Hotel El Bambu
Combining natural beauty with the city luxury, Hotel El Bambu manages 40 rooms in the rainforest around the back of the hotel, while the front is in the city's main square across from the soccer field, 200 feet from the bus station and surrounded by restaurants and shops. It's the best location of any hotel in Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui.read more close
To get to the rooms, guests walk along wooden-deck hallways above forest floor. It's a lot like walking on a dock, except 10 feet off the ground and through the sub-canopy of the rainforest.
There are 25 superior rooms, $93, each with 2 queen-size beds, A/C, cable TV, fan, private bath/showers, closets and balconies, most of which look out on the rainforest (the rest look out on the pool). They've also got 15 standard rooms, $78, that have most of the same perks, but smaller beds and no balconies. The Wi-Fi network is fast, consistent and available in the rooms.
Hotel El Bambu Restaurant and Bar
Open all day, the restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. The menu ranges from western comfort foods like club sandwiches and cheeseburgers to classic Costa Rican casado (a plate of rice, beans, plantains, salad and a meat) and Caribbean dishes. They've also got vegetarian, Italian, steak and seafood. Prices for dinner entrees are between $5 and $10.
Try the grilled red snapper with coconut milk, thyme and chilies served with a spicy blend of Caribbean style rice, beans and salsa.
Tours in the Area
For those interested in wildlife, bird watching, bat, frog and safari river tours are all available nearby. For adventure, Bambu suggests canoeing, horseback riding, mountain biking riding, zip lining and white water rafting. Foodies may like to visit the region's pineapple and banana farms or set up a chocolate tour at the Tirimbina wildlife.
Most of the tour operators in Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui don't offer transportation from the hotel so the easiest way to get around is renting a car (the hotel has its own parking lot). However, for guests making the trip by bus, Bambu's proximity to the bus station makes it a great choice for catching local buses and taxis, which usually park on the street outside the bus station.
Ecotourism and Conservation
El Bambu protects three acres of rainforest surrounding the rooms at the rear of the hotel, but that's not what makes it unique. On the first floor, underneath the rooms, the hotel uses a specially-designed water treatment system that converts waste into methane gas (used for cooking) and treated water that can be used to fertilize the flora surrounding the back of the hotel - oh and they compost too.