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.
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 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 #3
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, and parks within walking distance.
Tia Lidia's restaurant, (currently in town, but they will deliver food 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).
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.
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.
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.
Taxi´s charge $1 for initial pull and $1 for each additional kilometer. There is a $2 airport fee, so a taxi from the airport to the house will cost $10.
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.
1. Instructions for toilet paper disposal
Please place all toilet paper in the trash can next to the toilet. Do not place the toilet paper in the toilet, since it will clog the Costa Rican sewage system and cause the toilet to back up and flood the bathroom. This is true in all of Costa Rica due to the plumbing infrastructure. Please take this tip with you anywhere else you visit in Costa Rica.
2. Instructions to use the washer and dryer
First fill the washer with water. Add soap to your liking. Start the spin cycle. Then, manually rinse the clothes using water in the sink. After clothes are washed, place them in the spin dryer. Make sure that the clothes are evenly balanced in the spinner. Start the spin cycle. This will remove the majority of the water. Hang the clothes on the lines to finish drying.
3. Feel free to store things in the refrigerator, watch tv, prepare meals, use the WIFI, and use the washing and drying machine. We only ask that you please be respectful of everything in the hosue and leave the house as you found it. If you have any questions do not hesitate to ask my cousins Isleivin or Jairo who live in the other house on the property.
Nice place. Clean, secure and full equipped for cooking. Generous hosts who gave us hints about traveling in Costa Rica and Spanish mini course. Speak well in English.
We had a wonderful experience being immersed in a true Tico neighborhood - it was a great opportunity para practicar espanol! Islevin (the property owner) is the nicest person I have ever met. It's hard to find genuinely good people like him. He will get you what you need - just ask.
The water is great to drink in most places in CR and makes the best coffee or tea. In fact, my favorite coffee back in the States tastes twice as good using the tap water here vs US purified water, lol.
If you have a rental car, then have patience. Driving in CR is mostly confusing due to everything being located in reference to a landmark as opposed to having a exact street location like many people are used to. If you can get exact GPS coordinates, then MAYBE that will help. Otherwise, just stop the car from time-to-time and ask the locals about where you're going. They can point you down the right path and say "directo", which means straight ahead. Driving in CR is definitely an eye-opening, yet rewarding experience. If you can drive manual, then that is preferred over automatic due to the mountainous and hilly terrain in much of CR.
The living quarters is space-efficient, so you will find yourself outside most of the time - and not indoors. Wifi is best if you're standing outside at the middle of the driveway. Do not expect to conduct any serious business over email or (website hidden), etc. while staying at True Tico. Solamente, relaje - relax.
Lastly, be aware that Islevin - not Peter and Krista (on Airbnb) - will greet you in CR. They are simply relatives. That should help clear up some confusion upon arriving. Btw, it's only $2-$4 to get a SIM card for your phone. I would recommend this and purchase through the vendor, Kolbi, in case you get lost, etc. and need to contact the host for help. Kolbi is everywhere in CR, so that you can recharge your minutes if needed for just a few bucks.
Perfecto como primer contacto al llegar a Costa Rica. La familia fue muy amable y atenta, y nos enseñaron costumbres típicas, la habitación sencilla y limpia, y la cocina bien equipada. Sin duda repetiremos! Pura vida!
I had a lovely time and found Islevin and the whole family to be really helpful. I wasn't feeling well when I first arrived and was really thankful for such considerate hosts. I would recommend this AirBNB most to families or groups as it was a lot of space for me travelling alone. It was easy to get to Santa Barbara and Heredia from the house.
The host family was friendly and helpful. Their civichee is great. The nieghbourhood was quiet and clean, a bit away from town centre but on a good bus route. One room was like being in the jungle with birds squirrels and bugs. The other rooms were quieter and bug free. There is a nice spacious kitchen and living room.
Experience was great! Family was a great host and very helpful with getting transportation. We chose to ride the horses and had an great time! The horses were well trained and the countryside was beautiful. Great experience. This is the true Costa Rica Experience.
From the moment I arrived I knew this would be an amazing experience. I was travelling alone and wanted a real Costa Rican experience. If that is what you are looking for then this is the place for you. I took advantage of Islevin and his Dad's experience in the tourism industry and was not disappointed. Not only did I get transportation to a few attractions I got a front seat view of extra's.
I visited the family restaurant three times and each time delicious, the breakfast served was also delicious and a traditional Costa Rican dish.
The next stage of my journey was a remote village on a farm and Islevin actually drove me there. On the way we were one of the first few people on the scene of a rollover, having a local driver was what I needed for sure. Islevin again made me feel safe and took it all in stride.
I will be staying there on my way back to Canada next week overnight. I so enjoyed spending time with the entire family, Sylvia (Islevin's wife), his brother, his Dad and Mom were amazing gentle, kind people and a tremendous help to me.
The accommodations are exactly as listed on the website and was perfect for me. There is a grocery store a short bus or taxi ride away. I went to San Jose by bus (which stops right in front of the house). A small bakery across the street provided me with my much loved coffee which I was able to make in the house. If a true Costa Rican experience is what you are looking for I would highly recommend time with this family.
This host has 136 reviews for other properties.View Other Reviews
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.