|Minimum Stay||3 nights|
Completed in February 2007, this Spanish Mediterranean-style house is located in Palm Beach Estates in Las Baulas Marine National Park in Guanacaste.
The house is a 5-minute walk to Playa Grande beach, the seasonal nesting grounds of the endangered leatherback turtle and an internationally famous surfing beach, and also to the mangrove estuary, several restaurants, a market/bar/internet cafe, and surfboard rentals and lesson providers. Tamarindo is accessible within a short walk via the beach and water taxi to cross the estuary, or in 25 minutes by car.
A separate studio apartment on the property is available as as an additional rental for larger groups, or as a standalone rental for individuals and couples.
Our property manager is based right in Playa Grande and readily available to assist with all aspects of your vacation, including arranging ground transportation and child care services, as well as booking the many tours and activities available in the area.
The main house has 3 bedrooms (2 upstairs, 1 downstairs), each with a queen-size bed, its own closet with security safe, and private balcony/lookout, plus 2 full bathrooms (one with a double shower and one with a bathtub). The downstairs contains a spacious open living and dining area, full kitchen with oven, microwave, refrigerator/freezer with icemaker, range/breakfast island, and a study/reading room with ADSL broadband internet connection that opens up to the pool and patio area. The upstairs has a sitting room with cable TV and DVD player, plus a full-size futon for additional sleeping space. All rooms have individually controlled air-conditioning and ceiling fans, all floors are wide Brazilian tile, and there are 4 telephones available throughout the house.
If you need additional room, we also have a studio apartment, available as a separate rental unit, which contains an additional full-size bed and futon, as well as a small kitchen, dining table, full bathroom, and its own telephone line.
The outside features a large wrap-around terrace with a dining area and hammock, semi-shaded lap pool with patio and chairs, lush tropical garden with plentiful flora and full-grown trees, and an outdoor shower for rinsing off after the beach. There are plenty of wildlife viewing opportunities available right from the terrace or patio, with hundreds of birds, howler monkeys, iguanas and butterflies in the neighborhood.
Our property manager is based right in Playa Grande and readily available to assist with all aspects of your vacation, including arranging ground transportation, a private chef if desired, child care, laundry and grocery shopping services, as well as booking the many tours and activities available in the area, such as surfing, SCUBA, snorkeling, sunset sailing, deep sea fishing, horseback riding, estuary boat tours, zipline canopy tours, bike rentals, golf, tennis, turtle watching, yoga, massage and spa treatments.
My brother and I live in Massachusetts and are co-owners of this property. Our father, a veterinarian, purchased the land in 2004 upon becoming enamored with Costa Rica during his first visit to Playa Grande. Along with a professional architect, and after many months of research and searching for materials throughout Costa Rica, he designed the house using his own background in architecture, which he had studied prior to turning his focus to veterinary medicine.
The house was constructed throughout 2005 and 2006 and was completed in February 2007, with our father spending at least one week per month there to supervise and participate directly in the construction. Sadly, he passed away in May 2008 and did not have much time to enjoy the results of his labor, but the house stands as a testament to the many years of passion, dedication and effort he poured into it.
Our father loved hosting groups of guests at his home for dinners, dancing and relaxing, and made a point to head to the beach every evening for the beautiful Playa Grande sunsets. While we are unable to spend much time there ourselves, we are honored to continue our father's legacy, and hope you will find Casa de La Vida Grande (as he named it) the perfect destination for your Costa Rica vacation.
Colin Ovitsky purchased this house in 2004
Casa de La Vida Grande is everything the pictures show brought to life. The grounds are kept immaculate, the pool is exactly the way to relax after the Coast Rican sun comes up, and it is so close to everything. Spend your day at the secluded beaches only steps away from the house, enjoy the variety of cuisine from the eight nearby restaurants, or take a short boat ride into town for anything you might need. Senorita Casitas stocked our house with beer and fruit after our long flight and the trip just took off from there. Everything you need is within reach from Casa de La Vida Grande, and we will certainly be back.
We travelled to Costa Rica with our 3 sons (ages 7, 6, 4) and my parents. For 4 adults and 3 kids, the house was ideal for us. The proximity to the ocean (only a few minutes walk), as well as our own pool was great. This allowed us to have the best of both worlds - ocean time and pool time. The house had lots of room, with a layout that worked really nicely. The rooms were quite spacious so it allowed all three boys to share one room.
It was mostly stocked with everything we needed. The few items that were lacking (towels, plates) were dealt with by the Manager within a day or so. We used the BBQ almost every night, except when it did run out of propane. The Manager had a full tank there two days later, which worked out fine. The house itself was very nicely built. We loved all the wood features. The kitchen was in need of some repair from wear and tear. We have made this suggestion to the Manager, so hopefully it will be dealt with in the near future.
The yard was fabulous and offered tons of room for our boys to play and explore. The outdoor shower was a great feature as we could shower off after the beach or pool. The WiFi was pretty sketchy for the first day or two, but seemed to work fine for the rest of the trip.
In terms of things to do:
We spent several days at the ocean. We rented boogie boards and a surfboard from the hostel in Palm Beach Estates - a very inexpensive way to have a great time in the water! We did a one day trip to Rincon de la Vieja. We were able to find our way to the Las Pailas entrance, and did a few hours of hiking up there – great scenery and really neat for the kids to see the mud pots, steam vents and monkeys. We did a day exploring Playa Flamingo and Playa Conchal. We did some snorkeling at Playa Conchal. In Brasilito we stumbled upon a local whose uncle owned a fishing boat, so we ended up going fishing for half a day with the family. We stumbled upon another local while walking around Tamarindo who took our family on a bit of a private turtle watching tour. We went to the Saturday morning market in Tamarindo – great place to get beaded jewellery, crafts, and fruit. We did several sunsets on the beach. The proximity of the house to the beach made this a perfect way to end the evening before heading back to the house for supper. We did the 2 hour estuary tour from Bula Bula. It was pretty good, as we saw a crocodile, lots of birds, and monkeys. And finally, we enjoyed happy hour drinks at Bula Bula.
This spacious home with an in ground pool was perfect for our week-long stay in Costa Rica. There were only two of us, so we kept to the first floor. The kitchen is well-appointed, and the open floor plan made it convenient for talking while preparing meals. The bed was comfortable, which is rare in a rental. The home was clean, and the cleaning people came in twice during our stay.
It's a short walk to the beach, where there's miles of walking, great shell collecting, and access to the water taxis to Tamarindo (in case you want to remind yourself why you booked in Playa Grande, which is the polar opposite in terms of crowding than Tamarindo). This is a popular surfing beach, but with so much room, I had no problems swimming in the surf. People spread out nicely. Going to the beach at sunset is a treat. It's the busiest time of the day, where most residents make the short walk to witness the end of the day. If you plan to walk after dark, bring a light so you can find your way back to the access path. We didn't one night, and fortunately found a home with the lights on so we could pass through and find our rental. Being on the beach in the darkness was a sky-gazing treat.
There's a small convenience store around the corner, and a couple of restaurants you can walk to. In spite of this, the neighborhood is very quiet. The road in is fairly rough, but easily navigable with a rental car. We opted for all wheel drive, and weren't disappointed. As bird watchers, we were amazed at the diversity in the neighborhood. We had 9 lifers before we finished our coffee the first morning. The Super Mega market has signs all over the place, but they are out of business. The nearest supermarket is in Tamarindo, which is about a 15 minute drive. I'd recommend the 1820 coffee, it was better than anything you'll get at home, and very inexpensive. Plan on buying drinking water, since the homes in this area of Costa Rica use holding tanks. We did drink the tap water without impact, but it has a bit of a stale taste.
The property manager was attentive and responsive. The coffee pot died on our first day, and they had a replacement there within an hour of our informing them. The directions to find the house are difficult to follow. Road signs in Costa Rica are scarce and often inaccurate. We ended up using Waze on our iPhone to get around. The internet connection was slow, and didn't travel far. This may be the router, or the connection.
My family and I stayed at Casa de La Vida Grande the last week of 2015 and it was fantastic!
Colin, Shawna and Jorge attention was great, thanks for everything!
The house is very nice, clean, spacious and fully equipped.
And Playa Grande is spectacular! near to Playa Minas and Bahía de los Piratas which are two beautiful places, with great view and very quiet.
Casa de la Vida Grande was home away from home for all 11 of our family members: my husband & our 9-mos old (in the studio), my sister & her husband & their 4 kids (4-14), and my parents (65 & 78). There was enough room for everyone & the house was clean, comfortable, quiet, well-maintained, and very pretty.
Colin & his property manager Alyssa were great, answering all of our questions before & during our visit. The house definitely lived up to our expectations.
We all very much enjoyed the pool, especially the kids - it's small, but big enough to do some lap swimming. It's about 4.5' deep at the deep end. 1 caveat - there's no barrier preventing pool access so you have to watch the little ones anytime they're outside.
The veranda was where we all spent most of our time - it's a great place to sit in the sun or the shade, to eat, & to lounge.
There were mosquitoes in the evening tho we didn't really have a problem inside. The AC was welcome as it was above 90 degrees for most of our visit. The beds were comfortable. Having in-house laundry was great.
We did have a few little issues come up (broken toilet seat, ran out of gas in the stove, lost water pressure) but Alyssa addressed them all quickly & I think this might be par for the course in rural Costa Rica.
We only had a car for 3 days of our stay & I think it would have been better to have one a bit longer. There are lots of things to do without a car:
- Estuary tour is GREAT
- Playa Grande is beautiful & totally pristine & undeveloped thanks to its Marine park status. It's pretty rough water for swimming but playing in the surf is doable.
- There are a handful of restaurants in the area - some a few minutes' walk & some more like a 45-minute walk either along the road or the beach.
- Other beaches are close enough to walk or cab for snorkeling, surfing etc.
- Seeing the turtles nest is incredible.
- Tamarindo is very close by boat for groceries etc. but it's kind of a hole.
- The house itself has quite a variety of bird life. We also saw bats, lizards, & tons of cool insects, & we did see howlers nearby once.
But with a car there are lots of good day trips:
- Lots of beaches & beach towns to explore (Playa Potrero is very sweet!)
- small farmer's market on Fridays en route to Playa Flamingo
- Rincon Volcano
- Llanos de Cortez Waterfall
- Zip lines, monkey park, butterfly house, etc.
If you do an overnight you can also visit Monteverde or Arenal.
This was the first trip to Costa Rica for myself, my wife and our accompanying grad student son. On this trip, we were more interested in simply relaxing and hitting the beach. This property was ideally suited for both of these goals...one of the best beaches (Playa Grande) I've ever seen is within a 5 minute walk out the front door. The location of the house (in Palm Beach Estates) is in a small residential community (with just enough resources for visitors but not touristy).
The house itself is attractive and has excellent furnishings and amenities (incl. gas BBQ grill). My wife loves eating outside, so when we ate at the house, we ate every meal on the outside covered patio. The weather (late-Dec) was perfect every day and in our collective opinion, eating breakfast outside with a warm breeze and a mug of brewed Costa Rican coffee can't be beat. Likewise, returning after a day at the beach, sitting on the couch/comfy chairs on the patio or in the pool, with an Imperial (Costa Rican beer) in hand - what's better than that?
All of the descriptions of the property were accurate...there is land-line telephone, and connectivity to internet which worked flawlessly. Electric is same as American, water is safe to drink and use, and everyone takes US dollars.
In the time period prior to our vacation, I was in periodic email contact with Colin (property owner) who took great care and time to answer all of my questions. His property manager in Costa Rica (an American, Alyssa, "Senorita Casitas") was super-helpful and friendly: she arranged airport pick-up at Liberia airport - 1 hour to house (BTW - airport pick-up is ALSO available for flight into San Jose...4 hours, I'm told); she went grocery shopping for us; she arranged activities (zipline canopy tour). Colin had a cleaning crew in every couple of days for general house cleaning and fresh linens; and gardeners/pool people as well.
The busy touristy town of Tamarindo is located across the river and there are water taxis that take you across during daylight (cost us $3 USD per person)...best way to do this is to go to the bar at Bula Bula and ask them to call you a taxi...we had to wait around ten minutes at the little dock there.
There are several restaurants within easy walking distance (I mentioned Bula Bula above) and also, a small grocery/general store. We didn't have a car for the week we were there and did fine.
In conclusion - we liked it so much we've already booked another stay!
Casa le La Vida Grande is all that you can ask for in a vacation home. Less than 7 minute slow walk to the beach, 3 restaurants, and a market. It is everything you see in the pictures. The wraparound porch was especially nice; all our dining was outdoors with accompanying jungle sounds of monkeys, birds, and crashing waves.
I typically perform surveillance when staying a new place, to compare for alternative places for future trips. But I did not do that this time – I don’t see how you could possibly upgrade from Casa le La Vida Grande.
All our future trips to this location will be at Casa le La Vida Grande.
Other Activities: kayaking, wildlife viewing
|Refundable damage deposit||$200|
Rental rate includes daily pool cleaning, housekeeping three times per week, all linens, beach towels, and many staple items.
Low (May-Oct): $270/night, $1600/wk
High (Nov-Apr): $300/night, $1800/wk
Holiday (New Year's, Christmas, Easter): $420/night, $2500/wk
Low (May-Oct): $60/night, $360/wk
High (Nov-Apr): $80/night, $480/wk
Holiday: $100/night, $600/wk