 June 2014

We stayed at La Palapa in February of 2014. We rented the entire property and the owners were amazing! Every detail of our stay was attended to. The accommodations were immaculate and the food prepared for us was delicious. I would not consider staying anywhere else. We will definitely return next year! Thanks for an amazing time!!!

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled with friends
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Thank Jeffothejungle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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323 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (44)
Date | Rating
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  • English first
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English first
Los Angeles, California
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 May 2014

La Palapa owned by a Portuguese couple exceeded our expectations in many ways. The bungalow was beautiful with large views to the luxurious garden were we could see birds and butterflies at all times, clean and well decorated and designed, almost hidden in the gardens, trying to blend in with the surrounding environment. We stayed in bungalow number 1, in front of the pool, which was perfect for us. It has an outside balcony, ideal for that late night drink to the sound of the night life. The rooms have no TV, which makes you interact more with the other guests.

On arrival, Cristina, the owner, gave us a map of the area with all the hot spots so we wouldn’t miss a thing with lots of details and information that we never had in any other hotel or resort in Costa Rica, and this made all the difference when it was time to decide where to go.

La Palapa is between two National Parks, Manuel António (25 minutes north) and Marino Ballena (35 minutes south) so really a great location, off the beaten path.

The excursions were excellent. I specially recommend the tour to Caño Island. It’s a very full day, but totally worth it.

The owner, Manuel has a great attention to detail and has clearly invested his time and energy in every aspect of the lodge. . . . . ask Manuel to show you around the great gardens of La Palapa, one of the nicest we’ve seen ever.

The Portuguese food cooked by Cristina is fabulous and an excellent homemade alternative from the traditional Costa Rican food, reason why we had all our dinners at the resort. Don’t forget to taste Cristina’s desserts… delicious!

We must mention the great buffet breakfast served at La Palapa. It was the best in Costa Rica, by far, with great variety of fruits, eggs, bread, fresh cheese, muffins, sausages, rice and beans, tropical fruit juices, teas, coffee and more.

The resort participates in the program Pack for a Purpose which encourages clients to bring school materials, games and clothing (no need to be new) for the local kids. Cristina booked a visit to the school for us, to take the pencils and games we had brought. It’s good to see how organized and proud the school staff is, in spite of all the difficulties.

We decided to stay at the hotel on our last day, just to relax before going back to San José and even that was full of excitement: the iguanas and the squirrels come down from the trees to eat the fruit left for the birds and the kiskadees came to refresh in the pool.

We have travelled to Costa Rica before and this is definitely one of our new favorite places.

Room Tip: Bungalow has kitchen and is around the pool, near all services and internet.
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  • Stayed April 2014, travelled as a couple
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1 Thank Debora N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Grand Rapids, Michigan
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 28 April 2014

We stayed at La Palapa for three nights and rather enjoyed our stay. Upon checking in Manuel encouraged us to come sit with him after settling in to show us a local map and give us the rundown of where to go and what to see in the area (all great suggestions). The bungalow that we stayed in was very nice , well decorated and comfortable. The rest of the grounds were beautifully landscaped and well maintained. We planned an early morning excursion the first day which meant we would miss the provided breakfast, so a fruit and muffin plate was prepared for us the night before to get us going in the morning. We were able to stay for breakfast the following two mornings which was very enjoyable. We had dinner with them one night as well, and were both very pleased with the food and atmosphere. Christine is an excellent cook!

All in all we were quite happy that we chose La Palapa for this portion of our trip. Owners Manuel, and Christine are very personable and seem passionate about providing great hospitality to their guests. We would definitely stay here again!

  • Stayed April 2014, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Kirk M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Miami, Florida
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 April 2014

Just spent (or wasted) 2 nights at this resort, I have traveled the world and have never encountered such horrible put off owners whose cheapness and strict rules make any kind of a good experience impossible. To see the positive reviews on here is quite baffling and must be fake I'm convinced. First off yes the grounds are lovely and the bungalows very nice.....now here is where none of this will matter because you are contending with nasty and incredibly cheap and rude owners. First of all even thought they advertise wifi it is only available in the lounge area, not in the rooms so they force you to be at the bar to sell drinks/food. When I first got to my bungalow (located 20 feet from lounge area) and saw there was no wifi I went to ask the owner why, she explained to me they decided not to make the wifi available in the rooms so that they can interact more with their guests...What???? Last I checked the vacation is about the guests and their comforts, what if I dont want to interact with you and other guests? This isnt about you its about the guests...something these people are clueless about. So they intentionally withhold room wifi so you must go to the lounge/bar area where you will be harassed to buy drinks and food. And watch out if you bring your own drink near the lounge with you! Second night coming back I needed to use the wifi and was drinking a wine cooler so I went to the lounge with drink in hand, first the nasty husband owner came over and loudly reprimanded us for having a drink, then said "you buy it here", he then smugly asks us if we are enjoying using the internet as if he is doing us a favor...really creepy guy. Then of course the wife had to come over and say something as well even moving the bottle across our table I guess so we couldn't reach it?!?. At this point I was so turned off by them I utilized the precious internet to find alternative accommodations which I am so glad I did because I found a beautiful paradise that excelled in guest services and ofcourse had wifi in the bungalows, There was also a ridiculous issue with ordering food I wont even get into. These owners are over bearing, incredibly cheap and rude people....it is impossible to enjoy your stay here because of them and that's too bad because it is a lovely place,

Room Tip: The roosters in the surrounding area crow all through the night making it impossible to sleep.
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  • Stayed April 2014, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
4 Thank Max B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
mbraganca, Owner at Hotel La Palapa Eco Lodge Resort, responded to this review, 24 April 2014
First of all let me say how sorry I am that you didn't enjoy your stay.
For us La Palapa is not only a business but a way of life and honestly we would like all our clients to be happy here. This being said I would like to add:

We offer 2 different internet services to our clients because we found in the past that one was not enough for the amount of traffic the clients needed. Unfortunately our wi-fi does not reach the rooms which are spread out around approximately 3 hectares of property, after all we are a rainforest resort…
We have searched for solutions to get internet to every room but all the companies asked would charge us nothing short of $2700 (27 hundred dollars). If we made this investment, we would have to charge the clients for this service (in which case you’d be here complaining about having to pay for it). Because we believe in free internet, we have decided to go with the system that we have. Clients have internet in the restaurant and pool area. The fact that we would never see our clients if we had internet in the rooms, has nothing to do with it, it was a secondary comment which apparently you didn't understand.
It is not mandatory to drink or eat anything while you are on the internet but I would say it is common sense and part of the service to ask a client if we can get him anything, when he first sits at the restaurant. Sorry you don’t understand that either.

"OUTSIDE FOOD AND DRINKS ARE NOT ALLOWED IN THE PUBLIC AREAS OF THE RESORT" is a phrase we have written in:
1 - the enormous information board as you come in the resort
2 - all the rooms
3 - the pool information board in big letters
and that we still say to all clients at check-in, in case they are "light headed" to use your own words...
You decided to come sit in our restaurant, at dinner time when other guests were dinning, bringing your own drinks.
Do you take your own drinks to a restaurant when you go out back home? I don't think so.
This was inconsiderate and rude of you.

Our dinner menu is posted on the information board, at the restaurant and at the reception and IN ALL OF THEM, before the word MENU it has written in large RED letters highlighted in yellow "BOOK BEFORE 3pm" When you requested dinner at 8pm we assumed it was for the next day. When our clients have full days tours and are arriving late the next day, they normally book dinner the night before. It was an innocent mistake on our part to think you were ordering for the next day and not for the day in question. When we offered to cook for you anyway you decided you would go out. We are sorry AGAIN for the misunderstanding.

You had to leave early the next day for a tour and asked if we could get you something to eat at 6 am before you left. I personally woke up earlier to have coffee, fruit and muffins out for you by 6am, once the staff only arrives at that time and it would be too late. I waited from 6am to about 6:20 when I saw you by the pool and when I came out with coffee you were heading for the parking lot with your bags, not saying a word.
Again you were rude and inconsiderate.

Hotels have rules because they need to keep the environment safe and comfortable for all the guests. We have clients from all over the world, some more educated than others and we cannot expect everyone to know our basic rules. That is why WE WRITE THEM DOWN.
Unfortunately, like the saying “you can take a horse to water, but you cannot make him drink”

By the way, next time you leave a hotel, be sure to check out properly (not sneak out) and pay for what you drink. And I’m cheap!...
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 April 2014

We just visited the place with our 2 kids. They have done a good job in keeping it green and clean but the couple is extremely rude and not a place to stay if you have kids. They need to first learn to be polite and friendly to their customers instead of reminding you to ' hold on' to your kids while being in their rooms. Never received any courtesy smiles or a friendly gesture from the couple in spite of paying an overpriced bill for their so called beautiful cottages. The whole of Costa Rica is a beautiful drive thru rainforest and there's nothing exceptionally different about them from others. They'll will charge you in the first place even before you leave, while others will charge you when you're ready to leave.
They will remind you of the things to be taken care of in their rooms with your kids when you go to eat Breakfast at their restaurant. (even though the kids may not have done anything to their property)
Not an easy place to find at first as they are pretty far in the interior. While we stayed in many other resorts at the same time, the friendliness and the warmth was definitely missing here....

  • Stayed April 2014, travelled with family
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Helpful?
4 Thank Chhavi M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sioux Falls, South Dakota
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 April 2014

The owners of this place are horrendous. There was no welcome or even a smile. It's also just a hotel with a dirty pool--not a resort. The locked my husband out of the gates before 9 pm and he had to climb over the gate to get back in. The male owner told us that we broke the rules and should have told the guard in advance that we wanted to leave. He then told us that if we didn't pay $300 USD he would call the police and "we would never leave the country.Staff aren't allowed to speak to visitors and act scared of the owners. They also ripped off the canopy tour provider we booked by keeping too much of the depisit. Do not stay here!

This hotel had destroyed the small town they took over by setting up a so called resort. The locals told us about how they wanted their old simple life back.

Far from everything and nothing spactacular. Choose another place!

  • Stayed April 2014
    • Value
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Helpful?
4 Thank hnikole
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
mbraganca, Owner at Hotel La Palapa Eco Lodge Resort, responded to this review, 24 April 2014
La Palapa informs all clients at check-in, that for security reasons the gate closes at 9:00 p.m., so that they can let us know if they need to get in or out after this hour.
The night in question we served dinners to outside clients and the gate closed later. The night guard’s shift starts at 9:00 p.m..
These clients came back late, on foot and the night guard opened the gate normally.
After that, the husband, that was FULLY DRUNK, ran around the resort, ignoring the guard that was always present to open the gate in time, but instead he jumped the wall 4 times, carrying beer, destroying the entrance gardens on his way in and out and even running over a parking sign that he broke in the process, vomiting all over the resort.
In the morning, he said that he broke an over 15 year old tropical red palm tree (over 6 inches thick), because and I quote “I had never seen one like that and I was just playing around and I felt like breaking it! It was fun… what’s it to you?”
They left the bungalow in such bad condition that we had to disinfected and partially paint, besides the broken hangers and towels that we had no choice but to throw away…
Acts of vandalism like this one are distasteful and show lack of respect for other people’s property, not to say lack of basic education levels.
If you deliberately destroy our property you will pay for the damage caused. After accessing the overall damage, we think that $300 was a real bargain.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 April 2014

Our family of 4 (kids are 12.5 and 7) stayed for a week very happily. Gardens are lush and gorgeous; they also make the villas feel very private. I LOVED that we were far from the tourist crowds of Manuel Antonio yet were an easy driving distance from so many activities.

Breakfasts beneath the thatched roof were relaxing, and offered plenty of options (rice and beans, eggs, great bread with jam, muffins, amazing fruit). We also pre-ordered dinners each day; loved coming back from a hot, busy day, swimming in the pool, having a cocktail, eating a relaxed dinner by the pool, then walking just a few steps back to our villa.

Cristina's recommendations regarding tours were helpful, and we appreciated her help in booking them. Made it all very easy.

We used our villa mostly for sleeping (no preparing meals or snacks, just the occasional juice/cocktail). Lots of folks have commented about not having cookware or coffee makers in the room (true, but there is good coffee during breakfast hours). I would have loved more comfortable (padded) pool furniture for lounging, shampoo, and possibly pool towels. It's true that the only free hiking trail is mostly paved. It's still worthwhile (we saw toucans and a huge parrot snake at the top, as well as amazing sunsets) but if you are looking for many kilometers of self-guided hiking trails, you'll have to go elsewhere.

You need a car rental if you stay there. Cristina arranged for us to take a private shuttle from the San Jose airport ($200), and we had a rental waiting for us in the morning.

La Palapa is small, so you don't get everything you'd get with a bigger resort. For example, meal options are limited, which might bother some. But I would not trade the intimacy or paradise feel for a bigger resort. I would have hated staying in one of the big tourist towns.

Would absolutely go back!

Stayed March 2014, travelled with family
Helpful?
1 Thank LindenBlvd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hotel La Palapa Eco Lodge Resort

Property: Hotel La Palapa Eco Lodge Resort
Address: 800 meters from main road | Manuel Antonio - Quepos - Puntarenas, Portalon 60602, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Region: Costa Rica > Province of Puntarenas > Portalon
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Portalon
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Hotel La Palapa Eco Lodge Resort 3.5*
Number of rooms: 13
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Hotel La Palapa EcoLodge Resort, that is called by the clients ¨THE LOST PARADISE¨, has a policy of practicing always the best and lowest prices of all region, and is located outside of the town of Portalon, offering an incredible wildlife variety of fauna and flora, that makes a perfect place and the paradise for passionate wildlife lovers. Served in its open-air restaurant, La Palapa offers a traditional Costa Rican breakfast, including fresh fruit and local dishes such as Gallo Pinto. Meat, fish, rice and bean dishes are on offer for lunch and dinner, and are prepared using produce grown on a local organic farm. The property also offers excellent powerful free WiFi. Our airy bungalows are painted with warm colors and decorated with unique original objects imported from North Africa, to create a very warm and special atmosphere. All are non-smoking, have very comfortable beds, ceiling fans, private terrace with bamboo table and chairs, cool tiled floors, private bathroom with hot shower, large furnished living room with an extra bed, fitted kitchen with refrigerator and screened windows that let in gentle breezes and melodic sounds from the jungle as you fall asleep. The most beautiful beaches of all Central America are inside the Manuel Antonio National Park, and the famous beaches of Matapalo with a sea Turtle Refuge Centre, Playa Linda, and Dominical are very near the resort. The La Palapa Resort is away from the confusion of tourist centers of the region but near everything and is considered one of the most beautiful and well-kept in Manuel Antonio - Quepos - Matapalo - Dominical and Uvita area, surrounded by unique tropical gardens with a Swimming-Pool with a large collection of rare plants, located in a virgin Tropical Rainforest, with 149 acres (60.5 Hectares) of land with a private waterfall only for the clients of the resort. This property also has always the best-rates compared with other locations in Manuel Antonio – Quepos – Dominical and Portalon area! Guests are happier about it compared to other properties in the area. This property is also rated for the best value in Manuel Antonio – Quepos – Dominical and Portalon area! Guests are getting more for their money when compared to other properties of the region. ... more   less 
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