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“your own perch in the jungle”

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Tree Houses Hotel Costa Rica
Certificate of Excellence
Basking Ridge, New Jersey
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“your own perch in the jungle”
Reviewed 25 September 2010

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.

  • Stayed September 2010, travelled with family
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3 Thank dontthink2x
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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schippx5
2 reviews
Reviewed 21 September 2010

I can not say enough good things about the Treehouses hotel. My dream of staying in a treehouse is what led me here and I never regretted one nanosecond of the decision to stay there. Mark and Lucy were the best and gave great advice about tours and things to do or see. The breakfast was great and different every morning, we never left hungry. They even tolerated my husband's obsession with massive amounts of coffee. The treehouses themselves were fabulous and we spent a lot of our time there out on the deck. We were rewarded one morning with the presence of a howler monkey that decided to take a nap in the tree that was less than five feet from our cabin. He was about 25 feet above us and was kind enough to give us time for a few spectacular photos before he left in search of more leaves. Frogs, bats, birds, waterfalls, rivers, fruit trees, Agouti, squirrels all abounded plus many things I'm sure I forgot. My husband and I spent five fabulous and unforgettable days there. If you want a real nature experience and live right in the out of doors in a treehouse, then pack your bag and head for the Treehouses Hotel. While you're there, ask Mark and Lucy about Pizza John's...if you are an adventurous soul, you just might be rewarded with some fine pizza at the base of a volcano in a little village with some even better conversation.

  • Stayed September 2010, travelled as a couple
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Thank Amy O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
State College, PA
1 review
Reviewed 4 September 2010

TTH is an *awesome* place to stay! We saw a toucan flitting in the trees, right at eye-level, about 75 feet away. It was amazing. The positive reviews on this site say it all. Do take a look at the one slightly negative review recently dated as it has some helpful information on the details. I would, however, add a huge chunk of salt to that negative review --- little things like exactly how far the bus stop is and how to get to Happy Land, and how far it is to La Fortuna are very, very heavily dependent on local contexts. As an American traveler one is used to roads that are clearly marked, wide, and smooth. One is used to there being places to pull over and think about where you are. Costa Rica does not offer that, and it is your job as a cross-cultural traveler, to be able to respond to those differences. Signage is different -- not just in a different language; it's a whole different marketing philosophy. So you as a consumer need to be savvy about *Costa Rican* marketing/culture/philosophy. If you value your American independence, rent a car, preferrably a 4WD so that you can really explore.

That said, we traveled as two parents, two kids age 6 and 13. We had ourselves a marvelous time and loved the fact that our house was the only one with a tree actually in it. And it leaked around the tree -- you could touch it during the rains and it'd be wet. A neat ring of towels was wrapped around the trees at the floor level, and this worked sufficiently. They changed out the towels frequently to keep it clean and not moldy. During one absolutely freak storm there was more rain than the towels could keep up with, and Mark showed up at our doorstep with lots more towels and extra flashlights because the power went out.

9 fruit bats made their residence on the underside of our outside roof line and we watched them arrive each morning from their nighttime forays, and looked at them during the day while they slept. Every time we went out for breakfast or a tour or a exploratory side trip, they were there, marking our passage.

Breakfast was fabulous -- the kids struggled a bit with the exotic breakfast goods, used as they are to plain ol' cereal (sigh, the joys of getting kids to eat other cultural foods). Mark and Lucy had chocopuffs on hands, which were appreciated but surprisingly to us parents, not wholly consumed by the kids -- they said it was too sweet! So maybe have the ol box of Cheerios handy? Not a single soul failed to be cheered by Behuca, CeeCee, and MiniB, the three four-legged companions to the endless chaotic beauty of hummingbirds, clay-colored robins, and the occasional grey-necked wood rail. And don't forget the butterflies. :) :)

Mark and Lucy and their staff all very helpful, very kind, very warm. Mark is a boundless source of information -- almost too much information! He knows everything and will tell you everything. It's up to you to make the right choice for you, and only you can do that by going out and exploring. The first 3 days were a little confusing for us as we adjusted to the Costa Rican way of travelling, living, eating, and thinking. The remaining four days were utterly perfect and blissful. I recommend that folks stay either just one night to get the jungle experience, or stay for 1 week and get to know the place intimately. 3 days whirlwind tour is not recommended because your needs and your expectations are likely not to mesh with THH, unless of course, you are the intrepid, fearless traveler! In which case, you cannot reasonably hold Mark and Lucy and the owners to the standard of tourism held by the negative review.

They are building a new treehouse that will not have the loft with a steep staircase ladder -- precisely because they realize that not many folk can scale that kind of ladder, and because it's hard for even them to use it to clean the upper levels properly (which they do thoroughly, by the way!). Costa Rica climate is hard on houses! And Mark and Lucy and Kelly and Raeann are diligently working on that everyday to make it presentable (to American eyes) and unique. (If you want the Hilton experience, stay at the Hilton....! ) I would suggest that this new treehouse have some storage space/sitting space. Our treehouse had a wonderful wrap around porch that we did not use because it was not screened in (how to balance the aesthetics of unscreened vs screened porch?); as a result, we were always sitting on our bed for everything-- studying the maps, planning trips, or sitting on the floor. In our treehouse there was no room for a table or dresser, but perhaps the new one can accommodate a mutiple function table or dresser? We were perfectly able to have our clothes neatly unpacked and organized, and our stuff organized, we just lacked for a flat surface area other than the floor for eating improvised meals from the grocery store and mapping out our travels (altho to be perfectly fair, we could have used the breakfast commons for that). BTW, they are in the process of building a new breakfast commons where people can do exactly what I talk about above. The small bedside stands were about 6 inches too narrow to be perfect -- we managed fine with them but would have liked 6 inches more (and that's the large American talking again!). Lighting was a bit dim for what we Americans are used to -- but lighting is dim EVERYWHERE at night in Costa Rica. Yes, the lighting was a bit low, as the negative review indicated. Easy solution, move the lamp up to the top of the bed post. Ta-da, high enough to read by easily. IN fact, the four of us did logic puzzles together in one bed by the light of those two lamps, easily. And we all wear glasses. (Yes, we're nerds and proud of it).

The short of it is that TTH was the perfect gateway for us to experience CR as a family for the first time. Next time we go to CR, and we will return, we'll look for a place that has a kitchen so we can shop and cook ourselves (one sort of has to have food available 24/7 when you have kids). Raeann and Kelly have a beach house they rent out -- sounds like it's right up our alley! ;) And of course, we'll book a couple of nights at the TTH to say hello to our new friends (two-legged and 4-legged alike).

  • Stayed August 2010, travelled with family
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Helpful?
Thank ats169
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Fort Myers, Florida
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 11 August 2010

When looking for a fun and very unique place to stay, we searched the internet and found The Tree House Hotel just south of La Fortuna. What a great experience for our entire family! Even our 18 year old daughter and 15 year old son thought it was fun-although they did miss a TV, but hey, we're on vacation and need to spend quality time with eachother....right?!!
Definately walk around the property and head down to the river and waterfall - absolutely beautiful. We saw humming birds, a sloth, toucan and heard the monkeys while sitting up in the tree tops on our balcony.
The owners are so very helpful in finding fun things to do in the area and the breakfasts were definately not your typical hotel breakfast - fresh fruit each morning and a great homecooked breakfast. Great coffee too!
All in all, a great experience we will recomend to everyone looking for an adventurous and unique experience.
Can't wait to go back!

  • Stayed August 2010, travelled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank sfenger
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Northborough, MA
Level 6 Contributor
121 reviews
29 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 68 helpful votes
Reviewed 31 July 2010

After reading all of the glowing reviews of Tree Houses Hotel, we had very high expectations … all of which were met! This place is really as wonderful as everyone says. Beware: if you want luxury, keep looking. This is a place for roughing it ever so slightly, but that includes great accommodations, air conditioning, delicious breakfasts, amazingly beautiful grounds, no TV or Internet distractions, and great staff. The hosts, Mark and Lucy, were wonderfully attentive.

Mark helped us line up our activities before arriving. One day, we went to Venado Caves, then hiked Arenal and went to Baldi Hot Springs. The next day, we went whitewater rafting (through Wave Adventures) on the Balsa River (very exciting Class 2/3/3.5). On the last day, we went horseback riding to Fortuna Falls (Alberto’s Horses). We enjoyed the restaurant recommendations: Lava Lounge (in La Fortuna), Bella Verona (close to the hotel), and Happy Land (also fairly close to the hotel). We also thoroughly enjoyed a night hike (2 hours!) with Rolando, the Tree Houses Hotel’s night watchman. He was able to point out all sorts of flora and fauna. Our last morning there, we hiked the trail on the grounds down to the waterfall (human-made, multiple small pools, including changing rooms), which was a very nice hike as well.

Our family of 5 (2 adults and 3 teenagers) occupied two tree houses for 4 nights. One of our kids stayed with us in #3, and our other two kids stayed in #1. Both have a double bed on the first level and a vertical ladder to a loft. The loft of #3 has 2 single beds, and #1 has a double bed. We preferred #3, since it has a porch that wraps around the entire house, and two of the walls are mostly glass (multiple sliding glass doors). It also had fruit bats that hang out (literally!) during the day. The one thing that we liked better about #1 is that the bathroom is split into two rooms: on one side of the bed is the shower, and on the other is the sink/toilet, making it easier for multiple people to share a bathroom. We enjoyed having the mini-fridge and safe.

The breakfasts were wonderful, with a unique offering each day (e.g., banana French toast and gallo pinto (traditional Tico breakfast)). It’s fun to eat while watching the hummingbirds (and others) at the feeders. We also enjoyed the five dogs (Bejuca, Mini B, Cici, and Luna – the fifth name is escaping me now). Had it not been for the airline’s restriction on dogs flying when it’s over 85 degrees, we might have adopted Luna, the latest stray that Mark and Lucy have taken in.

If you want a truly unique experience while in the Arenal area, DO NOT MISS staying at the Tree Houses Hotel!

  • Stayed July 2010, travelled with family
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Helpful?
Thank LeslieRMH
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cornelius, North Carolina
Level 6 Contributor
78 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 July 2010

We thoroughly enjoyed our stay at the treehouses hotel. Marc and Lucy were very nice and helpful. The breakfasts were fantastic! We loved seeing the hummingbirds at breakfast. It was a little ways outside of LaFortuna, but fun for an adventure. We saw sloths and coud hear howlers a few times. Our friends saw toucans outside theri windows.

  • Stayed July 2010, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Becky98
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
veraz
Level 4 Contributor
30 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 July 2010

Tree Houses was our first stop in Costa Rica on our honeymoon. My husband and I stayed in the house # 3 - the one with the tree growing through it. I agree with all the other positive reviews for this hotel. We loved the concept, loved the breakfast, loved waking up in the morning and feeling like all you have around you is the trees! The houses are very cute, but obviously not luxury. For honeymooners I think 3 nights is plenty to get a good experience of the place - I probably won't stay more than that because after a while you just want a little more amenities and bells and whistles. The only negative thing is that the air conditioner in our house wasn't de-humidifying the air enough, so we felt pretty sticky most of the time inside the house.
As you know the place is fairly isolated, but we loved the fact that it is and it worked out for us since we were out on tours most of the time which I would highly recommend doing. Marc and Lucy were on top of everything arranging the tours for us. We did the El Toro Rafting and All Day Arenal Volcano Adventure and loved both of them. The All Day Volcano Adventure is definitely tiring, but well worth it. We didn't have a car and didn't need it, but I can see how it would have been necessary if we were staying longer.
There is a restaurant within walking distance (0.5 mi at most) with great food and the view of volcano. Marvin - the owner - is has some good stories and was great to chat with. Another restaurant Bella Verona is definitely a must, but not walking distance.
Overall, I definitely will recommend!

  • Stayed June 2010, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank veraz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Tree Houses Hotel Costa Rica

Property: Tree Houses Hotel Costa Rica
Address: 300 Meters Norte de Cementerio De La Florencia | Santa Clara, San Carlos, Arenal Volcano National Park, La Fortuna de San Carlos, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Region: Costa Rica > Province of Alajuela > Arenal Volcano National Park > La Fortuna de San Carlos
Amenities:
Beverage Selection Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Shuttle Bus service Spa Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Best Value Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
#2 Family Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
#3 Romantic Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
#4 Spa Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Hotel Class:2 star — Tree Houses Hotel Costa Rica 2*
Number of rooms: 7
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

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