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Hotel Vista del Cerro 2.0

La Fortuna/Arenal, Costa Rica

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Right outside of La Fortuna
  • Can't beat the price for a clean place in this location
  • Right across the street from Super Cristian No. 4 supermarket
  • Front desk can arrange day pass to nearby Baldi springs
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Breakfast at hotel's Mi Casa restaurant next door included
  • Clean rooms with cable TV and AC

Cons

  • Traffic noise from the road is loud and constant
  • Some rooms have a damp, mildewy odor
  • Barnyard smells from nearby cattle farm sometimes waft through the outdoor hallways
  • Volcano views marred by neighboring souvenir shop (especially for first-floor guests) 

Bottom Line

This 10-room roadside motel is a decent place to stay for a night or two for budget travelers who don't need frills but still want to be close to La Fortuna. Its spare but clean rooms have views of the volcano (though they are partially covered by the neighboring souvenir shop) and frequently experience noise from passing traffic -- but all at a price that can't be beat. Hotel Cerro Azul has similar prices and rooms with a bit more rustic charm, but no pool. Partygoers may prefer weekend nights at Magic Mountain nearby, while those who want the hot springs, spas, and bungalow-style lodgings can try the string of hotels to the north on Route 142 -- though they start at two to three times the price.

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Scene

 A roadside motel with plenty of traffic noise that's an affordable place to sleep, but not a place to spend your waking hours. 

Vista del Cerro has a strictly transient, motel-like vibe, with the atmosphere dictated by the passing of traffic on the main road only a couple meters away. The unattractive but serviceable buildings, stairs, and outdoor hallways were empty of other guest during our visit, though the hotel restaurant did host a couple of American women for lunch. (The staff spent the rest of the afternoon watching soccer on TV.) It's across from the Super Cristian No. 4 supermarket, a souvenir store, and its own Mi Casa restaurant and a small cattle farm (from which you can occasionally catch a barnyard whiff) and such a  busy section of road means traffic is heavy, with a constant stream of tourists and locals walking or driving back and forth going shopping or running errands.

Location

Right outside of La Fortuna and close to several hot-springs resorts, it's well-situated -- but close to a heavily trafficked road.

The hotel is well-situated for people who want to make La Fortuna their home base for their trip, but also don't want to have to go through town to get to other sites. It's just outside of the heart of town to the north, about a five-minute drive from the Baldi Hot Springs Reosrt, a 10-minute drive from the popular Tabacon hot springs, and within a half-hour drive of the national park and the dam. The supermarket across the street is convenient for getting supplies, and it's easy enough to pop into the hotel soda (restaurant) or one down the street when you get peckish. Being so close to a busy section of the road, however, means the sounds of traffic are nonstop, and the passing of especially large trucks and high-pitched motorcycle engines can seem to vibrate your skull. That's in addition to the yapping of the dog next door and the cheering of locals gathered to watch football games at the hotel restaurant.

Rooms

Spartan rooms may not have all the comforts of pricier hotels, but are clean and not too cramped.

The rooms are basic and no-frills -- there are AC and cable TV, but no in-room safes, coffeemakers, or even bar soap or shampoo in the bathrooms (there's a wall-mounted liquid-soap dispenser in the shower instead). Though the windows look out on the Arenal volcano, the souvenir stand next door mars the view, and first-floor guests may have to crane their heads just to see a sliver of Arenal. The windows, doors, and walls of the rooms seem to offer no buffering from the sounds of trucks and cars whizzing by. We detected a strong mildew odor in the bathrooms.

Features

It's about the price, not the frills, but the hotel still offers a pool and hot tub and free breakfast at its restaurant next door.

You don't go to the Vista del Cerro for features, you go for the price. Nevertheless, the hotel does offer a reasonably attractive pool and hot tub with some tropical vegetation surrounding (though next to nothing in the way of lounge chairs -- we spotted a single plastic lounger). The hotel restaurant next door serves a free breakfast that gets high marks from guests, and Wi-Fi is also free. The front desk can arrange a day pass to the nearby Baldi resort.

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Address

2 miles west from la fortuna, (on the way to arenal volcano), La Fortuna de San Carlos, Province of Alajuela, Costa Rica

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