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“Friendly Bi'lingual Staff; Chill atmosphere” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Arenal Backpackers Resort

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Arenal Backpackers Resort
350 meters west of central park, towards volcano, La Fortuna de San Carlos, Arenal Volcano National Park 506, Costa Rica   |  
Hotel amenities
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“Friendly Bi'lingual Staff; Chill atmosphere”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 17, 2013

Spent 3 nights here, and enjoyed it - decent value, with lockers in the shared room; a pool with a swim-up bar! Met some friendly travelers; had a touristy feel... some of the local 'soda restaurantes' are much more enjoyable for a local, typical, meal... especially worth the price if you use the "costa rica backpackers network membership card" which gives you a discount for staying 5 nights among any of the several hostels around the country!!!

Room Tip: just spent the night in the shared dorm rooms...
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 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.
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328 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (52)
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Sydney, Australia
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed January 15, 2013

I booked online for this place yesterday. I booked a private room, paid a deposit with my credit card which was accepted and was given a reservation number.

So far so good. That is what everyone does right? It's standard practice everywhere. WRONG.

I drive all the way from San Jose today and when I turn up and provide my name and say that I have a reservation, the staff member looks at me and says 'you don't have a reservation'. It's pretty hard to argue with a reservation number though. He was a nice guy and then admitted that 44 hours has to pass before your reservation is recognised. This not stated anywhere I could recall on the booking site. How misleading can you get?

So there were no more rooms left, including the room I booked and paid a deposit for, and so I had to leave the place in the dark with nowhere to stay at 6.30pm and had to pay for a taxi to find somewhere else for the privilege. I demanded my deposit back which I got, which is the least they could do.

I telephoned Hotel Fortuna in town and was immediately given the option of 2 great rooms and the staff could not have been more helpful. The rooms were only 5 to 15 dollars more than the shared bathroom place at Arenal Backpackers Resort.

Get your act together Arenal Backpackers Resort and act responsibly.

I won't be recommending you to anyone. You can't leave guests in the lurch like that. Given it's a system issue, it must have happened to other people too.

On the other side of the coin, Hotel Fortuna, you rock, thanks for showing me some great Costa Rican hospitality.

Room Tip: Watch out that you actually have a room
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled solo
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Turrialba, Cartago, Costa Rica
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 15, 2013

Arenal Backpackers is indeed more of a hotel than a hostel- I'd say it crosses the line because there is no communal kitchen. They have an (expensive) cafe where I had to ask the bartender if he could put my leftovers in the fridge.

The pool is giant and amazingly welcome refresher after lugging a backpack around all day. The rooms were clean and comfortable and affordable average Costa Rica priced dorms. The staff was extremely helpful and answered all my questions about public buses, schedules, prices, and other random annoying questions I had. They also held our bags before we even checked in.

The "lobby" by the front desk and bar/cafe is always filled with people if you're looking to make friends. The hostel/hotel is located an easy walking distance from town, but is set apart. We came back late after a night out and a diligent guard checked our wristbands, so it's a safe place to be.

The wifi worked and the water was sometimes hot.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Spring Lake, New Jersey
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 15, 2013

We needed a place to crash for the night in La Fortuna and we stumbled across Arenal Backpacker's Resort. My friend called it a "hostel" and I wasn't sure what I was getting myself into. We actually stayed in a tent for the night. It was a canvas tent with a bed and we were able to rent a locker to put any of our belongings in. The only bad part about the tent, was that it can get loud from the bar on-site to the bar across the street. Bring earplugs! There was a pool, bar and snack bar open.The best part of this was their hammocks. They were great to relax in after a long trip there. The staff was friendly, the property was clean and the Internet was FREE. It was a good value for the money we spent (about $35 for a night).

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Mexico City, Mexico
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed January 13, 2013

First of all, this is not a hostel. It is a 1 star hotel.

DON'T CONSIDER THIS OPTION IF YOU'RE TRAVELING SERIOUSLY, consider this if you're a spring breaker looking to get drunk and party and staying in the pool instead of getting to know this beautiful country.

It was an extremely expensive room with nothing but a bed in it. Not a single night table, nothing to hang our towels and clothes, nothing to PUT OUR CELLPHONES AND MONEY ON. We had to put all our stuff on the floor. It didn't even have a private bathroom for 45$ a night, and in other places we even got breakfast for less than that. The pool is freezing (even when the weather's hot), the staff is not friendly, bathrooms are ok, the tour was lame and the feeling you get while being there is far from being in Costa Rica.

Room Tip: Don't get rooms, get tents. You get exactly the same for half the price.
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 12, 2013

This was our first time staying at a hostel and I'm sure nothing else will compare.
Unfortunately it rained the majority of our stay in Arenal, so we never saw the volcano or got to try out the pool or hammocks, but there was lots of time to relax in the bar/restaurant area and mingle with fellow travellors. The restaurant was a little pricey, but really good. Breakfast for 2 people cost roughly $15, lunch or dinner cost $20-$30. One night we were a little tired of the traditional beans and rice so we ordered a burger and chicken wings and they were the BEST we've ever had. I couldn't believe that we had found the most perfect chicken wings in Costa Rica, I had to talk my husband out of ordering them for breakfast the next morning because he couldn't stop thinking about them.
We stayed in one of the tents with the shared bathrooms and thought it was a great alternative to a traditional room. We fell asleep to the sound of the rain every night and the other people staying in tents were really respectful of noise volumes - which was one of my concerns. The bathrooms were really clean and we never had to wait for a shower. It was a little inconvenient if you had to use the washroom in the middle of the night, but that's just one little thing to deal with.

Room Tip: If you go with the tent (which I highly recommend) don't be shy about asking for an extra pillow...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Sydney, Australia
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 9, 2013

This was a great place to stay for the array of activities around the arenal area. The staff are friendly (particularly Freddie - who assisted us with most of our transfers/tour needs), and everyone seems very relaxed and open to having a good time.
We had the benefit of staying here NYE which was great - there was a pinata, plenty of cheap drinks, fireworks and some great ambiance.

Clean rooms, minimal bug protection due to the need to open windows in the heat. Perhaps in times of increased humidity it would help to have the aircon on a bit more so people can get things dry?

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Additional Information about Arenal Backpackers Resort

Address: 350 meters west of central park, towards volcano, La Fortuna de San Carlos, Arenal Volcano National Park 506, Costa Rica
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Alajuela > Arenal Volcano National Park > La Fortuna de San Carlos
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #16 of 54 Specialty lodging in La Fortuna de San Carlos
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Arenal Backpackers Resort Costa Rica/Arenal Volcano National Park

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