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.
The page you are on is for bedroom #1
Bedroom #2: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/1783051
Bedroom #3: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms(phone number hidden)
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.
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).
This is for bedroom 1
Bedroom 1 has a full size bed (2 people) and twin sized bunk beds (2 people) with an ensuite full bathroom (4 people total).
This is information for another listing
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.
This is also information for the other listing
Bedroom 3 has a twin sized bed with a roll away twin bed underneath it (2 people total).
Guests will have exclusive access to their bedroom and will share common areas with any other guests.
Interaction with Guests
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.
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.
Most AirBnB guests that stay with us agree that interacting with my Tia Lidia and her family is the highlight of their trip.
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. 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´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 $15, but it the most cost and time effective option from the airport.
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.
The family that lives in Santa Barbara (they are related to Peter and Krista) were extremely kind, warm, and welcoming and answered all my questions, and Peter and Krista were easy to communicate with. I thought the descriptions on the webpage were accurate. I was able to park my rental car inside the gate (and you might need one if you want to get up to Barva or Poas). Room #1 has it's own bathroom and the other two rooms share a bathroom. The only other thing which other reviewers have already mentioned is that the internet connectivity is weak inside the bnb; I simply used it outside which was fine for my needs. I was looking for something in the Santa Barbara area (close to the airport), and this bnb was perfect for me especially at its price point.
The house is spacious with a fully equipped kitchen. The family was nice although we didnt speak much other than planning trips (which we ended up doing on our own). Theres a bus stop infront of the house which you can use to travel pretty much anywhere by transferring to other buses if traveling to a far distance. We did take one trip that the family suggested which was to the Poas volcano. The cost for his cousin to take us and bring us back was $95 (yikes) and the entrance to Poas was $15, it was a nice experience but we didnt get to see the volcano because it was raining and very foggy. $95 to be driven there and back is too expensive though. We stayed at room #1 which has a private bathroom. The water pressure in the shower is VERY weak and there is NO hot water. Room #2 and #3 which have the same bathroom has excellent water pressure and hot water! Room #1 also has limited fresh air, it gets very muggy in there. The wifi! ... only works OUTSIDE, and even there it sometimes is very weak. The stay at this house is very cheap and you really do get what you pay for, it is great if you are traveling on a budget and do not want to spend a lot of money. Google maps will be your best friend if you do not want to spend all your money on the tour that the family suggests! $8 cab to the airport from this house!!
(P.S They will not clean anything for you, you have to throw all your garbage out yourself even if you do not know where to! cleaning fee? might want to ask them about that!)
GOOD LUCK !
The cleaning fee is to launder the sheets and clean the house after you leave as well as prepare it before you arrive. It is not a maid service.
Poas is rather difficult to get to if not impossible to get to by public transportation, as a volcano craters aren't generally top priority destinations in urban planning. Renting a car, plus gas (which is about $10 a gallon in Costa Rica, tourists usually don't realize those adveritised prices are per liter not per gallon) would have been more expensive than $95.
Most hot water systems in Costa Rica do not use a boiler. Hot water is heated directly from the shower head using electricity. I'm sure Isleivin or Jairo would have been able to assist you in properly operating the shower head. The water pressure is purposefully low in showers since the water heating shower head can only heat so much water. If you attempt to pass too much water through the head, it won't heat the water.
Isleivin was wonderful! Very nice, informative, and helpful. He and his family even brought over some delicious home made ceviche for us to try. We were also able to buy some homemade tamales for a few meals. Isleivin also drove us for free to some car rental places and tried to help us rent a car (unfortunately it was too expensive and we didn't end up doing it, but his help was much appreciated!). The kitchen was not as well equipped as the listing made it seem: no rice cooker, very few cooking utensils, etc. The place was definitely close the airport but not very close to much else - nothing was truly in walking distance and we had to take a lot of cab rides. It was also difficult to find the house upon arrival; our taxi driver was not really sure what the directions we gave him meant and we had to stop and ask a lot of people on the side of the road for help. The town was quaint, but there was not a lot to do there. Definitely a great place to stay at the beginning or end of your trip, though!
In short: family very helpful and welcoming, living areas fine, bedrooms on the dark and airless side, listing outdated.
This was a pleasant place to stay in many ways. Peter and Krista were not in Costa Rica, but their cousins Islevin and Josue, and their father Rigoberto, told me an amazing amount about Costa Rica. They taught me how to take the bus, and where to shop, and what to ask for -- very helpful. The place itself is a separate lodging behind the courtyard behind Rigoberto's family's home. The living area is a bit dark, the bedroom was very dark and very crammed with okay beds, though the sheets were torn and didn't fit the mattress; the essentials and breakfast promised in the listing were not provided. My bedroom faced directly on the noisy tile courtyard and was lit by a single bare low-wattage fluorescent overhead light. The shower, stove, internet, and cable TV worked fine. The place is in San Juan de Santa Barbara, which is a bump in the road across from a bakery between Santa Barbara and San Juan; if you want anything else, you need a car, a bus, or a taxi (Josue is a good driver). On the other hand, you can buy a plate of food from Rigoberto's wife for $5.00 and it's superior. There's no fish available since the restaurant described in the listing has closed.
It's rather noisy. There are two dogs next door who bark from a little after dawn until 9 or 10 pm. There is another dog who has barking fits on the other side. The laundry area is behind the house and a deaf woman begins doing laundry at 5:30 every morning, who of course cannot hear the noise she makes. There is a parrot in a small cage who shouts at the laundry, and at the children who play in the courtyard, and at the many different groups of people who work or play in the courtyard from early to late.
The price is high for what you get, at least if you are a single traveller. $25 will buy you a larger, quieter, airier room near better transport in Heredia or in San Jose.
If you are travelling with a family or large group, this would be a great option. Islevin speaks very good English, and the whole family is very welcoming and accommodating. They love children, so if you had children, they could all play together in the courtyard. There's plenty of room for a large group to gather around the counter and eat, either from the fully appointed kitchen or from the talented hands of Rigoberto's wife. And it's very, very safe, with room to park a car, though the family brought its cars inside the gate at night.
I loved my stay at Peter and kristas house.The host family was super friendly and extremely helpful on many levels.Isleibin was a real standout.... a true man of integrity warmth and kindness.Also had fun with Jose and Jairo on the (website hidden) bedroom number one was basic but had more than enough for all my needs.The kitchen with refrigerator stove coffee maker etc was wonderfully convenient for cooking in,but I prefered to hike up to Santa Barbara or order in and have them deliver some of the family's wonderful homemade food from their restaurant.Overall,I had a highly enjoyable time at this property and would certainly recommend it and visit again myself.
The title tells it all! If you want an experience living in a typical Costa Rican neighborhood and house, this is hard to beat! There's no view and limited outdoor space (a small garden in back). Parking can be tricky, pulling up a narrow, steep drive shared with the other family. You're in close quarters with that family, whose house is maybe 30 feet away. But they're great people! The house is very nice - we had it all to ourselves, so the experience could vary depending on who else is staying there. There's a comfortable living room with TV, very well-equipped kitchen, spacious outdoor seating area with table and chairs, as well as the small back garden. Bedrooms are very tight quarters - don't plan on spending much time in them. The location is very convenient for access to San Jose and the Central Valley. A bus costing 50 cents stops right in front of the house. The center of Santa Barbara is a 15 minute walk - up a steep hill with no sidewalks. The neighborhood seems very safe and quiet at night. If you don't mind sharing the bathroom with whoever might be staying in room 2, I'd recommend room 3. It's more private, at the back facing the small garden, gets lots of light, and is less crowded. There's a bakery across the street, but the family's restaurant is all the way in town. They are happy to deliver, though! Their food was some of the best we had in Costa Rica - and extremely reasonable. We thoroughly enjoyed our time here.
This host has 150 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.