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“Good value” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Bungalows Calalu

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Bungalows Calalu
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Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, Costa Rica   |  
Hotel amenities
San Jose, Costa Rica
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
“Good value”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 29, 2008

Although a lot of reviewers seem to have problems with the owners of Calalú, I have received nothing but good service from them, and they do not strike me as particularly unfriendly or unreasonable, and definitely not mean, as some seem to think. I've never had any reason to complain, though, so perhaps I've just been lucky and avoided their dark side; my impression is that they are reasonably polite and helpful people.

I've stayed there seven times over the last years, since the cabinas are cheaper than most other decent options, and a lot nicer than the cheaper options. $40/night ($60 for 4 people) is quite a bargain, considering that it's peaceful, yet close to town and the beach. And it has a pool, which is nice enough and not dirty.

The rooms are simple, yet nice, with large bathrooms and a terrace. Some have a small kitchen with fridge. The kitchen could use a little upgrade, though; it's more suitable for storing beers in the fridge than for cooking.

I recommend Calalú for laidback, self-going people who do not need luxury to make their vacation perfect, yet don't feel comfortable in the cheapest places. If you get personally offended by missing details, you may want to pay a bit more somewhere else.

  • Liked — relation price/quality/location
  • Stayed July 2008, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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82 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    53
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    6
    5
    5
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16
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4
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 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 (3)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
San Jose
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
1 of 5 stars Reviewed January 2, 2008

The rooms are quite confortable for the price, but It only had one small fan. The owners were rude and they dont aloud people to drink or
eat near the pool area as the own a "restaurant" that was never open. No visits allowed an parking lot was small and full of dog shits.

Unfortunadly we lost the key to the villa and the owner wanted me to pay more than $100.00 to put brand new locks! She even said that I had
to go with her to the police to solve the problem. They dont know a thing on how to mantain the pool as they never turn on the pump.

If you want good service for what you pay, don´t go to this place!

  • Disliked — Owner Service
  • Stayed December 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Costa Rica, San Jose
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 30, 2007

Everything was OK, the bungalows are clean and warm. The pool was OK but the owner threw some soap into it while we were enjoying the pool at night. They say that there is a restaurant but it is always empty, maybe because of the owners. But if you don`t talk to them, you can enoy your trip.

  • Liked — The prices
  • Disliked — The owner
  • Stayed July 2007, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 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.
Seattle, Washington
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed May 29, 2007

This place consists of a grouping of small cabins set 100 meters back from the main road. The cabins are very basic and get very hot, but it stays quiet all the time. Exotic plants and winding gravel trails make for an enjoyable ambiance, but beyond this nothing lived up to the promises. The pool is great for cooling off, but the water is not circulated and is uncomfortably warm by mid day, and that little waterfall they advertise was not turned on once the entire time we were there. The other feature they advertise is the butterfly room which also was not in operation. The biggest disappointment for me with this place was the unfriendly owners. With all that said it wasn't the worst place I've ever stayed, but you will likely leave feeling you didn't get your money's worth. I'd skip it.

  • Liked — Ambiance and a pool
  • Disliked — Unfriendly staff
  • Stayed April 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
boston, MA
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
35 helpful votes 35 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 10, 2007

Pretty hotel and extremely reasonable rates. Everything was on the newer side. Bungalows were adorable and private. Pool is refreshing but is very small. Don't recomend the resteraunt on site but you are within walking distance from many good alternatives.

  • Stayed April 2006, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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Vancouver, BC
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 31, 2006

We stayed at Calalu for 4 nights from Dec 22 to the 26th. This was the only part of our 18 day trip to Costa Rica and Panama that we booked ahead, just to make sure that we had a reasonable place to stay at such a busy time of year.

Overall, we were satisfied. It was more or less on par with other places we stayed at throughout our trip. The grounds are nicely kept, and the bungalows are simple but clean. They have a porch with a sitting area and some benches. No hammocks though, which are generally pretty standard for patios down there. We paid $40 a night, which was probably the best deal in town for what we got during Christmas week.

A few things should be noted though.

1) The picture of the pool on the website is very cleverly photographed. In actuality, it's about 1/3 the size it appears. It is still clean and nicely landscaped, and is certainly a nice respite from the heat and a good way to finish a day at the beach.

2) It is located on the outskirts of town, about 100 m down a road that features a lot of..."local colour". We stayed at 2 other places in PV that had night security, as far as I could tell Calalu did not. On leaving our bungalow at 7:30 one morning to go diving I discovered a local fellow (who clearly should have called it a night several hours earlier) stumbling from bungalow to bungalow. Another guest and I had to escort him off the property. That said, the windows are secured, doors have deadbolts, and we checked out with everything we brought. We saw the same guy around town a lot after that, and it seems he's more of a local pest than a major security problem.

3) Housekeeping could have been better. The bed was made everyday, but 4 nights in the tropics without changing the sheets made our last night somewhat...smelly. Maybe this is more my problem than the hotels! Who knows. We also had our used towels removed everyday and sometimes replaced, sometimes not, or sometimes were given 1 towel to share. I'm sure if we asked we could have gotten another, but we spent so little time actually at the bungalow we never really got around to it.

Finally, although it was a comfortable mattress, the sheet pulled loose one night at which point we saw that many others had spent many sweaty nights on it. It had definitely seen better days. A mattress cover would have been a nice touch.

All in all, for what we paid we left feeling that we got decent value. Nothing over and above, but nothing terrible. Although we booked in advance, I suspect that any other time of year you could show up and there would be room available. I would advise doing just that, because it seems that the vast majority of dissatisfied reviews on this site are from people who book ahead, are dissapointed on arrival, and have no choice but to stay because it's already paid for. Just my thoughts.

  • Liked — It had a pool, close to town but not noisy
  • Disliked — Housekeeping
  • Tips/Secrets — Don't book ahead, just show up and see if you like it
  • Stayed December 2006, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 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.
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Additional Information about Bungalows Calalu

Address: Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, Costa Rica
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Limon > Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
Amenities:
Free Parking Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #14 of 67 Specialty Lodging in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
Number of rooms: 5
Also Known As:
Calalu Hotel Puerto Viejo
Bungalows Calalu Costa Rica/Limon

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