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“Gilded Iguana”

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Gilded Iguana Hotel
Ranked #17 of 22 Hotels in Nosara
Reviewed 28 April 2013

Very nice staff and comfortable rooms. They have great food and drink. Live entertainment a couple of nights a week. Just a short walk to the beach. Friendly people in the surrounding area very helpful. Great place for surfers.

  • Stayed: April 2013, travelled with friends
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Thank Chuck M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviews (134)
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52 - 58 of 134 reviews

Reviewed 23 April 2013

I just returned from a stay at the Gilded Iguana from April 11 thru April 17th 2013. We opted for the air conditioned rooms at a rate of $80 a night plus taxes.
First if you plan on going to this area of Costa Rica it makes way more sense to fly into Liberia International Airport. We fly Delta with a layover in ATL with no problems at all. We rented a car from Dollar Rent a Car and drove to the Gilded Iguana. The drive was approx 2 hours and was really easy. The last 20 minutes of the drive the road turns to gravel/hard pack dirt.
The hotel is just as described. You check in on the side of the bar, which is a little odd but it was a quick check in with no problems. The check in guy was the bartender!!
There was a group of 4 of us and we stayed in room 7 and 8 which are the closest to the pool bar and pool! Rooms were big, approx 18 foot ceiling with wood beams, 2 queen beds, a mini fridge, end tables, surf board rack, small desk and a really nice full bathroom. There was also a ceiling fan and air conditioning wall unit which worked really well. The rooms were cleaned everyday, there was also a lanai out front with wood chairs. Also outside of the rooms there is a clothes line that runs the length of the rooms.
The Gilded Iguana is def a earth friendly hotel. They recycle everything they can, and have large bins behind the restaurant for plastics/cans/bottles/and general trash.
I have no negatives about this hotel. It's perfect for beach lovers and surfers. I think kids would get bored if they didn't want to hit the beach everyday.
This area is a "Jungle surf town", this is the reason we came. Every morning we would surf early, the beach is 200 meters from the hotel. Some days we would take the car and park in a lot directly in front of the beach.
We usually go to mega resorts that are all inclusives and the Gilded Iguana was a great break. I def will go back.
Crime isn't a problem here, and the locals all seem to be happy to see travelers. There "Summer" months are December thru end of April with little or no rain. So when we traveled it was dusty and need rain. There were monkeys in the area behind are rooms which was insane and lots of local iguana's and other reptiles.
It seems this would be a perfect Xmas vacation spot when the jungle is full from the rains!!

Best things about the hotel** Location (center of town near multiple other restaurants, 200 meters from the ocean, Nosara Surf Academy and Iquad on site)

Room Tip: Stay in the Air Conditioned rooms! Room 7 is closest to pool, then 8 and so on. Stay from Dec thru...
  • Stayed: April 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank riva9129
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 April 2013

I chose Gilded Iguana for my stay in Costa Rica because of all of the great reviews and I am so glad I did. The rooms are great, the staff is wonderful, live music, and close to the beach. Hands down the best place in Nosara

Room Tip: I had an ac room but others I spoke to who did not were fine without ac.
  • Stayed: April 2013, travelled solo
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1  Thank chellebelle75
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 March 2013

We expected more given the consistently outstanding reviews. Stayed in room 10. Room was fine but very noisy at night - maybe due to the water pump and/or large A/C unit in back. Definitely not a luxurious stay - towels were ripped and soft as sandpaper, pool was small and cloudy (although people seemed to be enjoying it just fine), food just OK. (Worth it to walk 10 minutes to Beach Dog Cafe for super-delicious food!) Location is very good. Just a few minutes walk to "town" ad to the beach, and just a few steps to the mini-market for drinks. (You will need them!) Be aware that you cannot just "catch a cab" in Nosara. We decided to try a last-minute trip to Ostional and it was difficult for the Gilded Iguana to find us a driver - we never would have found one on our own. Also that outside the rainy months is EXTREMELY dry and brown and dusty in Nosara.

Room Tip: For a quieter A/C room try 8.
  • Stayed: March 2013, travelled with family
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1  Thank S G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GildedIguanaNosara, Owner at Gilded Iguana Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 16 April 2013

Thank you for taking the time to review us, both compliments and critique help make businesses better themselves. The a/c rooms are considered by most of our guests to be the quieter rooms of the two types that we have, generally the white noise of an a/c unit is preferable to the noise of the restaurant. There is no water pump behind the rooms, I think you are referring to the part of the a/c unit that sits outside of the room, that's the compressor, the part that cools the room. Unfortunately, these units do make some noise, the newer ones are quieter, and we are replacing them one by one. Nosara is a dusty town in high season, the roads are yet to be paved and while we paid to have the molasses put down on the road in our area, the municipality does nothing for Nosara, so we are all forced to suck it up. Some people feel that Nosara's other charms outweigh the dust. The sprawling nature of our town makes transportation a challenge for some. Taxis are not in a cab rank outside hotels waiting for guests because there is not a huge demand for them (most people stay in the area and walk from place to place, or rent cars if they plan on exploring the surrounding area). Calling a taxi means going through a list of cell phone numbers, when no one is available, or it takes a long time to find someone, it's not really something we have control over.
Thank you for pointing out the state of the towels, it is coming to the end of the season and we have scheduled our next trip up to San Jose to buy more towels this week. The sandpaper smoothness you refer to is a result of line drying the towels instead of drying them in the dryer. We do this for two reasons; firstly to be more environmentally conscious, secondly, because we just bought a new dryer that runs on gas instead of electricity and we are still struggling with getting the installation right, so we are currently without a dryer at all. It is preferable to give guests towels that are dryer fluffed, but given the environmental fallout, we usually line dry and just finish them off in the dryer to fluff them up. Sorry that step was not available during your stay.
I'm also surprised to hear that you found the food to be only satisfactory, most people seem to really enjoy it, we actually get a lot of compliments from our hotel guests, other Nosara travelers, and on Trip Advisor.
The pool was built about eight years ago, when there were a lot less guests staying here. With increased popularity the pool now sees a lot more action and the demand is just too much for the pump we have. On top of the regular over use issues, back in September of 2012 we suffered a 7.6 earthquake that we believe caused a leak in the pool. A small leak means that with water loss, we also lose a lot of the chemical, and when we refill the pool daily the balance goes off. We actually spend a lot of time and money daily trying to make the pool the absolute best it can be, it's very frustrating when it doesn't work and gets cloudy, but it's even more upsetting that a single, casual comment on Trip Advisor can give someone the impression that we don't care. Thanks again, and we hope you do come back to Nosara soon, I hear the roads are being paved!

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 March 2013

I have stayed at The Gilded Iguana Hotel 3 times. On each occasion, my friends and I have thoroughly enjoyed our stay. The primary purpose of our trip is to surf. The hotel is in a great location as it is a short walk to the beach. The rooms are not luxurious but are extremely comfortable and they are very clean. The maid service is excellent. The restaurant is outstanding. Dinner each night was a treat. There are 2 specials each night in addition to the regular menu. As you would expect, the the fish is outstanding. Management is very attentive to all guests and the wait staff is terrific.

Room Tip: Request an air conditioned room.
  • Stayed: February 2013, travelled with friends
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Thank Robert C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 March 2013 via mobile

Our family stayed here for 7 nights last month and had a very pleasant, memorable stay. The rooms and grounds are simple and well-kept. The location (about two walking blocks down a dirt road to Playa Guiones) is fantastic. We felt safe and secure at all times and there's even a security guard who stays outside watching the buildings throughout the night. The pool and pool bar are refreshing in the warm afternoons.

What stands out most is the friendly staff- from Cesar at the restaurant/reception who always stopped to see how we were doing, to Zaida and the other housekeepers who our infant loved because they were so sincerely kind & friendly, to the owner/manager Matt who personally introduced himself to us early in our stay and greeted us throughout.

We didn't expect a fancy, 5-star big-box resort, which this place doesn't try to be. What we did get was a wonderful, homely atmosphere that I, my wife, and our infant son will always cherish. The positive vibes of the guests are like-mindedly friendly and relaxed. We hope to have another opportunity to return. We obviously highly recommend The Gilded Iguana.

PS. Their restaurant is fabulous and our favorite of the many we went to in Nosara (best service, some of the best food and prices overall).

  • Stayed: February 2013
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1  Thank SDnative23
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 February 2013

We've just returned from our second stay at the Gilded Iguana and we're going through withdrawal...missing our morning routine...(free) coffee by the pool, long beach walks (minutes away) with Ellie, the lovable resident black border collie who acts as the surrogate pet for anyone missing their own pup back home, then an amazing breakfast in the hotel restaurant.
Again, we have left Costa Rica with more than just full stomachs and warm memories. This time we picked up a little more Spanish from the wonderful staff who are happy to assist you in English, Spanish, a combination of both, or simply with helpful hand gestures and huge smiles. The cosy, welcoming atmosphere of the restaurant, pool area and pool bar always leads to making new friends anbd seeing old friends...staff and guests. The sign of a well-managed, successful hotel is seeing guests return again and again and being greeted and well-cared for by a happy staff and capable managers who are sensitive to the needs and concerns of their guests and also of their neighbours in the surrounding community.
We were determined this time to try more items on the menu (which had several new offerings this year), but we'll have to stay longer to sample them all. Suffice it to say, there is not one meal we tried that we would not order again. Fine dining in the middle of the jungle! Our favourite? The Friday night special...fish and chips. But don't let the name fool you. This dish of fresh sea bass should have a far more exotic name to set it apart from your garden variety cod hiding under a half-inch coating of greasy batter. Simply divine.
The Gilded Iguana has something for everyone...unless you really like those five-star all-inclusive resorts where you line up for the buffet every night and inspect the pile of plates for five minutes till you find a clean one. Been there, done that, won't do it again. The G.I. is clean, comfortable, well-maintained and is handy to plenty of activities for those who are looking for a true Costa Rican experience...zip-lining, jungle tours, horseback riding, hiking, surfing, sightseeing, even an authentic British pub ten minutes away up the mountainside.
Don't expect to sleep completely undisturbed, as you never know when the howler monkeys are going to start roaring back and forth. This is a unique and wonderful part of life in the jungle. We found that we got used to this very quickly and when you are active all day, you tend to sleep through just about anything.
It's a bumpy ride from the airport to Guiones, but the destination is well worth it. Our only consolation as we said good-bye was knowing that our room was already booked for next year. (BOOK EARLY!)

Room Tip: If you are a light sleeper or like to go to sleep early, choose a room away from the hotel restauran...
  • Stayed: February 2013, travelled with family
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Thank beachbumz07
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Gilded Iguana Hotel

Address: Playa Guiones, Nosara 5233, Costa Rica
Region: Costa Rica > Province of Guanacaste > Nosara
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#7 Family Hotel in Nosara
#7 Romantic Hotel in Nosara
#14 On the Beach Hotel in Nosara
Price Range: £37 - £74 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 12
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A landmark at the beaches of Nosara, Costa Rica, The Gilded Iguana Hotel brings casual relaxation, comfort and excellent service to the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. One of the most famous and well loved vacation destination hotels in Nosara for surfers, expats, families and adventure holidayers. **NEWS** - Gilded Iguana has been sold to new owners - but is sure to be better than ever for open Nov 2014. All reservations still valid! ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Gilded Iguana Hotel Costa Rica/Nosara

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