Dominical is such a naturally beautiful place, that I would gladly sleep on the beach, eat rice and beans for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and bathe only in the waterfall. And yet, Casi el Cielo is a welcome alternative, improving upon (if that is possible) the amazing grandeur that is southern Costa Rica.
The highlights of our trip, and of Casi el Cielo, are as follows:
First, the location is simply perfect. Casi el Cielo is perched atop San Martin del Sur, overlooking several beaches. Perhaps, most notably, Playa Ballena and Playa Hermosa. So, the views are breath-taking. But, what is more, there are at least 5 of my favorite beaches in Costa Rica within an easy (10-20 minute) drive from the property. This worked out particularly well for us, as our kids enjoyed the change of pace. Dominicalito provided a natural marine observatory, with all kinds of interesting shells, animals, drift-wood, and the like. Playa Hermosa is long, wide, and beautiful. The jungle literally spills out onto the beach. You can walk, jog, play soccer, swim, whatever. Playa Hermosa reminds me--at least a little bit--of the beach at Kiawah, SC. Watching the sunset from the breakers at Hermosa is one of my favorite things to do. Playa Guapil, near Hacienda Baru, is another nice change of pace. Monkeys on the beach, creeks to explore, and absolutely no one else around. Fabulous. I haven't even mentioned Uvita, Ventanas, or Dominical. All wonderful, but in different ways.
Secondly, there are about a million other things to do if you don't want to go to the beach. For instance, hike to Posa Azul, a waterfall about 45 minutes' walk away. Or, walk all over the mountain to see monkeys, toucans, and some amazing views of the Pacific. If you would like to fish, zip-line, horseback ride, or any of the other outdoor things for which Costa Rica is renowned, just ask Barbara. She knows everybody, and can help put you in touch with anyone you like.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, everyone at Casi el Cielo treats you like family. I cannot imagine feeling more comfortable, or more at home anywhere, except maybe, my home. And probably not even there.
The food is amazing. I have no idea how they source such a wide array of ingredients to prepare spectacularly diverse and creative meals. While you may expect the fish--from whole, fried, red snapper, to ceviche, to baked sea bass--to be outstanding, what about pollo emborrachado (cooked with a can of Imperical in the center), or barbeque ribs, or beef tips? Plus, the house-made salad dressings are worth the ride from San Jose--seriously. And, what about the on-porch coffee service each morning, the fresh fruit, the desserts each night...
The rest of the staff--all of them--are simply wonderful. Words cannot describe how well they treat you.
My bottom line is that you should go to Casi el Cielo!
- Also Known As:
- Casi El Cielo Bed And Breakfast Costa Rica/Dominical
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Situated in the jungle 1200 feet above the Pacific Ocean in the Escaleras Mountains with a breathtaking view of sparkling blue water and vibrant green mountain-sides. Casi el Cielo is attention to detail demonstrated in every amenity created especially for the villa and in the highly personalized service and the stage is set for an unforgettable Costa Rican experience. The vacation villa rental has four guest rooms, each with a private bath and a private terrace. Each room has a beautiful ocean view and its own path through the lush tropical garden to the swimming pool area. Breakfast and elegant dinner provided. ... more less