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“Great, little family hotel” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Hotel Vista del Cerro

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Hotel Vista del Cerro
2.5 of 5 Hotel   |   2 miles west from la fortuna | (on the way to arenal volcano), La Fortuna de San Carlos, Arenal Volcano National Park, Costa Rica   |  
Hotel amenities
New Jersey
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
“Great, little family hotel”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 25, 2009

I really enjoyed my stay at Vista del Cerro and have GREAT things to say about this nice, little family hotel. But before I begin, if you're looking for a more secluded or fancy hotel in Arenal, this is definitely not for you. But if you want an affordable hotel that's clean, safe, comfortable and in a convenient location, this is a great option. It's a simple hotel but worth more than you pay for. And the family that owns the place are great people, really so kind and helpful. They definitely made the difference!

I booked this hotel based on previous reviews and was not at all disappointed. My concern was more location than price since I was traveling with my mom and we didn’t have a car (we didn’t want to be too dependent on taxis). I was surprised and got a little skeptical at first for their price being so cheap but when I got there I was pleased to see we made a great choice. Again, it’s not a fancy place but super-clean and comfortable. Well, in the US you never find a place like that for under 50 bucks...

Room: very spacious and super clean! Cable TV and AC that works well. Shower was great too. We had a full view of the volcano, which was a really nice plus (I believe all rooms face the volcano, actually).
Amenities: They have 2 nice, clean pools with views of the volcano.
Location: 10-minute walk from La Fortuna town. Cheap cab ride to most locations. And there’s a supermarket right across the street. It's in the road to La Fortuna, but pretty much all hotels are. It was not super quiet, but later in the evening the traffic is really minor, it didn't bother us at all.
Staff: Melania and all her family were so helpful and kind, we felt very welcomed. They helped us booking our tours and offered many affordable options without being pushy. They also gave us great tips on where to eat etc. We'll always remember them :)
Internet: they have a computer for guests with this software you can use to call to USA and Canada for free!!
Breakfast: it's included and very delicious/fresh. The hotel's restaurant is right beside it and open until 10 pm, very convenient. The people who run it are also so sweet and friendly (Erika, her adorable baby Maria and her husband). They would always stop by our table to chat... food was delicious and SO cheap!! We miss them too

These people really made our stay in Arenal even more special and I definitely recommend this place

Hope this review helps,
Thici and Joe

  • Stayed February 2009
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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187 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 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 (8)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
New York, NY
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 17, 2009

We booked 2 nights at this little motel and were not expecting very much as we were paying very little. But I must say that this hotel provided us with so much more than we were expecting. The say that the motel has a great view of Arenal and they speak the truth! There is a pool...which is beautiful, clean and amazing given that this is a 10 room motel. The rooms are very clean and the location suited us very well. Additionally, there was free breakfast...a real breakfast...not just coffee and pastries...

The really spectacular thing about this place though, was the staff. Jonathan and his sister could not have been more accommodating. They arranged our tours, booked our transport, and provided us with ideas. They created a very friendly vibe at this little motel...to the point where all guests were chatting around the pool one evening and getting to know each other and the staff. I have been and will continue to recommend this place to anyone and everyone thinking about visiting Arenal. Thanks so much guys...you really made our trip!

  • Stayed February 2009, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Edmonton, Alberta
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 12, 2009

This is certainly a motel rather than a hotel. It is right next to the highway that links La Fortuna to Arenal Vocano. All the rooms would have a view of the Volcano (when it isn't clouded in, which I think might be most of the time). There is a grocery story just across the highway, and a tourist info centre (we found it helpful) across the way as well. The restaurant (you get a complimentary breakfast) is much the same as the hotel... run by the same family and nothing fancy, but enjoyable and a reasonably priced. We biked to the Arenal waterfalls (highly recmmond it), and there is a access road right behind the supermarket.

  • Stayed February 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Montreal, Canada
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 1, 2009

We stayed here in August 2008, my boyfriend and I, both 21 at the time.

This hotel is more in the "motel" style. The rooms provide the absolute minimum basics, plain walls, simple bed and bathroom, and a TV. Very clean and basic. However, the view from our second floor room was breath taking! Its the perfect view of the Volcano! There is also a pretty pool, a great break in between tours! And they have a little restaurant that was open for breakfast. They make excellent Gallo Pinto! Only problem is that there are a bit slow.

The family that runs the place don;t speak much english, but they are absolute sweethearts! Very friendly people! They always tried their best to understand us (and vice versa) and helped us book many of our tours.

I also liked the location. The hotel is just outside the main center of the town, on the way to the volcano. It's surrounded by farms. There is a super market across the street and an ice cream shop (again, the people at the ice cream shop dont speak a word of english, but we're super friendly and very much appreciate tips!) The hotel is on the main road from the town center to the volcano, and its a short walk to a bunch of restaurants. You can also take a cab, it costs us 2-4$ US to get from one side of town to the other. Its a great location because you are walking distance from everything, yet your not in the middle of town.

Overall, I can't wait to return to Vista Del Cerro. It is the most basic, almost hostel like. But it was great price, perfect location and amazing view. Paradise for young or budget travellers.

  • Stayed August 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Washington, DC
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 27, 2009

We stayed a couple of nights here at the beginning of a weeklong trek through Arenal, Monteverde & the Nicoya Peninsula. I'm a little amused by the reviewers who say they expected more. We chose this hotel in part because of its high ratings, but primarily based on the fact that it's significantly cheaper than any comparable establishments in or around La Fortuna. For $24 per person a night (based on double occupancy), including breakfast, you can't beat Vista del Cerro. Of the top 20 rated hotels in La Fortuna, it's the highest rated of the 3 that feature an average per night cost under $50.

The caveats - yes, it's about a mile and a quarter (2km) outside the city. It was also an easy 20 minute walk or ~$2 (1000 colones) cab ride. It also sits alongside a busy road, and it seems that sometimes the parking lot is used by the ubiquitous "turismo" vans. If you're looking to stay within a few blocks of the city center or in a quiet locale, this isn't the place for you.

The rooms are spacious and clean and the bathrooms are nice. We did encounter ants in one of the rooms, but they were drawn to a bottle of cough syrup that wouldn't close properly.

For our purposes, it was an outstanding find. We were a quartet of travelers in our late 20s-early 30s, and we're past the point where we want to stay in hostels. There was a grocery store across the street, numerous restaurants within a few blocks, and some great little souvenir shops that held some surprising bargains given their off the beaten path location.

We were a little concerned when we got there and discovered that there were seemingly no adults in charge. The couple that runs the hotel had to leave town to deal with a family emergency, and they left their teenaged children Jonathan and Rebecca in charge. They didn't miss a beat, helping us arrange tours, giving us pointers on where to go and what certain activities would cost. Our second (and last night there), we sat around the pool drinking with some friends we'd made while traveling, and we asked Jonathan about transport to Monteverde. He went back into the office, came out with a cordless phone, and arranged the "Jeep-Boat-Jeep" transport to Monteverde....at 10 p.m. I can't complain about that kind of service.

Are there nicer places in La Fortuna? Certainly, as this hotel makes no pretension of being a luxury place. Is there a better value in the area? I doubt there is.

  • Stayed February 2009, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Worldwide
Senior Contributor
36 reviews 36 reviews
32 hotel reviews
Reviews in 33 cities Reviews in 33 cities
91 helpful votes 91 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 5, 2009

To tell the truth, we were not all that impressed with Vista del Cerro. I was hoping for more based on the previous reviews, but I probably wouldn't stay here again, especially as there must be over a hundred places to stay in the Arenal/La Fortuna area.

On the plus side, it is inexpensive, clean and the rooms are spacious with two double beds, AC and a TV. the water temperature in the showers is nice and HOT - no lukewarm or cold showers at this place. Hopefully, you won't be spending too much time in the room, but it has been known to rain in Costa Rica every once in a while =-)

However, our room had an overpowering musty, mildew smell, which made us not want to spend much time in the room at all. There was also a substantial gap under the front door, allowing several types of spiders to come sauntering in and hide out in various places in the room. Bugs in tropical locations are fine (we have flying cockroaches in FL, for goodness sake), but the large gap under the door could be easily remedied so that we had less 8-legged guests in the room during the night.

The owner's son who greeted us when we arrived was friendly upon arrival, but seemed annoyed when we did not immediately book one of the many tours from the brochures he pushed into our hands at check-in.

As someone pointed in an earlier review, this is a motel, not a hotel. We knew that upfront, but were not prepared for the noise level just outside our motel room door (which faces onto the parking lot). We were awoken the first morning before 8am to the sound of blaring music, as if someone were having a party just outside our door. Peeking our heads out, we realised that it was the owner's son washing his car (parked right in front of our door) with the stereo on - LOUD!! With only a couple of feet between our door and his stereo, plus the acoustic boost provided by that gap under the door, there was no chance of going back to sleep.

The second morning we were again awoken before 8am by the large rider lawnmower that somebody was driving back and forth under our window. I realize they need to mow the grass at some point, but isn't there some sort of unspoken rule that loud noises should only commence once your hotel guests are presumably awake? If nothing else, a hotel should be a place to sleep, and we weren't getting enough of it!

Breakfast at the restaurant next door is an additional $4 per person, a good deal, but the breakfast was just average. We instead found a place called the Vienna Bakery located on the main road heading out of La Fortuna towards Vista del Cerro that was so delicious - great coffee from the Doka coffee estate, fresh pastries, great omelets and friendly staff. I would skip breakfast at Vista del Cerro and just head to the Vienna Bakery instead.

As for La Fortuna itself, the volcano is simply amazing if it is clear and spouting forth it's hot rocks. We drove down the VERY bumpy road to the bridge just before the Arenal Observatory Lodge to watch the eruptions. Don't attempt this without a 4WD! It made me think that next time I would just book a hotel with a view of the eruptions, rather than driving down the potholed road late at night to view it. You cannot see the active side of the volcano from Vista del Cerro, as the flows apparently changed direction a couple of years ago and now there are only a handful of hotels with lava views.

As for other activities in town - ziplining, canyoning, rafting, etc - be prepared to cough up some major cash. We stopped by Gringo Pete's to check out the discounts on local activities (and he did indeed have the best rates in town), but even Pete himself was surprised at the recent 2009 price hikes of many of the activities.

All in all, La Fortuna is a worthy destination for the volcano views, but I would hunt around for an alternative place to stay.

Stayed January 2009
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 2, 2009

We stayed here for 3 nights and it was great. We wish we could have stayed here longer. The rooms were very clean and rather large. The location is also great. It is walking distance to the town and several restaurants. I liked that it was not right in the town but close to enough. There is a grocery store across the street for us to get snacks and beverages. Everyone was very helpful in setting up tours for us and was even able to offer us a discount on some of the tours. We were having problems with our AC and they moved us immediatly to another room. The service, rooms and breakfast in the morning were all great. I highly recommend this hotel!
The only con is that they do not take credit cards. We had to pay for the rooms and all tours booked through the hotel in cash. We were unaware of this before booked and had to keep going to the ATM to get more cash. This was not a huge deal but if we knew ahead of time we would have brought more cash with us.

  • Liked — Location, Clean, Hospitable
  • Disliked — None
  • Stayed January 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel Vista del Cerro

Address: 2 miles west from la fortuna | (on the way to arenal volcano), La Fortuna de San Carlos, Arenal Volcano National Park, Costa Rica
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Alajuela > Arenal Volcano National Park > La Fortuna de San Carlos
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( Wi-Fi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #35 of 64 Hotels in La Fortuna de San Carlos
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Hotel Vista del Cerro 2.5*
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Hotel Vista Del Cerro is located in La Fortuna San Carlos Costa Rica, one of the most wonderful areas of the country.We offer very comfortable and spacious rooms where you can enjoy the most relaxing rest, while admiring spectacular eruptions of the Arenal Volcano, from the commodity of your room. In addition, we offer nature lovers a large variety of activities such us the La Fortuna Waterfall, ATV tours to the Arenal River, hot springs, or the fascinating Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge and for those who prefer thrilling adventures we have Canopy Tours and White water rafting. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Vista Del Cerro Hotel
Hotel Vista Del Cerro Costa Rica/Arenal Volcano National Park

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