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“Great place for some R & R!”
Review of Monte Azul

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Monte Azul
Reviewed 18 August 2012

I visited Monte Azul in July 2012 for 6 nights. I've been to many places in the world and I can't say there's been any place similar to Monte Azul. Carlos and Randy are great hosts. The grounds are beautiful and the casita is very comfortable. I don't eat meat and they created meals for me that were very well thought out and always interesting. I decided to try my hand at fishing and Adrian got me a fishing rod and some worms. Now that's 5 star service! I caught 2 fish and they prepared the fish for me. I also travelled alone and found no problems with finding a balance between relaxation and interesting activities to fill my 7 days. You have to try the open air light aircraft tour!

  • Stayed: July 2012, travelled solo
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Thank rush99
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
CarlosRojasMonteAzul, Owner at Monte Azul, responded to this reviewResponded 20 August 2012

Dear rush99,

We're glad you enjoyed your stay at Monte Azul! It was great to have you here for that week; people are still talking about the big fishes you caught, well done!

After hearing about all the interesting and exotic places you've been in the world, we especially appreciate your taking note of the unique concept Monte Azul offers. We look forward to seeing you again!

Cheers,

Carlos

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53 - 59 of 138 reviews

Reviewed 15 August 2012

We stayed for three day at Monte Azul in March 2012.

If you are going to be in the vicinity of San Isidro and want a really special experience, Monte Azul delivers. There is nothing but 5 star reviews on Trip Advisor, which is not an accident: it is the result of a wonderfully well-planned and perfectly executed mini-resort that is designed to take advantage in every way of its beautiful setting on the road up to Chirripo National Park. Randy and Carlos are unfailingly friendly, mellow, helpful and charming - the perfect hosts. Like many other reviewers, we instantly felt like we were visiting favourite relatives who were pulling out all the stops to make our stay memorable. All of the staff are all wonderful, friendly and helpful - particularly Adrian, the general manager. From the moment you arrive, the service is always attentive and understated, and never obsequious. Time slows down at Monte Azul - that's how it should be on vacation.

The rooms: just magical. The winding path to our suite, the secluded patio and gardens, the comfortable furniture, the tiny but functional kitchen, the original art on the walls, the river chuckling away in the background: it all just worked and the overall effect was to create a powerful sense of calm and well-being. This is prime reading and napping territory.

The restaurant was equally amazing. Every meal was superb, and Randy's home-made breads, crackers and cheese never failed to impress. The open-air, sumptuous setting is really something to see - it's incredibly romantic. One morning we spent about two hours over our coffee, watching an entertaining performance by a succession of birds with showy plumage, mink eating the bananas put out each morning for the wildlife, and territorial spider monkeys (2 with tiny, tiny babies on their backs!) chasing away the mink. Better than Cirque du Soleil!

The reason we ended up at Monte Azul in the first place was that I wanted to hike Mount Chirripo, the highest peak in Costa Rica. If you are a keen hiker or trail runner, I can highly recommend this hike. You can do it in two days (about 40km round trip) and stay at a rustic but surprisingly huge lodge at about 11,000 feet near the summit (12,522 feet). I tried to go up and down in one day, but was stopped just a few hundred feet short of the summit by severe altitude sickness, so I had to turn around and didn't quite make it... but the trail itself is just superb and presents a great excuse to visit the region and sneak in a stay at Monte Azul.

Monte Azul was one of the most memorable places my wife and I have ever stayed. It's not a cheap stay, but take it from all of the reviewers on this page: it is worth every penny and then some. If you are normally a budget traveller like we are, sometimes you've just got to splurge, and this is one of the places where you come away with zero buyer's remorse! Bravo Randy, Carlos, and the whole Monte Azul family (that includes the spider monkeys!)

  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank Vergroovy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
CarlosRojasMonteAzul, Owner at Monte Azul, responded to this reviewResponded 16 August 2012

Dear Vergroovy,

We are humbled by your wonderful review and thank you for expressing your experience with such inspiring words!

Our policy is to treat each and every guest as a VIP and I am glad to know that your experience confirmed that is the case. We appreciate your selecting Monte Azul for your visit to Costa Rica and hope we have the pleasure of seeing you here again!

Saludos!

Carlos

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Reviewed 17 July 2012

Staying in Monte Azul is like havng the opportunity to experience paradaise. Everything from the magnificent suite, the magic sound of the river and the singing of the birds, to the wonderful gourmet dinners, makes you feel as if you were dreaming. It is the perfect place to relax and disconnect from the everyday noise and stress. We found ourselves feeling as if we were in the middle of nowhere, yet enjoying more than 5 star, personalised service, and lacking nothing. We were only disappointed by one thing, we only went for two nights! We left feeling like we only had given ourselves time to enjoy a small percentage of the wonders offered by Monte Azul. Therefore, needeless to say, we will be back!

  • Stayed: July 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank BellaLeonaCR
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
CarlosRojasMonteAzul, Owner at Monte Azul, responded to this reviewResponded 19 July 2012

Dear BellaLeonaCR,
Thank you for such beautiful words about our little slice of heaven!
With angels as clients, we also feel like we have a little bit of heaven here.
We loved having you both here and look forward to seeing you again soon!
Carlos

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Reviewed 7 July 2012

As we drove across a small bridge crossing the cascading and tumbling Chirripo river through the gates of Monte Azul it was an instant love affair. The raw jungle complete with an impressive area of rock face sweeps down on one side to the meet the open bar and restaurant which is shrouded by the lush tropical planting that the owners, Carlos and Randy, have loving created using local plants.
Immediately we received a warm personal welcome and sat routed to the spot admiring the surroundings and incredulous of the huge variety of plants. To our amazement our luck was really in and, as if orchestrated, the local troop of white faced monkeys appeared and gave us a cabaret playing in the trees opposite.
We stayed in Cassita Verde. It has a magical, winding entrance over a bamboo bridge which takes you across a babbling brook busy musically winding its way down to the powerful river which is just at the end of the garden.
The garden is really gorgeous and is filled with fascinating, lush plants and the odd basking lizard. From here you can walk along the private tracks for less than two minutes and get down onto the banks of the magnificent river and with it huge rocks and determined water. A further ten/ fifteen minutes along these tracks (which almost immediately take you into amazing areas of jungle) and you get to a pretty waterfall which is completely private to the hotel.
Carlos and Randy and all their staff made us feel like part of the family. They were there when we needed something and we enjoyed their company greatly but otherwise we felt completely private.
This hotel is special in another way though. The owners are dedicated to ensuring that the jungle the hotel and the local community support one another. The site is 100 acres, some of which used to be cut back for dairy farming, and this is now being allowed to return to its natural state save for some sympathetic access so that it can be enjoyed and appreciated from the tracks which go between and around the trees and rocks. The staff are all local and appear to be very involved in the hotel and the hotel owners are very involved in, and supportive of, the local community. It is a place to do as much or as little as you like. We particularly enjoyed visiting a local farm and watching the cheese being made and on our other outings the local guides provided by Monte Azul were really pleasant and fun to be with.
If you think you might be interested I booked my holiday directly with them which gave me a great chance to get a feeling for the place. If you want a private holiday and really want to relax in a different environment then this is a lovely place to do it!

Room Tip: Cassita Verde was particularly lovely!!
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  • Stayed: June 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank libbyCanterbury
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Management response:Responded 8 July 2012

Dear libbyCanterbury,
I'm glad you enjoyed your six nights at Monte Azul! As your host during your first visit to Costa Rica, we enjoyed your and S's enthusiasm and joy. Thanks to you we have added a new activity, ultralight airplane rides, to our roster of fun an unusual activities!
We look forward to seeing you again in the not too distant future.
Carlos

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Reviewed 5 July 2012

We stayed at Monte Azul for 4 nights in January, and this was by far the most memorable vacation experience I've ever had. The Chirripo region is stunningly beautiful. The hotel design is so inviting I never wanted to leave (and wish we had stayed for the other 4 nights we were in Costa Rica rather than in Uvita). We stayed in Casita Verde on the river and fell asleep each night to the faint sounds of rushing water - we were overlooking Rio Chirripo and had a private garden. There is beautiful original artwork hanging in the rooms and throughout the property. We took a soap-making class with Randy and had so much fun and brought home tons of soap. The food at Cafe Azul was insanely good. I look forward to it constantly (and still do) - for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Its all organic, homegrown, local .... I hear they've added a bread-making class since we went... I must return! The property is meant to be explored and we went all over and really learned about the sustainability initiatives Monte Azul strives for and how much they give back to their local community. I highly recommend the coffee plantation tour and learned a lot about the struggles and alliance initiatives for local farmers. On the tour they served us an amazing typical lunch with some of their delicious shade-grown coffee. The service at Monte is impeccable, you really are part of the family while you're there. I could go on and on .. basically, please go here - it is soooo worth it and will be the benchmark for my travels to come. Thank to Carlos, Randy, Adrian, Roger and everyone else! Look forward to returning soon. :) -Jon

  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Jon B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Management response:Responded 7 July 2012

Hi Jon B,
It was a pleasure having you here! We appreciate your kind words about the place, the people and the service. Your complete satisfaction iin every possible aspect of your stay is our aim. We tend to get people who have travelled extensively and are looking for something different, so when you say such wonderful words about Monte Azul, it makes us feel like we're headed in the right direction. Thank you! Please send our regards to N., we hope to see you again in the near future.
Carlos

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Reviewed 14 June 2012

Monte Azul is a magical spot, situated at 4000 feet up Chirripo Mountain, Costa Rica’s tallest. The elevation makes the climate much more temperate than the humid Pacific Coast. It’s an easy 3-hour drive from the airport in San Jose to this beautiful 125-acre preserve. Carlos and Randy are the owners, and they have a staff of wonderful and attentive locals taking care of you. Four beautiful casitas are situated with their own private yard, lovely deck, gallery-quality art (which you can buy by the way), a small kitchen and a very well-appointed room.

Start your stay with a guided tour of the preserve to show you the trails, the waterfall and all of the great spots in the preserve, including their greenhouse, the goats and chickens. There are two species of monkeys living on the preserve, one very close to the dining facility.

There are a number of classes you can take. We took the soapmaking class and got to take home several of the cucumber lemon soaps that we made. We attended a cheesemaking class at a nearby farm, and it was a wonderful way to not only learn about how cheese is made, but also about the cultural lifestyle of the community. There’s a fishing pond nearby where you can catch your lunch, and they’ll cook it for you. Spa services are available to you as well.

Breakfast and dinner are included during your stay, and you can request lunch. The breakfast starts with their own reserve-grown coffee which is some of the best I’ve ever had. Adrian, their manager, tells us that they dry the beans with the skins on which adds considerably more flavor to the coffee. We took home several pounds to give away, but now I find myself savoring every drop. Each morning, breakfast is unique and delicious, served with local fresh fruit.

In April, when we went, your schedule will be consistent because of the weather. Start with breakfast, and then make your plans for hiking, a zip line on the Pacific Coast - an hour or so drive away, or perhaps a visit to the San Isidro del General farmer’s market - the hub of this beautiful agricultural region. Regardless, make sure you’re back to your casita by 2pm when the torrential rain begins and lasts for 4 hours. We had the most wonderful time sitting out on our deck and watching the rain pass and reading. At 6pm, the rain subsides, and it’s time to head to the beautiful dining facility for dinner.

Dinner includes four courses, and their chefs are house-trained. First, however, I suggest an artisanal cocktail made from the country’s own Guaro. Each of the seven meals we had were absolutely delicious and unique. Randy or Carlos are sure to deliver Randy’s daily and diverse baked bread.

It’s great talking with Carlos, Randy and the staff about the region and culture. I was intensely studying Spanish for three months prior to my traveling to Costa Rica, and the staff was just wonderful helping me speak their language. I’m hoping to complete my studies and head back for a week of intense Spanish to put me over the top. Don’t worry if you don’t speak Spanish. All of the staff are fluent English speakers.

If you want to get away to a magical, relaxing, educational and diverse place, Monte Azul is the place for you. I couldn’t give it a higher recommendation.

Room Tip: All of the casitas are beautiful with private gardens. We stayed in the Casita Verde where we enjoy...
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  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Donna R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
CarlosRojasMonteAzul, Owner at Monte Azul, responded to this reviewResponded 19 June 2012

Dear Donna R,
What a joy it was to have you both here!
I'm glad you enjoyed the week-long package (plus the couple of nights you added)!
We miss seeigng you here and look forward to welcoming you back for your Spanish immersion or for your holiday vacation.
Gracias, además, por tu excelente crítica de Monte Azul! Estamos muy agradecidos y esperamos tenerle acá por de nuevo y muy pronto!
Saludos,
Carlos

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Reviewed 2 June 2012

My wife and I spent only 48 hours at Monte Azul - we'll be back for more - but it didn't even take eight hours to feel right at home in this small lodge. The owners (Randy and Carlos) and staff members treat each other and the guests like family.

This hotel is in perfect harmony with its location, from the sound of the Rio Chirripó as it flowed behind the casita, our hike to the waterfall on the property, seeing the Capuchin monkeys as they came down from the trees to steal bananas by the cafe, to our trip to the farmers' market in San Isidro with one of the chefs, or the trip to the nearby dairy farm and workshop of Quesos Suizos Canaán. We couldn't help but feel that we had been let in on one of the best secrets in Costa Rica.

The more typical eco-tourist options are all available as well, including a short and scenic trip to one of the best beach area in Costa Rica. We've done all that before so didn't need to try to squeeze that in. On the other hand, the property is so beautiful and relaxing that we didn't really want to leave.

The food was amazing. Everything prepared with pride and creativity from the two chefs, using the freshest local ingredients (including goat cheese made on-site). We had a couple of vegetarian dishes that made me feel like I could live as a vegetarian if these guys would always cook for me. It is hard to imagine how the resort and Cafe Blue staff could have been nicer.

This was great! We'll be back!

  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank AlumniDog84
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
CarlosRojasMonteAzul, Owner at Monte Azul, responded to this reviewResponded 2 June 2012

Dear AlumniDog84,
Thank you so much! Since you know Costa Rica like the back of your hand, we especially appreciate your comments and recommendations. It was a pleasure meeting you and sharing this very special place, the Chirripó River valley.
I hope we see you sooner than later!
Saludos,
Carlos

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Additional Information about Monte Azul

Address: Chimirol de Rivas, San Isidro del General, San Isidro del General District 40601, Costa Rica
Region: Costa Rica > Province of San Jose > Perez Zeledon > San Isidro del General District > San Isidro del General
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 15 B&Bs / Inns in San Isidro del General
Price Range: £137 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 4
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Monte Azul Boutique Hotel is located on a private reserve in the Talamanca region of Costa Rica near the country’s highest point, Chirripó National Park. Equipped with four luxury riverside "casitas" and amenities and activities tailored to any type of traveler, Monte Azul provides an authentic experience for those looking to explore the nature and culture that Costa Rica is renowned for. In its short time, Monte Azul has achieved recognition from organizations like Condé Nast and TripAdvisor for elevating the standard for sustainability and style. About Monte Azul Center for Art and Design: The Monte Azul Center for Art and Design was established in 2005 with the vision of creating a haven where artists could come and express their creative nature while being inspired by the extraordinary beauty and peace of the Costa Rica highlands. The facility hosts select pieces from early and mid-career artists who produce some of the best work in Costa Rica and abroad. In addition to being a unique destination for art lovers and collectors, Monte Azul also offers travelers the opportunity to learn artistic skills like etching, monotyping and more. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Monte Azul Hotel San Isidro De El General
Monte Azul Costa Rica/San Isidro Del General

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