We first arrived at Hotel Bula Bula after a 5 hour car ride from Tabacon. We were hot and tired and had no idea where we had just arrived but it seemed like the middle of nowhere. I had booked the hotel mainly from reviews on this site but i still wondered what i was doing at this hot, tiny hotel at the end of what seems like a long dirt road.
Where we were was our own little piece of paradise. Bula Bula and Playa Grande at that, are not for those who mind being off the beaten track and at a low maintenance beach. But it definitely felt like we were in Costa Rica and NOT at a random resort that could have been in Mexico or Florida!
All it takes is one visit on the water taxi ($2) to Tamarindo to see that yes, you are right next to the biggest surf town in Costa Rica, full of Surfers, Americans and the best shrimp tacos in the world. But it's even better to be in Playa Grande which is essentially your own private beach, where the developement is just beginning and it won't be packed with Ex-pat Americans for a few more years.
Wally and Todd are great hosts and helpful with accomodating all of your plans. They arranged a local taxi for us to the Paradisus Playa Conchal on our second day for us to play golf. We were the only ones on the golf course b/c apparently the end of April and beginning of May are slow season. This was fine by us as $75 let us play as many rounds of 9 hole golf as we could want! (the back 8 were being fixed) We even got to check out their beach and it solidified how happy we were to be staying at Playa Grande. It is far and away prettier than Playa Conchal!
The food at Hotel Bula Bula was great and we ate 3 out of our 4 dinners there. I couldn't write this review without recommending 2 places to eat in Tamarindo though. Simply put, the tacos at Nibbana are the best in the world. Nibbana acted as our oasis from noon to 2 as the sun is so hot you can't lie on the beach and you have an ocean view sitting at Nibbana. The beers are $2 and the scene is priceless.
We also ate at Dragonfly and it was one of the best meals i have ever had in my life. It might be the best restaurant in Tamarindo and it's shocking how inexpensive it is (compared to new york prices)!
I would also recommend seeing at least one sunset in Tamarindo as it is something out of a movie. It's hard to believe when you are alone on the beach at Playa Grande, that there is such a scene in the beach across the estuary. I have never seen so many people in the water with their surf boards at sunset waiting to ride the last wave. EVERYONE is on the beach drinking cervasas and taking in the sunset and it's just a surreal experience. One more recommendation would be to ask Todd at breakfast when the low tide will be and cross the estuary by foot. It's fun and shows you just how close Bula Bula to eveything.
The taxis at night from Tamarindo are about $20-25 to Bula bula (and 30 minutues) so we only did it once. But we never really felt the need to leave Bula Bula at night....the food's good, the pool's warm, the beer's cheap.....Pura Vida baby.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Set outside Tamarindo in the beach village and national park of Playa Grande. We offer the romantic, the surfer, and the active traveler a tropical oasis amid the tourist stops. Superior rooms with modern amenities compliment the elegant restaurant where exceptional seafood, steaks and local specialties are served. Friendly and attentive staff ensure your stay is a satisfying one. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Bula Playa Grande