True Tico Experience Bed & Cafe #2

Bed & Breakfast - Private room · Santa Bárbara, Heredia Province, Costa Rica

This is an opportunity to have an authentic Costa Rican experience: Eat typical food, see wildlife and farms before commercialization changes them and most importantly, experience the local people's kindness that defines Costa Rica.

The Space

This is an opportunity to have an authentic Costa Rican experience. Eat typical food, eat at the restaurants only the locals know about, see wild life and traditional farms before commercialization changes them forever. You'll have opportunities to visit local farms, my parent's organic shade grown coffee plantation in the mountains of San Ramon, and simply experience the natural beauty, delicious food, and most importantly, the local people's kindness that defines Costa Rica.

My family owns a property with two houses and typical restaurant that is located in almost the exact center of Costa Rica, only 15 minutes away from Juan Santa Maria International Airport. My Tia Lidia and her family live in one house, and the other has 3 bedrooms available for rent.
Bedroom #1: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/927879
This page is for bedroom #2
Bedroom #3: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/1832055

My Tia Lidia has over 30 years of experience in the best seafood restaurants in Heredia and Alajuela. Her husband, my Tio Rigo, has over 40 years of experience in the tourism business, and my cousin Isleivin has over 20 years of experience in tourism. They currently own a small, local restaurant and are looking for additional income.

The house is conveniently located in front of a bus stop with buses that go to central Santa Barbara, San Juan, Alajuela, and Heredia. There are¨pulperias¨ (small convenience stores), bakeries, restuarants (especially my Tia Lidia's), and parks within walking distance.

Tia Lidia's restaurant,(currently in town, but they will deliver to house), serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The breakfast generally consists of fresh Costa Rican coffee, gallo pinto (rice and beans) with a side of either fresh pressed cheese, natilla, fried egg, fresh fruit, or an assortment of the above for $4 to $6. For lunch and dinner, she serves fried fresh sea bass ($5), Arroz con camarones ($6), Sea Bass or Shrimp Ceviche ($5), fried plantains ($3), as well as many other typical Costa Rican food like gallo pinto. She's extremely accomodating to guests and will be sure to come up with a dish that meets your dietary needs and tastes.

The house is a fully furnished 3 bedroom, 2 bath ranch house with a large front porch with rocking chairs. It is fully stocked with sofas, benches, dining counter for up to 10, utensils, plates, glasses, oven, microwave, rice cooker, pots, pans, etc. There is wifi for you to use, and the showers are equipped with hot water (which is not standard for Costa Rica).

Bedroom 1 has a full size bed (2 people) and twin sized bunk beds (2 people) with an ensuite full bathroom (4 people total).
Bedroom 2 has a bunk bed with a full sized bed on the bottom and single on top (3 people). The second bathroom is accessible through bedroom 2 as well as the common area.
Bedroom 3 has a twin sized bed with a roll away twin bed underneath it (2 people total).

Tour opportunities
Since the house is so centrally located this really opens up tons of great day trip opportunities. Within an hour drive you can
-Explore the crater of the Volcan Poas ($10) and go zip linning ($50) across it's lake.
-Visit my parent's shade grown, mountain coffee plantation. (For $35 a person you can rent horses from a neighbor and go on an amazing tour including a waterfall where you can swim and a mountain peak where you can see the ocean despite being in the middle of the country.) Also it's the spot George Clooney picked to buy the coffee for his high end nescafe line of products.
-Visit Sarchi, the country's cultural art center. See artisans construct highly decorated Ox Carts that used to be used to pull coffee (the nations previous #1 export) from the mountainous central region to the coasts to be shipping around the world. Also, the largest ox cart in the world is located here.
-Visit San Jose and see the beautiful cathedrals, government buildings, and attend a performance at the National Opera House. ($10 per person for professional tour)
-Go to Downtown Heredia and walk in the beautiful parks, enjoy homemade ice cream, or explore the great nightlife with salsa and cumbia dancing.
-Drive to Mirador Quetzal and go on a 5 AM walk through the cloud forest to try to see the elusive Quetzal.
-Drive to Jaco Beach and bum around the beach, take surf lessons ($40), or adventure into the nightlife.
-White Water Raft on the Pacquare River ($100).
-Go to a traditional farm that is also a butterfly sanctuary and learn about Costa Rica's wildlife and how local farmers try to grow organically. ($35pp with lunch included)

My cousin would also be happy to book hotels, tours, and anything else you'd be interested in doing. Please pick his brain on the over 200 different tour routes he's been a part of over the past 20 years.

Notice of pets
Although there are no pets in the house, my cousin that lives on the same property owns a talking parrot.

The Neighborhood

Tour opportunities

Since the house is so centrally located this really opens up tons of great day trip opportunities. Within an hour drive you can
-Explore the crater of the Volcan Poas ($10) and go zip linning ($50) across it's lake.
-Visit my parent's shade grown, mountain coffee plantation. (For $35 a person you can rent horses from a neighbor and go on an amazing tour including a waterfall where you can swim and a mountain peak where you can see the ocean despite being in the middle of the country.) Also it's the spot George Clooney picked to buy the coffee for his high end nescafe line of products.
-Visit Sarchi, the country's cultural art center. See artisans construct highly decorated Ox Carts that used to be used to pull coffee (the nations previous #1 export) from the mountainous central region to the coasts to be shipping around the world. Also, the largest ox cart in the world is located here.
-Visit San Jose and see the beautiful cathedrals, government buildings, and attend a performance at the National Opera House. ($10 per person for professional tour)
-Go to Downtown Heredia and walk in the beautiful parks, enjoy homemade ice cream, or explore the great nightlife with salsa and cumbia dancing.
-Drive to Mirador Quetzal and go on a 5 AM walk through the cloud forest to try to see the elusive Quetzal.
-Drive to Jaco Beach and bum around the beach, take surf lessons ($40), or adventure into the nightlife.
-White Water Raft on the Pacquare River ($100).
-Go to a traditional farm that is also a butterfly sanctuary and learn about Costa Rica's wildlife and how local farmers try to grow organically. ($35pp with lunch included)

My cousin would also be happy to book hotels, tours, and anything else you'd be interested in doing. Please pick his brain on the over 200 different tour routes he's been a part of over the past 20 years.

Local Exploration

The town of Santa Barbara is known for its fried chicken and seafood restaurants. If you decide to take a day or two to explore Santa Barbara, I highly recommend checking out the local church and its garden, playing a pick up soccer game called a mejenga in Costa Rican Spanish, and trying some exquisite seafood at my aunt's restaurant and others. The local bakeries make great pastries called Patitos, "little ducks", filled with dulce de leche. The local Ice Cream shops carry flavors of tropical fruits like passion fruit, guayaba, and melocoton that you should try if you get a chance.

In terms of night life, a cheap and quick cab ride can get you to either San Pedro where Kareoke reigns supreme or the dance clubs of Heredia. Definitely try the Chifrio, a combination of fried pork belly, rice and beans, and some times avocado or tomato that's a popular bar food. If you are feeling adventurous and they are in season, you can try a turtle egg shot at most bars. It is an egg of the Olive Ridley sea turtle in a tomato vodka shot.

Pedicures, massages, and spa treatments are all extremely affordable in the Santa Barbara area as well. Most will make in home appointments which is a great option if you choose to have a relaxing day in after an exciting tour the previous day.

Getting around

Transportation options:

Public Transportation
There is a bus stop directly in front of the house that can take you to Santa Barbara, San Juan, Alajuela, or Heredia for $0.50-$3 a person. If arriving from any where other than the airport, simply take the train or bus from where you are to either Heredia or Alajuela from there ask for the bus that goes to Santa Barbara and passes through San Juan. Tell them the bus stop in front of Panaderia Las Rosas.

Taxi
Taxi´s charge $1 for initial pull and $1 for each additional kilometer. There is a $3 airport fee, so a taxi from the airport to the house will cost $10, but it the most cost and time effective option from the airport.

Personal Driver
This is an economical and safer alternative to renting a car.
(1-4 people) For $85 a day or $25 for an airport pick up or drop off (which includes insurance, Isleivin's service as a driver, and cost of gasoline),
(5 or more people) For $150 a day or $40 for an airport pick up or drop off (which covers Isleivin´s labor, insurance, gasoline, and rent of a minibus)
My cousin Isleivin will drive you anywhere in Costa Rica and would include a pick-up and drop off at the airport. His familiarity with all the roads in Costa Rica from being a professional tour bus driver for over 20 years will safely get your group from point a to point b with out having to hope the gps map got it right, without trying to figure out proper Costa Rican etiquette is for pot holes that span an entire lane, guess where to park your car so it isn't stolen, or attempting to discern whether that flattened dirt would appear on a map as a road or not. Additionally he has the eyes of an eagle and spots wild life right off the side of the road and will be sure to pull to the side to allow everyone a chance to see. His insight and knowledge of Costa Rican Wildlife and History is as impressive as is his English (He lived in the United States and studied English for 6 years). If you decide to stay at a distant hotel on the coast and would like Isleivin's services, he charges a $50 overnight fee in addition to the driving fee in order to pay for a hotel room and food for himself. I wouldn't recommend too many of those since there are so many great day trips available from the house.

Other Things to Note

Notice of pets
Although there are no pets in the house, my cousin that lives on the same property owns a talking parrot.

Room type: Private room
Bed type: Real Bed
Accommodates: 3
Bedrooms: 1
Bathrooms: 2
Beds: 2
Extra people: No Charge
Weekly Price: $125 /week
Monthly Price: $450 /month
Cleaning Fee: $10
Check In: 12:00 AM (midnight)
Check Out: 12:00 AM (midnight)
Country:
City:
Cancellation: Strict

Overall Guest Satisfaction

Accuracy
Communication
Cleanliness
Location
Check In
Value
  • This was the perfect place to stay after getting in to the airport if you are not looking for a normal hotel experience. We did not get to spend much time in the area but from what we saw Santa Barbara is a cute town. Just make sure that you get really good directions!

    March 2014
  • I spent six weeks in C.R and enjoyed returning back to this comfortable home several times during my adventure.I felt safe,happy and welcomed both in the home and around the wonderful Flores family.Words cannot express how grateful I am for their genuine kindness and (website hidden) EXTRA bonus was getting to meet and spend time with Peter and his Mom Blanca.They were such incredibly warm,open,genuine and fun people to be (website hidden) was truly a joy to spend my last few days in C.R in their (website hidden) closing, I feel honored and better for having stayed at this home and being exposed to the whole wonderful family.Thanks to all of them...miss you all... and I look forward to visiting again!I highly advise people to stay here for a truly genuine and amazing experience.

    March 2014
  • Our hosts were wonderful! We had a really stressful experience at the airport, with no rental cars available. Last minute we contacted Peter and Krista and within 20 minutes Islavin picked us up at the airport! We had a very nice accommodation for the night. The other guests were very nice and so was the family. We felt very much at home! Joe and Islavin have the same last name (Flores) so he kept referring to him as "primo", so sweet! In the morning they drove us to a different car rental; and we left with a car. I would say this was by far the most accommodating experience I've ever had with airbnb (and I've had some great experiences).

    February 2014
  • If you want the local experience in Costa Rica, or need a place to crash when you first land before exploring the rest of the country - this might be the place for you.

    Your hosts are a friendly and helpful family living in the house in front. You'll stay in the house in back with clean bedrooms, bathrooms and a ready-to-go kitchen.

    10-15 minute walk to the nearby town of Santa Barbara where you will find groceries and restaurants.

    Bus stops in front of the house for cheap rides to Alajuela and then on to San Jose.

    Please note: it's not a particularly quiet neighborhood - so if you are a light sleeper - bring earplugs.

    February 2014
  • The reservation was canceled 16 days before arrival. This is an automated posting.

    December 2013
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Languages
Deutsch, English, Español
School
East Leyden High School, West Chicago Community High School, University of Chicago, University of Illinois College of Medicine
Work
La Rabida Children's Hospital, University of Illinois College of Medicine, University of Chicago
About
I grew up living between Chicago during the school year and Costa Rica during the breaks (The benefits of having both parents employed as teachers with summers off). I loved experiencing it as a child, teenager, college student and whatever label I am now. In all honesty, being able to experience the urban and rural through the different perspectives of age, responsibilities, interests, and groups of friends really expanded my knowledge of and interest in Chicago, Costa Rica, and the world in general. I like to think of myself as an aged local historian in training, trying to accumulate as much knowledge as humanly possible through first hand experience and people's stories. I am a huge fan of swapping travel stories over local ale and cherish getting local insider tips about anywhere I'm traveling to. If you stay with us, I will be sure to dish on all the great hidden gems Chicago or Costa Rica have to offer. I like to take visiting friends to the Art Institute, a concert in Millennium Park, or simply a walk around the river. If I'm available, I have a few memberships to local museums so I'll probably be able to take you as guests and access members only exhibits. I'm a foodie and have been to over 200 restaurants in Chicago. I love it all. From the $2 tacos in Pilsen to the $200 dinner in the Fulton River District/West Town, I appreciate Chicago's unique culinary style. Feel free to ask for any recommendations, I love an excuse to share my passion for Chicago.
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