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What do you imagine when you think of a trip to the tropics? Beaches, palm trees, brightly painted towns, a child's big smile, monkeys, margaritas and more.... That's what brought me here 9 years ago. But, strange things happen south of the border. On an emotional impulse, I bought this piece of land, cleared away some trees and brush and created my own "slice of heaven", as I call it now.
I remember the land the night I made the commitment. It was a drizzly evening. There were a zillion fireflies. I could still see the lights of Costa Rica in the distance. Wondering and wondering if I should take the Big Step. It was so peaceful and quiet. I knew the beach was nearby, I visited it earlier that afternoon. Playa Hermosa. I had just finished a great meal, had a few Nica Libres or rum and cokes, and was mesmerized by the ocean below and the star strewn sky above. Sometimes life can change dramatically at moments like this..... and with the quiet sounds of rain on leaves and monkeys howling, yes, almost in slow slow motion, I made the decision to take a chance - to take the Step I had always thought of....... and, yes, what a life altering step it was. I recalled the poem by Robert Frost "Two roads diverged in a wood, and I - I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference". And it has made all the difference in my life and more......But, that's another story, some other day, over a few Nica Libres I'll tell you how it all turned out.
Weeks after you leave this oasis, indelible memories of my "Garden of Eden" will remain. You will remember the silence; only interrupted by the wind, the jungle sounds, splashes from the pool - or the monkeys howling in the distance. Like I heard and sensed on that memorable night. Now, surrounded by blossoming Balinese plants, you are literally in a jungle. Casa Roja is not a vacation rental, its a journey to a special place of rest, comfort, quiet for the soul, yet fun for a couple, a family or some surfer buddies in search of The Endless Summer.
The house was designed in an innovative style. The bedrooms are 100% separated from the main house, enabling you to sleep in peace and quiet while others can talk about the big wave, the monkeys, or, play cards all night long. This ''pod'' system lets everyone ''do their own thing'' without bothering anyone. While you and friends can enjoy parties or conversation on the patio, anyone in the other bedrooms can have their own privacy.
( Hold it - A National Geographic Alert: a flock of toucans has just touched down on my papaya trees. Black and red and green.....very exciting, ok, now back to where I left off, that was fun!)
Hot days, jump in the teardrop shaped pool, big enough for 30, but at 4' average depth, safe for the kiddies as well. Early riser? Fix some Nicaraguan coffee, read on the patio and take a walk or jog in complete silence up the dirt road. Go 1 mile or10; bring water and sunblock so we don't have to send out my caretaker to find you!
Before I give you a more detailed description of the bedrooms and bathrooms I wanted to explain a few things about myself and the house. I love antiques. I love to travel. I love old Persian and Turkish carpets. OLD, 100 years plus. I love collecting ''artifacts'', as my friends call them, of my travels and I collect old maps, again 100-300 years old. So, you will pick up on this part of me throughout the house and rooms and even outdoors. You'll be in a home that is not sterile or ''made to rent''. It's ME and it always will be. And, part of your adventure down here is to experience a beautiful country, wonderful people, great climate, wildlife, enchanting fun city - in a rich environment that I call home. That is what you will find here. I live here because of the magic of this home and location. You will understand that after only a few days. If you are seeking peace and serenity, you have found it.
And, if you need an affordable 4 wheel drive car that seats 7, just ask. Need a cook for authentic Nicaraguan meals; all easily arranged so you can just relax. Need a gourmet cook who will whip up any sort of meal you want (owner and chef at three well known restaurants) - no problem!!
Since this is Nicaragua, where sleeping arrangements differ widely let me give you a breakdown of the sleeping situation. When I read that you have 4 adults and 6 children, I try to figure out the best configuration. Then I find out that 3 of the children are tots and do not need - nor do parents want them, to have their own separate bedroom - so here are the multiple options to suit any gathering of friends (with a maximum of 10, please!) By the way, all bedrooms are fully screened with curtains.
The master suite - apart from all other buildings - has a queen bed with night tables, chest of drawers and small desk for writing. The room can easily take another double bed or queen. So, toddlers, welcome. Large bathroom has huge quarried tile tub, shower - hot water even! - 2 granite sinks and full width mirror. Overhead fans and lights as well as bedside lamp provide a comfortable ambience.
The two bedroom suite is a detached casita with bedrooms on each side of a centrally accessed bathroom. One queen bed in one room, with room for another bed and then two doubles in the other room. Both rooms have drawers for clothes and either a desk or table. Again overhead lights and fans make life comfortable. Outside one bedroom french doors open to a private patio with a hammock for sleeping or reading or both. The bathroom has a three sided glass shower with textured tile walls. A marble sink, toilet and tiled surfaces throughout complete the room.
In addition, many people enjoy sleeping in the house in a secluded office - study. With Japanese "wall" panels you have complete privacy. We add some beds and you can wake up and be the first to the coffee! Others sleep in the two story rancho in beds or matrimonial traditional luxury hammocks. There, you experience the sounds of the jungle and the fresh air breezes as you drift to sleep.....So at Casa Roja, you have a wide variety of sleeping accommodations for the numbers and mixes of guests who stay here.
I recently up graded the decor with a few more pictures, old maps and antique Persian and Turkish tribal rugs. You will be surrounded by the history of the Ottoman Empire and Frederick the Great! There are pre-Columbian pieces, Indonesian statues, head-hunting warrior boats from Papua new Guinea and local Nica art throughout. My museum.
The main house has a full kitchen with granite and marble countertops throughout. Wooden cabinets with glass windows reveal all the dishes and rum and wine glasses you'll need. Fridge is normal size and can fit all you can eat and drink! It's modern and energy efficient, just remember to open and close quickly to preserve the electricity. If that's not enough, I'll rent an ice chest. Modern gas stove and broiler. Plates, silverware and some old Bali and Solomon Island carvings to keep you company.
The den/office is large, People use it for email (yes, wifi) or writing and the living room is open with sofa and 2 comfy chairs, large hand carved floor tiles with wood accent and majestic 25 foot ceiling. The living room table is a 100 year old colonial door turned sideways and legs attached. Me and my antiques. If you are a Beatles fan, there is the large Anthology Book about my favorite group, but the house is littered with all sorts of reading material, from cops and robbers to history to non fiction to you name it. Zen to People Magazine and whatever else guests have left behind. Every group leaves more and I never know what I'll find each visit.
The ceiling in the main house is all palm fronds, 26 feet high, (other casitas are brick tiles) beautiful, airy, gorgeous wooden beams and yes, 100% waterproof, with a large sliding glass door to the patio, say no more. The patio is where 75% of your waking life will be!! Views, sunsets, drinks, monkey howls, drinks, music, dancing, drinks, BBQ's on gas or charcoal grill and then, yes, relax and have a drink. Got the picture?
And now, with my many fruit trees blooming, if you need some fresh oranges, mandarins, lemons and soon, mangos - just talk to Luis, my caretaker, with the biggest smile and warmest heart - and he'll be glad to get you whatever fruit you need. Lately, he's been the local juice man.
A recent guest said It best "It was hard to leave this beautiful home. The location of the house was perfect; close to town for groceries or activities, but just far enough so that every time we came home we felt as if we were very far away “from it all”. . Afternoons we enjoyed reading, relaxing, swimming and partaking in the local Nicaraguan Rum. After dinner, a glass of wine or a Nica Libre, music and lightening shows over Costa Rica were a spectacular end to the day. We have rented houses through VRBO from South Africa to several countries in Central America and would highly recommend Casa Roja and hope to someday return"
Last thing. One night around 10 PM, after a warm day, turn out all the lights in the house. Go out to the brick patio and lie down, feel the warmth from the sun on the bricks, and then gaze at the star strewn sky above. There, you will see the Milky Way Galaxy the way you have never seen it before. After being mesmerized by the silent beauty, you wake up with a start - and suddenly realize it is 4 AM and you are still outside with only the croaking frogs as your company...
See you soon!
Absolutely! Do kids like pools, dogs, walks up dirt roads, monkeys, cool hammocks if they do bring them along. If they like to read, bring them along. If they are 3 months, bring them along. In other words, just bring them all!...moreless
I have two friendly mutts who exude joy and love. They are people friendly, baby friendly and everything in between. They grew up with an American family that had 3 little kids and then had to return to the States They are used to the good life, so scraps of food, chicken bones are in order. If you want to bring a dog, it may be OK, let's talk first so there will not be any issues to consider when you are here. The dogs can sleep in your rooms - but only if you want them!...moreless
I just had a group with one child confined to a wheelchair and it wasn't an issue. There are 4 large wide steps in one area, but they can be by-passed. Luis is super strong if you ever need help lifting anything/one...moreless
I find that people often leave toys, goggles and more, but can't guarantee it. There usually are inflatable rafts for the pool, but anything you need for kids can be bought at the local market....moreless
My view starts with rolling meadows in front of you which then are hillsides and then Ocean but all around in the distance are mountains that ofter a beautiful contrast to the ocean. Nice view of CR...moreless
You have an unbelievable view of the Ocean but also just across this view is the large peninsula of Costa Rica which is close and lights twinkle at night. Views are better than simply staring at sea....moreless
Due to the elevation of the house - 650 feet - there is never a need for air conditioning. Breezes from the Ocean and Lake always cool this area as compared to San Juan itself, on the beach. Large fans in every room of course. Each room has lots of windows, fans and sliding glass doors....moreless
Miles of dirt paths and roads for jogging. Yoga- many options at the home. Push ups and sit ups, anywhere. NEW wooden lounge chairs to relax in after a hard workout (like eating, drinking, jogging)...moreless
Large patio right off the living room - see pics - wraps around three sides of the house. The main covered patio is 16' deep and 40 feet long and has 4-5 rocking chairs, table and recliners. Then between this patio and the pool there is a large brick patio where you can sun because it is unprotected from the sun. Use 50 suntan lotion!...moreless
|Dates||Nightly||Weekend Night||Weekly||Monthly *||Event|
Xmas or Easter
Dec 16 - Jan 4, 2016
7 night min stay
Xmas and Easter
Jan 5 - Dec 31, 2016
7 night min stay
My Standard Rate
3 night min stay
Additional information about rental rates
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You are only about 10 minutes to San Juan. You drive on the new paved road (only took 20 years to get it done) which goes directly to my turnoff. Beautiful drive to house and if you venture south you can see the turtles laying eggs, Coco beach with its long white sandy beach, go horseback riding at my good friend Blue at Rancho Chilamate. Perfect location, close but so far away. Day trips to Granada or Masaya market are recommended.
Let me give you more information about the beaches and the surfing in general.
Playa Hermosa, A mile long sandy bottom beach. Multiple peaks with left and right breaks. Works best on a mid to high incoming tide. $3 per person entrance fee.
Playa San Juan del Sur: Despite its usual calmness, the bay does get a beach break near the river mouth during big storms (usually October).
Playa Remanso Considered by many to be a good “beginners wave” but it can hold a large swell depending on swell size and direction. Best known for its left point break but there are rights to be had on the north end if you’re patient – including some long rides when conditions are right.
Playa Yankee Recommended for technically advanced surfers only. A hard fast wedge that you’ll either love or fear. Much less frequented. Best at medium to high tide. Will hold up to overhead waves. $4 entrance fee.
Playa Coco Only breaks on a big south swell. Sandy bottom beach with strong rip current at times. Exercise caution.
Playa Maderas The most consistently clean break in the region but also the most crowded beach. Suitable for all levels of surfing on most days. Approximately 15 minutes from town.
Again, the book, Insiders Guide to SJDS, is invaluable and I'm happy to provide you the link to buy it. The rental websites prefer not to have competing information so I can't provide it here. Just ask!
Year Purchased: 2008
About the owner: Everyone tells me I have re-invented myself and it's just not fair. Well, they could do the same, I say. After 50 years, half in CT and half in San Francisco, I followed a life long dream and moved to this charming third world country to begin life again. I have spent most of my life in sales and entrepreneurial oriented work. Worked with small businesses as a consultant to help them grow with control and profitably. Worked with hundreds of companies and help them with their HR issues so they could focus on their core work. After years of satisfying work I came down here for a holiday and, well, look what happened. Bought this land on an impulse built a house and then, 6 months later, on a wild impulse a friend convinces me to buy another huge parcel and become a 'green sustainable' developer. Huh? Yes, this is the third half (figure that one out?) of my life as owner of El Encanto del Sur (see website), and I love it here. I am in Nicaragua 3-6 months a year with Luis and family - my gardener who has been here for more than three years and who can fix anything! He and his family live away from the house so you have 100% privacy. His wife, Evelyn is there to clean daily and change linen, etc. She is a sweetheart. That's the short story - I travelled all over the world, You'll find me on Tuesday nights at Open Mike at Pau Hana, singing some oldies (Runaway, Secret Agent man) with my neighbor up the road, Brian and if I'm in town, you can always bribe me with a beer and I'll show you the real secret spots up here. But, if you an adventurous bone in your body, and I assume so, otherwise you wouldn't be headed this way, you will not regret it - if you want to have the most relaxing and unforgettable experience, with just you and nature as company, you will have it here.
Why the Owner Chose San Juan Del Sur:
I didn't really choose to buy a vacation rental here. I chose to build my house here, and live out the dream of a lifetime. I have and still do. This was not meant to be a rental concept and the house was never 'set up' that way. Rental houses are often nice but without some of the character that sets a 'home' apart from a 'rental'. This home reflects who I am and what I like - rather than being an investment. For example, it is 100% solar. Some people steer clear from solar because they are worried it won't work or they will be inconvenienced. Well, you won't be inconvenienced at all. I believe in sustainability, saving energy, giving back, and so live the values I believe in. This house and area resonate of living within these values. And, when you are here, amidst the peace and tranquillity - yet so close to the fun and entertainment of San Juan - you feel like you too will share these values. Nicaragua is a beautiful yet poor country. It needs help, employment, clean water, schools and I live here to help the local people as much as i can while enjoying my occupation and lifestyle. I have a non profit, fundaciontierra, (EARTH Fund - look up under fundaciontierra) that helps and works with the communities in many ways. Nicaragua is now becoming quietly discovered and now this area as well. More people have seen the benefit of traveling to unique and adventurous areas, modern, but in a different world completely. Cows can be your neighbors. An oxen cart may walk by. Here you may dream of setting up an organic garden......sometimes in certain areas, but this neighborhood especially, you will feel that you have been transported to a different time and place....that's what I love. A good friend and plant lover lives down the road. You might find him buried in 1000 tropical plants - stop on over, he's always glad to share some tall stories with you. And, he is a realtor, if you want a tour...you too, may be captivated by the charm.....
The Unique Benefits at this House:
The gate swings open. You drive down a 400 ft. driveway lined by palm trees. A resort?When you arrive at the house, after a long flight, the first thing you'll do is walk out to the patio - directly in front of you - and say "wow". Yes, "wow". When you look around and then fully comprehend the detached layout of the house, you will then fully understand and smile; " Ah, this is what he meant by privacy". Sit down in one of the rocking chairs and feel the stress melt away, and, you realize you want a drink. (doesn't matter what time it is, it is always afternoon somewhere in the world) Later, hop down to Playa Hermosa just a few minutes away.. Jump in the pool. The location, the tranquility..... Many other homes have great views, pools, close to town and more. But my concept has struck a chord. Casa Roja as it all and then some: the views, being closer to the best beaches and its in a stunning locale - and has peace and quiet. I loved it 9 years ago and love it now. I find that many of my guests are the ones to discover unique characteristics. it seems that once every few months, I'll get an email from some guests who saw something completely different. Sometimes its a Blue Morphus butterfly, other times its the return of the sloth, the peaceful stroll down the path, more toucans, Godzilla (well, monkeys anyway) and it goes on and on. Come on down and discover some benefits of your own. We're all different so I'll let you discover some of your own. Will it be the grinding stone from 1200?? It doesn't really matter. It's your vacation. You can't go wrong
Grab your hang glider, soar with the eagles and welcome to your private estate!
Please enter! Open the gates and welcome to Paradise. Now, you can relax
This is where you are supposed to sit as you watch the tranquil ocean vista
Enjoy dinner, games outside - or head off to the 2 bedroom casita for some R&R.
As you enter the house you'll see an interior like you've never seen before
My house, where modern, traditional, antique and comfort all blend together
Master casita bedroom with lights, dresser, course, views. And cooling breezes
Fans in all rooms, bamboo cane ceilings, a true tropical feeling
This guy (or gal) was watching the kids in the pool - hoping for a handout!
You might have competition He had the same idea!
After the beach, come back and relax. Or sleep or whatever you do on vacation!
Playa Hermosa - just a 5 minute drive to the entrance! Surf, sun, swim, eat.....
My house and me from a Newsweek article a few years ago. Tough life.
The house, the patio, the rancho and pool. And 5 hammocks. What else is needed?
The two bedroom casita, bathroom in center. Across from it is the master casita
Master casita. Master Bedroom and bath. Great views of jungle, ocean, private!
Living room, 'bar', antique rugs on all walls. Of course the patio is "home".
Complete kitchen, utensils, french press or auto. Need a cook? I have several!
One of the bedrooms in the 2 bedrm casita. twi doubles here and queen in other.
The tiled bathroom in the master casita Shower, huge tub, and yes, two sinks.
Don't forget the Rancho, where people slink away to snooze, read or just hide!
And, here's your view from one of the hammocks in the rancho
From the patio...pink skies, blue hills of Costa Rica, Pacific Ocean...adios!
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