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“Unique experience, grat place to relax” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Villa Blanca Cloud Forest Hotel and Nature Reserve

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Villa Blanca Cloud Forest Hotel and Nature Reserve
4.0 of 5 Hotel   |   El Silencio de Los Angeles, San Ramon 1250, Costa Rica   |  
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Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in San Ramon
Atlanta, Georgia
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“Unique experience, grat place to relax”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 21, 2013

We spent 3 night at Villa Blanca, the ranch of the former President of Costa Rica on a Groupon/Travel by Jen package and it was a very enjoyable and unique experience.

It’s on top of a mountain, surrounded by ranchland and cloud forest. You can actually see Arenal volcano from there on a clear day, but being in a cloud forest area, the best we ever managed was the lower half (which is more than we saw when we stayed in La Fortuna, right next to the volcano).

The staff were exceptionally helpful and friendly and interesting to speak to.

We stayed in a small stand alone villa, a “casita”, which had a fireplace. The room was fairly basic but nice (we really liked the fireplace) and the bathroom was quite nice. We had a view of the forest out back. It was quite cool there and foggy at night, so we lit a fire every night and sat in the rockers and drank wine. The room also had very good WiFi. You can also drink the water here (and everywhere else we went in Costa Rica, which was a nice change after several years of going to Mexico).

Villa Blanca raises cattle and grows organic food, all of which they serve in their excellent restaurant. Villa Blanca is a long way from anywhere, so the restaurant on site is really the only practical option, and while it was on the expensive side I have to say it was some of the best food we’ve had. Traditional Costa Rican food is not very exciting, but the food at Villa Blanca was uniformly good, often creative and attractively presented.

First night there was apparently a full moon and there were more moths and a bigger variety than I’d ever seen, including a variety of huge ones. After the first night we never saw even a quarter of that number. In fact, the whole time we were in Costa Rica, there were surprisingly few bugs. We stocked up on bug spray before we went, but never had to use it.

The next morning we did a nature walk on the property with a guide named Warner who was excellent. He showed us how they grow the food there in a green way and even how they make their fertilizer used. Then we went into the forest. 100 yards into the jungle there was a huge tarantula in the middle of the path. Near the main building there is an area that has hummingbird feeders, called the hummingbird gallery and there were at least 30 of them buzzing around and we saw at least 5 different kinds. The guide took all but one of the feeders away and had us hold the last one and after a few minutes the hummingbirds were landing on us to drink from the feeders. It was very cool. They’re surprisingly noisy little buggers when they’re chasing each other around. We went back later in the afternoon and there weren’t near as many hummingbirds, so morning seems the best time to see them.

Later that day we went on a horseback ride arranged by the hotel. My wife was terrified being on the horse, but the guide (who’s a cowhand on the neighboring ranch when he’s not guiding) was really good with her. At one point during the ride we were attacked by a loose stallion that was “aggressively interested” in the mare I was riding. It got to the point where the guide gave me the reigns to his horse and had me try to get away while he stalled the stallion. He hit it the face with a stick and it still wouldn’t back off. We eventually got to a fenced area where we could close it outside of the gate. I didn’t mind the incident at all. I never felt in danger, the guide did a good job handling it so it merely added a little excitement to the ride.

The next morning we milked the cows, which turns out to take some technique. Then we had a couples hot stone massage. My wife said it was one of the best massages she’d had and couldn’t get off the table at the end of it.

There were excursions you could take to Arenal or Poas volcanoes, ziplining, etc, but we never left the property except for the horseback riding which started on the property. Villa Blanca was our 3rd (and final) stop in Costa Rica. We mostly decompressed before heading back home after a very active first 2 stops in Manuel Antonio and Arenal Volcano/La Fortuna. We walked around on the self guided forest trails, played pool or simply hung out in the game room which had a 360 degree view of the surroundings. They had happy hour from 11-4pm and had movies in their cinema at 5:30pm and 8pm.

Getting to Villa Blanca from the airport in San Jose was an adventure of it’s own. We rented a car and the first thing I learned was to stay in the left lane on the highway (when there were actually 2 lanes) because there were broken down cars and stopped trucks & buses in the right lane all the time. And a double line doesn’t mean don’t pass (at least as interpreted by drivers (including me after a while).
It’s about 1.5 hrs from the airport, but it took us a bit longer as it was slow going getting away from the airport due to traffic and it gets dark around 5pm there and once we got in the mountains there was a steady fog. Once we got off the main highway to head north to Villa Blanca, it was all 1 lane roads in each direction. There were pedestrians, bicyclists and goats, etc. in the road to keep things interesting as well. The roads themselves were in good shape. The biggest challenge is that the streets don’t have names and there aren’t signs announcing which town you’re entering, making navigation challenging. Once you get through San Ramon, though, there are signs to Villa Blanca.

  • Stayed December 2013, 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
villablanca2011, Propietario at Villa Blanca Cloud Forest Hotel and Nature Reserve, responded to this review, January 9, 2014
Dear Tom B,

Glad you found so many positive aspects to share with other TA readers, including best volcano sightings, good WiFi, an exceptional staff with best food on your vacation, to great spa treatments, exciting tours and our mission in sustainable practices!. You seemed to cover so many reasons for why we have been nominated in the top ten boutique hotels in Central America!

Gracias,

Jim Damalas
General Manger
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503 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 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 (96)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
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English first
raleigh, NC
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 18, 2013

We were here in December weather, but it was magical. Take advantage of the guided tours, stop at the Hummingbird Gallery, study the ceiling tiles in the Chapel. The hotel is very pretty and the food is very good. No tv in the rooms if you have a rambunctious kid not used to this type of setting, but take advantage of the jacuzzi, outdoor space to sit and birdwatch. We had a fire on our last night to cozy up to, though the room was comfortable. Be aware that it's a drive up from San Ramon, so you're here for the duration. A couple nights is good. Highly recommend, lovely jungle in the clouds.

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
villablanca2011, Gerente at Villa Blanca Cloud Forest Hotel and Nature Reserve, responded to this review, December 20, 2013
Thank you for your review of your positive experiences with us at Villa Blanca. We agree it's truly the "Magic of Nature" within the cloud forest of El Silencio de Los Angeles that adds so much to the comfort, restaurant menu and other amenities you appreciated. I imagine you missed out on the game room of El Mirador, including satellite TV's, but glad your family still enjoyed all the natural highlights and guided tours that continue to provide the sustainable hospitality we pride ourselves upon as members of Greentique Hotels.

Best regards,

Joxan
Resident Manager
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Baltimore
Senior Contributor
48 reviews 48 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
51 helpful votes 51 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 16, 2013

I loved the little casitas, they had comfortable beds and charming fireplaces. The food in the restaurant was very good. I highly encourage taking one of their guided nature tours. Take Dramamine on the drive to and from the hotel though, lots of twists, turns, and potholes to get there. Don't let it discourage you though, the isolation and the scenery getting there is part of the charm!

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with friends
    • 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.
villablanca2011, Gerente at Villa Blanca Cloud Forest Hotel and Nature Reserve, responded to this review, December 19, 2013
We're delighted you enjoyed your stay at Villa Blanca. It was our pleasure to have you as our guest. We are fortunate to be responsible for the care of so rare a natural wonder as the cloud forest reserve of El Silencio de Los Angeles and to be able to offer visitors to Costa Rica the opportunity to experience the Magic of Nature of this unique location. We appreciate you "going the extra mile" to see the big picture.

Regards,
Joxan
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weston vt
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 14, 2013

A wonderful cloud forest casita! Wasn't able to spend a lot of time there but what time we had was wonderful. A beautiful place. We went on the night tour and saw some amazing frogs, snakes, owls and bugs! And the road to the place is an adventure all to its own!

Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple

Review collected in partnership with this hotel

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villablanca2011, Gerente at Villa Blanca Cloud Forest Hotel and Nature Reserve, responded to this review, December 19, 2013
Thanks for your kind review. We've lost track of the number of guests who have commented about not having spent enough time at Villa Blanca. However, we're glad you had enough time to enjoy our unique guided night tour of the "El Silencio de Los Angeles" (Silence of the Angels) cloud forest. We hope to see you again so you have the chance to use Villa Blanca as your base for day trips to Arenal Volcano, and to enjoy our other activities and guided tours around the hotel and across the region of the Central Plateau.

Regards,
Joxan
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Anna Maria Island
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 10, 2013

We recently honeymooned in Costa Rica. Our first destination was Villa Blanca. We wondered what it would be like as we rode nearly 20 minutes down a rough dirt road to this amazing oasis. We loved this boutique hotel. It is located in the Los Angeles cloud forest and as a result, it is like being in heavy fog most of the time. The fog penetrates and even the sheets felt damp. Our room had a fireplace that we enjoyed using, as well as a heater. Costa Rica is known as a country that really cares about the environment. Villa Blanca is one of the top sustainable “green” or environmentally conscious hotels. Their web site has more info about this. We appreciated that they made their own organic cheeses and yogurt from their dairy cows (my wife even got to milk her first cow while we were there) and they grow herbs and vegetables for their restaurant.

The staff was great, as was the food and the beauty of the property. Our breakfast waiter each day was Ronald and our dinner waiter was Juan Carlos. They both remembered us, took time to interact with us and made a delicious meal even more enjoyable. While there, we enjoyed hiking around their property (they are on 75 acres) and exploring the chapel. Their research station is small, but was an interesting stop. Ingrid is one of the workers at the station who spoke good English and whose enthusiasm was contagious! There are a number of flowering plants around the research station, as well as the property and they attract lots of hummingbirds as well as butterflies. One thing my wife and I both felt is that we were treated like extended family.

  • Stayed November 2013, 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
    • 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.
villablanca2011, Gerente at Villa Blanca Cloud Forest Hotel and Nature Reserve, responded to this review, December 19, 2013
Thank you for choosing Villa Blanca for your honeymoon. Making people feel part of the Villa Blanca family here in this stunning cloud forest location is part of our commitment to our unique brand of sustainable hospitality, something we continually strive to improve upon. It's characteristic of the Greentique family of hotels all across Costa Rica. We also thank you for acknowledging that we grow and source local produce and products for our El Sendero restaurant. We hope you'll return to celebrate your wedding anniversary with us. and consider adding a visit to the other Greentique Hotels — our flagship hotel, Si Como No Resort Spa and Wildlife Refuge, located on the Central Pacific Coast above Manuel Antonio National Park, and the Aguila de Osa Rainforest and Marine Adventure Lodge, on the fabled Osa Peninsula near Corcovado National Park.

Sincerely,
Joxan
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Las Vegas, Nevada
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 9, 2013

Expect a rugged dirt road with a few potholes to enter for 8 kilometres. This makes coming and going daily a bit tiring so perhaps a 2 or 3 day stay is best and enjoy the ranch. At breakfast, enjoy the best yogurt I've eaten in my life! It is prepared on property from the cows you are welcome to milk yourself. This goes for the wonderful cheese also. Do not skip the 2 hour nature guided tour. You'll see a gorgeous example of Costa Rica 's rain forests. I will return.

Room Tip: Room 15 was good. It may be more private.
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  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service

Review collected in partnership with this hotel

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
villablanca2011, Propietario at Villa Blanca Cloud Forest Hotel and Nature Reserve, responded to this review, December 19, 2013
We appreciate that you found our homemade dairy products so delicious. Happy cows make fantastic dairy, so it would seem our celebrity cows, Britney, Madonna, and Lady Gaga, are very content living here on the lush, hillside pastures that are found below the cloud forest. We're glad you could experience our guided nature tours and to see some of the amazing life forms that call it home. With 2000 acres to share with our guests, visiting research students, and scientists from a number of universities — there is always more to discover. We hope to see you again soon, here — or at any of the other Greentique Hotels in Costa Rica.


Regards,
Jim Damalas
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Boston, Massachusetts
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 5, 2013

it is a very nice resort with great people there. if you want a quiet place, resort is on top of the hill surrounding by clouds. if you want to have family fun and various activities, they have plenty. food is great.

most important is the nice people you will meet there. all our tour guide people are so nice!

my son had a wonderful time there and wish not to leave.

the only small issue is the road to the resort is rough, if you never drive in mountain area before.

Room Tip: we just randomly got one and it is good!
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  • Stayed November 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 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

Review collected in partnership with this hotel

Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
villablanca2011, Propietario at Villa Blanca Cloud Forest Hotel and Nature Reserve, responded to this review, December 19, 2013
We're very glad you chose Villa Blanca and were able to take advantage of so many of the activities that you and your family shared during your stay. Our secluded location is a big part of why we are able to protect such an endangered and precious natural resource as the Costa Rican cloud forest. Whether one drives or puts themselves in care of our skilled drivers, you along with our other guests, continue to prove that the road less traveled, often holds the greatest rewards. Thanks for including Villa Blanca in your travels.

Regards Jim Damalas
Owner/General Manager
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Additional Information about Villa Blanca Cloud Forest Hotel and Nature Reserve

Address: El Silencio de Los Angeles, San Ramon 1250, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Alajuela > San Ramon
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in San Ramon
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Villa Blanca Cloud Forest Hotel and Nature Reserve 4*
Number of rooms: 35
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Just over an hour's drive from San Jose International Costa Rica airport (SJO), eco-minded travelers from all over the world have reveled in the beauty of Villa Blanca Cloud Forest Hotel, located within the Los Angeles Private Biological Nature Reserve & Research Station in the Canton of San Ramon. The hotel is ideally situated as a gateway to Arenal Volcano and the famous Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. Here, you're immersed in one of the world's most precious and complex jungle ecosystems - the cloud forest. This boutique mountain hotel is nestled on 75-acres of gentle rolling hills, with well-appointed "casitas" and Honeymoon Suites, each with their own fireplace, and surrounded by acres of lush botanical gardens. Originally owned by former president Rodrigo Carazo Odio and First Lady, Estrella Zeledon de Carazo, Villa Blanca has become a renown and cherished Costa Rica destination. The architecture reflects the original farm village concept, with a welcoming Hacienda, offering guests exceptional Costa Rican hospitality, premier dining, a private theater, conference facilities, and pampering spa menu. Also quite unique is a replica of a 14th century Roman wedding chapel, La Mariana, with its hand painted ceramic ceiling. Choose from a variety of nature-based activities, including horseback, zip-lines, and user-friendly guided trials, plus excursions to Arenal and Poas volcanoes, hot springs, and rural-cultural tours. This is the Costa Rica where those who "travel well and travel right" want to go. Please feel free to visit our sister-site, one of the most prestigious Manuel Antonio hotels, Si Como No. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Hotel Blanca Cloud Forest
Villa Blanca Cloud Forest Hotel And Nature Reserve Costa Rica/San Ramon

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