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“Beautiful Grounds, Good Restaurant, Pool Not Usable” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Hotel La Garza

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Hotel La Garza
Platanar, Florencia, San Carlos, Alajuela, Costa Rica | 100mts Al Norte Plaza de Deportes, La Fortuna de San Carlos, Arenal Volcano National Park, Costa Rica   |  
Hotel amenities
Seattle
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Beautiful Grounds, Good Restaurant, Pool Not Usable”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 4, 2008

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.

  • Liked — The surroundings
  • Disliked — The pool
  • Stayed March 2008, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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17 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Top Contributor
60 reviews 60 reviews
40 hotel reviews
Reviews in 43 cities Reviews in 43 cities
86 helpful votes 86 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 25, 2008

Hotel is nice and grounds are pretty. Food is very good and staff very friendly and accomodating. Rooms are clean, but spartan, with no TV or telephone. Dial up Internet is available at the office.

  • Stayed February 2008
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 28, 2008

La Garza is a beautiful hotel located about 25 min outside of La Fortuna. The staff are great and the property is well maintained. There are many animals to be seen on the property, you just have to look. The rooms are basic, but clean. Breakfast is wonderful, typical Costa Rican, although they also have pancakes. Everyone in our group had a great experience and did not want to leave. The rooms were a bit pricey though (85/night plus tax). I guess that along with the distance to La Fortuna, would be the only downside. However if the hotel was closer to La Fortuna, it may not be as beautiful and tranquil.

  • Liked — property
  • Disliked — Price and distance from town
  • Stayed January 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
St. Johnsbury Vermont
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 31, 2006

Our stay at La Garza was far exceeded our expectations. This place is a working horse ranch complete with it's own dairy. The staff provided excellent service and given our inability to speak Spanish, they were very accommodating in their attempts at communicating with us in English. The rooms are clean and the grounds are very well tended to. The people who work there take a great deal of pride in everything they do, and it shows! This is a great place to take in and explore the beauty and culture of Costa Rica. Thanks to everyone at La Garza for creating such a special place!

  • Liked — The room was very open and light.
  • Disliked — The shower
  • Tips/Secrets — Take the time to really look at the amazing array of plants and animals that surround you here.
  • Stayed July 2006, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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A TripAdvisor Member
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 8, 2006

We will second the positives being said on this place. The setting is beautiful, with gorgeous birds, butterflies, and flowers abounding. The service is great and the ambience relaxing.

The working ranch gives it a "real life" feel. The horseback ride is a highlight.

The food was basic, but it was served with care at very reasonable prices, so we were quite happy with it.

It is out of the bustle of the town of La Fortuna, which has a "tourist trap" feel. That was a bonus to us. That means it can be a bit of a drive to Arenal and hot springs, but it is well worth it.

  • Stayed March 2006
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
Wisconsin
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 14, 2006

We stayed at La Garza for 3 nights with our four children in two bungalows. Price was very resonable at around $80 per bungalow. The grounds are beautiful and very well maintained. Pool was very nice and there was even a small play area for the kids. The food was great and staff fabulous. They even offered to babysit for us if we wanted to get out on our own! There are no tv's or phones in the rooms - you can really get away from it all here.

Stayed here primarily for the riding. Saw a lot of wildlife during the rides, including a sloth that was awake and moving! La Garza was the kids favorite hotel on the trip and we would definitely stay here again.

  • Stayed February 2006
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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A TripAdvisor Member
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 18, 2005

There is thus far only one other review of this hotel so I will write as much as I can.

This hotel was an excellent value - cheaper than most in the area (we paid $60/night even though it was high season) and it offered many things that other hotels didn't. Like a suspension bridge over a river with crocodiles in it. And private balconies with a hammock looking out over the river. Then there is the parrot that chats with you over breakfast..

The place is a converted ranch, and so it has a homey, authentic feel to it. The hotel raises horses (seemed very well cared-for) that they rent at a reasonable rate for a galloping (or walking if you're timid) tour through acres of sugarcane. People with children will enjoy taking them to the on-site dairy farm (literally a stone's throw from reception) where the staff will show them how to milk a cow and let them have a go at it.

The service was great, too. The staff added nice touches to make us feel welcome. Edgar, the hotel's chef, learned of our interest in tropical fruits and sent someone to go pick us a couple of his favorites from trees they have on the grounds. And at one point on the galloping sugarcane tour, Manuel, their horse man, hacked down a stalk of cane and gave us each a piece to suck on!

The dinners were delicious and priced reasonably, unlike so many places in Costa Rica that charge tourists mercilessly. Try the orange chicken - it's made with fresh oranges picked right on the property.

There were only a couple of drawbacks to this place. First, it's a good 40 minutes to Fortuna and the volcano. But the drive was scenic, and we thought it was worth it to be away from the crowds so we didn't mind. Second, and a bit more serious was the musty odor of our room - mildew had taken over the place. We were there at the tail end of the rainy season and that was the only hotel we saw in the Arenal area so I don't know whether you would run into this problem at all the hotels. Finally, *don't* use their laundry service. It was outrageously expensive and not very good even so - they didn't separate the clothes (white shirts came out pinkish) and they apparently dry them on a clothesline because they take a while to get them back to you.

Despite the drawbacks, my husband and I agreed that this was our favorite hotel out of several on our trip. We definately plan on going back!

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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel La Garza

Address: Platanar, Florencia, San Carlos, Alajuela, Costa Rica | 100mts Al Norte Plaza de Deportes, La Fortuna de San Carlos, Arenal Volcano National Park, Costa Rica
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Alajuela > Arenal Volcano National Park > La Fortuna de San Carlos
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #51 of 63 Hotels in La Fortuna de San Carlos
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Number of rooms: 12
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
La Garza Hotel
Hotel La Garza Costa Rica/Arenal Volcano National Park

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