We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“A perfect getaway for the laidback traveller” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Gilded Iguana Hotel

We can't find prices for this hotel
Our online travel partners don't provide prices for this hotel, but we can search other options in Nosara
Check In mm/dd/yyyy Check Out mm/dd/yyyy
Gilded Iguana Hotel
Save
You added Gilded Iguana Hotel to your Saves list
Playa Guiones, Nosara 5233, Costa Rica   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #9 of 20 Hotels in Nosara
Cambridge, Canada
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“A perfect getaway for the laidback traveller”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 13, 2011

The Guilded Iguana is a fantastic place for travellers who are looking for a relaxing home base to surf or explore the area! If you are looking for an all-inclusive, want to party hard or laze on the beach with a drink under an umbrella this is probably NOT the place for you.

We LOVED the Iguana - it was in a fantastic location with short walks to the beach (2 minutes), the small town (10 minutes) as well as other local restaurants (check out Olga's!)

Other Pros:
- Live music Tuesday and Friday
- The bar closes around 10pm - which is great when you want to get up early to surf, or you are woken up early by the howling monkeys!
- Great wildlife - a walk around the "block" and we saw monkeys, a huge iguana, colorful crabs and a coati
- Free Wi-fi
- Rooms are quite large and have a fridge
- You can drink the water (this was key for us as it was SO hot!)
- Food is quite good and varied, lots of vegetarian/healthier options too
- Dee (the main server for breakfast/lunch) is awesome!
- Management is very accessible

If you aren't great with the heat, make sure to book a room with A/C - ours didn't have it and while sleeping at night was fine, napping during the day was almost unbearable.

Also, the beach is beautiful and not crowded at all, make sure you go to watch the sunset at least once. If you want to sit in the shade with a book, I would recommend bringing a chair and an umbrella. A great place for surfers but the water is a little rough if you aren't a strong swimmer. The pool is not great for laps but perfect for cooling off and for kids to play - there is even a little waterfall!

Finally, make sure you do the Sky Canopy zip lining. It is unbelievable and the guides make the experience very enjoyable.

Thanks to everyone at the Iguana who made this such an excellent first visit to Costa Rica!!!

Room Tip: Ask for the A/C rooms!
See more room tips
  • Stayed April 2011, 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
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

110 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    72
    28
    5
    2
    3
See reviews for
23
41
9
Business
0
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 (31)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Jackson, Wyoming
1 review
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 11, 2011

The gilded iguana is spotlessly clean, safe, and well located. We chose a room without
a/c and were able to keep the room comfortable with the ceiling fan, oscillating fan and
shuttered windows. The room was simple but very comfortably appointed..tile floor, teak
table and deck chairs, small fridge, a little kitchen area w/ sink and porch. We found the
bed to be perfect..5 in. foam mattress on a wooden platform. I have a bad back and slept very well every night. Our shower didn't have a drain cover; which I questioned at first but it made sense with the amount of sand we were washing off our bodies on a daily basis. We only used the room key the first day then left it at the bar for the rest of the week. The housekeepers dutifully locked our room after cleaning (they probably thought
we were crazy). The girls carefully arranged our loose change and books into tidy piles..
kind of like a mom would. The restaurant and bar folk were just as hospitable. We arrived at 10:00pm from Liberia, weary from the day of travel and Roger (the barkeep) checked us into the room. The bar had just closed, but he graciously got us a couple of
ice cold beers to wash the dust out of our mouths. Food is available from 7:00am to 10:00pm and it is delicious! Dee puts an urn of coffee out first thing in the morning and
greets everyone with "Good Morning babies! Help yourself to some coffee!" She has a
great personality and makes everyone feel at home. The food is a smattering of american, italian, mexican and a little costa rican. Everything we ate was hot, fresh, and
very well prepared. I am a trained chef and appreciated the quality of the food. You aren't
going to get fois gras ice cream..but it all tasted great after a day at the beach. I could go on and on about the gilded iguana; but you should read this review and go check it out
for yourself. I recommend staying at least 2 nights...it will give you a chance to get into the
rhythm of the place. You can usually find the manager, Joellen sitting in the restaurant with her laptop. She is a stoic gal, not one to make idle chitchat. However, when you need anything (including taxis, coat hangers, translation assistance) she is very prompt
and helpful. She does her job with competence and effective directness.

  • Stayed April 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dallas
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 19, 2011

Nosara has two small loop roads and we liked the more quiet one where iguana was located. Very easy walk to the beach with our surf boards. Great surf shop next door as well as short walk to the small grocery. The restaurant had excellent food and service. The room was clean, decent shower, nice beds and a small refrigerator. Small pool for a dip after surfing or shower to cool off or wash the boards Overall great week surfing with my teenage son.

  • Stayed March 2011, traveled with family
    • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vancouver, BC
Top Contributor
57 reviews 57 reviews
21 hotel reviews
Reviews in 29 cities Reviews in 29 cities
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 25, 2011

I recommend Gilded Iguana to those who are looking for no-fuss, good value and a great location to Playa Guiones surf beach.
Pros - great food (note that costa rica in general is more expensive than people expect but the food here is quite reasonable and very good); service staff who handle everything from reception, waitering, bartending etc are a delight; the location is 2 min walk to the beach so you don't have to drive or bring much, free wifi in the restaurant area. There are different choices for rooms so double check bed types and whether it's in the 'new' building or has AC. We had one of the rooms off from the restaurant so had quiet sleep. Rooms are very simple but comes with a fridge. Tues they have live music.

Cons: showers weren't as clean as i expected but it is a surf/beach hotel; the pool is small so you can't do laps and it seems to close at 6pm as with the pool bar.

Overall i would recommend this hotel to friends based on the value of the rooms and the area.

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 26, 2010 via mobile

Great place, great vibe. I love that there is a surfing school on premises. Adds everything to the place to have that. Free flowing coffee poolside is also awesome. The only thing I would suggest to management is that they do a tiny bit of sprucing up to the pool area. It need a smudge of beautification. But the place is great and I highly reccommend.

  • Stayed December 2010
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
costahotelier, General Manager at Gilded Iguana Hotel, responded to this review, January 16, 2011
Thank you very much for your kind comments, and your suggestion is spot on, we agree 100%, new tables have been put in place and more deck chairs are currently being made. Hope to see you back in the future to enjoy them!
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 27, 2010

My wife, sister-in-law, and I stayed at the Gilded Iguana for a week in early November 2010. We came in right at the end of the rainy season during a storm, but we were blessed with a full week of beautiful weather and great surf after the first day. The managers of the Iguana, Joellen and Matt, scheduled us a pickup from Liberia airport. Marco, the driver they recommended, was fantastic and made us feel right at home from the start. He navigated the difficult muddy drive with ease while cracking jokes and pointing out interesting facts about the area.

My wife and I stayed in an AC room with 2 double beds and my sister in law had the same type of room. The rooms looked new, were very clean, and included a walk in shower, ceiling fan, AC, and a mini fridge. The beds were comfy and I slept great after long surf and yoga sessions. The hotel was a comfortable walking distance to the main crossroads in town where there are several cafes and shops. Outside the room we had a clothesline to dry bathing suits, rash guards, etc. and room to lock up bikes, which we rented from the Frog Pad across the street from the hotel. Down the walkway from our room was a nice tile pool that was very clean…and the adjacent pool bar was also convenient.

The main bar and restaurant served up fantastic, affordable meals. From our experience, the food was the best in Guiones. The menu provided many vegetarian options, which was important to us, and included Mexican, Italian, seafood, and local dishes. They provided free coffee starting at 7am and had great breakfast options. On Tuesday and Friday nights they had live music, which was very well attended (it is probably good to make a reservation on those nights). The music was mellow and the atmosphere was chill and friendly.

Additionally, the hotel provided free wifi, which worked on our iphones. The staff will book a number activities for you right at the hotel, such as canopy tours, surf lessons, and quad rentals (you shouldn't miss the Miss Sky Canopy Tour). The beach is a short walk from the hotel and carrying a surfboard is no problem. You can rent a board at El Punto, the Frog Pad, or Nosara Surf Academy, all within easy walking distance from the hotel.

Joellen and Matt surround themselves with genuinely nice and gracious people and we were blown away by the hospitality they and the rest of the staff showed us during our stay. I would suggest the Gilded Iguana to anyone staying in Guiones and we will definitely be back.

  • Stayed November 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brooklyn, New York
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 14, 2010

As the friend who recommended the Iguana to me said, "Every year we think we'll try a new place for vacation, but we always end up back at the Iguana." And now I understand why.

Service: Three months after the vacation, and I'm still keeping up with the staff as friends. Content and kind people, who helped us with directions, recommendations, and anything else we needed.

Room: Simple, cleaned daily, and unbelievable reasonable. I don't understand why anyone would pay more to stay at one of the "luxury" hotels. The Iguana is all you need, and it's steps from the beach.

Favorite Parks: Nosara Surf Academy - Kim is one of the most encouraging, professional, and talented teachers I've met. Food - breakfast, lunch, dinner and drinks are all there if you want them. The staff - all-around wonderful.

  • Stayed September 2010, 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
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hotels you might also like...
mm/dd/yyyy mm/dd/yyyy
Price Your Stay

Been to Gilded Iguana Hotel? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Additional Information about Gilded Iguana Hotel

Address: Playa Guiones, Nosara 5233, Costa Rica
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Guanacaste > Nosara
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #9 of 20 Hotels in Nosara
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 12
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A landmark at the beaches of Nosara, Costa Rica, The Gilded Iguana Hotel brings casual relaxation, comfort and excellent service to the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. One of the most famous and well loved vacation destination hotels in Nosara for surfers, expats, families and adventure holidayers. **NEWS** - Gilded Iguana has been sold to new owners - but is sure to be better than ever for open Nov 2014. All reservations still valid! ... more   less 

Owners: What's your side of the story?

If you own or manage Gilded Iguana Hotel, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.