About this listing
Beautiful & very private 'eco-luxury' retreat near South Pacific Coast. Our unique & stunning location offers guests panoramic sea views & hangs dramatically over the jungle canopy. Romantic getaway, nature lovers and adrenalin junkies paradise!
Award winning Pura Vida Ecolodge - A Retreat - A LIfestyle - An Experience - we've recently been awarded with a 'Certificate of Excellence' for 2014 by TripAdvisor!
Welcome to Pura Vida Ecolodge, a new and unique 'eco-luxury' retreat nestled amongst virgin rain forest just 5 km from the volcanic sands of the Pacific Ocean in Central America's Costa Rica.
Our beautiful and breezy location, at an altitude of just over 300 meters, boasts stunning panoramic views over the lush valleys towards the meandering 'Rio Terraba' and directly faces the Pacific Ocean, Costa Rica's spectacular sunsets and the world famous National Park, namely Isla del Caño.
Pura Vida Ecolodge is a peaceful sanctuary to experience and embrace 'Pura Vida' (Pure Life), a destination where guests can enjoy not only a memorable holiday, but tranquility, adventure and equilibrium in a utopia second to none. Our private 'Eco-Chic' retreat is your chance to relax and truly let go, to welcome an organic, integral experience for contemplation, rejuvenation and nurturing among friends, family and loved ones. A place where it’s entirely possible to travel in style without feeling guilty...
The wonderfully located Jungle Villa has two large double bedrooms, both with private balconies/decks, en-suite bathrooms complete with indoor rain showers (with solar powered hot water) and AC and fans. One bedroom offers guests impressive sea views (with King or twin setup depending on your group dynamic) while the other Jungle Suite (Queen setup) hangs over the jungle canopy itself.
The main communal living space offers guests a fully equipped 'American-style' open-plan kitchen, dining table (space for 6) as well as a comfortable and stylish lounge area. The whole of the upper level of our Jungle Villa is surrounded by a teak hanging deck, perfect for yoga, sunbathing or enjoying the fantastic panoramic views on offer. There is of course also the infinity plunge pool, the perfect escape when the sun gets too much!
While Pura Vida Ecolodge's location is indeed remote and the retreat itself will provide you with all sorts of adventures and experiences (we have our own nature trails, waterfalls & plunge pools both near the ecolodge & on the edge of the Pura Vida Ecolodge Reserve). Whether you are honeymooners, a group of friends or a family of 6, you will have the entire villa just to yourselves.
*NEW - You'll also love our new yoga deck, exercise area (with pull up & dip bars etc) complete with outdoor rain shower and a 'chill out area' right on the edge of the plantel taking advantage of the lodge's valley, ocean and sunset views.
We are just a 12-15 minute drive (depending on season & road conditions) from the Costa Nera Highway therefore allowing guests to easily explore the area with day trips to two of Costa Rica's most popular national parks (Manuel Antonio & Corcovado), stunning beaches (Playa Arco, Tortuga y Ventanas are our three favourites) and our concierge service can help with tours and boat trips, trekking options, scuba diving & snorkeling trips, kayaking, mountain biking, canyoning, canopy lines and horse riding etc. The nearby village of Ojochal (just 5 minutes up the Costa Nera) is one of a few local villages hosting a whole load of fine dining and fusion restaurants or if you'd prefer to relax 'at home' we can happily arrange food parcels (according to the season, fresh fish, ceviche and seafood all available) and fruit baskets to be delivered direct to the Jungle Villa.
Eco-travel in Costa Rica is your ticket to explore a plethora of amazing places that care just as much about the environment as they do about their guests. It’s a country where organic is as important as stylish, and the government plans to make it the world’s first carbon-neutral country by 2021.
‘Pura vida’ is Costa Rica’s national motto, and for good reason. It’s a real paradise: Our guests can enjoy the pure life in some of the world’s most bio-diverse jungles, rain forests and coastlines. The country’s book-ended by beaches on its Pacific and Caribbean sides (hence the laid-back surfer ethos that characterizes coastal life) and inland, nature holds sway: a full quarter of Costa Rica is protected land, from the smouldering volcanoes to dense jungles. In the highlands, farms and plantations produce delicious tropical fruit – as well as some of the finest coffee ever to grace your espresso
JUNGLE VILLA FEATURES/HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE:
- Private rental regardless of group size
- Infinity-edge pool with expansive forest and ocean views, cozy lounging areas (hanging teak decks, balconies and yoga platforms.)
- Perfect for honeymooners, small groups, friends or families.
- Sumptuous Master Bedroom (Ocean view suite) with king size bed, private terrace and large windows overlooking the valley, coastline and Isla de Caño. Elegant polished concrete floors, stucco finished walls, teak and bamboo doors and fittings, 'guadua' and bamboo ceilings, perlato natural stone wash basins, walk-in shower with beautiful 'pizarra' finish.
- Elegant second bedroom (Jungle view suite) with Queen 'sleep on nature' orthopedic bed. Offers guests views of the colourful jungle canopy, private deck and yoga platform, elegant polished concrete floors, stucco finished walls, teak and bamboo doors and units, 'guadua' and ornamental bamboo ceilings, perlato natural stone wash basins, walk-in rain shower with stylish 'pizarra' finish.
- Contemporary living space with L-Shaped sofa again offering spectacular Pacific Ocean views with connecting hanging terrace.
- Stylish 'open-plan' fully equipped kitchen with polished stone counter tops, contemporary appliances.
- Dining Room seats up to 6 guests in a comfortable open-plan living space looking out onto the Pacific Ocean (to the west) and the dramatic Jungle Canopy (to the north)
- Central air-conditioning throughout the bedrooms, with independently controlled thermostats in each suite.
- Laundry service with use of washer and dryer.
- Secure indoor parking
- Yoga deck and outdoor gym and shower
- Pura Vida Ecolodge Reserve - a selection of nature trails & winding jungle paths leading to streams, waterfalls & natural plunge pools perfect for bathing and relaxing - the easiest trail starting right by the ecolodge, with more challenging treks on the edge of the reserve just a short up-hill walk from the lodge. Embrace the Pura Vida Experience!
PURA VIDA ECOLODGE FAQs:
- WILL I NEED A CAR? Yes, our retreat is situated approximately 4-5km from the coast on a well maintained gravel road into the coastal mountains. A 4WD car is recommended. There are two convenience stores or “sodas,” as they are called in Costa Rica, at the Coronado junction, where one turns off the CostaNera Highway up towards the ecolodge. For groceries, restaurants/bars, beaches, stores, etc. you would require transportation to the local towns of Coronado, Ojochal, Uvita and further up the coast Dominical and down the coast Cortes. Several taxi services are available. The nearest village (more of a hamlet) is Tres Rios and is a 15-20 minute walk from Pura Vida Ecolodge or a 3-4 minute drive.
- IS THERE SOMEONE IN COSTA RICA WHO CAN ASSIST ME WHILE I AM THERE?
Yes, once you book Pura Vida Ecolodge, you will be sent the welcome pack which includes all the details of our housekeeper and his wife, who double up as a 'concierge service' throughout your stay. They are very knowledgeable on the area and will be there at checkin & checkout.
- IS THERE A BEACH NEARBY THAT IS EASY TO GET TO? Yes, in fact you are really quite spoilt for choice. Playa Tortuga is the nearest and possibly one of our favourites. Once down at the Costa Nera, it is just a 5 minute drive up the coast. A short drive further up the coast takes you to Playa Piñuelas, Playa Ventanas and then the stunning national park of Marina Ballena and Uvita. Full directions (including which beaches are best for swimming and surfing etc is included in your welcome pack).
-HOW EASY IS IT TO FIND PURA VIDA ECOLODGE? Upon confirming your reservation, we send all our guests a welcome pack with very clear directions including photos of landmarks along the way. This is updated monthly as we aim to give all our guests as up-to-date info and recommendations as possible
-ARE THERE RESTAURANTS AND SHOPPING NEARBY?
Ojochal is the nearest town with a really good selection of fine & casual dining. You can find Fusion, Italian, Asian, “Typical Costa Rican,” even a deli/bakery and a handful of great fruit smoothie and ceviche places. Further up the coast there is Uvita, again with a good balance of International and 'local' options. We include a full list of recommendations (both restaurants & bars) in the welcome pack. For shopping, you may wish to visit the bustling tourist town of Manuel Antonio (50-60 minutes drive north) which has souvenir, jewellery, and art/craft shops and many lively restaurants (we recommend a trip to Manuel Antonio, anyway, for the national park, which a lot of our guests do either on the way down or on the way back up to San Jose.
-ARE THERE EXCURSIONS & ACTIVITIES CLOSE BY? Yes, yes, yes! Again, you can find more details on the Pura Vida Ecolodge web site, but there are spectacular waterfalls, nature trails and plunge pools right in the reserve itself. The surrounding area offers world class scuba diving, snorkelling, zip-lining, boat tours, mangrove tours, horseback tours, canyoning, as well as being located between the country's best national parks (Corcovado & Manuel Antonio). There are dozens of picturesque, quiet beaches all the way up and down the Southern Pacific coast, with enough activities and adventures on offer to do something completely different every day! We can also recommend great day trips to the Osa Peninsula, Sierpe and Nuayaca Falls. For surfers, Playa Dominical has a famous left and right beach surf break, and waves 95% of the year. Closer to the lodge, Playa Tortuga and Ventanas often have good waves more for beginners.
-IS IT A QUIET NEIGHBORHOOD? Yes, Pura Vida Ecolodge is the best of both worlds. While being a completely private retreat and reserve (both the house, pool and the surrounding nature trails) with it's orientation meaning that the property literally hangs over the jungle canopy on one side and directly faces the Pacific coast on the other, you will have a handful of neighbours nearby in the slowly growing community if you wanted a friendly chat or even some more tips on the area.
-IS THERE A GROCERY STORE NEARBY?Between the two 'pulperias' (small local stores) on the crossroads at Coronado (around 5km away) you will have almost everything you would need. There is also a great fish/seafood place just 1 km from the Coronado junction. For larger shopping, there are two big supermarkets in Uvita, about 15-20 minutes up the coast
-DOES THE ECOLODGE HAVE INTERNET? Yes, the house is equipped with WiFi for internet connection.
-WHAT IS THE WEATHER LIKE? A more detailed description of Costa Rica's seasons can be found on the Pura Vida Ecolodge web site, but in general you can expect about 85+ degrees at the beach year round. The only difference in climate year round is that April/May-November is the "green," or rainy season, and December through March/April is the dry season. The temperature up at the ecolodge is always a few degrees cooler because it is around 1000ft. elevation, and you get great mountain breezes. Likewise, because of its proximity to the equator, the sunrise sunset are constant year-round at approximately 6am/6pm.
-WHICH ROOMS HAVE AIR CONDITIONING?
There are two bedrooms with a/c: the Ocean-view suite on the first floor, and the Jungle-view suite on the ground floor. There is not a/c throughout the rest of the home, but there are ceiling fans in each room and the ecolodge has been designed with your comfort in mind, with large-open plan living spaces, surrounded by sliding doors leading out onto the wrap around decks.
-WILL I NEED TO BRING ANYTHING WITH ME? You need not bring any household items as all bedding, tableware, towels, cookware etc are all provided. We also provide a wonderful fruit basket and some other local delicacies on arrival. Bring only your personal items, and of course a sense of 'Pura Vida' adventure!
-IS PURA VIDA ECOLODGE A PRIVATE LOCATION? Yes, not only is the location incredibly private but regardless of your group size, you will have the entire retreat (house and surrounding reserve) just to yourselves. A lot of our guests are honeymooners and couples, as well as groups of friends and entire families. Either way, whether you are 2 people or a group of 6 with kids, you will have the entire property to yourself.
You will have access to the entire property, whether you are just a couple or a whole family. In other words, you can stay in the Ocean Suite or Jungle Suite (or both) as well as enjoying all the other spaces around the property. All for you - Just for you...
Interaction with Guests
We realize that most guests come to our area to really switch off and get away from it all. We therefore meet you up at Pura Vida Ecolodge on your checkin day and collect the keys on the day of checkout, thus giving you all the privacy you want. That said, we are of course available for anything throughout your stay if you should need us and our local Costa Rican housekeeper (and his wife) offer a brilliant mangrove boat tour - which is a really fantastic day out and adventure, offering a great insight into the locals way of living and the area as a whole (More details included in welcome pack parts 1 & 2).
The neighbourhood boasts peace and quiet and an abundance of nature and stunning flora and fauna. You can wake with the sounds of the congo howler monkeys and watch the sunset as the toucans fly right by the house. There are nature trails and waterfalls just a short walk away plus plenty of adventures on Pura Vida Ecolodge's doorstep!
Once up at Pura Vida Ecolodge, you can explore the surrounding nature reserve and local area by foot. A 4WD car (Mitsubishi Montero manual for more control and 'umph' is a good choice) is the best option for exploring further a field (we include all sorts of suggestions, day trips and activities in the Pura Vida Ecolodge Welcome Pack but Vamos-Rent-A-Car are a our recommended hire car company if you want to book well in advance, be sure to mention us to get the best deal, they may even include a local mobile (real handy) or GPS, likewise we advise guests to buy a 'Kolby pre-pay' sim card on arrival at San Jose airport for ease - Kolby have a small store in the arrivals hall).
In terms of getting up to the lodge from the coastal road, there are currently two options for arriving (both from the Costanera Sur), with roads leading up from the village of Coronado (*this route has recently been improved by the community & the local Municipality April 2015) and the longer bumpier road from Puntamala by Ojochal. (Full details & maps in welcome pack).
Other Things to Note
Hopefully you'll have a chance to read through all our notes and flick through all our photos, but the best way to really find out what Pura Vida Ecolodge is all about is to read our reviews and see what our last few guests really thought of our retreat and the lifestyle and experience it provides. We hope to welcome you one day soon at Pura Vida Ecolodge.
The main 'House Rules' are to adopt the 'Pura Vida Ecolodge' philosophy & concept we have worked so hard to create. That means respecting nature, the animals and the magical surroundings of the Jungle Villa and it's reserve. Please remember that given the unique location, you will inevitably have some visitors from the surrounding rain forest during your stay. Whether that be congo monkeys as the sun rises, early morning visits from the incredibly tame 'pizotes', toucans as the sunsets or even the odd bull-frog having a splash in the pool! Our main goal, as designers, hoteliers and 'conceptualists' is that you are able to leave the 'urban madness' behind and fully enjoy & embrace a unique life up at Pura Vida Ecolodge throughout your stay, whether it be just two days or two weeks, always conscious that our Jungle Villa really is 'A Retreat - A Lifestyle & An Experience.'
We do ask that guests read the welcome packs & guidebook thoroughly before arriving in Costa Rica so you can fully enjoy your Pura Vida Experience and be prepared for what the Pura Vida Adventure is all about.
FRIENDLY DISCLAIMER: We'd like to take this opportunity to remind guests that being 'off the beaten track' in this hidden corner of Costa Rica does mean that from time to time we can experience a variability of Pura Vida Ecolodge's infrastructure (such as internet connection, water pressure and power cuts for example). While largely unavoidable when they do happen, they are generally short-lived, pretty infrequent and shouldn't manage to interfere with your holiday providing you remember where you are, the ecolodge adventure you've chosen to experience and that things will not necessarily be quite the same as perhaps you are used to 'back home'. That said, our housekeeper is always just around the corner and we always have a 'plan B' up our sleeve should the need arise to ensure your trip is as comfortable and enjoyable as possible.
We appreciate that life on the Pacific coast can start early so ask guests to try and checkout by 10am with check-in starting from 2pm but we strongly advise arriving before sundown (so as to familiarise yourselves with 4WD driving and the orientation of the lodge). That said, we understand a lot of our Jungle Villa guests are indeed on an extended itinerary, often with limited flexibility in terms of transport & internal flights, so we are of course happy to try and work around your timings as much as we can - as long as we know well in advance.
Our dear friends and housekeepers, Gersan & Iliana know the area like the back of their hands and are happy to help with organising tours, trips and adventures and will even help you explore the local area on foot. They can also offer a laundry service, pick up (and drop off) various food parcels and even set up a special home-made meal for your arrival day (as long as it's arranged with us in advance.) They run a very popular 'Pura Vida Boat Adventure' and will happily supply you with all sorts of local treats up at the villa (from natural coconut oils, fruit baskets and evEn home-made 'empanadas'.
When planning your trip, we do recommend to get in touch with us direct BEFORE you arrive if interested in any adventures & excursions as some of the attractions available get booked up with limited numbers in high season and likewise there is less availability of some tours in the Green Season.
Pura Vida Ecolodge is equipped with WiFi for internet connection but we also recommend that guests purchase a Costa Rican Kolby SIM card for their mobile/cell. (They even sell them in the arrival hall/luggage collection area at San Jose airport for $5) allowing them to make restaurant & tour reservations, keep in touch with our housekeeper etc without paying expensive roaming fees - with Kolby, you are also likely to have better 'coverage' than with your home network or any other Cost Rica networks such as Movistar and Claro.
The Ocean View Suite can be set up as either a King or indeed a separate twin room, according to your particular needs and group size. Whereas the Jungle Suite room is set up as a Queen. In the open-plan living area there is also a sofa bed that can sleep a further two people comfortably - with a maximum for the entire Jungle Villa being limited to 6 adults.
View of Pura Vida Ecolodge from the roadside above - showing the original 'palapa style' roof, the lush green valley, the flowing river Terraba and of course, the stunning Pacific ocean views... (Taken mid April 2015 around 11am).
My family and I spent four nights at the Pura Vida lodge and we were sorry to leave it. It is a beautiful retreat with amazing views and wonderful flora and fauna all around. Gersan - the caretaker was very welcoming and helpful. We did go on his boat tour and it is absolutely recommended - a truly enjoyable and memorable experience - so much more authentic than a tour
Our favorite place to go while we stayed was the Tilapia Cascades in Ojachal - (website hidden)
The surrounding area (Ojachal - Coronada) is very peaceful and laidback. It is not overrun with tourists and businesses catering to tourists like some of the more popular destinations. All the same, within close distance there are a number of really good restaurants. We had two wonderful dinners at Exotica (we liked the first so much that we went a second time). For breakfast - the french toast at Pancita Cafe is a must. Cafe Remy had good quality food and if you want a quick bite of local food - the nearby Sodas are very reasonable.
One thing to bear in mind - the lodge is in the rain forest -so expect to see some bugs and reptiles in and around the lodge - nothing harmful. We spent a lot of time just relaxing on the deck watching the views and the wildlife.
We would definitely go again!!
If you are on this side of Costa Rica this is the place to stay !! Great place nestled in a great view !! Joe & Kika did it right with this place !! Gersan and his family were great also. If you get a chance take his Boat Adventure ! Him and his brother treated us like royalty and his wife made a fabulous picnic :) Very centrally located to fun towns and great activities ( highly recommend the canopy tour by Osa and just up the road from the house ) But like the other reviews just be prepared for the road up to the retreat !! You will need a 4 wheel drive !! But don't be like my husband and try not to use it ! You will need to use it :) All in all we enjoyed our stay and would recommend it in a heart beat !! Hope to visit again !!!!
Pros: The view is breathtaking. The sunrises and sunsets are as described. The sunrise from the upstairs bedroom is lovely. The area is remote and very quite except for the wildlife. Gersan is very nice and obviously tries to please. There was fresh fruit when we arrived, a nice touch.
Cons: It is much more remote than we expected (may be a pro). About 20 minutes to restaurants and an hour to touristy stuff. The road leading to the lodge is incredibly scary and starting to get washed out. Gersan does not speak English. The photos online are a very accurate representation of the place - when it was brand new. It now looks a bit weather-beaten and the decking has not been maintained as it should. When we walked in, we instantly smelled a musty smell. This was due to the fact that there was 95% humidity, it is completely ventilated, and the house was equipped with indoor-use textiles. The (fabric) couch, beds, pillows, sheets, and towels were damp and smelled musty. We're from Florida, so we're well accustomed to heat/humidity. The gas range worked, but the oven did not (Gersan confirmed).
On our second day, we decided to go for a walk on their trails and try to find the waterfall. Although it is clear someone put effort into building the trails with steps, that was some time ago and most of the steps have rotted out and the paths are quite steep. They are also covered in foliage, which makes them very slippery. One of the steps disintegrated when I stepped down on it causing me to fall several yards and cut up my leg. One of our more agile group members made it to the bottom to find that the stream to the waterfall had been diverted with a make-shift dam so there is no longer a waterfall :(
Then, our hot water stopped working. The solar water heater is in a alcove which has been overgrown by foliage, so it receives very little sunlight. We were told to plug in the manual tank and wait 2 hours. This did not work either. By the next morning, we had no water at all. I assume the water supply leading to the lodge failed. Gersan turned on the reserve tank (about 10 ft above the house) so we had almost no water pressure. It was a trickle, if anything at all. Still no hot water. Although he tried everything he could, they were not sure when this would be fixed, so we had to find other accommodations. Gersan put us on with the owner, who made us feel as though we were being unreasonable. He refunded the 4 days we did not stay, but did not discount us for the 2 days without hot water, which would have been appreciated. We found much more modern accommodations with comparable views and more amenities for less money.
It was like (pricey) camping - with a few amenities.
A quick and concise feedback of Cristina's comments so that future guests don't get too confused:
- While Pura Vida Ecolodge is remote (that's one of the things that our guests love) as you'll see from the majority of reviews, it is really well located to a lot of the local attractions. Costa Canyoning, Canopy Tours, the Pura Vida Boat Adventure, some of Costa Rica's most fantastic beaches and in between two of the countries most popular national parks so not sure what 'touristy stuff' Christina was referring to being an hour a way.
- The road leading to the lodge (as described in our profile) is steep and bumpy in parts and does require a 4x4. That said, as you'll see from the majority of our reviews, it also requires some basic driving experience, a bit of common sense and a sense of adventure as no, it's not like the lovely tarmac roads you'll find in Florida that Christina and her family are probably used to.
- While Gersan (our housekeeper) speaks a little 'Pigeon-English", we remind guests that Costa Rica is a spanish speaking country and therefore we do encourage guests to try and take advantage of the dictionaries and phrasebooks that are up at the lodge.
- Pura Vida Ecolodge hangs quite literally over the jungle canopy and while it enjoys beautiful sea breezes, the humidity can be very high (after all it's in the rain forest & at the time of Christina's visit, it was in the middle of the rainy season!) While the open-plan living space has ceiling fans for ventilation it has been designed so that guests can really enjoy the unique location and the mountain breezes. Both bedrooms however are 100% sealed and have both fans and AC. As our profile and welcome pack explains, we are happy to provide clean linens and towels every few days (or whenever guests want) if they feel necessary, all you need to do is ask.
- Jungle paths and nature trails, again, a sense of adventure is necessary as is some experience with outdoor living and please remember you are in primary and secondary rain forest, so walk with care as there will of course be steep parts and fallen leaves. In terms of finding the various water holes, natural swimming spots and waterfalls, assuming you're on the longer of the trails, once you hit the river/quebrada, you need to turn left and follow it upstream. Depending on what sort of shape you're in and how adventurous you are, you can continue upstream (walking, swimming and climbing) for a couple of hours. It sounds like Christina and family, either didn't follow Gersan's advice or read the welcome pack notes, as there are plenty of waterfalls to enjoy on the longer trail (see welcome pack notes).
- Hot water/water pressure - There was indeed a temporary problem with the hot water but it actually was a result of a water pressure issue in the main line and nothing to do with the solar panel's location (or even that it's surrounded by foliage which is cut back monthly). It is in fact incredibly efficient and as long as it gets a couple of hours of direct sunlight every couple of days (generally not a problem) then it works fine. Unfortunately, Christina didn't let us know until the next day which is when we sent Gersan down who started fixing the issue and in the end, it was actually fixed that very same day. In the meantime I made a point of speaking to Christina to try and explain that being 'off the beaten track' in this hidden corner of Costa Rica does mean that from time to time we can experience a variability of Pura Vida Ecolodge's infrastructure (such as internet connection, water pressure and power cuts for example). I continued to explain that while largely unavoidable when they do happen, they are generally short-lived, pretty infrequent and shouldn't interfere with their holiday providing they remember where they are, the ecolodge adventure they've chosen to experience and that things will not necessarily be quite the same as perhaps they are used to 'back home'. While we set her up with an immediate but temporary solution (the reserve water supply which has much less pressure but works fine), they had unfortunately already made the rather extreme decision to change accommodation. In hindsight, perhaps Christina and her family were better suited to one of the all inclusive up-market 5-star hotels a little further north rather than an 'off the beaten track' authentic Costa Rican ecolodge experience.
- As a good will gesture, we decided to refund Christina for the last 4 days of their vacation when they chose to change accommodation to the Hilton 'all-Inclusive' and while we tried to be as helpful and patient as possible, it was our feeling that they weren't really prepared for this type of vacation as they kept referring to "back home in Florida..." and "in the States...". Again, we repeat, Pura Vida ecolodge is a unique eco-experience in Costa Rica (and not Boca Raton, Florida), where if you are ready to leave the urban madness and the tarmac roads behind and embrace a Pura Vida (Pure Life) experience. like all our other guests, you will undoubtedly have a wonderful and unforgettable experience.
The good: killer views, pretty house
The less than good: I initially found the website, then merely paid through abnb. So, with chagrin I admit I was expecting a lodge and not a house from what I saw online. The road to PV is intense, steep grades, super rocky and 30+ mins each way. We didn't expect that from the directions we received. Your one contact is Gersan, but we couldn't contact him via our international phone/text apps when the internet died for the near duration of our stay. And unfortunately he's the only one with access to the iPad to restart the internet. The toilet tissue hadn't been tossed during pre cleaning so the master bed/bath smelled terribly. Also we asked for check out at 9, but when he didn't show by 9:30 and we had no way to contact him, we had to press on without seeing him first. Also, they restrict your power use with fees, but they don't give examples of usage in order to understand how not to exceed the limit. That concerned us. The downstairs shower basically only dribbles.
This place was great, but we felt it was over priced for what you receive.
We've chosen to stick to the FACTS so as to give future guests as accurate an idea as possible.
1) Stefany our cleaner has been with us from the start and always does an impecable job. Unfortunately Kiara decided to arrive at the lodge over an hour before the agreed checkin time (presumably to take advantage as much as possible of her unique 1-night stay). So while every effort was made to leave the lodge 100%, Stefany, in haste, managed to forget to take the toilet tissue waste bag down with her after finishing her clean. We all obviously feel VERY embarrassed about this and apologize for any inconvenience caused.
2) The two routes up to the lodge (as our welcome pack illustrates & our profile explains) are quite steep at points and do require a 4WD. That said, had Kiara read the welcome pack properly, she would have opted for the shorter, easier and recently resurfaced of the two routes (the favourable CORONADO route) which generally takes between 10-15 minutes (depending on the season and one's driving experience).
3) Gersan, our housekeeper & very good friend is available by phone, text and even whatsapp. That said, it is the responsibility of the guests to make sure their cel works in Costa Rica, and (again as explained in the welcome pack) guests are invited to purchase a Costa Rican ICE KOLBY 'pre-pay' sim card at SJO airport for $5 to avoid International roaming fees when booking tours, restaurants etc etc
4) Gersan also explains at checkin how to use the tablet with wifi along with the password and swipe code (which are both in the welcome pack too). So it is incorrect that Gersan is the only one with access to the tablet.
5) Pura Vida Ecolodge, as you will see from the photos and all our other reviews, is most definitely a lot more than just a house and is indeed at the opening of the Pura Vida 'reserve' hence it's name 'lodge'
6) Lastly, we DO NOT restrict the power use with fees but rather encourage guests to embrace the 'eco-friendly lifestyle' of Pura Vida Ecolodge and use the energy (lights, AC, fans etc) responsibly.
In conclusion, there is a reason why we normally have a 2 night minimum stay, as it allows our guests to seize the opportunity and fully embrace the Pura Vida Experience and consequently they invest a little more time in reading the welcome packs before they arrive, so as to get as much out of their stay and adventure as possible. We're incredibly disappointed, in this case, that Kiara didn't feel it necessary to read the welcome pack notes properly or answer our emails/messages in the few days that led up to her checkin, which would have helped her to arrive using the shorter route, work the internet throughout their stay, communicate with our housekeeper Gersan more successfully and in general enjoy their Pura Vida Experience without any unexpected hassles.
Kiara initially contacted us outside the Airbnb community asking us to accept a one night stay request as they were on an incredibly tight budget. We explained that we don't offer this as it doesn't really give guests a chance to 'get' what the Pura Vida Ecolodge experience is all about - but she insisted that this wouldn't be a problem... From now on, we will stick to what we know - how to offer couples, friends & families a wonderful eco-luxury experience and adventure!
Pura Vida was absolutely gorgeous - the fabulous decor and amazing views are even better than the pictures on the website. We loved hanging out in the living room and porches, looking out at the beautiful scenery. Enjoyed the hike to the waterfall up the hill. The hike is a little strenuous. The boat trip with Gersan was fabulous. Gersan is charming and the beach was by far the prettiest we went to in Costa Rica. We would recommend getting groceries in Uvita for a better selection than the local pulperia has. The road up to the house is a little rough and very steep so be ready - the views are worth it though! Loved this southern area in general. We saw very few other tourists (in strong contrast to Manuel Antonio). Our favorite restaurant was Restaurante Pinuelas - great inexpensive ceviche and smoothies, nice atmosphere and really nice staff. A hotel/restaurant called Castillo has a very nice dinner with beautiful views.
I do not even know where to start. Let me start by saying that the Ecolodge is beautiful! Breathtaking! Joe, Kika, and Gerzan were so wonderful. They were very helpful, accommodating, and welcoming. When making the reservations, Kika and Joe were very informative and helpful. They always responded very quickly and politely. The suggestion to rent a 4x4 was very accurate. You must get a 4x4! I cannot imagine driving a sedan up the (extremely) bumpy and winding mountain (more about the roads later). You may think the pictures are perfection but they do not compare the real-life experience. The Ecolodge decoration and ambience make you feel at peace and relaxed. Yoga pads and games are available. But all you need is the amazing view. I woke up every morning at 6am to enjoy the thick clouds and beautiful misty mountains. Every night we sat outside in the dark and appreciated the lightening. The insects and animals chirping were unforgettable. We saw many insects, frogs, and spiders. In fact, we all slept upstairs after finding a HUGE spider. It was a classic horror scene. However, even that experience was fun! Gerzan is soooo wonderful. An amazing housekeeper and host. He was very patient and willing to help us with anything we needed. We got extremely lost and arrived late. He waited and came out to find us in the dark. He answered our calls and whatsapp messages very quickly. My best friend secretly arranged to have a private horseback ride with Gerzan and a local horse keeper. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! The ride lead to a waterfall which you can swim and relax. Blissful! The ride was amazing—a true adventure. She also secretly arranged to have Gerzan and his wonderful wife cook me a birthday dinner and cocktails. They personally delivered the food and set the dinner table. The presentation was lovely. The drive to Tres Rios was so fun. It was an adventure for sure. If driving from San Jose, leave early and arrive before 4pm. I had a great time driving up and down the mountain. Get ready for a ride! There are two grocery shops on the main road. Make sure you check the expiration dates. Most of our food was expired. We did not realize until we began cooking. Gas station was 24/7 which was nice. All together my experience was one of the best I have had. I will certainly be back and I cannot wait!!
We just finished a 10 - month family trip around the world with a stay at Pura Vida Ecolodge. We couldn't have picked a better spot to unwind and reflect. Pura Vida is beautiful and charming and wonderfully remote. Definitely one of the best places we stayed of the 21 countries we visited.
About the Host, Pura Vida Ecolodge
After many years dreaming and many months conceptualizing this little retreat, my wife and I moved from Europe to Costa Rica for the best part of a year to make this dream a reality. During this time we met some very special people and made a lot of wonderful memories as we embarked on what soon became an experience of a lifetime. The end result is that we opened the doors of our little 'piece of paradise' back in November 2012 and we welcome you to experience a really special vacation and adventure up at Pura Vida Ecolodge. We are a new and unique 'eco-luxury' retreat nestled amongst virgin rain forest just 5 km from the volcanic sands of the Pacific Ocean in Central America's Costa Rica. Our beautiful and breezy location, at an altitude of just over 300 meters, boasts stunning panoramic views over the lush valleys towards the meandering 'Rio Terraba' and directly faces the Pacific Ocean and Costa Rica's spectacular sunsets. Pura Vida Ecolodge is a peaceful sanctuary to experience and embrace 'Pura Vida' (Pure Life), a destination where guests can enjoy not only a memorable holiday, but tranquility, adventure and equilibrium in a utopia second to none. Our 'Eco-Chic' retreat is your chance to relax and truly let go, to welcome an organic, integral experience for contemplation, rejuvenation and nurturing among friends, family and loved ones.