Our trip began on Feb 13th with 20 friends and family members who joined us for our wedding in Montezuma. 1/2 of the group continued on to Arenal until the 18th. Our honeymoon officially started on the 18th and I wanted a place that would be quite, remote, cool, romantic and beautiful for the beginning of our trip as husband and wife (solo!) We wanted a place to wind down and relax before heading on to Peace Lodge for the remainder of our trip.
The Tree Houses were just what we were looking for and to top it off it was in between our previous destination and our final destination. Perfect!
The structures themselves were pretty cool. We had Tree House #1 which had a porch but it did not wrap around like #3's porch. The tree house is small, but everything somehow fit! The house was about 25 feet off the ground and it also had a second story loft. The house swayed as you walked around it, and more so if you went into the loft. The tree house is not really IN the trees but on long metal posts up WITH the trees (and affixed to one with bolts) The height offers a fabulous view of the tress that are visited by many colorful and exotic tropical birds. I saw my first toucan here :)
The main level offers and enclosed bedroom area that strategically holds one queen size bed (sort of... it seemed a little short), 2 night tables and shelves with a refrigerator and coffee maker. Three glass panels allow viewing of the outside and the small room is cooled with an efficient air conditioner. The door to the toilet and sink is located on one side of the bed and the door to the shower is located on the other. Both rooms are screened in. The water for the shower is somehow heated in the shower head. We will use the term "heated" loosely here. The water is pleasantly warm but never reached a level of hot. If you absolutely must have hot water, or your trip will be ruined... these tree houses are not for you. If you can settle for comfortable - then you will enjoy the tree houses. We fall in the last category. :)
The trees are alive with singing birds and locust that are only drowned out by the passing cars (you can hear the cars on the main road from the tree house) We spent a lot of time on the porch enjoying the nature; playing tic tac toe and hang man! Bring a deck of cards or a travel game!
A ladder is at the foot of the bed that takes you to the second floor loft. Movement in the loft causes noticeable swaying of the structure (Kids will LOVE this!). Although kids would love the loft, I don't think it is appropriate for very young children. The entrance and exit is a hole in the ceiling that very young children would have trouble with and could possible fall down through. Children over the age of 8 would be fine in the loft; any younger, you would need to use your discretion. We would have been uncomfortable with our (just turned) 6 year old up there (although he would have loved it!).
If you are looking for a busting town with lots of night life, Santa Clara is not for you. If you want peace and quite, or if you have a car, you will enjoy this place immensely. The town is pretty quite and boasts a few restaurants, some sodas, a grocery store and a few shops. Not a tourist area at all - we thought this was AWESOME!
We took a cab to Happy Land twice during our 4 night stay. One cab charged us $5 dollars and the other charged us $6 dollars. Happy Land is right next to the grocery store which is also very convenient. Happy Land had great food and the people were so friendly! The restaurant is a local spot, and the Ticos were down to earth and loved to chat and try out their English (and help with our Spanish!).Daniel and Marlon "Brando" were hospitable and very welcoming. It seemed that when we showed up the music was put on an American radio station. The 1/4 Kilo Lomo was excellent and the Pechuga Rellena was quickly my husband's new favorite Tico dish! When the server found out I wanted yucca fries he went next door and bought some and had the cook make them for me! What more could you ask for!
The second restaurant we visited twice during our 4 night stay was a local Tico restaurant with a spectacular view called Mapache. ! It was located an easy 5 minute walk from the tree houses. You could see Arenal from the open air restaurant and lots of wildlife. The server brought over binoculars when he saw me straining to see a pair of toucans in the distant tree. The food was excellent and HUGE portions! The view out over the land below was breathtaking. At dusk we noticed bats flying in the high ceiling.... they didn't bother us, in fact, it was pretty cool! Only in Costa Rica!
The hike to the waterfall was pleasant. The waterfalls are 3 separate small pools made out of rock with stairs in each pool. We were disappointed that the pools were filled with debris and the water was not clear because the overflow was blocked with leaves and branches. We ended up not getting in the pools as we were unsure as to what lurked below the rocks and leaves.... yes we were chicken! We did not see any monkeys but we did enjoy playing briefly with the horse! The walk back was uphill (why we didn't notice that on the way down I will never know!) so we were a bit winded, sweaty and tired.
There are no touristy things to do in Santa Clara (other then the waterfall walk from what we could tell). Since we did not have a car we chose the river rafting trip (class 2 and 3 rapids) because the tour van picks guests up at the tree houses. Alex, the guide, was fabulous. We had a wonderful time on the river and saw sloths! Finally! The river trip was a half day excursion and we were both happy we chose the trip! The water was beautiful, the rapids were cool, and Alex was very informative. I highly recommend this trip, especially if you are without a rental car!
Renee and Kelly were wonderful hosts! We enjoyed talking to them and envied their new laid back life! You couldn't meet sweeter people! I am sure we bored them with conversation, but if we did, it did not show on their faces. Fabulously beautiful women! Well done ladies! :)
If you are looking for a cool place to stay without a resorty feel, this is place for you. Peaceful and Beautiful. They may not be luxury accommodations, but they sure are unique, private and comfortable. It was EXACTLY what we wanted!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.