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“Gorgeous grounds and private cabanas” 5 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
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Gorgeous grounds and private cabanas”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 19, 2013

We stumbled on La Garza purely by accident and it proved to be one of the highlights of our Costa Rican trip. The grounds are sprawling and absolutely beautiful. From the hanging bridge to get to the main buildings, to the fantastic jungle surrounding your cabana while gazing at the river from the hammock on the back patio.

The staff is EXTREMELY friendly and more than accommodating. One of the owners helped us throughout our stay and was one of the friendliest Costa Ricans I have had a chance to meet. There is wifi at the main building and it seems in the rooms. There are 6 cabana's, each with two rooms. It is very private and a true Costa Rican experience. Its comfortable, clean, and very relaxing. The food is good Costa Rican grub, though pretty standard. Its rustic vibe adds nothing but charm. The owners' son was feeding the birds outside the dining patio some fresh fruit, which resulted in a dazzling display of some of the most gorgeous birds the rainforest has to offer.

If you're looking for a sleek American resort this is not it. But if you want to see Costa Rica at its finest, come here. You will certainly not regret it!

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with family
    • 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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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
Mexico City, Mexico
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 4, 2011

I have visited La Garza several times. The staff is just great. Specially if you have the chance to see Ms Pegy or Mr Carlos (The Owners). They are there practically all the weekends taking care of the Hotel and the visitors. The horse ridind is very good. Ask them to take you the hidden forest and also to cross the river. It is just a fantastic experience. My kids love the place ... after Horse Riding, they love to fish on the bridge which connects the "cabanas" with the typical Costa Rican buiding where is the Restauran located. The restaurant is very good. Great typical food and during the morning you have the chance to see several varieties of birds that come to the place. When you walk to the "cabanas" I have seen Tucans and different kind of birds. Notice that the "Cabanas" are very rustical. They are in the middle of the Forest. Also, they have a very nice terrace where you can admire the forest and listen the river at night. The rooms are very clean with TV, telephone and hot water. I really believe that you will not be able to get something like that in Costa Rica for the price that you pay ... and for my family and I, this place is very Costa Rican. If your relly like to stay in Marriotts, Hiltons or so, do not consider this beautiful place.

  • Stayed January 2011, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 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.
St. Paul, MN
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 19, 2008

This place is gorgeous! It is a place that is out of the way and out of the tourist-trap atmosphere of La Fortuna. If you want a genuine Costa Rican experience, stay here! We were there in Nov. 08, and the only other guests were Costa Ricans. This is a place they go on vacation. The staff speak little English, but they try very hard. They treat you like family and will go way out of their way to please you.

Our favorite person there was the chef, Miguel. During the green season, he waits your table and cooks your meals; breakfast, lunch, and dinner. His food is amazing! I had the best pork chop I've ever had in my life and that is in no way an exaggeration. Same with his vanilla ice cream. It is a farm, so most of the food is made fresh right there. It is absolutely delicious. Miguel spoke very little English, and I speak very little Spanish, but we managed to have a few conversations. He is delightful.

The grounds are beautiful and isolated, with lots and lots of birds. The nights are quiet, with only the sounds of nature to lull you to sleep.

The rooms are nice but simple. People have complained about the pool and the showers in previous reviews, but they must have fixed those problems before we came because the pool was beautiful and clean and I had a hot shower every morning. The shower head is electric, and heats the water just before being released, so it helps not to have the water on full blast, so it heats up more before coming out. It gets hot if you let it. Another bonus is that with that system, you cannot run out of hot water; in fact the second person probably gets a hotter shower than the first because the shower head has heated up more.

One thing you should know, however, is that although they mention hiking trails on their internet site, we were not able to find any. You can walk around the grounds, which are beautiful, but there are no trails through the forest that we could find, and the staff did not know what we were talking about when we asked about trails.

The horseback ride that they offer is through their sugar cane fields on the rock roads they use to maintain the fields, not on trails, and you go along the jungle only for a short time, but not into it, except for the time where you get off the horse and walk through the forest to see the 600 year old strangler fig tree, which is massive and pretty cool. You are off the horse for about a half-hour, and then you turn around and ride back through the fields. The ride was kind of boring but the river crossing, which you have to do twice, was terrifying. We went at the end of the green season, so the river was high and fast. You cross on what might be a bridge during the dry season, but at that time it had water rushing over it at a very fast speed and about 1.5 feet deep. A person could not possibly have crossed and not been swept over into the rocks. The horses were having trouble crossing, because of the current, and because this bridge was made of concrete, which is slippery when wet. This "bridge" was sort of acting like a dam, because the water was lower on the downstream side of it, and there were boulders there, too, so if your horse lost its footing, I don't see how you would survive, because you would be swept over the edge into the rocks about 5 feet below by the horrendous current and be killed for sure. This thing had no side rails and was only about 8 feet wide. While crossing, you cannot see the upstream side of the bridge under the water rushing over, so you are just hoping and praying that your horse doesn't step off that edge either, because if it did, you would be dragged under the bridge by the current and be beat against the rocks on the other side of it until you were dead.

All in all, I loved the place and would not hesitate to go back, but I won't do that horseback ride again.

  • Liked — Scenery, atmosphere, quiet, food
  • Disliked — Horseback ride
  • Stayed November 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
Maine USA
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 1, 2008

Beautiful grounds, great breakfast, pleasant dairy farm, and very friendly staff but...
too far from town, beds hard as rock, a/c issues, TONS OF BUGS!!!
Pleasant but...

  • Stayed February 2007, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
Seattle
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
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
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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
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 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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