Luxury Villa, 2 Bedrooms 2.5 Baths, (Sleeps 5) with ocean views and pool access
- english, french, spanish
On one of our many jaunts around the world, we got a little tired of all the tourists in Costa Rica. So we decided to head up to Nicaragua, with no plans, no expectations, and no reservations. From the first moment we crossed the border into Nicaragua, we knew we found something special. Nicaragua is the kind of place where you can still have a little bit of an adventure, but enjoy world class surfing, excellent eating, and untamed wilderness. It's that little bit of adventure we all crave that is missing in so many of todays 'Top Destinations' . We feel so lucky to be the owners of a home as beautiful as Casa Selva, and when we aren't there enjoying it ourself (we do have to work, as Paramedics in Toronto, and are somewhat professional travellers) we are thrilled to be able to share our slice of paradise with you! Come to Nicaragua, it's one of the most beautiful places we've found! Saludos, Joel and Laura Johnson Casa Selva owners and lovers! Toronto, Canada
Laura purchased this Villa in 2010
Why Laura chose San Juan del Sur
After traveling the world (and we mean world, Asia, Africa, Europe South and Central America) over the past ten year, our minds kept returning to the little town of San Juan del Sur in Nicaragua. We first visited in 2008 during what was supposed to be a trip to Costa Rica. After tiring very quickly of the tourists and the gringo trail, we crossed the border into With some of the most consistent surf in Central America, beautiful landscapes, great seafood and gorgeous beaches, we knew in our hearts this was the place for us. The town of San Juan del Sur has everything you need from restaurants, spas, great pubs and bars, groceries, and excellent coffee. Even with Costa Rica to the south, Nicaragua manages to maintain that sense of adventure and untouched beauty lost in so many over touristed places in the world. It's a little piece of paradise. We look forward to the day that we are able to call Nicaragua our home, but for now we are happy sharing this little gem with you.
What makes this Villa unique
One of the best parts of staying at Casa Selva is the quiet that allows you to enjoy the sounds of the jungle. On days when the breezes are gentle you can hear the ocean crashing. Every day you can sit and enjoy your morning coffee with the parakeets singing and the Mono Congo monkey's hanging in the trees around the house. Fall asleep to the sound of crickets singing outside the house. Unlike many of the homes in and around San Juan Del Sur, Casa Selva is unique in its setting. Perched on a ridge, the home is located in a private boutique community, containing 11 homes on roughly 100 acres stretching from the jungle to the ocean. There is enough space between homes to enjoy complete privacy without feeling alone or isolated. The lack of light pollution allows you to swim in the pool on clear nights by moonlight, something not to be missed. We provide 24 hour on site security, cleaning service and management without being intrusive. We are also an ecologic conscious community. What does this mean? We do not believe in spraying heavy pesticides like local hotels do to control bugs, what this does mean is you may encounter a few critters in and around the house, but we are not poisoning the food chain from the bottom up. All of our actions have far reaching consequences, and we want monkeys and parrots to visit the home. We heat our water with solar heat (and there is no lack of that!) and all our furniture and wood in the home is reclaimed fallen hardwoods, ethically sourced in north east Nicaragua.
Please consider the following guidelines when booking this property:
100% refund if canceled at least 60 days before arrival date.
Beautiful breezy Jungle views! Amazing sunsets
We loved our Stay here. Beautifully designed and lovely warm solar heated showers. Nice touch to have shampoo and conditioner in each bathroom.
Book here if you can.
We also had surf lessons from Elsie, who checked us in. She taught our children 5-7 then my husband and I. It was so much fun.
Thanks for a lovely stay
Paradise in the jungle!
In the words of Axle Rose, "Welcome to the jungle!" Except the only screaming we heard was from the howler monkeys that came right up to the back balcony of the house and "hung out" with us over dinner (this seriously happened on night three)! Our two young girls (ages 5 and 7) were overjoyed when the monkeys just watched us as they munched on leaves and crashed around on the branches! This place may be in the jungle, but it's an idyllic getaway for young families, or couples. We were a short walk to the common pool (100 yards away) where our kids loved to swim while overlooking the jungle canopy down the hillside! Don't believe the exaggerated reviews of the bugs in the pool. We were staying there a couple weeks later than one reviewer and had a blast in the pool. The ground-keeping guy was excellent and cleaned the pool every day (despite bugs in the jungle, it was super-clean)! The pool is long enough for some laps, while the kids were able to work on their swimming skills (the deepest part is only four feet)! In general, we were so impressed with how clean and well-maintained the grounds were. The house itself is gorgeous! The design is incredibly well adapted to the environment in which it's situated. Coming to Nicaragua from a cooler North American climate, we were expecting to be hot at night in a place that doesn't have air conditioning (the house is made up of an open screen system). However, much to our surprise, the cool evening breezes combined with some well placed fans kept us very comfortable each evening! The fully-functional kitchen was excellent, and we were able to make use of the bbq to grill fresh seafood we bought from the SJDS fish market! Each evening we ate while watching the beautiful Nicaraguan sun set on the ocean horizon below the jungle-covered mountains! The beach was a short drive away, but go at low tide. The Balcones property manager, Gabby, was so helpful when we arrived and frequently checked in on us! She warned us that sometimes we might see scorpions or tarantulas in the house, but we quickly realized that the reason for this is they are often looking for an open door. We just made sure the sliding doors were closed and we never had anything to worry about! Don't get me wrong, you'll see these cool creatures around the property (after all, you are in the jungle baby!), but there's nothing to worry about! The most interesting insect we saw in the house was a six-inch long Praying Mantis on the bug net. Cool!
Lacks Privacy - Driver Beware
The house was lovely as picture and was well stocked. Everything worked well, and the place was clean. The layout is open which is really nice. The breeze was wonderful and we were only warm inside the house during the day. Evenings were cool and pleasant.
The house requires a 4x4 rental. Check this out carefully before deciding to drive. You do not need to rent a vehicle to get to most of the beaches, there are shuttles and the taxi drivers will take you as well. Hiring a car and driver for the day doesn't cost much more that the rental with full insurance. The maximum third party liability limit for Dollar is $10,000, Budget $15,000 and Alamo $20,000. Visa does not cover liability and you cannot purchase more coverage for the rental car company. The cars cost the same down here or more.... so don't be at fault in an accident because you don't have a lot of insurance. You can check your personal insurance policy but it probably does not extent outside the U.S.
Don't count on using the pool, there are so many bugs that the pool was filled with dead mosquitos. The staff cleaned the pool, but the kids were done at that point. It's mentioned in other posts, your in the jungle there are lots of bugs. The cutter ants are awesome, the mosquitos were not. Although we never saw a scorpion inside the house the warning we received on arrival scared the kids a bit. We did kill 10 or more wasps inside the house.
Given the remote location and the need for 4x4 you would perhaps expect privacy. However, there are two neighboring houses that are remarkably close especially since the houses are so open. At night you can listen to your neighbors movie or crying baby as you drift off to sleep. Also, Casa Colina sits pretty close and just above Casa Selva so they have a nice view into your shower....
The local beach Playa Maragual was absolutely beautiful but a little rough for young kids. After we arrived in Nicaragua we asked about beaches for kids and families, most of the recommended beaches were to the south - Playa Hermosa, Playa Coco and Playa La Flor making them over an hour away from this house and closer to San Juan Del Sur.
Thanks for the reply Andrew. There is an onus on guests to do the research required to decide whether a home and location are a good fit for their abilities and capabilities. As you said yourself this wasn't a good choice for you and your style of action which is not something we forced upon you, that was your decision alone. All the information in regards to the house was given to you and the contract between you and the car rental company was just that- between you and the car rental company
In regard to the pool it was cleaned daily- it is rainy season so the bugs are very attracted to the lights at night which are needed to see! It is important to note that there are indeed lots of bugs here in the tropics during rainy season and the home is called the jungle house!
Again I think this was a case of a the wrong house for what you were capable of handling. We have solid reviews, repeat happy guests, and have lived there ourselves the past several months quiet enjoyably. We do hope you enjoyed your stay though- your emails outside of being very angry about car insurance (which is not anything we have anything to do with!) you did state you liked the house and we hope you have some good memories of your stay.
We miss it already!
What an fabulous time we had at Casa Selva. We were so thankful that we chose this place, and ended up outside and above the city. The house itself is an incredible design and there are elements of it that we are talking about incorporating into our own new build. The view is amazing. We loved having our morning coffee and a good book on the terrace with the walls open, overlooking the jungle and the ocean beyond. The kids woke up to some howler monkeys one morning and had a game of Risk before breakfast. The kitchen had everything we needed, including different coffee makers and bodums. Oh and the beach! My son says, "the fabulous, amazing, private, gorgeous sand, beach"? 😊 Ya, that one.
The owners were great and very easy to communicate with. We would love to return to Casa Selva again some day. Thanks Laura and Joel!
A luxury jungle home with breezy cooling
We had a fantastic 10 night stay at Casa Selva. Wonderful views, a fully equipped kitchen, a choice of beaches (Majagual was our fave...local beach with excellent food and cheap beer at the little shack). Even a great choice of films and PlayStation games. The security and cleaning staff were all very friendly, as indeed nearly all of the Nicaraguans we encountered were. The Howler monkeys and their babies were delightful, as were the lizards, spiders, iguanas, snakes and hermit crabs. A great time, a great location. It was extremely windy on some nights, but the house was still standing in the morning! A lovely cool oasis to return to...the pool included...at the end of a hot day.
Great Adventure in Nicaragua
For off-resort adventure seekers, this place is fantastic!
In the months leading to our departure, Laura and Joel and the Remax team made sure every detail was taken care of, and we knew exactly what to expect. For people who have never ventured off resort, it can be a bit unnerving planning a trip in a place you've never been to, but these guys truly went out of their way to answer every "silly" question, and will put you at ease. The FAQ on their website was also very helpful.
We started our trip by spending our first 24 hours in Granada at the Tribal Hotel, which was a great experience. We arranged for a shuttle to get us there. The hotel was beautiful, unique, and private feeling with only 6 rooms in the place. The staff were all very welcoming and hospitable, and told us where to find all the "must see" areas of Granada.
We then had Francisco from Remax meet us at tribal to help us pick up our rental vehicle and drive us to San juan. This man was amazing and we were very gateful for his help. When returning our rental vehicle, he took us to a place to wash our car, and made sure that any fees we paid were justified.
Finally, as we were finishing the drive to Casa Selva, we were blown away by the serenity and beauty offered from what would be our view. Our only disadvantage was that we came in the dry season so everything was quite sparse and fried, but we could appreciate how lush it would be in its prime! Despite it being dry, we were visited every morning and at dusk by howler monkeys, and saw a good amount of wildlife. Our living arrangements for the next 8 days were wonderful. The place was spotless with a luxurious feel. The pantry and kitchen were well stocked, which is important to a foodie like me! We were unfortunately a bit disappointed with the seafood: we found the shrimp mushy and fishy, and the fish very fishy, which was surprising given the availability of fresh fish. We have no one to blame but ourselves as the fish venders spoke zero English, and we did our best to communicate using our sparse Spanish and speaking in Mime. Our advice: learning Spanish would serve you well, or ask someone from Remax (Gabby is wonderful) to help out.
Some quick favourites of ours: the catamaran tour and the ceviche on the boat was to die for; gatto negro Cafe, Pan de Vida had the BEST loaves.
The four star rating was a reflection of our experience with the climate, Mother Nature and the country. Over all, a very memorable trip!
Watch turtles laying eggs on your beach from July till December. Whale and porpoise watching is a must! Daily visit from monkeys and birds, and if you are really lucky, a sloth!