Monterrico ’s original backpacker spot, Hotel Baule Beach no longer holds much appeal because of the availability of much better options. Beds in unattractive rooms consist of a concrete slab with thin cushioning. Numerous thefts have also been reported. Stay here only if in dire need.
West from here, the next place over is El Kaiman (tel. 5617-9880), where for $7 per person you get a bed, a cold-water shower, and not much else. The hotel pool looked somewhat funky.
A good value in this price range can be found at Hotel Long Beach (tel. 5863-4419), down the street from Taberna El Pelícano, with spotless rooms with firm beds built next to a pool for $10 per person. There are hammocks for lounging outside your door.
An old standby enjoying a new lease on life, thanks to savvy web marketing and new management, is Johnny’s Place (tel. 5812-0409, www.johnnysplacehotel.com , $6 in dorm, $25–50 d) set right on the beach. The rooms are built so as to share a swimming pool with the unit next door and have cold-water showers, foamy beds, and some spartan furnishings under a thatched roof. Rooms with fan cost $25 d on weekends. Larger “deluxe suites” with air-conditioning, kitchen, and cable TV go for $50 on weekends. Rates are slightly less during the week. There’s a restaurant/bar on the beach and a sand volleyball court. It’s popular with a hip younger crowd.
Heading farther west along the beach, and set back a bit toward Calle Principal on a quiet side street you’ll find El Marlin (tel. 5715-4934), also seemingly popular with a younger crowd. There are a bar and a small pool with tables in the courtyard. The rooms have ceiling fan, private cold-water shower, cable TV, and thin mattresses. There are hammocks outside each door. Rates are $12 per person and it is open only on weekends outside of holidays.
West of Calle Principal along the beach you’ll find pleasant Café del Sol (tel. 5810-0821, www.cafe-del-sol.com ), where rooms in the original building with cold-water showers in private bath, fan, and mosquito netting cost $27 d. There’s a newer section behind the hotel across the street where slightly nicer rooms painted in cheerful yellows featuring some decor cost $33 d. The rooms also have a small patio fronting the street. The restaurant here is quite good.
East again from Calle Principal, around the corner and down the street from Taberna El Pelícano, is Hotel San Gregorio (tel. 2238-4690 or 5204-2013, www.hotelsangregorio.com ), with somewhat generic new rooms centered around a swimming pool for $40 d, all with air-conditioning, some with fan.
Along the beach heading east from town, you’ll find Hotel Pez de Oro (tel. 2368-3684 reservations or 7920-9785 hotel, www.pezdeoro.com ), an excellent choice with tastefully decorated rooms built around a swimming pool with wooden deck. The 11 attractive bungalows, all with private bath, feature terra-cotta floors, nice decorative accents, and firm beds. Rates are $40 d weekdays and $52 d on weekends. Equally well decorated and furnished raised-platform bungalows with nice decks (or patio) and hammock in a separate area with its own swimming pool cost the same. The restaurant here is recommended.
West of the main street, about 200 meters from the pedestrian thoroughfare, Atelie del Mar (tel. 5752-5528, www.hotelateliedelmar.com , $50–56 d) has somewhat smallish rooms centered around a sizeable swimming pool. The hotel is set away from the beach and there’s a restaurant with spotty service. (Avoid the room directly above the kitchen, as smells tend to filter in.) It’s worth springing the extra $6 for a room with a/c.
Eight kilometers east in the community of Hawaii, Hawaian Paradise (tel. 5361-3011, www.hawaianparadise.com , $93 d) is another welcome addition to the area’s hotel infrastructure. Comfortable air-conditioned rooms are housed in a cheerful yellow structure topped with a palapa-roof terrace. The hotel fronts a swimming pool and the ocean and has a restaurant/bar; there are also hammock lounges and a pool table. It’s the place to go if you’re not into Monterrico ’s somewhat raucous atmosphere and just want to get away from it all.
Monterrico’s most stylish beachside digs are at the Italian-owned Dos Mundos Pacific Resort (tel. 7823-0820, www.dosmundospacific.com , $120 d), located about one kilometer east of Monterrico, along the beach. This fabulous property features 14 luxurious beachfront villas with terra-cotta floors, hot-water shower, and air-conditioning housed in ecochic thatched-roof structures with private patio. The bathrooms feature artsy ceramic sinks and oversize “rain” showerheads. The fine restaurant serves excellent Italian cuisine overlooking an infinity-edge swimming pool and the sea.
Another option in this pricier domain is located east of Monterrico in the village of Hawaii. Casa Bella (www.casabellamonterrico.com , $150 per bungalow) offers spacious one or two-story bungalows (2 or 4 bedrooms) with cable TV, full kitchen, and sitting area featuring tropical rattan furniture. Each bungalow has a covered private patio with sea views. There is a pool and restaurant.