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“Pass on this one” 2 of 5 stars
Review of Cataratas Resort

Cataratas Resort
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Cataratas Resort
2.5 of 5 Resort   |   La Fortuna De San Carlos, La Fortuna de San Carlos, Arenal Volcano National Park 9999, Costa Rica   |  
Hotel amenities
San Antonio, Texas
Senior Contributor
35 reviews 35 reviews
25 hotel reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
“Pass on this one”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed July 11, 2008

In my opinion, the best thing about Cataratas Resort is their website. We booked two rooms in the hotel directly with our friends from their website which makes this place look fabulous. After seeing the property, we all agreed that this hotel is a "use to be". They make it sound like the waterfall is just a hop, skip and a jump away. In reality, it's maybe a mile further up the road that front's their hotel and uphill. Luckily we had a car to drive to the Waterfall parking lot. Prices for the waterfall are $7:00 each and the walk after you paid is excruciating. My wife walked the entire way down to the pools and back up and she was sore for several days. There is an observation bridge/tower about half way down that allows you to take good pictures without making the entire trek, which is what we did. It's almost dangerous with wet steps and many places without rails but a beautiful place / location. There is a nice gift shop at the beginning / end of the trail.

The road to the hotel is dirt and bumpy but not difficult to navigate, but why if you don't have to? The lobby is nice but semi worn looking. The breakfast buffet was empty when we got to the lobby at 9 AM, so I made a comment and they agreed to cook us plates to order which were decent. Not the best I've had but pretty good, really.

The mattresses in the rooms were horindous. We all woke up with sore backs. Lights above the beds lack lamp shades, and there are visible cracks around the entrance door and the balcony door large enough to see light through.

Luckily we had water in our room but our friends had the room below us that lacked water of any kind in the shower. When they angrily reported this in the morning, the young desk clerk boy said he was sorry but did not offer them another room (and there were plenty availble, trust me) to shower in or any explination. There are spiral staircases that lead to the second floor rooms that are tough navigating the suitcases up and down. They helped when we checked in, but we just took them down ourselves on our exit. A/C worked pretty good in both rooms.

A bus of young people showed up late and left early that used many of the rooms. If your on a tight budget and are ok with my comments, then this might be just the place for you. The pool looked a little merky so we passed, and as other reviewers said, the swim-up bar looks a little abandoned. There are two fairly nice pool tables in the lobby and a couple of complimentary computers you can use to check back home with.

Last time we where in La Fortuna, we stayed at the Volcano Lodge which puts this place to shame and doesn't cost much more. We highly reccommend it.

  • Liked — the website
  • Disliked — Place is very worn, mattresses are terrible.
  • Stayed July 2008, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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11 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room Tips
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Santa Monica, California
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 5, 2007

After reading the reviews, we were reluctant to book this hotel but it was one of the only ones available during peak high season. Contrary to other reviews, the hotel is not hard to get to. You have to drive down an unpaved road for a while but as long as you pay attention to signs and maybe stop and ask, you will be fine. Our rooms were spacious with a great view and balcony. The breakfast was the best I've had in Costa Rica!!! Staff was very helpful and friendly. Pool area was clean and beautuflly lit at night. Maybe I wasn't expecting much and was pleasantly surprised but stil...I think the hotel must have gone through some renovations and additions because the grounds were huge. The hotel is walking distance to the La Fortuna waterfall. The only thing is the hot/cold shower but still do-able after you get the hang of it.

  • Liked — The breakfast!
  • Disliked — the shower
  • Stayed December 2006, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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Toronto, Canada
Top Contributor
50 reviews 50 reviews
32 hotel reviews
Reviews in 31 cities Reviews in 31 cities
36 helpful votes 36 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 23, 2006

Located on the outskirts of La Fortuna, this is a small hotel .... almost a motel as most of the rooms are in a series of small buildings. It is my understanding that it is under new management and has recently reopened.

It wasn't very busy when I was there with a small group in late December.

The staff was very friendly and helpful. You can see the Arenal Volcano from the hotel and there is a walk to a waterfall.

The food in the restaurant is good and there is plenty of variety.

This is a solid 3 star property.

  • Stayed December 2005
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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San Francisco, CA
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
26 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
114 helpful votes 114 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed August 30, 2005

I hate to be negative about a place that seems to try hard. But this place, in a word, is: CREEPY.

During our three night stay my girlfriend and I:
1) Never saw anyone in the pool
2) Never saw anyone from the hotel in the restaurant
3) Never saw any guests walking around the grounds (though we did see a couple people sitting on their balcony, so we knew other people were staying there)

After reading the only other review on tripadvisor and visiting the Cataratas website, we figured it to be an okay place -- the website is really deluxe and makes it look great. But upon entering our room, we knew things were off.

The room had a tremendously overpowering odor of cleaning products. My girlfriend found the source some time later: an industrial strength air freshener hanging off the back of the toilet. We put it outside only to find it back in its spot after the room was cleaned. Then we just threw it in the toilet tank. The room desperately needed a paint job. AND ours had three double beds — where were we supposed to walk? The beds were either hard as a rock or every spring could be felt (trust me, we tried all three). Throw in an indescribably weird ambience, bare light bulbs everywhere and, overall, the room rates an 8 on the creepy-meter.

The pool has a swim-up bar that looks as if it was last used in 2001. The “gym” is an open air hut with 5 or 6 As Seen on TV machines. The restaurant is an interesting mix: the people who work there seem nice but the lack of customers made us curious. The included breakfast is very good, the best we had in Costa Rica. We even had lunch there one day, but were surprised at the $24 bill. We even came up with a cute little nickname for the place to describe how we felt about it: caca-ratas.

In review: Maybe other hotels in the area aren’t as nice. Maybe for the price, this place is great. For us, though, a pervasive strange feeling obliterated the lush locale.

  • Stayed August 2005
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Fort Worth, Texas
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
43 helpful votes 43 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 30, 2004

After leaving the paved road and traveling a couple miles on a bumpy, dirt road through the middle of nowhere - we arrived at the Cataratas Resort. This hotel is a mixed bag. First I'll start with the positives...
1. The surroundings are absolutely breathtaking. It sits in a small valley and is bounded on three sides by gorgeous, forested hills. On clear days (not many of them) you have a view of the Arenal Volcano from the pool area.
2. Sam, the manager, was a delight. Very helpful, friendly, knowledgeable. He might be enough, by himself, to get us back to this hotel.
3. The employees in general were very nice and helpful.
4. The rooms, while not big or luxurious, were adequate and cute. Ours had a balcony and two double beds - not great if you're a couple and want to sleep in the same bed.

Now for some of the downside...
1. We couldn't get a constant temperature in our shower. Laugh if you must, but one thing that becomes very important during an eco-trip in Costa Rica is a good shower. From boiling to freezing - and back and forth. It was almost comical.
2. No refrigerator in the room and a bit hard to get ice or any drinks unless during normal business hours.
3. The restaurant is perched high up and requires a bit of an effort to get up there. Not for the out of shape. If the restaurant is closed you're kind of out of luck - because there's certainly not anything within walking distance.

All in all, we really enjoyed our stay. Of all the areas we visited this one is the one we've pretty much decided on moving to. You can't beat the weather and it's truly one of the most beautiful spots in the world. If you have any questions about this hotel or other spots in Costa Rica, feel free to email me at onehelluvaguy@hotmail.com. PURA VIDA!

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Additional Information about Cataratas Resort

Address: La Fortuna De San Carlos, La Fortuna de San Carlos, Arenal Volcano National Park 9999, Costa Rica
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Alajuela > Arenal Volcano National Park > La Fortuna de San Carlos
Hotel Style:
#8 Top resorts Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Cataratas Resort 2.5*
Number of rooms: 18
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Cataratas Resort Costa Rica/Arenal Volcano National Park

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