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Pension Santa Elena
Certificate of Excellence
IL.
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Do you like Bed Bugs?”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 5, 2008

So this place is not worth it! Dirty Dirty Dirty! We got a room right near the front window where everyone hangs out! Not only was it noisy but we started to get bit by bed bugs the second we sat down!! We tried to go to sleep but with all the noise had to get up and run out to find another hotel or hostel. They were kind enough to refund us without asking. We ended up going down to a quit area down the street to Cabinas El Pueblo. This place was only like a dollar more and soooooooooo worth it! Clean and great help! they even showed us the local sloth hanging out across the street. There is few noise pollution, only a car once in awhile and horses. This is the place to go, also nextdoor is another hotel which is great so try these places and skip the shitty hostel.

Stayed January 2008
Helpful?
4 Thank JessyZ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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679 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (83)
Date | Rating
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Jersey City, NJ
Level Contributor
7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 28, 2007

This is a hostel-like accommodation, with shared kitchen and a nice communal area (again: hostel-like, so know the concept before you complain). Right in the middle of Santa Elena (which is tiny), with bank / ATM and taco stand literally next door and restaurants, stores, buses just round the corner.

$17 gets you a double room (double bed) with private bathroom (hot water) - basic and clean. There is a $5 key deposit that is returned in cash at the end of your stay.

What makes Pension Santa Elena quite a wonder and every backpacker's dream is its warm and welcoming atmosphere courtesy of Ramm, his sister Shannon and Ro (and make a special note to yourself to talk to Ro who is a true soul of the place - charisma simply oozes from this man's ears) who do an absolutely wonderful job running the place. It is indeed difficult to imagine a more laid-back and friendlier place.

Also, even if you think you mastered all guide books and know absolutely everything about Monteverde / Santa Elena, do ask these people for advice. In a friendly and patient way they explain about all attractions and make recommendations based on your preferences and time constraints (everyone here speaks fluent English so it's an additional bonus if you don't speak Spanish).

While in Santa Elena we visited The Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve, Selvatura Park and Children's Eternal Rain Forest (unfortunately we didn't have time for Monteverde).

A word on The Santa Elena Cloud Forest: go early and pack some warmer clothes. We highly recommend a 3-hour guided tour with Dave ($15 p.p., ask at Pension, Dave is an independent guide, speaks excellent English and is a biologist so he was able to tell us way more then you can find in a guide book). If you decide to do it on your own, still it's worth hiking/wondering around for a few hours as the cloud forest is absolutely breath-taking. Important - adjust your expectations to the time of year when you are visiting. We didn't see a quetzal but then we were told we would not see one at the and of November. Apart from incredible plants, the highlight for us were hummingbirds and a gang of spider monkeys with babies.

Selvatura's canopy tour was a lot of (admittedly) silly fun. While zips are fine, the Tarzan swing really makes your heart go faster!

Certainly this is not your animal-watching place (with all the people screaming as they zip above your head) but we recommend taking the bridge walk as it is another, cool and unusual way of experiencing beautiful surroundings.

PSE also recommended a night walk and we echo their recommendation. Since parks close at 4pm, and it gets dark early, instead of sitting at the hostel (which you can still do as the tour ends around 8pm), book the tour ($15 p.p. + $4 transportation). It is a fun walk through the woods, especially that it's pitch dark and you are equipped with a flashlight. Spotting hidden/sleeping animals also makes you feel like an explorer (but that's how the entire Costa Rica makes you feel).

On a side note: money - $$ are accepted everywhere, incl. restaurants and supermarkets. Change in colones, rates vary but when you realize that 5-10 colons is 1-2 cents then it really doesn't matter as currency exchange places would probably charge more (not that there are many around anyway).

  • Stayed November 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
2 Thank thorgal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kent Ohio
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 22, 2007

I can't believe all the good reviews I keep seeing for this place. The kitchen is filthy, the bathrooms are substandard, and on the way to our room we were passed in the hallway by a rat the size of a small dog. We were going to pay 10 dollars a night per person for a triple room. We ended up going to Vista Golfo where we paid 5 dollars a night for a clean, comfortable triple with no rats. Skip this place.

Stayed April 2007
Helpful?
5 Thank hetairai1215
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Adelaide, Australia
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 12, 2007

My girlfriend and I stayed here for a couple of nights - while we were generally staying in better accommodations elsewhere we chose to
stay here based on other good reviews. For $20/nt private room with bathroom I thought this was excellent value. Rooms are basic but fine
for your average backpacker. Not appropriate for people expecting finer accommodations. The true value in staying here though is the knowledgable staff - who are able to direct you to the right local attractions and reputable tours - and were always available to sit down with you to help you plan out your activities.

We also had the (embarassing!) experience of getting on the wrong bus
one day and ending up 20km out of Santa Elena in some small village.
A phone call back to Rann (the man!) got us a taxi to rescue us - avoiding a 6 hour wait for the next bus back. Thanks Rann - we're still laughing about this one.

  • Stayed March 2007
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank asdfgsdfghfgj
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ann Arbor, MI
Level Contributor
17 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 16, 2006

Pension Santa Elena has a warm atmosphere, good rooms, shared kitchen and top quality staff.

We booked all of our day trips and adventures through PSE staff, (Ran, Shannon and the rest) all were very helpful. The stay at PSE was so nice we modified our plans and stayed a few extra days in Santa Elena / Monteverde. We now plan on returining in early 2007.

If you go for really squeaky clean Holliday Inn type places then PSE is not for you. If a less polished place with really interesting people, good stories and great coffee is to your liking then PSE is highly recommended.

Also worthwhile are a tour of the coffee coops, a night guided tour of cloudforest and a trip to La Fortuna near by.

-jb

  • Liked — Friendly staff, the other backpacker's stories
  • Disliked — It is a bit funky, you have to be flexible to stay at a backpacker's hostel. Not for Hilton crowd.
  • Tips/Secrets — Work out your plans with the very knowledgable staff. Cook in communal kitchen, share with others. Be open to fun!
  • Stayed April 2006, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
2 Thank bushpilot2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
California
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 20, 2006

If you like stray dogs and are into accomodations where the lighting is dim to hide the unhidable layers of dirt and grime, this is the place for you. We booked rooms with private baths in advance and after changing rooms multiple times found that we were unable to obtain a room that was even adequately clean; so, after checking in for 15 minutes, we checked back out and found another hotel. If you have your heart set on 3 steps below a motel 6, you are still going to be disappointed. On the other hand, if you need to book transport from Arenal to Monteverde via jeep-boat-jeep, they gave us a great price with no hassles and all went smoothly.

  • Liked — Their ability to arrange transport to and from their place
  • Disliked — Extremely dirty and run down
  • Tips/Secrets — Book somewhere else
  • Stayed July 2006, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
3 Thank Altruistic
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 26, 2006

I stayed at the hostel while traveling solo in Costa Rica last summer.
It's a great bargain at $7 a night for the dorms and $14 or so for a single room.
Go for the single room — I have traveled all over and this dorm was one of the dirtiest. The dorms are separate cottages from the main "house." They are old wood and there was mold all on the inside. It smelled like an old basement. The bathroom had rust and spots and I wouldn't get in the shower.
If you sleep in the dorm, be sure to cover your face with the sheet so you don't get sick.
with that said, the main "house" was great and I'd stay there in a heartbeat. the single rooms there looked clean and locked.
The hostel atmosphere is great and the common room was bustling with travelers from all over the world, playing games, trading tips and stories and there's Internet use for a reasonable fee.
It was one ofthe best places I stayed because of the common room and it's atmposphere. More like a coffee house.

Just spend the extra bucks and get the single with your own shower.

  • Stayed August 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Pension Santa Elena

Property: Pension Santa Elena
Address: Al Sureste Banco Nacional en El Corazon de Santa Elena 250 m, Santa Elena, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Puntarenas > Monteverde > Santa Elena
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 34 Specialty Lodging in Santa Elena
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Pension Santa Elena 2.5*
Number of rooms: 40
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Our mission is to "exceed our guests' expectations of a Travelers Hotel by providing outstanding services and dependable information. We commit resources and time to preserving the values and traditions of our communities." Pure Life...Pure Hospitality. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Pension Santa Elena Hotel Santa Elena
Pension Santa Elena Monteverde, Costa Rica

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