The house is cute and I would say that the pictures are pretty accurate although adding a few more might be helpful to future potential renters. I did find the bedrooms to be on the small size but the closets were more than adequate. There is a nice deck on the lower level and porches on the upper level to enjoy the view.
When we first walked in, it was quite musty smelling, which I suppose can be expected considering it’s in the rainforest and the house may not be occupied all the time. After a day or so it seemed to air out. The kitchen is fairly well-equipped with the basic needs (pots, pans, utensils, dishes & glasses) but you’ll need to BYO some items such as paper towels and all varieties of soaps (dish, hand, body & laundry) and there is no dishwasher. We also didn’t find a baking dish to cook some chicken in that we had picked up in La Fortuna. An outside grill would have been a nice addition…which would have negated the need for a baking dish :) The WiFi worked well while we were there.
Stock up on supplies before you get into the village. There is a store and a soda in the village, but you’re going to pay more for some items…especially the beer.
The location is great and yes the road to the house is interesting for sure. Bumpy, twisty, turny, hilly, bumpy, bumpy… When we first drove it, it took us about 30 minutes to get to the house from the main road. After a couple of times driving it, we got used to it and picked up the speed. It’s about a 15-20 minute drive to La Fortuna once you hit the main road.
There are a lot of activities right on that dirt road to take advantage of. Pretty much anything you want to do in the rainforest of Costa Rica can be done a few minutes from your doorstep. Additionally, I would recommend taking a walk up the hill from the house, it’s a really nice (uphill!) walk with stunning views. I would also recommend going La Gavilana Herbs & Art right around the corner. They have some nice artwork, good coffee, breakfast, cookies and sorbet among other things.
On our first night we went to Howlers and everyone’s meal was good, but be prepared for a limited menu. Hamburgers, hot dogs, grilled cheese, salad, pizza and maybe one or two more items. They do have some good Costa Rican craft beers on tap to choose from in a comfortable and casual atmosphere.
Fusion, the restaurant down the street is pretty decent. The salads, ceviche and burger were very good although I don’t think that their filet mignon was a true filet. It didn’t taste bad, it just wasn’t the tender filet I am accustomed to. The staff was very friendly and accommodating and prices were pretty good. $241.00 for 6 people that each had the filet, shared 2 bottles of wine and a few drinks.
The biggest issue we had with our stay was the air conditioning compressor units for all the AC’s in the house (4) are mounted on the outside wall right behind the bed in the master bedroom. So any time one of those units turned on, we heard it, even with ear plugs. It was hard to get a good night’s sleep between that and bed being on the hard side (for our taste).
All in all we enjoyed our stay in the village. We were looking have a true Costa Rican experience and we found it.
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The house is superb - everything is of high quality and is very well equipped. There are balconies along two sides with wonderful views of the Arenal volcano. El Castillo is around a 10km drive along a dirt road off the highway - a bit rough in parts. There is a soda a short walk from the property - visited on a couple of occasions. Around half an hours drive to La Fortuna, hanging bridges, thermal springs etc. The National Park Centre is a short drive away - great walk from here to the base of the volcano.