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“Heaven On Earth” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Casa Chameleon

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Casa Chameleon
4.0 of 5 Boutique Hotel   |   Punta Barrigona, Mal Pais, Costa Rica   |  
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15% off room rate
Ranked #3 of 10 hotels in Mal Pais
Severn Bridge, Canada
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Heaven On Earth”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 4, 2012

We stayed at Casa Chameleon for 3 nights Mid May 2012 and wished we had booked our whole stay in Costa Rica there! Not only are the rooms absolutely breathtaking, but the food is to die for! Our chefs cooked the best food we have had in our entire life and totally changed our expectations for eating in the future, but not only were they amazing at their craft they were also very personable and accommodating. I wasn't feeling well one night, and Oscar stayed at the resort all night just in case we needed him. This place is a MUST see if you go to Costa Rica!

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 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.
puravida5, General Manager at Casa Chameleon, responded to this review, June 19, 2012
We are glad you enjoyed your stay at Casa Chameleon, and that you where able to delight yourselves with our fabulous cuisine! Our chefs pride themselves in using the freshest available local ingredients in their creations.Oscar, as well as the rest of our staff work hard to make each experience memorable, so we are glad to hear that you thought highly of their service! Thanks for the great review!!!
-Casa Chameleon Staff & Management
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (22)
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English first
NYC
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 3, 2012

I thought I had posted this months ago, but apparently only saved it as a draft -- hope this is helpful!

Where can we begin? My wife and I took our honeymoon in Costa Rica in November 2011 and stayed at Casa Chamelon. My wife had done a simple google search for "costa rica hotel private pool" and Casa Chameleon was one of the top results. We had an absolutely fantastic time -- let me explain.

We bought their 'Romance package' which was 5 nights in the Villa Vista, but we added two nights on for a whole week's stay. From start to finish we were thrilled with the experience, their responsiveness, and efficiency. Under the Romance package they setup our round trip flight from San Jose to Tambor (the closest airport to the hotel) and arranged our taxi to and from the airport as well. This all went off totally smoothly, without a hitch.

Our villa was absolutely great. The bathroom was massive with an amazing rain shower. The large balcony + hamock was incredibly relaxing, with views over the rainforest canopy all the way to the ocean. The private pool was a nice size for two, but the water was a bit chilly as it was often in the shade (on our check-out day they moved us to Villa Sol, where the pool was warmer since it got more direct sunlight). My only minor complaint was that the interior lighting at night was a bit dim.

While I don't think we consider ourselves foodies/food snobs, we definitely appreciate good food -- and were we wowed. Under our package we were provided breakfasts and dinners. Rob and Oscar make a dynamic duo who are super creative and talented. This region of Costa Rica (dont know about the others regions) has a very strong green/sustainable culture to it, which permeates everything from food to utilities. Rob and Oscar are especially into farm-to-table, i.e. super fresh everything. Rob provides amazingly fresh vegetables from his own farm, and as we're pescatarians, the fresh catch of the day (tuna, cod, snapper, etc) was always prepared to perfection along with the vegatables and sides. Some sample dishes were coconut rice, tuna poke, seared tuna with soy dipping sauce, quinoua with herbs and ginger, ginger brussel sporuts, fried plantains...gosh I'm getting hungry. Rob and Oscar will tailor the meal to any dietary restrictions you have whether you don't eat meat, eggs, dairy, fish, shellfish, you dont like broccoli or beets, you name it. They were incredibly nice, friendly, interesting, and a pleasure to talk to during our stay.

Our package also included a 3-day car rental--an SUV was provided--which was great because it allowed us to do lots of exploring. The roads in this part of the country are for the most part not very good. They are bumpy, hilly, pot-hole ridden, can be windy, and as we were there at the tail-end of the rainy season, there were mud slides obstructing some roads. We were completely fine, but thought some people might appreciate a heads-up. The Romance package also included a day-trip, which had a few options. We chose to go to Tortuga Island, which was a 30-40 minute drive + a short boat ride. It was just my wife and I on the boat to Tortuga Island, which had a lovely picture-perfect beach. Lunch was also provided with lots of fresh fruit and they took us snorkling.

The Casa Chamelon manager, Alonso, and the other staff who organized activities etc have a tremendous wealth of knowledge on the area and on things to do. They're super helpful and can setup activities like a surfing lesson (amazing), a zip-line tour through the rain forest canopy and into a hidden waterfall at Montezuma (also amazing). They recommended two nature reserves to visit in the area -- Cabo Blanco and Curu. CB has lots of amazing vegetation, but Curu (where you get the ferry to Tortuga) has all kinds of wildlife including different kinds of monkeys. Highly recommend both. Also, in Montezuma there are 3 waterfalls which you can hike up. Once you get directions to the parking area, you pay a few dollars to a man who lets you in, and other people may offer to guide you up. We went by ourselves and were fine, but there's no real path or anything -- you're mostly walking/wading through a shallowish brook finding your own way (and being careful). You get to the top and there's a big natural pool at the bottom of a huge waterfall. Apparently you can keep going up to the top of that waterfall (and a 3rd fall), but we couldn't find the path even though we had talked to people who had gone up earlier. On the Montezuma zipline tour, you actually make a stop at the highest of the three waterfalls, which is another cool way to see it. Whether you keep walking up the waterfalls or not, at least go up to the first pool.

The last and one of the coolest things we did was the beach-hike/walk to Coloclito Falls. You will read online and people will tell you it's impossible, but that's not really true. You just need to be dedicated and have water/food. Yes it's long and in the sun, but it's worth it. Cocolito falls is a waterfall that flows directly into the ocean, located at a secluded/isolated beach that almost no one seems to get to. You walk from Montezuma along the beach for about 2 hours. Keep on going and going, and you'll know when you're there--there is a definite waterfall, Just make sure you go early because high tide is HIGH and can make certain beaches along the way impassable/difficult to walk across.

We had an absolutely spectacular time at Casa Chamelon and would urge you to get there -- the staff are lovely, it's an amazing location, and the villas are quite spectacular. Enjoy!

Room Tip: All the villas are great!
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  • Stayed November 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 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 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
puravida5, General Manager at Casa Chameleon, responded to this review, May 21, 2012
Hi, congratulations again on your marriage! We are glad to hear your honeymoon at Casa Chameleon was special and memorable! We appreciate your feedback and thank you for the great review! Its great to hear that you took advantage of so many activities that the area has to offer, and that you enjoyed your stay at Casa Chameleon and the creations of our wonderful chefs! We hope to see you back at Casa Chameleon the next time you need to unplug and relax :)
Best,
-Casa Chameleon Staff and Management
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minneapolis
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
36 helpful votes 36 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 2, 2012

We just returned from a week at Casa Chameleon and we can't say enough good about it. We were greeted by a darling young woman, Jessica, who made us feel comfortable from the moment we walked it. It was a long day getting there but Vicky, who takes the reservations, set up our flight from San Jose to Tambor and our ride from Tambor to Malpais. Everything went off exactly as planned. We had a taxi ride and he was so awesome, took us the scenic route and not only did we see the beautiful jungle but we later retraced this route on our outing to Montezuma. Our accomodations we so incredibly beautiful. We did see all the villas and it would be hard to choose as each has something that another does not and is fabulous! The views, the sunsets, the pool, the open air hotel area, all perfect. Best of all is Rob the chef and Mark and Oscar that work with him. I can't even tell you how fabulous the food was. We ate 4 dinners here as nothing compared to these meals. They were not only delicious but beautifully accented with gorgeous flowers. Rob will make anything you want however we usually gave vague details and produced a masterpiece every night. The breakfast was fabulous and the "snack" we had for lunch a few days was also a memorable meal. Everyone was helpful and courteous. Before we arrived we wondered if things would be difficult to navigate to or far away. The hotel set up Canopy tours for us (5 min drive), we went fishing with a local guide and ate the fish for dinner! We went to the waterfalls in Montezuma, easy drive and spent time at all the local beaches. There are a couple of places close by (Vista de Olas) that has the most incredible sunset while having a drink and even as a guest you can wear your swimsuit and watch the sunset from the infinity pool. It was right down the street from our hotel. We loved every minute of it, had fun watching ALL the surfers, met friendly people from all over the world and didn't want to leave. GO, it is the best accomodations for the price you will find almost anywhere in the world. We did figure out how to "skype call" but otherwise our phones were pretty much out of commission which made it a true vacation. Charlie the owner is building 2 more villas. I know they will be fabulous as well. Every detail perfect. Thanks to all of the great staff.

Room Tip: You can't go wrong, all private, you feel like you are the only one there however we did meet a...
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  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 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.
puravida5, General Manager at Casa Chameleon, responded to this review, May 21, 2012
Hi! We are so glad you enjoyed your stay at Casa Chameleon! Thank you for the wonderful review!! Our entire staff works very hard to ensure that your experience is one of a kind, from the travel arrangements to the accommodations, tours, activities, and of course the food! We hope you will come back and check out the new villas!!
Pura vida!!
Hotel Casa Chameleon Staff & Management
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Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 25, 2012

Where do I start?? This place really is a paradise, we stayed in the ultra luxury villa because it was our honeymoon and we just felt so pampered, even though it wasn't an all-inclusive resort. We got massages in our room and swam in our very own infinity pool and lounged on our canopied four-poster bed and took a bubble bath in the stone tub. The front desk was helpful and attentive and organized any trips we wanted to take (ordered the cab, booked the trip, etc...) from zip-lining and snorkeling to casual dinner and grocery trips. The ultra villa has a full kitchen so we even got domestic for a few nights and cooked a few meals there in our room. We did encounter two scorpions in our room but this type of thing is unavoidable. The location is absolutely positively unbeatable! The view is amazing and it's so great that you can completely open up those glass doors and really enjoy the jungle. We had monkeys outside our doors in the morning and bats and lizards ate all the mosquitos at night. You have to appreciate nature and be ok with some bugs and things like that to come here. If you're ok with that, then you will have an unparalleled trip with beautiful weather and lovely people. This part of Costa Rica can be dusty but Casa Chameleon is up off the road and lovingly isolated and quiet. Our chef, Robbie, was sweet and ridiculously talented. The very first night, we had tuna and steak that both just fell apart in our mouths and we both agreed was the best of both that we had ever had. In the morning Oscar cooked our breakfast, ask him for the traditional Costa Rican breakfast! He was incredibly nice and always had suggestions for activities and places to go and eat. I just can't say enough about how wonderful a time we had. Since it's such a small place as well, there's only ever four couples max there at a time. It was so romantic and private and calming! I was a little freaked at the scorpions (one was hiding under my bathing suit one morning) but other than that, the resort and the people and the location and the beach and the jungle just made this the best vacation of my life. Oh, they claim to have wifi and we never got signal in our room... but who really cares? Get unplugged and enjoy your stay!

Room Tip: Ultra luxury villa, I mean, really, don't settle for less than your own infinity pool!
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  • Stayed December 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
puravida5, General Manager at Casa Chameleon, responded to this review, April 26, 2012
Hi guys! We are glad you enjoyed your honeymoon at Casa Chameleon! Thanks for the wonderful review!!! We strive to make every guest experience unique and personalized, and are happy you where pampered by the staff :) We encourage our guests to unplug and enjoy what Costa Rica's beautiful nature has to offer, therefore wifi connection is available in the common areas (Restaurant, Lounge Bar, Poolside at the main pool and at Reception) but not in the villas. We are glad you did not miss it in your room. We will be waiting here in paradise for you guys next time you feel like "unplugging"!!!
-Casa Chameleon staff and management
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Montreal, Canada
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 20, 2012

We have just spent a week at Casa Chameleon, staying in Villa Sol. It was an absolutely wonderful experience in all respects. The room was beautiful, looking over our own tropical garden and infinity pool and on to the setting sun and sea. The privacy was absolute and the atmosphere completely peaceful. With only four units in the hotel, we often had the entire place to ourselves. Meals were delightful. I wouldn't want to put anyone off by their description as "homemade". That means they all had a freshness and authenticity that is often lacking in restaurant foods. Although simple in conception, they all had interest and "umami". You never knew what you might get in the evening when asking for catch of the day in the morning. The fisherman hadn't come in yet with his catch.

There are opportunities for excursions--zip lining, nature walks in the nearby park with guide, horseback riding, snorkeling. You do need a vehicle to get around. The only time we walked into town was when we made a mistake to do so. The road is dusty, not expecially interesting and the hill to the hotel very steep. There are spectacular beaches with surf-boarding in the area but you will need a car or ATV to get to them. Having said that, this is really a place best suited for complete relaxation--and don't miss a massage, which was absolutely incredible.

The staff is wonderful. All travel arrangements in and out of the hotel worked as planned. So, pack your kindle and some sunscreen and your appetites; you won't need much else.

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 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
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
puravida5, General Manager at Casa Chameleon, responded to this review, March 22, 2012
Hi! We are glad you enjoyed your stay at Casa Chameleon and the wonderful creations of our Gourmet Chef and his team. The meals at Casa Chameleon are made from the freshest available ingredients to ensure a healthy, yet tasty culinary experience with authentic Costa Rican flavors.. we are so happy that you enjoyed them!
Pura vida!
-CC Management and Staff
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Chicago
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 18, 2012

Just back from 9 days/nights at Casa Chameleon in Villa Vista and everything people say here (perfection, blah-blah-blah) remains true. We loved virtually every second of our stay. “Virtually,” because:

1. They’re building 2 new villas and though management genuinely seems to be trying to ensure the noise and disruption is kept to a minimum, construction is construction. It was sometimes noisy from 7 a.m. through 7 or 8 at night; we could hear construction workers talking, in addition to machinery, etc. It’s most apparent from Villa Vista, closest to the construction. If you’re staying at CC over the next several months, I’d ask about construction.
2. Around the bar and pool, the music is dreadful and too loud. I know, it’s all subjective, but we chatted with the other 6 people there when we were, and every single person had the same complaint. The joy of CC is hearing the palms in the wind, the birds, the howler monkeys and crashing waves in the distance. So the music was especially intrusive. If people want music they can use their iPods.
3. Again, subjective: We thought the bed was really uncomfortable.

Despite these 3 caveats we LOVED our stay.

Lastly, as a gay couple we were made to feel welcome by everyone who works at CC. Jessica, Oscar, Alonzo - all fabulous people.

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 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
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
puravida5, General Manager at Casa Chameleon, responded to this review, March 22, 2012
Dear guest (ChicagoMan09).
Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts and give us feedback. We are glad you loved your stay at Casa Chameleon despite the inconvenience of the construction. We apologize for this, and as you state in your review, our management worked hard to try to ensure that your experience was not damaged by the construction. We hope the discount provided both during your stay and the voucher for a future visit can mitigate any feelings of unsatisfaction on your part. We surely hope you and your partner return to Casa Chameleon and stay in our new villas!! They are very much on their way and should be ready soon. We will take note of your suggestion for the pool bar music, thanks. We hope to see you back in our little piece of paradise soon :)
- CC Management and Staff
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Seattle
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 6, 2012

We just got back from a week long trip in Costa Rica, where we spent the last 3 days in the Villa Sol.

The Villa Sol is there newest villa at the property, and also their smallest - but didn't lack in a single bit of luxury!

THE VILLA:
When entering the room, you are greeted to a beautiful king size bed that was some of the best sleeping I got in the country. The doors to your personal patio and pool can be pushed back to open the entire room to the deck, so you could lie in bed and listen to nature if you wanted.
The bathroom has similar doors - and the shower clear glass so you can shower and take in the view at the same time. The shower was amazing - one of those rain showers that fall directly over you.
The pool was the best part of this villa. It is an infinity pool, perfect temperature, with a fountain. There are two lounge chairs that sit within a few inches of water. When it's 95+ degrees out, this was a great way to relax and cool off during the day.
A few things to note:
I would suggest bringing an eye mask with you if you want to sleep late - there are no curtains, and it gets really light really early.
The one small miss from perfection was the power lines. Unfortunately, this villa is built around a power pole, so you get a few wires in your view - but it really never bothered us at all.

THE PROPERTY AND STAFF:
The staff here is amazing. They are friendly, and accommodating. Oscar - the chef, is a sweetheart that you will love. We ate one breakfast and one dinner here. The breakfast was really nice - lots of fruit, some exotic but we chose to eat out for a cheaper alternative the other days.
I would highly suggest doing at least one dinner here. It's a little pricey compared to other restaurants in the area, but the service and food are a treat. We had a really lovely evening together.

THE PROPERTY: I loved the way they decorated this property. It's so peaceful - also, since there are only 4 villas right now, there really aren't many guests there. You almost have the entire place to yourself. We met a few of the other couples staying there and they were nice as well.

You are a little off the beaten path here - so I would highly suggest a car. The property is on a very steep and large hill and then you are pretty down the road from the town of Santa Teresa. Also - Santa Teresa is pretty spread out - we wound up driving a lot there.

Overall - we stayed at some luxurious places in Asia, and the Casa Chameleon was paralell if not better to some of the greats.

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 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.
puravida5, General Manager at Casa Chameleon, responded to this review, March 22, 2012
Hola from Casa Chameleon!
Thank you for the wonderful review! We are very happy that you enjoyed your stay with us at Villa Sol!! Oscar and the entire staff send their regards :)
Pura vida!!
-CC Management and Staff
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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 Casa Chameleon

Address: Punta Barrigona, Mal Pais, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Puntarenas > Mal Pais
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Romantic Hotel in Mal Pais
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Casa Chameleon 4*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Chosen as one of the "Best 101 Hotels in the World" by Conde Nast Publications' Tatler Travel Guide for 2006, Casa Chameleon is a favourite with honeymooners and celebrities to relax and unwind in an enchanted environment. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Casa Chameleon Mal Pais
Casa Chameleon Costa Rica/Mal Pais

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