Hotels in Playa Negra
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On the shorefront road about three kilometers north of Cahuita is the laid-back aged wooden Cabinas Algebra (tel./fax 506/2755-0057, www.cabinasalgebra.com, $18–33 s/d), run by a German named Alfred and his charming wife, Andrea; they offer three double cabins with hot water, and a four-person unit with kitchen. I enjoyed a tasty, wholesome meal in the offbeat restaurant, where a local reggae band sometimes plays.
Casa Caleta (www.sitiviajes.com/red_talamana.html, $78 pp including meals and tour), in the hills about 5 kilometers southwest of Cahuita, offers a chance to stay with an indigenous family. It has two bedrooms with shared bathroom and two rooms with private bathroom in a rustic two-story cabin.
The Chalet & Cabinas Hibiscus (tel. 506/2755-0021, www.hotels.co.cr/hibiscus.html, from $40 s/d, $50–100 chalets low season; $50 s/d, $60–120 chalets high season) is one of the best places in Cahuita, with five pleasing cabinas plus four chalets for 3–10 people. There’s no restaurant, but the units have kitchens, plus ceiling fans and hot water. Chalets have a spiral staircase up to the 2nd floor, where rockers and hammocks allow a balcony siesta. There’s a swimming pool, volleyball court, and game room, plus WiFi.
The Swiss-run Bungalow Malú (tel. 506/2255-0114, bungalowmalu [at] gmail [dot] com, from $52 s or $60 d low season, from $57 s, $69 d high season) offers five spacious thatched octagonal wooden cabins in landscaped grounds. Each is tucked out of view of the other and has air-conditioning, refrigerator, fans, WiFi, Guatemalan bedspread, and quaint stone-floored bathroom with hot water, plus stone balconies. One unit has a kitchen. The restaurant offers fine Italian fare, and the natural-themed pool provides a refreshing dip.
Further south, a dirt road leads inland 50 meters to Centro Turístico Brigitte (tel. 506/2755-0053, www.brigittecahuita.com, $15 s or $20 d rooms, $35 s or $40 d bungalow with kitchen), run by Swiss-born Brigitte. This is rustic Cahuita at its best, with two simple cabins with hot water. Meals are served in a charming little restaurant, and Brigitte offers horseback tours ($45, half-day). Brigitte also rents houses.
Cabinas Iguana (tel. 506/2755-0005, www.cabinas-iguana.com, $20 s/d rooms, $35–70 bungalows low season; $25 s/d rooms, $40–80 bungalows high season), still further south, is also run by a Swiss couple. They offer six different units, including a large wooden house with rooms for six people, a smaller house for three people, and a bungalow (without kitchen) with bunks and a double bed. All are clean and have hot water, plus verandas with hammocks, as well as WiFi. There’s a small, attractive pool and sundeck with cascade, and trails lead through the expansive grounds.
For romantic ambience, I recommend El Encanto Bed & Breakfast Inn (tel. 506/2755-0113, www.elencantobedandbreakfast.com, $56 s or $60 d low season, $60 s or $70 d high season), a splendid and fully equipped two-story bed-and-breakfast run by French-Canadians. They offer three rooms in the main building, with queen-size orthopedic mattresses and Guatemalan bed covers, Oriental carvings, ceiling fans, and pleasant bathrooms. They also have cabins in a well-maintained garden, a fully furnished apartment, and a lovely house with balcony, plus a small but exquisite patio restaurant and secure parking. It has a yoga center and an amoeba-shaped pool that oozes tranquility. Rates include breakfast (and taxes in low season).
The equally romantic Magellan Inn (tel./fax 506/2755-0035, www.magellaninn.com, $55 s/d standard, $75 s/d with a/c, $100 s/d deluxe low season; $65 s/d standard, $85 s/d with a/c, $110 s/d deluxe high season, including continental breakfast) is set in lush landscaped grounds. Six spacious, sparsely furnished rooms are done up in mauves, with plentiful hardwoods, tile floors, and bathrooms with piping-hot water. French doors open onto private patios. All rooms have WiFi. The lounge, with Oriental rugs and sofas, is an atmospheric place to relax. A sunken swimming pool is cut into a coral reef. Although its Casa Creole restaurant closed, guests can savor gourmet table d’hôte meals from the original chef.
Claiming its own little beach and ideal for yoga practitioners, La Diosa (tel. 506/2755-0055, www.hotelladiosa.net, $55–100 s/d low season, $60–105 s/d high season) is one of the most inviting lodgings in Cahuita. Adorned with river stones, the four lovely rooms and six inviting bungalows are painted in lively canary yellow and tropical blues, with divinely comfortable double beds (with batik spreads) on poured-concrete platforms, plus WiFi and spacious modern bathrooms. Two cabins have whirlpool tubs in raised platforms. It has a small pool and a lovely yoga space adorned with Asian art.
Dedicated yoga buffs should check into the Goddess Garden Nature Retreat & Spa (tel. 506/2755-0444, www.thegoddessgarden.com, call for package rates), amid rainforest at Tuba Creek, one kilometer north of Playa Negra. This spiritual retreat has 12 rooms, a restaurant, swimming pool, and conference center, plus a huge yoga center.
Suizo Loco Lodge & Resort (tel. 506/2755-0349, www.suizolocolodge.com, $86–107 s/d low season, $110–135 s/d high season), inland at the north end of Playa Negra, is a tropics-meets-Alps lodge with 10 cozy if meagerly appointed cabins in landscaped grounds. The highlight is the romantic thatched restaurant overlooking a figure-eight pool.
Competing in the same price range and with similar ambience and facilities is the French-Canadian-run Atlántida Lodge (tel. 506/2755-0115, fax 506/2755-0213, www.atlantida.cr, $35 s or $45 d standard low season, $45 s or $55 d standard high season, $80 s/d deluxe year-round), closer to the village. I like the use of stone for the spacious cabins with their tartan spreads.
Delightful Playa Negra Guesthouse (tel. 506/2755-0127, www.playanegra.cr, $45–55 s/d room, $75–100 cottage low season; $55–70 s/d room, $85–120 cottage high season) has two rooms and three spacious gingerbread cottages (two with two bedrooms) in lush gardens. Ceramic floors detract from an otherwise tropical motif, such as rattan furniture, but thankfully they have ceiling fans, WiFi, safes, and large french doors opening to patios. This is now the standout property at Playa Negra. It has a small pool.
© Christopher P. Baker from Moon Costa Rica, 8th Edition