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“Just .... wow” 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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Hotel amenities
Ranked #3 of 9 Hotels in Mal Pais
Saxapahaw, North Carolina
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“Just .... wow”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 6, 2014

So the day began with a local fishing trip with the chef, Pabro Sanchez. He led us out from Mal Pais with his captin, Ivan and we caught 9 Skipjacks in about 90 minutes. With that, he invited us to this restaurant where he fit us into a packed schedule and cooked our catch. In a very serene and beautiful setting, we enjoyed our tuna--fish so fresh they'd had breakfast that day. He created a sashimi-style tartar using raw Skipjack tuna, herbs, ginger and oil. Marvelous. He then served roasted skipjack tuna steaks (roasted over coffee beans!) with potatoes and greens. The menu is made up each day according to what's available. No choices and nothing is really repeated. A true chef who is creative, knows his palette and cooks exquisitely.

Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
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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217 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    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 (24)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Aromas, California
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 4, 2014

Life is wonderful..enjoy it! And what an sublime experience we had at Casa Chameleon. We stayed in Villa Palma, one of the six secluded, hillside villas surrounded by the lush jungle vegetation. The villa itself had eclectic and tasteful decor and furnishings, a plunge pool accessible from the huge rain shower or veranda, and an ipad (or iphone) dock for our own music. There is no television or internet in the villa but that was just fine... comfortable veranda seating invited us to read and relax.

We've traveled to many different countries and I can say that all the staff at this hotel is one of the best in the world. Their consideration and attention to detail is superb. In particular, Lily Nunez was a sweetheart and would take care of us at the poolside Lounge Bar and the nightly creations of Chef Pabro Sanchez were absolutely delicious. We had the half board, so we ate every breakfast and dinner at Casa Chameleon gladly. We chose to have breakfast delivered to the villa and eat on the veranda. At breakfast, we would be asked if we wanted Catch of the Day or a meat choice. That sounds simple, but the dinners were complex works of art such as oven baked mahi with rosemary sweet potato, blackened palmito and passion fruit coulis. A typical salad was warm oyster mushroom salad, caramelized onions, and hearts of palm, with tomato and balsamic reduction. There were carpaccios for appetizers, flambe baby bananas with caramel for dessert, melt-in-your-mouth beef filets...we never thought of eating anywhere else. And the view from the restaurant at sunset was spectacular. While we were there, the open-air restaurant never served more than three couples an evening. What a way to be pampered!

When not touring around, we enjoyed hours at the hotel pool with its waterfall and beautiful landscaping. If you need internet access, it's there. And there's a huge iguana who suns himself every day and guards the pool. One day Casa Chameleon made arrangements for us with Freedom Riding SUP Adventures. Andy Seidensticker (originally from San Diego) was a great paddle board instructor for this first-time paddle boarder. Mal Pais has a fair number of ex-pats who came for the surfing and stayed. The little hamlet of Mal Pais abuts the beautiful beaches of Santa Theresa and the whole area has a laid-back vibe.

One reason the area is so laid-back is that it is not easy to get there. We had flown into Liberia, rented a 4-wheel drive SUV, and headed south on the Nicoyan Peninsula on Hwy 21, the only road. At Playa Naranjo the road turns to dirt and rock for the last 60 or so miles. Fortunately for us, the road was passable, but in the rainy season it can be flooded out in places. The 200 km (about 125 miles) took us about 6 hours on one of the worst roads we've ever traveled. Alternately, you could take a small plane to Tambor and the hotel will make arrangements to transport you. However, it is a wonderful way to see the Nicoyan Peninsula. My only suggestion for Casa Chameleon is to include a more detailed map on the website for people who drive themselves. It was quite an adventure, but with fine accommodations!

  • Stayed December 2013, 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.
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 27, 2014

We were only able to spend one night but it was very nice. Alonso was great to work with as was all the staff. Villa Sol was a perfect villa for the two of us. The lights at night throughout the property added a nice touch to the walkways. I will agree with the other reviews they are spot on. My one con would be that the breakfast was $16 per person witch seemed kind of expensive, we stayed at similar ( not as nice) that had the breakfast include in the price of the room. But we were there for only a night and not part of any package. That being said the breakfast was very tasty. Next trip to Costa Rica we will stay for a longer duration. Casa Chameleon was the highlight of our trip.

  • Stayed February 2014, 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.
CasaChameleon, Owner's Rep at Casa Chameleon, responded to this review, May 12, 2014
Hello
Thank you for sharing your experience at Casa Chameleon! We are happy to hear that your stay with us was the highlight of your trip. I will pass your compliment to Alonso, it means a lot to us when we hear back from our guests! We hope to see you back at Casa Chameleon in the future, and would recommend you check out our packages which include breakfast and dinner as well as many activities and treats (such as massages). This way you will be able to experience the culinary talents of our Gourmet Chef and savor fresh local ingredients at a discounted rate. We enjoyed having you and appreciate your feedback.
Pura Vida!
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Denver, Colorado, United States
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 26, 2014 via mobile

We stayed in 3 places during our stay. Casa chameleon in Mal Pais was by far our favorite. We stayed in the Villa Estrella. Incredible views and infinity pool on your open patio take your breathe away every morning. You also have a private that that prepares your meals every day fresh from what's the catch of the day and even from their garden. It is such a personal experience and the staff are beyond kind. I also recommend getting a massage in your room. They are the most affordable massages all trip...so we kept ordering more! I would rent an atv to go into town for sure. It is off the beaten path. If you can't handle stairs I would make sure to ask for te villa closest to the main pool area. Ours was the furthest away which was probably 100 stairs if not more. So worth it though if you don't mind a little exercise! We will definitely be back to casa chameleon!!!

  • Stayed January 2014
    • 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.
Poland, Ohio
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 9, 2014

We just returned from Costa Rica...what a wonderful country!...and stayed at the Villa Sol and Villa Palma for the 5 night romance package. We are a well traveled older couple and rank this stay as one of the best trips we have had. The staff is incredible. We especially enjoyed Lilly's happy face, fun talks and great efforts to make each day and meal special. Ericka set up our tour of the nature reserve with Jepo...fantastic time... and a couple massage which was done right on our private deck. It was so relaxing and heavenly. After being out on the amazing surfing beaches during the day it was so refreshing to come back to our completely private plunge pool to cool down. The villa's have air conditioning but we had the entire set of doors folded open to a breath taking view of the forest that went all the way to the ocean most of the time. A howler monkey (high in the tree) visited as well as many beautiful birds. A trio of toucans visited us for breakfast in a small tree about five feet from us. The meals were wonderful. Pabro has an infused Costa Rican menu which serves a fresh catch of the day or a beef, lamb or pork choice. Each is served with an incredible appetizer Filet, mahi and ahi are some we were treated to and drinks or a bottle of wine. Will and Kenneth assisted Pabro and were so friendly and very willing to share informative and fun conversation with us. We bought a handicraft art that Will's father had made which was so beautiful and is a reminder of our wonderful trip. The roads are all dirt and dusty but are part of the charm. There are many local bars and restaurants, but it is not a good idea to miss one meal at Casa Chameleon....there is no where better. With just a few villa's it is so private and you feel like you have individual care. We stayed in both the Sol and Palma. Although the Sol is very nice, the road runs right beside it and you can have some traffic noise going up the dirt hill beside you, but it is part of the charm of Costa Rica. We loved the Palma. It is better than the pictures. It has a big rain shower that has sliding doors that can be opened directly into the plunge pool!! The sights, beautiful foliage and sounds are heavenly as you sit on your private deck. I can not say enough about this little piece of heaven and I strongly suggest you visit this friendly beautiful country and stay at the Casa Chameleon.

  • Stayed February 2014, 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 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CasaChameleon, Owner's Rep at Casa Chameleon, responded to this review, February 24, 2014
Hola! Thank you for the wonderful review. We are glad that you enjoyed your stay at Casa Chameleon! Our staff takes pride in their work, and on making our guest's stay the best it can be. We are glad you got to meet us and that you enjoyed your stay! We hope to see you back at Casa Chameleon in the future!
Pura Vida
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 3, 2014

My fiance and I just got back after a 10 day trip to Costa Rica. Words can not describe the beauty of this country. We started our trip with four nights at Casa Chameleon. We stayed at the Villa Estrella and yes it was expensive, but it was worth the price. I strongly suggest booking this Villa. From the moment we walked in to the moment we walked out we were in paradise. The villa was breathtaking, the food was excellent and the service and people were absolutely amazing. We loved every single minute of this trip. If you are up for an adventure take an ATV on one of the many tours they offer or take it into town and watch the sunset on the beautiful beach. Don't forgot to have a drink at the bar before dinner and see Lily! She was our favorite person we have met on this trip. She taught us a new spanish phrase every morning and was so pleasant to be around. Waking up to the beautiful sunrise every morning overlooking the beach was one of my favorite memories. Many of my friends were asking about the age range and I would say if you like privacy and beautiful sites then it's for you! We are 25 and 28 and had the best time of our lives and we met a wonderful couple who was in there mid 50's and absolutely loved it. It appeals to all and is and probably will be the best hotel I will ever stay at. We are already planning our next trip out to Costa RIca and Casa Chameleon will be one of our stops again! I have posted pictures of the VIlla and it still doesn't do it justice! You must see it for yourself!

  • Stayed January 2014, 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 9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Liverpool, United Kingdom
1 review
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 1, 2014

My husband and I stayed for 5 nights in Villa Vista on the romance package...meals, activity and massage included. From the moment we arrived at Casa Chameleon we were looked after impeccably by warm, friendly and Professional staff. Our villa had an amazing view, a wonderfully comfy bed, huge shower, cooling plunge pool and was spotless. As so many other people have said the food is wonderful..huge delicious breakfasts and some of the tastiest inventive dinners we have ever had. We were so pleased we had chosen the half board option. If you are looking for luxury, amazing food and truly warm and welcoming staff Casa Chameleon is for you!

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member 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:
Ranked #3 of 9 Hotels in Mal Pais
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Casa Chameleon 4*
Number of rooms: 6
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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