My teen daughter, adult son and I stayed at the Casita in early April and it was a fabulous experience. I had seen the pictures and did some research on the area before arriving but I was still taken aback by the beauty when we arrived at the Casita. I "planned" on doing a lot of exploring of the area, but after getting there, I didn't want to leave the Casita much. We still did some exploring around Centro and certainly throughout Santiago, but it was always nice being home at the Casita watching and listening to the waves crash on the beach.
The caretaker (Lupita and her sons) were very helpful all week, and the neighbor was a wealth of information about the area. He had suggestions on where to go, when to go, etc. His hospitality was greatly appreciated.
My kids and I preferred staying in the Santiago area. We enjoyed the authentic feel of the town and the local hospitality. We decided not to rent a car for this trip and I was worried that would be a problem, but the taxis are plentiful and very affordable. It was a short walk to the main park in Santiago where the taxis lined up and even a trip to Centro Manzanillo (20 minutes away) only cost about 80-100 pesos.
The Casita was nicely furnished and very comfortable. My kids spent an inordinate amount of time inside the Casita because that's where the wifi signal was strongest. With a minor upgrade on the wifi, the kids would have been able to sit under the palapa and still be "connected."
The abundance of board games was a nice surprise. Although my kids are older (16 and 22), we fell into a habit of playing board games every night for a couple hours, beginning at sunset. Sitting outside at the table listening to the surf while spending time with both of my kids was the best experience I could have hoped for.
The highest review you can give a place is if you would go back. Before I even left Santiago, I started looking at my calendar to see when I can return.