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“Excellent place to stay for 1st time visitors to Costa Rica” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Raya Vida Villa

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Raya Vida Villa
San Jose 2100, Costa Rica   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #25 of 52 San Jose B&B and Inns
Palo Alto
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
“Excellent place to stay for 1st time visitors to Costa Rica”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 2, 2012

I have been staying at Raya Vida Villa since my first trip to Costa Rica in 2002, way before tripadvisor had posts to review. I had heard about Raya Vida bed and breakfast through a friend, and gave it a try. There are many fabulous reasons to stay here, but germane to your trip would be: Tina and Michael Long have been living in Costa Rica for over 20 years. Together, they have a wealth of information that they are happy to share with you to ensure a wonderful experience during your visit.

What becomes valuable is Michael and Tina’s help with tasks and logistics that are typically easy to accomplish in the USA (where I’m from), but in Costa Rica, can be quite different and often difficult. For example, Michael can arrange transportation to and from the San Jose airport - so that you don’t need to figure out which taxi to take, or how to get to a location in a country that does not have street addresses. You will most likely arrive to the San Jose airport late at night. It will be dark, and there will be many taxi drivers all wanting your business. With Michael’s help, there is no need to worry about overpaying for a trip, or trying to explain where you want to go. Having a driver waiting for you at the end of a long trip is the first wonderful experience of your adventure in Costa Rica. Michael can assist with renting a car through a local company, which is always less expensive than using Hertz, Avis - or any of the big brand companies.

When my Costa Rica travels takes me to the San Jose airport, I always stay at Raya Vida Villa. This is a great central location to start and end your trip from, granting equal access to the Caribbean and west coasts. This is not a chain hotel, it is a home for Michael, Tina and their extended family of pets. Some of you might even have read about Foss, the most famous wiener dog, who was even mentioned in a travel guide book! Michael makes a mean Tico breakfast for you in the mornings, and sitting outside your downstairs bedroom in the patio with the fountain is heaven!

Remember folks, Costa Rica is a developing country. Go there and experience the culture and practices of the local Ticos. Michael and Tina have incredible insight to the pulse of Costa Rica - their words can be invaluable. Listen well! If you visit this beautiful, serene country and want it to be like an American vacation - go stay at the Marriott/Los Suenos for $400 per night! If you have trouble with the concept of placing all paper products in a waste pan instead of flushing it down the toilet like we do here in the United States, perhaps you should go visit a more developed country (Hawaii perhaps?)

Good advice and words of wisdom from Michael and Tina are not limited to just your vacation, but to all things important to future Expats who decide to join the community of folk that think Costa Rica is truly a wonderful place to live. Thanks to our frequent stays at Raya Vida Villa and the many tips and suggestions from Michael and Tina, we are now building our dream home there, and someday, hope to spend more time with Tina and Michael as our friends and neighbors.

  • Stayed January 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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15 people have reviewed this hotel

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Location
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (3)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
San Francisco, California
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 8, 2011

It's always iffy to book a place to stay if you are a gay couple. I never met Tina, Michael's wife so the beginning and end of my trip in CR was spent at Raya Vida. We both loved it! The B&B itself is a very lovely place. We had a clean and comfortable suite with an adjoining patio for $100 a night which included a yummy and filling breakfast of coffee, fruit juice, fresh fruit and a typical Costa Rican breakfast called gallo pinto which is a seasoned rice and black bean dish with scrambled eggs. About the toilet, when I travelled in Brazil and Sicily I had to placed used paper into a trash basket so I wasn't too surprised to discover it was also true throughout Costa Rica. If you are uncomfortable with these things, I suggest you stick to visiting Europe or Northern America. Michael was our host and we both felt very comfortable. I was very glad I didn't read any of the reviews that trashed him as a host as he was very welcoming, friendly, generous with his knowledge of local customs and culture as well as places to go. The neighborhood was impressive and has a vibrant youth culture given the 19 colleges and universities in San Jose which offer young people free higher education to citizens. Walking around made us both feel like we want to spend more time there and truly get to know the city.

Room Tip: Loved the suite with adjoining patio and breakfast nook. Very nice!
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  • Stayed November 2011, 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
    • 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.
Grass Valley, California
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 4, 2011

I travel a lot and have always wanted to go to Costa Rica. A few of my friends have stayed at Raya Vida Villa in San Jose and they recommended it to me --- and I'm glad they did! It is a great place to stay. Located in the northeast part of the city (near the Zoo and Calderon Hospital), it is a classic, two story white colonial with four guest bedrooms. There is a nice garden surrounding the house with fountains and sitting areas. You can read in the living room, filled with interesting paintings and antiques, and eat breakfast in the formal dining room. There is a large kitchen and TV room with floor to ceiling windows, plasma TV for sports/movie watching, computer to check your email and a large parrot... The American owners, Michael and Tina, were excellent hosts and very knowledgeable about San Jose and the country overall. While Tina spends most of her time working with the local ballet company (which puts on the annual Nutcracker every year at the National Theatre), Michael is the resident expert on where to go and what to do in Costa Rica. He has been living there for over twenty years and really knows Costa Rica, based upon a long career as a travel guide. I read the latest issue of Frommer's Guide; however, Michael was able to expand upon it and offered many insights into the culture and country. It's always a big plus to get a local's point-of-view about the little things (ie. how the banks work, where/what to see or avoid, simple customs, etc.) For instance, before I arrived I sent an email asking about the best place to rent a car. He strongly suggested that I have a private driver pick me up and deliver me to the B&B, especially since I was arriving at night. For the same price as a cab ride ($25 including tip), he set it all up and I'm glad he did (since it was pouring rain and the city is a complicated labyrinth with no street signs). Frankly, I never would have figured out how to get there. The next day he set-up the rental car for me. The agent came to the house and we handled all the paperwork for a newer model SUV. (FYI: Make sure you get a good rental car if you plan to do a lot of driving). Michael recommended several interesting day trips around San Jose and gave me good directions, points of interest, best restaurants, etc. He has also spent a lot of time on the Caribbean Coast and gave me a long list of special places to visit. His recommendations were right on and I had a fabulous time. Check out Cahuita and Puerto Viejo for sure!... At Raya Vida, I stayed in two different rooms --- the Pineapple Room upstairs and the downstairs suite right off the covered patio with the fountain. Both rooms were very clean, with nice linens and spotless floors. The maid, Sylvia, cleans every day... They have 3 dogs who stay in the TV room and kitchen only. Cool dogs. They also have 3 cats, but they mostly stay upstairs in the owner's room. I am allergic to cats, but I never had any issues --- because no animals are not allowed in any of the guest rooms... Overall, Raya Vida is a super place. And having a guy like Michael to answer all your questions and steer you in the right direction can make all the difference. Hope this helps..

Room Tip: All rooms have a private bathroom. Recommend the Pineapple Room and downstairs room with the patio/f...
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  • Stayed October 2011, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed July 20, 2011

It started out OK. Husband found it in LP and thought hey, sounds nice to start our honeymoon.

Pretty place, nice art, cool pets. Seemingly nice host. Nothing nice (even a small something) done for the honeymoon thing, but fine, I'm not fussy.

We settle in and go down later in the afternoon to the living room. Michael is getting high and drinking with his friend. He offers us some weed. We decline. Things are VERY awkward until we retreat to our rooms.

We'd warned him of our early pickup the next morning. NOTHING left out for breakfast. ZIP. We're rummaging in his kitchen at 6AM trying to find some juice. We finally leave an hour later and he STILL has not shown a hair to help us let the pickup bus in or close the gate behind us. But hey, it's his art and home I guess.

PLEASE NOTE: This review is from Summer 2008. My computer won't let me enter an earlier date.

  • Stayed August 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 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.
Yorktown, Virginia
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 27, 2010

The location is easy walking distance to parks, plazas, museums, restaurants and shopping. Michael had excellent advice, lots of local knowledge, and years of experience living in San Jose. Michael and Tina's home is spacious yet cozy, comfortable, beautiful with a lived in, easy casualness. The animals are cute and friendly and kept apart from guests unless they want to be around them. The yard is a courtyard filled with trees, orchids and interesting plants. From the balcony through openings in the trees can be seen a volcano, rolling hillsides, houses, and the top of a miniature jungle on the edge of a river that is the setting for a small, local zoo. As the city comes alive in the morning, you an owl ends his nighttime vigil, a dog barks down the street, a little train rumbles past and a diesel truck coughs in the distance. Breakfast is simple and delicious and includes local fruit and Michael's famous eggs. My daughter and I felt very secure in a home with Americans that are long-time residents with lots of Costa Rican friends and contacts. If you want modern, slick and high energy, do not stay there. If you want a cozy, laid back, home away from home, you will love it!

  • Stayed December 2010
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 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.
bremen
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 24, 2010

Stayed at Raja Vida Villa for 2 weeks. Apart from the beautiful mansion, the artwork, the prime location, we enjoyed our time with the excellent host Michael. Our kids (2/5) had a great time and so did we. San Jose is probably not the ultimate prime spot on a global scale, however, Michael and Raja Vida is!

  • Stayed May 2010, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 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.
Colorado
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed January 11, 2010

We stayed here for only one night and although the mansion is really quite beautiful with museum like artwork, it would not be a place I would return to.
The gentleman that runs it doesn’t really have the warm personality that you need to be a B&B owner. The breakfast was just so so. Edible. It is in a part of town that is difficult to find, and a good 20 minute walk to eat or shop in the small tourist market. I didn’t feel safe in San Jose anyplace. It wasn’t just this place and it’s surroundings. San Jose will not be on my return list.
The B&B really needs to be updated. It was probably nice about 20 years ago, but most likely we had the same pillow and same bed. The bed was as hard as a concrete bench and the pillow flat and I was afraid to look under the slip. They mention on their welcome form that the pets run the house. That might be an understatement. There were cats in our room and bed and hair everywhere. Distinct odor throughout the house. I think he needs to decide if he wants to run a pet hotel or B&B. Wasn’t worth the money at all. I think we could of found a better place for half the price. Keep looking. Skip this one.

  • Stayed January 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 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.

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Additional Information about Raya Vida Villa

Address: San Jose 2100, Costa Rica
Location: Costa Rica > Province of San Jose > San Jose Metro > San Jose
Hotel Style:
Ranked #25 of 52 B&Bs / Inns in San Jose
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Also Known As:
Raya Vida Villa Costa Rica/San Jose

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