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“Great Hospitality”

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Martina's Place Hostel
Ranked #3 of 18 Drake Bay B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Deventer, The Netherlands
Level Contributor
33 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“Great Hospitality”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 21 May 2014

This budget-friendly hostel with a very laid back atmosphere is just a 3 minute walk from the boat.
They pick you right from the beach and then you're welcomed by the owner and founder Martina.
A woman with a lot of experience in the field of tourism and always willing to give you the best advice. She really understands the meaning of the word hospitality and has excellent knowledge of the area. More than a dozen tours of which you can choose are offered.
Several options to stay, from a tent (with a real bed) to the honeymoon cabine and from dormitory (just 2 beds) to a spacious room with private bath, A well equipped kitchen to cook your own meal, which you can eat inside or at a very nice patio. And whole day long free use of coffee, tea and filtered water. There is WiFi, a bookexchange and a fair amount of travelguides which you can read in one of the hammocks. Just a couple of minutes walk from some supermarkets, a bakery, a vegetable shop, and several restaurants.
Highly recommended!

  • Stayed May 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank moon98
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
MartinaWegener, Owner at Martina's Place Hostel, responded to this review, 24 May 2014
Wow! That is one of the best reviews I ever got! Almost I can put it like that on my flyer :-).
It was a real pleasure having you and your wife here and thank you so much for taking the time to review my hostel. Martina
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172 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
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (19)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Sacramento, California
Level Contributor
21 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 April 2014

For being in a village down a seemingly endless dirt road, it's a cool little place. We stayed in the private room with bathroom. We are not wimpy and have stayed in worse places. But damn it was hot!The room just would not cool down even with the door open. Even with the fan full blast, it was arguably one of the worse nights of sleep I've ever had. Also, the bathroom seemed too stink... We just ended up keeping the door closed though. Overall, it was... an experience. Would I do it again? Probably not. Martina and staff were helpful and friendly. Can't take anything away from them.

Room Tip: 5 min walk to Corcovado tour by BOAT not plane
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  • Stayed March 2014, travelled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank cs1sc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
MartinaWegener, Owner at Martina's Place Hostel, responded to this review, 15 May 2014
Thank you for your review, we really appreciate it because it confirms our work and shows us where to improve...In your case two things: I checked the drain system to avoid bad smells and I will put a climate table on my website, so guests can prepare their vacation better.
March is the hottest month in southern Costa Rica, it gets up to 40 celsius / 104 Fahrenheit! If it would be the whole year like this I sure couldn't live in Drake Bay!
I wish you would have told me when you were here because my friends down the street offer rooms with air condition, we easily could have organized a change for you.
I am sorry that your memory of Drake Bay now is only "hot sleepless night".
Kind regards, Martina
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Cleveland, Ohio
Level Contributor
38 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 April 2014

This is a challenging review to write because we find ourselves wanting to be fair yet describe our experience accurately.

We had originally planned to stay with Martina for 5 nights in her "honeymoon bungalow" for $50/night. We then were informed that the airline had to change our flight so we notified her immediately that our trip would be reduced by one day. Martina was always a great communicator and very accommodating of changes. We have to say she is most definitely a great business-woman - hence the excellent reviews she continually receives from folks on this site.

We arrived to her place at midday on March 28th and although she was not present herself to welcome us, one of her volunteers, Axel, was quite lovely and gave us a tour of the facilities and explained house-rules, etc then informed us that they were having water troubles because the town was doing some work on water lines and the water was being shut off during the day. He was uncertain when it would return but assured us that by evening it usually was running. Since we had a bungalow with a private bathroom, we did not really fret about no water during the daytime as we would be out doing excursions anyway.

We left shortly after check-in to find a place to eat and have a drink. This brought us to Jinetes where we had lunch and subsequently went on a kayaking tour. We decided to run back to our bungalow at Martina's to shower at around 6 p.m. so we could make our way back to Jinetes for dinner. There was no water running at all at 6 p.m. although no workers were in sight and it was dark out. We returned after dinner at about 10 p.m. to enough of a flow in our shower so we could bathe.

We were up at 5 a.m. and found just enough water trickling in our sink to brush our teeth before heading off for a day of diving at Cano Island. Martina had arranged for us to dive with Osa Divers (which she does business with) versus Jinetes where we originally requested to dive when booking from the U.S. Martina did tell us at the time, that we could dive with any group we wanted but that the fee was slightly higher. After reading online reviews for Osa Divers we felt confident that they would be okay to dive with & were a professional outfit. On the day of diving, we were informed by Axel that Osa was having trouble with their boat so they were sending us to dive with Drake Divers. Axel was nice enough to accompany us there and all seemed well. It turns our the compressed air was of horrible quality and after two dives, my husband (and other divers on our boat that day) opted out of the next day of diving. I mention this here because although Martina is NOT responsible for Osa pushing off guests to another company, we would hope she would be concerned about a supposedly good dive operator sending her guests to a place that is mediocre in their operations and safety concerns for guests. Hopefully this will be followed up as we did voice our concerns to Axel & Martina.

We returned to Martina's after a day in the ocean, full of salt, sunscreen and perspiration at about 3:30 p.m. Of course, there was no water. We hadn't expected the water to be running and we lazed around our room with the fan on figuring water might return before dinner time. No such luck! We walked up the road for dinner and returned after 8:30 p.m. - still NO WATER! By now, we had added a good layer of DEET mosquito spray to our bodies in addition to the salt water and sunscreen. We didn't want to dirty our bedsheets so we slept atop our bed thinking we would awaken in the night to running water. I got up every hour on the hour throughout the night - NO WATER! By 6 a.m. there was still no water. Between feeling miserably sticky & dirty on what had been a perfect vacation so far and wondering WHEN we might be able to flush a toilet (you don't even want to imagine that one), we decided we were done. We packed our things and went to see Martina but instead saw Axel and told him to inform her we would not be staying any longer.

We are not wimpy, western travelers. I have lived & worked in Africa & Asia and we have been without water before. What we resent is that Martina, in all of the communications we had with her (including days prior to our arrival) never mentioned a water problem and never gave us the option to opt for different accommodations! In our opinion, that was unfair and unprofessional.
Martina will say here as she did to us, that the water problem is outside of her control which is not false. However, she is surely aware that as her accommodations have grown and she has on occasion up to 20 people staying at her place, her water reservoir is much too small to accommodate the needs of all these guests, not to mention that she is atop a steep hill and the pressure will hardly ever be enough to get water up to her place. We felt that concern might have been shown, as it has been in Seychelles, Madagascar & Sri Lanka, during water shortages, by having large jerry-cans of water brought in for guests to use for bathing.
For a savvy business woman, this is not the kindest way to handle a situation that would leave any guest frustrated, uncomfortable and disappointed.

It was also eye-opening to discover that we could get a room with a shared bathroom at Jinetes for the same $50 we had spent at Martina's without water.

Martina was understanding at our wanting to leave and did apologize for the fiasco, pointing out that it was not her fault.
We agree that she cannot control the water situation, however, she ought to have given us a heads-up about the situation so we could make an informed decision. This was to be a romantic getaway for us NOT a hard-core-no-bathing-for-days excursion!

If you stay with Martina under better circumstances, be aware that this is very much a "hostel" setting and she is probably one of the most well-informed, efficient persons in the area in terms of connecting you with tour companies, etc. You make all payments directly to her which is most convenient. If you want to use your credit or debit card, she will inform you in advance of a 7% fee charged by local banks. She has no control over that so plan well ahead.

Overall, we hope we have been fair in our depiction of OUR experience at Martina's Place and would recommend that guests inquire about things like water supply when making inquiries about a stay here.

  • Stayed March 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank intlroxy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
MartinaWegener, Owner at Martina's Place Hostel, responded to this review, 8 April 2014
Dear R.-A. and F.
I really appreciate this long and honest review and thanks for taking the time to write it. Thanks also for your compliments about my person :-)

About the water:
In 5 years that I live in Drake Bay I never ever was without water, because I have a 1000l tank which fills up automatically. Those 5 days without or only dripping water have been the most horrible days since I live here and every moment I felt sorry for my guests.
If I had known about any damage on the pipes, I certainly would have informed you- but it came out of the blue and the whole village thought that it might only be a few hours.The water comes from way up the mountain and its kilometers of pipeline.
When you came it was just the beginning of a 5 days "almost no water situation" and I was running around with gallons of water to flush all toilets and gave huge bottles of drinking water to my guests so the could -kind of- clean themselves. All hotels and their guests in the village had to deal with it and I could absolutely understand that you looked for another hotel, since we all receive water from the same river and the hotels at the edge of the village get water from another river. Which of course at one point also could have problems.
I am glad a situation like this only happened once in 5 years and I am sorry, that you came right into it!
About the diving:
Osa Divers is a reliable company, he couldn't do the tour that day, because of oil change which was due to do. Until that day, I did not know about bad air at the other company, but I certainly will be careful to check before I send people, so will Osa Divers. Only one other guest long time ago complained about bad air and I had sent him with the hotel you ended up staying...so you never know.

I am still very sorry that everything came together and made your stay here not very pleasant.
I just hope you will have some positive memories about your stay in Drake Bay.
Sincerely, Martina
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Utrecht, The Netherlands
Level Contributor
11 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 April 2014

Martina's Place was the highlight of our trip to Costa Rica and Panama. Drake Bay is absolutely gorgeous, and Martina is the nicest and most helpful hostess you can imagine. We felt like home in her nice and clean rooms, big kitchen and terrace with hammocks and tables/chairs. Thank you so much Martina!

Silvano & Aniek

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank ADM1988
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
MartinaWegener, Owner at Martina's Place Hostel, responded to this review, 8 April 2014
Hello Aniek + Silvano, thank you so much for your great review! I am happy you liked it so much at our hostel. Bedaankt for staying here :-) Martina
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Level Contributor
34 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 March 2014

Martina is fluent in Spanish, German and English and very helpful for suggesting and booking tours with local providers if needed.

There are many options for your budget here including tent, single rooms with facilities down the hall and one larger room with a private bathroom which my friend and I shared. There is a community kitchen available and filtered water at the tap. The kitchen is busy with young people saving money.

The beds are okay, the bathroom doesn't have much ventilation and is a little smelly if the door is left open. There is a ceiling fan that is somewhat noisy.
The wifi worked just fine and overall it was an okay place to stay and enjoy the beautiful area of Osa Peninsula.

Room Tip: The rooms without the bathroom would be a better value; you pay a premium in Costa Rica for having y...
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  • Stayed March 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank dstempf
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
MartinaWegener, Owner at Martina's Place Hostel, responded to this review, 8 April 2014
Hello D. thanks for your review, I really appreciate that you took the time to write it. I totally agree with you about the smell of the bathroom, since I am still renting, I am not allowed to make any ventilation holes.... but I -hopefully- will be the owner soon and that will be the first thing on the list :-)
It was a pleasure having you and your friend here. Martina
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Level Contributor
43 reviews
28 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 16 March 2014

There's not much accommodation available around Drake Bay and certainly not many budget-friendly options out there. We enjoyed staying at Martina's Place enough to spontaneously extend our stay despite having limited time in Central America. Drake Bay is just stunning, Martina offers a home away from home, great tours and a laidback atmosphere. We checked out the family room, triple rooms and the tents, they're all great (least of all the tent probably, but you would expect that). If only it weren't so far away, I wish I could return one day.

  • Stayed March 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Kasia_mip
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
MartinaWegener, Owner at Martina's Place Hostel, responded to this review, 20 March 2014
Hello Kasia, thank you so much for your review! It was a pleasure having you here and although its far away, may be you and your friends come back one day! Dziekuje bardzo, Martina
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Paris, France
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 15 March 2014

hotel is ok, beds are fine and wifi is working well. Room a bit hot, but not a real issue. Given the quality, clearly overpriced though. Kitchen seemed dirty, fridge's last clean up has probably been done during the last century (if done).

Advices were limited, and friendliness was clearly not present - but we were not such on a sociable mood - not a real problem. :)

All activities are well organized, and usually, sub contractors are among the best - too bad Martina is taking 15$ of commisison vs the price to be paid directly to the tours arganisers (snorkeling, etc...).. when you multiply by the number of activities and the fares, it seems pretty profitable for a phone call!

Payment via Visa possible (not AMEX), but an overcharge of 7% should be planned - in other terms, bring your cash!

Stayed March 2014, travelled with friends
Helpful?
2 Thank grumpysloth
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
MartinaWegener, Owner at Martina's Place Hostel, responded to this review, 20 March 2014
Thank you for your review, Arthur.

I am happy to hear that you liked the hotel in general, the beds, WiFi and how we organized the tours for you and your friend.

I consider myself as a sociable, friendly and helpful person - if I have said (or not said!) something that made you feel upset I sincerely apologize!
I remember I hardly saw you around in my office to have the chance to chat or give you advices...

I agree with you about the old fridge and the kitchen - we clean every morning, but with 20 guests using the kitchen permanently, sometimes its hard to keep up with cleanliness. But you had your own little fridge in your family room- you are not talking about that one?

The tour prices for the hotel guests are the same, whether you book directly or via your hotel. Who pays a commission to the hotels is the tour company and its the same amount to all hotels and from all tour companies, because we all work together, no competition! I would say, its the same and legal situation with real estate or boat sales.... If you heard something about different prices, it might have been Costa Ricans who pay less entrance fees or someone who did 10 snorkel tours or someone who had already tickets for Caño Island?
I saw that you copied the "commission part" from your review of a Montezuma Hotel to my hotel, which irritates me.

For payments with credit card the bank (not me!!!) charges 7-10%- depending what bank. That is why I always inform my guests, that they should bring cash if they want to avoid those costs.

I am honestly sorry that you did not leave happy and would have liked a chance to hear about it during your stay.

Martina Wegener
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Additional Information about Martina's Place Hostel

Property: Martina's Place Hostel
Address: Agujitas | Contiguo la Iglesia Cristiana, Drake Bay 60506, Costa Rica (Formerly Pura Vida Drake Bay)
Region: Costa Rica > Province of Puntarenas > Osa Peninsula > Drake Bay
Amenities:
Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 18 B&Bs / Inns in Drake Bay
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Number of rooms: 8
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Martina's Place Hostel in Drake Bay -Clean hostel with familiar atmosphere -2 min. to beach and supermarkets -All Tours to Corcovado, Cano Island and around Drake Bay -Big fully equipped kitchen for self cooking -Free coffee & tea, oil, salt and sugar. -Small restaurant for breakfast and dinner. -Hot water showers -WiFi -Hammocks -Free parking -Free luggage store Martina's Place is located in the center of Agujitas, which is usually called Drake Bay. It is 2 minutes to the beach and around the corner are supermarkets, restaurants, bakeries and an ice-cream place. You can cook in our big kitchen and sit, chat and eat in our roofed patio. There is also a small restaurant on the properties. A guitar is waiting to be played. We can organize all tours to Corcovado Nationalpark for you, including the overnight tours, as well as tours to Cano Island for snorkeling, diving or whale & dolphin watch. You should not plan your stay too short, since there is a lot to do around Drake Bay, for example the hike to Rio Claro (with swimming at the waterfall) which you can do by yourself! We have good WiFi connection.Drake Bay is located on the borders of Corcovado Nationalpark on the Pacific side of Costa Rica. The village is small, unspoilt and authentic, surrounded by abundant nature. All throughout Drake Bay you can hear the howler monkeys or the croaking of the scarlett macaws... Attention! There is no bank or ATM in Drake Bay. Bring enough cash or pay with card (+4% banking fee). ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Martina's Place Hostel Costa Rica/Drake Bay

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