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We are a married gay couple from Canada and we have homes in Canada, United States and Costa Rica. We love to travel, horseback ride, garden, and explore new places.
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The house was awesome. Great place to stay in Arenal area that is secluded. The drive isn't bad either.
We couldn't have had a better time staying in El Castillo! The house was great for our needs however our biggest issue was probably not renting a car. The hill the house sits on provided a ton of exercise walking down into town, but I wouldn't recommend it to anyone who doesn't love some good exercise. Coming to El Castillo from Playa Flamingo we weren't sure what to expect. After getting there we simply fell in love with the town, the people, and the views. I don't think you can have a more picturesque place to stay. Would definitely recommend this place to anyone looking to stay near Arenal. There is so much to do from horseback riding, amazing hikes, hot springs, zip lining, great food, and white water rafting all pretty close. Thanks for a trip we will never forget!
Our stay began by meeting Hannah and Tomas at La Gavilana near the rental property. They were very welcoming, and Tomas proceeded to showing us the house as well as providing many tips for nearby activities and restaurants. The house itself was a gem! Huge kitchen, well stocked, amazing volcano and lake view (once the clouds clear if you`re lucky like we were). Didn`t use the TV, wifi worked well. We were 4 people, so with the 2 bedrooms we were very comfortable. Nice surprise that each bedroom has its own walk in bathroom. Hot water doesn`t last long, but you`re in Costa Rica so no need for long hot showers here. Landscaped yard and dip pool are a nice touch. We will definitely recommend it to our friends and colleagues and consider staying there again in the future. The locals in El Castillo are all super friendly and welcoming Ticos. Definitely a 4x4 SUV is recommended to get to the house, as it really is the last house up the mountain in El Castillo, the road is very rough, good adventure! There are a couple small markets in El Castillo, but limited selection, so best to stock up on food in La Fortuna on your way in. We booked horseback riding with Lelander, it was just my girlfriend and myself, best horseback ride ever, including a short hike to a stunning waterfall. Started off it was raining, then the clouds cleared, sun came out and the volcano came into full view, breathtaking! Make sure you pack sunscreen. We didn`t since it was raining, but then weather can change quickly there, and that burned us, literally! It is higher altitutude here, so sun is quite strong. The Sky ziplines are a short drive away, highly recommended, makes our ziplines in Quebec feel amateur-ish. Also recommend the free hot springs by the bridge to La Fortuna, maybe 30 minute drive from the house, make sure you bring a flashlight if you plan on staying there until after 6pm. Glad we opted for that instead of the pricey hot springs that use essentially the same volcanic water stream but in swimming pool settings. With the $ we saved there, we splurged in good food. Many solid eating options in the small El Castillo village and its surroundings, cheaper and more laid back than at La Fortuna, quality just as good if not better. I would give this place a (phone number hidden) it was just perfect! Thanks to John for his great communication prior to our trip, he really sets the bar high for airbnb hosts.
We had a wonderful 6 day stay at El Castillo en las Nubes. Tomas and Hanna were extrememly helpfulThe house is situated in the small village of El Castillo, at the top of a very rough and gutted road and we were glad to have rented a 4x4. We loved the locals, the cows that walked past to graze up the hill every morning, and the horses in the field below, who often visited our front gate. The yard and gardens are absolutely gorgeous and the vista below is stunning.
The interior of the house is quite comfortable, well designed and clean. On the first floor, kitchen is well appointed and easy to work. The bedrooms and en suite bathrooms on the second floor were well designed and comfortable, and the second floor porch affords an amazing view of the gardens and the volcano.
The house is a beautiful home away from home.
It really helped that directions were given both from San Jose airport and Liberia airport, as the house is not that easy to find on its own. We had a GPS so that was really helpful also. The roads off of the main road is rough terrain and it helps to have a 4x4. It is well worth it because once you arrive, it is beautiful.
The view was amazing, and as pictured, although we couldn't really see the volcano because of the clouds. Had coffee every morning on the lawn chairs by the pool, with the amazing view.
It was a great stay overall and Tomas was very helpful with everything that we required. He even cleaned the pool so we could use it the following day.
Tomas and Hannah are always eager to help. Great house! We were 5 people, it would be great if the air bed offered by the local host wasnt broken, good thing there are lots of couches in the house. Great views from the house.
This home is beautiful and exactly as pictured and described. Before our trip Joe sent a few documents that included directions from the airport and extensive information about things to do in the area. Both we're incredibly helpful. We needed far more than the three nights to really explore everything that the area had to offer. Hopefully we'll be able to return in the near future.
A few things to be aware of (all positive in my opinion and also pretty clear from the home's description):
The house is a good 30-40 minutes from the main highway and some of the main attractions (hot springs included). And the dirt road off of the main highway is rough, especially the last stretch through the small town of El Castillo. The house sits up on a hill above the town. As far as we could tell, it was the highest building on the hill. We could not imagine driving the dirt road up to the house without a 4wd vehicle. Being slightly less accessible than some of the resorts in the area was part of the appeal. It was wonderful and quiet - a perfect place to go at night after our adventures during the day. In the mornings we sat outside enjoying our coffee and the amazing views. It was paradise.
Tomas and Hannah were also wonderful, helpful hosts. We just wish we would have remembered to order some cookies and bread from their shop for our drive after checking out.
If you are looking for an escape without sacrificing the comforts of a nice clean home, this place is perfect.
John's house was a mountain hideaway with a wonderful view of the volcano and lake Arenal. With plenty of areas to watch the sun rise over the mountains (sit in the covered area just outside the bedrooms to listen the birds sing their morning sun).
The house was perfect for a family of four (in our case four adults) or could have been just as great for 2 couples sharing. One detail that did not go unnoticed is that the house was well equipped with all of the basics in the kitchen and bedrooms.
Tomas and Hannah, the property managers were very welcoming and provided some great tips of activities in the area.
Two words: STAY HERE. Great experience right from the start -- excellent communication during booking and great instructions leading up to our arrival. We were travelling with our six-month old and were quite comfortable with the space (no big baby dangers! And we just brought a playpen for sleeping).
You'd be hard-pressed to get a better view of Arenal in the area (it's simply breathtaking) and it was nice to be a bit distanced from the touristy La Fortuna. Great, great restaurants in El Castillo, too!
The house was extremely comfortable, right down to the pillows (4 per bed!) and ample seating. It's even nicer that the upstairs seating area has been enclosed with windows -- what an amazing place to enjoy the morning coffee. Kitchen was well-equipped and local hosts were friendly and accessible.
El Castillo en las Nubes was one of the most beautiful, relaxing stays we've ever enjoyed.
First, the house itself is beautifully appointed and very comfortable. The beds seem new, the bathrooms are roomy, and the kitchen is very easy to work within. Our favorite room was the second floor porch, from which we watched movies, played cards, and enjoyed the clouds rolling in and out. What a great space.
Second, the yard is amazing. The pool is small but highly adequate. The views are stunning (we took hundreds of pictures of the lake and the volcano!). The gazebo is incredibly pleasant and functional. We felt like we were in our own private jungle.
Third, the setting is perfect. The villagers are incredibly friendly. The town has everything you need for basic living. There are so many activities within an easy drive. El Castillo is a perfect base from which to plan your Fortuna excursions.
The house is easy to get to, although the last 10 miles are pretty rough, and the last two miles probably demands a 4x4. Everything else is turnkey.
Joe and Wesley were great guests, clear communications before they arrived, nice lads and easy to chat to. Ideal guests!
John and Wesley were brilliant guests! Friendly and gracious, they looked after our flat beautifully. We enjoyed having them.