Welcome to our little corner of paradise! Pura Vida is the ongoing effort of one simple idea - "a place we would like to stay ourselves" when we travel.
NOTE from the Management: The traveler's notes below are part of a successful write in campaign by Scarlett (age 4), Daria (age 8) and Adrian (age 11) to convince us we should shelve our age discrimination for their visit. We have 4 large friendly dogs.
Where are we?
Just 4Km from the international airport SJO (Juan Santamaria), 25 minutes from San Jose, the capital, and right in the middle of the country. We are half way between the Pacific Coast and the Caribbean. Just the place to start your exploration of Costa Rica - the Pura Vida is "base camp Costa Rica". See the GOOGLE map here with airport route.
About the Pura Vida
Situated in a residential area of the Tuetal Village and surrounded by coffee and sugar cane farms, we are just north of Alajuela and minutes from the Juan Santamaria (San Jose) International Airport. There is a nice view to Poas Volcano particularly from the Rain Forest Casita and the Volcano Studio. We are in a continual state of upgrades and maintenance as we make your stay as pleasant as we know how.
The original "Casa" or main house was originally a coffee finca and is about 85 years old. It has been converted into a country Inn with comfortable guest rooms in the main house and our featured free standing Casitas in the garden. We have a private and secure parking compound. The coffee plantation has evolved into a delightful tropical garden with all kinds of tropical fruit trees including bananas, lemons, mangoes, star fruits, avocados, papaya, grapefruit, carambola, mango, cas and oranges. We have a special orchid garden, an extensive herb garden specializing in Asian herbs and little demonstration gardens like pineapple and coffee (in memory of the function of the old finca). There are also lots of native species of trees and flowers such as heliconias, palms, plantains, bougainvillea attracting birds and butterflies.
We overlook the Itikis valley and on the near horizon you will see the rim of Poas Volcano - one of our 5 or 6 active volcanoes - just 45 minutes from the hotel by car. Another 20 mins or so from Poas Volcano is the La Paz Waterfall Gardens, another excellent visit. 35 mins or so west of us is the historic town of Sarchi - the woodworking capital of Costa Rica and maybe 8km away is the delightful Zoo Ave - the most pleasant little zoo on the planet.
We are at the intersection of two small villages - Tuetal Sur and Tuetal Norte and support one of the local public schools as well as a school on the slopes of Poas Volcano in a delightful village called Poasito. Let us know if you'd like us to organize a visit (early mornings).
Your hosts and owners are from California via the UK and Asia. The garden restaurant is private and only for hotel guests. We serve a delicious breakfast and very special three course dinners featuring a blend of Costa Rican, French and Asian cuisine, tasty stuff. Dinners are not always available and need to be booked in advance. The Pura Vida Hotel can be the perfect place to start and end your explorations of Costa Rica.
Your Own Casita or a place in the Casa
The property includes 4 individual "Casitas" in the gardens, a studio and a room in the main house. A Casita is a small cottage or bungalow in the garden. Each free standing Casita has 1 or two bedrooms and sleeps 2 to 6 people. Each Casita has a private bathroom with hot water showers and either garden views or views to the Poas Volcano. Your Casita includes a fridge, coffee maker, safe, alarm/radio or CD or iplayer (depending on which Casita).
If you need transfers or tours anywhere in Costa Rica, email us for additional information or check out our other web site InsightCostaRica.com. If you want to find the special places we have excellent English speaking local guides to get you there. In particular, we specialize in turning transfers into interesting tours - it takes a little longer but why waste travel days just "getting somewhere"?
A Note About Lola
Lola is (as I write this) a 1 year old Belgian Shepherd puppy with some "special needs" (that's her on the right with the painted toes). She is being trained to become a bit less committed to "small garden items" like twigs, pebbles and leaves. Lola likes to bring these items to anyone who comes to the hotel and demands attention and some play time. We just ask that guests ignore her completely and not engage her with any item she may bring you.
With advice from our dog trainer we have her on a new training program to refocus her energies and her play time. Lola (and her brother Bandit on the left) are both sweeties, high energy and super friendly and one reason we do not advise young children 7 and under at the Pura Vida.
Are You a Baby Boomer or just an Old Fart with an Attitude?
For many people Costa Rica is a place people think of for retirement in particular - good health care, not so far from North America, the nicest people on the planet and a perpetual spring weather at some altitudes. The first thing I recommend is our "Moving Here Bookshelf". The next thing I'd suggest is joining the "yahoo group" called Costa Rica Living here and posting some specific questions - there are 6000 opinionated folk willing to give you good and bad information - you do the sifting.
And of course you need to visit so we have put together a 1 day central valley "moving here" tour to look around and understand things like amenities, health care, schools, history, neighborhood quality, access, banking, property rights, future development etc etc.
Not Ready to Retire/Thinking About a Business in the Neo-tropics?
Well that was us a few years ago . . . so we also put together a 1/2 day seminar for those who are thinking of starting or buying a business in Costa Rica described on the Pura Vida Hotel blog here. It is focused on the issues related to small hotels but may help in some other businesses too.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
We get lots of question every day about Costa Rica and traveling in Costa Rica and we are happy to answer them all. In addition feel free to peruse our FAQ here.
In addition, if you'd like to get serious about Costa Rica we have assembled quite the reading list - see our Links and Reading section here. You will find info on the travel guides, some excellent books on flora and fauna to help you get the most out of your trip, all the history books I can find and so on.
Thanks so much for visiting our web site! And who could say no to Scarlett, Adrian and Daria?
Post script: Yes that IS Scarlet in a Pura Vida sprinkler under the supposed supervision of Adrian "I promise to watch her" and Daria "I promise to keep an eye on her" . . . hmmmmmmm.