We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Beautiful Find in Mal Pais!” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Casa Chameleon

Best prices for -
Enter dates for best prices
Check In mm/dd/yyyy Check Out mm/dd/yyyy
Prices are for 1 room, 2 adults
Show Prices
Compare best prices from top travel sites
and 9 more sites!
Save
You added Casa Chameleon to your Saves list
Casa Chameleon
4.0 of 5 Boutique Hotel   |   Punta Barrigona, Mal Pais, Costa Rica   |  
Hotel website
  |  
  |  
  |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 9 Hotels in Mal Pais
Certificate of Excellence
Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
20 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 57 helpful votes
“Beautiful Find in Mal Pais!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 6, 2014

My partner and I just returned from a week in Mal Pais and stayed at Casa Chameleon. We wanted a romantic getaway that included a plunge pool and after careful research and debating many locations, we stumbled upon Casa Chameleon. We booked the romance package and now that we have returned, agree that although pricey, was worth it. While the villas, grounds and restaurant were all fantastic, there are still some improvements that Casa Chameleon can make to ensure that their guests continue to come back year over year. We hope that others will take our comments into consideration to enhance your own experience when you visit this property.

Check-in: After arriving at Tambor airport and an hour taxi ride later, we were greeted by Erika (hotel manager) at the front of the property. Instead of welcoming us, she immediately reminded us that we were early and that check-in was not until 2 PM. She was worried that we would get bored and we assured her that we had plenty of ideas of things to do to pass the time (we arrived at 10 AM). Erika takes you to a pavilion on the property where you get a warm towel and a cool drink with aloe in it and quickly goes through the breakdown. As I previously mentioned, we had booked the romance package and had spent months emailing back and forth with the property to confirm details (activities, times for dinner, dinner choices, etc.) so we were surprised that Erika was not more familiar with our details and asked us to reconfirm a lot of the information that we had provided by email over the course of the weeks leading up to our trip. She failed to give us a map of Mal Pais, additional details on our activities (including that we actually needed to drive and that the hotel had not arranged transportation) or any other information about the town that you would expect a manager to know off hand. Yes, we probably should have asked more questions but when you pay thousands of dollars for a vacation, you do expect a certain level of service. Just before 2 PM, Erika found us by the pool and brought us down to our room.

Hotel Managers: Erika and Juan are the hotel managers on-site. Erika works in the morning and Juan works in the afternoon. Perhaps it was an off week for them (as we read previously how amazing the staff was) but we found both of them to be standoffish and not overly friendly. We had booked the zip lining tour for Tuesday at 1 PM. Since this was included in our package, we were under the impression that we would be picked up at the hotel at 1 PM and escorted to Montezuma. At check-in, no directions or maps were provided. Tuesday, we are waiting outside of the hotel when Erika comes out and tells us that were not only supposed to drive ourselves but that we were supposed to arrive 30 minutes prior to the start of the zip lining. These are details that should have been provided at check-in. We were obviously frustrated but did not find that Erika took any ownership in the mistake that was made. We had to re-book for the next day and it was at this time that a map and directions were provided. During check out with Juan, after questioning some charges on our bill, he seemed very annoyed and in a rush to get us out of his office. Also, they did not provide an itemized bill so the charges that were on top of what we pre-paid were a bit of a mystery. Water at dinner, for example, is an extra charge and we knew this but we would have liked to see the line items for each of the charges (especially considering they make you sign a receipt at each meal). At the end of the day, we let him run our credit card for the amount on the bill, even though we were not sure if that was the correct amount.

Grounds: As soon as you pull up, it's clear that the grounds are well maintained and taken care of. Lush gardens of trees and flowers await you. The entire property is just beautiful and we saw staff daily landscaping to make the property look its best. We were very pleased with how secluded we were from the main town but how we still felt that we were in a remote setting all on our own.

Villa: We stayed in villa Pochote and it was exactly like the pictures. Big, airy, nice finishes. The doors all open out onto the private patio and plunge pool. The pool was as expected, refreshing and with a beautiful view of the ocean in the distance. The outdoor shower was nice as well but not as secluded as we hoped. We noticed that the villa above us could see down onto the shower and as well as those coming down the path that knew where to look. Overall, besides some ants and a number of bugs that flew into the villa during the day while the doors were open, the villa was everything we were hoping for.

Food: The food selections and staff at the restaurant were probably the highlight of the trip. Andrea, the waitress at most dinners, is extremely kind and attentive. She made us feel special each night and always was on top of our reservations, order and wine preferences. We definitely enjoyed getting to know her during our 5 nights. Pablo, the executive chef, was imaginative and provided amazing dinners. 2 nights he was out sick, and the sous chef Will, jumped in and provided equally delicious meals. Some of our favorites included fresh white fish in a Dashi broth, seared tuna, a traditional Japanese sushi box and amazing jumbo shrimp with a coconut sauce. Breakfast was also amazing each morning and we enjoyed having options to choose from. Our favorite, by far, was the gallo pinto. We have already purchased a bottle of Salsa Lizano to try to make our own at home. Definitely eat at the restaurant as much as possible (especially if you have booked a package that includes your meals).

Activities: We mainly wanted to relax on this trip and to enjoy the beach and our private plunge pool. We did go to Montezuma (about 30 minutes by car) and thought it was a bigger town that Mal Pais with many restaurants and shopping opportunities. The zip lining tour was also close to here so we recommend heading to Montezuma in the morning to explore, shop and eat before the tour. After zip lining, we recommend hiking down (30 minutes) to the Montezuma waterfalls. There are three falls in all but you should hike to the bottom for the best views and swimming in the pools of the falls. We recommend a car or ATV if you want out of Mal Pais as the roads are quite primitive and the town of Mal Pais was a good 30 minute walk from the property. Casa Chameleon can arrange a massage in your room (we also loved this) and I would recommend it for anyone looking to relax. We did not like beach at the bottom of the hill from the property (Playa Carmen) but did enjoy the beaches in Santa Teresa (10 minute trip). Playa de Hermosa was our favorite (clean, big waves, refreshing and nice for swimming).

Tips: We had a package so a car and meals (breakfast and dinner) were included. However, we were on our own for lunch each day. We really liked the local bakery in town. This is ran by a family from Belgium and has sophisticated coffees, pastries and sandwiches. I recommend you try the croissant with spinach, goat cheese and poached eggs. The smoothies too were delicious - a must to help cool off from the humid weather. The main sports bar, is fun and often crowded. We were there during the World Cup and it was often packed during the games (which also made it a ton of fun to be there). Drinks were well priced and they had a full menu. We ate fish tacos and enjoyed them but also saw that they had some classic American fare (i.e. burgers) that others looked to be enjoying. We found having a car was an easy way to explore outside of the property and allowed us more opportunities to see more of the peninsula.

Weather: A lot of people warned us that the weather in June and July would be very wet. We actually only had 1 day of rain and found that most days it was sunny (through the afternoon) but that clouds did roll in around 3 PM every day. It was very warm with high humidity so we were more sweaty than we thought we would be. Since it is the start of the rainy season, the surroundings were green and lush. We definitely didn't mind the one day of rain (it also cooled down that evening) and would return in June/July again in the future.

Overall, we were very pleased with our stay. Compared to other properties in this part of Costa Rica, Casa Chameleon is definitely the best. The food, most of the staff and the well equipped villas made the trip feel special and luxurious. Costa Rica is a beautiful place and I am looking forward to exploring other parts in the future.

Room Tip: We enjoyed villa Pochote for the private pool, outdoor shower and secluded location!
See more room tips
  • Stayed June 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
Write a Review

271 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    252
    11
    3
    3
    2
See reviews for
5
230
Solo
0
2
Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    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 (36)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Geneva, Illinois
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 14, 2014

Ah, Costa Rica! This past spring my sister and I vacationed in Santa Teresa, on the Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica. We’d heard so many wonderful things about the landscape, the animals – its natural beauty. It was all of that, and more. The ‘more’ being our luck in meeting the owner of Sapoa Adventures and also Executive Chef at the Hotel Casa Chameleon – Pabro Sanchez. Being ‘foodies’ ourselves, not only loving to cook but also appreciative of a well done dish or meal, we had the good fortune to meet Pabro as our hiking guide. He was amazingly knowledgeable about the flora and fauna, plus the animals and birds of Costa Rica. He was quite educated about the history and archeology of the area, as well the history of the people of Costa Rica. While hiking the Cabo Blanco National Park and in the midst of telling us about the dry tropical rain forest, he began to talk about his love of cooking indigenous foods. My sister and I had just done a cooking vacation in Arizona the previous month, and this piqued our interest. Pabro invited us to dine at Hotel Casa Chameleon in Mal Pais, where he is the Executive Chef, and so that very evening we did so. To say we were blown away is an understatement. We thought we had lucked out with such an intelligent and educated tour guide, but could he also be a great chef? We could tell from our hiking discussion just how passionate he was about cooking indigenous foods, but to see him in action preparing them at the Hotel Casa Chameleon’s outdoor restaurant was quite the treat. We were invited to sit near the bar area and were able to watch him cook firsthand. He answered all of our questions as he worked, explaining what he was doing as he prepared his savory dishes. We were presented with the most wonderful artistic gastronomic creations! We started with mussels (something I’d never had) in a fresh coconut soup of sorts, with a layering of fresh ingredients. I’m not sure all that was in it, but it was to die-for-delicious and innovatively presented. Our main dish was sea bass, and I believe a fresh melon risotto with green onion oil drizzled on top. We had something pumpkin for dessert, which was light and delicate. We walked away frankly being very pleasantly surprised at our find. Pabro doesn’t just use the most fresh ingredients (fish caught that day), but the combinations he creates are highly imaginative, with flavors that juxtaposition into the simply delicious. Luckily for my sister and me, we had planned a snorkeling day trip also and Pabro was our guide a second time! In the midst of snorkeling, he asked us if we wanted to fish, and we ended up catching four huge tuna! Who would cook them for us? That night we went back to the Hotel Casa Chameleon, and Pabro turned our tuna into 3 versions of Ceviche (all unique and mouthwatering), and our main entrée was our tuna prepared with crushed coffee beans, chili flakes, and pistachio nuts, topped with caramelized onions, served with fresh pumpkin, and drizzled with green onion oil. I’d go back to Costa Rica just to eat his food – seriously! It is that unique and delicious. I honestly don’t know all the nuance ingredients Pabro used in the delights we ate, but if dishes like pan seared sea bass, shrimp and fresh melon risotto, with green onion oil; wasabi crusted seared tuna, with caramelized basmati topped with spicy mango chutney; or spicy mussels and red snapper soup, in fresh coconut milk and julienne vegetables sound delectable to you too - head to Costa Rica and Hotel Casa Chameleon in Mal Pais. I know Pabro Sanchez would offer up the same personable hospitality, educated knowledge and history of his country, and delicious beyond what you could image, indigenous foods of Costa Rica. If Pabro Sanchez came to the US, and let’s say opened a restaurant in Chicago (my home town) – he’d have a 3 Star restaurant in a heartbeat!

  • Stayed April 2014, traveled with family
    • 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.
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 1, 2014

Casa Chameleon was the perfect spot for our honeymoon. The staff is wonderful-incredibly attentive and kind. We cannot say enough about the food each morning and night! Both the head chef Pabro and sous chef Will were both incredible. We really enjoyed talking with Pabro about the dishes and local cuisine each night. We hope to be back in the future!

  • Stayed May 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 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.
Ann Arbor
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 1, 2014

My Wife and I stayed here for our honeymoon and it was an amazing experience. To be up front, we bought the romance package with comes with two meals a day, a rental car, and a tourist activity. I am not sure how it would have been with a normal booking.

However, our trip was excellent. The manager and assistant manager were incredibly helpful from the moment we arrived and helped us with planning our trip, finding places to eat lunch, and giving us directions to anything we needed.

The room was truly beautiful. I would guess that the closest villa was probably within 50 feet, however, it felt completely private. We stayed in Villa Sol and it had a beautiful view of the sunset over our pool every night. One of the highlights of the trip was the food. We ate breakfast and dinner at the hotel everyday and the meals were delicious. The chef used locally sourced fresh ingredients to create inventive and tasty dishes. He was also incredibly accommodating to both dietary needs and even specific preferences. Besides the hotel the locale is undeniably gorgeous. Mal Pais is an awesome town. Everyone is super friendly, the beaches are breathtaking, and the local restaurants cook great food. The trip there is a bit of a trek, but totally worth it.

I would highly recommend Casa Chameleon to anyone who wants to have a romantic escape with the perfect combination of adventure and luxury.

  • Stayed May 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
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Calistoga, California
Level Contributor
6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 28, 2014 via mobile

Staying at Casa Chameleon for our honeymoon was the best decision ever! The photos barely do it justice. We rented an ATV and ventured all over the peninsula. We surfed, caught huge Mahi Mahi, zip lined and visited many towns and villages along the way. The staff treated us like royalty and were so very attentive. The daily breakfasts and dinners were completely top notch (being from Napa Valley we're a bit spoiled) and we still wish we were there dining with the awesome chef and staff. The villas were breathtaking and the jungle sounds awakening and exciting. We can't wait to go back!!!

  • Stayed November 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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.
Minneapolis, Minnesota
2 reviews
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
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 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!
See more room tips
  • 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
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
mm/dd/yyyy mm/dd/yyyy
Prices are for 1 room, 2 adults
Price Your Stay
Hotels you might also like...
Also consider these accommodations in or near Mal Pais
0.2 mi away
Hotel Vista de Olas
Hotel Vista de Olas
#2 of 9 in Mal Pais
4.5 of 5 stars 397 reviews
0.7 mi away
Hotel Oasis
Hotel Oasis
#3 of 9 in Mal Pais
5.0 of 5 stars 114 reviews
1.0 mi away
Hotel The Place
Hotel The Place
#6 of 9 in Mal Pais
4.5 of 5 stars 136 reviews
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices
9.9 mi away
Tango Mar Beachfront Boutique Hotel & Villas
4.0 mi away
Latitude 10 Beachfront Resort
Latitude 10 Beachfront Resort
#6 of 26 in Santa Teresa
5.0 of 5 stars 152 reviews
0.2 mi away
Hotel Moana
Hotel Moana
#4 of 9 in Mal Pais
4.5 of 5 stars 352 reviews
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices

Been to Casa Chameleon? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

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*
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 
Reservation Options:
TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Orbitz, Booking.com, Expedia, Travelocity, Odigeo, Splendia, Priceline, HotelTravel.com, Hotels.com and Jetsetter so you can book your Casa Chameleon reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
Also Known As:
Casa Chameleon Mal Pais
Casa Chameleon Costa Rica/Mal Pais

Owners: What's your side of the story?

If you own or manage Casa Chameleon, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.