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“Best-kept secret in all of Costa Rica!”
Review of Chalet Nicholas

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Chalet Nicholas
Ranked #7 of 12 Nuevo Arenal B&B and Inns
Three Rivers
Level Contributor
82 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
“Best-kept secret in all of Costa Rica!”
Reviewed February 24, 2013

If your idea of travel is staying in a 5 star Mariott with concierge service & cookie-cutter suites, you need to look elsewhere. But once you drive up the tree-lined driveway and the beautiful home of John & Cathy Nicolas appears with the birds and the flowers and the views of Lake Arenal, you will be convinced you have made the right choice to stay here!
We spent 4 nights here in February and wish we would've come earlier in our trip so we could've stayed even longer!
You will begin your day with a delicious breakfast of fresh fruits, eggs & gallo pinto, freshly brewed Costa Rican coffee...and if you're lucky, you'll be there on a Macadamia Pancake Morning! I
f you wish to have a real treat (and a workout!) after breakfast, you can join John & the dogs on their daily trek through their beautiful old-growth forest while John wows you with his wealth of knowledge on the trees, plants and flowers on the property. You didn't bring hiking boots? No worries! There is a collection of all sizes of hiking boots for guests to borrow, and John will even outfit you with a homemade bamboo hiking stick!
Later, you can spend the afternoon watching the windsurfers on Lake Arenal from a nearby park, dine at a local eatery in the quaint little town of Nuevo Arenal, and watch the sun set over the lake. Or...you can while away the day in one of the front porch rockers while watching the tropical birds flock to the feeders within a close proximity to the porch! You might even be fortunate enough to hand feed a banana to one of the toucans sitting in the nearby trees.
We managed to do all this and more thanks to the wonderful hospitality and absolute wealth of local information provided by John & Cathy Nicolas. It is clear to us that they have a true love affair with this area of Costa Rica and are eager to share it with all their guests.
We will most definitely return here again and again!

Room Tip: We stayed in the Volcano room, and because of the location away from the front porch, we realized it...
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank 2ForksInTheRoad
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
chaletnicholas, Owner at Chalet Nicholas, responded to this review, April 28, 2013
Thank you so much for your wonderful review. It was a pleasure meeting you and we hope you return one day soon. Pura Vida..........Cathy and John
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106 reviews from our community

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English first
Manitou Springs
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed February 19, 2013

Chalet Nicholas was one of the highlights of our five day trip! My husband and I are both flight attendants and purposefully booked three completely different places to stay while we were there so we could give our children different experiences while we were on the road in Costa Rica. We stayed in an all-inclusive resort near the beaches, a rainforest lodge in Chachagua, and our last night at Chalet Nicholas with John and Catherine and their great danes. Both of our kids (aged 9 and 12) said their favorite was Chalet Nicholas! From the time I made the reservation several weeks prior to coming, Catherine and John were overly accommodating, trying to work us in with our schedule and giving us ideas of things to do in the area. Once we decided on a date they very enthusiastically booked our reservation for Skytrek ziplines, which was wonderful and very highly rated. The appreciation they show for Lukas, their manager and his niece were wonderful to see, they are so very proud to have them on their staff and treated them like family. We learned about real estate in the area (always interesting to hear about!) and life in Costa Rica. They have been there for over 20 years and their love for the land and the people is apparent in everything they do...and it's very contagious! I came back trying to talk my friends into investing in a place in the same area! Ha ha! So far no takers but we will definitely be back to Chalet Nicholas to say hi to Catherine and John, who treated us like family. My husband loved taking the hike with John and the kids, and we appreciate their thoughtfulness in letting our whole family stay for the night. Chalet Nicholas was our jungle home away from home...and we look forward to the day we can go back and watch the beautiful birds in their yard after a wonderful homemade breakfast. What a blessing they are!

Room Tip: wake up early and use a good camera to get some of the best shots ever of the amazing birds!
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank Stephanie S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
chaletnicholas, Owner at Chalet Nicholas, responded to this review, April 28, 2013
Thank you so much for your wonderful review and, again, for recommending us.
We just had a mother and daughter (Flight Attendant for AA) who are staying with us - Wendy Dolph, from the Dallas area.. It was a pleasure meeting you all and we hope you return one day soon. Even our great danes are saying "Woof Woof" to you.
Pura Vida..........Cathy and John
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Maine
Level Contributor
76 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
Reviewed January 10, 2013

We had the very good fortune of finding Chalet Nicholas on Trip Advisor and it has been all we had hoped and more! The warmth and comfort of this beautiful home has been wonderful! Quiet and serene......the great danes in residence are warm and friendly....the exotic birds of all shapes and sizes...the beautiful sounds of these exotic birds is just so wonderful! John and Cathy have been most gracious and warm and so very welcoming of us "first timers" to Costa Rica. Thank you John and Cathy and hope to see you again someday!

Room Tip: We stayed in the Lakeview Room and it was perfect with a front view of Lake Arenal and a side view o...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank frankanddonna
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
chaletnicholas, Owner at Chalet Nicholas, responded to this review, April 28, 2013
Thank you so much for your wonderful review. It was a pleasure meeting you and we hope you return one day soon. Pura Vida..........Cathy and John
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
McMinnville, Oregon, United States
Level Contributor
7 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed December 19, 2012

I recently stayed at Chalet Nicholas for the second time. Liked it so much the first time I had to come back. It's a wonderful, warm homey place. We stayed in the upstairs bedroom with two double beds and a bathroom upstairs and downstairs! Love waking up in the morning, getting a big mug of Costa Rican coffee and sitting outside and watching all the amazing birds eating the tropical fruit. We were always joined by their beautiful friendly Great Danes. Owners John and Catherine are very knowledgable about the area. Catherine is also a realtor and showed us some properties- as we'd like to have our own little piece of paradise there. Breakfasts were huge and delicious - especially the fruit juices and macadamia nut pancakes. We'll be back!

Room Tip: The loft room is the most spacious and has a nice view.
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank June C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
chaletnicholas, Owner at Chalet Nicholas, responded to this review, December 23, 2012
Thank you so much for the wonderful review. We really appreciate this and loved your visit. It's such a good life here and we love sharing it with new friends. Merry Christmas...Cathy and John
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne Beach, Florida
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed September 14, 2012

We highly recommend Chalet Nicholas.

We are a couple in our 30s/40s. We planned to spend 4 days at this B&B in early September, but ended up spending 10 days there. John and Cathy Nicholas (owners and residents of Costa Rica for 20+ years) were very hospitable and helpful, and made us feel almost that we were family. We also enjoyed meeting their close friend Lucas, a local Costa Rican landowner/investor who helps run the town government.

Chalet Nicholas is a great base for doing tourism around the Arenal lake/volcano area, and for checking out real estate. An increasing number of expats have retirement/vacation homes here, and Cathy Nicholas knows everything about the local market.

We liked just being on the 15-acre property: watching the various and amazing birds at their feeders (wait till you hear the Oropendola in the morning); walking in the rainforest behind the house with John and his three Great Danes (Muki, Maya, MacGyver); enjoying long, luxuriant breakfasts made by Cathy; passing many hours chatting with the Nicholases about Costa Rican flora, fauna and history; and gazing at the lake below.

Our room (Lake View room) was comfortable and airy. The breakfasts kept us going all day. The water from the tap in that part of the lake area is mountain spring water, as good as it gets. The large house has a very pleasant, homelike atmosphere. Noise at night was minimal and it was the good kind of noise – birds and cicadas in the forest, and the gentle rushing of a small river that runs through the property, draining from Lake Cote into Lake Arenal. Sometimes in the mornings we heard distant howler monkeys as we were getting up. There are several good restaurants within a short (5-minute) drive. If you come without a car, you can take a local taxi into Nuevo Arenal for $4 each way.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Wanderers-2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
chaletnicholas, Owner at Chalet Nicholas, responded to this review, September 29, 2012
Thank you for the wonderful review. Hope you can return one day. Cathy land John
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Madrid, Spain
Level Contributor
9 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed August 14, 2012

We spent 10 days in Costa Rica and 4 nights were at Chalet Nicholas. It was a great time there. John and Catherine (owners), Lucas (Tico worker), Mucky, Maya and McGiver (3 Great Danes) make you feel at home. Every morning Catherine and Lucas prepared a delicius breakfast for us (fresh juices and music included) and John invited us to go for a walk in their private gardens. The gardens are huge and in the middle of the jungle. Ii is amazing. The place is quiet, clean and well located. Dry towels every day, parking, wifi and the feeling that you are at home. Really nice.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank 482Eva482
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
chaletnicholas, Owner at Chalet Nicholas, responded to this review, September 29, 2012
Thank you for the wonderful review. Hope you can return one day. Cathy land John
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Canton, Georgia
Level Contributor
11 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed July 10, 2012

First time to Costa Rica and John and Cathy were fantastic. I loved learning the different fruits, plants and birds of the area from John and Cathy. Very inviting and cozy. Pancakes and fresh juice are amazing!!! Thank you for making our first experience a great one! I hope to return one day. Give the pups big hugs from us!! Thank you again for welcoming us into your home.

Room Tip: It added a pool and there is not one. Sorry but I did not want to take to terrible.
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank Jujubean78
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
chaletnicholas, Owner at Chalet Nicholas, responded to this review, September 29, 2012
Thank you for the wonderful review. Hope you can return one day. Cathy and John
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Chalet Nicholas

Property: Chalet Nicholas
Address: Rte 142 | 2km west of Nuevo Arenal, Nuevo Arenal 50807, Costa Rica
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Guanacaste > Nuevo Arenal
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking
Hotel Style:
Ranked #7 of 12 B&Bs / Inns in Nuevo Arenal
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — Chalet Nicholas 3*
Number of rooms: 3
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Chalet Nicholas, a non-smokers only establishment, is currently recommended by many guide books, including Fodor's, Frommer's Guide to Costa Rica, National Geographic and the Lonely Planet. In addition, Chalet Nicholas was given a rare ecology award for sustainable tourism by The New Key to Costa Rica, and is a member of the Costa Rican Bed and Breakfast Association. Founded 1992 at Lake Arenal with Beautiful Tropical Gardens and Spectacular birding. The chalet has a front yard view of the lake, side view of Volcano Arenal, and back yard hiking trail in the protected rain forest with visiting howler monkeys often heard from the house and seen on hiking tours. John takes guests on a Free Guided one-hour Hike right out of the back yard in an old growth rainforest down to a jungle river with the great danes - everybody appreciates this Cathy and John can recommend any extra fun activities like hot springs, horseback, wind surfing, kayaking, canopy tours, and delicious meals at local restaurants which are all nearby. Directions will be provided. As a bonus, it has comfortable beds with orthopedic mattresses, private baths, and plenty of hot water and towels. Many of the guests said this was their favorite place to stay during their trip. COME AS STRANGERS, LEAVE AS FRIENDS. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Chalet Nicholas Costa Rica/Nuevo Arenal

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