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“Can’t. Stop. Visiting.” 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
Minneapolis, Minnesota
2 reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Can’t. Stop. Visiting.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 22, 2014

Casa Chameleon is an amazing place…my wife and I just visited for a second time, and it once again did not disappoint! This time around we stayed in Villa Estrella for a couple of nights and Villa Vista for one night. Both villas were fantastic; they are super clean and have a ton of amenities with the highlight being the refreshing plunge pools!

There are a lot of great places to eat in Mal Pais, but I highly recommend eating right at Casa Chameleon. The restaurant itself is beautifully built with fantastic views, but ultimately you must go for the food! Head Chef Pabro is a genius…each time we ate at the restaurant, I had seafood straight out of the ocean from the local fishing port. DELICIOUS!

I would also like to mention that there are a lot of fun activities in the area. Seeing as Mal Pais is a major surfing destination, I had to try it out this time around. Like most activities, the resort will set everything up for you, which is really convenient. I had a great surfing instructor that taught me all the basics and got me up on the board within a few tries!

Casa Chameleon is a beautiful resort with all the amenities you could ever dream of plus a super friendly and accommodating staff. My wife and I will be visiting this gorgeous place for years to come!

  • Stayed March 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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217 reviews from our community

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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
Seattle, Washington
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 19, 2014

If you're looking for privacy, luxury and romance you will find it here! Casa Chameleon delivers on all it's websites's promises! The hotel and grounds were beautiful and well designed. My Fiancé and I loved the "In the forest" feel of the place and were constantly enchanted by the many gorgeous flowers, birds and lazy reptiles we spotted around the property. On top of the grounds being lovely, the Villas were exceptional. We stayed in two of the 6 and both were fantastic. Each of them nestled against a hillside with total privacy and expansive views of the rain forest and stunning blue ocean below. Each Villa came with a private infinity pool which were so very inviting and constantly beckoned us to take a swim. The Villa's also boasted wide open floor plans with high ceilings and full kitchens complete with fridge and microwave. The air conditioning units were also a welcomed addition and the bathrooms...Well somethings should be left a surprise : ) I could go on and on about this hotel, the wonderful hardworking friendly staff there, the GM who made our stay "très incroyable" but I'll let you experience it for yourself. The fact is, this hotel tries very hard to make sure you have a wonderful experience. If you are looking for a place to deepen your relationship, fall in love all over again or just forget about the world together, stay at Casa Chameleon, you'll thank this review later.

Room Tip: If you get the chance, stay in Villa Estrella or Villa Ultra. They will not disappoint!
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  • Stayed April 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
    • 4 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.
Evesham, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 10, 2014

We could feel ourselves relaxing the moment we stepped into our villa. Spacious and comfortable, it was the balcony with stunning views and private plunge pool/jacuzzi that really made our stay. Breakfast, ordered the day before, was served on our balcony by smiling and courteous staff. Food was excellent, including the black tuna which we caught and the chef prepared for us. We could have stayed much longer than our few days, and hope to return one day!

  • Stayed March 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 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Minneapolis, Minnesota
2 reviews
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 17, 2014

If you are going to Costa Rica, Casa Chameleon is the place to stay! This was our second time at the hotel, and I’m happy to report that Casa Chameleon was even better than my husband and I remembered it! Both of the villas that we stayed in on this trip were beautifully decorated and were equipped with everything we could ever want or need – plunge pool, hammock, beach towels, iPod dock, mini-fridge, etc. They even had insulated wine glasses to keep our white wine chilled on warm nights! The attention to detail is incredible and makes for a stress-free, relaxing stay.

Both my husband and I took note of the hotel staff who are truly top notch – as a whole, they were attentive, responsive, and always had smiles on their faces. Vicky coordinated our room reservations (including a room change) and our car rental flawlessly, and she was just a phone call away throughout our trip planning. The hotel manager, Alonso, introduced himself upon our arrival and checked in with us throughout our stay. Erica booked activities for us, provided directions/maps, and patiently answered all of our questions. And this wouldn’t be a Casa Chameleon review if we didn’t mention the kitchen staff! Pabro and Will prepared dinner for us twice, and these were the two best meals we ate while in Costa Rica – no contest. We also really liked that they use fresh, local ingredients in all of the dishes. The bartender, Lily, mixed us some awesome cocktails, and it quickly became our routine to belly up to the bar for a pre-dinner drink while watching the sunset. I highly recommend the Strawberry Mojito! By the time we checked out, we felt like we were saying good bye to friends.

One more recommendation – get a massage! The manager will arrange for the masseuse to come right to your villa. You can choose to have your massage outside on the private patio and hear the ocean waves. I’ve had massages both times we’ve stayed at Casa Chameleon, and it’s such a treat.

We have told all of our family and friends about Casa Chameleon, and we really just can’t recommend it enough. Stay here and you’re guaranteed to have an amazing vacation!

  • Stayed March 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.
Saint Louis, Missouri
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 13, 2014

After some extensive research via the internet, we chose Casa Chameleon to experience Costa Rica for our first time. Perhaps we are biased, but we typically favor small, boutique resorts as opposed to crowded mega resorts that try to be everything to everybody. With only six villas, Casa Chameleon is able to offer more customized service and just the right amount of personal touches that is somehow seamlessly woven into an environment of romantic seclusion. In our experience, this is a very difficult to achieve, but the experts at Casa Chameleon definitely strike the right balance. For this, I must give the manager, Alonso Alvarado, quite a bit of credit. He has clearly assembled a staff of top notch talent that is dedicated to creating a veritable oasis (keeping in mind we stayed in early April, which was the end of the dry season and the surrounding tropical jungle was a bit parched) and providing distinguished VIP service for all. While the entire Casa Chameleon team was extremely courteous and polite, at least in our experience, a few people stood out and deserve special mention here.

For starters, Chef Pabro Sanchez. The food at Casa Chameleon was very good and more than a few of the dishes during our short stay were excellent. Pabro and his entire team (including Will, Naomi, etc..) will bend over backwards to please your palate. While Pabro’s primary responsibility is chef, it turns out he is quite the local historian and naturalist. Being active birders, we took advantage of the opportunity to go birding one morning with Pabro. In short, this was one of the highlights of our trip as his expertise extends way beyond the kitchen. He has his finger on the pulse of Mal Pais and in general, is just a good/fun guy to know. What he has packed into his life to this point is nothing short of amazing and we genuinely commend him on multiple fronts. Keep blazing that trial, Pabro!

Lilly Nunez is native to Mal Pais and wears a couple of different hats for Casa Chameleon; mixing some seriously amazing drinks (you want it sweet, she’ll make it sweet; you want it sour or spicy, she’ll take care of that too) in the bar area and also pitches in to help during meal time service. We found Lilly extremely engaging, friendly and very informative. Belly up to the bar for a few pre-dinner drinks, discuss some of your likes and dislikes with Lilly and tap into her lifetime of Mal Pais experience. We don’t want to spill any of her ‘secrets’, but trust me, they are definitely worthwhile. Wishing nothing but the best for Lilly and her family!

While the vast majority of this review is dedicated primarily to the people, please do not be confused. We had very high expectations of our stay at Casa Chameleon and are happy to report they not only met, but exceeded every one of them. The facility is quite special and we were quite happy with the ‘finishing’ of Villa Estrella (including heavy curtains in the bedroom) and spent most of our time on the veranda (in the hammock, comfortable deck chairs or floating in the plunge pool). Regarding ants or other insects, yes we had a few of them too, but it was hardly an infestation and completely understandable given the surroundings. While I appreciate other reviewer’s perspective, it was not really an issue for us. However, to be fair though and as other reviews have pointed out, there is a price to pay for staying in the paradise I call Villa Estrella….the dreaded stairs/walkways. Depending on the time of day/temperature and your fitness level (not so fit for me!), it can prove to be much more than simply challenging.

On our final night/morning, we actually felt like we were parting as friends. While we know the staff is doing their job, it honestly felt a little different here and we hope they felt the same way. Regardless, we have been touched by Costa Rica and the friendly folks at Casa Chameleon. They helped us create memories that will last a lifetime: smiling people and a contagious beach vibe, four-wheeling/ATVing the roads of Mal Pais/Santa Theresa, amazing birds, showering with a green and black striped iguana, the best fruit ever, local breakfasts, cantaloupe smoothies, cashew apples, great food, Salsa Lizano (our first order is already placed, Lilly!), Chili Viola, Guanacaste tree seeds, zip-lining in the canopy, horseback riding at sunset, waking up to the sound of howler monkeys and cicadas/locusts, and falling to sleep with the chirping of geckos. Pura Vida!

  • Stayed April 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 4
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, April 21, 2014
Hola! We are very happy that you enjoyed your stay at Casa Chameleon! Thank you for your review, it is important for us to get feedback from our guests. Since we are such an intimate hotel, our staff is really invested in making our guests stay and experience extra special, we are glad to have achieved that for you guys!! We hope you will return soon and will be waiting here in our little piece of paradise, ready to pamper you!
Pura Vida!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Idaho Falls, Idaho
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 10, 2014

We really enjoyed our stay here. It is a bit of a splurge for us, but it was worth it.

We drove here from SJO, taking the ferry from Puntarenas. The roads were pretty good until about 15 km to the hotel, then it is dirt roads. It's not really bad, just slow and bumpy. When we arrived, the manager, Alfonso, greeted us. Very nice welcome, with a tour and a little glass of local fruit juice.

Our room was wonderful... we were in the smallest, the Villa Sol. The pool is awesome in that room, perfect size, great view of the ocean. The bed was super comfortable and everything was clean, modern, new, and polished. Very lovely setting, huge shower. The shower was probably the only disappointment to me--I like very hot showers and this shower was very unpredictable. There was really no temperature control; sometimes it was very hot, but often it was barely warm.

We did eat dinner at the hotel our first night, and it was delicious. Much more expensive than I really like to pay, but I think it is worth doing one night (or more, if you're not as budget conscious). But there are a lot of great food options in the town, so I recommend eating out, too. Still, the food was fantastic, and the chef was involved, seeing what we liked, etc. Felt very personal. I loved that it was a surprise because I NEVER would have ordered what he gave us and it was AMAZING. Also, you get a bottle of wine included with dinner (or other cocktails, etc), which I didn't know--adds some value!

We also had breakfast in our room one morning. It was also delicious, and lovely to sit out and eat together. But I will mention that there is a $8 fee to have it brought to your room (I didn't know that in advance myself). It's not that I wouldn't recommend it, but be aware what it will cost you.

Like I said, room was amazing, only one or two negatives, really, besides the shower. You'll see in other reviews that the Villa Sol is right by the road, which it is. We could hear vehicles sometimes. Honestly, this didn't bother us at all, and I didn't think it was bad (it's not a main road, just like a driveway road), but it is an accurate observation, and something to consider in regards to this room. Also, there are stairs to another villa that kind of run close to the pool area of our room; I really don't think they can see into your area as there is a lot of foliage, and we really didn't have any issues with it, but it's probably not the most private of the villas (I think some are much more "off the beaten path."). But I would certainly go back to the Casa Chameleon, and I would stay in the same room again.

Also should mention, Lily, one of the staff members--amazing. We loved her. Very helpful, charming young woman. I reviewed some of the restaurants in town, but will mention here that The Bakery is a wonderful choice for a fast, delicious pastry breakfast or dessert, Caracolas is an amazing beach side restaurant, and there is a great little German place near the first bridge past Playa Carmen (it was 2 weeks old and had no name--but authentic German and great prices).

Oh, and we did some of the activities--the massages were great, but remember that you need to pay in cash. Isla Tortuga tour was a lot of fun, too, but it's almost back in Paquera (which is fine, just be aware)--our tour was just the two of us and was so romantic! And the zip lining was AWESOME--Totally worth it--just don't forget your swimsuit (we did). Beach is great in the area, too.

Room Tip: Villa Sol is beautiful and we loved it, but it is close to the road and you can hear passing vehicle...
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  • Stayed April 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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
    • 4 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
Hola! We are glad you enjoyed your stay at Casa Chameleon and that you got to participate in so many activities! Mal Pais really has a lot to offer and Casa Chameleon is the perfect place to wind down and relax after a busy day of hiking, boating, surfing, Canopy Tour or any of the great activities in the area. We will pass your kind words along to Lily! Our staff is very invested in our guests experience anad compliments like yours are very satisfying and rewarding to them! Thanks again for sharing your experience. We hope to see you back at Casa Chameleon in the future!
Pura Vida!
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Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 24, 2014

We stayed here for bit of luxury in the middle of a 4 month trip. And, Casa Chameleon provides this. The rooms have a real wow factor, with private pool, huge bathroom, giant bed etc. Food in the restaurant was very good. The view is cool too.

However, the rooms are not finished to the standard you would expect for this price. The floor boards are not sealed, which lets in ants. The floor to ceiling windows do not have curtains, so it is light very very early (5.30 when we were there). The sun loungers are very basic. The fridge is tiny....We stayed at another lodge in CR for almost half the price and got a better finished room.

This is not to say that Casa Chameleon doesn't deliver on seclusion and luxury. However, we left feeling it was not worth the money.

Practical note - it is a little out of town so wheels are useful. We had a car and it just made it up the hill, however 4x4 is best. Book surf lessons in town as they are cheaper. Think about 'the Bakery' for breakfast, which has an excellent atmosphere...

Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
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, March 28, 2014
Hola.
Thank you for your feedback regarding your stay at Casa Chameleon, we strive to contentiously improve and make our guests experience the best it can be, so we appreciate your comments. We are glad that you enjoyed the food, private pools and all of the wow factor Casa Chameleon has to offer. We are sorry that you encountered ants, as hard as we try, sometimes it results inevitable for villas nestled in the jungles of Costa Rica. We are very conscious of our effect on the environment and therefore do not use harmful pesticides on our grounds, which may result in the occasional ant. We hope this did not negatively affect your experience. Regarding the surf lessons, we are very careful choosing our third party service providers in order to ensure the safety and quality of service for our guests. We hope you enjoyed your activities while in Mal País and are very glad that you had a good experience.
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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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