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Recent Costa Rica reviews

  • Wonderful vacation home!

    "We spent a wonderful month at Villa Mountain Serenity and really could have spent an additional month if time had permitted. The property is very comfortable, in a great location, and was really perfect for us. Mornings always started early with coffee at poolside, binoculars in hand for bird watching, and listening to the lovely toucans who were ever-present in the mornings and early evenings. After many hot and humid day trips, we returned to the house to enjoy the mountain breezes, swim, prepare dinner on the grill, and pore over the home's numerous Costa Rican natural history books in search of something we'd seen that day. It really was the perfect retreat. Do not miss the Uvita Farmer's Market on Saturday. Although quite small, they offer wonderful tamales, breads, fruits and veggies either not available or far fresher than those found in the supermarkets, eggs, homemade plantain chips, spices, artisan cheeses, and hand crafts. Be sure to go early as they run out of the popular items. The only disappointing purchase was a bag of shrimp that turned out to be bland and mushy. The grocery stores in the area (Dominical and Uvita) are fine for meat, dairy, rustic baguettes, and most other items, albeit expensive, but the fresh produce is really lacking. San Isidro is a larger town and offers a better selection. They also have a farmer's market on Thursday(?) but we couldn't find it. The best fruit stands are found along the road from Dominical to San Isidro. Be warned, this road is quite dangerous with trucks drifting into the oncoming lane on turns. We saw several really horrible accidents and always proceeded very slowly around blind corners. Other food finds, Cafe Delicias (sp?) in Dominical sells croissants that are quite good, but cannot comment on the restaurant food as we didn't try it. Although we mainly cooked at home, our favorite restaurants were Villa Leonor in Ojochal (hearty food, beautiful beach and setting), Porque No?, Roadshack Deli, and Sabor Espanol. We found La Fogata Pizzeria disappointing when we ordered dishes other than pizza. I'd like to spend my last allowed characters in this review to thank Massi, Vilma, and all of the wonderful staff from Costa Ballena Management who made our stay at VMS so comfortable. Massi responded very quickly and professionally to all issues that arose and we only regret not getting the chance to meet him. We would return to VMS in a heartbeat, and hopefully will!"
    Guest: Sue M. Date of Stay: July 2014 Review Submitted: August 24, 2014
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  • We didn't want to leave!

    "Jane, We loved your condo! Everything was exactly like the photographs. We enjoyed sitting together on the outdoor porch watching the spectacular sunset or relaxing with a book. The condo was very accommodating to 4 adults, and we had more than enough room. We also enjoyed the pool and I LOVED that it was a lap length (about 25 yrds). My only complaint about the condo was the limited lighting in the 2nd floor bathroom. The only small overhead light in the room created mostly shadows than light causing some difficulty for my husband shaving and my makeup. Tamarindo was approximately 1 mile away and we walked or drove depending on our plans for the day. There were plenty of nice restaurants in the area to enjoy but our favorites were Patagonia and Pangus. Amazing food!! Make reservations as they are very busy! Thanks again and we will be back!!"
    Guest: Angie F. Date of Stay: March 2014 Review Submitted: March 11, 2014
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  • Spacious and comfortable home in a great location! Beautiful views and gated with privacy.

    "Pictures do not do this home any justice! Even after looking at the pictures many times and singing along to their video tour :) we were still in awe upon arrival. The house sits mountain side above the town of Atenas. The town is within walking distance, but consider approximately 20 mins walk each way. The property is gated at front of driveway, landscape beautiful and lush with a lime tree and mango tree. There is a house next door, sometimes could hear neighbors but never saw them. Nothing in front or behind the home but gorgeous views! There is outdoor porch lighting to guide your way when arriving at night, some lighting around pool area but the rest is pretty dark. The outdoor clothes line was great for hanging swim suits and towels after our adventures. A major bonus to have a washing machine! even though this wash room was outdoors, it makes complete sense considering there's no dryer. Inside the home is simply decorated and furnished, complete kitchen, three bedrooms and two full bathrooms. The two smaller bedrooms are small with closets and windows that provide nice breeze. Our eleven year old was more comfortable using the table fan provided. The master is more spacious, much larger closets, ceiling fan and AC. We never turned the AC on, the breeze from the windows and fans were just right. The master bed was the best mattress I've ever slept on! Both bathrooms were great, however we found better water pressure from the guest shower and more space for items in the master bath. The kitchen is equipped with basic essentials, even spices and things left behind. I did have to buy another kitchen sponge for dishes and hand towel. Linens provided, towels, umbrellas and misc items in the guest closet. We found the TV/living area a little lacking. The couches were fine but we found ourselves wishing there was another couch or recliner. The position of the TV is a little awkward too,high up from where your sitting. This is the only TV in the house, wifi was easily accessible. The pool and spacious outdoor areas were perfect for our early morning coffee and late night swims. We did encounter some mighty bugs outside! Gratefully everything inside was dead, mostly ants around windows. The house was clean inside and out, however some deep cleaning should be done more often. We had to seriously dust the table fan, scrub a shower head and noticed lots of dust atop kitchen cabinets. All very minor things to dismiss for this secluded piece of paradise!"
    Guest: Wailym Date of Stay: June 2014 Review Submitted: September 2, 2014
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  • Central Location, High quality property

    "My wife and I stayed here with another couple. The property was in very good condition, had lots of space, and was centrally located in Tamarindo. The condo was walking distance to everything and we had access to the hotel facilities such as the pool and restaurant/bar. The property manager, Joel, was also very helpful. He provided multiple recommendations for food and entertainment activities. As first-time visitors to the area, this was very helpful and much appreciated. My wife and I would definitely stay here again."
    Guest: Luke B Date of Stay: February 2014 Review Submitted: February 26, 2014
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Costa Rica Travel Tips

Costa Rica is a paradise for eco-tourists. With 27 percent of the land dedicated to national reserves and more than 500,000 different plant and animal species, Costa Rica is no ordinary walk in the park. You can soar over the rainforest canopy on ziplines, hit the waves for world-class surfing or go on exotic hikes that will leave you in awe. From coast to coast, this Central American gem is a must-see.

Nicoya Peninsula

Boasting more than 80 miles of shoreline stretching from the northern air lowlands to the southern moist hills, the Nicoya Peninsula is packed with beach towns, powdery sands and affordable getaways for all. Its beaches are its crown jewel, as they’re ideal for an assortment of water sports, including snorkeling, scuba-diving and surfing. The surf here is always up, and is deemed one of the best spots for the sport in the world. Shred the waves in the morning, and then take the kids to the turtle beaches or subterranean caves. The Peninsula is divided into two provinces, Gaunacaste in the north, and Puntarenas in the south, but you may want to explore it all.

Manuel Antonio

Less than two hours north of San Jose lies Manuel Antonio National Park, where the rainforest meets the sea. There are four main beaches here: Espadilla Sur, Playita, Teloro and of course, Manuel Antonio, all of which are bursting with marine biodiversity and amazing coral reefs. Be careful, though, as there are rip currents.

Manuel Antonio is only one of two places in the country where you can see all four kinds of monkeys: howler, white-faced, spider and squirrel varieties. Once you’ve got your monkey fix, rent a fishing charter for an afternoon of family fun reeling in fish that are as big as you are. You’ll find sailfish, blue marlin, red snapper and tuna that’ll have you rattling off epic fishing tales to your friends. Last but not least, speed down the legendary ziplines that hang in the tops of the trees for a thrill of a lifetime. Don’t worry, safety is key.

San Jose

With a population of 309,000, San Jose constitutes roughly 40 percent of the country’s total. It comes equipped with your usual commercial stores and side-street cafes, yet also showcases the National Theatre (Teatro Nacional). The amazing opera house is decked out in golden ceilings and marble staircases where you can watch a variety of different acts. Everything that glitters is gold in the Pre-Columbian Gold Museum (Museo del Oro Precolombino), a three-story underground structure below the Plaza de Cultura. The museum houses Central America’s largest collection of pre-Columbian gold jewelry. To practice your Spanish and socialize with the locals, head down to Parque Central, and for serious foodies, be sure to eat at the Hotel Grano de Oro, where you’ll find fine dining amidst a gorgeous ambience.

Arenal Volcano

This behemoth volcano is a cornerstone of Costa Rican wonders. It is located in the 29,960-acre Arenal National Park and in 2010, was said to have moved into a resting state. Interestingly enough, 75 percent of all bird species found in the country can be spotted here. You can partake in a list of adventures for days, but the special ones to try are waterfall rappelling, whitewater rafting and hiking through the breathtaking jungle. You can even go spelunking in caves as you glimpse the colorful fish and frogs all over the rocks, or head to the Butterfly Exhibit in Castillo for a whole metamorphosis of fun.

Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve

Yes, you read correctly, Cloud Forest. Located in the Tilaran Mountains northwest of the capital San Jose, Monte Verde is a wonderland for biodiversity buffs. Its lush jungle is teeming with wildlife, such as the red-eyed tree frogs that you find in National Geographic. It also hosts the longest zipline in the country, and insightful guided nature tours where a professional will point out bits of the flora and fauna that will blow you away. The night tours are a blast as well. Don’t forget to step across the Sky Walk, a series of suspension bridges with well-maintained walking paths that will take you through the canopy of the tropical forest.

Costa Rica is perfect for all ages. It’s animal-filled adventures and charismatic coastlines practically breed excitement. From volcanic peaks to vast rainforests to a culture that places family at the heart of life, Costa Rica is an end-all be-all getaway.

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