I waited a couple of months before writing this review because I wanted to take a while to collect my thoughts about our very poor experience at Pranamar. I wanted to make sure to only highlight the major issues that still stand out though we experienced a lot of small issues during our trip as well.
I’ll start with the few things we did enjoy:
- Yoga - the included daily yoga classes were very nice. They were right by our villa and had a nice mix of guests and locals attending. Peaceful way to start the day.
- Breakfast – the food in general here was good and I appreciated the made to order breakfast (versus a buffet). However the prices were extremely high. And on top of that they nickel and dimed us for everything (example – we ordered eggs which were included for breakfast but had to order a not included side of bacon which they charged us $4 each every morning for the bacon)
- Calm atmosphere – this is a very peaceful place to relax due to laid back culture and lack of crowds
Now onto our issues:
- Room quality – I cannot say strongly enough how incredibly disappointing this was. We were there during green season and even with a discounted rate this was egregiously overpriced for the quality of amenities and accommodation. So frustrating. The bed linens were dirty, stained, and very cheap. The air conditioner is a unit on the wall that would turn itself off randomly (some due to total electricity outages). The main bathroom is outside which we found unappealing given the number of creatures around the property. The upstairs bathroom which we used as our primary bathroom even though it was inconveniently on another floor was gross. Outdated with very dim florescent lighting. Dead moths in the shower daily.
- Noise - There is no noise barrier in the villas due to a lot of screening for walls (some of which was falling off the wall in our house) so we could hear everything our neighbors were doing including the nightly sing alongs from the family next door lasting for hours. Sigh. Also we were woken up around 7:30 am one morning by guys slashing bushes right by our bedroom window with machetes which was terrifying. When they saw us look out the window they nodded and left, but not a pleasant way to wake up on vacation. They also had a small ladder with them which they had propped up against the area of our outdoor shower / bathroom so was extra thankful we decided not to use that bathroom for anything during our stay.
- Service – When we checked in and were completely freaked out after our drive to arrive, the front desk attendant was very insensitive. No help with massive ants in our villa (more details below). We asked the front desk to check our cabin regarding bats as there was something large flying around our living area ceiling one night but they just reported back they didn’t see anything. We also asked about the difference in prices on our bill as on the food menu and were answered with a shrug by the restaurant wait staff. There was a nice gentleman around the property during the days who would say hello but that is not enough to make up for the lacking customer service otherwise. I love the pura vida culture and attitude but in a customer service industry they need to be more mindful of resolving issues and providing answers for guests.
- Creatures– I know we are in CR. I totally get that. This was the last place of 5 we stayed during our trip and was by far the worst in terms of creatures, particularly in our room. Around the property there were stray dogs, snakes, spider, bats, and the usual CR bug assortment. In our villa we had massive (palm sized) moths, lizards, and massive (half an inch) ants that got into our bags. We called the front desk the night the ants were everywhere – they came and looked and said “well it’s wet out, they are just trying to find somewhere dry”… and left.
Other items worth noting:
- Arrival / departure – please please take care in how you plan to come to pranamar. We read their website ahead of time and the directions are focused on those arriving from San Jose. We however were coming from the northwest coast and since there were no directions online we forged our own path which was disastrous. We certainly take the responsibility here but while we were lost in the country side the front desk tenant was hardly helpful and stopped answering the phone after a while leaving us completely stranded in the middle of farm land with no one around to ask. We ended up driving on a dirt road full of potholes for ~5 hours including crossing through several rivers of which we had no idea how deep. We managed to arrive just before dark and would have been helpless if even 15 minutes later. Coming from San Jose is much easier including mostly paved roads and a car ferry. Proceed with caution here!!
In summary we unfortunately really did not enjoy our stay here. Good friends of mine recommended it but they obviously had a very different experience. We found the accommodations low quality, the poorest value for money of anywhere we stayed in the country, and would not recommend it.