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All reviews costa rica arenal volcano hot tub la fortuna we arrived late at night wheel drive tropical birds stunning views steep hill pura vida dirt road gordon spa augustine nancy hosts lake
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Reviewed April 6, 2012

This is a find! It is way up a winding steep road in already secluded El Castillo, but I promise you it's worth it.

We stayed in the cabinas located just below the main house. They were very spacious and clean. There were 2 beers in the fridge and some popcorn waiting for us when we got there! My favorite thing about the cabinas was the hammock and chairs on the porch where you can sit and enjoy an incredible view of the lake and volcano. It is paradise.

On your way up to the main house, you will see a spa that is run by the costa rican manager's wife, crissia. She is not only a very sweet person, but you can sign up for one of the best massages of your life at half price if you are staying at nepenthe. It also has a hot tub for guests use that we spent way too much time in. People we met all around knew nepenthe for their massages.

At the top of the hill you arrive at the main house where Nancy and Gordon, the owners from California stay along with two side rooms guests can rent. It is adjacent to an infinity pool looking out over the amazing view. It's quite a piece of property. Every morning a large breakfast is served (coffee, pancakes, eggs, sausage, beans, rice, and fruit) in Nancy and Gordon's kitchen.

Despite how much we enjoyed the view, massages, relaxation, and food, our favorite thing about nepenthe was the people! Gordon and Nancy, owners, are hilarious and fun. We ended up spending an hour after breakfast each morning on the porch talking to him. One night, they offered to take us to pizza johns, a friend of their owns. It was one of our favorite nights in costa rica. The owners themselves drove us and ate with us! With pizza johns entertainment added in, it was a blast. Then there is Agustin, the costa rican manager they hired. He is one of the nicest people you will meet and helped us arrange everything we were doing. He is professional, kind, and runs the place great. We loved getting to know him as well.

I didn't want to leave at all when it was time. I was ready to move my wedding that is in a few months there! Stay here! You won't regret it.

Date of stay: March 2012
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Thank KTexas123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed March 19, 2012

I awoke with the view of beautiful Lake Arenal to the left and smoking Volcan Arenal to the right while still in bed. Standing outside my room was a beautiful infinity pool with a views of the Lake in the background. The staff was incredibly hospitable and sat us around the breakfast table as if family invited into their home.
Very affordable and a great alternative to staying at the Observatory. Owned by retired couple from Modesto, California.
-Wais

Room tip: top of hill, closest to Volcan Arenal
Date of stay: January 2012
  • Trip type: Travelled with family
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1  Thank JockMD
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed March 10, 2012

The drive up to Nepenthe may be a little challenging, but arrival more than repays the effort. On a clear day the views are astounding, both of the volcano and of Lake Arenal, and the aura of peace is disturbed only by the tropical sounds from the nearby forest. Rooms are clean, comfortable and well appointed, the pool is situated to take advantage of the panoramic scenery, breakfast was tasty, substantial and convivial, and supper (on request) was one of our best meals in Costa Rica. The on-site manager, Agustin, and the hosts Nancy and Gordon,were exceptionally welcoming and friendly, helping us to relax with beers in the mini-fridge and happy hour by the pool, and a little effort walking further up the hill brought sightings of toucans and howler monkeys and further amazing views. We chanced upon Nepnthe as other accommodation in the area was full, and we left wishing that we'd planned a much longer stay in this hillside paradise.

Room tip: Room #2 on the corner has vista windows in 2 walls .. great views and air-flow through the louvred, screened upper sections.
Date of stay: March 2012
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
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Thank NanandSi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed March 6, 2012

We stayed at Nepenthe for 2 nights in march 2012. Because of the area roads in El Castillo we would recommend that you drive inn at daytime, preferable with a 4x4.
But when you finally get there its absolutely worth it! The silence, the nature, the birds and the view is fantastic. Not to mention the owners Nancy and Gordon and the friendly staff led by manager Agustin.
Our room was clean and basic and had a wonderful view. The scenery from our window was just amazing! The massage we had at The Blue Lagoon next door (at half price for house guests) was also one of the best we´ve had in a loong time! The in-house dinner we had was also great.
Pizza John was worth the visit of its own! Great guy with a fabulous Pizza!

Date of stay: March 2012
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
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Thank Jarl Ove F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed March 5, 2012

I did a lot of research on B&Bs in Costa Rica and this one had a few good reviews on Tripadvisor. I was NOT disappointed and would LOVE to go back if the volcano ever becomes active once again. The drive up to the B&B is rocky and at times steep - a vehicle with clearance is definitely recommended. (We never actually turned on the 4x4 function, I doubt it's necessary unless it's the rainy season.) The view once you get to the location is spectacular, and for the price of $85 a night, you can't beat it! The B&B overlooks Lake Arenal and has a wonderful view of the Volcano. It's located close enough to La Fortuna to take advantage of the main attractions around town, but then drive back to your own peaceful, secluded paradise. Agustin, the innkeeper, is very friendly and helpful. He made sure there were two cold beers in our mini fridge to welcome us when we got there. He had good insight on what to do and where to go if you were interested in more off-the-beaten path activities, which my boyfriend and I are. When we wanted to be typical tourists and take advantage of the hot springs around town, he recommended and made us a reservation at Eco Termales, a much less crowded hot spring that was perfect after a long day hiking. For the 3 nights we were there, we woke to a traditional delicious Costa Rican breakfast and strong smooth coffee. After our day out around Arenal, we'd return to soak in the hot tub and listen for the birds and howler monkeys. The rooms are clean and basic and everything we needed. I was nervous when I saw that there was no air conditioning, but on the first night realized it wasn't necessary because we were high enough on the mountain that the nights were quite cool. I can't recommend this place enough and would love to return on our next trip to Costa Rica.

Date of stay: February 2012
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
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Thank Nhan-Ai S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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