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.
No smoking please, and no pets without prior consent. Sound travels- please be considerate at night. Please treat my house like yours and I am sure everything is going to be fine.
Michael's home is as beautiful as it looks in pictures. He is easy to communicate with and an excellent host. I hope to return soon!
Micheal was an extremely accommodating, welcoming host. His home is an absolute gem and it's location was perfect for us. His property manager Agnes was very helpful with all our questions and needs
This is a truly stunning house that measures up to the description in every way. Nosara and the surrounding beaches are very cool and this house is well positioned for visiting the region. We came in the early rainy season which meant that the area and house were quite buggy, and without air conditioning except in the master bedroom the house can feel hot- but taking in stride the conditions in Costa Rica it's understandable. We really appreciated the good washing machines, plentiful linens, and cleanliness.
The agency that manages the rental is fabulous- they were so helpful and responsive both pre trip and during our stay. Michael was also a great communicator and provided extensive area guides and advice!
My family stayed at Michael's house the week of April 12th, 2014 and it was everything we expected it to be. Beautiful, unique, open air design, great views and all the necessary amenities. It's only a five minute drive to the beach. We had a great time at the house and I'd definitely recommend it.
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.
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!
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I was a military kid growing up, and to date have never lived anywhere longer than four years. SF is my home now. I left patent litigation to join RPX Corp and do business development. Its been a fun ride. I have a two year old daughter, who I hope will spend a year in Costa Rica before she enters school. Her Spanish is already about as good as mine.
The house I listed is the end result of a 12 year Odyssey that began with negotiating land rights in high school Spanish in Nicoya, and ended with my dream house in Costa Rica with law school, law firms, New York, Pensacola, Boston and SF in between.