Spent a very fun week with my wife and friends of ours at the Pura Vida House with Jorge and Stephanie Morera as our hosts and guides. They were great, very friendly, and know Guanacaste well; they took us to all the popular spots, but also the places and beaches that are off the beaten path. The whole town knows them so you feel like a local. This is truly an authentic vacation, we have never experienced this before, being part of the community and being welcomed by everyone the way we were, fantastic.
Highly recommend this vacation for anyone who wishes to be immersed in the Costa Rican culture, while experiencing a bunch of fun ecotourism activities/adventures.
Thanks Jorge and Stephanie for a truly unique and unforgettable week, we all hope to come back again soon!
The most authentic vacation destination we've encountered yet--not your typical, touristy trip. Jorge and Stephanie's love for the Costa-Rican landscape as well as their zest for life and extra-friendly disposition definitely made for an incomparable experience. My husband and I stayed with 2 other couples, each had our own private bedroom and bath, and shared meals together daily. We did various activities together as a group, but also had time to spend on our own if we had different interests for the day. Activities we enjoyed included hiking and mountain biking the beautiful hill-sides of the local Paso Hondo village, horseback riding with the guide of a local neighbor, enjoying local Costa Rican cuisine, soaking up the sun on several different postcard beaches, boating, jet-skiing, zip-lining (a definite MUST!), and even sharing libations at the local cantinas. We also ended our stay by taking in a local rodeo which really made our trip extra special. Jorge and Stephanie acted as our hosts and personal guides the entire trip (which made us feel extra comfortable and safe--especially if you don't speak the native language). Overall, the trip was amazing, one that we will cherish our memories of forever. And we are happy to call Jorge and Stephanie our new friends for life.
From the moment that Jorge picked us up at the airport, my 11 year old son and I knew that we were in good hands. En route to Pura Vida House, Jorge recommended that we stop along side the road at a street-side stand to pick up some delicious coconut water (not the supermarket kind, but a real coconut that is cut open while you wait, with a straw then inserted inside of it). In less than an hour, as we sipped water from coconuts and viewed sugar cane fields in the distance, we were already living Costa Rican style! Jorge and Stephanie could not have been more accommodating or thoughtful and their local expertise is not to be underestimated. They are not only familiar with Guanacaste, but they are basically part of its fabric. Locals trust and respect them and as their guest, you benefit from this relationship. For example, when we visited a zipline one afternoon, we really got the sense that we were not just another pair of tourists to the people who ran the zipline. Instead, we were treated as Jorge and Stephanie’s guests. Another time, when circumstances changed and my son wanted to go jet skiing last minute, despite the high demand on the jet skis that day, Jorge miraculously made it happen. The tennis is also fantastic (my son played every day). The food, the landscape, the activities – all amazing. A truly memorable and great trip!
Five stars all around. This was a trip full of all the activities we wanted to do in Costa Rica, Jorge and Stephanie coordinated everything to perfection from start to finish. All we had to worry about was having fun. We played tennis, golf, went horseback riding through the mountains (waterfall included!), snorkeled, took a surfing lesson, visited beautiful Arenal Volcano, did the zip lines, tried out paddle boarding (loved it!), typical hand pottery lesson from the neighbor (Rosa), went mountain biking, visited five different beaches, and met many of the locals from Paso Hondo. They were all really nice to us and as friendly as anyone could be!
We highly recommend this vacation to Pura Vida House to anyone who loves nature, biodiversity, and wishing to immense themselves in the local Costa Rican culture. Plus, Jorge and Stephanie are high energy and will treat you like family, they know everything there is to know about Guanacaste and Costa Rica; they both made our vacation wonderful, THANK YOU, we will come back very soon!
Wow, what a trip. My wife and I stayed at Pura Vida House with two other couples. We had a fantastic time. I am sure that Jorge and Stephanie could accomodate you if you wanted to lay around and do nothing all week; but if you are looking to skip the resort, and instead see and do fun things during your stay, Pura Vida House is a great pick. You can hike, bike, go to the beach (several gorgeous beaches in fact), go deep sea fishing (near shore too), take day trips to a volcano, play golf and tennis, eat great local food, and truly soak up Costa Rica. All this without the typical, pushy sales pitch that you generally get as a tourist. Jorge arranges everything, adding value by not only helping you pick the best activities but also by negotiaing on your behalf. The importance of his local expertise cannot be overstated.
The house is a great place to stay, each bedroom has its own private bath, and the property is surrounded by mountains, exotic fruit trees, and wildlife. Meals are prepared with local. fresh foods, primarily provided by neighbors. Staying in an area where you experience the local community and meet neighbors was a great aspect of the stay. We have stayed at 4-5 star resorts in other tropical places, which is nice, but Pura Vida House was a great way to experience Costa Rica.
We had a great time, a nice mix of adventure and relaxation. Incredibly accomodating and flexible hosts who can arrange just about anything you would like to try during your stay. I highly recommend checking out the local rodeo as well is the timing works out.
We have been to many resorts and countries around the world, yet we have never found a place so warm and interesting as the Pura Vida House. The house is set amongst a beautiful natural setting, surrounded by hills and all types of trees. Birds abound, and you can hear them chirping all day long, what a magical experience. My family and I counted 36 types of birds in one week around Pura Vida House, including two types of toucans.
The community of Paso Hondo is warm and welcoming, we met many members of the community, had dinner at their house twice, went to get fresh coconuts from their trees, got a horseback tour from a local cowboy named Papun on the mountains and saw a waterfall, we all did a hand pottery lesson at the house of another lady called Rosa, and our daughters played for hours with Maria, the maid’s daughter. The maid was called Pastora and she was as warm as the rest of the community members. Her cooking was phenomenal, a vast array of Costa Rican typical dishes and most importantly, all the food was fresh and organic. What a delight!
The best part of the trip though, was the personality of our hosts, Stephanie and Jorge Morera. Always high energy, and from the moment we met them at the airport to the moment we sadly said goodbye a week later, they catered to all our tastes, took us to every beach we wanted, local celebrations, neighboring houses, kayaking, played tennis, went surfing, snorkeled, tubing, paddle boarding, golfing, and fishing. They were there with us carefully planning every activity and driving us to each place. Everything was arranged for us to perfection, most activities were included in the weekly rate, and the few ones that we had to pay for, the prices were very reasonable. What a treat this was, we had two knowledgeable full time guides at our side for an entire week! In previous vacations, we were dropped off at a resort and we were in charge of coming up with what do to on our own. This vacation at Pura Vida House was very different, before we even arrived Costa Rica, Jorge and Stephanie gave us a list of all the activities and based on our feedback, they created a very fun draft itinerary for us to approve/tweak.
I can keep on going on and on about how wonderful this vacation was, but bottom line is, it’s the best vacation my family and I have ever had. I highly recommend it for families, adults and kids alike. Pura Vida House is a natural gem, and the community and wonderful hosts make it feel like home. Five stars all around, we miss Costa Rica, a million thanks Jorge and Stephanie, we plan to come back soon!
Where to start with a review? With the turtles laying 80 eggs in a nest on the beach, or the horseback rides with Papun up into the beautiful hills nearby, or the giant blue morpho butterfly over the crashing waterfall at Volcan Miravalles? Or maybe the Christmas pinata party for 34 village children? Oh, or maybe it's my clay pot that Rosa taught me to make from the river clay she brought for our lessons in her yard. Definitely the meals that Pastora cooked at Pura Vida house deserve a bunch of stars - how does she make that tilapia? And every day should start with fresh mangoes for breakfast.
So many indelible memories to take home and warm me through the long winter up north.
Thank you for being the perfect hosts and sharing this beautiful country in a unique way I'll never forget.