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“Great location, terrible kitchen” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Casa Zen Guest House & Yoga Center

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Casa Zen Guest House & Yoga Center
Playa Santa Teresa | 50 mts West from Super Costa, Santa Teresa, Costa Rica   |  
Hotel amenities
Vancouver, Canada
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Great location, terrible kitchen”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 5, 2012

I stayed here for 5 nights. The location is fantastic, just steps from the beach, close to a grocery store, and about halfway along the long dirt road that is Santa Teresa. The rooms are nice and dark so you can actually sleep in (something rare in CR!) There are plenty of hammocks and places to sit and hang out. It was quiet though, and not very social. The restaurant had shut down when I was there, Unfortunately, their communal kitchen was terrible. It consisted of a two portable burners of which only one worked, a fridge and a sink. The pots and pans were in terrible condition, there wasn't enough cutlery for more than 3 people to eat at a time. A bit difficult for a traveler on a budget that relies on cooking for himself. The other thing I did not like was that in the entire time I was there, our room was not cleaned at all. Garbage bins were kept outside and were emptied, but with all the sand and dirt that accumulated in the room, I felt that 6 days was too long to go without giving it a sweep.The woman at the front desk could be a bit defensive sometimes, even when you were just asking her a simple question.

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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103 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (10)
Date | Rating
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English first
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Top Contributor
54 reviews 54 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 33 cities Reviews in 33 cities
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 16, 2012

Did not sleep here, but the food is good and finally found a place that is not sooooo expensive. Food is realy good and the price as well, if you don't sleep here at least go for the food!

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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phila
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 2, 2012

The atmosphere is very relaxing and in a good location. The rooms are clean and the community bathroom facilitys are well maintained. Close walk to the beach and supermarket. The food at casa zen is ok but you have plenty of other options around you. Great price, you definately get more than what you pay for. After reading some comments on here about theft, I must say that anywhere you go in Costa Rica there is theft. Don't leave your stuff outside at night,you are in a tourist area. What else do you expect! I suggest trying the Yoga. I did it for the first time and it was good. More of a workout than i expected. Definately will be back! Don, Kelly, and the rest of the staff are really nice people. Goto Casa Zen!

  • Stayed January 2012, 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
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Spokane, Washington
2 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 2, 2012

We've stayed at the Casa Zen several times and it is always great. The facility is always clean and nice, the price is very reasonable, the location is central and easy to walk everywhere in town, the beautiful beach is less than a minute walk away and most importantly the people are fantastic. Everyone is friendly and very helpful.

Stayed January 2012, traveled with family
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New Bern, North Carolina
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 23, 2011

Having lived in Costa Rica previously for 11 years, I kinda knew how to "expect the worst, hope for the best". CZ is somewhere in the middle. The service was ok, mostly friendly but losing the personal touch that is so important and that they should not let slip. The property is very nice and well kept but... we were in the apartment, my husband and I, and the cleanliness was a little slipshod; there was no room service but wasn't really expecting it even though all the comparable properties we'd stayed at provided it. Lot's of ants of various species and yes, I know it's the jungle, but this property had by far the most of all the places we stayed in two weeks. There was someone else's food in the fridge - oops - the kitchen sink leaked horribly and there was no way to lock the safe. The ceiling fan over the bed did not work but there was a floor fan that kept us cool. Ask for extra pillows.

We ate at the restaurant a couple of times and were excited to be eating Thai as we consider ourselves Thai officionados - it's one of our favorites. Disappointing. The curry was served over way too much rice which made all the curry sauce disappear and it needed a ton of salt. The pad-thai also not so great. And finally, someone tried to break into our completely empty rental vehicle that was parked in the adjoining hotel owners or managers driveway.

All that said, for what we paid for the room and the location, it was a good deal but I don't know if we'd come back with all the other interesting looking properties in the area.

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Saskatoon, Canada
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 21, 2011

If you are looking for a calm, enjoyable time in Santa Teresa, then stay here!
When I first arrived to Santa Teresa I stayed at another hostel, but one night and I knew I needed to find another place. I was in Santa Teresa at the end of August, which is the beginning of low season in Costa Rica, so there were not many people in town. I walked to a number of different hostels to look at the facilities, but didn't find one that I thought I would like for the few days I would be there, then I remembered that my friends had raved about this hostel in Santa Teresa called Casa Zen, and once I saw it I understood. There are other hostels that are cheaper in town, but the dorm rooms are nice and if you are travelling with 2 people the privates are the same price as staying in a dorm and that is a great deal. I loved the balcony with all the hanging hammocks and spent a lot of time there. It is only a 2 min walk to the beach from the hostel. The owner is great, myself and another guest had some issues on the beach and the owner was very helpful and compassionate. There is also a restaurant downstairs that has great food. In the mornings for an additional charge you can do yoga, and the instructor is amazing! She was so helpful and knowledgeable, probably the best instructor I have worked with. I had a great time here and will return again!

Room Tip: Depending on what bus you take, you may have to walk a bit to get to the hostel, but it is worth it!
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  • Stayed August 2011, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco, California
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 20, 2011

I've lost track of the number of times I have returned to Mal Pais and enjoyed staying at Casa Zen. 8? 9?

This place continues to deliver great atmosphere and value. As I write this I sit in the rancho, which is a separate building adjacent from the hotel built for dining and hanging out. Its low season, and the place is quite tranquil.

The menu has evolved a bit but continues to offer a very well prepared blend of costa rican and thai fare. The food remains excellent and a cut above what you find for similar pricing in the area. Kelly's attentiveness to the preparations and the longevity of the staff are a big part of that.

The open air shared kitchen remains available and the close proximity of well stocked local markets -- in addition to a regular saturday farmer's market held next to the beach 100 meters away -- make it easy to keep costs of an extended stay down, but pick carefully from the markets, as imported goods are heavily marked up, while local produce and goods are cheaper.

The surf, as ever, ranges from good to epic. The locals aren't hostile, and there are plenty of peaks to accommodate people. Tides are crucial here, as they shift from 8 to 10 ft per day. While you can learn to surf here, it isn't really a beginner's break when the waves are firing. And when it goes off seriously, there are reefs and points within a few km north and south to hit if the beachbreaks close out. Evening glass-offs are common even on days when afternoon winds blow it out. Dawn patrol remains the best option if you're hunting for hollow tubes and empty lineups.

Lastly, this is one of the cleaner and well cared for places you'll find in the area at this price point. The grounds are well landscaped and everything is cleaned daily.

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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.
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Additional Information about Casa Zen Guest House & Yoga Center

Address: Playa Santa Teresa | 50 mts West from Super Costa, Santa Teresa, Costa Rica
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Puntarenas > Santa Teresa
Amenities:
Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly )
Hotel Style:
Ranked #10 of 46 Specialty Lodging in Santa Teresa
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Santa Teresa and Mal Pais are rather remote beach towns, and that is what makes them so special! Thankfully, even though we are a little off the beaten path, there are still quite a few services available to visitors. This is a excellent area to relax practicing of Yoga and Surf.On the first floor, we have six private rooms, ideal for single travelers, couples or pairs of friends. The rooms have either a double bed or two single beds. We also have two larger private rooms on the first floor, each with beds for three people. Scroll down for photos and prices for our private rooms. Upstairs you will find the apartment plus three additional rooms with varying capacities, featuring exterior doors as well as interior doors connecting to the apartment. An abundance of shared bathrooms are also located on the first floor (there are many to choose from and they are always clean!).We also have two well-equipped communal kitchens, including our signature chef’s kitchen, complete with a professional quality stove, microwave, blenders, and a giant stainless steel refrigerator. We offer a amazing Yoga deck with every day class. Our helpful, bilingual staff is always ready to help plan other tours and activities in the area, including surf lessons, canopy tours, stand up paddleboarding (SUP), visits to nearby waterfalls, fishing, sailing, snorkeling, horseback riding, ATV rentals and more. We can also assist you with restaurant recommendations, reservations and travel planning, so your trip can be totally relaxing and worry-free! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Casa Zen Hotel Santa Teresa
Casa Zen Guest House & Yoga Center Costa Rica/Santa Teresa

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