Designed by DatumZero and completed in 2011, Albazando House is an airy, modern, serene, eco-retreat offering panoramic views of Guiones, Pelada and Nosara Beaches, a 6 minute drive to the beach, and the experience of staying within a true Costa Rican rain forest.
The house has been a journey. I bought the land on a shoe string vacation from NYC in 1999 in the midst of my first post college job. I had no intention of buying land at the outset- I was nearly destitute and living on pasta and tuna in Bed Sty. But something about the land and the people made me reach out, and take a chance. I paid all the money I had in the world for a 30 day option on this acre of land, negotiated the contract in bad high school Spanish while wearing flip flops and board shorts, and with 3 days to go, manged to beg and borrow enough money to buy the land. So I had this jewel and nothing to do about it until I had gone to law school and labored in a miserable Boston sweat shop- 16 hour days, for 5 years. Then, with a pile of money I had no love for, I decided, what the heck? Why not? How many people get to build their dream house?
So I did it. And this is it.
The secret was finding an architect who shared my vision and priorities. We created a two volume house, that is air cooled, locally sourced, sustainable built and stunning. It is modern infusing elements of contemporary architectural and Costa Rican approaches to tropical living. . A cor-ten clad vertical volume with 4 rooms, including the master bedroom and kitchen, and the horizontal volume cantilevered into the jungle, with sustainable harvested teak floors, beautiful views and the living room, and guest bedrooms. A gallery with the dining room connect the two, and bridges the outdoors and indoors.
The vertical volume starts with the master bedroom on the bottom. Queen bed, organic cotton sheets, private bath, outdoor shower, private patio, one wall of opening glass doors to bring the outdoors in. It is the only room with A/C. Above that is the kitchen. I am a zealous cook, and spared no expense. Range, oven, microwave, teak work station, industrial grade sink, dishwasher, full retinue of heavy pans from the US, knives, forks, glasses, plates, spices, coffee maker, etc etc. The view from the kitchen is beautiful, and gets better as you ascend the tower. Two floors housing the yoga room and a tea room on your way to the terrace where the view is jaw dropping. Seriously. Three beaches (Giones, Pelada, and Nosara), can be seen in a 180 view of the coast line and in the other directions, Santa Teresa and the valley behind.
The horizontal has teak floors and ceiling throughout. It first opens into a covered gallery and balcony that houses the large raw wood dining room table. The living room has a sofa, easy chairs, lounge chairs, tables and fans. It also has a beautiful view of the beach, and three panel sliding glass windows that can be completely opened during the day to welcome in the cooling breeze. A hallway connects the two guest bedrooms, each with views of the jungle and access to a balcony. The first guest bedroom has a full sized bed, and a desk on which to work, while the second has a queen sized bed, and windows into the forest in three directions. Hovering more than 25 feet in the air, the rooms offer the experience of sleeping in the jungle and you often awaken to monkeys just feet away.
On the grounds is a dipping pool that seats 6 comfortably, a lawn, tropical landscaping, a covered garage, an outdoor shower and day and night you can see monkeys, coatis, tropical birds, iguanas, deer, etc. There are neighbors, but total privacy. Security is handled by a private company with a gate at the bottom of the winding dirt road, and a night watchman who patrols the area. A safe and bodega are on the premises if you wish to lock up your goods. In general, Costa Rica is safer than the US, but petty theft occurs so take normal precautions.
The house is equipped with internet (wireless DSL with speeds fast enough for (website hidden) and lower quality streaming) and a washer/dryer combination. House cleaning and even meal preparation can be arranged on request.
You need a car to enjoy the house fully. While only 3/4 a mile from the beach as the crow flies- you are not a crow, and the 20 minute walk gets old fast. Once in a car, you can access Guiones beach (restaurants, banks, shops etc) within 6 minutes, Pelada in ten, and downtown Nosara (large grocery store, pharmacy, airport, etc), within 15.
The elevations that give the stunning views make the property less than ideal for children under 10. I take my 2 year old, but I watch her like a hawk and I would just feel more comfortable is parties with small children found something on the flats.
The Nosara Yoga institute is nearby. There is more yoga and massage than you can shake a stick at. Nossra is noted for its surf. The break is mellow, good for beggingers to advanced surfers. Ostional is just north if you want something faster and more hollow. There is a vortex here on the peninsula and some amazing restaurants. There s hiking, Kayaking, canopy tours, horseback riding, birding, swimming etc. But even if you never leave the property, you are going to see a perfect slice of Costa Rica.
Per my property manager's request, please give me 72 hours notice before renting. I certainly love last minute requests, but it gives her a heart attack and she is a perfectionist. That timing allows us to give you the experience you deserve.
We spent 10 days at Michael's house. The house is a very handsome modern house with beautiful views and sweeping views.
It is on top of a very steep hill with bumpy dirt road. Driving in and out of the steep driveway was challenging.. It is not for the faint at heart,..in addition, being a the dry season, the rising dust at night impaired visibility. (It is our second time in that area and we were told that this year it was unusually dusty.) Either way, a
4 x 4 car is a must. The house was clean, nice sheets and towels and good kitchen. It is sparsely furnished and the deck has no furniture . Hopefully next time, there will be a place to curl with a book and a drink and watch the sunset. However, whatever was missing in coziness was replaced by the kindness and efficiency of Jo and Agnes. Joe met us at the car rental and showed us around. We organized a dinner party for our friends who rented houses in Nicoya and needed a big grill, Joe lent us his own and brought it himself with the tools and all. Agnes arranged for a chef, Jose, who made us delicious meal. Thank you Joe and Agnes! Michael was in touch by e mail too. If you are into Yoga or Pilates, Nosara Yoga has wonderful teachers and Tico Massage was excellent too. Both down the road from Paris cafe. Restaurants are ok we ate out most of the time. Cafe Olga is not great but it is on the beautiful Playa Pelada and has lovely low key local atmosphere . Our great joy was seeing and hearing the howling monkeys at sun rise and sun set, fleeting iguanas and exotic birds. Bring binoculars . Wish we did.
Great house and location. We loved it and will be back.
The house is in a lovely spot up on the hill out of the hustle and bustle of Guiones, but within easy driving distance to both Guiones and Pelada. We loved Playa Pelada and went back and forth between the house and this lovely beach. Yes, it's bumpy and dusty on the roads, but this is Costa Rica, and you get used to it after a while. I was glad we had a car with aircon though! For eating out and exploring the house is in a great spot - there are so many good places to try out. We really liked La Luna for dinner on the beach at Playa Pelada - it's not the quickest service, but personally I like taking my time and not feeling like they want to rush you off your table for the next diners. It's also a spectacular spot for a sundowner - that and the top of the tower at Michael's house.
The house is great - lots of glass, and sliding windows so it's really light and open, and the air circulates well. There's a great hanging out space between the kitchen and living room. I loved the bathroom on the first floor too - views of the ocean from the shower! And the kitchen is superb - a great oven so cooking was a pleasure.
Wifi is a little touch and go (it was a 3g device) - it was busy over Christmas and NY so that probably meant bandwidth was being stretched everywhere in Nosara. And yes, Bugs! You get used to them, and the monkey's howling. We had the most amazing visits from giant grasshoppers, frogs, scorpions, and butterflies - it really is the jungle! The mosquitoes weren't too bad - often with a little warm breeze at the height of the house they don't bother you and if they do, the bites aren't the itchy/welt kind.
To improve it we would probably move some more comfy furniture in the living room - the furniture that's there doesn't lend itself to slouching around at the moment.
Overall, we loved it. Michael is a very good host - he communicates clearly and promptly and Jo and Agnes who manage the house know Nosara very well so are a great help when you arrive. We loved our month in Nosara and our stay was happy and peaceful. We hope to return soon!
I stayed in Khouse for a week in early December; it was the first leg of my end-of-year Costa Rican trip. The house did not disappoint. It’s located in Nosara on the Nicoya Peninsula. More precisely, it is located in the hills above Playa Guiones, Pelada, and Nosara. The house is both unique and beautiful. It’s sits on a fantastic lot and has three bedrooms, two full baths, along with a kitchen, living room, and dining area. From the tower, you have a panoramic view of three beaches and the mountains behind.
I loved my time here. The views in the morning and at sunset were incredible. And, each night, you could hear the Howler monkeys. One morning a troop of eight monkeys (plus a baby clinging to its mother) came through. While the males stayed further off, the females and young were in the trees closest to the house. I spent over an hour drinking coffee and watching them. It was one of the many highlights of the trip.
I also appreciated the house for its proximity to the beaches, restaurants, and yoga institute. I went for a beach walk most mornings and then picked a beach to sit on for the afternoon. Playa Guiones is beautiful and stretches out forever. I loved the sunsets from here and watching the surfers. I also visited Playa Pelada and San Juanillo; both beautiful and unspoiled. Playa Carrillo is about 35 minutes away (just past Samara) and is perhaps the most perfect beach I’ve ever seen. I liked it so much, that I went back two days in a row.
Although Nosara is small, relatively rustic place, it has some fantastic restaurants. I did not have a bad meal the entire time. My favorites included the Glided Iquana, Olgas, Café de Paris, Beach Dog Café, La Luna, and (for an amazing Italian meal) Dolce Vita. The Lodge at sunset is also outstanding.
If you’re going to stay in Khouse (or Nosara, in general), I highly recommend renting a 4X4. Nearly all of the roads are unpaved and some are fairly rugged. Also, dust seems to be a way of life here, so expect your car to be filthy. (I took a broom to mine after three days.) I felt quite safe in Nosara. Everyone was very friendly and easygoing. And, if you use common sense about things like NOT leaving valuables unattended in the car, then you should not have any problem.
Finally, Michael was excellent. He seemed happy to answer questions and always replied quickly. His local property managers, Agnes and Jo, were also very nice and exceedingly helpful.
beautiful setting. having howling monkeys in the backyard was definitely a treat. the house does get a bit buggy so bring your mosquito nets.
Beautiful house in a quiet, sleepy town. Location is good, as are the views, the grounds are full of amazing wildlife - and yes - we saw howler monkeys in the trees (highlight of the stay). I agree with the previous reviewer - because of the beautiful gardens the house attracts insects (even with the windows and doors closed somehow) - and so I would also recommend a mosquito net if that effects you. If you want peace and solitude this is perfect. Property Manager Agnes was delightful - helpful and cheery.
The house was excellent. It is very large and laid out in a fantastic way. Big windows and great outdoor space. The tower is impressive, we went to the roof every night to watch the sun set. It is a bit of a drive to get to town or the beach but it was never an issue. We enjoyed our time there and would stay again. In addition Michael was very quick in email communication and was extremely accommodating.
Spectacular experience. The view will take your breath away! Michael has a uniquely beautiful home in a great community (prominently yoga buffs, surfers and nature lovers... All great people). I loved being able to hear the ocean from our home. It's so peaceful. I would highly recommend staying here. Michael is prompt with communication and provided lots of helpful information about the home and area. His property manager Agnes was also prompt to help with any questions we had and cheerful. She accommodated our later arrival and started our stay off on the right foot.
The home is definitely not safe for young children, but is great for adults. Be prepared to stay a little damp during rainy season (when we were there) the little AC unit in the master bedroom helps with it. There is a beautiful kitchen my husband and I enjoyed using. Not only do you want ro rent a 4x4 to visit this beautiful region, you will also want a GPS. We rented a GPS from our car rental place and it made all the difference in the world. I highly recommend the investment. I can't wait to go back! Thank you Michael for sharing your home with us!
Just gorgeous. Every moment at this house is a treat. Well appointed, with a spectacular view from the top of the tower. Treat yourself and stay here. The tiniest tiniest con: Might be worth the investment in some anti-insect candles, and mind the doors and lights at night. Lots of insects!
Michael was an excellent host. He was communicative throughout the whole AirBnB experience -- from the day we booked, throughout our stay and up until the day we departed. He even sent us a really comprehensive guide to nosara. We had to leave a few days early from our reservation and michael was extremely understanding.
While he wasn't physically available in Costa Rica during our stay, his house manager Agnes was able to do everything we needed and more. She met us and showed us around the house upon arrival, she supplied us with a very useful map and great local eating/activity recommendations, and she promptly responded to any inquiry we had before and during our stay.
My only word of caution would be that the roads in nosara and especially leading to the house are rough. I wasn't comfortable driving them but luckily my boyfriend was. Definitely rent a 4x4 car! But nosara is lovely, you'll enjoy your stay there! Also I recommend the harmony hotel's restaurant highly!