I must start off by saying that after traveling to over 80 countries, I have never been so nervous for my safety/personal valuables as I was in Puerto Viejo. I was there in October 2010 and it seemed every other person I talked with, expat or traveler, had been robbed in some manner. While I was there two American's were shot dead...one was walking on the beach at 9am and was shot in the head from behind. With that said, I really wanted to find a place where I felt somewhat secure and I found it here.
Pros: location, friendliness of staff/owners, free wifi, kitchen use, tropical grounds
Cons: wifi access from room/patio (depends on which room you have)
I stayed for nearly a week and found the place to be terrific. The owners son was running the place at the time and I had several long conversations with him regarding tourism in Puerto Viejo. The woman at the front desk was also wonderful. I found the clientel to be well seasoned backpackers or flashpackers and very friendly.
Location: The hostel is located a very short walk from where the busses drop you off. It is off the main road so it is quiet but close enough that you can walk to the bars and "beach" in a few minutes. There is a large grocery store on the corner of the street the hotel/hostel is on at which you can get food to cook in the communal kitchen.
Rooms: Spartan but clean and nicely spaced. I had the chance to see several rooms and there are differences between them so choose accordingly. I am a complete sucker for hotel patios and the patios here are perfect for lounging and doing some writing on the computer. Most of the patios have a hammock as well as a desk for writing. I also had a long sitting bench and chair. Quite spacious/quiet/secluded.
Security: The family who runs the place lives upstairs from the main reception area. I have read a review about one incident there and asked the owner about it and he explained that they had a problem in the town with a group of kids. Be prudent. I did feel safe overall in this place considering the town in general I felt very vulnerable to attack/robbery (there is no other place on earth that I have been that I have felt this unsafe...all of the east coast of Costa Rica I felt this way and stories abound kept reinforcing this perception). There are safes with key locks in the rooms...use them.
Wifi: Wonderful access. The only problem is that if you get a room the farthest from the reception area you will likely not get reception. After a few days I asked to change to a room up front near reception so that I could access the internet from my patio.
Social: It is a place for more chilled seasoned backpackers who are not up partying all night. It is very quiet after 8pm thus if you are looking for a place to party, this is not it. The main open area in front of reception is great for socializing but unfortunately with the small number of rooms it seems most people head out most of the time.
If you have the chance to stay here, please do. In a town that is quite unsavory in terms of safety, this is one place where you can relax and feel somewhat secure.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Hotel Guarana is a small hotel full of colors and good energy. We have 12 rooms individually ,uniquely decorated. We are situated in one of the most quiet and central streets in Puerto Viejo, 200 m. only steps to beach and restaurants. The hotel is safe, private and set in a lush tropical garden of flowers and fauna. Services include; Wireless, Laundry, Safe in room, Parking, communal kitchen totally equipped. English, Spanish, French & Italian spoken. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Guarana Hotel Puerto Viejo
- Hotel Guarana Costa Rica/Limon