In the busy tourist village of La Fortuna, you will find many tourist activities. My Costa Rica national friends told me it is a very safe community. Withing viewing distance of the Volcano Arenal, the scenery is tropical and lush. There are many international tourists partaking in the fun activities like zip lines, rafting, biking, and just soaking in hot springs resorts. You would never expect to get robbed.
That is just what happened to us. Unfortunately, even in La Fortuna there are crack heads and thieves. Upon checking in to the Hotel Jireh at the center of activity in the town, we were pleased to find they had a safe in our room. Or friends were not as fortunate as the safe had been removed from their room.
As a safety precation they had asked to put their valuables inot our safe. With everything secured, we were off to the hot springs resort for a relaxing soak. The beautiful gardens and faux waterfalls hitting you with hot water and relaxing pools were just what we needed after the usual crazy drive through the countryside. Aside from getting a slight concussion in the high speed, insanely engineered, waterslide, the experience was a tourist's dream.
We returned to Hotel Jireh shortly after dark and decided in our relaxed, post hot tub manner to walk across the street to the Lava Lounge for a beer and dinner. Here is where it all went wrong. Since we feel we needed some credit cards and phones to catch up on texts and calls, we all removed our iPhones and I took my wallet.
We had a great dinner at the Lava Lounge, but upon returning to our room we had quickly realized we had been robbed. The door was open, the safe door had been broken open. There were passports, credit cards, and miscelanious items scattered about the bed. We took quick account of what appeared to be missing and found Mari's cash, credit card, Colorado Driver's License, jewelry and Costa Rican photo ID were gone. Tim had $700 in cash in an envelope inside a ziplock that contained a toothbrush and other toiletries in the safe. They did not find the money, or realize a toothbrush does not warrant being locked in a safe, so it was left on the bed with the passports. We're talking crackheads here folks, not Mission Impossible.
The next day we went to the Police station for a report. The tourist police were very helpful. They made reports including searching the watch, etc. on the internet. They said the hotel is responsible because we used their safe. The manager refused to even offer an extra night's stay. Then he told us to get out as he had rented our room.
If you go to Jireh, do not stay in room 7 or 10 as they are on the end which makes them great to case. You are being watched. The door jams also have permanent screwdriver marks in them from previous breakins. The manager told me he is the one using a screwdriver when tourists lokc in the key. If that is the case, why doesn't he crawl through the window over the shower as the lock for it has been permanently broken off. The other rooms on the second floor had less obvious marks on the door, so they get broken into less often. Since the safe was missing in room 9, I asume they moved it to room 7 so it could be broken again.
I think it is best to avoid Hotel Arenal Jireh. Even though it appears to be safe, they have been broken into several times according to the police. It is noisy, unfriendly, and obviously your safe is not safe. The security guard showed up an hour after the robbery. Coincidence?
If you go to La Fortuna as most tourists traveling to Costa Rica do at some time in their vacation, stay out of town at one of the cabana resorts where it is quiet and safe. I stayed at Roca Negra the next night. It is about 2 km west of town near the hot springs resort. www.rocanegrainn.com They have beautiful gardens, clean rooms, abundant wild birds and a flock of domestic chickens, ducks, geese, and peacocks that roam the grounds freely. Muy tranquilo!
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- Also Known As:
- Arenal Jireh Hotel
- Hotel Arenal Jireh Costa Rica/Arenal Volcano National Park