Our trip to Costa Rica started with a plan to watch the sea turtles hatch. I was enamored by the idea of watching the sea turtles arrive back to the beach where they were birthed, lay their eggs, and then watch one by one as each baby turtle gained their footing and embarked on their life journey. Circle of Life, amiright? We planned to stay at Tortuga Lodge in an open air room overlooking the river, but then we found out they don’t allow children under 7 on the tour. So it was with many tears that we nixed that whole plan.
My father served an LDS mission in Costa Rica back in 1960, and I’d grown up hearing about Costa Rica my whole life. I’d always wanted to go. We tried to plan a trip where my Mom and Dad could accompany us, but after he was diagnosed with prostate cancer he never felt comfortable leaving the country. I wanted to go before he passed so I could experience it with him, even if it wasn’t in person.
Even though our plans were thwarted, we still wanted to find another way to experience this beautiful country. In a way, what we ended up doing was better because it gave us more to see and do than be confined to a relatively small, and secluded area. We still plan on going to Tortuga Lodge someday, but it will have to wait until the entire family can participate.
We started looking for new options for accommodations. We found a small little cabin on airbnb in a gorgeous setting and were intrigued. We read about the host and his life and family, and saw that he had two other listings on the property, one of which was a treehouse. It was perfect! We immediately settled on the Summer Treehouse airbnb in Costa Rica.
► Ranking: #cleandiaper
Costa Rica airbnb
Alajuela, Costa Rica
After renting our car just outside the San Jose airport, we made our way to Alajuela – a 40 minute drive west of San Jose. Once we reached the outskirts of the city, we were engrossed in the beauty of the scenery. We visited in the early part of February, which is the dry season in Costa Rica. Much of the countryside was brown, but we still found it beautiful. There was plenty of growth, greenery and life despite the season. We took our time, not even knowing we were, simply enjoying the experience. We turned to each other immediately and decided we wanted to live here permanently.
Our hosts, Philip and Mary Belle provided excellent instructions for arrival and were there upon arrival to greet us at the gated community. They are incredible hosts full of kindness, immense gratitude for life and a zest for increasing friendship. The property is on the edge of a 100 acre forest, with this property bordering the canyon.
This 3 acre property has two different properties, all designed and built by Philip. The grounds are home to goats, chickens, dogs, fruit trees, vegetation, with amenities such as a swimming pool, hammock, table tennis, campfire, phenomenal views and the list goes on.
We were provided with fresh goat milk, and fresh eggs during each morning of our stay. We were also informed that Philip and Mary Belle sell the goat milk to a woman in town who then makes fresh yogurt and sells it at the co-op. We made sure to pick some up!
We enjoyed a campfire one night with Philip, Mary Belle, and the other guests staying on the property with marshmallows courtesy of our hosts. The pool was also available at our leisure, which our children loved.
The treehouse itself is a prototype for a new campsite type community. Instead of being in an actual tree, the treehouse is propped up by a radio tower type pole through the center, yet perfectly balanced. Being raised above ground offered great views, and an interesting setting. On windy nights the home would sway gently, and the breeze would flow through the tent. There is running water including a bathroom, shower and kitchen sink and there is a full kitchen, including a stove, fridge and kitchen table.
To enter the home there is a small ladder and a trapdoor. The main floor houses the kitchen, bathroom, and three beds/couches.
The upper level is a large loft up a tall ladder with three additional beds that our twins slept and played in, with some areas of floor made of thick netting. The windows are composed of mesh, with curtains that can be closed for privacy.
► For Kids: This is an incredibly neat and unique way to experience Costa Rica for both us, and the kids. Our children, who love animals, would wake with the sun and go down to watch Philip milk the goats, and play with them and the dogs and the chickens. They begged Philip to climb the trees and pluck them fresh bananas. Our children felt comfortable here and enjoyed every minute.
We could not have wished for better hosts, and in fact, have kept in touch with Philip and Mary Belle. We loved learning about Philip and Mary Belle’s lives and hearing their wisdom and stories. Philip has recently finished building a boat with his grandson, created a biogas production unit to run appliances on the property, engineered an aquaponics lab for fresh and clean water, and engineered and built everything on the grounds including the three homes, the swimming pool and a storage tunnel running through a small hill on the property.
This home wasn’t particularly close to anything, but we enjoyed the location immensely. It encased the Costa Rica mantra of Pura Vida in totality. Our airbnb hosts advice for the best way to experience Costa Rica is by taking a day to relax for every day that you explore. We did not follow this advice. We had 4 days to jam pack everything we wanted to do and we didn’t want to waste this opportunity. Check out the rest of our adventures hiking a volcano, exploring the rainforest, and playing on the beach.
► Nap-Time Version: A fantastic airbnb property in Costa Rica composing a real life experience in this country. With unique accommodations, animals and views to escape the mundane.
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