Caribbean Coast Hotels

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Almonds & Corals (Almendros y Corales)

Almonds & Corals, Gandoca-Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge

At a Glance

    Pros

  • rustic comfort
  • lots of activities

    Cons

  • far from sights
  • need a car to stay here

Fodorite Reviews

Average Rating:  

Almonds & Corals (Almendros y Corales) Review

Buried in a dark, densely atmospheric beachfront jungle within the Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge, Almonds & Corals scatters bungalows throughout its site on freestanding platforms raised on stilts and linked by boardwalks lighted by kerosene lamps. Each safari-style unit is protected by a peaked roof and enclosed in mosquito netting, and has beds, electric lamps, hammocks, and hot water. A fine three-meal restaurant is tucked into the greenery halfway down to the property's exquisite, secluded beach. The concept is quite luxurious for the Caribbean coast, but the locale does provide that close-to-nature experience. Your wake-up call is provided by howler monkeys and chatty parrots. These folks also offer multiday packages that include round-trip transportation from San José.

    Hotel Details

  • 24 bungalows.
  • Rate includes some meals.
Updated: 03-22-2013

Fodorite Reviews

Average Rating:  
  • Room  
    Décor  
    Service  
    Value  

    It's a love-hate thing.

    I've stayed at A&C three times - most recently in 2007. I love the location deep in the jungle yet steps to the picturesque beach. I love awakening to the howler monkeys and birds. I love the quiet. No night clubs or traffic here. I love the ambience of the open air jungle restaurant. (Notice I didn't say the food.) All of the staff I've had contact with have been very friendly and helpful. The lovely Dutch/Costa Rican couple who manage A&C set that tone. Having said all that, I really wish I could stop my review right here. BUT, and I hate that there is a but, I have to say that I've liked A&C less each time I've visited. And, that's such a disappointment. Unless there has been a miraculous turn around in one year, this is what I found lacking. Gone is the romance of the lantern lit boardwalks. Harsh light bulbs have replaced them. Plus the board walks themselves have become rundown. For me some of the rustic appeal has also gone. The canvas tent walls have been replaced with "prettier" curtains. Broader appeal I suppose. Gone with the romance and canvas is the affordability. It was always a stretch for my budget. This year, much to my dismay, I'm having to go elsewhere. I've been priced out of the A&C market. I'll sadly miss my favorite stop on the Caribbean. However, there is one aspect of A&C I definitely I will not miss...the food. It is beyond me how a Fodor's reviewer could describe the offering as a "fine three-meal restaurant". With the possible exception of breakfast, the meals are abysmal. Most cafeterias offer gourmet fare by comparison. Surely the steep price of lodging should warrent good basic local dishes. This has always been A&C's biggest failing.

    Would I go back again? YES! If I can afford it, I will gladly give A&C one more try. My dearest hope is that it will have been returned to its former glory.

    by cactushugger, 12/16/08

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