About this listing
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. Owned and run by Costa Rican 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 at the lower level, 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 a famous in La Fortuna for decades.
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, see photos ) 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 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 cellph(phone number hidden) and email.
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.
The plusses: great location, away from the tourist crowds of Arenal yet so close, perfect for those who want to meet locals when they travel, you feel that you are in the jungle, wonderful terrasse overlooking nature, great beds and linens, kitchen is well equipped for cooking, super friendly owners and manager. We felt so welcome and fell for the warm greeting that Thomas and the owner's family gave us.
The minus: the house has a musty/ moldy smell that could bother sensitive people, especially in the wet season. They are aware of the situation and will problably work on correcting it.
Overall, it was a good experience
Thank you Val and Sebastian,
we enjoyed meeting you.
Thank you also for pointing out the musty smell that accentuates in rainy season and can be bothersome to some people, particularly to allergic ones.
I will definitely post comment on it in the description of the listing.
From the moment we arrived in little El Castillo we felt welcomed and were encouraged to make ourselves at home. Tomas manages the Air B&B account for the owners of the apartment, but both parties were a joy. Luis and Emilse, the owners of the home, were easy to talk to, so very sweet, and even shared homecooked meals with us on more than one occasion! Tomas and Hannah at the Gavilana were so incredibly kind and accommodating too. Delicious breads and cookies, great products, and beautiful paintings can all be found at their awesome shop. If you need local information these guys will gladly help you out! All the "hosts" were beyond helpful, I wouldn't hesitate to return!!
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!
This host has 15 reviews for other properties.View Other Reviews
About the Host, Tomas
My wife Hannah, our son Noah and I live our Costa Rica dream on a mountain in El Castillo where it's green all year round. We manage few unique vacation rentals and couple of neat tours. Let us know in advance if you'd like to order home made cookies or bread or to know more about our tours.
We think that all is well and that one thing leads to another hence everything is connected.
We think that our visitors should not miss climbing to a lake in the crater of a dormant volcano, visiting a local traditional farmstead in the forest hopefully on horse back combined with a waterfall hike, enjoy natural hot springs and massage, indulge in local flavors of home made bread, pesto or ice cream.
We invite everyone to come enjoy our humble art shop space La Gavilana Herbs & Art with us. Information about which is readily available on line.
Blessings to all.