I thought I had posted this months ago, but apparently only saved it as a draft -- hope this is helpful!
Where can we begin? My wife and I took our honeymoon in Costa Rica in November 2011 and stayed at Casa Chamelon. My wife had done a simple google search for "costa rica hotel private pool" and Casa Chameleon was one of the top results. We had an absolutely fantastic time -- let me explain.
We bought their 'Romance package' which was 5 nights in the Villa Vista, but we added two nights on for a whole week's stay. From start to finish we were thrilled with the experience, their responsiveness, and efficiency. Under the Romance package they setup our round trip flight from San Jose to Tambor (the closest airport to the hotel) and arranged our taxi to and from the airport as well. This all went off totally smoothly, without a hitch.
Our villa was absolutely great. The bathroom was massive with an amazing rain shower. The large balcony + hamock was incredibly relaxing, with views over the rainforest canopy all the way to the ocean. The private pool was a nice size for two, but the water was a bit chilly as it was often in the shade (on our check-out day they moved us to Villa Sol, where the pool was warmer since it got more direct sunlight). My only minor complaint was that the interior lighting at night was a bit dim.
While I don't think we consider ourselves foodies/food snobs, we definitely appreciate good food -- and were we wowed. Under our package we were provided breakfasts and dinners. Rob and Oscar make a dynamic duo who are super creative and talented. This region of Costa Rica (dont know about the others regions) has a very strong green/sustainable culture to it, which permeates everything from food to utilities. Rob and Oscar are especially into farm-to-table, i.e. super fresh everything. Rob provides amazingly fresh vegetables from his own farm, and as we're pescatarians, the fresh catch of the day (tuna, cod, snapper, etc) was always prepared to perfection along with the vegatables and sides. Some sample dishes were coconut rice, tuna poke, seared tuna with soy dipping sauce, quinoua with herbs and ginger, ginger brussel sporuts, fried plantains...gosh I'm getting hungry. Rob and Oscar will tailor the meal to any dietary restrictions you have whether you don't eat meat, eggs, dairy, fish, shellfish, you dont like broccoli or beets, you name it. They were incredibly nice, friendly, interesting, and a pleasure to talk to during our stay.
Our package also included a 3-day car rental--an SUV was provided--which was great because it allowed us to do lots of exploring. The roads in this part of the country are for the most part not very good. They are bumpy, hilly, pot-hole ridden, can be windy, and as we were there at the tail-end of the rainy season, there were mud slides obstructing some roads. We were completely fine, but thought some people might appreciate a heads-up. The Romance package also included a day-trip, which had a few options. We chose to go to Tortuga Island, which was a 30-40 minute drive + a short boat ride. It was just my wife and I on the boat to Tortuga Island, which had a lovely picture-perfect beach. Lunch was also provided with lots of fresh fruit and they took us snorkling.
The Casa Chamelon manager, Alonso, and the other staff who organized activities etc have a tremendous wealth of knowledge on the area and on things to do. They're super helpful and can setup activities like a surfing lesson (amazing), a zip-line tour through the rain forest canopy and into a hidden waterfall at Montezuma (also amazing). They recommended two nature reserves to visit in the area -- Cabo Blanco and Curu. CB has lots of amazing vegetation, but Curu (where you get the ferry to Tortuga) has all kinds of wildlife including different kinds of monkeys. Highly recommend both. Also, in Montezuma there are 3 waterfalls which you can hike up. Once you get directions to the parking area, you pay a few dollars to a man who lets you in, and other people may offer to guide you up. We went by ourselves and were fine, but there's no real path or anything -- you're mostly walking/wading through a shallowish brook finding your own way (and being careful). You get to the top and there's a big natural pool at the bottom of a huge waterfall. Apparently you can keep going up to the top of that waterfall (and a 3rd fall), but we couldn't find the path even though we had talked to people who had gone up earlier. On the Montezuma zipline tour, you actually make a stop at the highest of the three waterfalls, which is another cool way to see it. Whether you keep walking up the waterfalls or not, at least go up to the first pool.
The last and one of the coolest things we did was the beach-hike/walk to Coloclito Falls. You will read online and people will tell you it's impossible, but that's not really true. You just need to be dedicated and have water/food. Yes it's long and in the sun, but it's worth it. Cocolito falls is a waterfall that flows directly into the ocean, located at a secluded/isolated beach that almost no one seems to get to. You walk from Montezuma along the beach for about 2 hours. Keep on going and going, and you'll know when you're there--there is a definite waterfall, Just make sure you go early because high tide is HIGH and can make certain beaches along the way impassable/difficult to walk across.
We had an absolutely spectacular time at Casa Chamelon and would urge you to get there -- the staff are lovely, it's an amazing location, and the villas are quite spectacular. Enjoy!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Chosen as one of the "Best 101 Hotels in the World" by Conde Nast Publications' Tatler Travel Guide for 2006, Casa Chameleon is a favourite with honeymooners and celebrities to relax and unwind in an enchanted environment. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Hotwire, Priceline, Expedia, Odigeo, Hotels.com, Orbitz and Agoda so you can book your Casa Chameleon reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- Casa Chameleon Mal Pais
- Casa Chameleon Costa Rica/Mal Pais