Does anyone have any experience here? Doesn't seem like too many options in the Puerto Viejo area so better suggestions would be appreciated as well?
Tripadvisor looks generally good, though it appears a bit overpriced. But we're only planning on staying here the night after our flight (and drive over) and then after a full day of activity the next day so we're willing to pay a bit of a premium to not take any chances since we'll be exhausted.
More like 2 days, but yes I acknowledge it is a lot of driving for the first few days. However, we are visiting the Sloth Sanctuary, so must spend some time in that area.
But, it's our first time in the country and I was under the impression that there isn't really any good options to stay between San Jose and that area, so thought the best option was just to head down to PV and spend a little extra time there before heading on to other parts.
Do you have any other suggestions? I'm definitely open to other ideas.
You're right: There are no good lodging options between San Jose and the southern Caribbean coast. There's nothing wrong with Le Cameleon. It just isn't at all typical of the Caribbean coast. Nothing says you have to be authentic about it. It is a very nice place.
Before Le Cameleon arrived, the two most upscale places in PV were:
Both consist of bungalows scattered over their respective properties. Shawandha is quieter; Cariblue is more lively.
What time of day will you be setting out from the airport? The first 45 minutes of driving north of San Jose (not from the airport, but north of the city) is a winding, twisting highway that takes you through a cloud forest over the mountains and down to the lowlands. That stretch frequently begins to fog over by mid-afternoon.
Hmm, I had not really considered trouble driving through the mountains during the day was just avoiding nighttime driving as much as possible. If all is on time, I would expect to depart the airport around 2 PM, but the way United is these days, unfortunately I cannot count on that.
This trip is going to be in about 6 weeks, which I believe (please correct me if I am wrong) is pretty well into dry season, is fog still significant problem then? We had also considered spending the night closer to airport (San Jose Marriott) and drive in the morning but that would require like a 6-7 AM departure to get over to sloth place by 11 AM. Would you recommend that (strictly from a logistical standpoint not necessarily a sanity one!)?
By the way, thank you so much for your help with all my touristy questions.
That's a tough call. The Caribbean has its own weather patterns that are different than the rest of the country. We're just beginning the dry season in most of the country, but December is the rainiest month of the year in the Caribbean. That stretch I mentioned runs through the cloud forest of Braulio Carrillo National Park, north of San Jose. Cloud forests are misty all year long. It's a twisting, turning sector highway and you'll be sharing it with a lot of logging trucks. It may be okay. It may not.
It gets dark here around 5:30 p.m. all year long. At the very least, you're going to be driving the last 90 minutes in the dark.
What about contacting the Sloth Sanctuary and asking for their suggestions?
Thanks a lot for the feedback. Thinking more about it last night, I was already a little unsure about the plan and you helped me make up my mind. I think we're going to hire transportation just for the day to go out to the Sloth Sanctuary in the morning and then back that evening, and then rent a car for the rest of the trip (Pacific side) when we are not under such a tight schedule.
Those other hotels you suggested were sold out for our dates anyway, and since Le Cameleon is like 2x as much as the hotel in San Jose, plus not having a car for an extra day and a half will probably cost about the same as hiring someone.