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Canaima Chill House
Ranked #1 of 27 Santa Teresa B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Toronto, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Perfect”
Reviewed 8 June 2011

It was a cozy boutique hotel,located at the top of the peak. Close to the beach. The staff was very friendly,and knowledgable. The rooms had a small kitchenette and IPod access. The rooms were beautiful as well. The staff helped me rent atv's and knew where to sight see. I already want to go back. The comune area was beautiful,equpped with a small pool and jaccuzzi. A wonderful break away from reality.

Room Tip: A Hidden Gem.
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Stayed May 2011, travelled solo
Helpful?
2 Thank Moni2000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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New York City, New York
1 review
Reviewed 7 June 2011

From the moment we arrived until our sad departure, we enjoyed every minute of our time at Canaima and Santa Teresa. We discovered Canaima online and booked based on all the rave reviews on trip advisor. This was our first time in Costa Rica and we were traveling with our 2 kids (age 12 and 9). We wanted to avoid big family resorts, preferring smaller boutique hotels with a design element and personal attention. Canaima did not disappoint. It is beautifully nestled into the jungle - the gardens, pool area, common deck and rooms are all beautifully decorated. We loved the fact that each of the rooms had it's own private deck with floating bed and little kitchen so we could make our own breakfasts with costa rican coffee, fresh mangos and fresh baked breads from the bakeries in town, before heading out for the day. The kids loved the fact that there were two dogs that lived at the hotel - and they made us feel homey and safe. We can't say enough about Juan Carlos and his staff - they were so friendly and helpful in every instance - they recommended some great places to eat, arranged a last minute fishing trip for us after our snorkeling excursion out of Montezuma was cancelled, and were always there to answer all our questions about local customs, the area etc. We took our first surf lesson with Juan Carlos which was such good fun - even our 12 year old daughter loved it. We had rented a 4x4 for the week we were there which was great for getting up the hill and allowed us to explore all of the area and various beaches. Would recommend, as the hill would be a hike on a daily basis. All in all Canaima was perfect for our family - gorgeous setting in the trees, intimate, beautifully decorated, chilled out vibe and absolutely lovely staff. We miss you Canaima and hope we can come back again soon.

Room Tip: Would recommend upper level room
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  • Stayed April 2011, travelled with family
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Helpful?
Thank akist45
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Chicago, Illinois
1 review
Reviewed 2 June 2011

Let me first say that not only am I disappointed with the Chill house, but I'm also disappointed with the reviews on Tripadvisor. We booked our trip based on the Very Good to Excellent reviews this place had received and we just never understood how it got this good of ratings. Now, I would have rated this a 2.5, or between Poor and Average, but that wasn't an option. My main reason for the Poor rating has to do with what we received for the price we paid (and this was during the "Green Season"!!). We wanted to do the Adventure Package which is VERY expensive. It was to include some excursions as well as dinners at local restaurants around the area. When we first arrived, they informed us that they decided not to include local dinners, but would credit our total bill instead. Although we didn't have a major issue with that it certainly impacted what we were going to do for dinner (not knowing the area) and it was unexpected. Also upon our arrival we were to schedule our excursions. After about 15 minutes of trying to figure out how to fit in each excursion (we were only doing 4), we still did not have a set itinerary and had only scheduled a zip lining tour for the next day. Now breakfasts were also included in our package, but since the taxi for the zip lining tour left at 7:30, we were going to miss the breakfast that morning. Again, they offered to credit our total bill, but it was just another inconvenience. Part of the zip lining tour included the use of ATV's from an outside vendor. The taxi dropped us off at the local vendor, but then there was more confusion with our package. The ATV vendor thought we were going to pay for the use. After we explained that Canaima was supposed to pay, he offered to contact them while we were using them to sort it out. We also weren't sure how long we were supposed to rent them for (there were several options that included 7 hours, a half day, all day, etc... we chose the 7 hour). Once that was sorted out we headed to our zip lining tour via ATV. When we got to the zip lining tour there was yet more confusion. Again, they thought we were going to pay for this, but we had to explain Canaima was to pay and it eventually got sorted out. There were 3 other 2-3 person groups that had the same zip lining tour arranged by their respective hotels... none of them had to sort out who was to pay. After the zip lining tour (and listening to the other groups talk about how they were loving their experiences at their hotels AND all were WAY cheaper than what we were going to pay), we decided to use the rest of our ATV time to check out a nearby hotel in Montezuma that one of the groups was staying at. We ended up reserving a room there and immediately headed back to Canaima and checked out.

One more major complaint I want to mention is the hill you have to walk up to get to the hotel. This was the only real complaint I could find on the Tripadvisor reviews before we booked our room and most (if not all) said this was tough to swallow at first, but all eventually got used to it and even enjoyed the exercise. Let me tell you, this is NOT a small hill you need to climb. This is a steep, uneven, and potentially dangerous (if it were raining AT ALL during your hike up) hill. We were dropped off by our shuttle bus at about 2:00pm (the heat of the day) and it was BRUTAL to walk up with our luggage (2 carry-ons a piece) - plus, half way up the hill a lady passed us and when my girlfriend asked if Canaima was to the right at the top of the hill, she said it was and that she would see us shortly to help check us in. She didn't even offer to carry one of the small bags on the way up (as she saw us struggling and sweating profusely). Now I know they can't do much about the hill, but a little warning would be nice! Only a 4 wheel drive vehicle can get up that hill and those struggle horribly as well. They really need to find a way (at least at check-in and check-out) to take you and your luggage up and down that horrible hill.

The place is beautiful. None of the rooms have air-conditioning, but I couldn't remember if I knew that going in or not, so it didn't bother me that much. It's nice to be waken up by the sounds of the Howler Monkeys, but not by all the neighbor’s roosters (they started earlier than the monkeys and lasted a couple hours longer than the monkeys). It's close to some shops and restaurants in Santa Teresa and the beach is about a 5-10 minute walk (depending how quickly you get down the hill). I was not impressed with the town of Santa Teresa after seeing Montezuma.

One major thing to note. Our 2nd day (the day we checked out), the owner came back from a 2 week trip to Europe. I wholeheartedly believe that had he been there when we checked in our experience would have been different. It's my opinion that the 2 ladies who were left in charge were more about living Pura Vida than truly catering to our vacation. At the price we paid, I expected a lot more.

  • Stayed May 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank mckonest
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
canaimachillhouse, Owner at Canaima Chill House, responded to this review, 4 June 2011
Dear clients,

Let me explain how clearly the 68 other ratings don’t lie.

Let’s start with the “Very expensive” Adventure Package. I work with all the other hotels around, and we all have the same rates. The reason we have this package is simply to put together all the activities around, and the rates are the same either you take the package or not! The only difference with some other hotels is the rates of the room and food offered.

It takes at least 15 minutes to make phone calls and organize a 4 days activities package. Sorry, our receptionists are not robots.

Regarding the confusion about the activities (ATV rental and zip line excursion), unfortunately, we depend on other companies. In both cases, the ATV and Zip Line companies knew that you were coming under the “Canaima Adventure package”. Unfortunately, miscommunication happened between THEIR employees, and that’s out of our hands. We organize those activities many times every week, and once in a while, this happens. But with the difference that the clients are normally patient and understand that this is Central America, and those things can happen.
As we want to improve our service quality and because we always take note of what the clients have to say, from now on, Canaima Chill House is starting to use a voucher system.

The Hill up to the Canaima Chill House. Never in our website and any other advertisement we mentioned that the hill was small. The hill is 400 m and it is NOT potentially dangerous. If other reviews mention “small hill” it must be because it’s not that bad.
When our clients reserve a room and ask about the road, we usually advise to rent a 4x4 or an ATV if they don’t want to walk up the hill. Why would we lie about something that is so obvious and not under our control?
About our receptionist not giving you a hand when you walked up to Canaima, we want, again, to apologize about it. I already took care about this situation with her. When I’m here, I help the clients with their luggage whenever they need it.

About the sound of nature (monkeys, roosters and dogs), we want to inform that Canaima Chill House is taking very seriously the education of the wild life. All the animals that surround Canaima Chill House (monkeys, frogs, roosters, birds…) are learning to make noise only during 9 am to 5pm. It is still a work in progress…
In the hotel, we have two trained German Sheppard. They are part of the security of the hotel, so, sometimes, they do bark. But certainly NOT for one hour.

Regarding the breakfasts and the dinners, my team definitely made a mistake and we apologize about it. We are working for improvement.


I would also like to mention that regarding our cancellation policy, you should have paid your package (room rental and activities) a week in advance, no money back. In your case, we only charged you for the nights you spent in our hotel and the activities you did. Many other hotels would have charged you the whole package.

Dear Mr. Mckhonest, every product is designed for a type of person and clearly Canaima Chill House didn’t suit you.
The 68 other reviews on trip advisor and more than 95% of our clients leave the hotel very happy. They find our hotel “very good” and in most cases “excellent”. And this is what we work for. This is what my team, my girlfriend, my dogs and I work every day for: to give the best service we can without never loosing the Pura Vida philosophy, because we are in Costa Rica. Once again, in the name of the Canaima Chill House team, I want to apologize for not making your vacation memorable. I simply suggest that next time, you try an all-inclusive resort.

PURA VIDA

Juan Carlos Lascaray
Owner and Manager of Canaima Chill House
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Chicago, IL
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 31 May 2011

Oh Canima, how you broke our hearts…

The first tip off should have been when our taxi dropped us off at the bottom of a dirt road and said “my car can’t make it up there”. It was a dirt road with a steep incline at 2pm with the hot jungle sun on our backs while we carried our fully packed carry-ons awkwardly up the hill. As we walked, a pretty blond was trudging up behind us. We asked her “Do you know where Canima is?” as she lapped us she looked back and said “Oh yes, I am going there for work. I will check you in once you arrive” and she was off with us to fend for the next 200 yards. No “Let me help you carry one of the bags!” or “I’ll get one of the ATVs and get your bags!” Nothing at all.

And so began our experience at Canima.

We had signed up for the Adventure Experience, which ended up being a Stressful Experience. The ladies at the desk were sweet and very pretty, but honestly, their heart was not in it. We wanted to pay the first night and get our schedule arranged and logistics coordinated as we wanted to have the comfort of knowing it was all taken care of and we would be whisked away from excursion to excursion with time to relax, unwind and explore in between our adventures. At $1,300 total for 2 people for 5 nights, having someone else deal with the logistics of planning your vacation is the luxury that you are paying for. We received the opposite attention to detail. We asked twice for our ATVs and zip lining experience to be confirmed in the afternoon. When we arrived back after our dinner (which we had found out would no longer be included but would be comped off the price) we had to yet again request that this be arranged. That night, after confirming our taxi to pick us up at 7:30am for zip lining and ATVs, the concierge told us that breakfast begins at 8am and “What would (we) like to eat?” What? You said not 30 seconds earlier that we would be leaving at 7:30am? Had this been the only miscommunication, we would have laughed it off. But this was just another in a series of miscommunications/dropping the ball and just overall lackadaisical approach. The next morning when we got to the ATV rental place and the zip lining tour operator, BOTH expected us to pay and we argued that in fact Canima was to pay. No other tourists had to haggle while they waited for their zip lining tour, as their hotels had made proper arrangements. We felt like we were planning our own tour and coordinating every detail, despite paying a nice price for SOMEONE ELSE TO EFFECTIVELY DO SO. Had I wanted to rent a $50 nightly pension and arrange things on a day to day basis, we would have done so.

There were so many other things that were wrong… Just a few: 1) Being told by the front desk that the bar on the beach was only 400 yards away. After 1,000 yards we asked a local and they said it was another 1,000 yards down the road. Sounds incidental, when your job is to coordinate vacations, be accurate or at least somewhat. 2) In the morning, we heard two of their dogs barking from 6am-7am. Seriously? YOU HAVE GUESTS sleeping. I know it is annoying when dogs bark, I have a dog. And when he barks, I make him be quiet out of respect for others. Let alone PAYING guests.

Now, there were great things. The hotel is beautiful and relaxing apart from the Alpine climb. You MUST rent an ATV/Quad to make this hike manageable. Or you just have to love climbing. The bamboo deck bed is blissful. The pool, hot tub and party deck seem like a great place to relax and enjoy time with friends and new friends. The rooms themselves are very nice, but please note there is no A/C.

When we checked out early, Juan Carlos (the owner), was a perfect gentleman. We told him our grievances and he seemed honestly interested in what he could do to improve his business. To be fair, he was out of town until the day we checked out and we honestly believe that the major difference between the glowing reviews and our experience was his presence. Although the pretty ladies at the desk were very pleasant, they seemed more interested in hanging out and living their own version of Pura Vida than providing excellent client service and ensuring that our visit was a relaxing and well coordinated experience. With Juan Carlos’ experience with the Ritz and other fine hotels along with his demeanor when we departed, I would imagine that with him gone the service drops off completely as he is the only one that we met at Canima who truly has the experience and heart for fantastic hotel service.

Our suggestions:
1) Offer ATV or Jeep shuttle rides a few times a day for those who don’t want to take the hike every time. Maybe 9am, 11am, 2pm and 6pm? And coordinate with arriving new guests so that you have the option to be picked up on the way up if you have a carry-on instead of a back-pack.
2) Include an ATV rental option with your “experience”.
3) Better highlight that A/C is not included. Surprises are never fun.
4) Hire people who truly love providing excellent client service and who strive to make their guests experience phenomenal.

Room Tip: Get a room on the second floor and bring earplugs!
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  • Stayed May 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank letterstomarymary
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
canaimachillhouse, Owner at Canaima Chill House, responded to this review, 2 June 2011
Dear Steve,

First of all thank you for the review you wrote. It helps us to improve every day and also know what we are doing wrong.

Secondly want to excuse because of the bad service that my team offered you.I'm really sorry that your vacation wasn't what you expected at Canaima Chill House. Definitely some thing went wrong and I'm already fixing the problem.

As you have read in the other 65 reviews, I put all my love and effort so my clients feel like home and enjoy 200% their vacations.

I took note of all the advises you gave me.

Hope the rest of your stay in Costa Rica was amazing.

Pura Vida!!!!!!!!!!

Juan Carlos Lascaray
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SAINTE MAXIME
1 review
Reviewed 23 May 2011

We decided to stay at Canaima Chill House after having seen all the good reviews about the place and the kindness and help of the owner Juan Carlos.
We booked for 11 nights, 2 Rooms ( 3 children teenagers ) and everything went perfect !!
As it was our first time in Malpais, we kept asking Juan Carlos about almost everything from restaurants to excursions and so and so...A big smile and the right infos later, we were on our way discovering the area...
Also, the 2 ladies at the reception were also fantastic !!
We started surfing with a class with Juan Carlos. Super !! It helped us a lot for the rest of our stay.
He also organised quads, Canopy tours, rental car, surf board rental, even fishing !!!
The Rooms are clean, spacious and very classy. The pool is very refreshing. the whole hotel is a pleasure for the eyes.
As you can see we were very happy with our choice. We enjoyed our stay very much and strongly recommend it !!!!

Room Tip: Try the suites upstairs
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  • Stayed April 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank PAPYMASTER
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York City, New York
1 review
Reviewed 20 May 2011

Cannot say enough good things about Canaima and all the reviews your read here are true. My girlfriend and I stayed there for A MONTH (wish it were longer) and we organized a group of 20 to join us at various times. They accommodated every step along the way. Airport pickups, taxis, activities, restaurant activities, parties, surfing.... For the sanity of Juan Carlos and his staff, if you were to do the same - BE ORGANIZED. Staying here is like being put up by a good friend. Not recommended for loud talkers or late partiers because the rooms are open and breezy and the common area is shared (jacuzzi! pool!) and has unofficial quiet hours after 9pm, you do have the utmost privacy and respect from all staff and fellow guests all seem to fall in line with the "chill" vibe as well, you can't help it! if you're there when it rains or during wet season, the rain and the jungle animal sounds are AWESOME - like being in a rainforest with a beach down the hill (!)- The rooms have bug nets but bring bug spray.

Room Tip: 2nd floor far corner room (monkeys/ocean)
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  • Stayed January 2011, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank offbook
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Maryland
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 May 2011

My boyfriend and I visited Santa Teresa along with two friends in April 2011. We had a little trouble finding the hotel once we were in Santa Teresa but we were able to call the hotel (at 9pm) and request more specific directions. The owner exceeded our expectations by accommodating our every need. He and his staff were able to recommend activities, beaches, restaurants, and helped with travel accommodations.

The rooms are decorated beautifully and comfortably. The hotel is very small and therefore private. The swinging bed on each deck is perfect for afternoon naps. The kitchen comes equipped with just about everything you need to prepare daily meals. The bathroom is nice and the shower is just impeccable.

We awoke each day with the sounds of the local wild life (birds, iguanas, monkeys), took a dip in the newly added pool, and spent time relaxing on the deck. From the deck we often saw squirrels, monkeys, iguanas, hummingbirds, butterflies, and chickens. We would walk down to the beach (Santa Teresa is a large beach that is rarely crowded), grab lunch in town and then return to the hotel, always greeted by name by the staff. They really take the time to get to know their guests. The power went out a few times during the week (in the evening) and the staff would walk around with candles and flashlights making sure every guest was comfortable. The power returned within 30 minutes. The water also went out at one point and the owner promptly offered 2L of bottled water for each room and ensured us that he would have the problem fixed at 7am the next day.

I absolutely recommend this hotel to anyone traveling to Santa Teresa. You will not regret your choice if you are looking for a quiet, comfortable, and exotic stay. The "rustic boutique" feel is both luxurious and relaxing.

  • Stayed April 2011, travelled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank MarylandMoBay
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Canaima Chill House

Property: Canaima Chill House
Address: 400 metros al este del Hostal Brunelas, hacia el monte | Playa Santa Teresa, Santa Teresa 60111, Costa Rica
Region: Costa Rica > Province of Puntarenas > Santa Teresa
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 27 B&Bs / Inns in Santa Teresa
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Canaima Chill House 2.5*
Number of rooms: 8
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Our "Eco Chic hotel" is a jungle oasis, only 500 meters away from one of the most beautiful beaches of Costa Rica.In Canaima Chill House, luxury is experienced in harmony with nature and simple sensations such as, relaxing on a bamboo hanging bed, listening to the amazing sounds of the jungle or chilling in our "pillow swimming pool".Sensations which are hard to explain, sensations which are simple to feel.- 4 Suites (for 2 people)- 4 suites-loft (up to 4 people)- Swimming Pool- Chill Deck- Outdoor Jacuzzi- WI-FI- Personalized services. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Canaima Chill House Hotel Santa Teresa
Canaima Chill House Costa Rica/Santa Teresa

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