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“Summer Camp on Steroids”
4 of 5 bubbles Review of Buena Vista Lodge

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Buena Vista Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Kailua-Kona, Hawaii
Level Contributor
275 reviews
272 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 656 helpful votes
“Summer Camp on Steroids”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 24 March 2006

My wife and I stayed here for two nights in February 2006 while we were on a Costa Rica adventure tour. The setting is stunning, with views of the Rincon de la Vieja mountains in one direction and the Guanecaste lowlands and Pacific Ocean in the other. The property is huge, and a good chunk of it is a working ranch, while another sizeable part is transitional tropical forest. Besides accommodations, the Lodge offers all kinds of activities – horseback riding, ziplining through forest canopy, a suspended canopy walkway, hot springs spa in the middle of the rainforest, water slide through the forest, serpentarium. If you want a few days of fun in a beautiful setting, this is a good choice. The emphasis here is adventure, not luxury.

Rooms are in duplex cabins, spread around a small lake with picturesque views of the coastline. Ours was # 15, right on the lake front. The room was large, with a very large bathroom. The sleeping area was furnished with a dresser, night stand, occasional chair, and it had an open closet with a nice built-in luggage rack with room for two suitcases. The bathroom had a fair amount of counter space, with an open shower stall that has a 6-ft. privacy wall. There are no amenities other than soap. The room was also very dark, due to the small number of light sources and the use of energy saver neon bulbs. In short, these are rustic accommodations – comfortable yet simple.

The front desk staff was friendly and efficient, as were the wranglers, the zipline guides, and the staff at the rainforest spa.

One of the activities we enjoyed the most was the canopy zipline. We had never done this and had some trepidation about it, but the guides were excellent and gave a very thorough safety briefing. If you follow their instructions it is very safe . In short, we disagree with another reviewer and would highly recommend this to anyone. We did another zipline later in our trip and it wasn’t nearly as much fun.
Meals were served in a cafeteria near the cabins. This was a large open room with 8-person tables, with all the ambiance of a school lunchroom. The food was uninteresting and not very tasty – certainly the biggest weakness of the whole operation.

Overall we like the Buena Vista Lodge and recommend it as a comfortable base for exploring this region of Costa Rica.

  • Stayed February 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
13 Thank NaMakani
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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421 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (34)
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English first
A TripAdvisor Member
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 17 November 2005

We just returned from Costa Rica just a few days ago and stayed at the lodge for two nights. It was a nice, clean lodge, with decent food. The food they serve is more "mess hall" style, where there is no menu and you are served whatever they decide to prepare. The food was good, though, so I can't complain, although I wish we had some choice!

We only did the canopy tour while we were there and it was very fun. The guides were great and spoke great English. We even saw a howler monkey hanging in the trees right next to us! We also got massages there (I don't recommend them).

As all the reviews say, the sunset at Bar Mirdor is EXCELLENT! We made a point to be there each night.

We did not have a chance to go to ths hotsprings, waterfalls, or horseback ride, but from talking to other guests, they seemed to be happy. One warning... the trip to the waterfalls can only be done by hiking or by horseback. Roundtrip, it takes anywhere from 3.5 to 4.5 hours.

The rooms were clean and little rustic (no air and lukewarm showers at best), but you can't expect much out in the Jungle! The jungle was pretty cool at night, so the lack of air condition didn't bother us at all.

One thing to beware is that the road to get up to the Lodge was very rocky and bumpy. It took us a good hour and a half to go 19K. It was still worth the trip!

  • Stayed November 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
10 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Salt Lake City Utah
Level Contributor
16 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 August 2005

We stayed at the Buena Vista Lodge for two nights with our tour group of 16 individuals. I may have a little insight into the varied descriptions of the canopy zipline tour. Every member of our group participated in the canopy tour - the one that starts just up the hill from the water slide and ends somewhat near the Herpetarium. Our group was quite varied, ranging in age from 11 to around 80 in all sizes and shapes. One person opted for a "taxi"; the rest of us did it on our own. We listened closely to the instructions, and we all successfully controlled our speed and had a great time! However, later when we were soaking in the hot springs, we saw someone zip by overhead on a different canopy tour. We heard that this one was not safe, and that some people reach speeds too high to successfully stop themselves.

The grounds are beautiful here and the view from the Sunset Bar is stunning! The hot springs are very enjoyable and we truly enjoyed the horseback ride. The horses seemed very well trained and were appropriately responsive to riders of different levels of experience. The food was excellent and the cabins were comfortable. We found that the the faucet water pressure was good but once the water was diverted to the showerhead it slowed to barely a trickle. Temporarily removing the shower head did the trick nicely!

Stayed July 2005
Helpful?
11 Thank RunnerWoman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Mitchell, South Dakota
Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 June 2005

In regard to the last post about the Buena Vista Lodge canopy tour. My family of two fifty yr. olds (both my husband and I are overweight), a 21 yr. old female and an 18 yr. old male found the zip line on May 27th very safe and fun. The guides informed us in advance how to break with our strong arm, where to place our hands, there are signs in English and they told us when to break, so we had no close calls. The two guides or zip line attendants were very attentive - put their hand out in the "stop signal" if we weren't slowing soon enough as we headed for the platform, spoke good English and friendly.

Stayed May 2005
Helpful?
7 Thank Dyer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
A TripAdvisor Member
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 May 2005

In all fairness, I cannot say much about this hotel itself. My husband and I stopped here one day during a visit to Costa Rica. The drive to the lodge was quite difficult in our little rented car. The lodge is very rustic and was not at all "close" to the Rincon del la Vieja National Park as we had expected. So, we went for the package deal. The canopy tour was first. We had already done 1 canopy at Tabacon Resort. (It was fantastic and very safe.) The canopy lines at Buena Vista were very different and I must warn you, not at all safe, in my opinion. There is no breaking system here like at Tabacon. I was having trouble slowing down with the gloves they give you. Although there were several guides for the 15 or 20 people in our group, no one seemed concerned that I was having trouble stopping. The only back-up system here are the trees. On the third platform/jump, I was unable to stop myself and slammed full force into a tree with my hip. (probably doing 20km or more). I had to be "taxied down" the rest of the canopy with a guide, transported to Liberia Hospital via ambulance after a 40 minute wait (what a trip that was!) and spent the remainder of the day in the ER. My limited spanish did nothing to make this ordeal any easier. Luckily there was no fracture, but I am brusied from knee to hip and can barely walk from the pain. I want to warn people to check the safety of these tours before participating. Someone could be seriously hurt.

  • Stayed May 2005
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
13 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
27 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 112 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 January 2005

We stumbled across this place in a guidebook, and decided to give it a shot after deciding that $200/night was too much for the Hotel Bouquin down the road. We got 3 cabins with 1 queen and 1 twin bed in each, for $38/night. Quite a deal! However, all the new cabins were booked, so we were in the older cabins. Its a deal for a reason. The older cabins have electric hot showers and the cabins are not sealed well. We had a pair of small lizards living in our room, but we were ok with that. One couple with us kept finding very large spiders in their cabin. However, the next morning they switched to another cabin with no spiders.

Note - we only saw the new cabins from the outside, but they appeared to be much better sealed and had propane tanks attached (i.e. hot water heaters).

The view from the sunset bar (El Mirador) is not to be missed! But watch the bartender and don't be afraid to question his prices. He seems to charge what he thinks you can afford. A beer is $2 US (which he takes), but if you pay in colones and aren't local - I think he takes advantage of the delay in calculating the exchange rate in your head and over charges. I heard one lady question his price, and he dropped it in half.

The breakfast buffet is ok. Scrambled eggs, boiled eggs, beans and rice, coffee, toast etc. Lunch buffet consisted of traditional Costa Rican lunch - fried cheese & beans and rice. Plus there was a fried tilapia, a garbanzo bean salad, a regular salad, and a couple other things. We didn't have dinner there either night (went to Bouaquin one night, ate some leftover groceries the other). Be aware that the only choices for food are their buffets and the Bouaquin at the bottom of the hill.

Their resort package is a good deal - $65 (1/2005) for a guided horseback ride to a large waterfall and the hot springs (2 hot, 1 warm, 2 cold pool plus a steam room and a volcanic mud bath), the canopy tour, lunch, and the waterslide. The canopy tour and spa trip are $30 each otherwise. Also, the 2-hour night hike ($15) is well worth it. We saw monkeys, anteaters, and a lot of other animals.

Bring your bug spray! They are vicious here and the gift shop wants $10 for a can of off! But the costa rican gifts are well priced.

The resort is a popular stop on tour bus trips, and we were one of only a few guests not on a tour. The tours book the good rooms, so if you want a cabin that probably doesn't have too many bugs, book early. But if you want a great value and electric showers don't bother you - $38 can't be beat.

The front desk staff speaks good English, but the guides and other staff aren't quite as good. Some are, some don't speak any. Gave me a chance to brush up on my Spanish.

My biggest complaint is that the tour books and the website advertise that its "adjacent" to Ricon de la Viaja park. It is. Literally. However, if you want to visit the park and hike the trail to the crater, its a 90 minute drive to the range station. And the biting mosquitos were a big much for me, but thats just me.

  • Stayed January 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
29 Thank rubytue
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Buena Vista Lodge

Property: Buena Vista Lodge
Address: | De Liberia 12 km hasta la entrada a Cañas Dulces, 5 km hasta el pueblo y 18 km hasta el Albergue, Rincon de La Vieja, Costa Rica
Region: Costa Rica > Province of Guanacaste > Rincon de La Vieja
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Spa Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 7 Hotels in Rincon de La Vieja
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Hotel Class:3 star — Buena Vista Lodge 3*
Number of rooms: 76
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Buena Vista is a cattle raising Hacienda that changed part of its activity to dedicate itself to ecologic tourism in a rustic environment conserving the idiosyncrasy and culture of the zone. It is located 31 km. from Liberia and it borders with the Rincon de la Vieja National Park. It has an area of approximately 2,000 acres, 1,400 of which are intended to regenerate the forest and where adventure activities take place, always protecting the environment. The remaining 600 acres are dedicated to cattle rising and the ranch produces the majority of the products that the Lodge consumes. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Buena Vista Hotel Rincon De La Vieja
Buena Vista Lodge Costa Rica/Rincon De La Vieja

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