vanablog.com Check-Ins

Date Place Comment
July 24th, 2019 Bosch Car Service-Mak

Brought our Ford Sportsmobile van here for work on shifter and driver-side door. Matias was extremely helpful and kind. We had to leave it for multiple days but they have a locked gate. If they are busy might be hard to fit.

April 4th, 2019 El Garage (Caesar)

Lost a bolt on our exhaust and it was extremely loud. Tried multiple mechanics in town and no one there due to siesta etc..
Came to this place and was closed at first but someone arrived at 2:45 pm.
He helped us immediately and we were done in about 5 min for 100 pesos.

April 3rd, 2019 A Punto Mecanica Integral/ Luciano

We came to this place twice. The first a few weeks before. Arrived around 4 pm and Carlos helped us immediately. He communicated well and was very nice. He had to fix our front shock mounts (my technical terms may not be exact). Took approximately 4 hours and charged 1300 pesos. His father was also there and extremely friendly.
The next time Carlos was not available (we had his Instagram contact) but he arranged for his brother to meet us the next day. Brother was nice but not as friendly and communicative. We were there again 4-5 hours and he helped us with our back rear suspension but couldn’t do the other two major things we needed. Charged 500 pesos.

March 27th, 2019 La Zorra

We came two days in a row. The first day we had a great experience with good food, great customer service, decent beers and fast WiFi so we decided to come back for happy hour the next day. The next day (a Wednesday) was not good unfortunately. WiFi didn’t work the entire time, bad customer service etc... just fyi happy hour is cash only and only certain beers (doesn’t say this anywhere) and on the first day we paid with credit card and were given happy hour prices.

March 25th, 2019 Old Private Gas Station

Sold us gasoline today using USD as we crossed from Chile (Patagonia National Park) to Argentina and don’t have enough Argentinian pesos. Had to go inside little store to get someone to turn on pump and pump gas. Don’t know about diesel.

March 16th, 2019 Doña Martina

Fit with our Sportsmobile van but if you are much wider, it probably wouldn’t work. Gate is fairly narrow. No height restriction. It’s mostly for tent campers but small parking area. Right next to a kids playground (big bonus for us with two young kids).
Paid 3,000 per person (nothing for kids). Hot showers but took very long time to heat up.
We were surprised how many people showed up at night. Popular spot with backpackers.

March 11th, 2019 Camping Parque La Poza Pucon

Paid 8,000 Chilean pesos per person including our kids (8 and 6 years old) for two nights. By far the highest price we’ve paid this trip. In hindsight would have wild camped. However owner Ingrid very nice. Sinks to wash dishes and clothes. Showers and toilets dirty. Warm water limited hours (fluctuated between warm and cold). Road noise.
Positives are lots of shade and trees. Close to town and lake. Small play area for kids. Pretty, clear river runs through campground. Tons of parrots.

March 11th, 2019 Casa Rosalba

Parked right out front. We had great weather and amazing views. Fast internet. Felt like we were sitting in a cafe in Oregon. Great food. Pricey like all of Chile.

March 8th, 2019 Camper Travel

Extremely helpful and nice guys but they are so busy converting their own campers that they don’t have time to do small projects for other overlanders. We stopped with about 5 issues but again their business is booming (good for them) and couldn’t help us.

March 8th, 2019 Copec (large, with showers)

Arrived at 10:30 pm. Parked in same spot as description from Parkthehouse below. Loud trucks til roughly midnight then was pretty quiet til about 7 am—we surprisingly slept pretty well. Zero issues.

March 6th, 2019 Police checkpoint

We were stopped here and the policeman looked through all our papers (insurance, TIP, license). He even looked at my husbands license and saw he needs glasses and wanted to make sure he was wearing his prescription glasses.
We, unfortunately, did not have our lights on. Didn’t know it was a law but will keep them on from now on.
They made my husband go inside and said they’d require a fee of 1500 pesos now or we could go with them and leave our car to pay at a bank. My husband came out to talk to me and I said take our son back inside and tell them your wife and daughter will wait while you go to the bank and pay. The police officer then told my husband he called his boss and he said it was okay to let us go with a warning.
It was clear from the beginning they were looking for a bribe.

March 4th, 2019 Índigo Hostel and Camping

Our family loved camping here.
There are clean bathrooms, and a clean kitchen available to use with large fridge.
Internet for us was fast enough to even stream.
There are fruit trees. Ducks, chickens, turkeys, sweet dogs, cats and a parrot.
The best part about this location is the family. They are all very nice. Our kids loved playing with theirs.
Next to their house is a rock you can climb with amazing views of the area. We also went to the swimming hole nearby to cool off from the heat during the middle of the day.
There is a fútbol field and you can cross it and walk easily in to the small town for helado, 1-2 restaurants, and a small kiosco. (Most shops shut down mid-day til 6 pm).
The stars were very pretty at night and this place was quiet. Highly recommend. We paid 400 pesos for our family.

February 18th, 2019 Rio Pescadores-Road Flooded

Drove past today. No signs of any flooding or issues.

February 17th, 2019 El Feo Star

Arrived and door closed but painted Feo Star. I knocked and a woman called Carlos on the phone (it was a Sunday so everything closed). Carlos arrived and immediately welded for us. We needed a metal area holding our tire on back of the van fixed. In two spots the metal had severed and we could no longer hang our spare time. Took Carlos 15 minutes and we paid 70 soles.

February 12th, 2019 Miramar Hotel and Restaurant, Huarmey

Stayed here for one night on way to Lima from Huanchaco. Paid 25 sol for our family of four (despite eating in restaurant). Kids loved the pool. It’s a popular place and at sunset people come back from the beach and parking lot fills up so I would recommend trying to arrive before 6 pm. Road noise but we slept decent (probably cause we got no sleep in Huanchaco the night before). Bathrooms available. We didn’t try to shower. Fast WiFi (we were able to stream a show). No height restriction. Might be a bit tough for big rig. You could fit through gate if they open both sides but would need more than one parking spot.

January 16th, 2019 Parqueadero VIP

We left our van here for 6 weeks while leaving the country. No issues.
Our kids had fun playing with puppies, ponies, chickens, ducks and more.

November 22nd, 2018 Parqueadero Santa Catalina

Parked here for 2 hours and charged $3900 pesos. We were able to walk to city center and back easily (approx 0.5 miles).

September 8th, 2018 Hotel Diana Campestre

Simple hotel on edge of town. Friendly staff. 35,000 pesos per person. Secure parking right in front of hotel (no height restriction). Can walk to everything. Just a clean hotel room with cold shower but for the parking and staying in town we thought it was worth it. This spot also over looks the river and has swings and a pool table.

September 7th, 2018 Jardín de Rocas

Amazing. Pay 10,000 pesos per adult and saw so many Andes Cock-of-the-Rock. As cool to us as the Quetzal. Walk down from city from 4-6 pm or early early morning. They have a few posters around the city but afternoon hours were incorrect. It’s private property so you must go during their hours.

September 5th, 2018 Dental Clinic International Smiles

Contacted Adrianna at WhatsApp listed. She responded to me and scheduled our family for four teeth cleanings on a Sunday for later that week. This office is incredibly friendly and accommodating. We paid $173 USD but for four teeth cleanings.
I highly recommend this clinic.
They also have two parking spots right in front of their building. No height restriction. If you are really long you might stick out in street a bit. Not “secure” but right out front and safe area.

September 1st, 2018 cabanas las palmas

Stayed one night. Very nice and clean. It cost us $75 usd for one night and breakfast which is normally much higher than we want to pay but we stopped at another hotel that couldn’t accommodate the four of us. There is a public pool next door and a grocery store about a half mile away.

September 1st, 2018 Hotel San Rafael

Tried to stay here but they didn’t have a room that could fit the four of us available. I wanted to add a note because they were very welcoming and we saw a room and it was very clean. Good option to consider.

August 31st, 2018 Hotel El Lago

We felt like this was a great find considering it was cheap and very clean. When we pulled up they came out to greet us and were very welcoming. The WiFi was good enough to stream a little college football. We also ate dinner and breakfast here. Simple but inexpensive.
Our room was 35,000 pesos with a/c. Dinner was 27,000 pesos for our family of four.

August 11th, 2018 Quetzal trail to tree

This is where we parked to see 4 Quetzals in a tree. There is a little, steep, muddy hiking trail near this parking spot. Hike up at 5:30-6 am and you’ll see lots of people there with guides. The hike on the trail is short.
The road to get to this spot in San Gerardo de Dota is steep and narrow but mostly paved. People just park on the sides of the narrow road at the trailhead. No designated parking spots and vehicles barely fit.

July 12th, 2018 El Sol Verde

Wonderful stay. So clean and lovely. Owner extremely nice. Appreciated the stove with gas so we don’t have to cook in our little van.
We are bringing family with us back at end of July.
$10 USD per person. Only takes USD or colones.
The little town campsite is located in has sodas to eat at and a grocery store with quite a lot (all walking distance). About 15 min drive to National Park.

July 12th, 2018 La Colina

This is our second stay. We enjoyed it so much that we are back and this time with our parents (who are visiting from the States). We are camping and rented a cabana for our parents. Everything mentioned below is accurate. Wonderful people and spot.

July 9th, 2018 Lake Arenal Brewing Company

When we arrived owner was at the bar. We chatted with him and had the taster and then two pints and food. Food is expensive. Owner made sure to tell us that it is $25 a night to camp even if you order food.
If weather is nice, pool is clean and lovely (but cold). There are also tennis courts.
There was a dingy toilet and shower near the pool but pretty gross. No place to wash dishes or get water or plug-in.
We did see howler monkeys.

July 6th, 2018 Monteverde Reserve

As stated before you can camp just outside gates of the reserve for free. The employees were very friendly and welcoming. The bathrooms were very nice. There’s a cafe with food and internet and humming birds just outside the gates as well. Our night and day were very windy but at least the trees block the wind a bit so our van didn’t feel it much just heard it all night. Saw howler monkeys, not many birds cause it was windy, cloudy and rainy for our visit but still a beautiful area and hike.

July 5th, 2018 Parque Recreativo Los Manantiales

Wonderful place. Owners extremely nice and helpful. Pools clean, and cold but perfect for swimming laps. Our kids had a blast on the slides, pools, playing soccer. This place is huge and if you just stay at the top near the restaurant, you hardly see it.
Charged us just for the adults, 6000 colones pp for first night then 4000 pp after.
Owner went out of his way to walk my husband and son to get laundry. We also watched the World Cup here and found food prices fair.

July 3rd, 2018 Mirador Paso del Quetzal

Enjoyed camping here. Paid 3,000 per adult and 2,000 per child. We loved the swings. It’s a beautiful area and was a nice change from the beach. It gets very cold but is green and lush with lots of farmlands around. We had lots of great meals prepared by Jenny and she is very friendly. We watched her husband milk their cow too. Didn’t spot any quetzals but stayed here while we went to see Volcan Irazu (about a 30 min drive).


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