Madre Selva lets you experience the comfort of private, homey and cool apartment combined with your choice of first hand experience of Nature from its large observation deck or its trail. Managed and owned by local family. Pura Vida at its best!
El Castillo is famous for "fat" views of its surroundings, that is Arenal Lake, Volcano Arenal and the foothills of the continental divide covered with old growth of tropical rainforest.
Madre Selva is a great option for those who appreciate the rain forest from inside rather then seeing just its canopy from a distant hill.
The prominent deck is perched into the surrounding wild vegetation, making it possible for a patient eye to view all its inhabitants: Howler Monkeys, Wild Turkeys, Montezuma Oropendolas, Toucans, hummingbirds, lizards, myriads of plants and trees, etc.
Trails through the neighboring forest are available for those who are not afraid to leave the safety of the deck.
The two bedroom apartment is situated in a two story house below the owners dwelling, having all amenities a separate apartment has. There are stairs leading down to the apartment entrance.There is a four burner stove, fridge, microwave, George Forman grill, blender and coffee maker in the kitchen, electric water heater in the shower, large sofa in the living room and two lounge chairs on the deck.
One bedroom has an exterior window, one has an interior window, there are a total of one double bed and two single beds.
There is only a fan in the apartment since AC unit is unnecessary being in the vicinity of cool forest air; the best AC unit.
The entire house is concrete with abundant wooden interior having the vibe of a safe, hidden, definitely private harbor after much recommended exploring of El Castillo and its surroundings.
It happens that the owners, Luis and Emilse, a retired native Costa Rica couple used to own and run the leader of the top five restaurants of La Fortuna and its outskirts for decades called Vaca Muca.
Their success lays firmly in their charisma and are hard working people which they have extended onto their children.
Which is why we recommend guests to reserve a meal from them of their specialty or order a Costa Rican traditional recipe of your choice.
Emilse cooks ( besides being in love with flowering plants) and Luis is an exclusive "anfitrión" to guests, family and friends.
Emilse and Luis speak Spanish only, but have had years of working with and around "extranjeros". They are personal friends and they recently associated with La Gavilana Herbs & Art S.A. - an artisan shop, tour operator and property manager, which is currently run by my wife, Hannah, and myself since November 2012.
There is a local transit company offering service with their passenger vans and one SUV to any destination in Costa Rica and Nicaragua.
They also run public shuttle from El Castillo - La Fortuna twice a day.
This area offers a balanced amount of destinations of both extreme and low key recreation, all of them wilderness oriented.
Our neighborhood, called El Millon is "industry quiet" and the sounds of wind are mixed with sounds of howlers, dogs, children and roosters.
The weather here is almost always t-shirt and shorts weather with occasional need for rain coat. .
If you decide to drive here, come in a 4x4 vehicle.
Emilse and Luis also gladly share with you their lovely patio upstairs for having friends over for a beer or when it gets too rainy to be out on your deck below. Parking space and laundry service available. No pets please.
We operate from our little artisan shop called
La Gavilana Herbs & Art located 2 minute walk from Madre Selva, where you can come to enjoy herb tea and read a book, to obtain original paintings and unique hot sauces, to order whole wheat bread and cookies, to book an amazing forest tour or make a reservation for tasty meal.
The guests have access to the private deck, the property trails and parking on the premises.
Interaction with Guests
During their stay the guests needs are attended by the owners. I offer additional bilingual support from my office 50m away and on the cellphone.
Our neighborhood is a small quiet village of some 500 people whose homes are scattered over two or three ridges stemming from the mighty continental divide. The whole place has somehow an atmosphere of an island due to being surrounded by very strong geographical features like volcanoes, a lake and a large mountain system. We can help you organize adventure tours to the forests or couple of subsistence farms, hiking and horse back riding. El Castillo and the surrounding area counts with zip lines, hanging bridges, caves, butterfly gardens, local eco zoo and numerous restaurants.
If renting a car make sure it is 4x4!
Count with 3,5 hour drive from SJ airport.
There is a decent shuttle and taxi service in the village. We can arrange a transportation upon a request from the air ports.
Other Things to Note
We recommend to do your main food shopping before getting to Castillo since our choices here are limited compared to the supermarkets in big towns.
If you can not check in by 6pm we recommend not to rent this property that day as we discourage to drive here after dark and also 6pm is our latest check in. Thank you.
Great location, near spectacular views of Laguna Arenal and Volcán Arenal.
Thomas was erg vriendelijk en behulpzaam. Huis was niet erg schoon en rook naar motteballen. De eigenaars wonen boven je en dat hoor je. Ze waren wel vriendelijk
Charmante maison très bien équipée au cœur de la jungle.
Thomas accorde beaucoup de soin aux hôtes. Il répond très rapidement à toutes les questions avant l'arrivée.
L'accueil est excellent. Emilse et Luis sont charmants et au petits soins tout au long du séjour.
Thomas renseigne sur les activités possibles dans les environs. Des randonnées avec une vue magnifique sur l'Arenal sont possibles juste au dessus de la maison.
Il est préférable d'avoir une voiture pour y accéder mais Thomas vous proposera aussi un taxi depuis l'aéroport (ça a été notre choix et nous avons eu un chauffeur charmant).
This is a home away from home. Thomas and Hannah are the complete hosts - organizing grade A adventure hikes to having fresh cookies and coffee for your delight. Note: do not pass up the chance to take the hike to Maximos farm. Challenging, yes. Life changing, yes. We miss you guys already!
The apartment is exactly as advertised on the website and in photos, and my boyfriend and I loved staying there! It's situated right in a forest with an AMAZING view.
The apartment is located in a quieter area with some pretty rough gravel roads and steep hills, and it's not an area with lots of cabs driving around so you should definitely be prepared to get some good walks in.
Emilse and Luis (the owners) were such lovely people and great hosts! Communicating was tough because I struggled with my Spanish and they did not understand English, but they still tried their best to be accommodating. I also met Tomas and his wife at their studio up the hill and they were both very genuine, warm and welcoming and took care of all of our needs!
I will definitely be back when I return!
Had a great stay at Muca's place. Tomas and Hannah were fantastic. We even saw monkeys from the deck on Christmas day. Highly recommended!
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I was born in Prague, left for NY at the age of 20, after two years moved to Key West, Florida, after year and a half moved to Costa Rica
where I acquired a farm to plant an agricultural system known as "food forest" or permaculture. Together with my wife Hannah and other two partners we opened up an artisan shop called La Gavilana Herbs & Art to create and to sell Hannah's art creations, my fermented hot sauces, our forest-adventure tours and to do property management/landscaping.
I come from a musician background and actively play accordion.
I like Natural Philosophy literature and the practice of conscious integration into the world through composting, plant growing, food fermenting, cooking and creating social ties.
The tour to Rancho Maximo Rustic B&B is operated from our shop in El Castillo where it starts. Maximo is a brother to a man with whose family I lived for 7 years, he is my uncle you could say.
I have several life motto I combine to "keep it together" though they at first may not look like to be of the same category:
"It is not your life it is Life itself."
"It is what it is, it is because it is."
"It is what you make it. Do what you can, with what you got, with where you are , with whom you are."
"Never criticize never find fault, never blame."