True Tico Experience Bed & Cafe #1

Bed & Breakfast - Private room · San Juan of Santa Barbara, Heredia, Costa Rica
Peter And Krista

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.

Your host, Peter And Krista
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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 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.
This is the page for bedroom #1
Bedroom #2:
Bedroom #3: 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).

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).

Guest Access

Guests have full access of the house.

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.

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'(email hidden) 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 (email hidden) 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´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
Accommodates: 4
Bedrooms: 1
Bathrooms: 2
Beds: 3
Extra people: No Charge
Minimum Stay: 2 nights
Weekly Price: $160 /week
Monthly Price: $600 /month
Cleaning Fee: $10
Cancellation: Strict

Overall Guest Satisfaction

Check In
  • 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.

    February 2014
  • 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.

    February 2014
  • We were unable to stay here due to a change in travel plans.

    February 2014
  • The house is nice, and we were fortunate to be the only renters at the time. However, we didn't receive directions to the home until we asked right before arrival, and the directions were not clear. The bed was not made up for us before arrival.

    Isleivin was a very good host on-site, and was helpful in giving us directions and suggesting activities. If you want to do anything listed in the ad, be proactive and book it in advance through Peter and Krista.

    The bus system in the area is very good, so don't feel that you need to take a taxi to get there or go into the city of San Jose.

    January 2014
  • We enjoyed the stay at Peter and Krista's place. Isleivin who was taking care of us was great: very friendly, helpfull, gave us a lot of suggestion what to do in the area.
    The place is very nice, we had the whole house for us.
    The living room and kitchen are spacious, equipped with fridge, stove and sink. You have a private bathroom. There is possibility to park on the premises. We liked the surroundings a lot, it's quite and easy to find. Thanks a lot!

    November 2013
  • Enjoyed my stay very much. My host Isleivin Flores was very considerate and helpful. The apartment is equipped to house 2 adults and 4 kids with a well equipped kitchen and dining counter. Quiet neighborhood .

    October 2013
  • I was very impressed by the assistance they gave while I was there. He even arranged an appointment with a Dr. for me to get some antibiotics after I had lost mine on the trip down. Great food from the family restaurant, & very spacious place to stay. Very funny family Parrot outside. You can even see his belly move when he laughs - (might be a she).

    Wished I had more time & money to go all the places they could take me to. Excellent host.

    September 2013
  • Duration of stay : 11 days. Number. of people : 2 adults 2 children.
    Purpose of visit : Business and pleasure.
    Overnight at Manuel Anthonio: 1 night.
    Frequent day trips from the rental property.
    Hired Isleivin’s service for the full duration of stay, including Airport pick-up and drop-off.
    The home is conveniently situated near the town of San Juan de Barbara (a few minutes away by car or bus). The town has a vast array of shops, eateries, supermarket, pharmacies, and services. Across the street there is a delightful bakery serving delicious cakes and breads, also selling some essentials; milk, juice, coffee, etc.
    The guest home is located behind the residence of the host family. The guest home possesses the basic comforts; no frills, simple arrangement. We used only two of the three bedrooms of this spacious home. We took advantage of the amenities making our stay very comfortable. We particularly enjoyed dining and lounging in the comfort of the covered patio area fronting the guest home.
    On-site Host:
    We highly recommend hired services of Mr. Isleivin as personal driver and tour guide. He is very knowledgeable and pays careful attention to the needs of his clients. We are very satisfied with the tours and activities he suggested and coordinated. Most importantly, Isleivin puts every effort in making your vacation pleasurable.
    If you are not already familiar with Costa Rica’s roads and driving ethics, consider letting Mr. Isleivin drive you around, either in his car or your choice of rental vehicle for the long rides/extra comfort/extra vehicle space. Then, sit back and enjoy the beautiful Costa Rican scenery.
    Given his previous experience as a tour bus driver, he knows the good rest stops with well maintained/clean facilities and was able to recommend some nice restaurants.
    Cevichera Jeriel (Santa Barbara ) is their family’s restaurant , serving delicious Costa Rican cuisine. Our family’s favorites include the Patacones with savory bean paste, seafood soup, butter garlic fish, and seabass ceviche.
    Mr Islevin can also recommend some very good local take-outs from the town center. Try their local pizzas, hamburgers and fried chicken.
    We enjoyed Sylvias (Isleivin’s wife) breakfasts and ordered snack bags for road trips.
    Conclusion :
    A stress-free, convenient, flexible, memorable and enjoyable trip for our family. We will certainly rent this property and hire Isleivin’s service again if we return to Costa Rica.

    August 2013
  • First of all, Peter responded promptly to our many emails regarding the accommodations, transportation suggestions etc. We ended up staying twice at his cousin's home in Santa Barbara de Heredia, first for a week after first arriving in Costa Rica, and again for the night before we left.
    We felt like we were visiting family. We were greeted at the bus station in San Jose by Isleyvin, Peter's cousin. The entire family came out to the house to welcome us. The house sits on the same lot as the home where Isleyvin, his wife and children and parents live, separated only by a covered courtyard where Pancho the parrot, talked all day. The home is modest by American standards, but clean and had everything we needed-fully equipped kitchen, three bedrooms, two bathrooms, cable TV, excellent wifi, clothes washer. We had our own covered patio with comfy chairs and an outdoor dining table (along with the dining bar in the kitchen).
    Isleyvin's wife Sylvia cooked us delicious Tico breakfasts every morning, and unlike most bed and breakfasts, we had something different every day, from gallo pinto (rice and beans) with scrambled eggs, fresh fruit, french toast, breakfast sandwiches, homemade tortillas with grilled cheese and natilla (sour cream) - pretty much whatever we wanted.

    Isleyvin's parents own a small seafood restaurant in town where we dined four times. The food was so delicious and reasonably priced (can you believe mixed seafood rice (e.g. paella) with salad and french fries for only $5 and the ABSOLUTELY BEST CEVICHE I have found anywhere in the world (and I have been all over).

    Isleyvin also offered his services to drive us around and we took him up on it for three days , touring Poas volcano and the La Paz Waterfall Gardens, Fortuna near the Arenal Volcano, Baldi Hot Springs and the San Jose Area. The Central Valley is a maze of streets full of turns and he knows them and the areas we visited very wellt. At $75/day hisrate was extremely reasonable. we learned this when we rented a car for about $50/day but didn't factor in gas (very expensive here about $5/gallon) and the stress associated with getting lost, driving in heavy rain, over potholes and on narrow roads with deep ditches on either side. Frankly, I wish we had hired Isleyvin to take us to, and pick us up from the Pacific Coast where we could have rented a car for just a day or two for side trips to other beaches and saved ourselves some money and stress getting in and out of the valley.

    When Isleyvin wasn't driving us around the Central Valley, we found the buses very cheap and convenient. Isleyvin patiently explained the bus system to us and we ended up taking the bus to Santa Barbara, Heredia and Alajuela, all with no problems. The bus stops right in front of the house! Also, there is a phenomenal bakery across the street from the house. Highly recommended!

    July 2013
  • The place is quiet and the house confortable. The breakfast was great. We had the chance to meet Peter and family's Peter and they were very friendly and helpfull.
    Very good place in the border of the big city of San Jose.
    We highly recommend it.

    July 2013
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East Leyden High School, West Chicago Community High School, University of Chicago, University of Illinois College of Medicine
La Rabida Children's Hospital, University of Illinois College of Medicine, University of Chicago
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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