|Minimum Stay||3 - 4 nights|
This recently constructed (2012) spacious 3 bedroom/4 bathroom home is located on 2 private acres adjacent to Arenal Volcano State Park. Each bedroom has its own terrace overlooking the old Ceiba Tree and views of Arenal Volcano and Lake. The open layout allows cool mountain breezes to flow through the home. Enjoy leisure activity in our bar/game room and cool off in our swimming pool or relax in the hot tub with direct views of the last active face of the volcano. Ideal for groups/families (sleeps 6-12 people). Enjoy meals cooked by our personal chef (available on request) or prepare your own culinary creation in our fully equipped gourmet kitchen. Cleaning service provided on alternate days. Laundry service available on request.
Located within minutes of El Castillo, Sky Trek Zip-Line Canopy Tours, Kayaking and ATV rentals. Horseback tours to the waterfalls or fishing tours on the lake or Rio Frio can be arranged. Massage therapy is available at the Blue Lagoon Spa just 500 meters up the hill. Hot Springs and La Fortuna are just 30 minutes away. An escape from the daily stress of work for a week in paradise will rejuvenate your soul and reconnect you with what life is meant to be.
The property is adjacent to virgin cloud forest. Explore miles of hiking trails through the rain forest that lead down to the nearby Rio Piedras Negras. Howler monkeys, toucans, wild turkeys, parrots, coati mundis (aka pizotes), tayras and more can be regularly spotted from the house and in the vicinity.
WiFi broadband internet access is included. Tune in internet radio from anywhere in the world or watch DVDs and Netflix on a 42' HDTV.
From left to right: Jim, Wes, Josie, Robin. Our family first visited Costa Rica in 2010 and fell in love with the Arenal area. Two years later, we spent our first week in the new house. We're in NJ most of the year. Jim is a marketing manager for an electronics company, Robin is an accountant. Wes is a senior in HS and Josie is a sophomore at URI.
Jim Florance purchased this house in 2012
You'll hear many stories about people that visit Costa Rica and experience an epiphany or an awakening. That's what happened to us. We began searching for land in Aug 2010 and found the Old Ceiba Tree lot. A year after beginning construction, the house is nearly finished. There is an energy that one can feel when you are there; it's indescribable but undeniable. Once you experience it, you'll be going back over and over.
We designed the home to bring the outdoors and indoors together. There are floor-to-ceiling windows and sliding doors that open to lake and volacano views. The cool mountain breezes flow thoughout the home. The temperatures average about 75°F year round so no airconditioning is necessary. We get our pure crystal clear soft water from a mountain spring ('naciente') that is about 6km in the virgin cloud forest. At night the temperates typically drop about 10° and in December and January you might even need to put a fleece on to stay warm. Being on the edge of the Monteverde Cloud Forest, we get a lot of rain but if you wait an hour the weather will change and when the sun pops out be careful because you can get a sunburn even when the sky is overcast (ask Josie). Each room has a terrace facing the lake/volcano side of the house. We love to enjoy the unbelievable cooking of Emilce, the former owner of a restaurant in Fortuna (Vaca Muca). She has the ability to take just about anything that's in the refrigerator and turn it into a meal that you'll never forget. Our favorite is 'pescado al ajillo' (corbineta or tilapia filet sauteed in fresh garlic) served with home fries, mixed vegetables (be sure to ask for chaote, cauliflower and carrots) and 'patacas' (plantain chips). Be prepared to rise early to the sounds of howler monkeys that frequently spend the night in our guarumo tree (a favorite hangout for all kinds of monkeys and birds) or the cacaphony of our flock of loras (red-lored parrots) that reside in the remaining branches of the 500 year old giant Ceiba tree that has unfortunately reached the end of it's life but still stands majestically on the west edge of our property. It's a local landmark that can actually be seen in satellite photos. We have a hiking trail that connects to the Linda Vista Hotel that winds past the Ceiba and down through the forest. Another trail has been cut farther up the hill that leads all the way down to the river for a refreshing dip.
Wow what a great house, view, people and food! We were in Costa Rica for 10 days and unfortunately only at Jim's house for 4 of our of trip. We arrived to the house just before sunset to find incredible lake and volcano views. The pictures in the listing just don't do it justice! We had 6 people which was perfect for the space. While we were there we had Emilce and Luis cook for us and wow it is a MUST! We all said it was some of our favorite meals we had during the trip. There was so much food cooked for us on our first night, we had dinner leftovers for the next night! We also received breakfast from them the day we left and I can't say enough good things about that meal. They speak no English at all but we were still able to figure out with hand motions how we would like our eggs cooked - they are the absolute sweetest people. Alan helped us when we arrived, booked a zip-line adventure for us and gave us information about an awesome volcano hike we otherwise wouldn't have known about. We ate dinner right up the road at the Phoenix and the people there were also incredible. We had the whole restaurant to ourselves - don't miss out on the Caipirinha's :) Overall we had a blast and wished we were there longer. The house was as described if not more beautiful! The gardens, pool, hot tub and bar area made for beautiful mornings and fun nights! A lot of people in reviews below complained about the bugs in the house. Yes, it's more than you're used to but you're in the jungle and it's really not bad at all! Learn to love them, name them and I promise you'll miss them when you're sitting at your desk at work in a week. Thanks Jim, Alan, Emilce and Luis for a great trip!
We enjoyed our time at this lovely home. We didn't end up using the pool because it was a bit cool outside in the evenings when we were at the house but the jacuzzi was wonderful.
Alan greeted us and gave us the tour of the house and answered our questions. He suggested dinner at the restaurant just up the hill. It was good.
The first night we had a beautiful sunset over the lake but the volcano wasn't visible. The next morning, the volcano was visible and the birds were active.
We had the cook make breakfast for us the first morning. It was quite good. When they found out our adult son had been sick the previous few days, the went and picked an herb in the yard and made a tea for him to drink. They didn't speak any English and we didn't speak much Spanish, but somehow we communicated enough.
The last morning we stayed at the house, I walked up the road just to the crest of the first hill. I discovered an avocado tree with a lot of parrots happily making noises and enjoying the avocados. That was a real treat. We saw other birds but not nearly as many as we were able to hear singing all around the house.
The house was clean and well cared for. I would recommend this to other families.
This was our third trip to Costa Rica and we convinced two sets of neighbors to travel with us this time. Our plane was an hour late and immigration took about an hour to go through, so we arrived 2 hours late. Allan gave us directions via phone as it was raining and dark. He was waiting at the gate with flashlight in hand. There is a covered area at the entry that fits 2 cars to keep you out of the rain. Emilce and Luis cooked us an amazing meal of garlic corvina with plentiful sides. We immediately felt relaxed and welcomed.
Suggested excursions: guided hike with Anthony Arce at Sky Trek (we saw howlers, eyelash pit vipers, toucans, and many other birds, flowers, plants, etc.- super knowledgeable young man); horse back / waterfall hike just up the road at Parrot Hill (Eduardo, the owners son, was an outstanding guide; horses are great; hike is moderate; snack after was super fresh and yummy); Cerro Chato is a really HARD hike (you have been warned); Mundo Aventuro ziplining (those that went said it was excellent); local hot springs (do not go on weekend!).
Restaurants: hire Emilce and Luis (don't miss the huevos rancheros, and chicken piccata!); La Ventanito (at the end of the road in El Castillo- Kelly is terrific source of info.and the food is inexpensive and delicious, cold beer! Closed Sunday- very sorry we couldn't have another burrito.); Chef Benedict's Steak House (DO NOT miss this! Across from larger market in El Castillo. The BEST ceviche, excellent steak and shrimp with rice. Top quality).
The home: Amazing views! Tons of birds and landscaping is beautiful. We enjoyed every afternoon pool and hot tubing. The house is very comfortable and was large enough to accommodate our party of 6 adults. The owner, Jim, was very easy to deal with and responded very fast to emails. We had an issue with a fan not working and he had it fixed the next day. Allan, a neighbor, is simply a great guy that was there to answer any questions, arrange excursions, recommend restaurants, organize meals, tell great stories...
I am in love with El Castillo and the people we met! I look forward to returning.
There were 3 couples staying at house, which is the perfect amount for the home. It does not have A/C. I thought is was ok to sleep at night. You do have to keep doors open, some screens have holes where they meet, so bugs do get in. ( you are in the jungle! ) It is pretty far out , an at night not easy to find.
The house was very nice an comfortable. Has a great trail beside it up the road, we did not do but a small way down it, but i'm sure you would see the howler monkeys on it, which you here very close every morning an evening. i found the house to be very satisfactory for the $. It also is very close to all the activities you want to go to. The very best Zip line i have ever been on is just down the road. I would have liked to stay there longer.
This home was very nice and especially for the jungle. The manager (Alan) and caretakers (Emilce and Luis) were great. Alan was there waiting for us when we arrived and showed us what we needed to know. We were late and didn't want to drive anywhere for dinner so he recommended the Phoenix which was just a few hundred yards up the road. It was really good food and we had the place to ourselves (slow season). We invited Alan and his friend to join us and had a nice dinner.
One of the highlights was to have Emilce and Luis cook us breakfast 2 mornings. They know very few English words but that didn't get in the way. There food was so good! They only charged $10/person. We tipped them additional $5/person and they really appreciated it. We got way more than our money's worth.
The pool & hot tub was such a nice addition. You wake up to the sounds of the jungle with howler monkeys and many many birds. We didn't mind at all that they woke us up. We were happy to get up at daylight and start our day. We went on a grueling but fantastic hike. If you go to the Arenal Observatory Lodge to go hiking just drive past the first guy and go under the arches. We didn't know that and ended up with a 10 hr round trip extremely tough hike (Cerro Chato) to the lake (Cerro Chato) across from the volcano. We found out we could've gone on a shorter one and had a beach when we hit the lake.
Couple of things you should know and keep in mind. There are a lot of bugs in the jungle. There is no way to keep them all out of the house. The house is clean and Jim does a good job trying to keep bugs out. There were complaints on this site and his book at the house about the bugs but people should expect this. Also there is no air conditioning but we didn't find we needed it. We kept our doors open in the bedrooms at night for a nice breeze. You feel very safe up there.
Another thing are directions to the place are non-existent. We called Alan but we were still confused. When you turn left at the police station past La Fortuna (just a cinderblock shelter) there are many ad signs. You have to still drive 10 kil on a dirt road. You think you made a wrong turn but this is a main road. You go past the Arenal Obser. Lodge turn off (just go right and over a bridge). You still have a few kil to go (I think 2 more bridges). When you turn left a bit past Linda Vista Hotel to sign Nepenthe. Then it is 1st house on left thru 2 white pillars. Go eat at Pizza Johns down the main rd.
We had the usual difficulty finding the house- our own fault- GPS is the best way to go- as Coasta Rica is not the best for road signs. We found it at night- also a challange. Plenty of room for cars and a covered carport. Loved the house. Spacious. Clean. Well kept. The view is as pretty as the pictures indicate and the gardens on the property are beautiful. You will wake up to the sounds of birds and possibly monkeys. There were two horses in the pasture next door to the house adding to the beauty of the area. The bedrooms are nice, all have wood on the ceilings and all have ceiling fans. The bedrooms sleep six and others will have to sleep on a day bed or couch in the family room. There is no air conditioning which we thought would be an issue but the nights cool down enough that we were always comfortable. Water supply, taste, and pressure are great. Master bath has a lovely shower stall. Pool is inviting and clean.
The property has two trails nearby that offer great forays into the surrounding jungle and one takes you to a waterfall... nice hikes... hilly. We had dinner made for us which was delightful by the couple that lives nearby and watches over the house. Location is nice and central to the area with lots to do.
Arenal Volcano Park, Zip Line Canopy Tours, ATV rentals, Hot Springs, Horseback Riding, Serpentarium, Butterfly Conservatory, Swimming Pool, Hot Tub, Table Tennis, Kayaking, Bird watching, Hiking, Near Jardin Escondido (Pizza John's)
|Refundable damage deposit||$300|
Rates based on 6 persons occupancy. Add $25/pp per night for over 6 persons.
* Approximate monthly rate. Actual rate will depend on the days of the month you stay.