General Reservation Information

You can book or inquire about

  • a room or Casita reservation
  • a car rental
  • an English speaking private driver/naturalist guide with a van
  • or simply ask for more information

To Email a Request CLICK HERE

Let us know

  • which date(s) you'd like (please use the format 12th Dec 2012 not 12/12/12)
  • if you'd like a car rental (2WD or 4WD, small/medium/large, manual or automatic and start and end date)
  • if you'd like an English speaking private driver/naturalist guide with a van let us know date(s)
  • or simply ask for more information on any subject e.g. how long is a bit of string (string theory), how do we feel about Crimea

If you have urgent requests (bookings for next 48 hours) please call us directly +506-2430-2929 at any time. We are happy to help! Note we are not always connected umbilically to the internet.

Some light reading follows to keep you amused as you go through the frustrating experience of figuring out a new country for your vacation:

Rhino beetles on the roads less traveled

Us on the roads less traveled - ask us about it

One of a number of Pura Vida garden bamboos

We believe in abject accuracy

and now for a selection of cars we rent via Toyota Car Rental

Toyota Yaris 2WD - manual or automatic, gasoline

Daihatsu Bego (owned by Toyota) 4WD - manual or automatic, gasoline

Toyota RAV4 4WD - manual or automatic, gasoline

Toyota Fortuner 4WD - automatic, diesel

Toyota Landcruiser Prado 4WD - automatic, diesel

Toyota Hiace 2WD Van 12 passenger - manual, diesel

Our Special Pura Vida "NO WORRIES" Guarantees

  • We do not pre-charge ANYTHING on a credit card. You do not have a confirmed reservation until you receive a CONFIRMATION email from us with a confirmation number. Any questions just email us 24 hours a day - happy to help!
  • We have a 48 hour cancellation policy ("Wot a delightful policy!", gasped Mrs Jones) so we have a chance to rent the room/casita you guaranteed. If you are a no-show we will charge your first night, so do please be sure to cancel the reservation promptly if your travel plans change.
  • If you are arriving on your first night in Costa Rica and your flight is canceled or diverted or otherwise distracted, you will not be charged for the first room night for airlines that you can't control - no worries and Pura Vida! ("Gee willikers!", Mrs Jones who hails from Calgary exclaimed, "no more worries about that one, eh!").

Life is too short to worry 'bout such things.

What Is Included

Free Airport Pickup etc

Web site rates are double occupancy plus 13% sales tax. Your booking includes an excellent breakfast (or a "breakfast to go" for early exits at any time) and a San Jose International airport pickup (for International arrivals only). Taxis back to the airport are available usually within 2 minutes and cost about $9 (taxis are here within 2 minutes usually at any time of day or night). Our ACCOMMODATIONS/ROOMS page has all the room details. NOTE: our environment is not suitable for young children e.g. 2 large rambunctious dogs, orchids, advanced irony etc. so, we are sorry but we can't accept children 7 or under although we have made exceptions for super kids with ingenious parents and notes from their teachers.

Dinners & Late Arrivals

DINNERS: The Pura Vida Hotel is a small renovated hotel, your casitas in the delightful gardens and a tasty private restaurant - as we buy what we cook each night, we need advance reservations - you will find information here. . If we do not have enough people for dinner on a particular night, we may cancel and refer you out to a good local restaurant. We can create special menus for groups. We do need to know any special dietary needs such as "vegetarian", "no red meat", "no nuts" (except the management), "nothing grown anaerobically" . . . we've seen it all :-). Our 3 course dinner is $37/person plus tax - dinner is at 7pm and not available every night.

SHIZO TASTING MENUS: If you have a group of 6 or more, ask us about our 5 course gourmet tasting menu from your personal chef, Chef Nhi - featuring indigenous foods, cooked lightly in a creative menu and including a wine for each course at $68/person plus tax. We do not do dietary restrictions for these special menus. There will be no squishy unidentifiable things to worry about.

LATE MEALS: For those who need a dinner and don't want to go out we can provide a late meal or snack but we need reservations by the previous day - just let us know if you have any dietary requests such as "vegetarian" or "no cilantro". Cost is $8 to $18 and ranges from cheese and fruit to sandwich/salad and depends on what we have that day fresh. Usually served/boxed for arrivals after 8pm.

EATING OUT: There are no restaurants within walking distance nor any high end restaurants. Otherwise there are a host of rubbishy restaurants in Alajuela and two we like - Jalapenos (Mexican run by a super nice Colombian from New York) and C'Evichito y Mas (eclectic dining experience from a chef once certainly struck by lightning you will enjoy) - both are a short taxi ride from here and an easy taxi return.

Early Exits & Things That Go Bump In The Night

If your flight leaves early, we'll be up with you to hand you your "breakfast to go" and call you a taxi at any time you like . . . 4am if you need it - just let us know the night before. Taxis are here in 2 minutes. The International airport is 10 minutes away. You do not need any more than 2 1/2 hours at the airport for your departure. We are the best option for your last night (well OK IMHO :-). NOTE: we have 2 domestic airlines - SANSA is next to the International Airport and NATURE AIR is a 30 to 40 minute taxi ride.

Sense Of Humor, Type A etc

If you can't occasionally laugh at or with us or yourself, please think about the Hampton Inn. At the Pura Vida Hotel you can expect clean and nicely decorated rooms or casitas, coffee makers, comfy pillows, a beautiful tropical garden, welcoming hosts and helpful staff all delivered with a slightly off kilter British sense of humor. When visiting places we do not know about we like some help getting around in a language we speak. Be happy to help you with this stuff! Type A personalities may find our little country frustrating but, before letting it get to you, check out the smiles on the kids walking to school every morning.

Car Rentals

Car rentals are available at competitive prices - request quotes for an:

  • Economy 2WD - the Toyota Yaris
  • Small 4WD - the Terrios BEGO
  • Medium 4WD - the Toyota RAV4
  • Large 4WD - the Toyota Fortuner
  • Larger 4WD - the Toyota Prado Landcruiser
  • Van - the 12 passenger Toyota Hiace

Manual transmission on smaller cars can save you money. We have worked with Toyota now since our first rental in 1983 with flawless results. When checking car rentals make sure cars can be delivered and picked up here and that the cars are late model - no more than 1 or 2 years old - as you don't want to spend a day of your vacation chasing car issues. A GPS should be offered when the car is delivered (optional) but best to book ahead.

We can provide a quote from Toyota Car Rental who also delivers to your breakfast table. To request a quote, please let us know the following:

  • 2WD or 4WD? (email us your route if you are not sure and we can advise)
  • manual or automatic transmission?
  • size
    • small (e.g. Yaris 2WD or Terrios 4WD),
    • medium (e.g. Toyota RAV4), or
    • large (e.g. Prado) - or a selection?

If you are arriving in the evening we advise not renting a car that night - take our free taxi to the hotel - driving in the dark is no fun in countries WITH great drivers and good signage(and Costa Rica has challenges with both).
· large (e.g. Toyota Fortuner/Prado or a 12 passenger van)?
· the date you would like it delivered here and the date you want it picked up?
One way rentals also available.

Ask that rentacars be delivered to the hotel the morning after your arrival at the breakfast table and picked up on your last night if you like. You can hand us the keys and your bill can be faxed to the hotel that night. In the morning we call you a taxi at any time - it is usually here in 2 or 3 minutes. Make sure rental car quotes in Costa Rica always include the mandatory basic government insurance (cannot be declined in Costa Rica), taxes and car delivery to the hotel or at minimum a free shuttle. Often Internet quotes neglect to include that - usually adds $10 to $20 a day. Also check that your credit card covers car rental CDW in Costa Rica (most US ones do, many European ones do not). CDW does NOT remove the mandatory basic insurance (whatever your internet quote may say - this is a quirk of Costa Rican insurance only) but it will reduce the cost.

Private Vans/English Speaking Drivers/Naturalist Guides

For private van info you can see more at our other web sight at We can book local reliable drivers we know well - they are knowledgeable "Ticos" and speak fluent English. They can take you to anywhere in the country in private vans. They operate on your schedule and we can find ways to "turn transfers into tours". Email us the request ahead of your arrival and we'll have a knowledgeable Costa Rican driver with excellent English, a great attitude and a late model, insured, air conditioned van ready for a trip of your choice at breakfast your first day.

This is a great way to start a trip with "a local perspective sitting in the drivers seat" while you start your relaxing vacation. We have many competitors but none we know of with reviews like this on TripAdvisor here: (driver/guide reviews for Sterling). Our guides are local Ticos with an excellent knowledge of their country and are trained naturalists – let us be your guide!

Recommended: on your first day as an “Introduction to Costa Rica”. Email us for a quote or use the reservation form.