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“Beautiful B & B” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Villa Decary

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Villa Decary
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2 Km East of Gymnasium/Nuevo Arenal de Tilaran, Nuevo Arenal 5717, Costa Rica   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 9 Nuevo Arenal B&B and Inns
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Beautiful B & B”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 1, 2013 via mobile

We planned on spending one night but ended up spending four nights. Dan is a great host and Miguel and Elkin made us feel at home. The Inn is well kept with clean rooms, dry towels and bed linens, in a very humid environment. The view is overlooking Lake Arenal in a rain forest setting. Gingerbread Restaurant is within walking distance and well worth the trip. The food was original, large portions for sharing, well prepared, reasonably priced and the service was excellent.

One of the highlights of our stay was a day with Elkin at his family finca (farm). The finca is about a 30 minute drive from Villa Decary. The roads were good, but the last 500 yards were difficult so we parked the car and walked to the farm house. After meeting Elkin's parents we spent the next two hours walking though the pastures passing horses, cows and pigs. We crossed the fast flowing creek many times and eventually ended up in a Virgin rainforest. Elkin is an expert in plants and birds. We saw many orchids and other unique plants. We eventually swam in the river under a waterfall. Elkin is knowledgable in the medicinal properties of the plants and told us how his family had used them for generations for their medicine. His Mother was one of 18 children. She was 76 and his Father was 81. Her mother and father are still alive and have been married for 72 years. They now live in town. The finca has only had a telephone for 4 months and they have only had a car for a few years. As a child Elkin and the family would ride horses to town to visit grandma. It was a two hour trip each way with 5 kids on one horse and his mother and 3 kids on the other horse. They were totally self sufficient for years and only went to town for salt or the visit grandma. Elkins mother prepared us a delightful lunch of chicken, beans and rice, homemade tortillas, fried eggs, salsa, tamales, green plantain ceviche, fresh fruit juice, coffee and fresh milk. Everything is cooked on a wood stove as it has been done for years. As I write this I am yearning to return.

Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
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219 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (43)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
New York
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 29, 2012

This is a long overdue missive as our vacation was last June 7- 16th but when we reminisce about our trip, one of the highlights was our 1 nt stay at Villa Decary. Before we even arrived, Suzy reached out to us via email to warn that there had been a storm the week prior and the road was temporarily washed out. It was very thoughtful and considerate of her to make us aware of the situation. This turned into a bit of correspondence as it was our first trip to Costa Rica and I found Suzy to be very willing and able to take the time to email answers to all my quirky questions. I felt like I knew her even before I got there.

The night we stayed happened to be a quiet week and we loved the solitude of having the place all to ourselves. As it was around 4p ish, we had some time before dinner to rest and explore the beautiful grounds. We took the short path to the brook as we didn't want to go far but I understood from the innkeepers that there were more adventurous trails one could take. It was enough for us just to admire the towering palm trees on the property and the truly exotic one-of-a-kind fauna that surrounded us, not to mention the incredible bird species. For any bird lovers or botanists out there - this is THE place to stay.

What attracted us to choose Villa Decary over other nearby inns was the down-to-Earth simplicity. We loved the spare furnishings to our room and the authentic local artwork on the walls. It allowed us to focus on the stunning view of the lake and all the birds flying back and forth on the tree branches just feet from our porch.

By the same token, the innkeepers are Americans who invested in top quality window screens so we were able to fall asleep that night with the windows open to the breeze without worrying about critters and mosquitos getting in. What's more, other details, like the bathroom towels which were plush and soft and the delicious breakfast combined to make us feel completely comfortable.

It's important to mention that what makes this a must stay in our view, is the neighboring restaurant a couple of yards up the road. We had a truly memorable meal there. Make sure to make a reservation even when it's the off season; not because they are busy necessarily but because the food is prepared specifically for you so if they know you are coming in advance, you will have an outstanding dinner instead of what might be just an ordinary one.

On our next trip to Costa Rica, we will definitely be back for a two night stay. I don't think it's a week-long type of place, at least for us, but for those who have plenty of vacation time or just want to really explore this region it could be. In that case, I'd choose one of the separate cottage units w/ the kitchenettes.

I can't think of anything to critique. Breakfast was truly superb as we had hoped and we loved chatting with our hosts while we ate. The only thing I would venture to mention is that as NYers, I suppose we could of used with a bit more time to eat quietly on our own. I think if there had been other guests around our innkeepers would have been been busy attending to them and that would have been a nice balance of interaction during the meal. As an extrovert, I didn't even notice but my husband who is in the restaurant business felt that it was a bit too much while he was trying to eat.

Bottomline Villa DeCary is exceptional and won't disappoint.

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Torrington, Connecticut
Top Contributor
52 reviews 52 reviews
37 hotel reviews
Reviews in 37 cities Reviews in 37 cities
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 27, 2012

We stayed for two nights on our way through the area in December. This is a beautiful, peaceful property with spectacular views over Lake Arenal. The rooms are very inviting, bright and nicely decorated with big windows and a deck overlooking the lake. Service was excellent - Miguel and Elkin were very kind and welcoming and spoke excellent English. Dan, the owner who was on site while we were there, was very helpful with recommendations of things to do, places to visit and great source of information about the area. The breakfasts were amazing, the best we had in Costa Rica. The property is immaculate and well-kept, with beautiful plants and flowers and a variety of birds. As other reviewers have mentioned, the location is somewhat isolated so having your own transportation is really necessary, but this also gives you a quiet country atmosphere that gives the place its character and makes for a relaxing and luxurious stay.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 25, 2012 via mobile

We just finished up a wonderful 7 day stay at Villa Decary. The property is stunning with a fantastic view of Lake Arenal. Every morning, breakfast was served between 7 and 9 and we had something different just about every day. Each breakfast started with a gorgeously presented plate of fresh fruit, coffee or tea, and a fresh fruit juice smoothie. After that came the main breakfast. Some dishes were typical American breakfast food, like pancakes, but with fresh, local twists, lika pineapple, mango, and ginger spread for the pancakes. Other days, we had more authentic Tico breakfast foods. I'm pretty sure all of the breakfasts were gluten free.

Our breakfasts were prepared in house by Miguel and Elkin. Both men are incredibly sweet and helpful. Miguel is a bird expert and is happy to point out various species (like the toucans we saw pretty much every morning at breakfast) or answer any questions you may have. Elkin is more of a plant expert and is also eager to help. Both men speak English very well, but will encourage you to practice any Spanish you might know.

Elkin's organic family farm is about an hour's drive into the mountains and, depending on availability, you can arrange to have him take you out to the farm for a tour, including the virgin rainforest and streams. The visit concludes with an authentic meal prepared by Elkin's mother who is possibly the sweetest, most generous woman you will ever meet. She welcomed us with hugs and kisses as if we were old friends. She doesn't speak any English, but loves to talk and is delighted if you can speak at least a little Spanish with her. If you don't speak any Spanish, Elkin is happy to translate.

The property advertises great birding, and they aren't kidding. We saw so many beautiful types of birds right from our patio. We also heard howler monkeys, but, while we were told they are occasionally on the property, we didn't see any there.

We stayed in the Casita Zambio which was quite nice. It included 2 nicely comfortable beds, a kitchenette with stove, refrigerator, and microwave, and a private bathroom with a spacious shower which includes a view of the beautiful lake. There was also a communal refrigerator with honor bar (beer, water, and soda) with reasonable prices.

The place is owned and operated by Dan and Suzy. Suzy was out of the country while we were there, so we dealt directly with Dan during our visit. We've read some negative reviews about Dan, but we found him very charming and very eager to recommend attractions and make reservations.

The final member of the crew at Villa Decary is Olivia. She is the sweetest and most friendly, yet laid-back dog you'll ever meet. She always escorted us to the Gingebread restaurant which was an extremely convenient 5 minute walk away.

We strongly recommend Villa Decary. I'm sure you will have a fantastic stay. Pura vida!

  • Stayed December 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 24, 2012 via mobile

Lovely B&B with beautiful grounds and great views of Lake Arenal. Breakfasts were delicious (with good vegetarian options). The staff were helpful and friendly. It is quite close to the road, which brings some traffic noise, but this decreases significantly at night. Lots of great birds. Yoga class on site twice a week. LGBT welcoming.

Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
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Bratislava, Slovakia
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 14, 2012

I stayed in the hotel for 2 nights. Its a very very nice hotel with large rooms and amazing view on the lake Arenal. The Owner and the Staff are very friendly and helpfull. The breakfast was a really excellent with touch of the local kitchen. You need a car, because all Attractions are far from the hotel.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
krabi
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 7, 2012 via mobile

Dan and his staff keep this place spotless, cleaning the rooms every day even if they''re unoccupied! The result: no bugs or critters, and no musty smell in the rooms, dry and fresh! The breakfast is the best hotel breakfast you can find and the views out over the lake are breathtaking. If you want to stay away firm the La Fortuna crowds but still close to a bunch of Arenal area activities, I'd recommend Decary.

  • Stayed November 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Villa Decary

Address: 2 Km East of Gymnasium/Nuevo Arenal de Tilaran, Nuevo Arenal 5717, Costa Rica
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Alajuela > Nuevo Arenal
Amenities:
Beverage Selection Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 9 B&Bs / Inns in Nuevo Arenal
Number of rooms: 8
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Lake Arenal's most beautiful hotel. Botanical garden and rain forest setting, spectacular views of Lake Arenal, the Tilaran Mountains and the rain forest. All accommodations have private entry, private hot water bathroom, private deck, orthopedic mattresses. Rates include scrumptious breakfasts, beautifully served. Casitas with full kitchens available. Monkeys, 140 species of birds. Peaceful, private, serene. Close to many activities: kayaking, fishing, hot springs, volcano, birding, canopy tours, windsurfing, horseback riding, nature walks and more. Great eateries nearby. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Villa Decary Hotel Nuevo Arenal
Villa Decary Costa Rica/Nuevo Arenal

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