This hotel is a bit out of the way of the typical La Fortuna circuit, which didn't bother us at all--the grounds are gorgeous. We were almost the only people staying there at the time (we think there might have been one other couple), which made it very private, and given the enormous, lush property, that made for some very enjoyable times communing with the toucans, other assorted birds, and the very loud cicada-like insects at nighttime (really amazing--you must experience!). The bungalows are located very close to the riverbank (with a deck with a hammock), and you cross a hanging bridge over the river to get to the restaurant and other hotel facilities. We loved all that.
We liked the restaurant--we had two dinners there and one breakfast. The breakfast was the best we had in Costa Rica; the dinners were a bit hit and miss--but mostly a hit. The atmosphere in the cavernous, open-air restaurant was a bit creepy--in a good way. Bats flew in and out of the eaves while we dined. We also loved that (some might not).
We stayed in room #1 (three of us, in two double beds). It was a nice room, with air-conditioning we much appreciated, and a beautiful view of the river off the deck. Only down sides of the room were really bad pillows and one of those notorious Costa Rican "suicide" electrical showers. We had no problem with the latter, but be aware that the water is barely lukewarm. This wasn't a problem for us due to the heat. And the bathroom was huge! There was a phone but no TV or fridge.
The one big downside was that the pool and jacuzzi were completely unusable--both were littered with debris and clearly hadn't been cleaned in some time, and the jacuzzi wasn't operating. This was a bit disappointing since these things were featured so prominently on the hotel's Web site. Luckily for us, it wasn't all that crucial to us during the first two days of our trip, since we knew we would have plenty of time to lounge in pools later. If the pool is important to you, you might want to inquire. Otherwise, I think this place is a good value if you want to experience a tranquil, wildlife-filled environment, especially as a stopover between San Jose and the Arenal area. It was definitely the most serene place we stayed during our trip.
One last thing: I don't recommend this for anyone who has any limitations on their mobility. I sprained my ankle during our stay there (not at the hotel), and after that I had to remain in the hotel room while my friends fetched food from the restaurant, since I couldn't walk that far or cross the hanging bridge. Not a concern unless you have elderly or disabled people among your party. The staff was very accommodating.
- Also Known As:
- La Garza Hotel
- Hotel La Garza Costa Rica/Arenal Volcano National Park