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“Great Vacation Spot!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Bella Vista Lodge

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Bella Vista Lodge
Florida
Level Contributor
4 reviews
“Great Vacation Spot!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 30, 2013

We just returned from an unbelievable 10-day stay at Bella Vista Lodge and loved every minute of it! This was the perfect place to get away from it all and just chill. You will need to rent a small 4x4 to ford a small river and negotiate the unpaved road up to the property as well as explore this southern Pacific coast of Costa Rica - most side roads are unpaved. Vamos car rental (vamos4x4.com) has the best prices and took great care of us.

The lodge itself is a rustic 80-year old farmhouse sitting in what is really just a clearing in the jungle that has been lovingly restored by operator Bert Woodson to provide a fabulous back-to-basics vacation experience. If you are a metrosexual from South Beach, this is not the spot for you. But if you want to experience the serenity of nature while enjoying incredible panoramic views over the Pacific and sunsets over Manuel Antonio Park like you've never seen before, this is the spot.

Rooms in the lodge and in the cabin below are basic and comfortable, each with its own bath and on-demand hot shower. We were perfectly comfortable and happy without air conditioning or TV - that's not what Bella Vista Lodge is about. There is free WiFi though, so we didn't have to be completely disconnected unless we chose to be.

But the real secret ingredient in making our stay so enjoyable was Bert Woodson, an experienced restaurant chef and hospitality professional who moved to Dominical 2 1/2 years ago and lovingly restored the lodge.

Bert (the unofficial mayor of Dominical) knows everybody in town and can connect you with all kinds of day-trip activities - we went horseback riding on the beach with a lunch break at a restaurant on the beach (La Parcela) with great ocean views. Another day we took another horseback ride to Nuayaca Falls that included breakfast and lunch Tico-style with the friendly family that conducted the ride.

Bert can also hook you up with fishing trips, zip line tours, surf lessons, etc. There is also limited shopping in Dominical and other towns nearby. Great Friday night fun and entertainment at a club called Roca Verde, too.

Dominical is a surfing hotspot - three of our fellow guests at the Lodge (Mark, Dave and Brian) had come down to spend a week just for the surfing. The two friendly, helpful guys working with Bert (Shayne and Jed) are also surfers and all five of them had a great time during a week of exceptionally big surf.

Jed and Shayne made breakfast for us before we started our day - we loved Jed's spicy Yuca cakes! Bert asked the group what we wanted for dinner each day and then went out (sometimes on horseback) to secure fresh fish, meat, vegetables, fruit, etc. that we all ate family-style on the porch watching the sun go down over the Pacific and the stars then fill the sky.

With the low ambient light high on the mountainside, we could see the stars like never before and used an iPad app to figure out the constellations - different this close to the equator.

If you want a place where you can kick back, do anything you want or nothing at all and make lifetime friends in the process, you can't beat Bella Vista Lodge and Bert Woodson.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
Thank JJacobsFlorida
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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79 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (32)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
sydney
Level Contributor
34 reviews
30 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 25, 2013 via mobile

Only stayed for 1 night but we were impressed with how nice Bert & his staff were, how gorgeous the view was & how delicious dinner was, especially the strawberry pie for dessert! Unfortunately one of the poor dogs was agitated, itchy & stinky from a fight wound on her back & kept darting in & out from under the table during dinner...would've lost my appetite if the food didn't taste so good!

  • Stayed April 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars
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    • 4 of 5 stars
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    • 4 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars
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    • 4 of 5 stars
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Helpful?
Thank amaanda
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sofia, Bulgaria
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 25, 2013

I had such a great time in Bella Vista Lodge that i'm counting the days when i will go back there!
Bert is such a nice, helpful and with a great sense of humor person. On the top of that he is a great cook as well. It was such a pleasure staying in his lodge and enjoying the breathtaking ocean view, tasty food and nice company. I will strong recommend to all adventurous,easy going people who love the nature in it's pure state. PURA VIDA!

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars
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    • 5 of 5 stars
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    • 5 of 5 stars
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    • 5 of 5 stars
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    • 5 of 5 stars
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    • 5 of 5 stars
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Helpful?
Thank Kristi3000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Guanacaste, Costa Rica
Level Contributor
14 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 5, 2013

What a cool spot! We were a group of 4 friends who visited over Semana Santa and Bert let us make a last minute reservation over the phone - we even brought our dogs!

The property was beautiful and Bert and the other staff were the best (according to him, "The only rule is, there are no rules!"). Our house was awesome, had a very large bathroom with a great shower. Although the house was rustic, it was very airy with screens over all the windows and could easily sleep 5 or 6. The beds were super comfy and there was a great hammock on the porch. Kitchen was pretty sparse, but you don't need to cook when Bert has dinner planned!

Definitely sign up to eat family-style with the rest of the guests. Our food was delicious and the 3-course menu was perfectly representative of fine Costa Rican dining. Bert had great recommendations for things to do around Dominical and we really enjoyed exploring the area.

Although our stay was brief we were so glad to have made a new friend in Bert and hope to come back and visit again soon!

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
Thank HPotterCR
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 29, 2013

I've been to Bella Vista Lodge more times than I can count over the past 8 years. I've spent weeks and even months on this magical mountain-top, hovering over the Pacific. The rustic retreat has a few great rooms in the main lodge and a two-story cabin a stones throw away (even more private with equal killer views). Let me be clear - BELLA VISTA is named for exactly what it is. The views will take your breath away and the raw tranquility of the jungle's heart beats 24/7. Oh, and SUNSETS!!!! Whether I'm in Dominical or at a local beach, I know to race up the mountain at 5:30pm everyday to catch the sun setting. It's really THAT magnificent every single day.

And then there's Bert.... No one caters to your needs and has a nicer vibe than Bert. His cooking rivals anything up here in NYC. Imagine freshly caught fish with a basil-tamarind coconut or mango glaze...?? Home-made bread? Freshly steamed broccoli ? Finished off with a ridiculously rich home made pie or tart or mousse!!!?? In the jungle!!!!!?? I feel like I should keep all this a secret but... I won't. Everyone should get a chance to live this well.

Vincent and Julie are a bonus, as they are there for a bit and help with the cooking and chores. They couldn't be cooler and their energy along with Bert's will make you rethink your future travel plans. You'll stay longer than you intended, for sure. :)

Let's not forget the 4-leggers. I love 'em all! You will too!

Room Tip: Cabin is quieter
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars
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    • 5 of 5 stars
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    • 5 of 5 stars
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    • 5 of 5 stars
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    • 5 of 5 stars
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    • 5 of 5 stars
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Helpful?
1 Thank JonSamNYC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Level Contributor
17 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 27, 2013

Bert and the staff at Bella Vista are the best! I have been to CR many times and have yet to find a place with such views. While it is very private, you are super close to downtown Domincal and numerous great beaches. Not to take a back seat to the view is Bert's cooking and cocktails. This was truly an unforgettable experience!

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars
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    • 5 of 5 stars
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    • 5 of 5 stars
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    • 5 of 5 stars
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    • 5 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars
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Helpful?
1 Thank Jamie C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
72 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 21, 2013

We loved Bella Vista and Dominical so much, we plan on moving there by the end of this year. Bert is an awesome host, chef and friend. He creates a lifetime experience for each guest. The views of the Pacific are incredible, the closeness to Mother Nature and all her exotic creatures is EXTREME! We would recommend BellaVista for adventure, romance or family retreats, a wonderful celebration place!

Room Tip: All the accomodations are excellent, the pool is actually a waterfall just down the road, can't...
See more room tips
  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 5 of 5 stars
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    • 5 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars
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Helpful?
1 Thank sliv1012
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Bella Vista Lodge

Property: Bella Vista Lodge
Address: Escaleras Road | Dominical Escaleras Al Frente de la Plaza de Futbol, Dominical 60504, Costa Rica
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Puntarenas > Dominical
Amenities:
Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #14 of 27 Specialty Lodging in Dominical
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Number of rooms: 4
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Bella Vista Lodge is perched 1200 feet above Dominical with panoramic Pacific coastal views of Manuel Antonio to the north and the Osa Peninsula to the south. There are 4 guest rooms with private baths in the Lodge as well as the dining deck. Cabins are also available equipped with small kitchens as well as private decks. A truly authentic Costa Rica experience! Horseback riding to Nauyaca Waterfalls, white-water rafting, surfing, sport fishing, hiking, zip lining, birdwatching, whale watching, scuba and snorkeling--all within minutes away. Restaurant by reservation only. Fresh ingredients are gathered at the local markets -- fresh, fresh, fresh. Groups welcome! Family reunions, weddings, photo, music, cooking, and art seminars, yoga/spa/massage, and birdwatchers. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Bella Vista Hotel Dominical
Bella Vista Lodge Costa Rica/Dominical

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