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“Friendly, relaxing, convenient, comfortable!” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Hotel Kokoro Arenal

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Hotel Kokoro Arenal
3.5 of 5 Resort   |   La Palma | 7km After the Church on the Right Hand Side, La Fortuna de San Carlos, Arenal Volcano National Park 4000, Costa Rica   |  
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Ottawa
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“Friendly, relaxing, convenient, comfortable!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 19, 2013

We stayed at the Kokoro Hotel for 4 nights in mid-January 2013 and really enjoyed our stay. We used this as our base camp while we did day-trips in the Arenal and La Fortuna area. It is a relaxing, quiet, informal, family-run hotel with single and town-house style cabins, nice gardens and forest walks on the grounds, a pool, hot-springs pools, an outdoor lounge area, and a nice outdoor dining room. Tree-house style accommodations were under construction while we were there. Housekeeping was very good.

Our accommodation was clean, functional, roomy, and quiet (cabin #7). The use of beautiful wood everywhere makes it cozy and just makes one feel at ease. Buffet breakfasts, and sit-down dinners were quite good. Some might find the selection a bit limited, but the food was good and well prepared. We were fortunate to have Anita, one of the owners, put on a special sea food meal one night. I really enjoyed the breakfasts - a great mix of local food (ah ... the fruit!) and typically Canadian/American fare (including maple syrup). The staff even made lunch for us on a day when we had to leave early on a day trip. The staff were unwaveringly friendly, helpful, and conscientious. Many thanks to Felico, Fernando, Michael, Todd, Amanda, and to Felico's parents, and owners of Kokoro: David and Anita.

Tourists to Costa Rica obviously want to take advantage of hot springs, obviously. Visitors to Kokoro might be a bit disappointed. We enjoyed the unpretentious pools (3) which are only open in the evenings. They are filled with fresh hot spring water each evening, but the water coloured brown with sediment (not dirty, just coloured). One follows a lighted stone path to the pools which are set in a quiet garden area of the grounds. Very relaxing, but perhaps too informal for some. I personally hope they don't change these. They fit the atmosphere just nicely. So, my rating on the "spa" is a bit misleading. BTW, the Tabacon Spa and Hot Springs is a short 5 minute drive from Kokoro for those who want to splurge on that activity.

The swimming pool is quite nice, and big. The shallow end starts off very shallow (< 2'), and it deepens to about 6' or 7' at the far end near the water fall.

The staff arranged most of our day trips, including canyoning, waterfalls, spelunking, and hiking. They were very helpful with directions to attractions and restaurants, and in providing directions to our next destination. All of our trips were a great success! Thanks to the staff for recommendations. The staff are bilingual (Spanish, English), and some cases trilingual (add Mandarin)!

If you are looking for comfortable, quiet, pleasant accommodations, and a relaxing environment after a day of hiking, this is the spot. It is about a 10 minute drive north of La Fortuna, so there isn't really anything close by to which you can walk, with the exception of great views of the volcano just up the main road. We kicked back with drinks on the pool patio, and on our cabin porch in the afternoon and evening sun after our daily outings. That was just perfect!

If you're looking for pampered, formal, impersonal, luxurious 4* or 5* accommodations this is probably not the spot for you. The Kokoro is a more personal place, and more down-to-earth, which is quite appropriate for this ecologically sensitive country. We would definitely stay here again if visiting the Arenal area.

My only recommendation to the staff would be to include some Costa Rican music in the selection of mood music in the lounge area.

Room Tip: I don't think you can get a "bad" room here, but we loved cabin 7. King bed and singl...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 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.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (45)
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English first
Beaufort, North Carolina, United States
Senior Contributor
41 reviews 41 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 19, 2013

This is one of the better places we stayed when on our excursion across Costa Rica. We had quite the worldwin getting to this locations and arrived well before our check in time. They were sympathetic to our situation and allowed us to check in early and get sleep. The grounds were lush and beautiful with an array of different types of birds. The rooms were spacious and the bathroom was very roomy. The beds were the most comfortable out of the whole trip. Having wifi was esscential for our friends who were with us since they needed to be connected in some way to work. For me, it was just an added bonus to connect to my family from time to time. The breakfast the first day was very plentiful, but the second day was lacking to the point where they barely had food to feed us. One of the attendents at the dinning room saw that there was no food left at the buffett but did not do a thing...just kept talking to other guests even though he clearly saw that we were confused. That was a disappointment. Also, they were building 3 more cabins next to ours, so it became a bit noisy, but nothing we couldn't handle. They had their own hot springs there which was nice. The location is great. We only got to see the volcano for maybe 3 hours before it was hidden by low stratus. But I can imagine on a nice sunny morning, the views much be amazing. With all this said, we really enjoyed our stay. We would definitely come back again...just make sure to provide enough food for all your guests.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with friends
    • 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Moscow, Russia
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 16, 2013

Beautifully landscaped surroundings and very friendly staff, always available for good advice on what fun things to do, but also for a chat. Felico and Fernando definitely give it a great personal touch. The rooms were spacious and rustic. Breakfast was amazing every day, both food selection and the view on the volcano (which is best in the morning). The location is central among activities if you have your own car, which we did. All in all, we would love to go back.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
North Carolina
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 12, 2013

The staff are truly superior, especially for visitors to the Arenal area who are new to the area and speak little Spanish. We were originally planning to stay 3 nights, but extended for one more because of the relaxing setting, the hot springs, great breakfasts, all with great views of the volcano and environs. Staff also made great recommendations for activities, side trips to Cano Negro, Eco Zoo, etc. we did not eat dinner at Kokoro until the last night, and we wished we had done this earlier. You do, however, have to have your own vehicle unless you want to use cabs every day you go out. It was pretty easy to drive up to Fortuna from San Jose and get to Kokoro from the central square. Great getaway and base for exploring the highlands near Lake Arenal.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 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.
New York City, New York
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 12, 2013

Great place to stay if you're going to Arenal. A nice small staff that's very friendly, including a couple of Americans which helped with any language barrier. The rooms are nice and clean, and even include a little mini-fridge for storing beverages. Decent pool and hot spring, although temperature varied at times for the hot spring. I would stay here again, definitely. Had a great time.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with friends
    • 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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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Colorado
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 2, 2013

Felico and Fernando were some of the most gracious hosts we had in Costa Rica. They really made us feel welcome and their English was stunning (one of them even speaks at least two other languages in addition to Spanish and English!). We so enjoyed going to family-run hotels in Costa Rica and Hotel Kokoro was one of our very favorites – Felico and his family take pride in every part of the hotel and running the hotel and you see them everywhere – they may be at reception, serving you dinner, helping with your luggage, cleaning the pool, attending to “their” hot springs, having a cup of coffee with you while discussing travel and tour options, getting you towels, giving you a ride somewhere, saying hello and calling you by name, etc. It’s really a wonderful experience. When we checked in they said we are treated like part of the family…and they meant it! Fernando always had a smiling face and a friendly greeting, he was one of the friendliest and warmest souls we met on our whole trip.

We enjoyed our breakfasts at the hotel very much – we had some of the best gallo pinto (seasoned beans and rice) in Costa Rica there, btw - and we appreciated that we were able to serve ourselves – there was only one other occasion where we had a breakfast buffet rather than being served breakfast at a hotel; it was really nice to choose what a how much to have on our plates. This may seem rather mundane, but we loved that they served oatmeal along with all of the other breakfast options – this was the only time in an extended trip where we had oatmeal as an option.

We had a separate cabin with a large room that was very comfortable and had all the amenities we needed. The bathroom had a very nice shower, which seemed unusual for the area.

One night we ate “next door” (about a 5-minute walk) at “Arenal Paradiso Hotel.” It was pretty expensive, but quite good – in-line with the ambience of that resort. One day we visited “Paradise Hot Springs” (not associated with the above hotel) – about 5-10 minutes by taxi down the road toward La Fortuna. We opted for that rather than the much more popular (and louder!) Baldi Hot Springs. It was a great experience – lots of pools with different features and different temperatures (one was a relatively hot “pool” that was more like a small “lazy-river” – it was divine to lay back in that pool and look up at the clouds and wonderful landscaping), many Costa Rican families; plus, we had a lovely meal there, typical casado for my husband and myself (rice, beans, salad, plantains and some vegetables for myself – the same for my husband except including fish) and spaghetti for our son, cooked fresh in an outdoor kitchen and served at a table under a canopy.

Kokoro was a great place and we’ll definitely come back some day!

  • Stayed January 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ichamomdad, Front Office Manager at Hotel Kokoro Arenal, responded to this review, March 8, 2013
Thank you very much for taking the time and effort to write a thoughtful review to help us and our future guests. Felico and Fernando are both very happy to hear all of the wonderful things you have to say about them and the work that they do. We take a lot of pride in every element of our hotel and see to it that you have have a relaxing and comfortable stay. We are pleased to hear you enjoyed our food and the room you stayed in. Many people, both from Costa Rica and abroad, tell us we have the best gallo pinto so we must do something right with our secret recipe : )
Also, thank you for the local Arenal travel tips, I am sure future guests will find them useful.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ridgewood, New Jersey, United States
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 25, 2013

Our family spent a wonderful 4 days at the Koko. The staff went above and beyond to help us with activities, transportation and meals. They were friendly, courteous, and helpful in every way. The open air lobby was a great place to hang out. My girls loved the wi-fi :-) Thanks for letting me play your guitar and sing. Don't forget to like us back on facebook www.facebook.com/doghouse.page :-) The breakfasts were a great way to start each day with fresh fruit, pancakes, eggs and coffee. We had a terrific time staying there, exploring Arenal and many other areas of Costa Rica. We definitely would stay there again. Thanks for making our first trip to Costa Rica a great one. Pura Vida! - Jim

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ichamomdad, Manager at Hotel Kokoro Arenal, responded to this review, March 2, 2013
Dear Reader,

Thank you for taking the moment to write to us, and sharing a bit of your experiences at our hotel & in Costa RIca. We really hope that you family had a wonderful stay with us!.

I hope that the girls enjoyed the little choco packs for your trip back to New Jersey. We can't wait to hear your band play live or in YOuTube!

our kind regards from the Volcano Tropics,

Kokoro Team
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Hotel Kokoro Arenal

Address: La Palma | 7km After the Church on the Right Hand Side, La Fortuna de San Carlos, Arenal Volcano National Park 4000, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
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 Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#4 Top resorts Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
#18 Family Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
#20 Romantic Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Hotel Kokoro Arenal 3.5*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Surrounded by lush tropical rainforest of the northern hills of Costa Rica, Hotel Kokoro Arenal is the perfect hideaway retreat blessed with untouched flora and fauna and a panoramic setting overlooking the majestic volcano of Arenal. At Kokoro Arenal, each of our carefully designed eco-villas offers a stay in a cozy family oriented style, with charm, and a service approach prepared in a joyful, attentive, and sustainable way. The lodging grounds also invite you to dip into the hill-top swimming pool, tropical hut with hammock, and explore our tucked away rainforest trails. With our Kokoro ‘heartfelt’ ways, we aim to revitalize your senses and share with you a vibrant experience in the Costa Rican tropics. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Kokoro Arenal Hotel La Fortuna De San Carlos
Resort Kokoro Arenal
Hotel Kokoro Arenal Costa Rica/Arenal Volcano National Park

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