Welcome to our weekly series Hotel Tip of The Week. Being on the road every day of the year means we stay at countless hotels along the way. For all the dingy, disappointing budget digs, there are as many budget accommodation gems. We post one hotel tip of the week, every week, of places we feel confident recommending after having tried and tested them ourselves to show you how budget travel can be possible as well as enjoyable.
Cabinas Atlantic Surf may be a modest and moderately-priced hotel, but the managers are five-star all the way. Sometimes we rave about a hotel’s amenities, other times it’s all about the beds, showers or the view. At Cabinas Atlantic Surf, we ended up staying an extra night at the hotel thanks to Wendy and Javier, the super-friendly couple in charge of this hostel in Cahuita, Costa Rica.
The cabinas themselves are sturdy wooden rooms with large screened-in windows. Each room has one large double bed and one small single bed – both comfortable and clean – and an en-suite bathroom with shower (some hot, for $$ extra). The house is surrounded by a luscious green garden and resident cat, with a path leading to a newly-built kitchen built by Wendy and Javier at the back of the hotel (see Stand Out Features below).
Not to be confused with the actual owners, Jenn and Shannon, this Tico/American couple to manage the hotel. Javier, from California, splits his days between keeping the hostel in top condition, chatting with guests, and playing the guitar with a couple of other hotel owners on the block, while his girlfriend Wendy, from Heredia, Costa Rica, tells stories and makes you laugh while she sweeps away. The four of us talked about everything from road trips and music to ideas for new companies and renewable energy. For two digital nomads to stay two nights in a hotel with no wi-fi means we must have been plenty charmed by this pair.
Stand Out Feature: A clean & spacious kitchen
Wendy built the kitchen, so it is brand new, spotless and comes fully equipped with an electric kettle, traditional Costa Rican coffee maker, toaster oven, toaster, a stove and a fridge. Wendy even keeps spices, oil and other basic ingredients available for guests to use. There is a small table with chairs, but the kitchen could use an additional dining table would have been nice as it was awkward to eat at the table.
Stand Out Feature: Stay for free!
Cabinas Atlantic Surf offers free accommodation in return for help at the hostel, a fabulous deal for long-term travellers looking for an extended stay in Cahuita, Costa Rica.
Room for improvement: Wi-fi
Cabinas Atlantic Surf does not have wi-fi. You can try to get online from the neighbor’s connection, but it is not reliable. We know not all hotel guests require wi-fi, but having had internet access in far more remote locations, it should be possible in one of Costa Rica’s most popular tourist destinations. Who knows, we may have stayed even longer, too!
Cabinas Atlantic Surf offers basic, clean and spacious rooms at a good price. All rooms have a private bathroom as well as a little balcony with hammocks which makes for a great space to relax with one of the huge cups of fresh Costa Rican coffee. The kitchen is an inviting space to prepare meals and is the perfect place for travelers to mingle. The proximity of the hostel to the (free) National Park makes it a breeze to spot sloths or monkeys any time of day.
Price: Double rooms with private bath and hot water US$25, single rooms with private bath US$20, rooms with private bath without hot water US$10 per person
Gay Friendly: yes
Amenities: Kitchen, balconies, 5 minutes walk to the National Park
Digital Nomad Friendly: Not until they get wireless internet