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.
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- Also Known As:
- La Garza Hotel
- Hotel La Garza Costa Rica/Arenal Volcano National Park