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“You can probably do better, even on a budget”

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Hotel La Laguna del cocodrilo
Ranked #19 of 24 Hotels in Tamarindo
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed August 9, 2011

This certainly isn't a terrible place but I think the reviews such as the one in the Lonely Planet guide that convinced us to stay here might be a bit dated. We left with a very sour taste after the owner refused to let us leave a night early without paying for the unused night. The place was nearly empty but we'd had enough of Tamarindo after two nights and needed to get out. They were pretty aggresive about it, saying their policy is not to let anyone cancel without 7-days notice, which pretty much means they take your money whether you like the place or not. My advice: Unless you're coming in the busiest season, wait until you arrive and check it out, because all of the hotels were offering cut-rate deals for walk-ins.

On the plus side, it is near the beach. On the minus side, there is a lagoon between you and the beach that, when we were there, had not only garbage floating in it but also a bloated dead pig that was being devoured by a dozen vultures: Not exactly brochure material. Also, it's on the far edge of town and there is no sidewalk, forcing you to walk on the road with the very busy and sometimes aggressive traffic to get anywhere. We didn't feel safe walking here with the kids.

Stayed: August 2011, traveled with family
5  Thank Pat60713
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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125 - 131 of 200 reviews

Reviewed July 30, 2011

I stayed here a few weeks back with three friends while traveling around and surfing.It had the best view and short treck to the beach.The french bakery was so good and the dinner in the restaurant is five star.Your hosts Cedric and his family are very cool and very helpful.The rooms were clean and cool.Stay here

  • Stayed: July 2011, traveled with friends
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1  Thank idlehands26
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 23, 2011

A great little hotel. Quiet, good food, great location, friendly staff.
I'd stay there again for sure.

  • Stayed: July 2011, traveled solo
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Thank michaelb1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 21, 2011

We departed Arenal for Tamarindo on a Friday. We had heard that the "whole town" goes to Vista Villas on Friday nights (across the street from Cocodrilo), so we spent our first 2 nights there (the weekend). By Sunday when we checked out, I was ready to leap from our balcony if I heard any more booming Reggae music at all hours of the night. I decided to move us to a quieter place. This was my first trip to Costa Rica and not knowing much about the town, I looked on the internet a booked what appeard to be a well priced hotel further down the main road from the Vista Villas. We were surprised to see that it was directly across the street from where we were already staying! None-the-less, we had had it with the non stop party at Vista Villas. We packed our things and across the road we went (Q: Why did the Americans cross the road? A: A little peace and quiet).

We weren't sure what to expect as we first walked up. We noticed that the signs seemed to be in French and we were only just becoming acclimated to Spanish. As we walked in, the place looked very clean and well cared for. As you walk in, you pass a a French Bakery, a small "reception" desk which is followed by the restaurant area, the rooms, a small outdoor area with tables and then the Lagoon and beach. Little crabs scurry around as you walk. The woman at the reception desk began talking to us in a mix of Spanish, English and French. Although she was appeared a little intimidating at first, her rapid fire mixed language speaking style had us laughing pretty hard. As it turned out, she was very friendly and very accomodating. We were a bit early, but she got the crew cleaning up the room pronto for us and even gave us other options for our bed size (two females traveling together always seems to confuse them down there). We let her know that a single queen bed was fine and all was golden.

While we waited for our room, we wandered into the Bakery. The woman behind the counter had all kinds of delicious pastries ready to go, along with Meat and vegetable Pies/Knish type things (we know they were good because I think we tried one of each while we were there). She offered to cook us an "American Style" breakfast, which we had to decline after eating all those yummy fresh pastires!

The owner of the hotel showed us around and gave us our set of keys (one for the room, one for the outside gate - hotel locks front doors kind of early - aropund 9 or 10pm and one for the safe in the room). Our room was on the lower level on the corner which is shared with the restaurant. It was very basic. Just a very simple futon style bed, two sheets (that's all you will need in Costa Rica's sweltering hot/humid weather) and small table with a TV on it (cable included), a rack/closet for clothes and a toilet/shower area. The room's decorations were simple and few - just the way I like it. We were a little dissappointed to find that the "queen" bed was actually two twins pushed together and we expected another sleepless night as a result, but we were quite surprised to find that it was actually very comfortable. The room had air conditioning which made it a God send when returning from our long walks around the town. The shower had hot water, but we really rarely needed it; In those parts, cold water was plenty fine with us. The only downside to our room was that the people staying in the room next to us seemed to always get in around the same time that we did and they always had so many people visiting that they would spill over onto our little patio, drinking and talking and laughing..well into the night. We would not have had such a bad time with this if it weren't for the fact that we moved to this hotel to escape the all night parties and also because our sheer curtains, did not stretch the entire length of the window, which means that if you closed them in the middle, the sides would open up a few inches. At night, when the TV was on or when the lights in the room were turned on, anybody partying outside of our window had a clear view into the room - directly at the bed. ...which was a little uncomfortable. If you closed the curtains at the end, the middle section would open up for an even more direct view into the room. It was a little frustrating, but not so much as to be a deal breaker.

We ate at the restaurant and found the food to be very good. It was more of a high end place and we noticed that the menu was in "Gringo Pricing" (Anytime you see a menu entrirely in US dollars, know that you are paying WAY too much). In Costa Rica, the tip is usually already calculated into the meal/drink order. So the locals generally do not tip (unless the venue/waiter did something extra special for you), but being "guilt trained" in America, we generally left a few colones in tip anyway. On this night, I believe we had Sea Bass and Steak. The Sea bass was lovely, but a little over seasoned and the steak was a little on the tough side, but the flavors were very tasty. The portions were huge and we were plenty full when we left. Throughout the dinner, it got to be a bit of a struggle to keep the bugs away at times, but being outdoors in Central America, in a lagoon, on a beach with delicious food all about the table, I don't imagine there would be much one could do to keep them away. I have to warn others with allergies like mine that these buggers were TENACIOUS (and hungry). Be sure to have plenty of repellant on you at all times. Overall, we were pleased with our meal there. I think this was our most expensive dinner the entire vacation, but I would say it was worth the money.

The restaurant begins setting up later in the afternoon (around 5pm or so?) and they do play loud music beginning at set-up and lasting until the restaurant shuts down. This was only a problem for us on one of the nights when we came in a bit early for a quick nap before heading back out at night. Our room next to the restaurant and therefore it made late afternoon naps virtually impossible. But on the plus side, we really loved the French and Spanish rock that was being played! ..so we took it all in stride and rolled with it. The restaurent closes early (I think it was around 10 or 11pm), so it was only a minor problem on just that one night. On the downside, the restaurant is a separate entity from the hotel, therefore you cannot charge your food to your room. Again, this is just a minor issue for all the loveliness and great value of staying at the hotel.

The place was always very clean and the owner seemed very intent on the care of the various plants and trees on the property. Her onsite german shepherd "Roxy" was a sweetie and a pleasure to have around. The cleaning ladies were very attentive and very aware of when you were or weren't in the room. They went out of their way not to disturb you and to make sure they were out before you came back in. The room had a pretty noticeable amonia smell, which I assume comes from the cleaning products. I just opened the sliding glass door for a little while and the smell quickly dissipates. These little irritants that I have been mentioning do not add up to a real problem, I am only mentioning them here to be thorough and to give a clear picture of what you can expect at this hotel.

When we were leaving, we had some trouble trying to find out where to catch a very early morning cab. The drivers downtown were asking $5 for the Tamarindo airport (which seemed a little high to me). Other drivers would say 7 Colones (which was about $1 when we were there). Confused, I would ask for clarification: were they talking about $5 American dollars or 5 costa rican colones? The drivers would say "yes". I would say $5 American dollard TOTAL for both of us or $5 American dollars each for a total of $10 American dollars. The drivers would say "yes". So I would say $10 USD or $10CRC? and they would say "yes". Also, they sometimes say they will drive you for "2" but what they mean is 2000crc (not $2 USD), which is about $4 USD. I got tired of playing these endless cab driver games. We went back to our hotel and I decided to ask the owner for her advice. As it happened, she knew of a driver that she said was "very good" and would drive us for 6000 CRC (about $12 USD). Of course I became really upset with the cab drivers "downtown" (further down on the main road) for being so scandalous! The short ride to the airport (we could have walked were it not for the luggage) seemed high priced, but I think that this was only because I went to Costa Rica expecting bargain basement prices. This is not the case. The price of most things in Costa Rica are on par with what you would pay in the U.S. With that in mind, the $12 cab ride (about 3.1 kilometers or 1 mile) will not seem as "overpriced" as it would otherwise. Taxis are apparently about the same price as you would pay in Los Angeles (or more if you aren't on your toes). None of the cab drivers use meters in Tamarindo - at least none that we saw. In any event, the hotel recommended driver Hector arrived right on time (just as another taxi driver was trying to "steal" us by pretending to be our driver) at 6AM. He was very polite and funny. He loaded our bags for us and thanked us profusely for the work. Apparently he drove 2 hours to take us to the airport that morning. When we arrived, he asked us for 2 colones ($4 USD) - I guess he forgot that he was going to overcharge us at 7 colones, but that's when it occurred to me that at 2 crc, we were either paying the "real" Costa Rican rate OR we were STILL most likely being over charged! Either way, I was happy to only pay the 2 crc and I felt so grateful to him for driving two hours and thanking us for the work over and over, that I TIPPED HIM and additional 2 crc!! lol. And of course he thanked us and thanked us for that as well. If you are ever in need of an OFF HOURS cab who will come to wherever you are and take you to wherever you care to go in all of Costa Rica, CALL HECTOR!! He was great and friendly and a real pleasure to ride with. He can be reached through the Hotel La Laguna Cocodrilo! :-D

Overall, I would say that this place was very clean and well kept. It was a great value for the money. The bakery was wonderful with many delicious options. The restaurant was higher end food and prices, but probably the best dinner that we had in Tamarindo, the hotel staff is very friendly and very helpful. There were only a few minor glitches in our stay and they were only short term irritants which were entirely tolerable. The view is gorgeous and I would definitely recommend this hotel to anybody who is staying in Tamarindo!

Room Tip: Quieter rooms are away from restaurant
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  • Stayed: May 2011, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank LanieFire
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 8, 2011

We stayed for just under a week in two rooms. We were traveling with two very small children and are all avid surfers. The ocean view in the one room was stunning. It had a large balcony which was awesome for storing our surfboards and wet things.

When we first arrived there was a smell in the one room - we complained to the management and they got on it immediately - it turned out to be a really strong deodorizer the cleaning staff were trying out. Removing it solved the problem instantly - what impressed us was the swiftness and professionalism with which the management team handled our complaint.

The proximity to the ocean was great and perfect for surfing. We didn't have a lot of competition for waves. The 'lagoon' fills up when the tide was up and you need to walk through a shallow bit of water to get to the ocean in high tide but it wasn't difficult or a real deterrent. When we saw how close we were to the lagoon we were concerned about mosquitos but they weren't an issue.

The bakery at the hotel is AMAZING!! They serve full breakfasts too with cappuccinos and great eggs at a good price! The food at the restaurant was very good but we only ate there once because the cost was very prohibitive and not great value for money. We had drinks at the bar one night and when we ordered single shots they brought us doubles - we thought it was great until we saw the bill and realized they were charging us! (We learned later the bar and restaurant were under different management than the hotel - which didn't surprise us)

The hotel management were very friendly and offered to arrange babysitting for us as well. The only drawbacks were: the stairs were challenging with a stroller and boards, the lagoon is supposed to have crocodiles (we didn't see any but had to be very vigilant with our two year old wandering about) and our two year old missed not having a pool.

  • Stayed: March 2011, traveled with family
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Thank ToeSideToronto
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 8, 2011

I stayed at La Laguna del Cocodrilo during the first week of May 2011. Overall, it was a great experience. The service was very friendly and accommodating. The rooms are simple but sufficient - bed, closet area, safe, cable TV, shower. Especially important are the AC and hot water - I heard from people I met that similarly priced hotels in the area didn't have either, and they weren't even on the beach. The attached French bakery was extremely convenient, and had great-tasting and inexpensive food. Location-wise, it's right off the beach at the beginning of the main street of Tamarindo, so it's far enough away from the nightlife noise, but still just a 15 minute walk to the other end.

I had read earlier comments about such things as noise from the restaurant downstairs, and mosquitoes from the lagoon, but I didn't experience either. Perhaps it had to do with the time of season I went, but the restaurant was quiet. As for mosquitoes, I think the Cocodrilo was the only place in Costa Rica I didn't get stung. The lagoon was dried up; I don't know if that's permanent.

If I have any "complaints", they're minor at best. I couldn't get a wifi connection while in my room, but that gave me an excuse to go downstairs to eat breakfast outside while checking my email. It also would have helped to have a "Do Not Disturb" sign on the door, since the cleaning staff came by in the morning and sometimes unintentionally woke me up. Again, not a big deal - They were really friendly about it, and would just provide new towels if I didn't need the room cleaned. Also note that the room doesn't have some things you may expect it to (like a phone, clock, hair dryer) - not a negative, just something to be aware of.

I'd definitely recommend this hotel to anyone looking for a simple and affordable place to stay.

  • Stayed: May 2011, traveled with friends
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Thank james_castillo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 30, 2011

Just stayed here for 2 weeks, at the Hotel La Laguna del cocodrilo and I highly recommend it to anyone! Waking up every morning to see the waves & beach.
The great thing about staying here is the location, away from the hustle & bustle of the main strip, quite, & layed back.

The staff here are awesome, great restaurant & bakery.

Cedric the owner & manager will go out of his way to make sure your stay is a great one.

I will definitely be back, my little piece of paradise.

  • Stayed: April 2011, traveled with friends
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Thank Damodon095
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel La Laguna del cocodrilo

Address: Calle Central 275, Tamarindo, Costa Rica
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Guanacaste > Tamarindo
Amenities:
Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #19 of 24 Hotels in Tamarindo
Price Range: $61 - $106 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Hotel La Laguna del cocodrilo 3*
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Family and friendly hotel located on the beach. Tropical garden, with faun and flora. ... more   less 
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