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“Hotel Bula Bula is Nice, Accomodating, but the road to get there....” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Hotel Bula Bula

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Hotel Bula Bula
3.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Playa Grande Road, Playa Grande, Costa Rica   |  
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Hotel amenities
Ranked #4 of 7 Hotels in Playa Grande
Bellingham, Washington
Senior Contributor
43 reviews 43 reviews
30 hotel reviews
Reviews in 30 cities Reviews in 30 cities
69 helpful votes 69 helpful votes
“Hotel Bula Bula is Nice, Accomodating, but the road to get there....”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 3, 2007

If you are planning a trip to this area only, fly into the Liberia Airport. It's a long drive from San Jose !!...We stayed at the Hotel Bula Bula for 3 days before Christmas 2006. We had a nice stay at this comfortable Inn, but the road to get to Playa Grande was rough! It took us all day to get there from San Jose because of traffic, and having to slow down because of pot holes, etc..... If you plan on driving here yourself, allow plenty of time driving time....Hotel Bula Bula is in an upscale new housing development and without the signs pointing the way to the Bula Bula, we would have gotten lost!....This area is nice but it has lost it's Costa Rican charm with the Gringo influence and "attitudes" ...

The Hotel Bula Bula is pricey but it's because they provid their guests with all the creature comforts *air-conditioner, fan, fridge, plenty of towels, coffee machine, bottled water, swimming pool, toiletries, nice breakfast, T.V, plush pillows, safe, and clean rooms* (no Bibles in the rooms though!?:..We offered to buy a Bible for each of their rooms but we have not heard back from them about our offer)....The hotel is owned by 2 American men (a nice couple:-)...They have done their best to make this a tropical paradise. The Bula Bula serves delightful gourmet dinners in the evening and the outdoor dining room is overseen by the owner "Todd" and comedian, "Bert the Bird!!"...I think the other owner "Wallie" is in charge of the bar and kitchen and he did a fine job, too...Bring lots of bug spray for your body (deet) and USE IT generously. Even with spray, we were bitten by mosquitos. Every night we used "New-Skin" on our painful bites and found this stuff really works. Throw a bottle of that in your suitcase and see for yourself!!
Our room was sprayed for insects everyday with each maid service which made our room completely "Bug-Free"...(thank you Todd and Wallie for this hard to find luxury in C.R)....Outside of the Bula Bula, we experienced some adventures......**We took a boat ride with Luis to Tamarindo from the Bula Bula lagoon and found Tamarindo a tourist-trap. It was nice to come back to the Bula Bula's atmosphere and rest after our day trip to the over-rated Tamarindo....Souvenirs are way to expensive here! (Go directly to Sarchi to find the good deals on them!!!)..There is no internet available at the Bula Bula, no phones in the room and so we used the Internet Cafe in Tamarindo and we ate at Subway, because it had "air-con"....This area is super hot so bring lots of sun-screen, too!

**We ate at the Rip-Jack Inn and this is where the Gringo influence and attitude was raging....The owners are nice (we met them on a bus in San Jose) but they were not around when we went for dinner...After meeting the very nice owners, we were shocked to see how their employees acted sooo "stuck-up" leaving us with the impression that they were doing us a favor by waiting on us...Huddling in small groups, they were more concerned with their daily "small talk" that left us waiting for the delivery of our food, water refills, and over 10 minutes for the final bill..Our son got sick to his stomach from his Shrimp dinner~!...As the sun went down over the horizon, the Rip Jack Inn turned into a real Meat Market!!.....

**For laying in the sun and enjoying this area's beauty, the beach up the road from Bula Bula is BEAUTIFUL....

**We tried to go on the turtle tour advertised thru the hotel and hosted by the Park Ranger but we ended up waiting (11pm-2am) for nothing. That's the chance you take on a tour like this..You don't have to pay them if you don't see a turtle and we found the video they show ed everyone to be very informative...

Again, the road to Playa Grande is rough...Ladies be sure to wear your support bra~~~and bring your own water, drinks and snacks to save money !!!....

  • Liked — Clean...
  • Disliked — Drunks at the bar!
  • Stayed February 2007, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 1 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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285 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 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 (36)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
florida
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 29, 2007

This place is by far have the nicest hotel in all of playa grande and northwest Costa Rica. My wife and I were even married there over 3 years ago and have been there over 4 times since to this part of Costa Rica and we will definitely return again. This is a place to unwind and forget about all of the silly unecessary things of life like telephones in your room. A vacation is for relaxing and having fun. This is the place to do that. We are also surfers and playa grande is one of the best spots to score perfect consistent surf. The owners Todd and Wally are very nice people and are very hospitable moreso than any other place we have visted. This is why we go back, for that local welcoming pura vida spirit. If youre looking for a starbux and a bluetooth hotspot you have no place visting costa rica. This is a beautiful 3rd world country that has the nicest scenery and people on the face of this planet. Please do not let negative reviews on this arbitrary site deter you from visting playa grande and bula bula. HIGLY RECOMMEND THIS HOTEL!!!! bear in mind there are many negative people on this site who expect to get things for nohthing and will give anyone a bad review so please try and be dilligent and objective when selecting a destination. do your research..... Much love to hotel bula bula and their staff they are 2nd to none!!!!!!! <3

  • Liked — nice people and nice hotel
  • Disliked — nothing
  • Stayed January 2007, 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Raleigh, NC
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 23, 2007

A group of us went down to Costa Rica for a week over New Years and we booked a villa for the week, but three of us got to Playa Grande a couple of days early and needed a place to stay. The Hotel Bula Bula fit the bill. The rooms were quiet, clean, attractive, reasonably priced, the A/C worked great, the staff at this property were EXTREMELY helpful [Thanks Todd!] with sharing information about the area, booking excursions, etc. Bert, the parrot, who hung out in the restaurant / bar area was also a hoot! He'll be sure to welcome you with a resounding 'Hola' or will switch to English and say 'hello'. They've got a rum punch named after him - it's quite potent! Breakfast at the Bula was GREAT and is included with your stay. Be sure to try the french toast! Yum! The only note of caution - the beds are quite firm, so if you are not used to this - can be a bit of a shocker. I still slept well! Overall, a great place to stay. Because our villa was so close, we frequented the Bula in the evenings. Also, there are some skiffs that run between Playa Grande and Tamarindo and the point for catching them is right beside Hotel Bula Bula - good to know!

Stayed December 2006
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Jose
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed December 31, 2006

I wish i could say i loved this place... but I was pretty miserable. First off, i had no idea they would not have any phones in the room and the only phone you can use is the one at the bar, and you have to "hurry". If you plan on being connected to the rest of the world, this is not the hotel to be. Also Playa Grande is totally boring and Tamarindo is pretty scuzzy. The hotel itself is quaint (not luxurious by any means) and the owners and staff are nice - but i literally felt like i was laying in the sun at a friends house while laying out in their pool. There are no amenities and really cheap lounge chairs just thrown around. There's no reception area (you check in at the bar). The food is just OK - however i had read it was AMAZING and it honestly was not at all. I'll never go back to Playa Grande or Bula Bula. I was really unimpressed with both and don't feel the reviews on this site are painting a realistic picture.

  • Liked — Room was "cozy"
  • Disliked — Location, no phones, pool
  • Stayed December 2006, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 1 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
PG-FT-Resident, owner at Hotel Bula Bula, responded to this review, January 17, 2007
It appears BWSanJose did not research before coming to Playa Grande or to our hotel. We are national park and we advertise that we are a "terrific place to unwind and collect seashells". There are quite a few other outdoor activities available, but the reviewer did not want to participate in them.

We do not claim to be the next Cozumel where large hotels with grand, marbled entranceways, multiple olympic-size pools and waterparks abound. We also do not claim to have phones in-room. However, our guests compliment us as the "gem in the jungle" and the "perfect place for a Costa Rican tropical vacation." Our restaurant continues to get rave reviews from locals, visitors from all over the world and travel guides alike.

Todd Redeker
Owner - Hotel Bula Bula

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Auberry, California
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 14, 2006

What a great way to check in, at the bar! Todd the owner is the nicest guy. And the rest of the staff was great also. We spent 4 nights here in early Nov. Rooms are on the small side and could use a luggage rack, but very colorful and clean. Everyday the they are cleaned, fresh towels, coffee and bottled water. The front porch rocking chairs a great. The pool is nice and clean and refreshing. But the pool furniture needs to be replaced. The food at the resturant is great. We ate most all our meals here and didn't have a bad one. The breakfast that is included in the price of the rooms was also very good. Cooked to order, and pretty much whatever you want. And did I mention the Waltini Martini. I'd come back just for one of those. Tamerindo had nothing to offer, but Playe Grande is a beautiful (almost secluded) beach and if your there durning turtle season you most take tour. It's amazing!

  • Liked — Location, food, service
  • Disliked — Needs luggage rack and new pool furniture
  • Tips/Secrets — Try the Waltini martini and cerviche
  • Stayed November 2006, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel Bula Bula

Address: Playa Grande Road, Playa Grande, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Guanacaste > Playa Grande
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#3 Family Hotel in Playa Grande
#4 Romantic Hotel in Playa Grande
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — Hotel Bula Bula 3*
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Set outside Tamarindo in the beach village and national park of Playa Grande. We offer the romantic, the surfer, and the active traveler a tropical oasis amid the tourist stops. Superior rooms with modern amenities compliment the elegant restaurant where exceptional seafood, steaks and local specialties are served. Friendly and attentive staff ensure your stay is a satisfying one. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Bula Playa Grande

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