We had a wonderful time staying in this home. The view of Lake Arenal & Arenal Volcano were amazing. The beds were super comfortable and the house had everything that we needed. We really liked being away from the hustle of La Fortuna, but close enough so that we could visit for excursions and shopping.
Staying in El Castillo is like staying in a small Costa Rican village. We visited three restaurants in the area and they were all very good. Pizza John's, La Ventanita, and Soda La Mesa de Mama were all very good . We visited La Ventanita twice. We really liked their nachos and burritos.
We dealt mostly with Anita during our stay. She was very helpful. She also showed us where we could hike down to the river. It was about a 10 minute walk and it was worth it. The local people were all very friendly and would wave to us as we drove past.
They are building a house right next to this one, but we never had any issues with construction noise. We also didn't really see the construction because the house being built sits below this house and the landscaping is so nice and lush around the property that it hid the new construction mostly from our view.
The area is very beautiful and very peaceful. We really enjoyed it.
I was slightly concerned that the house didn't have air conditioning, but it wasn't needed. There were ceiling fans throughout the house and it was cool enough at night to where it never felt hot or muggy. It would have been nice to have a fan in the upstairs porch, but it wasn't a problem.
I would stay in this house again and I would not hesitate to recommend it to anyone. If you are looking to get away and experience small-town Costa Rica with beautiful views and nice little restaurants then this house and town is for you.
Bajos Del Toro is a beautiful little village, set in an unbelievable part of the Costa Rican country side. There's a million things to see if, you don't mind alittle driving then some hiking. Waterfalls galore. Volcanos seemingly everywhere. Fantastic and patient people actually everywhere. If you're into the eco-tourism aspect of vacationing, this is your dream vacation. A guide is highly recommended. We used Kenneth at "Toro Amarillo 360" Eco-tours. He's local, is very knowledgeable and knows everywhere to go. The two small village restaurants were great and so was eating at the trout farms in the village. NENE's was fantastic and one or two of the family actually speaks English too.
The chalet was comfortable and is fairly modern. The views, from the predominantly glass house, are simply fantastic. You can watch the sunrise on the surrounding mountains and watch the birds flying all over. Post card views in every direction. Everything we needed to cook was there. There were also some hiking poles and other outdoor equipment in the mud room, for our use. We loved to sit at night with nothing more than the back deck lighting on, as it lit the house and property perfectly. The chalet even has a daily feline visitor (Calypso) who will make you feel at home, even if you don't have a cat.
The decor, inside and out, is casual, comfortable and relaxing. As another guest commented, there are some minor issues though. We too noticed the broken cabinet hinge. All it took was finding the screw, in the cabinet and putting it back in. I took care of that. The stair railing cables are still not repaired, there are a couple of exterior light fixtures that need to be remounted (plants growing out of them) and the general cleanliness of the house could have been better. My only real concern was we found the washer did not work and, when I informed the property manager, three days into our trip, he said he'd send somebody to fix it or stop by himself. When we left, 5-days later, we'd still not seen or heard from the manager and the washer hadn't been fixed.
Overall, we have still recommended the chalet to several friends who are currently planning to also rent it. We too plan on returning in the near future. A fantastic house, in a fantastic place, with fantastic people. You make the rest of the trip fit your definition of fantastic.