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“Bare Bone Accommodations -- Central Location with Great Staff” 2 of 5 stars
Review of Pension Santa Elena

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Pension Santa Elena
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250 m al Sureste Banco Nacional en el corazon de Santa Elena, Santa Elena, Costa Rica   |  
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New York
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Bare Bone Accommodations -- Central Location with Great Staff”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed June 17, 2008

In all fairness to PSE, I must share that my wife and I sandwiched our one-night stay at PSE between a two-day stay in deluxe accommodations at the Lost Iguana Resort in Arenal and a 4-day all-inclusive stay at Playa Conchal in Guanacaste. With that said, I must admit that I have mixed feelings with respect to this location. The perks of this place include its attentive staff – who have outstanding knowledge of the area (and Costa Rica), a bohemian climate and central location. What stands out the most about our stay at PSE is that the staff we interacted with was absolutely fantastic and did all they could to assist us to enjoy our short visit to Monteverde. Despite the fact that we didn’t book any of our canopy or hanging bridge trips through PSE, we did see PSE staff members meeting with other guests to help them plan their trips. One of the highlights of our stay at PSE was Ro’s attentiveness and hospitality. We were pleasantly surprised with a complimentary bottle of wine, a bouquet of fresh lilies and chocolate that was personally delivered to our room by Ro to help us celebrate our honeymoon at PSE. Go Ro!!! We received outstanding service from Eduardo also. The downside to PSE was the quality of our room. I must say that my wife was a bit disappointed with our room from the minute she walked in AND she is far from a being a prima donna. Frankly, I was a bit embarrassed about having selected PSE upon being shown our room, which was very basic -- a full size bed and a private bathroom with hot water. While the bed was comfortable, the sheets were very worn and kept slipping off the mattress – which creeped us out. The bathroom was perfect! Plenty of hot water! Unfortunately for us, we went during rainy season and after driving 4.5 hours on the unpaved road from Arenal to Monteverde and a two-hour canopy tour we wound up crashing and spending our entire evening and night in bed.

Overall PSE is perfect for anyone traveling on a really, really, really tight budget (our room costs us $17/night). It also works well if you plan to be out of the room for considerable amounts of time. So, in summary, if you can afford to spend a bit more and don’t want to stay up all night worrying about the cleanliness of your bed linen stay elsewhere or bring your own sheets.

  • Liked — The centality of the location and the staff's attention
  • Disliked — The terribly worn out sheets on the bed.
  • Stayed August 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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345 reviews from our community

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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 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (46)
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USA
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
21 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 1, 2008

The common area is pretty cool with funky decorations and a welcoming atmosphere. We spent time each day just hanging out and playing cards and dominos. The staff are very nice. They will sit and talk with you providing advice and help booking tours. There is music playing most of the day, but it ends around 10p so not really a big deal when trying to sleep. They also provide30 minutes of free internet. The location is convenient with a taco stand, soda, panaderia, and supermarket within two blocks.

I had never stayed in a hostel before and it was a fun experience. We met some interesting people though admittedly there were a lot of students and recent graduates doing the backpacking thing (we're a little older). Our room had a private entrance from the outside of the building so we could come and go as we liked, as well as a private bathroom. We also could park in the driveway right next to our room. The downside was that when it was raining we had to jump puddles to get into the common areas. Also, the water in our shower would randomly fluctuate from between cold and hot.

All in all, it was a fun, cheap experience and I'd stay there again. If you want something a little unique with just the basics, give it a shot. If you are looking for luxury, you should probably go elsewhere.

  • Liked — Friendly Staff
  • Disliked — Made us feel old
  • Stayed May 2008, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
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New York, NY
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 18, 2008

Loved this place! My husband and I stayed here for two nights and had a fantastic time. We met so many amazing people that it just made our stay in this region phenomenal! The staff is extremely friendly and so, so helpful. Even during our planning phase, Ran, who owns the place with his sister, was helpful with many things, including booking us on a bus from the airport to our first destination, which was not even to his hotel! He also helped us book several other things in terms of transportation and had wonderful suggestions about the other destinations on our trip. Honestly, we couldn't have done our trip as well and stress free without him. The accommodations are clean and the mattress was comfortable, but they are very basic (bare bones) , so if you are looking for luxury, this is not the place for you. There are flies everywhere, but that is Costa Rica (fyi-- if you haven't been to Costa Rica before - unless you are at an inside hotel, flies abound everywhere and in every region). There is also an amazing taco stand next door and a great local restaurant one block away, as well as a supermarket 2 blocks away. We cannot say enough about the wonderful people we met and the staff. They were our kind of people and a great place to be for a few days.

  • Liked — The staff
  • Disliked — The flies
  • Stayed April 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Upland, California
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 12, 2008

We stayed at PSE for two nights and it was probably our favorite place on our one week trip. I wouldn't say anything terribbly exciting happened, but the environment just made us feel so at ease. This was the first "hostel" I've ever stayed at and it was a great first experience. We arrived in Santa Elena by jeep-boat-jeep from La fortuna. We didn't make a room reservation and just chanced showing up. This was our first choice cheapy place to stay and we had a few others just in case they were booked. We were able to get a private room/bathroom, but they have shared rooms/baths too, check their website. Current guests are given priority for continued stay.

The front counter staff was quick to show us the rooms they had available/amenities. We stayed in room C4, it faces out into the garden/grass yard. It had it's own little porch with a bench. It was about $30/night, but there was a double bed and 1 bunk bed so w/ 4 people it would be very cheap. Beds, bathroom, and room were very clean. I took a peek at the shared bathroom and shower, seemed clean, wouldn't have minded having to use it. Since our front door/main window faced out to the wind, it got a little chilly, but just grab an extra blanket from the bunk bed. The bathroom/window shares a wall with the kitchen, but noise wasn't a problem for us. I actually enjoyed being able to hear the music that is always playing in the community area. Community area closes at 10pm, so people noise is not a factor when sleeping. I think in another review it was mentioned there was a sewer problem/smell, we didn't notice anything.

They provide free internet under 30 min, a fully stocked community kitchen, towel service (ask at desk), and even EARLY morning wake up calls. The staff was very knowledge and eager to help - advice on tours, restaurants, ride sharing, transportation. They helped us put together a private shuttle to Quepos with some girls we met from another hotel.

The living room/community area was great. I totally suggest grabbing a book, your journal and/or a beer and sitting around for awhile. Talk to other travelers or the staff. Music is always playing and you really get this sense of a living room feel. If your an animal lover, there are about 2 dogs and a cat that hang around the place. If you're not, don't worry, they pretty much just lay on the porch and don't bother you. PSE sits on a busy one way street right in Santa Elena. It can be a bit noisy, but the people watching is great on the porch. It's in immediate walking distance to any food or entertainment. Laundry/cafe/bookstore directly across the street.

I would definately stay at PSE again and recommend it to friends. The majority of people were younger backpackers, but I even saw a family or two staying there. It's really a place for everyone. Even if you aren't staying at PSE, I saw many travelers just stop in to hang out and chat.

  • Liked — cheap, good location, helpful staff, clean
  • Stayed May 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
31 hotel reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 2, 2008

We stayed here for 2 nights and it was definitely a cool place. There were tons of people hanging out in the lobby throughout the day and we met some very interesting characters from all over the world.

The communal kitchen is a nice feature, and very widely used. The free coffee and internet were another plus!

Our room (one of the "cabinas") was very nice and slept 4 people comfortably.

The staff was incredibly knowledgeable and organized all of our activities for us.

The location is good, in central Santa Elena, near restaurants, the grocery store, and the bus station.

  • Liked — Helpful staff
  • Disliked — Slow internet
  • Stayed March 2008, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
connecticut
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed March 6, 2008

Pension Santa Elena has a vibrant common space with lots of adventurous travelers of all ages. The information and energy from the guests and the staff is amazing. That is the only positive about this place. The rooms are dirty, dark, and ours smelled pretty bad. If you are looking for a cheap backpackers hostel and not worried about room condition, this would be great for you. If you care about cleanliness...find another place.

  • Stayed January 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tel Aviv, Israel
1 review
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 5, 2008

The staff at the pension are welcoming and hospitable and very helpful with ideas of what to do in the area day and night. The place itself is simple but as far as hostels go, this is by far one of the best.

  • Liked — The friendly staff
  • Disliked — the communal kitchen
  • Stayed January 2008, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Pension Santa Elena

Address: 250 m al Sureste Banco Nacional en el corazon de Santa Elena, Santa Elena, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Puntarenas > Monteverde > Santa Elena
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #7 of 25 Specialty Lodging in Santa Elena
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 37
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Our Mission is to exceed our guests expectations of a budget hotel by providing outstanding customer service and dependable information. Commit time and resources to preserve the values and traditions of our community and Costa Rica. Pura Vida y Pura Hospitalidad. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Pension Santa Elena Hotel Santa Elena
Pension Santa Elena Monteverde, Costa Rica

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