About the property
- House1000 sq. ft.
- Half Baths0
- Minimum Stay5 nights
House, 1 Bedroom + Convertible bed(s), 1 Bath, (Sleeps 2-4)
Now with WiFi internet access!
Villa Helena, a privacy-lover's dream home, is nestled on a lush hillside just a half mile inland as the toucan flies and 1000 feet above the Pacific Ocean (5 to 10 minutes' drive to coast road) in the midst of amazing jungle wildlife: birds of every size and description, wandering troupes of howler and white-faced monkeys, three-toed sloths, brilliantly colored tree frogs, and a great variety of tropical butterflies.
This unique one-bedroom home has over a thousand square feet of tropical luxury and features a tall and airy vaulted ceiling, terra cotta floor tiles, Costa Rican native artwork, the rich and brilliant textiles and crafts of nearby Guatemala and Panama, and locally crafted furniture and fixtures.
Villa Helena is just minutes from the villages of Dominical and Uvita and several lovely, uncrowded beaches. Villa Helena offers the best of all worlds. Stay at home to enjoy the gardens which are full of fruit trees, flowers, hummingbirds and butterflies, walk the trail through the forest alongside the creek which crosses the property, laze by the pool on one of two terraces, and cook to your heart's content in the fully-equipped kitchen. You might even arrange a private massage on the balcony: birdwatch at the same time!
Villa Helena is a bird-lover's paradise and not just in our gardens. The incredible nature reserve, Hacienda Barú, is just 15 minutes away and has a bird list of over 350 species. Of course, our property isn't anywhere near the size of Hacienda Barú which stretches from the sea to the mountains. We haven't had a formal survey done but we have seen over 200 types of birds from the balcony while casually birding. These birds are clearly marked in the bird book on site. Hacienda Barú and other local reserves have many wonderful guided tours available.
Or you might choose to wander into one of the nearby towns to one of the great restaurants, do some craft shopping or stock up on locally caught fish and locally harvested tropical fruit. The beaches and beach activities are plentiful and uncrowded. Take a guided walk through one of the nearby private nature reserves, visit the stunning 215 foot tall Nauyaca Waterfalls by way of horseback, venture out to Caño Island for snorkeling or out for deep sea or inshore fishing. If you are an avid hiker you can take a trip through the mountain trails to one of two great waterfalls and swimming holes. It's always fun to drop into Dominical and watch the surfers: you can take a lesson right there!
In this nook of Costa Rica, the temperatures are usually in the 80s during the day and around 70 at night. The hillside location lets us take advantage of the gentle breezes which make Villa Helena so comfortable. While we love playing at the beach every day, we also love to come back to our cool paradise!
WHY CHOOSE VILLA HELENA OVER OTHER SIMILARLY SIZED HOMES IN THE AREA?? There are lots of choices in the area for places to rent but none of them has all the things that Villa Helena has to offer. The 'beachside' places are all crowded in with other rental units so you have limited privacy and much of the wildlife is scared away. By law, nothing can be built right on the beaches so there is still a walk to the ocean and once you get there, the beaches with rentals right by them almost always have rocky shores where it is is difficult to get into the water! There isn't much air circulation and with the nearby standing water, many area have lots of bugs and humidity. We rarely even seen a mosquito up at Villa Helena in all our years of going there. Also, almost all of the waterfront places are just feet off the main, noisy highway and the places have varying degrees of success with dealing with that noise. Up in our area or in other places above the coast, most of the houses are built right on the road so you contend with periodic car noises and the noise of people chatting while they walk by. Our driveway drops you well away from the road into privacy so complete, you could sunbathe or swim nude and not have any worries. You'll only very rarely hear a car going by. We know of no other rental home that includes a seasonal stream through the property which further enhances the ambiance of Villa Helena and provides another habitat for lots of unusual birds and other wildlife. We regularly have a dunk into one of the little natural pools in the clear stream.
Keywords: Villa, Home, View, Pool, Garden, Balcony, Private, Internet, Privacy, tropical, paradise, private, bird watching, monkeys, sloth
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- Response time:
- within a few hours
- Calendar last updated:
- May 17, 2018
About Barry Foster
We stumbled across this piece of paradise by accident and are we ever glad that we did! We come from the cool Pacific Northwest where we lead pretty fast-paced lives but do enjoy gardening and bird watching. Villa Helena lets us have a totally relaxing break, full of privacy. Being at Villa Helena has really deepened our gardening and birding horizons. Every time we go down, we find a new adventure: a new horseback ride, a new guided rainforest tour, a chocolate making class, new birding guides to try, another part of a beach to explore. Every time we come down, too, there is a new restaurant to try: local cuisine, fusion, Italian, French style, Indonesian, Spanish tapa bar, sushi: all low key, casual, open air (under a high roof) restaurants.
Barry Foster purchased this House in 1995
Why Barry Foster chose Dominical
We knew we wanted something very private yet not totally isolated. We have great neighbors at Villa Helena but the properties are large so we don't look onto anyone and no one sees us. We thought about an ocean-side location but decided to be up on the hill. This decision gave us a great view, the wonderful gentle breezes, lots more privacy and really great access to all the birds, butterflies, monkeys, sloths, etc that we get such great enjoyment from watching. From our balcony, we've even watched a mother humpback whale and her baby in the ocean below and several times have watched the whales breaching. We love being close to all the services of a couple of small towns but didn't want to be right in the midst of them. This part of Costa Rica is unique in that it has great, uncrowded beaches and also has the lushness of the tropical rainforest which the more touristy areas of the north lack. This really has turned out to be Paradise.
What makes this House unique
Villa Helena really is such a wonderful experience. There are so many places to wander through the gardens and stream bed where you can sit or stand and watch all the wildlife around you and enjoy plants you might not normally see on a daily basis. We have a couple of fruit trees which are full of bromeliads, ferns and four types of native orchids. The birds and the monkeys eat most of the fruit that grows here: mangos, guava, bananas, starfruit, cashews and they'll even eat the sour oranges! That's fine because we enjoy having the animals up so close and there are great sources of local fruit so close to us. Our mature garden really sets us apart from most other rentals in the area. Everything is so close at hand to us at Villa Helena and yet we are still very private and close to nature. We can walk to a nearby restaurant and drive a few minutes to all the services of the neighboring two small towns. The closest beach is just ten minutes away by car. There are such great restaurants so close, serving local fare and all sorts of others. How do they serve such great international food in the middle of the jungle?
Pool / Spa
Local Services & Businesses
Sports & Adventure Activities
100% refund if canceled at least 60 days before arrival date. 50% refund if canceled at least 30 days before arrival date. You must contact the owner directly to request cancellation.
Gorgeous, quiet retreat
Very private and quiet. Not an easy road to get up to the Villa. My wife asked: are we going to have to do this road back to the casa everyday? It does get easier after the first few times, but you need a good 4x4 vehicle. Lots of butterfly and hummingbirds right off of the porch facing the ocean. The water went out our last day, but it was restored pretty quickly by one of the neighbors. Very friendly neighbors about 1/2 a mile away at the Jolly Roger. Two recommendations for beautiful oceanside, sunset dining: Por Que No and La Parcela (get there early and see the Capuchin monkeys that they feed there). We stayed for 5 nights and would have loved to stay longer.
Thanks for the comments about your stay at Villa Helena. Of course, we love the privacy and how close the monkeys, sloths, parrots, hummingbirds and other fun animals come to the house and garden. I remember the first times we went down after the house was built and being so amazed that the wildlife was free and wild, not in some unseen enclosure or zoo. Honestly, we spend hours on the balcony just watching the animals go by and gazing out to the ocean. The road is quirky but again, we love it, too. Any four-wheel drive car will make the drive easily. In fact, there have been many occasions where we have forgotten to engage the push-button four-wheel drive (which all the 4 X 4 car rentals have in Costa Rica) and have not remembered until we pull into the carport! It's not a great idea, just in case you meet someone on the road and you have to stop on one of the hilly sections of the road.
You've mentioned a couple of our favorite restaurants, too: the Jolly Roger which is so close and Porque No which is a great place for breakfast, lunch or dinner! There are so many places to choose from, including a lot of very casual roadside Costa Rican cuisine places you can just drop in on.
Let us know when you're ready to come on back, Eric: the monkeys and butterflies will be waiting for you. Plus, we don't charge a deposit for return guests and you can book directly with us, too.
Thanks again, Barry
SIMPLY THE BEST…OUTSTANDING IN EVERY WAY
Our stay (2/24/18 – 3/4/18) at the Villa Helena began with meeting the Jaguar Property Management team of, Kevin and Ann Marie to give us the keys, but it did not stop with just a hand off. Once we picked our jaws off the floor from seeing the jungle and ocean view from the massive picture window, Kevin gave us a complete tour/orientation of the property and house, along with reviewing the Villa Helena Book of Knowledge, giving us information on the history of the Villa Helena, emergency information, the area, things to do, restaurants, shops, etc. Throughout our stay Kevin and Ann Marie checked in with us to make sure we were enjoying ourselves and if we needed anything…very nice touch. They are wonderful special people that truly enjoy taking care of their guests. We felt right at home at the Villa Helena with a flowing open layout, beautiful wood furniture, native artwork throughout and awesome views from every window. The best part for us (as I am a birder and my wife a professional relaxer) was the expansive patio and pool area which overlooked the lush gardens just teaming with several species of hummingbirds and butterflies, the jungle filled with birds, birds, birds and hiking trails, the gorgeous ocean view, the pool and the wonderful cool breezes. We had a number of visitors; toucans, a slough, howler monkeys, a tapir, white faced monkeys, variegated squirrels, birds and butterflies. While the Villa Helena is on a mountain, we found it close to everything; grocery stores, restaurants, beaches, activities and shopping. A must activity to do during your stay is to have dinner at the Tree of Life Cabinas (TLC) a neighbor 3 minutes away (info is in the Villa Helena Book of Knowledge). Dinner is limited to 12 people and is made up of guests of the TLC and people staying in the area. The dinner is prepared by Nick & Ben owners of the TLC. Not only is the dinner fabulous, the people you meet are equally fabulous as they come from all over the world. A fun filled dinner party. We can assure you Barry, the owner and Kevin and Ann Marie of the Jaguar Property Management team will do everything to make sure your stay/vacation is the best you have ever experience. The Villa Helena is truly a magical place…
Thanks very much for your kind words, Ron. It sounds like you really did it all while staying at Villa Helena. It's hard for us as owners to try to convey the uniqueness of Villa Helena and still be believable so it's great to have a review by someone who has actually experienced the house and surrounding area.
We are very proud to have Jaguar as our management team. They really are a great group of people who are not just making sure Villa Helena is being taken care of properly but also that the guests who come to stay have as great a time as is possible. They really do go out of their way to do that, be it their initial meeting and tour of the house to answering questions throughout the stay.
And of course, how great to see so many animals during your stay. We have traveled all around the country and have stayed at some wonderful wildlife refuges and eco-tourism places but we have never seen quite the array and numbers of animals as we do from our own balcony, gardens and stream. We've made a special effort to plant things in the gardens to attract birds, butterflies and other animals (like the guava, fig and mango eating monkeys, pacas and agoutis) rather than just concentrate on gorgeous flowers. Luckily, we have the room to have those, too!
Thanks again for your comments and we'll look forward to your next visit to our tropical paradise.
Exactly as promised. Vary clean, secluded, and complete. Anything you need is there.
Our Villa Helena experience was outstanding. To start with Barry and Jaguar property management provided us with so much information before we left Canada that it really increased our comfort level in travelling Costa Rica on our own. Then upon arrival to find that everything was exactly as promised was a dream come true. The property is stocked with everything you need and then some extras. The view is clear over the canopy of the rainforest to the ocean. The huge deck houses a futon for napping but even better the hammock became my husbands spot in the early morning.
As promised there is lots of rainforest characters present, sort of like our own private tour right off our deck.
In the late afternoon it was great to have the pool to end the day watching the sun set behind the trees.
We are rather adventurous so we did not spend all our time in the Paradise location. The proximity to the highway and other rainforest attractions is really good so we had opportunities to explore new areas for the entire two weeks.
When I return to this area of Costa Rica one day, hopefully this property is available again. Thank you Barry for sharing your little piece of Paradise
I'm glad to hear the good news about your stay at Villa Helena. Thank you for the compliments about the information we sent and thanks for the same for our managers: they are a great team. I'll pass your comments along to them. We'll look forward to your next visit! Barry
Beautiful views and privacy. Perfect!!!
My husband and I stayed at Villa Helena for a week Dec 28-Jan 3 and could not have been happier. It is certainly a magical place that is much better than the pictures can show...so filled with nothing but beautiful views, butterflies, hummingbirds, and many other birds...did also have visits from howler monkeys and capuchins. We had spent a wonderful week in another area home prior to our arrival which was great but we did have our family with us so were very excited to have some privacy and quiet and we got that and more. We love visiting and exploring Costa Rica but Villa Helena has such a peaceful charm and beautiful breezes that it's hard to tear yourself away so we spent a couple days just walking the suggested areas around the house and lounging by the lovely pool bird and butterfly watching. we are alo football fans so it was perfect to be able to walk down to the Jolly Roger on sunday to watch the game, have a great burger and meet some wonderful people.
The house The house is fully stocked with everything you could need and is really no problem to drive to. We have stayed in several homes in Uvita/Dominical area and for the elevation and privacy you get. Kevin was the property manager that met with us upon arrival and departure and was terrific to meet and work with. If you are a bird watcher I highly recommend walking up (steep up) the paved road they mention at the house to the open area near the cell tower. We went in the evening and saw so many birds as well as mom & baby sloth, howlers and a beautiful sunset. We are already trying to plan our next trip to Villa Helena! Thank you so much for sharing your house with us. Pura Vida!
Thanks, Beth, for the kind words about your stay at Villa Helena. You're the perfect type of guest for us that enjoys the views, all the wildlife, the pool and the privacy and yet can also appreciate how much there is to do once you decide to tear yourself away from the property. We love the Jolly Roger: great wings and salads, too! Just let us know when you'll start to plan your next trip and we'll look forward to having you there again! Pura Vida, Barry
The house wonderful. We had a great time. Just from the balcony and property we saw sloth, monkeys, toucans, an Agouti, and a poison frog! The management team was responsive when we had questions and even checked in a couple of times to see how we were doing. We couldn't have asked for a better experience. I can't wait to return!
Thanks for the great comments, Larisa. The poison dart frog is a great sighting: totally harmless and so beautiful, turquoise and black. It's almost like the fantastic animals are on parade at Villa Helena as you say, right from the balcony . . . or the pool . . . or the stream-side trail. We'll be glad to have you back for a visit whenever you're ready! Barry
Great house with amazing views set up in the jungle mountains!
Such a nice, clean house perfect for a couple. Great living space with an amazing outdoor oasis. Two hammocks on the balcony overlooking the jungle with the ocean in the background. Howler monkeys within sight and sound. (Great alarm clock for early birds) Pool is deep and refreshing. Could use a better light for after dark swimming since the pool didn't have any lights. The house comes with many amenities such as a coffee pot, pots and pans, mixer, microwave and all your kitchen needs. The management company was amazing to work with. They gave us great tips for the surrounding area and provided a binder with contacts for everything to do in the area.
The reason for the 4 stars is only because the distance to the ocean may have been a half mile according to the description but that must have been as a crow flies. The road to get to the house was 2.2 kilometers of up hill on pretty rough terrain. We were told to make sure we had a 4x4 which we did but traveling up and down the road to the house was getting pretty old after about 3 days. When we booked the house we assumed only a 1/2 mile from the beach that we would be able to walk there. Other than that the only other thing is the house could use a hot water heater. The shower was very cold even with the humidity. If I could give 4.5 stars I would. My wife and I had an amazing time and the price was right for this house. We were able to walk up the road and found a Sloth hanging out in a tree. Very cool!
Thank you Kevin for meeting us and showing us the house. It was great to see you at the beach as well.
Shane and Anna
Thanks for leaving such a nice review of our Villa Helena. Yes, the description of the house does say that the house is about 1000 feet in elevation above the ocean and is a half mile inland. That is true but I see your point that one might think the house was that far by car. I'll make an adjustment to the listing to make sure it is 100% clear to our future guests.
We have Kevin and the other managers inspect the house twice a month to make sure it is totally ready for guests to arrive. Once I read your review, I immediately called the managers and told them of your hot water experience. They assured me that they always run the taps to make sure the hot water heater is working properly. Kevin says that he found the hot water heater to be functioning correctly shortly before you arrived. But once he found out about your situation, he was going to go right up to make sure an element had not burned out. I'm sorry you had that experience but thank you for pointing that out and rest assured that it will be fully investigated!
I'll also have Kevin check out the outdoor light above the dining area window. It sounds like they didn't point that out to you. It does light the pool area at night. There aren't any lights IN the pool like you see in the States often. I'll make sure that pointing that light out is part of the introduction to the house!
I've never heard about either of these situations but thanks to you, we'll make sure these are seen to.
Good on you for spotting the sloth! They can be elusive, mainly because they blend in and don't move much.
P.S. We have retested the hot water heater as we have been here at the house now for a couple of weeks. Your issue with hot water is a mystery as we have not been able to reproduce your problem with a lack of hot water: if anything we find, like usual, that we have to have quite a bit of cold going, too, to have the right temperature for a shower. I wonder if the power had gone out for a while and so left the contents of the heater cool and it took a while to come back up to temperature. Whatever the reason, I'm sorry you were inconvenienced but rest assured that all seems fine. For this and all other rentals via VRBO, don't hesitate to contact the managers immediately if you encounter a problem. Thanks again, and happy traveling.
Wildlife observation, art and craft shopping, swimming in the 85 Degree (F) ocean or in the private pool, sea kayaking, boogie boarding, beachcombing, birdwatching, rainforest canopy exploration, zip line travel through the rainforest, jungle waterfall enjoyment, natural tropical pool swimming (seasonal), rainforest trail walking right from the house, deep sea fishing, whale watching
Rates & Availability
Additional information about rental rates
$250 totally refundable security deposit. We have never had to retain any portion of the deposit: people love the house and treat it as though it were their own. Rates are based on 2 people occupying the house. If there are additional people, we charge and extra $50 per week, 4 person total maximum.