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“More Than a Place to Sleep”
Review of Pura Vida Hotel

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Pura Vida Hotel
Ranked #1 of 61 Alajuela B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Austin, Texas
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“More Than a Place to Sleep”
Reviewed September 4, 2012

How surprised I was to find that my overnight spot before leaving Costa Rica after a long and wonderful stay, was just as wonderful as everywhere else I had been. Berni and Nhi at Pura Vida were my best guides to places wonderful in Costa Rica. The accomodations were just the best combo of comfort, Costa Rica natural beauty, fabulous home made food, laid back comfort and very interesting conversation with the hosts and the other visitors. Don't miss it!

Room Tip: All the rooms are unique and special. Anyone will do.
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  • Stayed June 2012, traveled solo
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Helpful?
2 Thank Angietru
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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765 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (144)
Date | Rating
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English first
Dallas, Texas
Level 4 Contributor
18 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed September 4, 2012

This was a beautiful well kept hotel near the town of Alajuela. The hotel garden makes you feel like you are already out of the city and into the jungle. It was a great welcome to Costa Rica. Bernie was accommodating, helpful with directions, and full of humor. Coffee and breakfast were delicious. I definitely recommend. We stayed in the Toucan Casita on our way in and the Volcano Studio on the way out. Both were comfortable, clean, and had good views of the garden.

  • Stayed January 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Jburd16
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Santa Cruz
Level 4 Contributor
25 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed September 3, 2012

An oasis inside the gates ! The location is great for getting things done in San Jose or going off to visit the volcano. Our room was perfectly comfortable and had a nice design (we loved the sun room with the kitchen table in it). We had eveything we needed and our hosts were incredibly nice. Thanks Bernie and Nhi ! Oh, we liked the breakfast a lot too. This small inn is family owned and operated and does good work helping in the community. When you visit another country - this is the kind of place that you strive to stay, because it's nice AND they are making their world a better place.

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled on business
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Helpful?
1 Thank cliffdriver
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Albany, California
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed August 30, 2012

We spent two nights at the beginning of our trip and one night at the end at Pura Vida and enjoyed every minute of it. We hoped it would be a good way to ease into a new country for our family of four and it turned out to be the perfect choice. The owners and staff are delightful, friendly and full of great ideas and suggestions. They connected us with Stirling, an outstanding guide, naturalist and driver. Two other highlights of our trip, a visit to a local school and an amazing tour of a macaw rescue facility, wouldn't have even been on our radar without Berni's suggestion.

The Pura Vida compound is one big spacious beautiful garden. Breakfast is included and it is both gorgeous (we took pictures) and delicious. The dogs were wonderful playmates for our 11-year-old. We regretted we didn't have more nights there and more time to spend exploring the Central Valley and we look forward to returning.

Room Tip: Katydid Casita was perfect for a family of four and beautifully decorated.
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank Melkwen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
alajuelanorth, Manager at Pura Vida Hotel, responded to this review, August 31, 2012
Thanks so much for the review.

We do appreciate also your support for the school and the Macaw rescue. After the death of the owners, the place is run entirely by volunteers - one has been there for 10 years. The land is being sold out from under the project but we are seeking every way possible to help the volunteers continue the project. They are working with 2 species - one, the highly endangered Great Green Macaw. More than 20% of the remaining Great Green population in Costa Rica resides and breeds at the ara project and your support at this time. So they'd really appreciate a review on what you saw too. Super nice people making something happen against the odds.

Thanks again for coming and for helping, Berni
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Connecticut
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed August 6, 2012

Pura Vida was a perfect place to begin and end our Costa Rican vacation! Berni and Carlos were warm and welcoming and the Kaydid Casita was lovely and provided plenty of space for our family of four. The grounds are very pretty with stone paths meandering though flowering plants and fruit trees. Nhi prepared an amazing 3 course dinner including pork tenderloin with a sage and butter sauce and crepes suzette for dessert! It was so relaxing to eat a gourmet meal on the outside terrace overlooking Pura Vida's beautiful garden after a long day of travel from the U.S. Orchids dangle from the ceiling of the terrace so you feel as if you are still in the garden. Berni had even thoughtfully brought golf umbrellas to our casita the first evening so that we wouldn't get drenched on the short walk to dinner. Berni and Nhi have made Pura Vida a perfect haven for weary travelers with gracious hospitality such as paying for your cab ride from the airport so that you don't have to worry about changing money in the airport when you arrive, emailing in advance of your trip lots of information about Costa Rica and things to do in the Alajuela area and beyond (which I found to be extremely helpful when planning our trip), a coffee maker and free coffee in our casita, fresh flowers in every room - I could go on and on! Breakfast is also a treat - the fruit platter is a work of art! We all enjoyed trying a passion fruit, as Berni had instructed my daughters to "eat everything inside no matter what it looks like." That was good advice because the inside of the passion fruit looked almost like fish eggs but tasted sweet and delicious and unlike any other fruit we had ever eaten. While we had many passion fruit flavored drinks during our two weeks in Costa Rica, that was our only experience eating the real fruit. My daughters enjoyed playing with the four dogs and swinging in the hammock outside our door. Berni had also arranged for a rental car to be delivered from Toyota - the agent arrived exactly on time (we had expected Tico time) and we took care of all the paperwork quickly and easily in the comfort of the Pura Vida terrace restaurant. This was so much easier than renting a car at the airport and navigating the tricky (and un-named) roads around the Alajuela airport. Luis, the Toyota agent even programmed our destination into our GPS which was very helpful. Thank you Luis!

A highlight of our two weeks in Costa Rica was touring the Ara Project (Araproject.org) in Alajuela. Ara has only recently become open to the public and Berni was able to arrange a tour for our family. It was amazing and inspiring to see the work that this dedicated group of volunteers is doing to help the endangered Great Green Macaws and Scarlet Macaws. Since 1999, Ara has bred and released more than 80 Scarlet Macaws into the wild in Costa Rica. Great Green Macaws were released for the first time this year. Our family was enthralled to learn about these magnificent birds and to see baby birds as young as two months, one month and even TWO DAYS old! It was a unique experience and we appreciate Berni arranging for our family to tour Ara. Go and see for yourself! Thank you Berni, Nhi and Carlos for your wonderful hospitality at Pura Vida!

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank ConnecticutPatH
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
alajuelanorth, Manager at Pura Vida Hotel, responded to this review, August 31, 2012
Hey sorry about the fish eggs . . . but they do taste so good!

You got here at an unusual fruit convergence. Late season what we call confite mangos which we do not get at this time of year, the mamon chinos in season and maracuya all over our vine.

Thanks also for your super support for the ara project. We had a meeting out there yesterday - the visitor center is now painted, the parking lot is now open and we have 8 local small hotels now doing work to help support the volunteers. This month they have released part of a new batch of 10 Great Green Macaws in Manzanillo and in 2 weeks they will be bringing out some of their hatched Scarlet Macaws to the Punta Islita release aviary ready for local acclimatization. I think you met Eva the wounded "release baby" now 4 months old and her feathers growing back - very friendly now though she will never fly, one day she should breed. She's getting used to other juveniles now in a big aviary.

Thanks again for coming and getting involved, Berni
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North Carolina
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed August 5, 2012

We stayed five nights in late February and early March of 2012. I can only repeat what many others have said. The room (Volcano), the breakfast, and the beautiful grounds were all great. Loved Berni's sense if humor. Ask for the FedEx story if he has time. Berni can line up taxis on short notice for trips to restaurants. He also gave us the chance to go by the local elementary school one morning. Sterling was our guide and he was superb. He is well-versed on all things Costa Rican--history, food, plants, etc. He has an excellent sense of humor and it soon felt like we were driving around Costa Rica with an old friend. Staying at the Pura Vida and touring with Sterling make for a dream vacation. If you're interested, please check out our blog at puravidajourney.blogspot.com.

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank dosestrellas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Diego, California, United States
1 review
Reviewed August 5, 2012

We spent two glorious nights here, on our arrival and the night before our departure. Nhi and Berni are wonderful hosts,. Even when we arrived after 10:00 the first night, everything was ready including a nice light meal and a much-needed bottle of wine! The room (Katydid) was perfect for our needs- one couple and two friends. The grounds are beautiful, and the dogs are a lot of fun! Our last night was made complete with a fantastic dinner! There were four of us on this trip and every one of us would highly recommend Pura Vida!

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank John C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Pura Vida Hotel

Property: Pura Vida Hotel
Address: Tuetal Sur | 4km North of SJO International Airport, Alajuela 20102, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Alajuela > Alajuela
Amenities:
Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Suites Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 61 B&Bs / Inns in Alajuela
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Pura Vida Hotel is located 4km north of the SJO International airport - we provide a free taxi pickup for international arrivals. Breakfast is included and an excellent dinner is available with reservations (or late meals for late arrivals). Touring services include car rentals delivered here, private vans and as much touring advice as you wish - we are experts on Costa Rica. We have arrangements with Toyota Car Rental for deals on car rentals. Our idea is simply that this is a place we would like to stay at when we travel. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Pura Vida Alajuela
Hotel Pura Vida
Pura Vida Hotel Costa Rica/Alajuela

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