LA POSADA JUNGLE BUNGALOWS, Manuel Antonio Beach
Okay, so today I am feeling nostalgic and also a need to return to the source of creating my blog. While I continue to have beautiful adventures back home in the states, I feel I must continue to pay homage to my inspiration. The beautiful country of Costa Rica presented me with many emotions-wonder, awe, fear of the unknown, inspiration and love. It also afforded me some of the richest opportunities of my life. We made friends, saw amazing wildlife, lived simply and fully, all the while not fully comprehending the magic of it all. I was able to write my novel there, inspired by the natural world around me. It was the source of inspiration for the Garden of Dohman, for Costa Rica remains so much in its natural state, a fact for which its government should be given great credit.
So today I just wanted to remind you of some of the great places we stayed while visiting and suggest them to you should you decide to jump that plane and head to a more prehistoric and natural paradise, one that is closer to the ground. You can indeed find five star hotels and loads of amenities in select places of the country; but we preferred the simple elegance of a manicured room furnished with things made by the local artisans, surrounded by jungle and beaches as close to their natural condition as possible with so many humans around, and the local flavors of food, fun and friendship.
We simply must make La Posada Jungle Bungalows our first stop. Because it, and its owner, Mike, are one of our favorite things about Manuel Antonio. It is a must do if you like a fun, relaxed beach experience.
Here is Mike, with Esteban, at the weekly visit to Dos Locos. Once a week the staff load up their cars with willing guests who want to experience a nice Mexican meal and some music at Quepos’ most famous Mexican restaurant, Dos Locos. We have enjoyed several of these fun nights and the bands are always good. Keep a watch for Ben Jammin and the Howlers. They play great classic rock music.
This was taken of Ben Jammin at another local favorite, Barba Roja, and our personal favorite restaurant in all of Manuel Antonio. If you go, be sure to ask for the wait person, Chico. While all the staff there are courteous and do a great job, Chico is far and above a wonderful host.
A short walk down the path across from the hotel will get you directly to the beaches of Manuel Antonio, and a direct left turn just beyond the front gate will get you to the entrance of the National Park. All excursions can be booked through the hotel staff and afford significant discounts.
For more information and reservations, visit http://www.laposadajungle.com
Next up HOTEL BYBLOS, Manuel Antonio
The photos above and below were taken at Byblos, a hotel located in Manuel Antonio. We have stayed there twice and were more impressed on our first visit. While still beautiful, our second vacation trip found us pushed to the back of the hotel last minute where we often felt a bit neglected and the noise on dance lesson and ladies’ nights was way over the top. However, we would stay there again if these issues were addressed. The staff is accommodating and the convenience to Manuel Antonio beaches and Quepos is great. Here are a few more photos.
This hotel is nestled next to the jungle that is part of the Manuel Antonio National Forest, and we were fortunate to see some amazing wildlife by simply stepping out onto the balcony. Imagine my surprise the first time I was awakened at four a.m. by the sound of the Congo/Howlers as they passed through. For me, these are priceless experiences. For more info on Hotel Byblos, visit their website at http://www.bybybloshotelcostarica.com or check out tripadvisor. There are some good values to be had there.
This was my view for the first month of living in Manuel Antonio. We stayed at Villas El Parque, up on the “hill”, which, by the way, is the highest point along the Manuel Antonio road. I know because I walked it dozens of times as I made my way down to the beach and the heart of Manuel Antonio. This Condo/Hotel establishment was a great “landing place” for us and good deals can be found for short term stays as well as some longer term arrangements. Many condo owners wish to lease their units during the rainy-or low-season. For more info go to http://www.hotelvillaselparque.com. The guys in the office are very friendly and helpful. Oh, and another bonus is that right next door is one of Manuel Antonio’s favorite restaurants, Agua Azul. Great burgers and fish dinners. The view is magnificent, even during a storm.
SAVEGRE MOUNTAIN LODGE, located on the beautiful Savegre River near San Gerardo de Dota
We had the pleasure of spending nearly a week up on the Savegre River in this lovely lodge. We were able to go birding, seeing the much sought after Resplendent Quetzal, hiked to a glorious waterfall and see some of the loveliest wildlife and mountain views I can remember. This hotel, as well as the others along this river road, are fairly secluded. Out hotel had inclusive options for meals which were served buffet style and we found that a better option. Once we ventured away on a hike and had a nice fried trout lunch at a nearby gift shop; but all other meals we took at the hotel. The bar/lounge was wonderful with daily happy hours where the bartenders were very friendly and accommodating. If you love rainbow trout, you will be happy to know they have it available during every meal, even at breakfast! There are many tours, excursions and nature hikes available. If you are a serious birder, this hotel is a must stay, at least once.
This waterfall was the reward of a long. albeit gorgeous hike through the wooded mountains near the hotel. It was well worth the hike and the few harrowing moments. The best thing about Costa Rica to me is that nothing is over developed and so much is left in its natural state. You just have to know your limits and practice common sense. The hotel staff asks that you notify them before going on any hike so that they can keep tabs on your return. I like that…
Our “cabin” at the lodge
The hotel gardens, located just outside our cabins.
For more info on this hotel visit them at http://www.savegre.com. The entire area is a natural reserve.
My very favorite, PEACE LODGE, located in Poas, Alajuela
This room sort of says it all. Peace Lodge is a luxurious, quiet and indeed peaceful place to spend a few days. If you can, stay a week, for it is a long drive up the mountain and once there, you likely won’t want to leave. With peaceful meditation music piped into all major areas of the Lodge, the entire experience will leave you feeling as though you have had a four day massage, both physically and mentally.
For us, this was the honeymoon we had never taken; and after 23 years of marriage and raising four sons, we felt we deserved it!
Yes, this was the bathroom, in itself larger than most regular hotel rooms. It was complete with the jacuzzi hot tub behind me which also has a waterfall that cascades behind it with the flip of a switch, as well as a waterfall style shower and a regular shower large enough for more than one person. Double sinks and a separate bathroom with toilet were added bonuses. Thebalcony also had a hot tub but it was just too cold for me to enjoy it-or the beautiful swimming pool down below. The temps were ranging from 40 to 70 while we were there which made hiking marvelous.
This was the view as we left our room
This building housed the restaurants and gift shop. We enjoyed a buffet style breakfast every morning with a full offering of breakfast fare, including all the coffee you can drink. I LOVE Costa Rica coffee. The dairy products there just have a marvelous, rich quality which is evident in the cream, butter and cheeses.
There are several trails to hike, three waterfalls to see, and the property is a Nature Preserve with habitats for exotic birds, night frogs, sloths, big cats, a butterfly garden where they are bred, a monkey house and an orchid garden. This preserve is open to the public during the day; so you should plan your hikes maybe during these times if you want to get away from the potential crowds. One of my favorite events was to visit the Hummingbird garden, where at designated times, you can hand feed some of the more than 25 varieties of hummingbird found in Costa Rica. The only drawback to this hotel is that, once there, you are rather captive to the hotel for food. We found it a bit expensive, but perhaps since our visit, there have been changes. We were there over three years ago, not long after the big earthquake which nearly destroyed all roads leading in and out of Poas.
In the butterfly habitat
On a waterfall hike
The largest of three waterfalls, Magia Blanca.
The balcony and view.
The balcony hot tub. We didn’t use it much. 😦
They even put your name on the door when you book, and give you special wooden wrist bracelets with Peace Lodge engraved on them, so you will always know you are in the right place and can be identified as guests. It isn’t too difficult to find your room with less than a dozen total, but many of the entry sidewalks look similar. Oh, and this is pretty much an “adults only” hotel. They have a sister facility over in Arenal that is perfect for family adventures.
We enjoyed this little bar where you can actually fish in the “pool” if you’d like. It was a great place to have a beer.
I will leave you here, with this magnificent sunset as viewed from one of Manuel Antonio’s iconic restaurants, El Avion. It is a must see, even once, if you are staying in town. The entire restaurant is made inside and around an old airplane. It is lovely and the food is wonderful. You can check out these hotels and many more of the excursions and experiences we had while living in and visiting Costa Rica elsewhere on my blog. The easiest way is to go to the calendar and pick anything dated from March, 2013 and older. And if you would like more information on Peace Lodge, do visit their website at http://www.waterfallgardens.com.
PURA VIDA EVERYONE!!