Make Sure You Visit Before You Kick the Bucket!
I understand the title seems rather over dramatic and exaggerated in nature, and if you’re as big of a skeptic as me perhaps even suspicious. I do not blame you one bit.
I was in the same shoes, despite the lack of reviews under my belt (I’m working on it!), I’ve been using tripadvisor for the past 3 years and I spend a good amount of time before each trip, a total of at least a few hours before leaving the home country, just comparing places, and planning routes. It is not an exaggeration to say I’ve looked at at least a few hundred hotels/b&b/excursion places on tripadvisor, so when I saw Cristal Azul’s reviews with 5/5 ratings in such predominance, I was in disbelief. Afterall, this is a website where not even a $400++/night get such score.
Here is how they do it.
- They treat you as if you’re their extended family, a guest at their home at the very least, not just a customer or a source of income.They perfect this by accommodating only a handful of guests at any given time. In fact, they only have 4 rooms, and yes each one has amazing ocean view that just rolls off the hill they’re situated on. The sheets and towels are clean, and A/C runs strong yet quiet.
They have a number of employees that are all more than willing to help.
The owners Zene and Henner themselves have impeccable hospitality. They will make sure, every morning you will have a bottomless cup of Costa Rican coffee, and breakfast be served when you’re ready. They will make sure there’s always cold juice, beer, mint water in the fridge. They will make sure everything in the room is just the way you expected. They will share their own medication if you feel ill(yes, this happened). They will be there with a container of rice if your phone accidentally falls in the pool(yes, this happened). They will tell you as much as you can take in about anything you’d like to know, from local politics, what locals do for living, how the area has transformed over the years to what to do tomorrow and where to go/eat. Do not make the same mistake we did, if you find them as interesting and fun to talk to as we, along with vast majority of these reviewers did, ask them to join, otherwise their respect for your privacy will have them limiting their pleasant “interference”.
- They have amazing food.Let’s face the fact that no matter what restaurant I compare Cristal Azul to, the odds of the reader of this review in this world wide web having been to the same restaurant is in between slim and none. Luckily, there is a general rule called you get what you pay for. Granted, there are always restaurants that sell the atmosphere and experience more than quality of ingredients and flavour dazzling dishes, but for the sake of this review, let’s put them out of the equation. Bottom line, if you were to ask me “how much would you pay to have the same Cristal Azul dinner here at home?” My answer would be somewhere between $70-$100/person. I still remember the perfectly seasoned and seared local catch of the day(literally) tuna fillet with a side of rice and fresh salad including grilled banana desert and a few glasses that cost me not even half of that at Cristal Azul.
The mango tree that you’ll find behind the rooms, if you’re not watching the monkeys eat the mangoes, pick one off the tree, for once you can be assured what you have in your hand is 100% organic, preservative free mango.
Even with such amazing food at their disposal, they’ll give you tips, in fact encourage you to to eat at restaurants in the surrounding area, just so you get a richer experience.
- Zene and Henner’s unique combination; American born and raised “Ex-pat” and Costa Rican born and raised local, offer variety of insights from easier to grasp perspective for people from North America. Them, having traveled many countries as well, I don’t doubt are able to offer you a very global, and non blinkered perspective on many things not limited to just Costa Rica. If you have difficulty communicating with them in English or Spanish, I can only suspect the lack of skill on your end. They may even speak more languages, but I can’t comment on those.
- Their hillside pool’s infinity edge seemingly spilling over onto the pacific ocean in distance, that picture and the idea of being in the 10′N of the equator sun, that was enough for me to book the place. (Mind you, I booked this place before I even booked the flight, I had the time off, and once I saw this place, I didn’t care how and when, I just knew I was going there). The view, and that certain serenity that can only wrap you once you’re at a certain distance from other businesses and street noises, they have it all.
All in all, no matter how much you read about this, no matter how many 1000 words worth of pictures you look at, you will get more by visiting this place. Don’t get sucked into other places in San Miguel or the province of Guancaste the way we did(unless it is for something that can’t be offered by Cristal Azul i.e volcano view), or should I say go ahead and do so, so you can draw your own conclusion that this is THE place to go, either way, I’d like to take this last bit to thank Zene and Henner along with the staff members for everything from their suggestions and tips to the food to the warm heart you have reached out to us with. This vacation was definitely one of those that nourished my soul thanks to you guys. Take care, god bless!