johnandmandi Check-Ins

Date Place Comment
Boquete Visitor Centre

We parked in the small side lot and a visitor center employee came out and told us it was a private lot and that we couldn't park there. Other people were using the lot but the employee stood outside and waited for us to leave. The cappuccinos from the adjoining cafe were good but not worth being hassled about parking.

La Jungla Experience

They are building a new casita where camping used to be allowed so there is room for one rig in the driveway or one-two rigs outside the gate all very close to the highway and unlevel. The road in front of the hostel is downhill so trucks use their exhaust brakes all night. The facilities are nice and $5 per person to camp. We are 2.2m wide and 2.5m high and fit inside the gate, wider rigs could have difficulty.

Bocas Ridge Hotel

We stayed here before and after visiting Isla Colon. A single room for 2 people is $65 after taxes and fees. Very clean! Continental breakfast included which was coffee, a glass of juice, fruit, and bread. WiFi was decent, A/C cold, and the showers were very hot. It's located in a gated community and the owner is very friendly.

Surfari B&B

We stayed here 6 nights and paid $37.5 per night for a private room with bath and A/C but no breakfast. There are two common areas and two kitchens. Coffee is free all day and laundry is available for $5 per load (washer and dryer onsite). Quiet hours are 10pm-8am and are enforced. Reception/property manager lives onsite.

Cafe Rico

Great cafe in town that serves breakfast (1,500C - 4,000C), smoothies (2,000C), Coffee and Cappuccinos (1,000C-2,500). The Ana Rosa (4,000C) and Chilaquiles (3,000C) are delicious. Grande cappuccinos are 2,000C and very strong. Probiotic ginger ale called Jungle Juice is available by the glass or bottle (2,000C-5,000C)...some of the best we have had and not too sweet.

They also have bikes for rent and laundry service, ask to ensure they use the dryer. Laundry is 1,500C per kg unfolded, 2,000C per kg folded. Restaurant hours are 7:00-1:00pm Saturday through Wednesday, bikes and laundry hours are everyday 8-6. We were able to park along the street near the restaurant.

El Arrecife

We paid $15 or 7,500C per night and were not able to negotiate lower even though we stayed over two weeks. There are two flush toilets and a changing room, an outside surf shower, and an outside dishwashing sink. Parking area is beach front and we had multiple sloths visit the property during our stay. Snorkeling is within walking distance. Frequented by locals on the weekends but usually very quiet by 9. Restaurant is ok, prices range from 3,000C-5,000C per plate. Mosquitoes and sand flies weren't horrible during our stay but were unpleasant around dawn and dusk, probably worse during different times of the year.

Parador Turistico San Buenaventura

We were charged 2,000C per person to camp and 1,000C per person for entry. We camped close to the lake and picnic tables but there was a large pavilion with a flush toilet that appeared to have a parking space next to it. Very quiet at night.

Cafe Delicias

Cafe and bakery serving breakfast, lunch, dinner, coffee drinks, etc. We had a breakfast burrito combo with meat and veg and French toast with homemade strawberry sauce for C3200 and a plate with eggs, bacon, toast, and avocado for C3000. Both breakfasts wee good and included coffee. There were also many cakes, pies, etc., but we didn't try them.

Charlies Jungle House - Beach front campsite

We didn't camp here. Price for camping is $10pp and includes use of wifi and bathroom. Camping is either on the beach or in the gravel parking area next to cabana facilities about 200m back from the beach.

Coin Laundry (Aquamatic)

Hours: Monday - Saturday 7:30-12:30 and 1:00-5:00. Self service is 2,900C to wash and 2,900C to dry. Drop off is 3,200C for each. Limit 5kg per load. Front load washing machines.

Beach Parking Lot

We paid 10,000C for two nights (discounted from $14 per night as initially requested). The Kacha BnB was closed when we were here (for 2 months) and the beach showers normally offered with camping were out of service. There was a water hose in the parking lot that the attendant offered to let us use for washing. We were told there would be security all night, but no one was there except us after about 7pm.

Swiss Palmgarden

Very large and secure area for camping with wonderful Swiss hosts. The covered pool area has a cooktop, dishwasher, large sink, and potable water. Flush toilet and hot shower is available in the attached home and a cold open shower is near the pool. Jorg and Inka are eager to host more overlanders and will expand their facilities if their property is frequented more. This property is large enough for large groups. The fresh mangoes are delicious. We paid 10,000C per night and were invited in each evening for coffee or tea. The gate is down the driveway from the house so ring the bell or follow the instructions posted in a previous check-in. They also host fly-in travelers so they may not be onsite. Call or WhatsApp +506 8421-6519 if you wish to prearrange.

Finca Santa Maria

As described. We did not take a tour but were allowed to camp for $5 per person. Electricity is available near the bathrooms. Nice spot.

Hotel Los Heroes

Parked in lower lot close to the stairs. It is paved and level. We were allowed to stay for free since we ate at the wonderful onsite restaurant. Plates range from 2,500C up. The Veal Schnitzel was 7,500C and the Goulash was 4,500C, both excellent. We were also able to order Roesti and two eggs for breakfast even though it wasn't on the breakfast menu, highly recommended. Great place.

Essence Arenal Boutique Hostel

Vehicle camping is currently in the parking lot but the owner started building three spots for Overlanders away from the main area while we were there. They should be completed within the month. The pool is a decent little hike from the restaurant, the new vehicle spots will be closer to it. The common palapa next to the parking lot has a sink, small fridge, and a couple seating areas. Onsite restaurant is vegetarian. It now costs $8 per person per night to camp. Meals are $7 for breakfast and $12.50 for dinner. Water onsite is potable. Showers are very hot.

Therme los Laureles

Price is 2,000C PP for camping and 6,000C PP for access to the hot and cold pools. The grassy area is large but a challenge to level. Cold showers, clean bathrooms, large dishwashing sink, and grill. The view of Volcan Arenal is stunning. Very quiet at night.

Frogs Heaven

Camping is in the lot next to the highway with a bus stop almost directly across from it. The street noise was more than expected but the 7 AM tour was one of our favorites, still $25 per person. Along with frogs, the tour covers the many plants that encompass the food forest. The owner cares deeply about the plants and animals which is apparent during the tour. We also saw a two toed sloth.

Parking slot

We stayed here one night. The Municipal Police officer on duty thought we were suspicious and contacted the Civil Police. We explained we were traveling and had an appointment with a mechanic first thing the next day in San Jose, they said it was fine to stay overnight.

Finca Los Maestros

Camping is in the parking lot and the bathrooms are located up at the restaurant, a short steep covered walk from the lot. The owner is extremely friendly and ate breakfast with us one morning, helping us practice our Spanish. The location is fairly remote but is just around the corner from the national park. Very quiet and cool at night. 5,000C per vehicle.

Country Inn & Suites San Jose Aeropuerto

Hotel in between airport and downtown San Jose. Simple clean rooms with secure onsite parking, we are 6m long and there is no height limit to access lot. Parking spaces are average width and length so large rigs may not be able to fit. There is a pool, fitness center, and restaurant onsite. Breakfast buffet, including hot food, is included. 100m away is a shopping center with a Fresh Market, ATM, and several restaurants. We stayed here 2 nights before flying to the US and 2 nights after returning to CR, airport shuttle service is provided. We paid $86 per night after all taxes etc


The property is so beautiful we asked about camping and were told it wasn't allowed. Lunch was delicious. We paid $28 for two entrees, a slice of flourless chocolate cake, and two specialty non-alcoholic drinks.

Suenos del Bosque lodge

As described. We were able to get a small discount for 4 nights, paying 10,000C per night. The hot water in the men's shower was not working. There are a couple hikes on the property, one ending at a small waterfall. Our rig is 6m long and 2.6m high, no problem accessing the site but the road down is steep. Very beautiful property full of flowering plants and birds. We did not eat at the restaurant.

Parque Recreativo Los Manantiales

They were closed but we were told we could camp in the parking lot. The next morning they tried to charge us the full rate even though we could not use anything in the park. We negotiated down to 12,000C, not a good experience.

Paraiso Mirador Quetzales Lodge NP

Tried to correct the name to Mirador de Quetzales. We parked in the lower lot and took the 6AM tour for $20 each. We saw multiple Quetzales and the following morning Oscar woke us up to see 2 more hanging out behind the hotel. We paid $15 per night for wifi and bathrooms, a lower rate (possibly $10) is offered without any services. The lows were in the 40s F at night.

Hotel Eskalima

The hotel staff said they changed parking lots. The lot is still on the same street, right next to the hotel, however, it was a tight fit for our van because all of the unreserved parking is angled and meant for shorter vehicles. We had noted our vehicle size in our online reservation but they hadn't seen it ahead of our arrival so we ended up parking parallel taking up two spaces, which staff said was okay because they weren't full. If you book here, make sure to arrange ahead of time for your vehicle size to ensure you won't have difficulty.

Casa Camping Avellanas

Very basic but the owner was working on a new palapa that he was planning to make another kitchen. Maneuvering into the lot was tight, we are 6M, but doable. Small beginners break, fun boogey boarding, was to the right and at low tide a huge swimming area is revealed just in front of the establishment. Owner is very friendly and helped us get a garafon of water. A large troop of Spider Monkeys came to eat the mangoes next to us one evening and ended up sleeping there overnight, really neat experience. We paid 7,000C per night.

Picknick Area by the beach

Mild breeze when we were here. Hot during the day but cool enough at night. Watch for acacia thorns when walking, some are long enough to go all the way through flip flops. A couple late night locals arrived but mostly quiet.

Finca Cañas Castilla

$5 per person, $5 to use washing machine and ample lines for drying, $7 per person for breakfast, and $16 per person for dinner. 3 onsite trails with good vistas of the surrounding area. Friendly livestock, dogs, chickens onsite and on the trails. We also saw a sloth, spider and howler monkeys, toucans, and a crocodile. All meals are homemade and delicious. Very friendly owners and international guests.

Hotel Monte Verde

$5 per person includes hot showers, potable water, flush toilets, pool, wifi, and coffee with Yong each morning! Two camping areas, in the parking lot or on the far side of the pool near a couple small palapas with hammocks. Wings are on special every Friday (10C per), known as the afternoon pool party for the local expats...wings are decent size and good. Not as dusty or dry as the nearby surf beaches. We were told that during the wet season wild horses visit the property. Local Friday payday, every two weeks, can be noisy if you are camped in the parking lot.

Hotel Jardin de Granada

Lovely 10 room hotel with secure onsite parking. The reception desk faces the lot and is staffed 24hours a day, gates are closed and locked overnight but a buzzer with camera is available to come and go at any time. Beautiful pool with swim up bar and small restaurant onsite. Location is great, roughly 6 blocks from central park. Wonderful staff, friendly dog and cat, and cold A/C!


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