ok- we had quite the experience during our five days at the Treehouses, and Mark and Lucy really saved the day, but more about that later.
My 12 year old son and 9 year old daighter and I had a GREAT time. It is such a different experience than one of those spa hotels near La Fortuna. Much more of a family atmosphere, and much closer to nature.
We stayed the the Sloth House - windows on all sides. The loft can be hot but once we moved the big fan provided up there, the kids were fine. It's a ladder climb up, so I made the kids go up and down a few times to practice. There were two beds upstairs and a queen sized in a big square room. Very clean. The a/c was fine. Wasn't a ton of light, especially in the bathroom, but geez we're talking a bathroom up 50 feet in a structure wrapping around a tree!
As soon as we got there we took a walk toward the waterfall at the end of the property. It's a good slightly hilly hike in between cow fields to a waterfall right near the Balsa River. On our way we saw a sloth with her baby not too high up a branch and some poison dart frogs. The waterfall was small but cute and the owners cemented up the pools so you could swim. The trip selections by Mark were mostly terrific. The next morning we went ziplining connected at one of those spa hotels. It was the kind of ziplining where you have to use a leather brake pad on your hand. Not as much fun as the other kind. The last two runs were over the hotel area. Really bizarre. People were very nice, they were great with my 9-year-old, but unless you want to spend the next few hours at the volcanicly warmed pools - I would go for a more remote zipline. We had some great brick oven Pizza in La Fortuna - better than Star Tavern in Orange NJ!
The next day we went first to a nearby animal rescue center, where we held baby racoons, fed a kinkachoo, shook hands with spider monkeys and learned a lot. Then we went on a mixture of volcano tour with some more spa time. Should have thought about that more. Spas and serious afternoon rains don't mix well. The food at these spas is really no better than a buffet place off a highway in the US. Skip it. The Volcano tour was really interesting. You can't get closer than we got, which was still far away. I had been here before hiking on my own but didn't really understand how two villages were decimated by the 1962 eruption. We saw some interesting birds and by the end, right after dusk, the clouds parted and we sat on an observation deck watching for an eruption. I borrowed the guide's binoculars for a few minutes while everyone else was sitting and talkng and boom - I saw a red flash and eruption. Unfortunately, no one else did - they just heard the boom and saw the mushroom cloud. I added some pictures to show you. Third day was a gem to a point. Alberto's horses was a terrific ride through cow fields, over streams, up a road and then to the waterfall area. It's a hike walking down and up - easier going up actually -and then on the way back I actually bought a hammock from a terrific store ON HORSEBACK. Alberto's son was a great guide.
Alberto's is very close to La Fortuna ( which is about 20-25 minutes from the Treehouse. and on our way back about 5 pm in a light rain a drunk driver trying to pass a small truck coming in our direction started barrelling toward us and ran us off the road. The road is very good but there is no shoulder with a sharp drop for drainage . The car went off the side and since it was very light, it then tipped over. Immediately. 10-15 cars stopped and ran to help. We weren't hurt but shaken up. Eventually the group used a rope and pickup to right the car, but the rental company - Budget - told me to leave it and they would send another car by flatbed in 3-4 hours. Mark picked us up, brought us back, gave us towels to dry off. We watched a movie on the laptop and had the CR version of dominos pizza delivered until Budget called about 11 pm and picked me up. Mark and Lucy kept an eye on the kids while I went to get the new car AND ended up dealing with the police, who had detained the drunk driver and had his car!
The next morning my 12-year old slept in - under the watchful eyes of Mark and Lucy -nine-year-old, who was traumatized by the accident, and I had an appointment to spend the morning with the Tree House night watchman - Rolando - at his farm. Even though we couldn't speak much spanish we had a great time. Breakfast was awesome and Rolando's family couldn't have been nicer. We returned to the Tree house and embarked on our second trauma of the trip -- whitewater rafting on the nearby Balsa. Mark's choice of Wave Expeditions was great, they were really nice and very helpful. What we didn't realize was that there was no getting used the ride, the roughest water was in the first hour and it was fun. It would have been much more fun if my nine year old wasn't screaming for her mother and a a young woman with us on the raft didn't get tossed in the first five minutes. But we survived; the last hour was all fun and spalshing. And the trip stopped right near the Treehouses.
Some observations -- none of which makes me think any less of this place.
- there is no wifi and BB service is spotty
-there was construction on a couple of new treehouse when we were there, which was annoying, but they were close to completion
-while you are in the jungle, the treehousesis not that far from the road (maybe a football field plus away) and while you can hear howler monkeys at 4 am you can also hear truck traffic at 7 am if the a/c is not on.
-the breakfasts were all terrific. while we ate, Mark cut old plantains up and these great birds showed up to feast. Their dogs are wonderful and friendly.
-the italian restaurant nearby is indeed terrific. the food was better than most in US. I felt bad for them that they weren't busier.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Tree Houses Hotel is a bed and breakfast hotel conveniently located off the main road that runs through La Fortuna and around the Arenal Volcano. We are a short 25 minute drive to the high tourist area. People seek us out with that in mind, to be away from it all but close enough to enjoy all the fun adventure the La Fortuna, Arenal Volcano area has to offer.We have just 5 tree houses (each very private) on 8 acres and we are surrounded by a 70 acre wildlife refuge with a waterfall, pools to swim and a beautiful river. Each tree house features A/C, warm water showers, refrigerators and safes.There are few hotels like this in the world and none other in Costa Rica. There is something so very exciting about spending the night high in the forest canopy, wildlife all around you, safe and cozy in a tree house hotel in Costa Rica. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Tree Hotel In Costa Rica
- Tree Houses Hotel Costa Rica La Fortuna De San Carlos