I cannot correlate our stay with previous TA reviews. What am I missing?? We stayed May 27th, 2013 for two nights and every time I wanted to publish this review I reread previous reviews and have held back. Perhaps, others were not looking for a property with ac.
I am sad to write a negative review for a family operated business, especially after the warm welcome we received from Kelly, our hostess, who managed the property while the owners were on holiday in Europe. However, for people who prefer accommodations similar to our preferences, this is a heads-up. Tolerance of humidity, heat and cleanliness vary with each individual, so El Arbor may very well be a haven for many.
When making our reservation, I shared with the proprietor that air conditioning and cleanliness are important to us. I was told that a cleaning person comes every few days and will come before our stay. He assured me that there is air conditioning and the house was designed in a way that cool air circulates throughout the house. OOPS, I forgot to ask if the air conditioner cools and/or if the cleaning person cleans!
We were placed in the 2nd house as I had requested. The 5350 BTU, DAEWOO, model DWC-058RL air conditioner, the only air conditioner in the 600 sq. ft. house, located in the upstairs bedroom, has specifications of cooling 200 sq. ft. of a closed off room. The bedroom in which it is located cannot be closed off, so it communicates with the entire house (a total of 600 sq. ft. according to El Arbor’s website). The house may have been designed in order for cool air from the bedroom to descend to the lower level, BUT hey, let's get real, this is not happening because there isn't cooled air upstairs! Moreover, except for one bathroom window, the windows & and French doors DO NOT HAVE SCREENS. So despite somewhat cooler air outside, it really isn't a great idea to open windows or doors for ventilation.
It is difficult to determine whether the house was clean because it is built with wood and (unsealed??) concrete...both materials are dark, do not show dirt and have rough finishes that are extremely difficult to clean properly. Judging by smoothly finished materials, the dirty light switch plates and dirt on the AC intake makes the entire house suspect. The sheets were clean, as well as the bathroom sink. We dared not touch the walls of the shower.
Recycling: Kelly, suggested that the area does not have recycling availability, but she just may not have known. She encouraged us to take recycling wastes to our next destination. I hope that the owners are aware that.. "The Recycling Alliance has expanded the types of solid waste that it is collecting on the Caribbean Coast. Nearly everything can now be recycled." Pickup from Manzanillo is on Tuesdays and from Puerto Viejo, on Wednesdays.
If lack of AC, no window screens, very hot, and extraordinarily humid environment are not a deterrent, there were positive aspects to El Arbol:
. Kelly was absolutely delightful. She was nurturing, accommodating and extremely helpful with setting up tours and suggesting restaurants. There are not enough positive adjectives to describe Kelly.
. The 2 houses are located among very lush vegetation. Obviously animal sightings are nature dependent, and we did see many amazing Arthropods! No mammals.
. No bug bites! I did spray insect repellent on the edges of French doors that had gaps communicating with the outdoors and on the bed nets. Perhaps the bugs would have stayed outdoors without spray!?! I am not convinced that spraying repellant is either conducive to good health or the environment, but I wasn't going to take chances.
. The house accommodated our family of four, enabling us to 'bond', although by the second night we realized that bonding isn't all it is cracked up to be and we really needed two separate rooms. The nights spent here were 'memorable' and we will probably talk about them for years. Let's face it, who remembers a night spent at a Hilton or a Marriott?
. A four wheel drive vehicle was not necessary for our trip from San Jose to El Arbor when we went in 'green season' at the end of May 2013. If driving, place Congo Bongo into the GPS and then follow instructions given by El Arbor
When in the area, I highly recommend the Jaguar Rescue Center's private tour. Definitely worth the visit for us, as we had never been in Central America before and did not have previous exposure to the wildlife here. Don't expect to see jaguars. Set the GPS's destination to 'Villas Del Caribe' and look for signs placed only an hour prior to opening.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Vacation house & jungle villa rental.Fascinating jungle experience in the middle of the Caribbean rainforest of Costa Rica! Our distinguished lodge on 16+ acres of private property is situated in the Gandoca Manzanillo wildlife refuge, with the beautiful Caribbean sea less then a mile away. You will stay in one of our luxurious, fully equipped houses on stilts. Experience the jungle like never before. Have the monkeys waiting outside your window as you wake up to the sounds of tropical birds singing (more than 100 species counted on our property). There are sloths, nosebears, other mammals, frogs, and so much more…Let comfort surround you while you are relaxing in the Costa Rican rain forest, drinking a good bottle of wine on your jungle porch. Have a massage, walk our private nature tracks or relax at the creek that runs through the property. Go on one of the many excursions we can arrange for you. Visit the picture perfect & quiet Caribbean beaches just a few minutes away! Venture into Cahuita National park or the Gandoca Manzanillo wildlife refuge. Enjoy a night out in the bustling beach town of Puerto Viejo (9 miles away). But most of all look forward to waking up in a jungle paradise that seems to have been created especially for you… ... more less
- Also Known As:
- El Arbol Costa Rica/Limon