We selected Costa Rica for our honeymoon holiday because we were virtually guaranteed fabulous weather (unlike so many other vacation destinations at that time of year). We wanted ocean and beaches, with accommodations that were more intimate and accommodating than a hotel or all-inclusive. I stumbled onto a blog that introduced me to Shelter from the Storm, a villa complex mid-way between Dominical & Uvita. Their website (http://www.shelter-from-the-storm.net/index.html) revealed it to be exactly what we had been looking for; even better, it was top-rated AND affordable! We made contact via email with Daryl & Donna, the owners & operators of SFTS. Their warmth, humour and professionalism convinced us to book.
Of the four units available to rent, we chose the very private Monkey House studio apartment largely because of the great value and because it was secluded from the other villas (and guests!). It was located on the highest part of the property, nestled against the edge of the forest (featuring genuine monkey trails). There were wooden blinds in the bathroom and in the kitchen facing the rear of the building, but trust me - we could see out of our apartment, but no one could see in. This villa community was built with privacy (and security) in mind!
We loved nothing better than starting and ending each day on our large sheltered balcony, facing the jungle forest. At night, we used fine mesh curtains to divide our living area from the gallery, ensuring we could keep lovely breezes flowing through our apartment while staying bug free. The flora and fauna we did encounter was fascinating, and we did not see a single mosquito the entire ten days there. We left dirty dishes out once and, after learning our lesson with ants, we simply cleaned up after ourselves and had no more episodes. We have ants in Canada during the hottest summer months, so it is no big surprise that they live in the tropics too!
It was wonderful having a fully functional kitchen in our unit. We easily navigated the grocers and markets upon arrival (thanks to tips from Daryl and Donna). When we didn’t feel like cooking, we dined out (all within easy driving range). We made good use of the large (and immaculate) BBQ located in the communal Rancho pool/bar area. We thought the honour bar was a terrific concept and I personally enjoyed having access to a variety of soundtracks via satellite radio and a decent sound system in the al-fresco bar area. We were lucky enough to have the Rancho to ourselves most of the time and in the evenings, we swam under the stars.
When we did meet other guests, it was fun to compare notes of activities, restaurants and beaches to be discovered. We were very fortunate to have vacationed at SFTS among so many other respectful guests (including some very well-behaved children), and it made our community experience a very pleasant one.
We enjoyed the comforts and the advantages of home, including a washer and dryer tucked away discreetly onsite. The entire property was meticulously clean and lovingly maintained, with lush gardens and wildlife passing through with regularity (monkeys, toucans, etc.). We grew so attached to Shelter from the Storm that we were compelled to treat it like it was our very own. Being able to uphold a reduce-reuse-recycle lifestyle in this fabulous country was personally rewarding and we were thankful that Daryl and Donna made it so easy with their common-sense approach to life in Costa Rica (and on the planet, in general).
We were happy to have followed the advice to rent a 4WD vehicle. Some (but not all) of the roads are gnarly; once you adapt, the payoff is that they take you to wonderful places (like SFTS, for example). We explored and swam at spectacular and secluded beaches (our personal favourite was Hermosa). We witnessed whales breaching from the beach near the Whale’s Tail, and had endless amusement courtesy of surf and surfers both. We enjoyed a few inexpensive excursions and recommend the Nauyaca Waterfalls horseback tour, Reptilandia (the reptile zoo) and Hacienda Baru Wildlife Refuge. We did so much, yet only a fraction; the ten days went by so quickly!
Finally, we could not have asked for better hosts. From our very first contact, Daryl and Donna were caring and accessible, and we valued their vast knowledge of the area. We made extensive use of their directions, reviews and recommendations (many of which we found in the custom-made visitors’ guide they compile for guests). Truthfully, they made the vacation so easy for us to plan and execute, and they saw to it that our every need was met.
We can’t stop raving about Shelter from the Storm. We tell EVERYONE about this wonderful vacation destination and we can't wait to go back next year!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Shelter from the Storm is a group of 2 villas perched on a 5 acre mountainside point, 60 meters above the Pacific, high enough to give dramatic views of the coast to the Osa Pennisula, but low enough to hear the waves breaking on the rocks below. Hotel rates for your own private place! Ammenities: Shared pool adjacent Entertainment Rancho with honor bar, BBQ,satelite stereo tv & dvd, washer/dryer, & much more.... ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Shelter From The Storm Hotel Dominical
- Shelter From The Storm Costa Rica/Dominical