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“Service with a smile”
Review of Cabinas Pura Vida

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Cabinas Pura Vida
Ranked #5 of 22 Drake Bay B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed March 1, 2014

I discovered Cabinas Pura Vida on GoogleEarth while looking for an affordable way to access Corcovado National Park. My wife and I were traveling with another couple and I was a little nervous that Drake Bay, a town without an all-weather road, might be a little outside their comfort zone.

Fortunately my e-mail and telephone inquiries all received prompt and helpful attention so we hired a shuttle and headed south to Sierpe. From Sierpe we took the "waterbus" downriver and along the coast to the beach in front of Drake Bay. True to his word, Norlyn met us as we waded ashore and drove us up the hill to Cabinas Pura Vida.

This is one of several small family businesses serving the developing eco-tourism market in the Osa Peninsula. They knew exactly what we wanted and they were only too happy to help us get it. The property isn't luxurious but it's clean and safe with a well-tended garden. The hammocks and easy chairs outside every room made it a pleasant place to socialize with the other guests. Their small restaurant offers excellent meals as well as a cold beer whenever you need one.

Norlyn is also a pretty good travel agent. He arranged two excellent guided trips for us and he got us on the SANSA flight back to San Jose.

  • Stayed: February 2014, traveled with friends
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1  Thank spudcanuck
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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53 - 59 of 146 reviews

Reviewed December 3, 2013

Cabinas Pura Vida was recommended to us by our boat driver from Sierpe to Drake Bay, and I'm so glad it was! We were picked up on the beach and driven to the location. We were given a discount on the room, which was clean, well furnished, comfortable, and cute. I ate THE BEST casada (typical Costa Rican meal) that I have had in the four months of being here. It was fresh and delicious (and I knew it was fresh because he drove to the store halfway through making it to get more ingredients!). The staff were incredibly helpful and caring in every aspect. I would recommend this place to anyone traveling to Drake Bay.

  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled with friends
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1  Thank Elizabeth G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 16, 2013

Once in Drake beach, we were picked up by the "Pura Vida" owner. We had a very warm welcoming, they seemed to be friendly. Unfortunately it was not what we had agreed on. The first night we talked about the arrangements, prices and what we wanted to have included: the whole plan sounded amazing, when it was simply a start: first day to corcovado and the second whale watching, Cano Island and some fishing. He said that he could not give us any discount even if we were staying there for 3 nights, would have breakfast and dinner every night, but he promised to treat us for the fish we had caught the last night.

On the first tour to Corcovado we had a great time, if it wasn't for the luck of coordination. The boat did not arrive until 06:30, and we were supposed to be leaving at 06:00. The owner of the cabin, Norlyn, had "apparently" arranged the boat, but never apologized for the delay. We were told that the captain had fallen asleep, and later found out that they were never told the night before if there would be a tour or not.

Fortunately, our guide, Carlos, the bare-foot jungle man was amazingly great, we saw all sorts of animals. We had had such an adventurous day that we wanted to go with him the second day, so we scheduled him.

The second day was simply a nightmare: we left 30 minutes later. The captain, which happen to be the owner of the cabins, Norlyn, left the boat without taking the guide. Although Carlos was at the beach at the scheduled time, he left him on land, which meant we did not have a guide. He started sailing with a beer in hand, one after another. The water was choppy and some of us (9) in the boat started feeling nauseous, and 3 threw up. We were not feeling that gret to be fishing and asked him to please take us to the beach. He said "we already knew what the plan was", so he could not take us back. An hour later we stopped at the island to go snorkeling, but we were all by ourselves, with no guide. He seemed to be to sober to swim with us. We were told we had to sign up at the beach since its a National Park, but we did not: he was too focused on finishing and getting the catch of the day. Ours went by (more than two-what we had agreed on), we saw no whales, because he only wanted to fish and did no effort to find any.

So overall it was a huge disappointment and we had a horrible aftertaste. It felt as if we were paying 75USD each to have him fish. At least we were excited about the dinner, since we would be treated to some delicious bbqued tuna.

When we were given the bill, not only did we pay for all the services, but also the dinner and the breakfast was doubled. We pronounced our disaggrement to him, and the friendly Norlyn turned into a very violent person that would not let us speak, yelled non stop and were forced to pay more than what we had ordered.

Such a pity! "Pura Vida" cabins a place I would never recommend anyone: unsafe with a drunk captain that rips you off and enjoys the fishing for long hours while the clients are feeling sick and throwing up.

  • Stayed: September 2013
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8  Thank Mytheretxu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 10, 2013

My first time at Bahia Drake, it was great due to whales, but certainly I could have found a better place to stay. $30 a night no meal included is a bit pricey.
Restaurant was closed so I cannot comment on how good it is
They have no safe in the room so leaving your stuff could be risky.
The place is quiet and clean tho, but I bet other places there are as well.

Room Tip: Once you get to Bahia Drake I assure you can find more options, I thought there were only a few plac...
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  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled solo
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1  Thank Armando M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 26, 2013

Had a great time at Cabinas Pura Vida when I vistied last December . Very clean, and very affordable. Victor was an amazing host, very helpful with recommending what to do. Great guy who also speaks impeccable English. I happened to be in Drake Bay on my birthday (by myself) an he even took me and his friends to celebrate. Very friendly people.

If you ever go to Drake Bay, make sure you stay at Pura Vida!

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled solo
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Thank msikora78
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 25, 2013

We were originally booked with a bungalow (that happened to over-book themselves and leave us out to dry with no place to stay). They set us up with Cabinas Pura Vida for our stay and it could not have worked out better for us! We were more than happy with our stay and will definitely stay there the next time we go to Drake Bay :) The owner, Victor, speaks English very well and is very sweet. The rooms were cleaned immaculately and the location was perfect! We had intended to stay at a place with a kitchen available. They let us keep some food items in their fridge and cooked some of the most tasteful food we have had yet in Costa Rica. The meals are priced more than fairly and were all-around delicious :) The owners were nice, available, and really made us feel like we were at home making sure we had everything we needed on a daily basis. Thank you again Cabinas Pura Vida for taking us in last minute and making our stay at Drake Bay so wonderful and complete :) <3 the volunteers

Room Tip: All rooms are the same quality and if you have any specific needs, they are more than happy to accom...
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  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank Emesha J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 25, 2013

I have stayed here two years in a row and am never disappointed. The price is excellent and Elizabetta is a great cook and always happy to help. The owner Robbie is a really great guy too and he always looks out for his guests and helps them out however he can and we always have a great time. He is great at helping to organize getting into and out of Zancudo. Right across the road is a pristine, beautiful stretch of beach too where you can walk out and be the only person there and see more stars then probably anywhere in the world. The rooms are cozy and quiet. You have the freedom to meet new people and socialize and also the opportunity for privacy and some nice quiet time to read a book or catch up with your friends on the computer via the free wifi. I definitely recommend visiting here and am sure I will be back again soon!

Room Tip: I prefer staying in one of the front rooms personally.
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  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled solo
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Thank John S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Cabinas Pura Vida

Address: | Bahia Drake, Drake Bay 000, Costa Rica
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Puntarenas > Osa Peninsula > Drake Bay
Amenities:
Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Room Service Shuttle Bus service Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 22 B&Bs / Inns in Drake Bay
Price Range: $44 - $68 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Cabinas Pura Vida 2.5*
Number of rooms: 5
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Pura Vida Drake Bay Cabins is located in the center of Drake Bay just 400 meters from the beach, since its opening in 2007 to been operated by a couple of young Costa Ricans, Norlyn and Gabriela. All our rooms have air conditioning, private bathrooms, hot water and we offer our new kitchen for your convenience. We also have a secure parking and beautiful garden with hammocks right on the terrace of your room. We also organize guided tours to Corcovado National Park (Sirena or San Pedrillo Station) Caño Island (Diving or snorkeling) and more! Cabinas Pura Vida is your best option in Bahia Drake by price, quality and service, we will be glad to serve you! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Cabinas Pura Vida Costa Rica/Drake Bay

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