You can tell who cares about what they do. They do more not so they can say "we do more" but because they think it will make your experience more interesting, more memorable. All of that extra effort is something you can touch and feel at Villa Encantada. There are so many physical elements that have been discussed in other reviews that clearly make the Villa outshine all of the others that dot the Lake so this review will not focus on those physical aspects. Instead, I will talk about what is the driving heart and soul of this peaceful place: Owner Glenn McBride.
Glenn's sweat and tears are in the Villa. He cares about it so much that it's grounds are manicured to the level of 5-star hotels that I have stayed at. A fishing pond, a fresh mountain water pool and slide, patios abound, and hiking trails are among the amenities that distinguish the property. The interior of the Villa itself makes you feel like you entered someone else's home complete with trinkets and and personal artifacts on the walls - Glenn is sharing his home and I would venture to guess he comes here as well to get away for a while. How could he not?
Glenn doesn't stop giving there, however. He is a proactive host but not to the point that you wish you could escape from your own vacation. He is a solutions provider from booking zip line tours (then telling you that the day you planned it would work better on a day when the weather is more agreeable AND then reschedules it for you.), to being your advocate with the local car rental agency when things go wrong, to offering only-in-the-know driving directions that will make you feel like a local because of the inside knowledge he armed you with.
His knowledge is as endless as his good heart. Somewhere in his life he decided it was better to be happy and open rather than be critical and judgmental. He fits the setting and the people of Costa Rica beautifully because the kindness in this country knows no bounds.
If you have the means and/or the will to visit Neuvo Arenal, explore it from Villa Encantada. You will have without question the best seat in the house. Go here.
We had the most incredible time you could possibly imagine at Villa Encantada. The pictures are gorgeous, but even they do not do this phenomenal property justice. It truly is paradise. I spent countless MONTHS looking at all the properties in the area and there is no contest. Villa Encantada has everything you could potentially want.
The grounds are stunning. Everywhere you look is lush, verdant landscaping. We had our wedding pictures taken on site because the beauty of this property is beyond compare ( I wish it would allow me to share the pictures with this review). The pond is well kept and delightfully picturesque, the trails are easily traversed, and the waterfalls are stunning. You can walk to the lake and kayak, or swim, or fish. The trails are well designed and Glenn even provides a map (which includes time and difficulty). I know I am repeating myself but I cannot adequately express how spectacular this property truly is. The water-slide offers endless fun for those of all ages, the trails are a boon for those who love to explore and those who enjoy a scenic walk alike. The view from the terrace and the front door is perfection. This property has something (lots of somethings!) for everyone. Glenn has poured his heart into this miraculous spot and it shows. We would stay forever if we could afford to be away from reality for that long!
In addition to the property being incredible there is Glenn! He is the most welcoming, helpful, thoughtful, and kind host I have ever had the pleasure of working with. He has made sure every potential need you have while staying at Villa Encantada is filled. It was a running joke throughout our stay that anything you might think of, that would be helpful, Glenn had already thought of it. Whether it was life jackets, crock pots, Tupperware, fishing gear, laundry soap, etc. Glenn had us covered. Glenn went out of his way to make this an exceptional stay for each and every person. Glenn was my saving grace, helping me coordinate and plan a wedding that turned out just perfect. If you are considering getting married in the area or planning an event in town hire Glenn- It was the best decision I could have made!
There are plenty of activities in the area, from ziplining, hiking, waterfalls, atv's, paddleboarding, hotsprings, Rio Celeste, etc. However you might find it difficult to leave the paradise of Villa Encantada. Make sure you stay long enough to enjoy all the beauty and peace this place has to offer.
We were there for around 10 days and barely even touched the things to do in the area. Had great weather. Glenn was an excellent host and booked our zip lining and horseback ride. He also pointed us in the right direction for our dining needs. This is an excellent family spot although it was only my husband and myself, I will be back with friends and family. Highly recommended. Thanks Glenn for a wonderful stay!
We spent about a week at this villa. We took a shuttle from the Airport to the house and then we had Adobe rental car deliver a car to us. For GPS and getting around download and use the WAZE app. Almost every place we went we found with WAZE. It also takes very little data to use. Glenn the owner of the house was very friendly and very helpful. He answered every question that we had and made us feel at home. Everything we needed was provided for us in the home. The only improvement that could be made would be the comfort of the beds. We had a toddle so he even went out of his way to set up a pool fence and a crib to help us out. The property was beautiful. You have the entire property to yourself. Our kids loved the water slide, they went down it hundreds of times. They enjoyed fishing at the little pond, feeding the fish, watching the peacock, using the pool, using the wifi and walking all of the trails in the rain forest. We did a lot of day trips from the house. It was about a 45 minute drive to The Springs Resort which offered a two day adventure pass. It was about 1 hour to La Fortuna and 1.5 hours to Proyecto Asis where we could feed the monkeys. Plenty to see and do in the area and plenty to see and do at the house. Depending where you go you may need a 4WD. For the house and the town you are ok without it but for The Springs and getting to some of the restaurants we needed it. Our two favorite places to eat were Gingerbread and Tinajas. For the best exchange rate use a credit card if they take it or have some colones. American dollars are accepted but most of the time it was no where near close to the current rate. If we were to ever go back to this area we would stay here again in a heartbeat. We have some videos and pictures posted on youtube, just search Nuevo Arenal and Villa Encantada.
My wife, 3 kids and my parents just returned from Costa Rica and the highlight of our trip was staying at Villa Encantada. The house and grounds are simply amazing and will leave you wishing you had more time. We stayed for 4 nights and could have easily spent 7. The best bird watching was on the property with many types of jays and toucans eating at the feeder. Everyone enjoyed the pools and the 100 foot water slide. 5 star properties also have 5 star owners and Glenn is the most welcoming and helpful owner. He was like a personal concierge arranging our tours and giving us maps to the places we are going since the roads in Costa Rica are not well marked. We can't wait to make our return visit.
We just spent a long holiday week-end with family at Villa Encantada with a number of family members. It was as beautiful and comfortable as advertised, if not more so. The owner, Glenn, was great to work with. He provided a wealth of information about activities in the area and helped us select a zipline tour that did a great job accommodating a seven-year old member of our party. Since our party was too big to all stay at the Villa, he arranged an additional house a few minutes away to take the overflow. He met us on our arrival and showed us around the property, providing a map of the trails, and checked on us regularly during our stay. We really enjoyed the well laid out trails throughout the property. The grounds are absolutely beautiful and well maintained and the views of the lake and rainforest are spectacular. We had six kids aged seven and under who would have spent the entire stay making the circuit up and down the water slide if the adults had the stamina to stay with them. (OK, the adults had their share of fun on the slide as well, especially when they could splash an unsuspecting onlooker.) Another popular activity was fishing in the pond located on the property, especially from the island in the middle. We hiked down to Lake Arenal, but didn’t fish there – that will have to wait on a future trip. The house itself is beautiful and comfortable with lots of nice touches. It is well stocked with towels (including for the pool), pots, pans, dishes, basic spices, etc. – far better than we have experienced in other rentals. Nuevo Arenal (sometimes just called Arenal) is only three or four miles away and has a grocery, meat vendor and bakery, as well as a pharmacy and we shopped and cooked most dinners at the Villa. There are a number of good restaurants in the area, and we had lunch at several, but we preferred not to drive at night. But watch your fuel level – the “gasolineria” in town was closed while we were there and is reputed to be expensive when open. The closest we found was Tilaran (about 15 miles) or La Fortuna (about 30 miles), but there are a lot of activities in and around La Fortuna, so you may be going there anyway. Remember that you are in a rainforest and I read somewhere that it typically rains at some point during 22 or 23 days in September, the month we were there, and it rained three of four days we were there, but only one day for a long period and you can find activities nearby that are rain-free since the climate changes with elevation. We flew into Liberia and Glenn’s detailed directions were very helpful. Interestingly, while they generally don’t have street addresses there, we were able to enter Nuevo Arenal, just past the Villa, in the Waze app and it matched Glenn’s directions, including a new highway exit in Canas. The app requires a smartphone with data activated, which can be expensive depending on your plan. In summary, it is a great place to stay or use as a base for numerous activities in the area and we would love to return for a longer stay.
Villa Encantada is a nature lovers paradise. The grounds are immaculately manicured and beautiful (two thumbs up to the gardener - wow!) We enjoyed waking up to the birds and the howler monkey and every night we searched for geckos and frogs. The pool was awesome and we loved the slide - but BRRRRRR it was cold. The house is large, comfortable, gorgeous and well equipped with everything we could possibly need. The house is about 45 minutes from the busy and touristy La Fortuna but still close enough for day trips. I have stayed in La Fortuna and would definitely choose Villa Encantada again over a busy resort. The little town of Arenal is only a few minutes away and there are many great restaurants there. Our 5 days at Villa Encantada were spent driving back and forth from the Villa to La Fortuna every day to do activities (we had two teenagers with us) so we didnt get to enjoy the house like we wanted to. A day of relaxing or walking the trails will be in our future when we return. 5 days is not enough time to enjoy everything that Villa Encantada has to offer but we are so thankful that we chose the gem. Thank you Glenn for sharing this house with us. And thank you for your hospitality and help with our trip.
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