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“As if I had a private house and beach in Costa Rica”

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The Howler Monkey Hotel
Ranked #1 of 3 Cabuya B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
White Plains, New York, United States
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“As if I had a private house and beach in Costa Rica”
Reviewed February 17, 2013

For those of you that like to get native when you travel.... I wish there was a hotel like this in more than just the Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica. The Howler Monker Hotel in Cabuya is a dream come true. Jim the owner lives on the premises and you're damned lucky when he's around. He makes everything on his property available to you, snorkeling gear, surfboard, spearguns, bicycles, four-wheelers, etc, but he is a world of knowledge on the entire peninsula, offering a full education on trees, plants, fruits, insects, wildlife, and just how to live in the jungle. NO charge!
Each cabina is like a mini apartment. Your bedroom is a spacious a-frame above your open kitchen, dining area, and bathroom. The bedroom has a little dresser for your things and a fantastic overhead fan that surprisingly makes it chilly throughout the night, which always makes me sleep better. There are monkeys, iguanas, hundreds of parrots, ducks, chickens, and one chick I might add, as well as his dog Roxanna that frequently pass you by as you lay out on the hammock, or sit poolside. It's never too hot around the room as there are beautiful trees shading your spot, and just beyond them, about twenty paces, is your very own beach. Here the sun rises just for you and you'll hear the entire jungle around you wake up together as it lights up the day.
The pool was immaculate and did not feel like there was a drop of chlorine in it. We were able to walk easily to either the Super David or Super Chico (Two grocery stores) both of which we wouldn't have known about without Jim. He also took us to a farmer's market on Friday in Cobano so that we were able to cook locally the whole time we were there. It was really satisfying to open all of the shutters and just cook some vegetables in an open kitchen while listening to the birds and monkeys hang right outside above you. Also with the four-wheelers you can take the main road just about four miles to Montezuma for a good time, some yoga, and some overpriced trinkets for those that you left in your hometown.
The Cabo Blanco Reserve might be the closest main attraction to the Howler Monkey hotel and so worth it. After you enter the reserve, it's about an hour to get all the way down the sueco trail to the private white sand beach but absolutely breath-taking. You can reward yourself with a delicious smoothie and or dessert from a wonderful bakery called La Panaderia just down from the hotel and on the way to Cabo Blaco. They might have made the best smoothies I've ever had.
There's a local fisherman named Tito, who comes by the hotel selling a fresh catch just when you're thinking about what to do for dinner. Jim will set you up with a nice fire and foil to put on top of the grill and it's almost as if you caught the fish yourself and are prepared to live like this for a good long time. Jim may ask for a piece but he'll hook you up with a cold beer or even better a howler monkey cocktail, but he'll keep you laughing and remembering why you came to paradise in the first place. He's never forgotten.

Room Tip: There's no one room that is better than others. It depends on how many people you are traveling...
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank Tiffany F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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182 reviews from our community

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Marseille, France
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed February 16, 2013

This is a perfect place to stay a few days with your family and visit the Nicoya peninsula. The place is not a 5 stars hotel, and I have to admit that we threw away a rusty bowl for cutlery. Other than that, and unlike what I read from other visitors, we found the place perfectly clean, including the cabin, the shower and the swimming pool. We were there in July 2012, a couple and 2 kids, and had a great time, despite the spiders, crabs and other crawly little things. If you hate bugs, monkeys, birds, coconuts, kayaking, wonderful sunrises over the ocean, not being surrounded by people that look and think like you… in other words, if you hate the jungle and the best Costa Rica can offer you, do not go there. Do not miss Cabo Blanco, just a few miles from Cabuya. We met a great guide in Montezuma, Armando Castro (tel: 86 54 23 92), who took us through Cabo Blanco and around Montezuma. He is particularly good at interacting with kids. Last, but not least, Jim the owner of the Howler Monkey, is a really charming and I would say rather original Irish man. He is always available to help you out with anything and to share with a coffee or a good conversation about life, science, music, monkeys, the ocean and all those things that matter when you are in place like this.

Room Tip: The cabin in front of the swimming pool has a great view, otherwise the one on the right is very goo...
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
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4 Thank Santi R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed January 28, 2013

The people rating this place as terrible are missing the whole point of the adventure. Go back to Club Med or visit a zoo if you want the mall experience. Cabuya is a quiet town and with the exception of the wildlife, the hotel is very tranquil. Jim has kayaks, bikes, and masks/snorkels for use which we took advantage of to explore some amazing fish off of Isla Cabuya. We kept the windows open and woke up with the sunrise and the sound of dropping fruit from the monkeys in the trees overhead. I highly recommend it for the adventurous traveler who doesn't need things to be spotless.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank calijewan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Newmaket, NH
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed January 27, 2013

We stayed here for three nights can honestly say that they were the most relaxing three nights of our trip. When I read the other negative reviews of this place, I immediately know that the people who wrote them are not people I'd like to travel with. We obviously have different opinions about what acceptable levels of comfort are. "No towel swans on the bed" - this is seriously how you're going to judge your stay?

This a perfectly peaceful place to stay, aside from the howler monkey alarm clock : ) Jim was a gracious, interesting, and down-to-earth host He made us feel right at home, and then got out of our hair. The cabinas had exactly what you need, and nothing else.

If you want to stay somewhere that feels off the beaten tourist track, where you can take a leisurely evening stroll along quite local roads to small restaurants for dinner and come back to slip into the pool and listen to the howler monkeys settle in for the evening, this is the place for you.

If you're seeking some over-sanitized resort experience, with gleaming chrome and towel swans on the bed, better keep looking.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank dennislees
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
East Hartford, Connecticut
Level Contributor
12 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed January 19, 2013

Oh My God, first off, we had the A frame, directly in front of the swimming pool, beyond which was the ocean. The place itself is located in a quiet area, with terrific sights and sounds. The beds were comfortable and clean, the kitchen adequate and the bathroom clean and everything worked fine. I slept there last night so I assure you my perception of the place has not changed because time has passed by. Jim is such a chill guy. He has kayaks, bikes and other recreational equipment you can use free of charge, which is a huge bonus because everywhere else they charge you for everything, including using the bathroom, no exaggeration. Im reading some of these other reviews and I am just baffled. Like I said, I was there yesterday and yes there is a bathroom, there is a bbq area. And seriously Swans on beds?? really? If you want a place that is not going to have insects crawling around I suggest you look elsewhere, actually I suggest you stay in San Jose and not venture out anywhere unless it is to one of those Golf clubs. But if you want a feal of the real Costa Rica, that Pura Vida that is so advertised go here. There may be insects around, he has bug spray, ask for it. You dont find something adequate, ask for it, Jim is always around. Our only regret is that we could not spend more time here, we spent the night before in Montezuma, which turned out to be a complete waste of time and money. Definately go here, and please be prepared to go into Nature and not a disney park, enjoy your travels ;)

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
4 Thank jkaycee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Saint Paul, Minnesota
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed December 30, 2012

We just returned from two nights at this "hotel." Our family nicknamed it "The A-Frame of Darkness" after the first 20 minutes. The only reason we stayed is that it was over Xmas and everything else was booked so we decided to make the best of our adventure. And an adventure it was. Our kids (amazingly) slept. Despite the fact that Crazy Jim (as our 13-year-old dubbed him) played a bizarre music mix tape at night and very early in the morning (think Irish jigs, rock-a-billy, orchestral overtures and a bit of Neil Young thrown in for good measure). The drunken carousing of other guests until the wee hours and the large spiders, cockroaches and other creepy crawlies in the extremely creepy kitchen and bathroom...added just the right jungle note. None of us had the gumption to try the shower.

We have stayed in some pretty dingy spots over the years and this was not the worst. But it's definitely up there on the list. If you're desperate...this spot is OK. It's really overpriced for what you get, but you probably won't contract a disease. It feels like this place might have been OK until about a year or two ago and then something...some odd jungle fever?...swept through and the place is definitely needing a thorough...very thorough...cleaning and upgrading. Actually, Jim (the owner) is a likable fellow. But...that doesn't make up for the poor condition of the place.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
7 Thank ElisaRae
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reno, Nevada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed December 30, 2012

I really enjoyed my stay with Jim and the others at the Howler. Very relaxing and secluded. Totally out of the hustle and bustle. Never had a problem, and I'm planning to return soon. Jim is good people and always aiming to please. If youre looking to be coddled, this isnt the place. but if youre a self sufficient adventurer, you found a great spot to call base. Cabuya is a fine village with beautiful people. I've been missing it ever since I left. Tell everyone hi for me and drop me a line Jim. -- Mark. shipdaddymac@ yahoo.com.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled solo
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Shipdaddymac
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Howler Monkey Hotel

Property: The Howler Monkey Hotel
Address: El Yugo, Cabuya, Montezuma, Costa Rica
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Puntarenas > Montezuma > Cabuya
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 B&Bs / Inns in Cabuya
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 5
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Howler Monkey Hotel is located in Cabuya, a few minutes from Montezuma. Each cabin is located around the refreshing pool, just a few metres from the beach. It is walking distance to Cabuya Island, a unique cemetary island. Cabuya has 2 grocery stores and a few restaurants within walking distance. We offer four cabinas with an ocean view, a private bathroom, a private kitchen, fans and nice outdoor dining patios with hammocks. Free wifi, laundry and parking are included. Guests can also use the hotel snorkel gear, kayaks, surfboards and bicycles. You can enjoy your day lounging in your hammock, around the pool or take a short walk through the plants and flowers on the hotel grounds to the beach and beyond. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Howler Monkey Hotel Costa Rica/Cabuya

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