Overall the best your going to get at Pavones
The cabanas are all hand built by Marshall and Angela the owners who are on property and are very nice people. They are american expats and also speak good English. If you are taking your family and you want to surf than Angela can hook you up with activities. Also they can include food with your stay which will keep you from getting sick and ruining your trip. Overall, they run a very good operation.
The reason I didn't give them all stars is because it was very expensive. We stayed in their largest room and had just about all our meals there and at the end of a 4 day stay we were close to 1500.00 dollars. My wife and I had to laugh because our stay at the Marriott Los Suenos -- full luxury, was less than La Ponderosa. You heard correctly and the reason is in a big part because they are charging 15 dollars a meal for what consists mostly of beans and rice.
We live in Santa Barbara and for 15 dollars a meal we can get pretty much any kind of food we can dream of. I mean really we could be having fine cuts of filet mignon at an expensive restaurant for close to the same amount of beans and rice with a small bit of chicken or whatever. Nevertheless, you are partly paying for the security of not getting sick. Still the price was high for both the room and the food. Not to mention it is about a 20-25 minute walk to Pavones point. You really should get a car and than the stay at La Ponderosa would be much better all around.
The long and short of it is that it is clean, and the owners are really nice, and the compound is safe, Marshall has built everything from hand hewn wood from the land so it is the picture of sustainability. They have air conditioners so that is great. overall I would recommend it to someone going to Pavones but I would tell them they have to rent a car from Golfito because it is a nightmare to walk or ride a bike to the point for a glass off surf.
Also speaking of the point. I was there in 1988 and amazingly not a hell of a lot has changed, other than the fact that the point is more crowded and the wave seems less interesting. I'm sure Pavones has it's days but now there is a little localism coming into the scene taking away the magic of the wave and area. In fact I had to laugh because there is this bald guy in his 40s- or 50s(I won't mention names) who comes from Florida every year and is specifically trying to "teach" the local surfers how to be jerks and localize their spot, jsut so he can be "in with them" and take the pick of the waves. Honestly it's laughable. And of course he can't even surf very good. We should be teaching local kindness... after all it is the surfers who bring in the money to this isolated town.
Back to my review of La Ponderosa. If I were to ever go back to Pavones again I would rent a car and stay at one of the cheaper units at La Ponderosa. That is also what I would recommend to my friends. But with that said, I think the wave is a bit over rated and for the money to get there I would take a surf trip somewhere else. But if you really want to surf the "second longest" wave in the world (supposedly) than stay at La Ponderosa but rent a car because it's way out of town and a far walk from the point. Which has its advantages…as long as you have a car. It is good to be far from the grungy little town(a liquor store, school, restaurant, and a police station. Thats about it.) So it's nice to be far away from that and there are a few scrappy little waves at the end of the road that assuming you have a car you could hit up. Pavones used to be a poor surfers wave, where it took a lot of guts and endurance to get there now it costs money. It's not cheap to do this like it once was.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- La Ponderosa Beach and Jungle Resort offers beach front accommodations in the pristine Southern Pacific side of Costa Rica. A great place to see wildlife with 14 acres of gardens and jungle with trails to waterfall and ocean view tiki hut. Pure relaxation: with option of all-inclusive meal package or a la carte meals at on-site private restaurant, massage, swimming pool, game room or yoga. Adventure: world class surfing one of the longest waves in the world, horseback riding, jungle tours or great fishing. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Cabinas La Ponderosa Hotel Pavones