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“Total Relaxation with Understated Finesse” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Canaima Chill House

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Canaima Chill House
400 metros al este del Hostal Brunelas, hacia el monte | Playa Santa Teresa, Santa Teresa 60111, Costa Rica   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #6 of 30 Santa Teresa B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Canterbury, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
29 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“Total Relaxation with Understated Finesse”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 12, 2011

A concept hotel true to its ethos.

By our 2nd morning of our 12 night stay at Canaima, we felt more like guests of friends than customers. Juan Carlos and Alexia's genuine hospitality was warm, relaxed, professional and heartfelt. We got a clear sense of how passionately they believed in their hotel as well as how much they wanted to share this still relatively less trodden corner of the Nicoya Peninsula. The website and Facebook page pictures most definitely capture the rooms and surroundings realistically.


The highly personable approach of Canaima underpinned our entire experience from our initial enquiry, tips on arranging our transfer from our first accommodation in Quepos to even calling us up the day we were arriving with Montezuma Expeditions to let us know that they had arranged for a 4x4 taxi to pick us up once we had arrived in Santa Teresa. The fishing trip from Mal Pais was so good we did it twice: we caught quite a lot of fish which the fisherman filleted and prepared for us. However, the real bonus was a close encounter with a large group of dolphins and several turtles, plus the swim in the "offshore jacuzzi." Other highlights include quad-biking to Cabo Blanco, Montezuma, Isla Tortuga (heard that we were lucky to be visiting out of the main season, as the beautiful beach can feel over-crowded), solitary strolls to Playa Hermosa and exceptional sushi at Koji Restaurant. Let’s not forget the extraordinary experience of almost living in the forest canopy together with howler monkeys and surround-sound orchestral majesty of the numerous resident birds.

We were able to spend days doing absolutely nothing - Canaima certainly helps you zone into that state very easily. The sunsets are amazing, no two were ever the same. This is a place to unwind with like-minded individuals - the other guests we met were friendly, interesting and cool. The spacious Balinese inspired rooms are as just as lovely as they appear on the hotel’s website. The ceiling fan in the room was certainly adequate for a comfortable night’s rest. We asked for an extra fan and this made a huge difference whilst chilling out in the seating area by the floating/hanging bed. The pool and jacuzzi were perfect for cooling off after our days out or upon return from our surf lessons with Juan Carlos, who executed these in a highly professional manner – with the added advantage that we felt we were in the safe hands of someone we knew we could trust. Our room and the surroundings were kept spotless throughout our stay.


Sure there are surf shops in town and a fair share of atypical Costa Rican eateries in Santa Teresa but Canaima's location off the main road makes it easy to avoid the odd loud crass non-locals. Some of the nearby ‘Sodas’ provided authentic Tico gastronomy with atmosphere. If you feel like cooking, the supermarket has a surprising cosmopolitan selection of ingredients on offer with a decent range of fruits and vegetables.

Make sure you read up about the area – it’s definitely not a pedestrian tourist destination. It is a surfer hotspot but the beach front is long so it never feels crowded; we were often virtually the only people on the beach. Staying here also allows you to experience the best of Costa Rica - wildlife, nature reserves, boat trips, canopy tours etc. However, it was the genuinely warm welcome that Juan Carlos and Alexia extend that made Canaima truly memorable.
We left somewhat divided - should we tell everyone about it, or should be keep this place a treasured secret, too precious to share with the masses? Over a week after our return home, we are still daydreaming about Santa Teresa and Canaima.

Gracias!

Room Tip: Buy a few plug-in mosquito repellants.
See more room tips
  • Stayed July 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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283 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 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 (37)
Date | Rating
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English first
San Francisco, California
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 9, 2011

Overall my friend and I had non-stop fun, adventure, and pure relaxation while staying at the Chill House!!!! We arrived via shuttle and decided to go without vehicle during our stay. We found that our walk up and down the hill was a something to be enjoyed, because we are San Franciscans and love a good hill! :) The Chill House is a magic spot where we were able to chill on our private patio, chill in the chill patio, chill in the jacuzzi, chill in the pool, chill with some monkey's, chill and make some home cooked meals, chill in the tree house, and walk five minutes to the a beach so stunning that it chills you OUT! We left Santa Teresa and Costa Rica with a few less wrinkles and an eagerness to return the same time next year!! Juan Carlos, Carolina, Tanya, Chiztu, and Bombay were all so amazing and incredibly helpful with all aspects of our trip. From recommendations for places to eat, surf lessons from Juan Carlos, and transportation arrangements, we felt their hospitality gave us great advice, but never pushed an agenda upon us. We are looking forward to our trip next year and we plan on bringing friends with us. Pura Vida!!!!!

  • Stayed June 2011, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 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.
Calgary, Canada
Level Contributor
9 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 5, 2011

A little hidden gem in the jungle, a short walk from the beach. We surfed and swam everyday and the Canaima Chill House was always a welcomed end to the day. Very modern, clean, well kept and beautiful rooms. Rooms are very spacious with comfy beds, cooking area, fridges and eating areas. The howler monkeys at night remind you excactly where you are and how amazing this place is.

Breakfast in the am is well worth it and always waiting for us after our morning surf exursion. Santa Teresa is home to some of the most amazing restaurants and shops, and the people are extremely welcoming.
Great staff, beautiful acoomodations and a very quiet little paradise that we will be back to very soon.

Logan and Terra

  • Stayed April 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 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.
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 31, 2011

My wife and I were fortunate enough to spend 8 days in the Mal Pais- Santa Teresa area for our honeymoon, and we chose the Chill House for our last 3 days of the stay.
We had an awesome time over our entire stay, and those considering being in this area should take time to learn a little bit about the area before their trip. It becomes increasingly enjoyable with a greater sense of adventure. Tourism is undoubtedly the primary source for their economy, but it's not really luxurious. Which is a good thing.

Specifically Canaima:
It was 1/3 the cost of the first place we stayed, and we felt like we got a steal by staying here. I'm a firm believer in customer service, and Juan Carlos (and his girlfriend!) never disappointed. He made us feel like we were the only people there, and it was his goal to make our stay the absolute best it could be. From the moment we got there, his focus was us (grabbed our bags for us--for some previous posters/whiners' info).
We felt like we bombarded he and his girlfriend at times with questions, but he couldn't have been happier to answer them for us. As soon as we mentioned that we were interested in surfing, he offered to show us his favorite spot 45 mins away in Cabuya the next 2 days. It was a bit crowded there, but for great reason. We had some rides lasting about 30-45 seconds. We were a little intimidated by some of the locals, but Juan Carlos treated us like we were his pals out on the water and that helped us feel like we were alright being there.

The room:
The rooms are very nice and included a fun outdoor area with hanging bed and bar area connected to the kitchen (where we ate breakfast each morning). It was really nice to have the kitchenette with a generous-sized refrigerator. We actually had 1 that was broken, but Juan Carlos got us a working unit in no time. It ended up saving us a little money by being able to prepare breakfasts and some drinks. The overall design and layout of the space is really nice. You have the feeling of enjoying your own personal space while appreciating the proximity of the jungle (you're basically in it!)
The mosquito nets were well-appreciated, especially come bedtime because they were somewhat prevalent during our stay. (they weren't bad, and I wonder if it's different at points in the year)
There were only 2 minor inconveniences that we could come up with that may be helpful for Juan Carlos as well as future occupants.
1. ventilation. This was tricky because if we left windows/doors open, we got some relief, but only to the extent that we could handle the mosquitoes. The ceiling fan helped a little, but it was hard to feel unless you were in bed. I would highly recommend cold/cool showers. Not only are they refreshing, but they leave the room feeling much better than a warm shower. Again, this is what we would call a minor inconvenience because you have to take into consideration not only being in basically a rain forest, but also being there during the rainy season. Of course humidity is going to be high.
2. mosquitoes. easy fix--bring some bug spray. you're in the jungle

Final thoughts:
The common areas are really cool. It's very inviting and we ended up meeting some other fun couples that were staying there when we were at the jacuzzi area or reception area. We also had access to a jacuzzi at our expensive place, and that one didn't even have heat associated with it, so it felt like a big deal to have a warm jacuzzi.
Not sure about WiFi there, but they did have a community laptop there if you really need internet.
The dogs are great. Really well-behaved, completely unintimidating, and friendly.

This place is only going to get better and it's already great. I highly encourage anyone and everyone with even a mild sense of adventure or lack of heavy pampering requirement to stay at the Chill House. You won't get better service for your money in the whole area.

-Steve

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 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.
Telluride, Colorado
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 30, 2011

I will never forget the days spent at the canaima chill house. It was a perfect getaway tucked away in the jungle, but only minutes from the main surf break. The pool is so refreshing, and the floating beds are wonderful to take an afternoon nap. The owner Juan Carlos is attentive to every detail and very helpful. He also gives great surf lessons. The room in one word was blissful. Beautiful wood, white sheets and a shower that you will have to visit to find out. . I felt like an island goddess. As an avid cook, I loved the kitchen. I found everything I needed to cook up any meal. Make sure to ask Juan Carlos where to find the best fish in town. Waking up to the jungle and the sound of birds you will leave here refreshed and energized. I would recommend to couples and groups. Very romantic, but would also be great to go with a larger group and rent out a few rooms. It won't be my last time in this enchanted hotel.

  • Stayed June 2011, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 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.
Paris
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 29, 2011

This is the second time I'm coming to Santa Teresa, and second time in Canaima Chill House. My God how much I love this place !!!

The first time I came was in January of last year during dry season; this time it was at the beginning of june= rainy season. It was beautiful ! the nature is so green!!! My friend and i decided to take the "adventure package", and we had SO MUCH FUN !!!

the 2 ladies at the reception were very helpful, preparing our schedule according to what we wanted and the weather of course. Juan Carlos was the perfect host. The first day we arrived, it was raining and he offered us to pick us up at the bus station. He also offered us a couple of times a ride to the supermarket which was very helpful.
We were so happily surprised to see the beautiful pool that he built ! so unexpected yet so enjoyable !

Canaima Chill is by far one of the most unique and magical experience I ever had. I work in customer service myself, and I was once again very touched to see how Juan Carlos is sensitive to every little details making sure that our stay was unforgettable and it was ! If you are seeking for adventure, nature, unique experience, comfort, originality, peace, bearfoot luxury, Canaima Chill House is the perfect getaway ! Thank you Juan Carlos !!!! We want to come back sooooo bad !!!!! and very soon!!!

  • Stayed June 2011, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 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.
Southern Pines, North Carolina
Level Contributor
20 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed June 27, 2011

We left confused and sad by the good reviews. We arrived to Canaima as our second destination in Costa Rica with our 4x4 rental car. Thank goodness we had 4x4, this is not a good idea but a must. I couldnt imagine hauling luggage up that "hill". The location makes for a pretty view but it should be stated that you will need it.
Here are the negatives we experienced:
Our rooms was hot, muggy and unbearable. While I was quickly reminded by the lady that showed up the second day, it does not state anywhere there is air conditioning-my mistake. However, it does state that it is comfortable and it was nowhere close. When I requested an additional fan I was told "you already have one in your room". I did notice by the way a very large fan and multiple other fans in her personal room where she resided the whole time we were there. The pool was not available to cool off in because of chemicals and cleaning. We did not have breakfast available as stated in emails. There were dogs roaming the hotel and laying on furniture and the pillow pit. Unfortunately I was allergic to the dogs who are fond of licking which didnt seem to be much of a concern after mentioning it. We are dog lovers but if a paying customer was bothered by them I think it could be considered. We were also welcomed the next morning by their "presents" in the courtyard area. After a night of litte sleep due to heat, humidity and hives I decided to give it a second day. We went to our surfing lessons and area exploration and returned in the late afternoon. The room was even more uncomfortable and we were informed the pool wouldnt be available for a few days. We decided to find somewhere else to stay to salvage our vacation. We discussed our issues with the ladies and it was extremely difficult for us to leave without paying for our full stay. They both agreed that it was "usually humid" and upsetting that there would be no pool. There was only one other room occupied but we were told we had booked a room and they would lose money on a room that others couldve used. We were okay with paying for the first night and that evening since it was after checkout time. We agreed to wait until they spoke with the owner who was out of the country to see if we could have our deposit refunded. We even called multiple days with no results. I understand deposits and not showing up but we arrived as reservations stated with an open mind and tried to alter our expectation but we were not provided the comfortable experience we promised.
And the positives:
The room was very unique and pretty. The deck was great, the bed was pretty, the windows offered great views of flora. The courtyard was pretty minus the dog doo and dust (there was quite a bit of construction they couldnt control). The pool would be pretty under normal circumstances. The woman who met us the first day was friendly, just not very organized or attentive. Our surf lessons were fun and recommendations for food and activities were helpful. In all fairness the owner was gone and I feel we wouldve had a completely different experience if he had been on location.
If air conditioning was added, staff was more professional and attentive, and the dogs were controlled better I think this would be an amazing place. Just dont forget your 4x4.

  • Stayed May 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
canaimachillhouse, Owner at Canaima Chill House, responded to this review, June 29, 2011
Dear guest,

First of all I want to apologize for the service you received at Canaima Chill House.
It was the first time that I left the hotel in hands of another person, so I could take a 3 week holiday, since I opened the hotel, almost 3 years ago, and clearly I didn't give it to the right person.

Both ladies that you mention on your review don't work any more with us. I'm really sorry that your expectations were not what you found in my place.

Now we are in rainy season and the temperature is not so hot, but for sure we will have AC for the new dry season.

I took note of every single thing that you mention on your review, and I will personally work very hard so nobody else feels this way. Again I apologize for all the inconveniences.

I know that this sounds strange but I would love to have you back one day so you could enjoy
the real service and vibe of Canaima Chill House.

Pura Vida
Juan Carlos Lascaray
Owner & Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Canaima Chill House

Address: 400 metros al este del Hostal Brunelas, hacia el monte | Playa Santa Teresa, Santa Teresa 60111, Costa Rica
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Puntarenas > Santa Teresa
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Kitchenette Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #6 of 30 B&Bs / Inns in Santa Teresa
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 8
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Our "rustic boutique hotel" is a jungle oasis, only 500 meters away from one of the most beautiful beaches of Costa Rica.In Canaima Chill House, luxury is experienced in harmony with nature and simple sensations such as, relaxing on a bamboo hanging bed, listening to the amazing sounds of the jungle or chilling in our "pillow swimming pool".Sensations which are hard to explain, sensations which are simple to feel.- 4 Suites (for 2 people)- 4 suites-loft (up to 4 people)- Swimming Pool- Chill Deck- Outdoor Jacuzzi- WI-FI- Personalized services- Cocktail and smoothie bar- Room service breakfast (optional) ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Canaima Chill House Hotel Santa Teresa
Canaima Chill House Costa Rica/Santa Teresa

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