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“Response to "Be very cautious" review below” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Bahari Beach Bungalows

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Bahari Beach Bungalows
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Matapalo de Aquirre, Playa Matapalo, Costa Rica   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Playa Matapalo
Winter Park, Colorado
Level Contributor
7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Response to "Be very cautious" review below”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 25, 2013

Don't let this one review sway you about this property, which is now known as Rafiki Beach Camp: see the excellent reviews of Rafiki Beach Camp or Rafiki Safari Lodge for yourself. Loki and Mauren are the best hosts we had on our trip last year. I would go back to both Rafiki properties in a second!

Stayed June 2012, traveled as a couple
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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58 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    25
    14
    13
    1
    5
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (5)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Pennsylvania
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed December 30, 2012

Reservations

The reservation process while seemingly common for Costa Rica was especially painful at Bahari Beach Bungalows. I arranged the dates with Johan rather simply via email. The next step was to fax payment information. This is where the difficulty began. The wrong fax number was provided on the reservation form sent to me. After repeated tries to fax the info, Johan told me the number printed on the form was incorrect, and provided a new number. So off to the fax machine again. Again after repeated attempts, I was told that the new number given me was incorrect. Finally, a third fax number and success. With the reservation, a 50% deposit was supposed to have been charged to my credit card; however, Johan “accidentally” took the full charge. Johan notified me of this and told me that it was difficult to credit a credit card and asked for my bank account info to make the refund. I was not interested in providing my bank account info, and told Johan to not worry about the overcharge – I would later come to regret not asking for my credit card to be refunded no matter how difficult that would be.

Arrival

Arrived in the Matapalo Beach area around 2:30, so decided to go into Dominical to scope out some restaurants. Saw a few restaurants that we thought we would like to try during our 3 night stay at Bahari Beach Bungalows. Returned to the Bungalows at about 3:30.

We were welcomed by Alex and then Loki, and were shown to our tent. The tent is probably about 10 feet wide by 16 feet long, with 5 foot sidewalls and an 8-9 foot ridge height. The whole tent is on a raised platform and has a nicely tiled floor. There is a fly over the whole tent which provides some shade to the tent as well as allowing for some extra ventilation using roof screens in the tent roof. The bathroom is at the back of the tent in an attached structure. The bathroom is also nicely tiled, and provides a shower, wash basin in a large vanity, and a toilet. There was also a small refrigerator here.

Some things to be aware of: Because of using a septic system for sewage, they ask that you do not flush toilet paper. There is a waste basket by the toilet for soiled TP. Also the “king size” bed in the tent is just two twin beds pushed together with a noticeable break between the mattresses.

We were able to pull our car very near the tent to unload and move in, and “permanent” parking is only 75 feet away. We got settled in by about 4:30 and had put on our swim suits to go take a walk on what appeared to be a very nice beach area; however, it had just started to rain, so we decided to postpone that walk. I lay down to take a nap, while my spouse updated our vacation journal. ….as the rain continued, very hard at times, over the next 3 hours, we noticed that we were experiencing some leaks. In the bathroom we had a leak from the roof; while in the bedroom area, we had water seeping onto the floor of the tent from were the sidewall met the floor.

Hmmm, here we are in the rainforest and our tent has leaks. It is doubtful that this is a one time occurrence – we will probably experience the same thing the next night and the next. We decided this wasn’t a good situation and decided to bug out. We got packed up as quickly as possible and let Alex know that we were leaving due to the fact that our tent was leaking. I will be asking for a refund – we’ll see where we get with that.

Some additional notes:
• The beach did look very nice. I am disappointed that we didn’t get to explore it. For us, the long, relatively uninhabited beach was one of the main attractions to Bahari Beach Bungalows.
• Johan had provided the long/lat coordinates. They are: 9.322532,-83.966897. If you use these with Google maps, you will be able to see the roads needed to arrive at Bahari. There is no sign for Bahari on 34, so you need to know where the turn off is. Watch for signs indicating Matapalo. Johan also provided some written directions. With some “interpretation”, they are technically correct, but if I would have relied on them, as written, I don’t know if I would have found it.
• Though I don’t have details, I was told that the resort is changing hands. It seems that it had a relationship with Rafiki Safari Lodge, but now will be under the same ownership. Supposedly the name will be changing.
• Johan is no longer employed by Bahari.
• While $75 is an inexpensive night’s stay, in retrospect, I think this price is high for Bahari. On my same Costa Rica trip, we stayed at the Marriott Los Suenos (this is also where we retreated to after leaving Bahari) for $145 a night. Here we had A/C, a true king size bed, TV, telephone, access to Internet, on-site restaurants and bars, a huge pool, etc. Just made $75/ night seem overpriced, especially when you see rooms advertised in the Matapalo/Domincal area in the $30 range.



Conclusion

When we returned from our vacation, I contacted Bahari Beach Bungalows asking for a refund due to the unacceptable conditions. I was told that after I left that they checked the tent and that it was “absolutely dry”, but they would credit me for a future stay. Well, after implying that I was lying about the leaking tent, they should feel comfortable that I have no intention of returning.

I am disappointed that I had such a bad experience at Bahari Beach Bungalows, because its location appears to be on a very nice stretch of beach, though I never got to confirm that. While I could never recommend this “hotel”, due to their very questionable business practices, I wouldn’t try to deter someone who was intent on staying there. My advice would be to very cautious in dealing with them and to have a backup plan for other lodging in case of difficulties.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Winter Park, Colorado
Level Contributor
7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 3, 2012

My wife and I stayed here only one night after kayaking in the ocean, but we had a great stay. Johann and Alex were the only employees there and both are excellent and very accommodating hosts. Johann also cooked us a great dinner and breakfast, and both were tasty and not overpriced. And the beach! It's tranquil because you can have it all to your self! And listening to the surf and a thunder storm at night in a tent, it can't be beat!

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 2, 2012

Matapalo beach was the best I have ever been to, beyond beautiful, very clean with no one around, Loki and Johon were wonderful. After you stay here then stay at rafiki which is the same theme but in the mountains.

  • Stayed July 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.
Ludwigshafen, Germany
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 31, 2012

We spent five days at the Bahari Beach in late November 2011. The big Safari tents with brick-built bathrooms that Ludwig and Andrea offer are very comfortable and clean. The location is the perfect place to relax – only four tents in a beautiful garden, a private pool, and numerous kilometers of Paradise like empty Pacific beach.
The drawback is the fact that it is difficult to find restaurants nearby and since we did not have a car we had dinner at the Bahari Beach every evening (for lunch we bought bread and fruits in Matapalo, which is roughly 40 min walk). They have a menu from which they offer two meals to choose every day. They name these meals to you and the prices are not shown as long as you not explicitly ask for them. For good reason: Ludwig is a good cook, but the food unfortunately is too expensive. We finally ended up with a $ 950 bill for the five days with the room only being $ 75 per night. Maybe, one should recommend to Andrea and Ludwig to add a simple and cheap Gallo Pinto on the menu.
In summary, the place is very beautiful and the Safari tents are worth the money. But you should come by car for having the chance to get dinner somewhere else.

  • Stayed November 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Miami Beach, Florida
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 13, 2012

Bahari Beach Bungalows are a great place to stay if you enjoy the outdoors and being close to nature.  The tents we stayed in had comfortable beds and the tents were large enough to fit 2 adults comfortably.  The tents are yards from the beach and ocean, so it is lovely to be able to hear the waves rolling is as you sleep. The bathrooms in the tent are a bit dirty and are woefully outdated.  If you are particular about your restroom, this is not the spot for you.

Our host and one of the two men who live on the property, Johan, was average. He was responsible for the preparation of our meals and is likely there to help make the trip a good experience.  We found Johan to be unhelpful when it came to planning our adventures and slightly unapproachable.  We found ourselves tiring of Johan by the end of a 4-day stay.
The other man who lives on site is Alex. He was kind, friendly and always providing suggestions for how we might enjoy our stay. If you decide to go to Bahari, find Alex!

Buyer beware!  The meals at Bahari are VERY expensive for what you are provided.   A breakfast meal consists of granola, coffee, juice, fruit and cold toast. This meal is $7 per person plus the gratuity the tack on.  If you can avoid it, eat somewhere else!
We also had a lunch and dinner meal at Bahari. Neither meal was great or worth the price.  Again, if you can drive elsewhere to eat it is worth it.  

Room Tip: There are four tents available, all equally as good as the next!
See more room tips
  • Stayed June 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kissimmee, Florida
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 4, 2012

LOVED Bahari Beach Bungalows! The tents were much nicer than we expected. Lovely gardens surrounding them and a short walk to the beautiful and mostly deserted beach.

We purchased breakfasts at the restaurant for convenience sake. They were basic and if I had any complaint it was that some of the fruit served was bordering on too overripe. That's a shame for a place where GOOD fresh fruit is abundant.

After reading reviews on the cost of dinners, we chose to eat out. There are plenty of little sodas around and are easy to get to if you have a car. One of our favorite family memories is having dinners at a small restaurant close by called "Langosta Feliz". Tiny little place with wonderful owners and very good food.

In defense of the dinner prices, they weren't all that far off from other restaurants in the area. We didn't get 1/2 board option but the cost seemed reasonable compared to other places.

If you are looking for a cool experience, this is the place!

  • Stayed May 2011, traveled with family
    • 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Bahari Beach Bungalows

Address: Matapalo de Aquirre, Playa Matapalo, Costa Rica
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Puntarenas > Playa Matapalo
Amenities:
Beach Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Playa Matapalo
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 6
Also Known As:
Bahari Beach Bungalows Hotel Province Of Puntarenas
Bahari Beach Hotel
Hotel Bahari Beach
Bahari Beach Bungalows Costa Rica/Playa Matapalo

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