Hotel Bula Bula
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Travel Blogs from Playa Grande
This morning I woke up from what felt like one of the most restful sleeps of my life. There is something about this place and this area that has just put me into a natural rhythm of peace and contentment.
My hosts, Sharr and Terry, have been kind enough to set me up a Surf Lesson with their friend, Doug, from Frijole Locos Surf Shop here …
Today I woke up again refreshed from one of the most peaceful nights of sleep ever. My plan had been to take my bike ride over to yoga, but after last night I was so completely relaxed there was no way I was getting up at 7am, so I woke up naturally around 9am. I seem to be getting more and more tired from the active week, but it is a good tired, not a mental tired.
I looked forward to my morning walk ...
... total image of the laid back surfer. They are from South Africa. We chat for a bit and I quickly realize that my place is going to be a very basic existence. No modern features. Just simple. Just what I was looking for on this trip. I am about 300 yards from the beach and the motto here seems to be wake up, eat, surf, sleep, surf, drink, sleep.....and repeat. I am basically in the jungle ...
... av trasiga vattenledningar och luftkonditioneringar. Maten var god, sängarna sköna och det fanns amerikanska kanaler på TVn. Efter vår första vistelse i Costa Rica 2008 tipsade vi alla om hur fantastiskt landet är och Johans pappa Claes och hans fru Lotta nappade och åkte dit 2011. De bodde på Bula Bula och kunde inte sluta berömma det, därav vår vistelse här.
Vi hade redan från början bestämt att vi skulle göra så pass lite som möjligt när vi var här, det räckte med pool- ...
... water entry talents, having water balloon fights, and laughing. Sawyer gravitated toward the younger children at the party, helping little ones fill their water balloons, and offering his pinata bounty to the little ones who met that endeavor with no success.
Paul spent a long time chatting with a super cool guy, Joel, in the film industry. He is here with Will Smith working as his "dialect" coach.
How has this hotel rated in the past?
Historical Traveler Reviews Hotel Bula Bula Playa Grande
Go to Playa Granda, stay at Bula Bula
If you go anywhere near Tamarindo, Playa Grande, or Flamingo, you owe it to yourself to stay at the Hotel Bula Bula. This place is excellent and worthy of every previous positive review.
First, unless you're in Costa Rica for the nightlife, drive past Tamarindo and brave the horrendous road to Playa Grande. The setting is much more tranquilo than the "urban" sprawl of Tamarindo, the beaches are better, and, if you must, Tamarindo is just a short $2 boat ride away.
Now that you're in Playa Grande, stay at the hotel with the most charm, best restaurant and bar, and friendliest owners around - Wally and Todd's Hotel Bula Bula.
The rooms are simple, but colorful and comfortable. (They even have a small fridge - not a very cold one - but there is one.) The pool is inviting. Also, the beautiful, sparsely populated Playa Grande beach is a short walk away. Even better, the dining and drinking at the Hotel Bula Bula's restaurant and bar is on par with any you'd find in Miami or L.A. Finally, and most importantly, we shared the property with monkeys, lizards, frogs, and Burt the resident parrot - Costa Rican wildlife!
My wife and I stayed 4 nights with our 17 month old son and enjoyed the tremendous hospitality of the entire staff. We got to know everyone from the housekeepers to the owners, and felt as if we were more than guests, but residents.
Other than the fact that (at the time) they didn't have a crib, the stay was perfect. (We utilized some patio furniture cushions by the bed, and our baby slept like a .. well, you know.)
Thank you Wally, Todd, and everyone at Bula Bula. It was great being there and meeting you.
We'll be back for sure.
Erik, Stephanie, and Rylan
My wife, 3 young children, my 72-year old mother, my nephew and I arrived in Playa Grande to find the hotel (it shall remain nameless) that I had booked online to be close to uninhabitable (please keep in mind that I have gone on many a surf trip and have stayed in places that cost as little as $2 a night). Within minutes, I decided that it would simply not work for us and headed to the estuary to flag down a boat taxi to take to me to Hotel Bula Bula (I had visitied their web site briefly days before our trip). As the sun was setting, I showed up barefoot, sweaty, and desperate to find a lovely open-air restaurant and bar draped in white Christmas lights. At that moment, my luck had changed. Greg, the property manager was there to hear my sad tale and book me into his last 3 rooms. He offered us a free nights stay for our 6 night booking and drove his van to the other hotel to retrieve my family and our bags. Upon arrival we found the rooms to be comfortable, clean, and cool. The free breakfast, fresh and tasty. Lunch and dinner, not cheap, but certainly reasonable and for the most part delicious. The pool and grounds made us feel like we were definitely on vacation. The best part of Hotel Bula Bula however, is the staff. They were great with the kids and always made us feel welcome, managing to treat us both like family and important guests all at the same time. With Greg as the manager the high level of service is not likely to change soon. In all of my travels (for both business and pleasure) I have never met a person in the hospitality industry with such a keen and genuine sense of what it is to provide exceptional service. The casual / friendly yet professional service you receive at Bula Bula, alone makes it an excellent choice when staying in the Playa Grande area.
What a Fabulous Get Away!!!
The Hotel Bula Bula-where do I begin to describe it? It is literally a small paradise carved out of the Costa Rican jungle. The vegetation in the area and landscaping the grounds is simply lush and inviting. There is so much to take in. Every day can be a new adventure or simply a relaxing retreat from a normally stressful life. Everyone that works at the hotel that we interacted with was more than wonderful and helpful. We loved sitting at the bar relaxing and drinking mango daquiris with Greg and Marina. And there is no way you can miss the hotel mascot, Burt the parrot. He is quite talkative and hilarious, especially when he imitates people laughing. It is so infectious.
The room was exactly what we were looking for. Cool and comfortable and with the ammenities we needed to enjoy our vacation to the fullest.
Just walking around the neighborhood you can come across geckos, lizards, iguanas, howler monkeys, humongous frogs and the ever popular jack-o-lantern crabs.
The price is right to stay here as well. The restaurant has wonderful food, breakfast is included with the hotel stay and you get fresh fruit with your morning meal-scrumptious!! Don't forget to try the ribs as well! My boyfriend wanted to have them every night!
I would absolutely stay here again, they really make you feel like you fit right into the family.
Fabulous, Fun and Secluded
We stayed at the Bula Bula for 4 nights and loved every minute. What really sets this place apart is the staff - everyone seems to enjoy being there. The rooms are spacious, have air conditioning and are clean as a whistle. Playa Grande is a great location if you are looking for a quiet, relaxing beachfront community that is close to "civilization" (i.e. Tamarindo), but far enough away to feel like paradise. The area is completely devoid of tourist traps. The daytime water taxi brought us to Tamarindo, but I preferred to just float in the swimming pool, eat at the restaurant and chill out. The restaurant really was superb - try the turkey taquitos and the swordfish bites. We lost cout of our rum punches. If you are looking for an all-inclusive resort with spa amenities, yoga and entertainment, look elsewhere. However, if you want a relaxing, affordable, clean and fun place that feels like it is all your own, choose the Bula Bula.
It's true! You know how pictures and descriptions of places don't always really reflect what's really there when you arrive? In the case of Hotel Bula Bula, it is just as comfortable, clean, cheerful and beautiful as it is described...how often does that happen!! My family stayed there four days at the end of July and we were delighted. Gregory, the manager at Bula Bula greeted and treated every one of his guests with the same charming manner regardless of nationality, race, or the size of their pocketbook. One of my most pleasant vacation memories is sitting on the tiled, wrap around veranda one evening after sunset while we were getting ready to go to dinner. Across the pool in the open bar-restaurant, people were talking and laughing in low tones, music was playing, glasses and forks were tinkling, the air was warm and my daughter-in-law and I just smiled at how perfect a vacation moment it was. Playa Grande is a great beach and Bula Bula is a jewel...
A must stay!
We had originally booked ourselves into Las Tortugas Hotel in Playa Grande and after one miserable nights sleep in a musty room we opted to switch to Hotel Bula Bula. We are so glad we did as the staff went out of their way to make sure that our stay was pleasant. The rooms are small but luxurious, king size beds, nice linens, AC, bottled water in the room. The property is ranch style, with cozy porch chairs surrounding a swimming pool that is deep enough to actually swim in. The walk to the beach is 5 minutes, but you will have the beach to yourself. It is a good distance from the main surf hotels so it is quiet and you still have access to great waves. For all inspiring surfers there is a local surf shop right by the beach entrance where you can rent a long board for 24 hours for about $20. The food at the Great Waltini's was experterly prepared and incredibly tasty. We highly recomend Hotel Bula Bula, the ambiance and service were exceptional. We fell in love with Burt the resident parrot, who provided ample entertainment during the one stormy day. Ask him to sing Opera!
May 22-26 2005
Favorite Hotel of our Trip
Hotel Bula Bula was the perfect place to relax in Costa Rica. The hotel is very clean and comfortable and has a free form pool complete with floaties and a hammok on the side, an open air restaurant that serves amazing food and the friendliest staff I have ever met. This place is surely an amazing find! The staff was extremely attentive and met every need practically before we could even express what it was we were looking for. The bar served the best drinks we had on our trip and Playa Grande is beautiful. This hotel is not located in town, but nearby you can find other hotels with bars where surfers and locals spend thier time and during the day you can take the water taxi to Tamarindo. If you want to go somewhere to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and relax this is the place for you. The room rate was extremly reasonable and once we moved on from Playa Grande we found we couldn't get anything that compared for even twice the price! I would reccommend Bula Bula to anyone looking for a small secluded hideaway to enjoy great food, relax and make friends.
Superb Value and Wonderful Service
Hotel Bula Bula is at the top of our list of excellent bargain resort hotels in coastal Costa Rica. With only ten rooms, we met the other guests and shared information and stories with them over breakfast in the open-air restaurant. The breakfast, lunch and dinner fare at the restaurant is first-rate and fairly priced. The bar is a lively scene -- ex-pats gone native, neighborhood Ticos, estuary boat drivers taking breaks, guests of other lodging places -- everyone convenes at Bula Bula, but the bar shuts down around 10:00 p.m., lest guests be disturbed by late night noise. If you want dancing 'till dawn and wall-to-wall tourists, take the water taxi from Bula Bula to Tamarindo (about $3).
Hotel owners Todd and Wally are first-rate hosts and concierge. They arrange tee times, sailing/scuba/snorkel trips, horseback trips, canopy tours, estuary tours, kayak, ATV or surfboard rentals, etc. Rooms are squeaky clean and very nicely appointed. The free-form pool has floats for lounging and sunning, and a hammock for naps. It is five steps from the bar to the lushly landscaped pool, and the cocktails are large, frosty and potent. We wanted to stay forever. Pura Vida, indeed!
It was Okay
We stayed at this hotel for several nights. First up, the food and beverage was excellent and the price was very reasonable.
Rooms are small. A light blanket for the bed would have been a welcome addition as it got quite cool in the room overnight. Nice pool and landscaping etc. Bar is a hangout for the locals (American retirees/escapists) and tourists alike.
The big issue with this place was simply getting there. Being located across the estuary from Tamarindo, you were stuck there in the evening unless you wanted to take the long drive on bad roads to get into town and have some nightlife.
NEW RESORT IN PARADISE
HOTEL BULA BULA is fairly new to the surfer / outdoorsperson paradise of the Playa Grande - Tamarindo area. The majority of the area's accommodations are $30 per night bare-bones pads for the attractive surfer crowd. Although Bula Bula shares the location, $30 more gets you beautiful, small resort amenities -- it's like a fun B&B on the ocean.
Imagine your own resort paradise on a secluded road, but only 5 minutes to the surf and a short walk to Tamarindo! Excellent breakfast varies daily (included), Wally, Todd & Bert the parrot are your friendly hosts. Clean, colorful rooms. Locals and visitors frequent the outdoor-gourmet restaurant/bar, The Great Waltini's, featuring ocean-fresh fish & local meats, skillfully prepared using only the freshest local ingredients. Your hosts take excellent care of you.
Enjoy Playa Grande & Bula Bula as much as we did! This is part of the world that's too remote to be ruined by tourists crowds too soon. (And, skip San Jose, the capital city, completely. We tried to find any part interesting -- it simply does not exist.)