We loved our stay at this hotel! I cannot recommend it highly enough!
I chose La Fortuna as a place to relax for a week while we took various adventure tours. I did extensive research on hotels at every price level, and Vagabondo seemed to offer the best service at the best value. Despite the video on the very informative website, I was worried that the price ($40!) was too good to be true, and that we might be staying in a dump.
I contacted the hotel, and not only did they give me a discount for staying for a a whole week, but they also offered to arrange all of our tours and get us the best prices. The prices that they got us were not much lower than the prices we could've gotten on our own, but they took care of everything - calls, reservations, and confirmations. All at no extra charge, in fact they consistently thanked me for trusting them with my plans.
The person I was in contact with most was Errol. He was incredibly helpful and polite via email, and he was even more helpful and polite in person. He greeted us warmly upon arrival, and gave us a plethora of helpful tips and advice throughout our trip. He was so sweet that he even took my husband and I to a free thermal hot spring - on his day off! Errol was one of the best parts of our trip, and I hope the owners of Vagabondo realize how important/valuable he is!
To be fair, I have to list the biggest con of the hotel: they don't have hot water. The water isn't freezing, but we weren't able to get it any warmer than tepid. Major bummer. This is probably not a big deal in the warmer months, but in December it would have been nice. Another smaller con is that you may hear other guests and/or loud motorcylces and trucks every once in a while, because the hotel is kind of close to the main road. For the most part, our room was very quiet (although our bed was kind of squeaky).
As for the pros: the customer service can't be beat, it's a small enough hotel so that they know you (and how you like your pina coladas made) right away, more of an international crowd if you like to stay away from loud, obnoxious crowds, yummy restaurant, close to town but far enough away (town is a little bit depressing), and ADORABLE towel sculptures on your bed whenever your room is cleaned (daily). Beautiful hardwood throughout, interesting local art in every room, and free breakfast every day.
Can you find this anywhere else for $40 a night? I know hostels that charge more. Because we saved so much money for accommodation, we were able to take all of the tours we wanted to take. The one unexpected expense was the high price of food in Costa Rica. Of course, we were eating a tourist-y places, so that can only be expected, but the prices were often higher than some places in New York! ($40 for dinner and $25 for lunch was about average for Costa Rica, and only one of us drinks!) We know we could've saved money by going to sodas, but we didn't feel very welcome when we tried to eat there.
I highly recommend Hotel Vagabondo unless hot water is a non-negotiable for you. Otherwise, it's a fantastic opportunity to stay somewhere inexpensive but not at all generic. Good luck with your search!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.