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“No reason to stay anywhere else in Costa Rica”
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Excellent
68 reviews
Villa Heliconia outside
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Overview
Villa -
2 Bedrooms, 2 Bathrooms, Sleeps 6
La Fortuna de San Carlos, Arenal Volcano National Park, Province of Alajuela

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Excellent - based on 68 reviews
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Reviews from our community

Date | Rating
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A TripAdvisor Member
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“No reason to stay anywhere else in Costa Rica”
Reviewed August 17, 2016 for a stay in August 2016
1
person found this review helpful

We arrived at Esteban's villa with no definitive plans and within 30 minutes he had helped to outline our entire stay. He made numerous recommendations for activities, dining and timing of outings and each recommendation was pure gold. It started when I called to book the villa and he helped me book a rental car for the trip. He recommended a smaller SUV with enough clearance for Costa Rica's bumpy roads and he helped navigate the governmental insurance requirements. This payed off while we were at the rental car agency and a less fortunate vacationer was dealing with the aftermath of booking through travelocity. The quality of his advice continued throughout our trip. There are countless options for zip lining, river tours, hikes, horse back rides and ATV trips and picking the best is a difficult task. Esteban and Daniel (our guide at the ranch) know every tour (and most of the people) in the Fortuna area and made the process of selecting activities full proof.

The activities we took part in through Esteban were a horse back ride and ATV trip to a secluded hot springs. The horse back ride was my wife and my favorite part of our honeymoon. The horses were amazing, well behaved and gorgeous. Daniel took us through fields and mountains, over and through fields and taught us about Costa Rica as we went. The entire experience was breathtaking.

The actual villa we stayed in was no less impressive than the rest of our experience with Esteban. The "living room" was an outdoor area with a hammock, dining table and amazing view of the property. There is a separate kitchen with all the amenities you might need. The beed room and bathroom are air conditioned with a very comfortable bed, plenty of living space and a shower that is to die for. The entire ranch is behind a locked gate which adds to the feeling of safety and security. There are a number of Villas but we never once saw another guest.

If I had the entire honeymoon to plan over again, I would spend more time in Fortuna and specifically more time staying at Villa Mangos. There really is no reason to stay anywhere else in the region.

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Would you recommend this hotel to a friend?   Yes.
  • Was the property as advertised?
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
AMTH
Ottawa
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“If your dates are available - book this now!”
Reviewed August 15, 2016 for a stay in July 2016

It was clear from my first conversations and emails with Esteban his one goal was to provide my family a stress free, one of a kind vacation. He did that in spades. From saving us hundreds of dollars on our car rental (do not book one without talking to him first!) to the impeccable accommodations, the picturesque setting, and the true warmth and kindness of the entire staff, we could not have asked for more. Well, except that he cancel other guests so we could stay longer! Even the horses have their own special and magical quality about them. Esteban and his staff took care of arranging tours when needed and were never more than a phone call away for anything, even simple directions or recommendations. In this crazy busy world we live in, this little horse farm in Platanar, near La Fortuna, will make time stop for you, even if only for a few days.

How easy was it to book the property? How helpful were the directions to the property?
How easy was key pickup/access to the property? Overall condition of the property
Bedding & mattresses Kitchen & utensils
Bathroom cleanliness Other facilities & amenities
Service
Liked best: The warm and kind atmosphere of the entire property and the genuine people that worked there....and the over the top cleanliness of everything!
Liked least: No AC in the kitchen area.
Traveling group: Spouse/Partner
Would you recommend this hotel to a friend?   Yes.
Recommended for:
Friends getaway Older travelers
Families with young children Large groups
People with pets
  • Was the property as advertised?
  • Would you recommend the location of this property?
  • Was it a good value for the price paid?
  • Did the property offer wi-fi/internet access?
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nancy B
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Paradise Found”
Reviewed July 3, 2016 for a stay in July 2016

We stayed in Villa Heliconias on the ranch for the first half of our Costa Rican vacation. The beauty and solitude of this place are really unparalleled and we cannot recommend it more highly. Our family prefers to"get away from it all", rather than to vacation with the masses at a resort. This was probably the best example of luxury and peace we could ever imagine. The views from our porch were fantastic...horses and rolling pasture backed by a volcano. The pool is surrounded by palm trees and is very private. Each cabana has its own entrance to the property and you cannot see anyone else from your property. There are birds galore and we also saw monkeys on the trail ride that we took while here. Estoban and Danny were very helpful as host and guide. They clearly love their lives out on the ranch and it shows. This was a paradise for our family and a wonderful memory we will always cherish!

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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wernito
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Simply unique”
Reviewed June 3, 2016 for a stay in March 2016

The Horse Ranch of Mónica and Estévan is a unique place in every respect.
Very clean cabins, tastefully and functionally furnished, situated in a beautiful natural surrounding.
Swimming in the clean pool, horse riding, excursions on quads to hot springs in a most natural setting or travelling by car to the Volcano Arenal, hiking in the sugar cane and pineapple fields are only a few of the many possibilities of enjoying the nearest surroundings.
Mónica and Estévan are perfect hosts and their employees, reflecting the qualities of their employers, are most friendly, helpful and efficient. We highly recommend this place!

How easy was it to book the property? How helpful were the directions to the property?
How easy was key pickup/access to the property? Overall condition of the property
Bedding & mattresses Kitchen & utensils
Bathroom cleanliness Other facilities & amenities
Service
Liked best: Where shall I begin? Friendliness of the owners and the staff, cleanliness, surroundings etc. etc.
Traveling group: Spouse/Partner
Would you recommend this hotel to a friend?   Yes.
Recommended for:
Friends getaway Older travelers
Families with young children
  • Was the property as advertised?
  • Would you recommend the location of this property?
  • Was it a good value for the price paid?
  • Did the property offer wi-fi/internet access?
  • Was your security deposit returned on time?
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CanadianF...
Edmonton, Canada
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“Paradise”
Reviewed April 29, 2016 for a stay in March 2016

Our family (my husband and I with two 10 year old boys) spent the first week of our Costa Rica vacation at Finca Centaura. It was close to activities and amazing sights, yet was a such a haven to return to each afternoon.
We stayed in Villa Heliconia which has 2 bedrooms - one on either side of the open kitchen and dining area. The bedrooms are enormous and so comfortable. We had the king size bed and ensuite with large tub and walk in shower. Our sons had the bedroom with a double and a single bed and ensuite with walk in shower. Both bedrooms had doors which opened to the dining area and sliding doors which opened to patio sitting areas. Windows in both bedrooms are very large and provide beautiful views. Bedrooms both had air conditioners as well but we really enjoyed leaving the doors open and listening to the night sounds and feeling the warm air.
There are other villas on the property but we didn't see them from our house - everything is very secluded and private. There is a shared pool which is conveniently located just near Villa Heliconia but we were the only ones who were ever there when we used it. The pool area is surrounded by lush greenery and has a view through the trees to the mountains. Note that the photos on the website were likely taken when the villa was first opened. Trees have grown up around and it's so serene and peaceful.
We spent hours sitting on the patio taking in the views - at all times of the day. I have not felt so relaxed as I did here.
Gitana, the resident dog, will be sure to visit upon arrival and makes her rounds all day. We allowed her to sleep on the patio but if you prefer not to have a dog around, I'm sure another villa will gladly take her. She is lovely and we still miss her!
The owner, Esteban, wants to ensure you have the best trip and will answer any and all questions you have - even helping plan your time in other parts of the country if that's where your travels take you. Esteban booked a small SUV for us through Budget at the San Jose airport. It was paid for in advance and we were treated well once they saw we were on Esteban's account. Be prepared to wait at Budget for some time as it seems many people don't book the required insurance in advance and the workers there are very friendly, taking time to explain everything. We, on the other hand, were out quickly. I would recommend an SUV as some roads are rocky and bumpy (Rio Celeste especially). We were booked in a RAV4 but received a Daihatsu Terios (like most tourists based on many of them are on the roads). it was a good little car - not much room for luggage though.
The villa is quite easy to find. We had a GPS from Budget but used Google Maps instead and just headed to Florencia and then up route 35. Try to stop at Iglesia Católica de Zarcero on your way (on 141) - park is lovely. The gates at Finca Centaura are clearly marked as to which one you are to use your code at.
We booked two adventures with Esteban and Dani was our excellent guide for both. I wasn't really looking forward to the ATV trip but it was by far one of my favorite days of our vacation! My husband and I each took one of our sons on our ATVs as they are too young to ride on their own. The afternoon ride up to the hot springs was so beautiful. I was a bit slow on the ATV as it was my first time and I was nervous. Dani was patient through out and you could tell safety was very important to him. We enjoyed time in the hot springs and then headed back to the finca as dusk approached.
Our other adventure was horseback riding and I chose a full day when a half day would have sufficed for our non-horse riding family. We were out for about 5 hours on lovely horses. Went to a river for our boys to cool off and then once we'd dropped the horses at the ranch, Dani took us for lunch at La Hacienda, a restaurant in town. For long days out, I recommend long sleeves - we all burnt our arms.
Other trips from the villa included a hike up Volcan Arenal and lunch in La Fortuna, more hiking at Rio Celeste and then a day at Volcan Poas and la Paz waterfall garden (organized and booked by Esteban). The drives to all of these areas were awe inspiring - such beautiful country. Best hike was the 1968 trail at Arenal. La Paz Waterfall garden was very touristy but my sons loved the butterflies and my husband loved the views of the waterfalls. The included lunch was really good. Worth it if you have the time and are at Poas anyway. Be sure to buy a large box of strawberries as they'll go fast!
I highly recommend staying here and know we'll return someday.

Traveling group: Young Children
Your age range 35-49
Would you recommend this hotel to a friend?   Yes.
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
travellin...
Saskatchewan, Canada
Level 5 Contributor
63 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
“Perfect! No complaints!”
Reviewed March 20, 2016 for a stay in February 2016

Hi. If you are looking for a quiet, beautiful place to stay with amazing customer service and all around awesomeness, this is it! We stayed here for 3 nights in February. They were are first 3 nights on our 2 weeks vacation in Costa Rica. We stayed in Villa Frutales. This villa has 3 separate buildings...2 are bedrooms and the centre one is the kitchen, dining and living rooms. Each building has its own bathroom. This set up was perfect for us as we had myself, my husband, 2 young children and my mom, who is a senior. Everyone had their own space but ate together. Finca Centaura (the name of the ranch) is beautiful! There a just a few villas that are all separate from each other, so there is privacy no matter what villa you have. Esteban and Monica (the owners) are wonderful people. Knowing it was our first time in the area they came to our villa the night we checked in and told us about activities offered by their company as well as others in the area. This was not easy as Esteban was (and I imagine still is) recovering from a motorcycle accident and was on crutches. We all continue to wish him the best! Esteban also called on our final night to check in and see how things were, as well as thank us for choosing the horse ranch. With regard to the excursions, We opted to stay close and partake in the horseback riding and the ATVing. Both were super fun and greatly enjoyed by all of us. Danny, our guide for both excursions, was informative, thoughtful and fun. Hansel (not sure that's the correct spelling) came as a second guide with us onthe ATVs and took my 6 year old son on his ATV. He was so nice and thoughtful with my son. He talked to him about what we were doing, where we were going and taught him some Spanish! This place is first class all the way, without being crazy expensive. My goal for our first trip to CR was to try to stay away from the crazy tourist places, but still see CR and meet local people. I totally nailed it with this one! La Fortuna is a short drive away and was a horrible break in our otherwise peaceful time in the area! I only wish we had spent more time at the horse ranch and more time able to explore the Arenal Lake area. I recommend Finca Centaura as a place to stay for anyone. I hope to return! Thank you Esteban, Monika, Danny and Hansel for making our first 3 days in CR ones that we will never forget. It was an amazing kick off for an amazing vacation! Cannot wait to return!

How easy was it to book the property? How helpful were the directions to the property?
How easy was key pickup/access to the property? Overall condition of the property
Bedding & mattresses Kitchen & utensils
Bathroom cleanliness Other facilities & amenities
Service
Liked best: Location and staff
Liked least: Nothing
Traveling group: Young Children
Would you recommend this hotel to a friend?   Yes.
Recommended for:
Friends getaway People with disabilities
Older travelers Families with young children
Large groups
  • Was the property as advertised?
  • Would you recommend the location of this property?
  • Was it a good value for the price paid?
  • Did the property offer wi-fi/internet access?
  • Was your security deposit returned on time?
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
John N
Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“Perfection in Costa Rica”
Reviewed March 4, 2016 for a stay in February 2016

A group of four of us, two couples, stayed at Finca Centaura for the first 5 nights of our ten day trip to Costa Rica (the second 5 nights were in Nosara). Finca Centaura was amazing; it's one of those rare places where location, ambiance and service collide into a fantastic experience. As we planned for our trip, we kept reading the reviews from previous travelers to Finca Centaura... and there is a reason this place gets 5 stars from everyone.

We stayed at the larger Finca Frutales. It's a 'compound' composed of three buildings: two privates bedrooms (with bathrooms and AC) on either side of a communal kitchen and living room area. The setup was perfect for our group. My wife and I stayed in one and the our friends stayed in the other. We had privacy but also a way to easily come together for socializing. Our bedroom and bathroom were delightful, and the walk-in shower will be one we try to recreate in our condo back home. We don't know how the other units are but our assumption is that they are of equal high quality as to that of Frutales.

We jumped right in and booked the ATV ride to the hot spring and a half day horseback tour (both with Danny) on either side of day trips to other spots in the central region (more on those day trips in a moment). The ATV ride is highly recommended. Danny meet us after lunch and we spent nearly 9 hours slowly touring the mountainous hillsides before arriving at a non-touristy hot springs around sunset. I'm telling you, this is one of those experiences that we simply won't forget. And then we drove home beneath the stars. The horseback tour was casual and a lot of fun. We aren't strong riders so Danny gave us a slow and safe tour of the surrounding ranches and sugar cane fields. The vistas for the mountains were amazing and it was so much fun to be on back of their wonderful horses for 4-5 hours. For equestrians, this is your heaven, and it's what this ranch is known for.

We did a day trip to the hanging bridges, then to the Arenal Lodge and Observatory, and then a late dinner in La Fortuna. The second day trip was to the Rio Celeste, a scenic route from Tenorio to Arenal, happy hour on lake Arenal, dinner in La Fortuna. The day trips were very long days. And they would have been impossible to do at our own pace if we hadn't stayed at Finca Centaura. After seeing all the hotels in La Fortuna, we were so thankful that we skipped that madness and stayed at the ranch instead.

In terms of service, Esteban and his staff rival/excel the better hoteliers that I've visited. They by far surpass your common hotels like Hilton, Marriot, Sheraton, etc. They were friendly, knowledgeable, attentive, accessible, communicative... all the positive qualities you need when hosting visitors. For example, on check-in (and after a long travel day), Esteban made sure to spend some time chatting with us to help us feel welcome - instead of a passive key exchange, we had a real conversation that ended up guiding how our stay went. Danny was our guide on the two excursions and we couldn't have asked for better. Funny, on-time, attentive, VERY knowledgeable... we had a great time with him. They make the location enjoyable just as much as the location and grounds do.

I can't think of anything we didn't like. Serioulsy. This is a rarity when I write reviews because nothing is perfect. If I had to be nit-picky, the main road was kinda bumpy so make sure you get a 4WD SUV (we had a Grand Vitara). That's it. I uploaded a couple of pictures. Please contact me if you want to hear more about our experience at Finca Centaura.

How easy was it to book the property? How helpful were the directions to the property?
How easy was key pickup/access to the property? Overall condition of the property
Bedding & mattresses Kitchen & utensils
Bathroom cleanliness Other facilities & amenities
Service
Liked best: Location and quality
Liked least: We should've stayed longer
Traveling group: Spouse/Partner
Your age range 25-34
Would you recommend this hotel to a friend?   Yes.
Recommended for:
Friends getaway
  • Was the property as advertised?
  • Would you recommend the location of this property?
  • Was it a good value for the price paid?
  • Did the property offer wi-fi/internet access?
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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