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“Make reservation through "Rafiki" not "Bahari"!!!” 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
Detroit, Michigan
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“Make reservation through "Rafiki" not "Bahari"!!!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 1, 2014

Loved this place. The couple who LIVE there and RUN the place (Loki and Mauren) are very chill and helpful. Unfortunately, they did not see much of our booking monies, as we booked through the old name, Bahari Beach Resort - these people own part of it, but now live abroad. Loki's family owns the land and do all the work. I felt a bit duped by the Bahari folks who promised us a "candle light dinner on the beach" upon arrival, which never happened because the local couple never heard - totally fine, though, because it was so wonderful!

Of all the places we stayed in Costa Rica, I (surprisingly) like the bathroom of our beach tent the best! It was so spacious; an open concept.

It was helpful that we rented a car so we could go and come as we please, as it is a bit isolated.

Alex, the guy on staff during the day was also amazing.

WONDERFUL place to relax, read a book, float in the pool, and recover from all the touristy activities. Although, Loki is a naturalist and adventure guide and can take you rafting, kayaking, horseback riding, etc. Make sure to visit Marina Ballena first thing one morning. A special treat we had was a bunch of monkeys coming in over our tent through the trees one afternoon!

Room Tip: Remember to book through Rafiki Beach Bungalows not Bahari!
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  • Stayed July 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
andrealudwig10, Inhaber at Bahari Beach Bungalows, responded to this review, August 30, 2014
Dear Zoenrick!

We reed your comments and we only have few points to your and for everybody information’s (which already also have in our website):
we are Andrea and Ludwig Zirkelbach the owner from Bahari Beach Bungalows together with Constant Boshof. Lautjie (Loki) is his sun and runs together with Mauren since 2 years our business, there are the Manager now on the Spot. We build up the business 12 years ago including all the tents, the interior of the tents, bathroom and pool, and we developed Bahari very successful.
We are very happy that you like our place !
2 years ago we change the name to a double name, because we had many satisfied guests in the past which only knows Bahari and we still are in many travel books with a excellent recommendations.
Andrea is doing all the reservation from the Bahari website and she can give, because of her 15 years Costa Rica´n experience, many recommendations and insider advices in detailed mails to our guests. Everybody can choice the type of reservations and payments, see our websites!
We are working for the future to find a solution for the double name to bring more clearness to our costumers and not loose guests, which only know and recommend Bahari.
Thank you again for your comment! Andrea and Ludwig Zirkelbach
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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56 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    25
    12
    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 (4)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Heidelberg, Germany
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 11, 2013

It was the most beautiful place in Costa Rica for us. The waves had been good and it just feels so good jumping in the pool after. The tents are incredible but most important are the hosts loki and Mauren - wonderful people!!!

  • Stayed October 2013
    • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Portland, Maine, USA
2 reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 21, 2013

I agree with Jamey C's review...Bahari (now known as Rafiki Beach Camp, & related to the Rafiki Safari Lodge) was a wonderful place to stay! Loki & his wife Mauren have recently taken over management of this property, and they were both very helpful & friendly hosts. They are also involved in some great conservation work, including reintroducing the tapir, and are the type of overall good people you want to support with your business.

My husband & I spent 4 nights of our honeymoon here, and loved the experience of staying in the safari tents. We had come from a more resort-y & populated hotel in Manuel Antonio, and the peace & quiet of this spot was a welcome change of pace. We saw capuchin monkeys one day and sloths another day in the surrounding treetops.

Continental breakfast is included, but they don't serve lunch or dinner. There are a few eateries within walking distance, including a minimart you can use to stock the mini-fridge in your room. We went on 3 of the tours that they offer, and all were well-run and lots of adventurous fun: we went white-water rafting on the Rio Savegre, did an aqua-hike along 4 waterfalls, and saw crocodiles during the mangrove tour. We also took a cab into Dominical one day to do some shopping & check out different restaurants (13K Colones 1-way)

This is not for travelers looking for a resort/all-inclusive or backpacker/party scene. This is the place to stay if you're looking for a secluded spot on a beautiful, quiet beach. It's a bit more rugged & off the beaten path, but for us that's exactly the appeal.

Room Tip: 2 of the tents are beachfront. The other 2 tents are set back, but I think still have views of the...
See more room tips
  • Stayed August 2013, 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.
Winter Park, Colorado
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
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
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pennsylvania
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 helpful votes 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
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
13 helpful votes 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.
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 helpful votes 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
Was this review helpful? Yes
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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