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“Nice folks, but you'd better like roaches.”
Review of Vista Verde Lodge

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Vista Verde Lodge
Calgary, Canada
Level 3 Contributor
16 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Nice folks, but you'd better like roaches.”
Reviewed 27 July 2008

OK - good news first. The Costa Rican couple who run the hotel are extremely pleasant and obliging and do their best with what they've got. The view is as advertized - spectacular.
However, there are some significant problems with this hotel! I can confirm other reviews that the walls are very thin and in fact the buildings are quite old and of entirely wood construction, giving lots of dark crevices which, unfortunately, provide lovely hidey-holes for insect life - we found several very large cockroaches in both our rooms. I'm not implying the place is dirty - this is the tropics where bugs are a fact of life and if I'd been staying in a hostel or a backcountry cabin I wouldn't have commented - but this is supposed to be a superior hotel. I can also confirm that the rooms are very dark and gloomy and it's very difficult to read in the evening. The food is OK, but very limited - we were offered a choice of pasta or a casado the night we arrived.

The other problem is the remoteness. We liked the idea of privacy and getting away from the crowd, but the road is extremely rough and a drive that is pleasant enough in the day is an absolute nightmare in the dark when it's raining and the clouds are right down giving limited visibility, which is just about a given in the rainy season. There are lots of great evening activities available in Santa Elena - night hikes, the ranarium, a nice range of restaurants - but then we were faced with the desperate drive back (we really didn't want to eat at the lodge more than once and it was a bit grim spending an evening out there). The view is only a compensation in the dry season - we were there in the wet season and only had one clear night with a view of Arenal.

Leaving the view aside, this is a very basic hotel and very overpriced. It needs some significant investment to bring the accomodations up to an acceptable level.

  • Liked — Gorgeous view, lovely staff
  • Disliked — Roaches, poor access, poor maintainance, zero facilities.
  • Stayed July 2008, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank BookladyCalgary
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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78 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (10)
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English first
Tallahassee
Level 3 Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 September 2007

This is the perfect place to stay if you want to get away from it all! It is a 30 min. drive from downtown Santa Elena. Don't let this hold you back, though, because EVERYTHING is a long drive on the gravel mountain roads of Costa Rica. You could stay closer to downtown, and have no view except the road and other hotels, or you can stay here in the midst of nature all around. This is one of the only hotels in Santa Elena with a view of the Volcan Arenal.

Ok, so yes, the sheets are a little damp if you go there during the rainy season. But it is a CLOUD FOREST, people. This means you are literally in the clouds, which are damp. The place doesn't have air conditioning (which would draw out the moisture) because it is nice and cool even in the middle of summer. Bring your jeans and a jacket.

The staff are amables, bonitos (nice & wonderful)! I think the problem that some people may have faced is that the staff are not 100% fluent in English. They are proficient and can tell you what you need to know. I am proficient (not fluent) in Spanish, so together, we could understand each other very well and became friends. (Also, it breaks the ice when you're willing to try to speak their language.) Spanish helps a lot but is not necessary to stay here and communicate effectively with the staff. The are very helpful.

And no, the chimneys do not work, unfortunately. Part of the problem is that the wood is so wet it doesn't really burn, it smokes. Again, you will be staying in a cloud, what can you expect, really?

Do the horseback ride to the Lake!!! It was fabulous!!! But the horseman doesn't know any English (I taught him "right" and "left"). But he will get you where you need to go. The horses are the best trained horses I have ever seen. He has them on voice command.

No electricity at night, but they have candles for you. Very romantic! And honestly, if you want to go on a nature adventure like us, it is not a problem. The sun is only up from 5:30 AM- 6:00 PM, so if you want to make the most of your visit, get up at 6, go to sleep at 10, so having no power after 10 is not a big deal at all. If you want to party, this is not the place for you. If you want to relax, there is nothing like it.

  • Liked — Eco-tourism (lots of options), beautiful nature, peace & quiet
  • Disliked — Lack of working chimney, bedding was kind of iffy (but even my hoity-toity mom was ok)
  • Stayed June 2007, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
2 Thank philotheosMegan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Seattle, Washington
Level 4 Contributor
47 reviews
33 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 January 2007

Overpriced accommodations. Rooms were dark and damp, thin exterior and interior walls.

Stayed here towards the end of our two week vacation and had hoped to spend a little more and pamper ourselves... this was not the place to do that. I'm not sure how they justify charging over $90 a night here. BTW they only accept cash and if pressed will take travelers checks though they did give us a hard time about some of our signatures not matching exactly—despite watching me sign several of them.

  • Liked — Good food
  • Disliked — Overpriced, very damp rooms and bedding, issolated, horrible access road
  • Stayed January 2007, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank ARSeattle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Chicago suburb
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 July 2006

This was a lovely place, but a little off the beaten path. You need an SUV type vehicle to negotiate the incredibly bumpy steep roads. We saw the volcano briefly when we arrived but after that the weather didn't co-operate. The mists set in, then very heavy rain.

The rooms were quite nice with big windows; the hosts were very gracious; and the food was quite good and reasonable. Yes, the lights are dim but they use a waterfall for their power, after all. It just adds atmosphere to the place. They also have a very friendly Golden Retriever who adopted us for our stay.

If you have a sturdy vehicle and time to wait for the weather to clear, this is a very unique place.

Stayed May 2006
Helpful?
3 Thank Jane G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Matthews, North Carolina
Level 6 Contributor
102 reviews
28 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 78 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 May 2006

Prepare to be secluded in a rain forest. No phone, no TV, no grocery store.
The staff was friendly. Our hostess walked outside to meet us as we drove up. Her English was as bad as my Spanish. However, we did get through the check-in process and made dinner reservations (it's the only place around for dinner unless you want to drive 30 minutes, one way, over a bumpy, unpaved road into the village of Santa Elena).
Our room had recently been varnished, so the strong odor was still present. We stayed in one of the suites. It was clean with private shower. From the room we could see Lake Arenal and the Arenal Volcano when the clouds moved away.
The Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve is just a couple of miles away. We went and stayed all day. Didn't get to Monteverde Cloud Forest. I understand that you see the same things at Santa Elena that there is at Monteverde, only less crowded at Santa Elena.
The hotel has their own hiking trail on the property.
Electricity at the lodge is provided by a diesel powered generator in the dry season (hydroelectric in wet season from their own waterfall). The power is shut off a 10pm and on again at 630am. Lighting is very dim, hard to read brochures or books.
Careful with the hot water. Get the water warm, get wet, turn off the water and soap-up. Then, turn water on and rinse, quickly. Hot water runs out quickly.
Dinner - I don't think we got our $12 worth. Expensive for gallo-pinto with chicken or shrimp. The second night we made sandwiches from our food stock for dinner.
The complimentary breakfast was plentiful and good. Bowl of granola with milk, eggs to order, gallo-pinto, fresh fruit of bananas, pineapple, papaya, and mango, juice and coffee.
I'm glad we stayed for the experience and views.

Helpful?
6 Thank trvlg4ever
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Warren, Vermont
Level 5 Contributor
26 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 April 2006

I hate to bash, especailly considering that we own a B&B but...this place would be great if they charged half the price. At about $100/night for the 3 of us I consider the accomodations to be really poor. As everyone stated the views are truely amazing, we were so psyched upon driving up and seeing Arenal from the cloud forest, this feeling quickly vanished when we were shown to our "Deluxe Suite". Not only was it incredibly dingy with black mold on the ceiling, no lights, paper thin curtains, sheets & towels but the beds which were typical Costa Rician platform style, didn't have a platform just a few slats!!! Ther are no hooks to hang things, no chairs outside our room (I had to take some from another area) and only one night stand. The bathroom rug was just gross and we didn't have hot water until I asked someone. He then went behind the cabin & did something that should have been done prior to our arrival. The walls are paper thin, we heard people 2 doors down like they were next to us, the floors are warped & dirty. The breakfast was ok, good fruit but if you want water, you pay for it! Dinner was also ok but overpriced by Costa Rica standards. The kicker is that although upon reserving the room they say they take credit cards (but prefer cash) they have signs in you room saying that they unfortunatly don't accept credit cards at this time. We complained and were told we could in fact pay w/credit cards at the local supermarket. When we went to pay they tried to put a 10% service fee on top! Again we complained & the nice guy at the super market called them and they waived the fee.
The trail to the waterfall is not for the average tourist, it is very steep and of very poor construction. I build trails in Vermont and have to say that they broke every rule for sustainable trail building. I doubt they will last more then 2 years. They view which is spectacular is due to a huge clear cut in front of the cabins..not so eco friendly.

Again if we paid $40/night I would have no complaints. There are plenty of nice places in Santa Elena & Monte Verde.

  • Stayed April 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Luke I
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed 27 March 2006

My husband and I spent three nights there in February 2006 (too long I think). It was very damp - the sheets and blankets on the beds felt damp and our clothes too after the first night. It was also quite cold and there are no heaters in the rooms. We saw the view across to Arenal on the morning of the third day - it was absolutely stunning. I wonder how often it is possible to see it though - it was too cloudy to see anything the rest of the time. Even when it is quite sunny in Santa Elena, it is very cloudy up in Monteverde. As Vista Verde Lodge is quite out of the way - part of its charm - we ended up eating there in the evenings. The food is very overpriced for what it is.

The walls are so thin that you can hear abolsutely everything from the rooms next door (crying babies during the night, families chatting/playing musical instruments, etc.)

The rooms weren't cleaned during the day - I am perfectly happy to make my own bed, but the rubbish bins in the bathrooms (containing toilet roll not flushed down the toilet) weren't emptied which was rather unhygienic.

The family running the hotel are really lovely - very friendly and helpful; but that wasn't enough to make up for the other less good things.

  • Stayed February 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Vista Verde Lodge

Property: Vista Verde Lodge
Address: 2 kms Norte de Selvatura | 1 km despues del tren, 5655-66, Costa Rica
Region: Costa Rica > Province of Puntarenas > Monteverde
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #38 of 73 Speciality Lodging in Monteverde
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Vista Verde Lodge 2.5*
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
All our rooms have stunning views of the lake and Arenal Volcano, something that if we make clear is that we are located in a cloud forest that means not always clear, we trail to a waterfall and others because the hotel has 100 acres primary forest. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Vista Verde Hotel Monteverde

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