The casita started as a traditional Costa Rican house with ventilating block all around the tops of the walls, windows opening to the ocean breeze and an outdoor sink for all the cleaning. We have lovingly renovated it to include thatched roof, a shared laundry with the Casa (a second larger house on the wide lot, also available for rent in green season), an outdoor shower with mosaic floor, and extra large screened terrace with hammocks, dining table and chairs, two loungers and lots of space for outdoor living. A new outdoor sink remains, in a new location, for cleaning fish caught in the gulf. Indoors, there is a kitchen with coffee maker, blender, cook top, fridge, and a flip up coffee bar at the window, facing the ocean. The indoor bathroom has a shower with on-demand hot water. In the living room is a TV and DVD player, a Sarchi rocking chair and a double bed futon couch. Double doors lead to a separate bedroom with double bed (facing the ocean with a large window). The sound of waves lulls you to sleep. Overhead fans and one standing fan keep you cool.
Zancudo is an unique place in Costa Rica, close to the Panama border, quiet and free of any large commercial development. Supplies are bought at either of two tiendas which carry most of the necessities of life and not a lot of extras. Fresh fruits and vegetables arrive at the door twice a week by way of Emilio's truck - some of the most delicious produce you could imagine, as well as cheese and more selections of wine! Fresh fish is available from the fishermen at the point - snapper, corbina, tuna, dorado and shrimp. Somehow, we don't miss 'the extras'.
Playa Zancudo is a 7 kilometre long beach inhabited by about 300 Costa RIcans, a friendly community of expats, and visiting tourists. The beach is spectacular and most of the time almost deserted. Swimming is safe and beautiful - gentle waves in the morning for a peaceful float and swim, or bigger waves in the afternoon for boogie boards. Occasionally, there is bio-luminescence for a magical night swim, When the tide is out, biking or walking the beach is the way to get from one end to the other. If the tide is in, there is a single road that runs parallel to the beach. A car is not necessary, as there is a taxi across the street to take you long distances and from day to day, most places are accessible by foot or bike.
From the large screened terrace at Casita Playa Plata, we watch the ocean through the palms and are often delighted by a visit from iguanas, green parrots, and a great variety of birds that pass through the trees. Scarlet mackaws have recently been spotted flying by... there are also humpback whale and dolphin sightings.
We have a volleyball court with a view of the ocean, ready for the games crowd and chairs ready for the spectators. Sometimes the biggest decision is whether to eat on the terrace or try out one of the beach restaurants, lie in a hammock or read in the shade of the rancho on the beach, enjoy the breeze from the ocean and watch the waves or take the plunge (with or without boogie boards), take the bikes or walk to explore the beach.
Zancudo also has a number of excellent restaurants - two doors from the casita is some of the finest Italian food I've ever had. Lali of Puerta Negra makes her own pasta and grows the herbs she needs in pots around the outdoor dining room, hung with canopy cloth ceilings and soft lighting. Sol y Mar is a short walk and always has good food and often live entertainment. The menu includes beef tenderloin with brandy cream sauce, fresh tuna (sashimi and steaks) and much more, some Tico fare, and great fruit batidos. It is also a bar, book exchange and small clothing store. Oceano has fresh bread and pizzas by order, and great fresh fish dinners, as well as special events and menus. There are a several other dining places with excellent menus - Coloso and Katherine's Soda are the favourites of many on the beach, Margot's Mar y Luna and Soda Loritos for an amazing Tico fish fry and for a fine dining experience, Zancudo Lodge.
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Keywords: casita with screened terrace
Jim and I are retired Canadians - biologist and visual arts teacher - from Peterborough, Ontario. We had visited Costa Rica several times before we came to Zancudo on the recommendation of a friend in 2010. In the fifth week of our six week rental here, we decided that Zancudo was everything we could ever hope for in a home away from home.
Everyone in Zancudo seems to have the time to visit or pass on a friendly greeting as you move around the area - 'Hola' and 'Buenos dias' must be your first Spanish words when you spend time here. The Ticos and the expat community are very welcoming. I spend my days swimming, biking, reading, exploring local cuisine and making things. Jim loves gardening and fishing. On his first fishing trip out in the gulf, he caught a spectacular dorado - that may have been the moment we decided to stay.
We found this wonderful property - beautifully treed with icacos, almonds, and coco palms, and further enhanced with hibiscus, beach spider lily, bromeliads, heliconia, orchids, and more tropical plants than I could name. It has the perfect location for convenience and safe swimming (grandkids do come for visits) and two great houses - the casa and the casita. We proceeded to make it home - first the casa ( available to rent in green season), where we live for 5 months of the year, and then the casita.
We love it here.
We are very happy to be in a quiet, friendly, safe, laid back beach community. There are no high rises, condo deveopments, or malls. Life is simple here.
We feel healthier and happier as we spend a lot of time outdoors, get exercise, fresh air and healthful food - fresh and delicious. Socially, we can be as quiet or as busy as we like - we've met new friends on the beach and are coming to know many of the expats and Ticos who live here. It is also possible to become involved with the village life - face painting for the children at the annual festival, games nights, potlucks, holiday parties, Cowboy Days horseback ride, etc...
Costa Ricans say it best - Pura vida.
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