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“Pura Vida is a wonderful place to stay when you are in the San Jose area”
Review of Pura Vida Hotel

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Pura Vida Hotel
Ranked #1 of 63 Alajuela B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed January 30, 2014

I live in Costa Rica and My father and I had to be in the city for an appointment. I thought I would stay because I had heard about it and I was curious to see it for myself. This hotel is a hidden gem and so close to the airport! The owners Berni and Nhi are very friendly and go out of their way to make you feel at home. Actually the whole place feels like home because of the nice dogs, the large beautiful tropical garden, The super comfortable beds, (not always easy to find in Costa Rica) and the bright artistically decorated rooms. We had a super delicious world class gourmet meal prepared by Nhi that evening. You have to order it ahead. They actually went out shopping to buy the food to prepare the meal so it would be fresh! We needed to leave early and the owner met us with a full breakfast to go! Honestly I don't think there are many B&B's to be found like this one and I would recommend it to anyone who is traveling to Costa Rica as a very nice place to stay in the Central Valley (airport) area.

Room Tip: I think the Volcano room is the best one because it has a wonderful view and a nice balcony to enjoy...
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  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled with family
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1  Thank LisaErb_CR
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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287 - 293 of 775 reviews

Reviewed January 27, 2014

We used this place as our "departure point" after spending 2 weeks in CR as it's only about 4km from SJO (airport). We spent 2 nights here relaxing before it was time to head home to Oregon. The property is very nice and well taken care of although we did smell a slight musty order in our cottage (The Rain Forest room) but I just chalked it up to the climate or maybe the dogs. No biggie.

The other thing is it's a bit noisy with the surrounding traffic and dogs barking (mainly dogs from neighboring house). Obviously the owner has no control over the neighbor's dogs or the loud traffic noise but it needs to be noted here for future guests to be aware of.

The staff is very considerate and kind. The breakfast was very good and we much appreciated the to go breakfast they gave us when he had to leave at 5am to catch our flight.

  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank RJ_of_Oregon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
alajuelanorth, Manager at Pura Vida Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded January 29, 2014

We are glad you enjoyed the Pura Vida - we do our very best to provide the best possible environment and on occasion that is beyond our control to some extent. That night was a bit of a raucous Saturday with some of the boys partying in the village with a barking dog and as you say was a bit noisy and as you note "beyond our control" - we are sorry for that.

Regarding the comment of a "musty room", we have decorated the Casita with various natural teak logs in the beds and the corner "rain forest" theme. Also as we let every guest know our dogs are trained not go in the rooms. We repainted part of the Casita this December as we started the high season. Every day a room is occupied, one person cleans it top to bottom and a second person (nearly always the manager) does an inspection before the casita is occupied - I also do checks frequently to make sure we are up to snuff and maintaining the levels we are known for. I have checked the casita again and there is a little "aroma" coming from the natural wood "decor", natural wood beds and the mini-rain forest in the corner of the bedroom etc We will take greater care in the detailing of this Casita to ensure the condition of the wood is well maintained.

Thank you for coming and sharing your opinion, Berni

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Reviewed January 25, 2014

Flew into San Jose for a two week vacation without any reservations or itinerary ... we just wanted to relax and see some of the country, making it up as we went along.
But ... you have to plan on staying somewhere when you arrive and before you depart right? So we booked the first 2 nites and the last nite at Pura Vida based on the great reviews and we could not have been more satisfied. Stayed in the Orchid room which was very comfortable.
Do yourself a favor and look no further, this is the place you want to stay in San Jose. The positive reviews are spot on and we heartily concur with them. Bernie is a bolt of pure energy and will arrange anything you need and will give all the advice you didn't know you needed. Be sure to email him well in advance and he'll send you pages of information which you will find invaluable.
Bernie arranged a van and driver (Sterling) for us to visit Poas volcano and Doka Coffee plantation which I highly recommend. He also arranged for delivery and drop off of a rental car right at the Pura Vida. Be sure to have at least one supper at Pura Vida and follow their recommendations for other dining in the area.
I'll never consider staying anywhere else in San Jose.

  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Athos-Cat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
alajuelanorth, Manager at Pura Vida Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded January 29, 2014

Thanks for the super nice review. We and our staff work hard to make sure guest experiences are like yours. And when we recommend a car rental, a guide or a restaurant we make sure they are at the same level of service and quality.

We hope we may do the same for your next trip, best wishes, Berni

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Reviewed January 25, 2014

Highly recommended! Our room in the main building had a large deck looking toward the Poas Volcano and overlooking a lush garden filled with many orchids. The room was very comfortable. The hosts, Berni ad Nhi were welcoming and generous with information about the local area and our eventual destination. The food was excellent, served on a patio beside the garden. We felt completely secure here.

Room Tip: Talk with Berni about what you want. There are lovely private cottages in the garden as well as a ma...
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  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled with family
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Thank mertkus2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
alajuelanorth, Manager at Pura Vida Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded January 29, 2014

Thanks for the excellent review . . . it is always a pleasure to share what we know of our adopted country with guests like yourself. We are often on the road here in Costa Rica visiting new places and finding out what we like so we can make new recommendations for places to explore, great small owner managed hotels to visit and the best eats in the country.

Thank you again for coming and we hope to welcome you back one day, Berni

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Reviewed January 18, 2014

We cannot describe the love and warmth and pure frienship we found at Pura Vida. I was to spend one night here, before I met mi novio Monday am to leave for the beach.(we ended up spending 3 nights in total!!) I arrived alone for the first time in Costa Rica, was given great directions how to find the taxi that would take me to their hotel and was welcolmed with open arms. A single woman travelling to Central America, this was such a relief. After receiving the best room there (IMHO), the Volcano, I asked a million questions and Jose, whom was there for my welcome, was lovely, accomodating and very patient with me. The next morning, my lovely novio surprised me at the hotel and they set us both up with an amazing breakfast, before we left for the beach. Before we left, we booked the following night to stay there. Coming back, was even more lovely, with the best dinner we had had the whole trip!! After leaving again for the Coast, our plans changed quickly, and a call to Berni late night, asking to stay there an extra night, was welcomed with open arms!! Spending our last night in Costa here, was pure heaven there. Clean, friendly, welcoming, charming and "real". We will be back.. every time!! Thank you, Berni, Bandit and perros, Nhi, Carlos (WIIISSSCONSIN), Jose and all the staff!! You are living the Pura Vida indeed!! Muchas Gracias!!

Julie Baker and Seth Foreman
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Room Tip: Volcano room. Hands down!
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  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled as a couple
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Thank Julie B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
alajuelanorth, Manager at Pura Vida Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded January 29, 2014

Thanks Julie and Seth for the great review and the rays of sunshine you brought with you to the Pura Vida. We hope we may welcome you back soon, Berni

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Reviewed December 23, 2013

We ended up at Pura Vida Hotel when I accidentally booked our flight home one day later than my sister's flight. The potential nightmare was just another beautiful day discovering Costa Rica thanks to a wonderful staff and a relaxing stay at Pura Vida. We didn't have a lot of time due to our flight schedules and did not know the area (or Spanish) at all. Carlos was so nice and very reliable with information. He and the owner recommended a couple of local places to see like a coffee plantation and Zoo Ave which were very close. Carlos made all phone calls we needed for information and told us taxi prices to the places we wanted to see. The hotel restaurant was closed the night we were there so we were directed to a Mexican Restaurant that ended up being one of the best meals we've ever had.

Our room was clean, had nice amenities, and was a relaxing place to stay. The balconies or patios are what make the rooms extra special because the garden is unbelievable. For those of us who live in a temperate climate, it was so fun to walk through and see orchids being grown everywhere among lemon trees, coffee, sugar cane, and other tropical plants. As a wanna-be gardener, I was in awe. Our delicious breakfast was partially taken from fruits in the garden. Too bad we couldn't stay another night to try dinner.

One of the most wonderful things about Pura Vida and all of Costa Rica is the presence of dogs. There are 3 very large dogs (German Shepherds and a Belgian Shepherd, I believe). The young dog, Bandit, entertained us for hours bringing sticks and other items he wanted us to throw for games of fetch.

A wonderful spot that inspires Eco-friendly living and love of Costa Rica.

  • Stayed: December 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank kkewley
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
alajuelanorth, Manager at Pura Vida Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded December 28, 2013

Thank you so much for the nice review and we are happy you got stranded that day here. The "strange tree" is a Panadus . . . we have a couple of nice specimens in the garden . . . fast growers with very strange fruits which I understand are eaten by only a few creatures on the planet including elephants, komodo dragons and Bandit our Belgian :-))

We hope we may welcome you back on your next trip to Costa Rica.

Thanks again for coming, Berni

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Reviewed December 21, 2013

Pura Vida Hotel was exactly how I imagined based on all the wonderful reviews! Berni greeted us with the three German Shepherds (super friendly and playful) as soon as we pulled in! We had no problem locating the hotel with a GPS. The hotel is very secure behind walls and gates as it is right off the bustling city streets of San Jose. We decided to stay around the airport on our first night after a days travel and Pura Vida definitely set the standards for the beginning of a great vacation in Costa Rica. We stayed in the Toucan Casita and it was very comfortable and inviting. Based on reviews, I was extremely excited about the 3 course dinner and boy did it not disappoint! We ended up putting tables together so everyone staying at the hotel that night could eat together - it made for a really nice experience for everyone to chat and get to know each other. The dinner was really quite outstanding and should not be missed! At night, the reviews on the noisy streets were accurate but did not take away from my experience. Breakfast the next morning was very lovely and extremely fresh and Berni was so helpful in suggesting great options to drive to on are way up to Arenal! Thank you, Berni - we loved the off-the-beaten track way to go and made all your recommend stops!! I'd have to say we felt very welcome and comfortable at Pura Vida. It is obvious the care and attention Berni and his wife give to their property - it is just so well cared for and you feel as if you are getting that same attention, too. Thank you, Pura Vida Hotel!!

  • Stayed: December 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank CourtneyB56
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
alajuelanorth, Manager at Pura Vida Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded December 28, 2013

Thanks for the review and your dinner comments. I sometimes like to think of ourselves as a private restaurant with a small hotel attached and are happy that this is essentially what you found here with our special dinners.

The simple idea is that we also do like to eat well (no brainer) :-)) - next trip perhaps you can join us on one of our farmers market tours (most Fridays).

Thanks for mentioning "the roads less traveled" - we usually get out in the country visiting every few weeks to experience the possibilities. There are many ways to get around Costa Rica so why not turn your day of travel into a tour of those possibilities. We hope to see you back here on your next trip, Berni

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Additional Information about Pura Vida Hotel

Address: Tuetal Sur | 4km North of SJO International Airport, Alajuela 20101, 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 63 B&Bs / Inns in Alajuela
Price Range: $99 - $185 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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