We had never been to Costa Rica before and we weren't sure where to stay in Tamarindo. Our first few days had been spent in the Arenal/la Fortuna Area at one of the more expensive hotels in the area. After a luxurious and relaxing day at this hotel, we were ready to party. We had heard that Tamarindo or Jaco would be the place to go. We weren't sure if we would be arriving on a Friday or a Monday (we were contemplating a short stay in Monteverde after Arenal). We realized that arriving in Tamarindo on a Friday would optimize our chances of finding an active nightlife scene. With a little internet research, we found Best Western's Vista Villas. According to the reviews, this place is where MTV had filmed one of it's Spring Break shows. We also saw several reviews which stated that basically the "entire town" could be found at Vista Villas on a Friday night (ladies night = ladies drink free). Wherever we would end up staying, we knew we would be paying this place a visit. We decided to skip Monteverde and headed into Tamarindo on Friday morning. Being that we had decided to spend our Friday night at Vista Villas "Monkey Bar", we decided we would make it easy on ourselves and check into the hotel.
We arrived at the hotel at around 1pm. We checked in without much hassle (just a small, but reasonable wait behind other customers). This gave us time to get some rest and eat before the evenings festivities. Tamarindo was much hotter than it was in the Arenal area, so we took a short nap (with the A/C blasting) and then headed down to the pool. The pool area was clean and had plenty of seating includeing lounge chairs, regular chairs and being that the restaurant/bar was connected to the pool, there was also all the bar/restaurant seating. The pool was a sort of infinity style with one small waterfall pool overflowing downwards into the main pool. There was music playing int he bar area (mostly classic rock and lots of reggae). There was food available (2 pizzas for $5 and other typical bar food) and the drinks were reasonably priced (although not at any great bargain price). We had been expecting the "ladies night" free drinks, but sadly they do not start their "ladies night" until 10pm. Unfortunately for us, by the time there were free drinks available, we were already pretty legless and fairly well exhausted. The sound man began setting up around 6pm and the "club" music started blaring shortly thereafter. Although our room was on the side of the hotel furthest from the pool area, we could still hear the ear boom reggae LOUD AND CLEAR...and it went on until about 3AM, which was about 3 hours longer than we had really hoped or expected. Had we not exhausted and drank ourselves into oblivion so early in the night, this probably would have been much less traumatic, but we had and it was, so my memories of my first night in Tamarindo have unfortunately been tainted. I don't know what I would have done if we had gotten a room closer to the pool area. It might have gotten ugly. As much as we wanted to bomb the pool area/Monkey bar in the evening hours, we really loved it during the afternoon. It was nice to be able to take a dip in the cool, clean pool whenever we were not in the mood for the sticky beach or after walking long distances around town. We would make at least 2 stops at the pool area each day that we were there. The pool also had a really nice view of the Pacific Ocean/Beach.
The room was small and consisted of a queen bed, a small shelf/rack for hanging clothes and a safe. There was also a small bathroom with shower (I do not believe there was a tub). Very basic and on the small side, but this was good enough for us, being that we did not intend to be in it very much. There was a TV with cable and the room was very nicely air conditioned.
The staff was very pleasant and very polite - always genuinely thanking us for tips and smiling at us while never letting us pass them by without a "hello" (or "hola"). Anything we needed (more towels, unlocked/opened our door if they saw us coming, etc). The reception desk had a nasty habit of trying to sell over priced tours, but they weren't necessarily BAD tours, they were just much higher priced than you could have gotten "downtown" (further down on the main road). On the plus side, they were not pushy about it and did not bother us at all - that is to say that they only tried to sell us these overpriced tours whenever we would ask them if they knew of any tours leaving on a given time/day. When our tour operator was late to pick us up, they were already aware of the situation and had already made calls on our behalf - which was just one of the many helpful things they did for us while we were there.
We wanted a party and we got it! Vista Villas is a really nice place during the day with great views, kind staff, food, music and fun, but I would not recommend this place for folks who want to get some sleep as the music thumps from about 6pm til about 3am each night (I cannot speak for the weeknights, as we were only there for the weekend). After 2 nights, we moved across the street to the much quieter La Laguna Cocodrilo (see my review for La Laguna Cocodrilo here on Trip Advisor).
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- A great place to play! The BEST WESTERN Tamarindo Vista Villas offers the best ocean views, a clean and safe environment, and a wonderful staff.... All just steps away from the world famous beach of Playa Tamarindo. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Best Western Tamarindo Vista Villas Hotel Tamarindo
- Tamarindo Best Western