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“Perfect hotel for Costa Rica getaway” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Villa Caletas

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Villa Caletas
4.0 of 5 Hotel   |   2 km after Punta Leona | Herradura, Jaco 12358-1000, Costa Rica   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #4 of 43 Hotels in Jaco
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
New York, NY
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Perfect hotel for Costa Rica getaway”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 8, 2009

We stayed at Villa Caletas for 1 week during Memorial Day and were very happy. We chose the hotel based on recommendations from 2 friends, but also liked the location on the Pacific Coast and being only 2 hours drive from the airport in San Juan.

It was a great hotel for doing a lot of activities in the region. The Concierge at the hotel arranged it all for us with just a day or 2 notice (we planned it all once we got down there), and did a Tortuga Island catamaran sail, surf lessons in Jaco, a zip line canopy tour, and a guided tour of Manuel Antonio park. More on that in a moment....

The hotel itself is just stunning. Loved that it was a boutique hotel, so it was intimate but not so small that we felt alone. There were many other couples we saw, and a few groups, but it never felt crowded.

It felt luxurious in many ways, but not fancy or stuffy. Just a very nice, upscale hotel and environment.

On our friends suggestions, we chose not to rent a car, since we knew the hotel would be arranging our activities, and in retrospect that was the right choice. We probably could have used a car 2 days out of 7, to explore on our own, but knowing what we'd planned, it was so relaxing to not have to drive from the airport (the hotel arranged for a car to pick us up for $100 each way- very reasonable for a 2 hour trip each way for 2 ppl) and not to worry about driving the windy Costa Rican roads.

We went to the Marriott in Los Suenos (10 minutes away) 2 times: once for dinner, and another time to see friends at the pool, and it was a beautiful property, but SO Amercicanized feeling. Villa Caletas was just as comfortable and stunning, but felt more authentic and much more unique.

The best part of Villa Caletas besides the stunning property is the service. It was great service that felt genuine---- never too pushy, never too "desparate" meaning not over-the-top with "sir" or anything like that and NEVER felt pressured for a tip, everyone we met just seemed very intuitive and we felt they were very kind, hard-working people. We felt very welcomed and taken care of.

We stayed in a villa, room 10, which was just beautiful. Only a stand-up shower which was ok for us, but I did expect a bathtub. The views were just amazing!! I'm never one to make coffee in the room, but I did it here and it was delicious. (Bring some home when you go) I'd read previous reviews that there weren't many toiletries, so we brought plenty of shampoo and lotion and was glad that I did. We also brought granola bars for breakfast and some snacks/crackers, which was perfect because there isn't anywhere in the hotel to buy simple snacks.

We ate at the Ampitheater restaurant probably 7 times total throughout the week for breakfast, lunch, or dinner and were always very happy with the food and service. It is open air, and it is very warm, so as long as we dressed accordingly it was very comfortable.

In the spirit of trying to truly "get away" we didn't bring our laptops so logged onto the hotel computer a couple times which was $4/ hour and very easy to use. It worked for us.

We did the hotel beach one afternoon and it is very rocky, but not bad at all with water shoes. It was very serene and we relaxed in the hammocks and in the beach chairs. Nothing exciting though. They could really make it more fun with some music playing.

The only thing that bugged us (literally!) were some insects that made their way into the room. It was only a couple each day, but was usually in the morning that we'd spot a spider or insect on the curtains in the living area, or in the shower. It was such a minor thing overall, and we never have to worry about bugs living in NYC!, but do not go here if that would bother you. Our friends at the Marriott said they had a similar issue, so I know it's not unique to Villa Caletas.

Activities are a MUST if you come to Costa Rica, and we were very happy with ours. Our first full day there we just relaxed by the pool and the hotel beach.

The 2nd day, we did the Tortuga Island catamaran which was EXCELLENT, probably our favorite day. The bus that picks you up also picks up people from the Marriott though, so we were glad we were waiting by the front desk!! We were the last to be picked up. I'd go again to Tortuga in a hearbeat- it was a nicer catamaran boat with 2 pools on deck, which was perfect since the sun was brutally hot. You had to pay out of pocket for alcoholic drinks, which we were told in advance, but it ended up still being a great value for a whole day sail.

The 3rd day the Concierge arranged a 2 hour surf lesson for us in Jaco. Jaco is NOT a pretty beach- the sand is dark, and the scene is a little sad, but it is a perfect surfers beach. It was our first time surfing but the waves were perfect, ocean was warm, and our instructors were VERY good. We were exhausted but happy when the lesson was over! I believe our instructor was Raoul, and the owner/ instructor on land was Gustavo.

The 4th day we did the zip line canopy tour in the morning. It was a blast, athough in retrospect, I've seen more exciting courses on TV. It felt challenging at the time but little kids were doing it, too, so how hard could it have been?! The hotel arranged this for us as well, so while it was enjoyable, if you have a rental car you can probably drive to a more exciting course.

The next day we did a guided tour of Manuel Antonio National Park. Beautiful!! Do not miss this! We ended up being the only 2 signed up that day, so had the tour guide to ourselves. He was nice, not our favorite guide of all time, but did a great job of pointing out monkeys and other animals along our hike (yes, we saw monkeys!). It was a 1 1/2 hour drive from the hotel, then a 1 hour hike from where we parked to a gorgeous white sandy beach. We were on the sand by 10am, the guide told us we could relax for as long as we'd like, so we stayed and swam/ relaxed until around 1pm, then hiked back. Just a beautiful, picturesque park. I wish we'd actually spent more than 1 day there.

For dinners all week, we ate a couple times at the hotel, once at Pelicano (via 10 minute taxi ride) in Herradura, which was delicious (not too fancy), twice on the Marriott property, and once in Jaco. Everywhere was very casual- ladies, no need to bring heels! Food everywhere was very good. Nothing necessarily 5 star, but great seafood and worked for us.

Overall, I'll probably never come back to Costa Rica because there are so many places in the world we want to go before we go somewhere twice, but I'd recommend Villa Caletas to anyone looking for a wonderful trip to the Pacific Coast of beautiful Costa Rica. Enjoy.

  • Stayed May 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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915 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
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English first
Washington DC
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed June 7, 2009

Hotel Villa Caletas was our second stop on our 11 day trip to Costa Rica. Our first stop was at Gaia Hotel and Reserve (about 1.5 hours away from this hotel). Since the room we got at Villa Caletas was more expensive than Gaia Hotel and Reserve, we were expecting similar or higher standards than Gaia. However, we were taken aback as soon as we entered the hotel reception. The room was dark and depressing and there was very little in the way of greetings. We weren't offered any water or any sort of warm welcome. The reception felt rehearsed and unsatisfactory.

Our room was quite pleasant though. We had a nice view of the ocean, our own terrace with a large jacuzzi. The rest of the hotel property looked like a dull amusement park. The architectural elements scattered around at the hotel grounds clashed with each other and generally felt unpleasant and artificial.

We decided to spend the time we were there in our room because that was the only good part of the hotel. This feeling didn't last too long either after ordering the worst in-room dinner. We know not to expect too much from hotel food but we paid a steep price for the terrible food we got. Breakfast was not included in our room cost. Every morning we needed to get out of the hotel by 5:30 AM to meet with our guide for jungle tours and river tours. We thought since the hotel is near the Carara National Park and the best time to see wildlife is early morning, the hotel would accommodate an early breakfast. But if we wanted to eat anything that early, we had to pay $12 for two pieces of fruit and a power bar and they would put it in our room the night before.

We decided not to eat at the hotel property anymore. Luckily, our awesome guide, Victor, told us about a local restaurant that was really good called Steve 'n' Lisa. Although it was a 10 minute drive from our hotel, we ate the rest of all our meals there. The amount we paid for all amazing seafood dishes at Steve 'n' Lisa was less than that one terrible dinner at Villa Caletas restaurant.

The hotel boasts a spa named "Serenity Spa" so I was excited to get a massage there. I would not call it a spa at all. There was no changing room, no robes, no sauna, no relaxing lounge or tea offered at any time.

Not that we needed to use the business center but if we did, it was $4 per hour. They were definitely nickel and diming their guests.

When it was time to checkout, the receptionist gave us a hotel survey to fill out. We expressed our disappointments in the survey openly and the person saw what we wrote but instead of feeling sorry for our experience, he totally ignored it and went back to his rehearsed speech and said he hopes to see us again soon.

Out of all the 5 hotels we stayed at during our trip to Costa Rica, this was the most expensive and yet the worst.

  • Stayed May 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Grand Lake
Level Contributor
24 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 21, 2009

Villa Caletas was our first stop in Costa Rica and what a treat. The rooms were lovely with a private balcony with a drop dead gorgeous view of the ocean. Sunsets from the amphitheater, complete with musical accompaniement were the most romantic ever! Service was superb and very friendly. Food was very good, and well presented but not fabulous. Infinity pool great too. I agree with a review I saw that 2 days was probably enough which is true. Very relaxing, great place to hang by the pool and read, sunbathe, etc but I'd get antsy after that. We were told that Jaco was not nice, but we drove through on our way to our next destination and I think it looked fun -cute shops, restaurants, bars, etc.

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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New York, New York
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 29, 2009

We went to Villa Caletas for Thanksiving weekend. It is as stunning as we heard it was. The location is like nowhere else, and the website only shows some of it's best features. Despite the rain, we were bowled over. The rooms are beautiful and very authentic. The views from anywhere around the hotel are breathtaking. The only problem we had overall was the small expenses here and there. Drinks by the pool, the outside restaurant, the spa services are all overpriced. We knew it was undoubtedly the best hotel in Costa Rica, but still felt the prices were unjustified. The couples massage lasted over an hour and is de-stressing but costs $100 each. One of the real treats of staying at the hotel is the private beach. You need to take your life in your hands and take the rather scary trailer ride downhill through the forest to get to the beach, but it's worth it. We visited the nearby Marriott and we were really glad we were at Villa Caletas. The restaurant food is nice, but eating breakfast there is unnecessary. We recommend going to any shack/restaurant for delicious Huevos Rancheros or something much less expensive. Overall, it is one of the most luxurious and authentic hotels you can possibly stay at. While the basic cost of staying is reasonable, the hidden extras are expensive, even by American standards. There is nowhere better to stay in Costa Rica, and the famous sunset at the amphitheatre reminds you of that.

  • Stayed November 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Costa Rica
Level Contributor
89 reviews
46 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 65 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 22, 2009

We got married in Caletas a few weeks ago and there are no words to describe the experience. Our guests love it and we did as well. We actually stayed in the Palace Zephyr, at the Imperial Suite. The service overall is really amazing, people are so nice and friendly and they really try to do everything to help you. The views from both hotels are impressive and the food is delicious. My husband and I we travel a lot, and we have been in every continent in the world and stayed in many hotels, but the friendliness, service, location and ambience of caletas is not seen that often. I am costarican and my husband is dutch and we just simply loved it. We recommend it 100%.

  • Stayed March 2009, 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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Houston, Texas
Level Contributor
10 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 5, 2009

Excellent choice. I have lived in the area for the past 6 years but had never stayed there. We always would choose the Marriott. Villa's Caletas is luxury and the grounds and views are amazing! We stayed in a suite with a outdoor jacuzzi and the room was comfortable, TV/DVD, hot water and small sitting area. Very private and always a neat bird show (many different types) in front of us.
We ate at the Mirador Restaurantad the food and service was great. If you are looking for a beautiful beach (sand and all) make sure you rent a car for your stay (might want to check with the hotel that all cars can make it up the entrance) so you can get to Jaco/Hermosa and back.
It is a very famous spot to view the sunset and known for hosting private events. You'll definately see why!

  • Stayed February 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 1, 2009

My wife and I were married here on 2/2 with 25 guests. The staff was excellent from the day we made contact via e-mail and continued to impress once we arrived. They were on top of everything and the wait staff treated everyone like kings throughout the whole week.

Most of our wedding guests stayed in Villas, all were different and great in their own way. We were fortunate enough to stay in a master suite and I don't think I will ever be able to find a room as luxurious anywhere! We had an infinity pool with breathtaking views in our own hotel room!

The views from the pool and amphitheater were breathtaking.... we knew they were going to be great from the pictures on line....but the pictures don't do it justice.

I could go on...and on.... but this is one place that you must experience!

  • 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
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 Villa Caletas

Address: 2 km after Punta Leona | Herradura, Jaco 12358-1000, Costa Rica
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Puntarenas > Jaco
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Luxury Hotel in Jaco
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Jaco
#2 Family Hotel in Jaco
#2 Romantic Hotel in Jaco
#2 Spa Hotel in Jaco
#4 Business Hotel in Jaco
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Villa Caletas 4*
Number of rooms: 45
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Villa Caletas, a luxury romantic boutique hotel inspired by tropical Victorian architecture with a touch of neo-classical influence shining like a jewel among resorts, prized not only for its location, design and décor, but also for its outstanding facilities and first class service. Villa Caletas expresses a truly unique combination of mountain and seaside resort. Nestled 1150 feet above the Pacific Ocean, this unique hotel overlooks the Nicoya Gulf to the crescent beaches of Jaco, Herradura offering spectacular 360-degree panoramic views. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Villa Caletas Hotel Jaco
Caletas Hotel Herradura
Villa Caletas Costa Rica/Jaco

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