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54 - 59 of 72 reviews
Reviewed 9 January 2006

Read all the negitive reviews and was concerned, but was only place we could get reservations for first week of Jan. Got there and wow what a location! I was always a bit concerned about previous postings mentioning theft, so took lots of precaustions. It would have been nicer if they had better security. Think that the Christmas season made the place more secure with lots of people around all the time and staying there.

Surfed right in front of the hotel and it was great. The hotel itself is located right on the beach in a excellent location and the gardens, pool and restaurant were very nice. Had dinner at the hotel the first night and was very good - but found it a bit strange that the place was completely booked and very few people at the bar - restaurant?

Went other places in following nights and they were packed (Mal Pais Surf Camp on Wed. nights is the place to hang as they have live band and you can ride the mechanical bull).

Rooms have a few issues, as previous posters mention, they don't seam secure (windows that don't lock good or are open), bathrooms were dinky (execpt in the bugalows), toilets did not seam to work well, and AC didn't work in one of the rooms.

Hired staff was very nice and helpful, but owners did seam to have a bit of a chip on their sholders... Overall had a great time. Location was one of the best.

  • Stayed: January 2006
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Thank Beachparks
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 December 2005

We had no problem with the property. The staff were responsive and helpful. Stayed there after Tropico Latino was booked, but our friends that stayed at TL liked our cabina more because we had a fridge.

The free breakfast was great and quite good. Gallo pinto, eggs, toast and guava jelly, great coffee.

The location was great, with palm grove right on the beach and great surf out front.

The people complaining in the other reviews need to go find a Best Western somewhere, this place was a good value. $80 vs $130 at the TL, which had no breakfast and no fridge.

BTW- the Tropico Latino was burglarized while we were there, Luz de Vida was not. We had a safe that we utilized and we did not have any problems. They had a night watchman just like the more expensive Tropico Latino.

Overall a great trip. Mal Pais/Santa Theresa was incredible and this property was fine.

  • Stayed: November 2005
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1  Thank Culture24242
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 June 2005

Stayed in Luz De Vida in May. Had similar experiences as previously wrote. Tropical Latino had it all over this place but you will be lucky to get in so make reservations in advance if you want to check this area out. The beaches here are beautiful however the overall vibe of this area does not feel good. Most of the locals, travelers were not friendly. Met some people later on this trip after we left this area and they had their car window broken out.

  • Stayed: May 2005
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2  Thank trocket
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 May 2005

The "Don't Stay Here!" review nailed our experience on the head. Their (terrible) stay mirrored ours so completely it was as if they were on "vacation" at Luz de Vida with us.

The Owners, and their friends and relatives -- who doubled as the "help," were uncaring, unavailable, and unhelpful. There were only two decent employees (a waitress and a bartender) who I am quite sure were not F.O.O.L.s (Friends of Owners de Luz).

A hut was broken into while we were there. The Owners disclaimed a security problem -- although locals will tell you the area is known for break-ins. There is no way to safeguard your possessions since the windows, plentiful in number b/c of the lack of A/C, cannot be locked.

The grounds would have been scenic if someone bothered to clean up. During our stay, dirty glasses, empty waterbottles and asundry trash accumulated throughout the day around the tiny pool area, and remained uncleared through the night. A disgusting, unappetizing sight.

You don't get mosquito nets unless you ask. One night we had to endure a terrifying infestation of gigantic flying termites crawling across the floor, up the walls and over our sheets.

Our unit had an outside shower (most do not) which we used exclusively -- the bathroom shower was grotty and had dangerous looking electrical wires rigged for heating water.

Although we thought the food was very good -- Luz's only saving grace, the selection was limited, and nearly non-existent at lunchtime. More than once, the overburdened waitress had to serve (hand and foot) the Owners' families (well over 10 people). The Owners ate food not offered on the menu in plain slight of their guests. They also expected and received priority service -- while everyone else was left waiting. BTW, the napkins were cheap paper ones meted out as if made of gold -- which says a lot about the place.

Desperate to leave, we tried to get into Tropico Latino, a lovely place a few doors down. If Tropico had room, we would have left -- even though the Luz Owners would have forced us to pay through the end of our booked stay.

Whether you be a family or a couple, traveling on your own or with friends, young or old, or a bunch of no frills surfers: Be smart, beware, book a room elsewhere!

  • Stayed: January 2005
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3  Thank Nomad6422
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 May 2005

No traveler - rich or poor should be subjected to the experience of staying at Luz de Vida. It is not representative of Costa Rica, the Nicoya Peninsula or the beautiful Tico people. The owners have successfully alienated the local Ticos, the downtrodden Nicaraguans, and visitors to Costa Rica who has stayed in any other hotel, resort, pension or home in the Country. Every guest who stays there has the same story as to why they did - the places they wanted to stay - Tropico Latino, Milarepa, etc were booked - this is a place to stay when you don't have a choice. The difficulty of this experience starts with the booking process. It took weeks to get a straight answer regarding the type or cost of accommodations, the location of the cabanas, or the quality of the amenities and services. There are no useful pictures on the website - they do not want guests to know what they are getting into. We were two families traveling with children. From the moment we arrived, it was clear that the owners and most of those working there had no concept of what it means to be in the hospitality industry. They are totally unaware that the entire reason for being is to make guests feel comfortable and safe - they are incapable of either - not now or ever. The big issues were as follows:
(1) They confirm "ocean front" and "ocean view" cabinas - neither had a view and the "front" means closer to the ocean but no where near the edge of the sand, (2) The beds and pillows are the cheapest, most worn materials available - bed pillows were square and taken from chairs or sofas and placed inside a worm pillow case, (3) the electrical systems were faulty and the wall or overhead fans were inoperable for days at a time, (4) They do not properly clean any part of the facility - beer bottles and dirty dishes remain by the pool for days, (5) The help are mostly itinerant Israelis with no training to work with guests and mostly with no Spanish skills - they treat the Tico and Nicaraguan staff like 2nd and 3rd class citizens – the guests like 4th class!, (6) The owners live in relatively tall houses directly next door - and there is an endless parade of their family and friends on the grounds, in the pool, on the beach, and in the restaurant who are hangers-on. They all get better attention and even different food in the restaurant than the paying guests, (7) The grounds are very nice but were engineered without proper drainage - after every rain there is a massive growth of termites and other bugs - they do not offer mosquito nets unless you beg to keep out the swarms of termites - and they make you wait for another guest to leave because there are not enough, (8) Some door locks don't work and the windows don't all lock - we were robbed in mid morning - our suitcases thrown out of the rooms and all our things were ransacked for valuables and assorted items were stolen - the owners refused to contact the police or report the incident - no guests are ever warned in advance and we see on this site that others suffered the same fate, (9) The Israeli-born staff and owners will argue with you - the owner told us to mind our own business when pleading for the pool area to be cleaned - the chaise lounge covers are totally stained and never washed, (10) The morning shift Israeli helpers sit down in the middle of serving the breakfast buffet to eat - leaving guests with no service of any kind, and leaving food to get warm or cold, (11) The Israeli staff argue with guests if they ask to turn the bar music lower or change the type of music, or do anything they don't want to do, and finally (12) The owners (who are Jewish like some of our group turn their homes next door into a temple on Friday night and Saturday - if it is a holiday - they have huge parties with noise well into the night - all directly at the expense of the real guests who are stranded next door with the noise, bugs, lack of service, malfunctioning electricity, dirt and grime around the pool, and surly, argumentative staff, and constant threat of theft. The owners refuse to do business on the holidays so all guest needs are put on hold!

So if you want an unusually bad travel experience - one that we have never been able to have anywhere - not in Mexico, Guatemala, Thailand, Bali, 15 Caribean islands - go to Luz de Vida and “Lose Your Life” courtesy of greedy, mean, hostile owners in the wrong business at the right time in the right country. Once you are there – it is fruitless to resist.

  • Stayed: March 2005
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10  Thank GrahamGriffin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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