Let's just start by saying that Johnny over there is one of the nicest people we've ever met. He seems to genuinely care about our day, our plans for the next day, our trouble, our needs. He's always close by, even when everything in the hotel is close for the night, to hear our story, offer advice or tips about the areas, care for us. Really, we enjoy him more than anything and we are usually not very marked by staff, one way or the other. Thank you Johnny! That beeing said, the others who worked with him were just as nice!
Accomodation, especially the outside part, is really really nice. Neat, clean, tucked, cared for, well design. The pool is great, just a few feet from our room. The little garden is well maintain, fresh in this torrid weather, and work as little fences and barriers against the dust of the town. The patio of each room is very nicely furnished. Well constructed from beautifull wood benches, table, lawn chairs. Also a hamock. Flowers. The inside is pretty basic but you have everything you need. Cooking surface, coffee maker, fridge, plates, glasses, utenciles... The bathroom is big and also well design. Hot water. But you can't really drink the water here. Nice bedroom with AC and fan. Comfy beds. Little safe. And a little lounge area with a sofa (I imagined it's some kind of bed as well). The hotel ground is close at nit with a gate (you have a key for it) as almost everywhere in Costa Rica. Wifi also works great. Everything in here worked very nicely for us, the only thing maybe is that your are somewhat close to your neighboors. Firtunately, there aren't many of them here!!
To get around in town is a bit complicated. You an walk to grocery store, restaurant including a soda and the beach. Farther than that (to reach the cross or the fisherman for example) you need a ride. You can rent a bike, a ATV or a 4WD car. We rented a 4x4 for the week and had a blast! We went all around town, to beaches, fishing, went to Manzanillo and Montezuma, went to Cabo Blanco with it. Paid 55$ a day for 5 days. Be carefull to rent a new and well maintained one. You can call a cab but it seems they were very expensive, think 20$ to go from one edge of the city to the other. For us, it was cheaper to rent the 4x4... (in case you are reading this Johnny, I forgot to tell you before we left but the ATV guy from just around the corner treated us very well, no hidden charges, no repairs cost, nothing, great service! Thanks for taking care of us on that one!). Raratonga offered to book all kind of service, from laundry and ATV to fishing outings and more.
The hotel is 100m off the main road, which is perfect to avoid noise and dust.
The town Is very very very dusty. Very. We saw people wearing scarf in front of their nose and mouth, helmet with visor, ski mask, even surgical mask, while running their moto/bike/ATV. We wore the visor of the 4x4 helmet during daytime, near downtown and on the main road to Cobano when "traffic" time. Otherwise, just sunglass is enough. But it makes for a weirdly "dirty" city, which we did not expect. The bright side is that everything (bathing suit, towel, clothes, hair) dry in minutes!
The more north you stay, the more frenetic the city is. Surfer, bars, party, people. For our taste (we are quiet, relexing people who don't go dancing at night) we would probably have enjoy more the southemost part of Malpais (but then, we wouldn't have met Johnny and stayed at the Raratonga!).
One last thing, for the ones of you who enjoy fishing, can we recommend the kayak fishing excursion. The office is almost right outside the hotel, on the main road, a few meters south, sea side. They are nice guys running a friendly business. You rent a well equiped kayak with all the trimmings to fish for 60$/3h. It comes with a guide that will help you paddle and find good spots. We saw them on their outings (we hired a fishing charter) and we later found them in town but it was too late to go with them, we were leaving. It's one of our few regrets, to have miss them! Go with them if you can!!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.