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“Almost Perfect” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Chachagua Rainforest Hotel & Hacienda

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Chachagua Rainforest Hotel & Hacienda
3.5 of 5 Hotel   |   PO Box 476-4005, Chachagua 1017, Costa Rica (Formerly Hotel Bosques de Chachagua)   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Chachagua
Certificate of Excellence 2014
ct
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
“Almost Perfect”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 1, 2013

The bungalows and grounds here are really very special! We especially loved the design of the bungalows with the living area outside of the bedrooms! Bathrooms were spacious and first class. The hammocks and rockers quickly became our favorite resting spots! Overall the bungalows were enchanting! On the room I have only one quibble and would be so easy to fix. The mattress pads are so thin that I thought there wasn't one! I could feel the tufting of the mattress---not particularly pleasant :( but so easy to fix.

The grounds are spectacular and the rubber boots and umbrellas provided by the hotel are a necessity for hiking the property---thank you!

I wish I could say something good about the food but I honestly cannot. Breakfast ham was inedible, eggs dry. Your best bet is to ask for pancakes----they will make them fresh. I am sorry to say that dinner buffet was equally poor. I am not exceptionally fussy about food and I love Latin food. They need to do some serious work in this department. You really are too remotely located to want to leave the hotel for meals. Other than food quality this was a dreamy hideaway!

Room Tip: 203 was a nice location next to the babbling brook! However very loud music from the bar marred our...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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258 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (93)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Southport, North Carolina
Top Contributor
118 reviews 118 reviews
22 hotel reviews
Reviews in 42 cities Reviews in 42 cities
69 helpful votes 69 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 31, 2012

It's the rain forest so what do you expect? The staff is very accommodating and the rooms are very unique: rain shower heads, windows that open ALL the way, double entry doors, and very comfortable beds. To reach the hotel you must travel 2 KM from the main highway down a very rough road. It's also a long but beautiful walk from the reception area if your vehicle cannot take it through the stream separating the reception from rooms and bar/restaurant. The pool is inviting but you're in a rain forest! Saw a worker in the organic garden adjacent to the dining room -- he was spreading fertilizer in time release form and then covering it with dirt. Hmmm. Food in the dining room is very good and the produce is grown on site -- best fried fish (tilapia?) I've had in a long time as it was very lightly breaded and fried to a greasless perfection. Flan was also delightful. Coffee preparation is uniquely Coasta Rican-- the drip method uses a cloth tube resembling a sock in which coffee is placed and boiling water is poured over. The kitchen and prep area are open so you can watch the ladies at work.

Room Tip: If you get a room in the 200 building, you are within range of the WiFi. If you are in sectons 300...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with friends
    • 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Canada
Top Contributor
203 reviews 203 reviews
53 hotel reviews
Reviews in 67 cities Reviews in 67 cities
168 helpful votes 168 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 24, 2012

This was our second visit to this resort (our first was 15 years ago). And while little has changed in the way of wildlife and super friendly staff, so much has changed in terms of its respect of the environment and the local community.

But first let's start with the basics. This is a very comfortable resort with lovely bungalows made from local tropical exotic woods, large beds, an open-air shower and a large covered porch. The rooms have also been renovated recently and a new restaurant and kitchen have been built. The food was very good and the menu was varied and relatively inexpensive for Costa Rica. Staff were polite, friendly and professional. Please keep in mind that this is a Spanish-speaking country and be patient with staff if their English isn't what you're used to at home. Better still, make an effort to learn a few words in Spanish.

Second, this is a great place for bird watching and for learning about the "jungle" and its plants and inhabitants. We saw many new species of birds on our guided hike with the resident naturalist who speaks very good English and knows all about the rainforest and the many creatures and plants that inhabit it. He is super friendly and always available to help identify a bird or a flower. He is so keen on sharing his knowledge and love of the environment.

In addition, the new owners have put a great deal of effort into making this resort eco-friendly in many ways. They grow most of their own fruits and vegetables and raise their own pigs and chickens. And it's all organic farming.
The new swimming pool uses no chemicals; the water is fresh from the mountain streams and in filtered for purity.
A new methane gas system using waste from the pigs produces all the gas needed for cooking. Soon they will add a larger faciltiy to generate most of the electricity for the hotel. They have even introduced this inexpensive system for producing gas and protecting the environment to the local community.

They are also working with the community to educate locals on the benefits of farming on a smaller scale that is less destructive to the fragile rainforest environment and on the benefits of tourism if the environment is preserved.
To back this up, the hotel employs mostly local residents to support the local economy.

HIkes around the large former farm property with the resident naturalist are educational and enjoyable. Umbrellas and rubber boots are provided.

Although it is probably best to have your own car in order to enjoy the nearby thermal baths and Arenal volcano, an airport pickup can be arranged by the hotel. At $140, however, it is probably cheaper to rent your own car and you'll have more flexibilty to enjoy the local sites. The trip from the airport in San Jose takes about 2 hours. Allow extra time to get lost and to stop at sites along the way. And don't worry about the rough road into the hotel. Just drive slowly and take your time. It's not that bad.

This is a great place to relax and enjoy nature for couples or families.

Room Tip: The bungalows near the stream are most private and the soothing sounds of the running water are rela...
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  • Stayed December 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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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gilbert, Arizona
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 18, 2012 via mobile

The Chachaqua Rainforest Hotel has the perfect balance of adventure amid nice amenities. My husband and I came here to celebrate our 25th Anniversary. We loved being right in the midst of the rainforest. (Downside was being a bit out of the way and a treacherous 2 mile rocky road to get in and out of the hotel). However, that didn't keep us from all the adventure. There is plenty to do in the nearby Arenal Volcano area. I recommend renting a car so you can come and go at your leisure.

If coming to Costa Rica I definitely recommend staying at this hotel at least 3 nights. We stayed 5 nights and didn't want to leave. You can book tours from here and even go on a guided night hike with Christian (the hotel's resident Biologist) which I highly recommend.
The service is excellent and the food is good too.

If you are looking for a unique adventure give the Chachaqua Hotel a try. We will never forget our stay here.

  • Stayed November 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
natguide, Director de Relaciones con Clientes at Chachagua Rainforest Hotel & Hacienda, responded to this review, December 20, 2012
Thank you very much!
We are looking forward your next visit, with arms wide open!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York, New York, United States
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 4, 2012

I don't even know where to begin with my review of Chachagua Rainforest Hotel. It was the most incredible vacation experience I have ever had. My boyfriend and I arrived just before 5PM on Saturday after finding the hotel quite easily with our GPS, it brought us right there when we discovered the right selection, wish I could remember for you all! I think it was something like Chachagua Hotel 1071T or something to that extent. We drove up the infamous dirt road, and got a wave hello from everyone in the neighborhood on our bumpy ride. Upon pulling into the resort we were stunned, before the gates we saw the horses roaming around looking like they were in total paradise. We pulled up and checked in, and asked about a room upgrade, which has been suggested. He gave us the keys to some different rooms and let us take a little tour on our own!! As a real estate agent in the city it was so fun to play agent to my boyfriend and convince him to open up the budget! We spent our first night in our original rainforest room, it was an end unit so it was great, but with 7 nights there we wanted to change it up a little. We spent 2 nights in the Jacuzzi bungalow which was a blast. We were right on the edge of the resort and had 2 toucans outside our window every morning. The Jacuzzi does take a little patience to fill with hot water, but we had nothing but time to relax and fill it slowly! The porch and hammock is so worth it on those rainy nights with a book and a bottle of wine. The other nights we took a regular bungalow as someone had booked the Jacuzzi one we were staying in, and moved to the other end of the resort near the restaurant and creek. We had a wonderful time finishing our trip there. I feel like the porch is almost mandatory! When you want to enjoy the torrential rain, which was daily for us, there is no better place than from the comfy couch or hammock. The rooms were very spacious, and the rain shower head in the bathroom was amazing, and you can look right out into the jungle from the shower! The beds were comfy and the rooms stayed cool with just the ceiling fan at night. We absolutely loved the food and opted to eat there almost every night, the typical with tilapia was our favorite meal of the trip! All the staff were more then helpful and kind, and the waiters and bartenders were also wonderful. We also met Christian who gave us some great advice on pacific coast beaches, and also invited us on a photography trip he was taking on the property. This was probably one of the most amazing experiences we had, he took us through the stream with the water above our waist! It was a blast and the water was gorgeous. He shared with us his true passion for the rainforest and his goals of preserving it, as well as teaching others to preserve. We did drive out to Guanacaste for a night, and went to Playa Hermosa, it was nice to have a little sun, but we honestly couldn't wait to get back to the rain in Chachagua. I think we got about 20 minutes total by the pool, but the water was crisp and clean! We honestly couldn't be more pleased with our trip and loved the independence we experienced there. There are no phones in the room, and the wifi can be a little spotty when the rain picks up, so you really experience being in the middle of the jungle with only the sounds of the creek and wildlife. We did get to see the sloth, always exotic birds, and some lizards. We've never been more sad to leave a trip, and hope to get back. Don't be nervous about the drive from the airport, I spent months panicking about it, the driving is half the fun of Costa Rica in my opinion. It took us a little over 3 hours in the afternoon to get there, and to the airport early in the morning it was a breeze at about 2-2.5 hours. We started driving around in the evenings after a couple of days getting used to the roads, but its much better to drive by day. Those huge tour buses will go up the little roads and one way bridges around the country too! Scary! Experiencing Costa Rica in the off season with all the rain was so fun, we were the only ones at the La Fortuna Waterfall for an hour in the morning. Christian said there are lines to get in there and you have to take turns in March. We did a fair share of activities, but a fair share of relaxing too. The resort was very quiet, because of the season I'm guessing, so we got up early and had breakfast, went back and hung out on the porch and then a few activities before it got dark around 5 and we would head back. We were never bored, and I know a lot of people have these extreme itineraries, but we wanted to absorb the tranquility of the surroundings. The waterfall is a must, the hot springs were great, we went to Ecotermales and it was very nice. We did the evening trip which is from 5-9, I would suggest waiting til about 6 to get there, you wont do the full 4 hours, and if there is a tour there they will be wrapping up by then and you can enjoy a little more privacy. Hanging bridges were a blast, and a great way to see some wildlife. We did some other tours too that I'll review on there forums. I hope everyone who visits really appreciates what Chachagua has to offer! I know not wearing make up and not blow drying my hair for a solid week was a total delight for me!

Room Tip: Upgrade to a bungalow at least for a couple nights if you can! Find Christian!
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  • Stayed November 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Schenectady, New York
Top Contributor
141 reviews 141 reviews
30 hotel reviews
Reviews in 61 cities Reviews in 61 cities
84 helpful votes 84 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 3, 2012

I cannot express how unique and enjoyable my two-night stay here was. The rooms are gorgeous independent cabins with porches (complete with hammock and comfortable chairs), a big bedroom with garnishes of local foliage decorating each feature, and an amazing bathroom with an open shower area separated from the natural environment around you only by a screen from the waist up, a big circular shower head making you feel like you are under a waterfall outdoors. You have to up able to walk up and down stairs to get around the property, as the rooms are strung out (the better for each inhabitant to feel like he or she is alone in this Eden), and you have to cross a road to get o the restaurant, and go over a foot bridge (a lovely stream below) to reach the reception lodge. I thrilled at every chanceIi had to walk somewhere, as the grounds are so beautiful! Everything except the rooms is open air, with a roof keeping the rain off you but everything else well integrated with nature. There's a free Internet terminal at reception, and the restaurant offers good food. But the reason to be here is the amazing variety of birds you see here. It is a major birding destination.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with friends
    • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 2, 2012

First, let me be clear. You will see birds at Chachagua Rainforest Hotel. Full frontal. Yellow, red, blue, mottled green and yellow, big bill, waddling, darting like missiles, hovering, diving. Hey, it's Costa Rica.

Still, even if you can see birds everywhere, and even if you don't really need a private balcony facing terrific birding locations, some of us like to know as much as we can about the view options. A room's important, especially for its covered porch where we can sink into the hammock with our binoculars, or settle into a leather rocking chair. And depending on its view, we can add to the life list without straying much from the porch.

So here's some information on the situation and views from each of the bungalows and nine hotel rooms.

First the hotel rooms, 301 - 502.. The cheapest accommodation option, these rooms each have one big picture window and air conditioning and are a bit smaller than the bungalows. Also, you don't have a private balcony. There are three buildings on a hill above the restaurant, each with four, three and two rooms respectively which can be interconnected for families. The buildings have a covered porch running the length with a bench for each unit. You can set up your tripod here and just sit and wait although you share this space with the neighbours.

301-304 are situated so that your view is directly into a grove of palm shrubs. If you're lucky, you might see a small, venomous viper disguised as one of its leaves.

401, 402, 403 have a good open view down the hill but overlook a parking lot as well. You still have a lot of open space to observe birds flitting about the fruit trees.

501, 502 have a big tree directly in front that may be helpful in attracting birds at close range. There is also a good long view of the huge trees against the sky on the far edge of the property and therefore good for a telephoto lens on a tripod set up on the porch.

Now the bungalows: These are generally the same but some will have two double beds and other a single queen or king bed. Two of them however 114 and 112 have a jacuzzi and are more luxurious and priced accordingly.

There are four bungalows (201-204) grouped in an L-shape off a side path from the restaurant. 204 and 203 face the woods and you have a strong rushing water sound all the time from the river. If you like the white noise, these are for you. Regarding birding, since you're close to the woods here, it's a bit dark, and less opportunity for fly-bys. The upside is that they are away from other bungalows and quiet.

Note however that 204 is directly next to the restaurant. Most times the music is a soft blend of new age and fusion guitar but a few times it perks up.

201 is my favourite bungalow. The view is a long one down the side of the hill to the stream. You can sit there all day watching birds.

There are three bungalows on the side of the hill that abut the main walking path to the Lobby and therefore will be more active: 101, 102, 103. Bungalow 103 has the benefit of a good view down the hill but it's busy here.

105 has an excellent open view down the hill.

The luxury bungalow 114 is the best for view and privacy. It's on the far edge of the bungalows and it has both a short and long view, big sky, and full view of the far away ridge. Set your telescope lens here.

115 the long view is blocked by some big trees however the resident guide tells us that there is a good sized green basilisky lizard (Jesus Christ Lizard) that lives in these trees. 112 has a good long view.

109, 111 have lovely views down the hill to the river. In February-March, a huge yellow poui tree is in full flower and this tree is next to bungalow 109. The bird activity is frantic.

107 is dark since it faces a strand of shady trees. However you could luck out still because there's a wooden railing running this part of the walkway and birds enjoy hanging out there when it's quiet.

104, 106, 108, 110, 112 all look at the back of other bungalows although there's lots of small tree planting to attract birds for the short view.

116 is the worst situation as its in the middle of a cluster of bungalows.

Having said all of the above, and identified the various view aspects of the accommodation, it really doesn't matter. You'll see lots of birds on the property, everywhere. It's delightful.

  • 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Chachagua Rainforest Hotel & Hacienda

Address: PO Box 476-4005, Chachagua 1017, Costa Rica (Formerly Hotel Bosques de Chachagua)
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Alajuela > Chachagua
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Chachagua
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Chachagua Rainforest Hotel & Hacienda 3.5*
Number of rooms: 28
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A place to surpass your expectations of a positive interaction with the rain forest, pampered by the friendliest local staff and with fantastic organic food production highlighted with extraordinary cuisine. Rest and relax or experience all you want. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Chachagua Rainforest Hotel And Hacienda

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