So, the last place I stayed in my 8 days in Costa Rica was in the town of La Fortuna, at Gringo Pete's.
La Fortuna is a rather bustling town on the east side of the Volcan Arenal, the 2nd most active volcano in the world.
Gringo Pete himself is a charming expat American thats been living in Costa Rica for 4 years, originally from the Pacific North West.
Accomadations were cheap, and great, especially considering the money spent.
Pete will give you "de tour" (get there and you'll understand) and you'll see one of the better appointed hostels in Costa Rica. He has everything there you'll need, with the exception of an internet connection, but even that is only a 5 minute walk away to one of the many internet cafes in town. (hint: the cheapest ones are about 350-400 colones for 30 minutes. Check the one across from Super Christian 2 super market, facing the park/bus station. Its in a souvenir and tourist info shop. AC and fast computers, as well as cheap phone back to the States/Canada.)
So, the details:
My dorm room cost $3 per night, had an in-room shower, and the toilet was a quick walk across the hall. But Pete's has MANY showers and toilets, so no worries, and the water was pretty damned warm.
The large communal kitchen/living room area borders the entrances to several more rooms, as well as the back yard with the BBQ grill, Rascal the Parrot's cage, covered clothesline, large covered patio, and a second building with more rooms. Pete feeds the birds next to the hammock every morning, so bird watching is plentiful.
Pete has laundry service as well. Elizabeth, the Tica that works there, will wash, dry, and folk your clothes for 2000 colones (at the time, $4.) Get a couple folks to combine loads and save some cash. Its still FAR cheaper than the local laundromats, and no worries about someone taking your boxers
Pete will rent you a towel for a deposit, as well. This came in handy on our tour to the Baldi Hot Springs, and frankly, using my nasty pack towel for showering wasn't an option.
Pete has a bunch of board games, cards, etc, and tons of info about other hostels and tours all over. in the communal kitchen, there are plenty of utensils and cooking gear, so even a professional chef will feel at home (though the knives were a bit dull, Cuidado!!). The kitchen is open 24/7, so if you get a late nite munchies attack, no worries. (or if its 12am and you really need a beer!)
Pete also has an acoustic guitar in the office, so if you want to strum a bit, just ask. If you do swing by there, bringing him a set of strings wouldn't be the worst thing to get on his good side! (or a tuner. I was afraid to adjust it for fear I'd break a string and he wouldn't have replacements!) There is also a book exchange as well, but make sure you are going for something of similar size.
Elizabeth keeps the place clean all day, so be sure to take care of her. When I cooked dinner, we always made sure she was fed!
The best thing about Pete's-- Pete himself. He doesn't charge as much commission for the tours and excursions, so the best-kept secret is that his tours are usually a couple bucks less than everyone else. Plus, he's a pretty nice guy and puts up with a lot, especially when a bunch of drunks are sitting in the common area after 10pm chugging guara! (thanks Pete!)
Anyway, when I'm in La Fortuna again, I will definitely be staying there. Really nice guy, nice place, and REALLY affordable.