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“Great views, warm accommodating staff and lots of wildlife!”

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Vista Ballena Hotel
Ranked #2 of 14 Uvita B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Maryland
Level Contributor
263 reviews
56 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 117 helpful votes
“Great views, warm accommodating staff and lots of wildlife!”
Reviewed June 11, 2013 via mobile

We met Johnny (a worker at this restaurant) in the super market. He told us about the all you can eat tues buffet ( just in June) , so we decided to check it out. It's a steep drive, but possible to do without four wheel drive. The views are stunning, we sat at the bar and had a few drinks, enjoying the view. The buffet was excellent and very reasonably priced $10. Per person. After dinner we had a ball spotting all the nearby wildlife, there were so many toucans nearby, we also saw a sloth. The people that run this hotel are extremely nice , as are all of the employees. I cannot speak for hotel part but the restaurant was very enjoyable.

Stayed June 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank sidney7474
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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162 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 (23)
Date | Rating
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English first
Breda, The Netherlands
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed May 12, 2013

Just by chance we followed the sign "Whales and Dolphins, Ecolodge and Boutique Hotel" and driving on the coastal highway near Uvita we turned to a small, steep but well-paved road up into the hills for about one kilometer. At the end of the road we found this small hotel, beautifully located on the hills, overlooking the Pacific Ocean from far Corcovado to Manuel Antonio. We were welcomed by the soundmaking toucans high up in the trees. The reception area and airy restaurant are located in one building, connected with a nice terrace with infinity pool, lounge chairs and cocktailbar. From there the accomodations are reached following stairways down to two seperate buildings. At the time of our visit only the first three-story building was in use with twelve comfortable rooms all with its own balcony. The staff proved to be very friendly and professional. We enjoyed nice dinners and breakfast at the restaurant area, adjacing to the pool. We were so impressed by this perfect place that we decided to return on our way back from Drake Bay to San José.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank Aadbos
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Portland, Oregon
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed March 21, 2013

We read about this place in the Ballena Times and a neighbor to our rental property in Ojochal also highly recommended it for happy hour. The pool and sunset view complete with 8 plus toucans were the most memorable from our trip to Costa Rica. We did not stay here but plan to stay on our return trip to the area based on what we saw. We were more than impressed with the views and drinks plus the service was over the top. We were greeted and welcomed as soon as we entered the restaurant. The bartender and server couldn't make us feel more welcomed. We met the new owner and he is very sincere about making everyone's stay here the best experience.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Oregonfan44
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed March 14, 2013

What makes a memorable stay at a location is the food, comfort, and a wonderful view---and this place has all of it. The food is top quality and heavenly...our favourite was the jumbo cocktail shrimp! The drinks are fantastic & I would recommend trying the signature drinks such as the Shark, Whale, Seahorse, and Dolphin. The place is only a few minutes away from one of the most beautiful beaches in the world and has a lovely view of the Whale's Tail. You can see dolphins and whales from the crystal-clear infinity pool. It is not unlikely to see sloths, toucans, and kudamundis hang out next to you peacefully in the trees.

If you already have accommodations planned, it is most definitely worth planning an evening visit just to have an amazing dinner and watch the sunset as it fades along the horizon, with colours ranging from vibrant yellows to a dazzling orange to a coral pink and blue-cotton-candy.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Lindsay R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed March 14, 2013

The drive up the mountain looks treacherous, but is pretty typical of the Costa Rican roads that I experienced. The hotel is beautifully located 1 km up the mountain from Uvita Beach and the Whales tail (only visible at low tide). The hotel itself has been redone by the new owners and they've done an incredible job! The dining room, bar and pool all look out on the most awe inspiring sunsets I've ever seen. As the sun goes down you can hear the calls of sloths and geckos in the jungle surrounding the property. We were lucky enough to even have bee visited by a kudamundi on the patio.

The staff was outstanding and very friendly (especially my new buddy Roger. Get him to make you the signature drink - the shark- lol) As a someone who knows the restaurant industry very well, I have to say that all of the dishes we tried were very high quality. They tasted amazing and you could tell by the artistry of the presentation that the chefs care about their art. I would just like to thank the staff and the new owners TIm and Tiffany. You made our trip spectacular!!

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
4 Thank livingtourist
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wichita, Kansas
Level Contributor
40 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed March 10, 2013

Stopped by Whales and Dolphins because we heard the views were great. Unfortunately, that's the only good thing about the place. 'Ecolodge' must be a loosely used term in Costa Rica, because the water tanks in their parking lot were overflowing the entire time we were there. We mentioned it to the front desk (maybe someone didn't notice?) and they clearly did not care. We also heard from some locals that this steals thousands of gallons of water from everyone else. Much better, more friendly and sustainable places to stay at in Uvita. Just having Ecolodge in the name means nothing and the views are incredible from many other locations.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank live2travel8417
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Waterloo, Canada
Level Contributor
38 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
Reviewed March 3, 2013

After a challenging 10 minute drive up a very steep rock and gravel road, we were anxious to stay at this place (Ecolodge? No, it's a rundown hotel), located on the west slope overlooking Bahia Ballena and the Whale's Tail. Although the view did not disappoint, everything else did. We were greeted by Raoul (the only pleasant part of this experience besides the view), who was the receptionist, bell-boy and later our waiter when we had a very mediocre meal at the restaurant. He was one of only 2 employees working that night, other than the cook. Really? You're running a 20-odd room hotel with 2 staff members to serve guests?? The next big disappointment was the room. Looks like it had just been renovated - 20 years ago! Uncomfortable bed, ugly decor, noisy A/C (our friends room had no working A/C), old CRT TV with no working remote, etc.. We had the worst sleep of our 4 week stay in Costa Rica here. We would have stayed somewhere else except that everything seemed to be booked because of a festival of some kind in Uvita that weekend. This place was apparently taken over by new owners last Oct/Nov, but it looks as though they haven't done anything to improve it so far (a magazine ad we saw for Whales & Dolphins said it was a newly renovated hotel - right). Don't make the same mistake we did in leaving our accommodation to chance; plan ahead and stay somewhere nice. There are lots of great places in Uvita, but this is not one of them.

Room Tip: Avoid this hotel
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank farcloser
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Vista Ballena Hotel

Property: Vista Ballena Hotel
Address: Jardines del Morete | 17 Km. Sur de Playa Dominical, Uvita de Osa 1 Puntarenas, Uvita 60504, Costa Rica (Formerly Hotel Whales and Dolphins)
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Puntarenas > Uvita
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 14 B&Bs / Inns in Uvita
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Vista Ballena Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 20
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Vista Ballena hotel, perched in the hills of Costa Rica's wild southern coast, is more than a tropical resort. Here, in the world's most ecologically diverse setting, you will discover nature's hidden treasures and sustenance for the soul. Our 20 room hotel is set high among the mountainous jungles of Costa Ballena. Enjoy exquisite views of the “Whale’s Tail” sandbar as it extends into the warm ocean waters and witness humpback whales cresting as they pass. Surrounded by lush rainforest and pristine coral-lined beaches, Vista Ballena is a place of solace and discovery in an otherwise untouched land. Paradise after all, is not just a destination, it is what stirs inside us when we set our eyes on the sublime wonders and wisdom of the natural world. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Whales & Dolphins Ecolodge Hotel Uvita
Whales And Dolphins Ecolodge
Vista Ballena Hotel Costa Rica/Uvita

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