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beena Jun 22nd, 2005 06:30 PM

I am SO disapponted with
I am so disappointed and frustrated, I could cry! After working endlessly for so many months, trying to decide on our itinerary for our first trip to Costa Rica with my husband and two teenagers, I finally figure it all out and now I've run into problems booking at Lost Iguana. I had heard so many good things about the hotel and since we couldn't get Peace Lodge for one night because it was booked up, I decided to spluge on the "Owners Villa" at lost Iguana for 3 nights at the end of our 10 day trip. I do not THINK that the Lost Iguana is as responsible for the problem as much as their reservation agency ( and I do understand that they handle quite a few properties in arenal area. Let me explain the situation but let me warn you it's a bit lengthy!

I had looked over the Lost Iguana website several times over SEVERAL days trying to decide what accomodations would work best for us with our teenagers. One of the main reasons I chose Lost Iguana (as well as Peace lodge) was because of the hot tub on the deck. I had read some other posts of people who thoroughly enjoyed relaxing in their hot tubs on their decks while viewing the volcano and I knew that was something we would def. enjoy, especially since we're not really into public or crowded places. Anyway, the cost of the Owners Villa was $190.00 + tax and it said it is for 4 people as it has a seperate bdrm and all. It has an extra large jacuzzi and deck. I emailed them again, as I had previously done to check on availability and they replied saying there was rooms avail. in all categories. Also, on EVERY email I got from them,(because it is a standard form they use), it says "THE RATES ON OUR WEBSITE ARE UP TO DATE". Somewhere in between communication with Sheila, I had received another answer back from a ZACK and he tried to say that the best arrangement for us would be a Luxory Suite combined with a standard room and proceeded to send me the credit card reservation form (that you fax back) to me with ONLY the price and space to fill out for the standard+deluxe room which was $291.00 a night! I thought that was presumptuous and rude of him since the owners villa would accomadate us fine for $190 a night! So needless to say, I didn't fill out HIS form and send it in. Instead I was going to fill out the one Sheila sent me, which is, essentially the same form but with her name on top instead of Zacks.

BUT when I went to fill it out, I noticed that there is not a spot that says "Owners Villa". There is Standard for 2 ppl., standard for 4 ppl., luxory ste. for 2 ppl, and luxory ste. for 4 ppl. The price listed for luxory ste. for 4 is the same price as the owners villa (at least on this form). Anyway, since I wasn't sure what to do since the Owners Villa wasn't actually listed, I called the number on the bottom of their form (no toll-free number) around 8 pm and talked to a gentleman there (like a dummy, I forgot to write down name), and asked him why there wasn't an owners villa spot on the form and told me it was just a typo and for me to just cross out the luxury ste.(for 4) and write in "owners Villa", which I did. According to the website and Zacks email, the luxury ste. doesn't accomodate 4 people anyway, which is kinda weird, but...
Since I had to be sure and put the exact amount plus tax and total on the authorization form, I asked the guy on the phone what it would be and he proceeded to tell me $190 and then figured out the tax and told me it would be $31.14 and then what the total would be, which is exactly what is on the form for luxury ste. for 4.

I finished filling out the form and faxed it over immedietly. That was on 6/17. I got a confirmation letter back from Sheila saying that she received my form for the dates of 7/21-7/23 in the Owners Villa for $220.00 + taxes! That email was followed immediatly by another one saying that she was confirming the owners villa for $220 + taxes and just wanted to make sure I agree and if not, she would have to change my reservation and to let her know.

Well, I immediatly wrote back and said no, I didn't agree on the amount because that is not what was quoted to me on the phone and explained my phone conversation with who I thought was John but because dummy-me didn't write it down, it was wrong. I also included that that price exactly is what is listed on their website. I even cut and pasted that part from their website in the email. I told her that I was very disappointed that they were trying to change the price and I would need the name of the manager and what hours I could reach him or her. That was on June 18th and by the 21st, I still hadn't heard anything back. SO, not knowing where in the heck my reservation stood but really not wanting to make another long-distance call there, I sent them another email, this time being a bit more frustrated and ticked-off. Mostly because they were ignoring me and not replying to my emails and being unprofessional so I had to make another call to Costa Rica. I said that I had heard so many good things about the Lost Iguana on Fodors and, which is why I decided to go there. I also said it was a shame I was going to have to write something negative about them and had hoped that it could be resolved. I also forwarded my previous emails and theirs so they could see for themselves (whoever that may be), what had been transpiring for a week, also stating that they should understand that I obviously need to know where my reservation stands so when we leave for our trip in 3 wks, I will know where we are staying and noting that noone has emailed me back and if I have to call again, it's only going to add salt to the wound. Of course, I started looking online for somewhere else (even though I don't want to stay anywhere else) but found that alot of places are getting booked up. To make sure SOMEONE got the information instead of just ignoring my email once again, I actually FAXED the 4 pages of emails to them (bet they loved that) but by this time, I had starting getting real desperate...and frustrated.

GUESS WHAT? The following day, today, still NO RESPONSE! Soooo, I had to call them and guess who answered the phone? Zack. According to good ol' Zac, Sheila is out of town and he couldn't respond to my emails because he's been out of the office for a little while or something. But he proceeded to tell me that there was nothing he could do about the price...that the website is wrong, the emails are wrong when it says that the website is up to date, and that the guy I talked to was wrong if he told me that price (as far as he's concerned the guy doesn't exist anyway, is the way he acted, because I didn't have his name). He asked me what I wanted him to do about it and when I told him to honor the price that I saw and was told, he said he couldn't do it and the price would be $220 for 2 ppl., so an additional for the 2 kids + tax. I think he said it was two hundred forty something plus the tax but anyway, alot more than original. What's weird is that on the website, where the price list is, right next to
Owners Villa-$190 it says
(staring Dec.16, 2005:$215) so I don't know what's going on but I told him that we could not afford to pay that amount and my plans were arranged according to the prices I thought I was paying. He proceeded to tell me that there are other hotels we could go to! Gee, really? I told him by now, there are alot of places that are no longer available, for instance "Los Lagos" because I had just seen that on their website last night. He told me that Los Lagos was NOT sold out and then I realized, oh yeah, they handle their reservations wonder the website was WRONG!

So, here I sit not even able to go there if we decided to spend the extra money because of the principal of the whole thing. Does anyone know how I can deal direct with the Lost Iguana by any chance instead of through
Or would anyone know where they would have the same kind of rooms with jacuzzi's on the decks with views of volcano? It kind of sounded like Tabacon might but I had not even considered staying there because of previous posts, etc.

tbelgian Jun 23rd, 2005 02:54 AM

Try to stay calm and take a really deep breath.
I do think it's typical to pay for additional people, (more than 2) in rooms, villas, suites in CR. Everywhere we went in CR we had to pay more for our kids. I think it was 10 or 20 dollars per kid. Many places offer breakfast and it's more laundry and maid service, so it's fair really. The people in CR are so nice. I'm sure there is/was misunderstanding on both parts. Good Luck!

tully Jun 23rd, 2005 03:39 AM

I would just contact the Lost Iguana directly thru their website.

fuzzy_navel Jun 23rd, 2005 04:09 AM

I typically deal directly with the hotel. Here's the Lost Iguana website: I truly hope everything works out for you. I know it can be really disappointing not being able to stay somewhere you were really looking forward to.

siempretrvls Jun 23rd, 2005 08:18 AM

You should definitely deal directly with the hotel. I'm sure is not the only booking agency for Lost Iguana It sounds like they're one of the bad ones.

Just like I've used as a booking agency for hotels around Mal Pais and they were great. I tried to book some of the same hotels through and ran into the same kind of problems you're experiencing...they're HORRIBLE.

If you can deal directly with the hotel it's better. They know for sure what the current prices are and what's availabile.

Sometimes the booking agencies think there is availability but don't bother checking with the hotel. Many of them don't even have the prices right. It's VERY FRUSTRATING as you know. I wish you luck getting some straight answers.

Hopefully they still have room at Lost Iguana. Please let us know what happens.

crarmy Jun 23rd, 2005 09:57 AM


I understand how frustrated you are. Lost Iguana has a number listed in their website that is a US number. Maybe they can help you. As far as I understand the lady that owns Lost Iguana is named Sheila, but you have been talking to a Sheila at Or at the Lost Iguana?? Good Luck!! If worse comes to worse contact Neta from Hotel La Finca Que Ama, she is not in Arenal but she is wonderful and will help you make reservations anywhere you want. <[email protected]>. I have booked all my hotels through her.

livekarma Jun 23rd, 2005 10:48 AM

The Lost Iguana web site clearly states that the 190 + tax rate is based on double occupancy. You should be more careful before you go on a rant and point fingers. Most people have very positive experiences with the LI. I hope your plans work out for you and that you have a wonderful trip.

beena Jun 23rd, 2005 12:05 PM

First off, let me say "Thank You" to everyone who responded to my "rants".
LIVEKARMA, JUST changed their website with the updated info, as per the email I received this morning from the webmaster, Jacques, who said he had just done it. He said he CHANGED it to reflect that the price is for 2 ppl. and I see too that he did BUT that's not what it said a few hours ago! But you notice, it still says $190.00.

I should clarify that first, my beef isn't with Lost Iguana, as I stated before, it is with They had told me the BASE price for the Owners Villa was $220.00 + EXTRA PERSONS CHARGE + TAXES. The prices are all listed that way. I know that most, if not all hotels charge extra for more than 2 people in a room and I agree that is reasonable (and acceptable). If they had said that, I wouldn't be on here complaining about it. But I think the worst part is how they ignored me, knowing that I would have to call THEM to find out where my reservation stood. Remember, they had the credit card form with my number and signature on it with a total charge of $663.42 on it and I didn't know what they had done or were doing with it! I was completely at their mercy. By the way, Zack is (or was) 100% American (or Canadian) without a trace of an accent and knew english slang well. My point being that he isn't one of your warm, helpful, friendly Ticos that everyone refers to in Costa Rica. I do look forward to meeting THEM.

I also did not realize that I could contact the hotel directly. The way that I found it was I did a google search with "Lost Iguana, Costa Rica" and I only saw (or clicked on) the one that unknowlingly took me to and of course when you click on "contact the resort" or "check availability" or whatever it is, it sends your request to, not the Lost Iguana. I only knew I was speaking with them when I received emails back saying in the "from" spot. So, I am happy to know there is a direct site. I would always prefer to deal directly, if possible! I have learned my lesson, for sure, although I am sure there are plenty of good reservation agencies out there.
The email I received this morning from Jacque, who he said was the webmaster for also informed me that they gave the owners villa away for one of the days that we were supposed to be there. He offered me a couple alternatives but I think I will try and reach the resort directly.....and see what happens.

Thanks for everyones advice and I'll let you know what happens. Tina

beena Jun 23rd, 2005 03:08 PM


Yes, the Sheila that I had been in contact with was at not Lost Iguana but ya, that's quite a conicidence. hmm...kind-of spooky actually but I know she identified herself with so hopefully, it is just a coincidence.
I have heard so many good things about Neta and (Arbel, is it?) and Que Finca de Ama on this board but I had no idea that she also booked reservations. Thanks for the info.

misha2 Jun 24th, 2005 06:38 AM


I though I was dealing with Lost Iguana and realized that. I,too, must have been dealing with a booking agency that charged me more than the website price. I never really thought about it, because I thought the price must have changed. My price difference was not as dramatic as yours. But, it is something that others should be careful of. I was told the owner of LI's name is Elaine.

Good Luck.

crarmy Jun 24th, 2005 08:05 AM

So sorry my mistake, the owner of Lost Iguana is Elaine. So sorry!!

Tess_Durberville Jun 24th, 2005 11:22 AM

Once you resolve this brouhaha & get there, it should be quite nice >>>
-- lost iguana, arenal, costa rica --;tid=34640390

beena Jun 24th, 2005 12:08 PM

Tess, yes I'm sure once we get there it will be great but I don't know that we will be at Lost Iguana because my time is running out and it's still unresolved and from what I've seen, the hotel is booking up quite rapidly. As before, I am playing a waiting game now with waiting for their reply. They gave away my room for 7/23 already but said they would hold the 21st and 22nd for me but only for 48 hrs. and I sent a reply right away yesterday morning but being that he sent the email at 1:48 THAT morning and I haven't heard back again, the "reservation hold" expires tonight, or technically tomorrow morn. at 1:48am (6/25). I have to wonder if they even are holding it for me. I couldn't switch and deal directly with the hotel, because I was told that there is actually only ONE "Owners Villa" and if is holding it for me, it wouldn't be available straight through the hotel. Hope this makes sense. Are you affiliated with the hotel?

lorac Jun 24th, 2005 04:58 PM

Well beena, I would agree that you should just email the Lost Iguana instead of going through someone else! My husband, daughter, grandson, and myself stayed in the Owner's Villa last month. We were there for two nights. I just found my receipt and looked at it. My total was $292.44....the breakdown is room charge $272.44 and then $20 more for something....could be doesn't say. Of course...that doesn't make sense since for two nights it should have been almost $400 but from my receipt it looks like $272.44 was the complete total.
They were very nice and brought up an extra mattress for us since my daughter and grandson didn't think that the sofa bed in the living room was going to be big enough for the two of them.
The Owner's Villa is at the top of a steep hill. We were on the second floor and I think that the space under us was another villa...I'm pretty sure that it there must be two!
We were disappointed that the dryer in the villa was not working when we were there. Maybe they have it fixed by now. I hope you get everything worked out.

lorac Jun 24th, 2005 05:01 PM

I was mistaken.....I forgot that we had to pay a $100 deposit! So, that would make our total $ I guess the price for the Owner's Villa was $190 per night.

beena Jun 24th, 2005 05:56 PM

Thanks Lorac, Boy it sounds like they didn't charge for extra people at all. Matter of fact, based on the 16.39% tax, I don't even think you were charged the full amount...luuucky. Let's see..
$190 x 16.39% = 31.14 (tax) = $221.14
x 2 nts. = $442.28.
So if you only paid $392.44, you def. made out well. I really don't understand it all. It's possible that they didn't charge for your grandson but that still would have come out to more than it did (for 1 xtra person). I give up, I'm so stressed out from all of this, I want to put it behind me. Actually, I talked (another call to CR) to reserv. mgr., Tara at LI this aft. and basically straightened it out. Not to my complete satisfaction because of course, we have to pay the $190+$15x2 (2 extras) for a whopping $256 a night(with tax). But also of course, because they gave my 1 nt. away- the 23rd! So we switched things around to stay there the 20, 21, 22. Now I kind-of wish I had just kept the 2 nights, instead of 3 because it really is too expensive. So we will have to stay somewhere in the SJ area (or central vlly.) 2 nights instead of the intended one. So I will be searching for a hotel between Arenal and SJ now. Also, we will have to check out of our rental early on the 20th to dash straight to LI, without stopping along the way. We had intended on going through Quepos, Jaco, Playa Herradura and checking it out. Playa Herradura sounds like it is alot nicer of an area than Jaco, etc. HAS ANYONE BEEN THERE OR STAYED THERE, IN PLAY HERRADURA? Looking in Lonely Planet's guide, it doesn't sound like there are any hotels to speak of, just a campground. What about TARCOLES? Is it nice? Does anybody know? Well, thanks for lending an ear, I appreciate it-it makes it more bearable. Hopefully now I can start to look forward to our trip in 3 wks! Although, we still haven't received our passports but that's a whole other story...

flycatcher06 Jun 25th, 2005 07:28 AM

Well I have to put my 2 cents in I made a reservation directly through them for a stay in March. When I received the confirmation it said 2 rooms instead of 1 - even though i told them we had 2 children and i knew we had to pay extra.
Short of the long is it took me a couple of weeks to get my deposit credited back even though i told them and it said on their website that occupany was 4. I thought it was just me but i too was upset that when we spoke we were only talking 1 room and yet when the confirmation came it was 2. My children would not stay alone nor do i want them to. It was a big to do anyways but finally they did give me my deposit back. It did leave a bad taste in my mouth and i would not stay with them. We stayed at Arenal Paraiso and we adored the volcan area and the people were really, really nice in this area. I booked a morning bird tour with Jacamar downtown and they too were on time and wonderful!

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