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“Not Ideal” 2 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
London
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
“Not Ideal”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed yesterday NEW

This is a tipical tourist trap. We stayed in a tent for 3 nights- drawn by the chance to book online which is rare in this town on a low budget. My advice would be dont bother- the town is full of hotels so there is no need to book in advance if you are not travelling during peak season.

The hotel facilities are nice enough, the tents have a bit of novelty factor, but that wears off fast. THe music in the bar is loud and unavoidable until 11.30- which is fine- but not when you have 10 tents in earshot, meaning those in the tents have no option but to listen.

Furthermore the outdoor nature of the tents is not cleanly at all. They stand on slats which means anything can enter from the ground level- mice, ants, moths- anything.

The bar and resturant is overpriced and capitlizes on lazy 'backpackers' not finding local places to eat in town.

No kitchen to cook or breakfast included so overall this worked out as a real bank-breaker for no real benefit when in comparison to other places we stayed throughout the continent.

Room Tip: The tents are loud, unclean and not lockable.
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  • Stayed July 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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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 (55)
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Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
1 of 5 stars Reviewed 5 days ago NEW via mobile

The hostel is right on the main road and incredibly noisy. All staff from receptionist to manager are INCREDIBLY rude. The rooms are over priced and better value can be found. If I could rate this hostel a 0 I would.

  • Stayed August 2014
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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Atlanta, Georgia
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago

We stayed in a tent for two nights... If you go here I don't suggest you do so.

Because it is an expensive hostel, we decided to stay in a tent because the concept seemed really interesting and fun. The first night, we had a pretty late night, and after getting back to the tent around 1, we tried to go to sleep. Instead, we spent hours listening to the neighbors have sex. The tents are very close together, there is barely room to walk in between them. I can only imagine that everyone else had to listen to it too... there was a family staying in a couple of tents away!!

After finally falling asleep, we woke up a couple of hours later because we were being attacked by ants. They were everywhere; my boyfriend had 40 bites after!!

The second night was just as bad. We had to be up at 6am to catch the bus, but there were people drinking all night in the hostel. We like to go out a lot, and didnt want to ruin the fun so we didn't say anything until about 1am (two hours after quiet hours) when my boyfriend went out just to see if they looked like they would be slowing down soon. It wasn't even backpackers staying at the hostel!! The staff had invited all their friends over and they were all drinking and playing beer pong.

So all in all, we had a night listening to someone else have sex, got attacked by ants, and the staff threw a party with their friends that kept everyone up all night.

Room Tip: Don't stay in the tents
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  • Stayed August 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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Victoria, Canada
Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago

Great setup here. Fun atmosphere, pool (with a slackline!), good food, etc. A group of 6 of us stayed for 3 nights, and while there, it seemed to full of European high schoolers so maybe it caters to the younger crowd (teenage to early 20's)?

Staff were pretty good. They were friendly and helpful when approached, they just didn't seem all that interested otherwise. Also, though not a long walk, it is farther from town than other hostels. They only accepted cash for the rooms, so be prepared for that as well.

Rooms were clean, comfortable and safe (there are lockers but bring your own lock). You can step out of your room take a few steps and be in the pool which is pretty cool. Also, the slackline over the pool is amazing. They also have a volleyball net set up in the yard as well as another slackline. Lots of hammocks too.

Overall, I can see why people rave about this place, but I didn't leave with a 'that was the best hostel ever!' feeling, more of a 'meh, it was good, but not great' feeling.

  • Stayed July 2014, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Truro, Canada
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago

Myself and 4 friends (all early 20's) stayed here for 4 nights in August 2014. Upon viewing the website (and looking to save a few dollars) three of us decided that a triple-occupancy "deluxe tent" would be the best choice; they also seemed pretty neat. The other 2, a couple, chose a dorm style room as there were no other tents available.
Arriving at the hostel, we checked in and immediately were told we had to pay in cash - this was an unexpected annoyance since they do not mention the fact that they don't take credit cards anywhere on the website and failed to mention this in any e-mail correspondence.
After settling the cash issue and walking into town to an ATM, we came back and were directed to our tent. To our surprise, the tent was set up with one double bed, with about 1.5 feet of space on either side. We had booked a tent for 3 and were led to believe that meant 3 single beds (as shown on the website). The staff were less than helpful here, giving us a tiny (and I mean TINY) cot-like mattress for one of us to put on the floor. This meant shoving the double bed to one side and having about 2 inches of space between the bed, cot, and tent wall. As a result we were unable to keep any of our bags (even shower-kits or shoes) inside of the tent, and were constantly going back and forth to the locker room. So keep in mind that the photos on the website are deceiving - the tents are NOT as big as shown and are definitely not meant for more than 2 people.
The housekeeping staff here were great; they were always cleaning the bathroom floors and refilling soap and toilet paper BUT they have absolutely nothing to do with linens during your stay. After 4 nights our single (very thin) sheet, which was already yellowed, should have been thrown out. I'm not asking for fresh sheets everyday, this is a hostel after all, but a change-up after 2 or 3 nights would have been nice, especially with such hot and humid nights.
We knew this hostel was sort of notorious for being a party hostel but being 23 and 24, we didn't think it would be a huge deal. We were wrong. There are signs pointing out quiet hours beginning at 10pm but the screaming and partying went on until about 1:00-2:00am each night. This sucked even more being in the tent. The private rooms further away from the lobby likely aren't as bad, but the dorm style rooms are right beside the lobby as well.
Another annoyance was the price of food from the hostel restaurant; it was way too expensive for what you get. A 5 minute walk into town to one of the local Sodas is well worth it.
In conclusion:
The Bad: Only takes cash, SMALL smelly tents, very loud at night, no fresh bedding, expensive restaurant/bar, less-than helpful staff.
The Good: Cozy lobby for reading/hanging out during the day, nice pool, awesome water pressure in the showers, close to town.

Side-note: While we did some neat things in Arenal (the Cerro Chato hike, natural hot springs and whitewater rafting) this town is definitely only a tourist spot for its view of the volcano. Otherwise it is a dirty, run-down town with very little going for it. If you're planning a pit-stop here a 1-2 day stay would be best. There are so many other beautiful spots to be seen in this country!

Room Tip: Tents are loud, small and HOT. Dorm rooms are close to the lobby, loud at night.
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  • Stayed August 2014, traveled with friends
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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Kansas City, Missouri
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 weeks ago

I had no idea where I was going to stay when the bus pulled into La Fortuna. I walked into Arenal Backpackers and knew that was where I wanted to stay. It was very safe-gated with security at night. Housekeeping kept the rooms very clean. The hammocks and pool were a huge plus. Albert-the bartender was so friendly! He told us about all the things La Fortuna had to offer, how to get to those locations, and even helped us get to the local hot springs. The staff was very accomodating and friendly. I definitely recommend Arenal Backpackers Resort!

  • Stayed July 2014, traveled solo
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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San Diego, California
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 weeks ago

My stay was a one day only, stayed at a tent and it was so cool. Clean, comfortable, secure area, clean bathrooms and cool gsthering area. I loved this place and would love to cone back, the location is spectacular close to town and to the Arenal volcano. Staff is great with cute guys working lol

Stayed August 2014, traveled with friends
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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 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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