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Hotel Casa Horizontes Corcovado
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All reviewsb bgracious and accommodating hostsscarlet macawskayaking tourlong dining tablehours watchingguest housebirds includingfresh fruitsteep roadcosta ricathe main housebahia drakebest view in towncovered deckbeautiful woodensuite bathroom
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Reviewed December 29, 2011

Great people, great food, great view, great tours.

Take the 2 day tour with Elia to Corcovado or the night tour with Emilio to see snakes, frogs and spiders.

This was definitely the best part of our Costa Rica trip!

  • Stayed: December 2011, traveled as a couple
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Thank Minni M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 22, 2011

Casa Horizontes is a beautiful home set on a hill overlooking gorgeous Drake Bay. The hostess Yammi and her husband Pedro are incredible people. The home is immaculately clean, the rooms are cozy and well-equipped with screens and mosquito nets to keep you mosquito-free night. The hill up to the house is definitely intense, but worth it! We saw monkeys playing in the trees out front, heard nature playing outside our windows all night and ate DELICIOUS food the entire time. Yammi arranged for my boyfriend and I to have private meals on the deck each night and morning and the food is OUTSTANDING. The woodwork around the house, including the tables, chairs and doors were all handmade by Pedro and are gorgeous. They are accommodating, handled some snafus with a few of our travel plans by sorting things out with the locals on their phone and generally just made our stay incredible. I cannot recommend them enough!

  • Stayed: December 2011, traveled as a couple
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Thank avantgirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 16, 2011

I am so grateful that we found Casa Horizontes. We stayed for a week, with my two year old son. The family was so accomodating, friendly and helpful. The house is gorgeous. I refer to their deck as the "million dollar view", it is breathtaking, surrounded on three sides by the garden and jungle, with a view overlooking the ocean. If I were to change anything about our stay it would be to stay there longer. I loved the wood house, the beautiful carvings and inlay. My personal favorite is the tables on the deck which are absolutely gorgeous. From our room we had (almost) daily visits from our Toucan, who on our last day there brought along a couple friends. We also saw monkeys right outside our window on four of the seven days we were there. My son was ecstatic as they were in the tree just 2 meters from our window. We also saw green parrots and scarlet macaws one day when we came home early to nap. From the deck we saw our monkeys, an iguana atop a tree, an opossum (one evening), toucans, macaws, humming birds, beautiful red birds (tanagers?), lizards and fireflies at night. It was magical. I could have spent entire days on the deck looking out at the ocean and reading, which we did one afternoon and were offered another fresh pot of coffee, fresh fruit and fruit juice. The family is so welcoming, I really felt at home.

The food was AMAZING! I can't wait to go back for the food alone. I can't eat dairy (or too much wheat) which is usually a big hassle for people but Yami was so accomodating, she made us delicious meals and would even make a non-dairy option for me for deserts. The meals were so good. Fresh fish, chicken, shrimp, more fresh fish, hearts of palm, delicious soup, salads with a dressing that I now have to learn to make as we all loved it so much and the tastiest fresh bread (which I was able to sample small amounts of). I asked if she'd mind making rice and beans for me and she made them for me every meal, they were delicious and accompanied by a tasty "green salsa" which is a common condiment in Costa Rica. (We brought back 20 bottles for gifts and ourselves as we enjoyed it so much).

My son is very social and was getting tired of our grown up company so he would sometimes play with Gloriana, Yami and Pedro's lovely 4 year old daughter. One evening we even invited her to have a double date with us, (my son was very smitten). It was so nice watching the two of them have dinner with us and my son really enjoyed her company (in fact when we told him we would be leaving soon he said he didn't want to leave but wanted his grandmother to join us). One afternoon we wanted to go for a quiet walk on the beach and I was able to leave my son with the family so that we could spend some time alone. Also, on our last evening there my son played with Gloriana, leaving us to have a quiet dinner.

Laudry was amazing, our jackets had never been so clean. We had a lot of very sandy and wet clothes which we got washed and were all spotless and folded for us when we came back from our tour. We were even able to get one last load of laundry done in the late afternoon of the day before we left as we had gotten very muddy going on a jungle tour and didn't want to haul wet laudry home with us.

We did two tours with Elea, Yami's sister, who is a wonderful tour guide. She is one of the few women who guide in the area (it is traditionally a male dominated field). We had a private tour with her in Corcovado as she was willing to accomodate a family, giving us a good price even though it was just the three of us. She spotted an anteater with a baby on it's back which we watched for a long time hoping from tree to tree. She also spotted a potoo bird (quite rare and blends into the tree to comoflage itself), as well as a bunch of other wildlife, birds and a blue morpho butterfly. The second tour we did with her was to a beautiful waterfall near Drake Bay where we were able to swim. On our way there she found a poison dart frog for us to see. The thing I appreciated the most was the stories she told about the traditional uses of different tree barks and sap. She was knowledgeable, friendly and extremely accomodating. I was so interested by the history of the town, her family, Costa Rica and some of the traditions they have. She was so willing to share information, stories and was very good at explaining things. She also made it fun to learn about the flora and fauna and I'm sure I'll remember a lot of what we learned as she made it so interesting.

The rooms were lovely, our sheets and towels were changed every second day (which we didn't expect when paying such a low price). The room was large enough to accomodate our two big suitcases, three carry ons, baby backpack and an assortment of toys, books and art supplies without feeling cramped. We even had wine one afternoon as my son napped at the table in the room. I was worried we would be hot at night but the fan in the room and the windows made it very nice. (We were in the "Romantica" room which has windows on each side.) The family did recommend a room on the main floor because of the baby, which may have made it slightly easier rather than hauling things up the staircase/ladder, also once he was asleep I didn't like to leave him up there alone with the door closed but didn't like to leave the door open for fear he awake and stumble down the stairs. All of the rooms are lovely though and I would gladly stay in any of them, the deck is really where I would want to be spending my waking hours anyway.

I can't say enough positive things about this place. I guess the things to keep in mind are that the walk up is steep (although we had no problem with all our stuff and toddler) and I would say the walk up is totally worth it as it gives you the impression of being very deep in the jungle away from everything, while actually being right near the "downtown" where there is a store and some restaurants. (We went to the restaurant"Pura Vida" one evening for dinner, which was good but didn't compare to Yami's gourmet cooking). Also, the shower has one setting. It is easy to use and on the upside there is an emergency tank which meant that the day the water line (from town) broke we could all still have a quick shower and I gave my son a good wash. The water was sometimes cool (which was never a problem as we were usually always hot) but I think if you wait a bit you can have a warm shower (about half the time it was warm and half the time it was warm-cool).

This place is ideal for people who want to experience the real Costa Rica, love adventure, want to see wildlife up close and want to enjoy the jungle while still enjoying the sound of the ocean and the beautiful ocean views.

I can't wait to go back!

Gracias Yami and Pedro!

  • Stayed: December 2011, traveled with family
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1  Thank E W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 19, 2011

Casa Horizontes is one of the most special places we have ever stayed!
Firstly, the setting is completely gorgeous - the view from the veranda looks out over the treetops to the sea, and the garden (which blends seamlessly into the jungle) is full of birds including hummingbirds, caracaras, scarlet macaws and toucans, yes, toucans, just messing about a few metres away. The trees are home to iguanas, almost within touching distance and white faced capuccin monkeys, who love to dash across the roof and peep in at the windows. It's like living in your own wildlife documentary film.
Yammi is the most FANTASTIC cook and her meals are second to none, every one being different and only offering rice and beans if you require them. During our stay, for dinner in the evening, we ate a variety of starters including soups and salads and, for the main courses, fish in coconut sauce, chicken in a garlic and ginger sauce with palm heart salad, beef steak, lasagne and more. Desserts included the mouth watering "tres leches" with mango and a coconut and chocolate heavenly creation. The breakfasts began with a large plate of different fresh fruits, followed by a cooked "English style" breakfast. Meals were accompanied by freshly squeezed juice (often from fruit grown in the garden) - lime, tamarind, pineapple etc. Meals were followed by delicious Costa Rican coffee and often biscuits. A complete culinary delight.
Yammi and Pedro are the kindest people you could wish to meet and nothing is too much trouble for them. They organised a 2 day tour to Sirena for us, which was great, and sorted out our transport to the airport (we flew back to San Jose with Nature Air which was excellent).
Pedro came down to the beach, when we arrived by boat from Sierpe, to meet us and collect our luggage to take it up to the house. We walked the short path behind the school up to the house where Yammi was waiting with a welcome drink of her famous juice and her renowned cinnamon cakes.
The house is spotless and the rooms lovely with a choice of two doubles (one with an extra single bed) and a twin. We chose to stay in the top room, with a shared bathroom, as it was airy, light and spacious, with windows on three sides - beautiful. The beds have high quality mosquito nets and a fan (although on most nights we didn't need this). Even though the rooms downstairs were slightly smaller(the double with its own en suite bathroom), they were still great and had super views across the sea.
We whole heartedly and unreservedly recommend Casa Horizontes. It is 100% and more. I wish we had been able to spend longer than a week here as there was plenty to do and see. Walks to nearby beaches were easy, relaxing in the hammock or on the veranda a joy, food out of this world and delightful people to talk to. Altogether a remarkable and wonderful place to stay. Thank you Yammi, Pedro, Gloriana and Emerson - a very special family!
Michele and Tony

Room Tip: Top room light and airy with shared bathroom, bottom room smaller with en suite bathroom - all great views.
  • Stayed: August 2011, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank lemmingmo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 1, 2011

We had a great time in Casa Horizontes (and Drake Bay/Corcovado in general), it was the highlight of our 1 month trip through Costa Rica and Nicaragua.

Casa Horizontes is a lodge at the edge of the tiny Drake Bay village, which itself is at the edge of the protected Corcovado national park. The result is that the lodge already feels as if you're right in the jungle. Looking from the balcony you only see trees (with lots of birds) and green around you, and in the background you can see the ocean and the whole bay area. Many times we saw scarlet macaws sitting in the trees in front of the lodge, and in the morning you're woken up by a concert of birds and one day we even heard howler monkeys. The lodge is actually still in the village area (with a handy grocery store) but you don't notice it, it still feels very remote, which is great!

Yami and Pedro are exceptional hosts and we felt genuinely welcome. They were very friendly (not the overly-friendly-in-your-face kind of friendliness you often get when you stay with expats) and they did everything they could to make us enjoy our stay. The lodge itself is beautiful, nicely made in wood by Pedro and his family. Rooms are comfortable, clean, well maintained, and have all the amenities you need. There are mosquito nets installed, our room had a clean private bathroom with a hot shower (although a cold one would have been sufficient), you can use their kitchen (with a purified water tap), ... and I think 3 out of the 4 rooms share the superb view over the bay area.

Other comments:

- if you're doubting to visit Corcovado from Puerto Jimenez or Drake bay, you're like us. Our first plan was to visit the Corcovado NP via Puerto Jimenez, and to hike in and out via the Los Patos-Sirena-La Leona trail. However as we were afraid the hike would be too hard (especially during the rainy season) and as this would focus too much on the hiking instead of wildlife viewing, we changed our plans and went to Drake Bay instead. From Drake Bay you can make a multi-day tour to the heart of the park (Sirena station) via a 1 hour boat-ride (instead of a full day of hiking), staying there overnight, and maximize your wildlife seeing chances via the easy walkable trails around the station. We were very happy to have chosen this option, as it allowed us to spend a great amount of time in the middle of the jungle (it's like a zoo over there, so much wildlife) and also because of the great time we had in Casa Horizontes and the area around Drake Bay. We compared prices and concluded that the visit from Drake Bay (with boat) is only a little more expensive than the visit from Puerto Jimenez (with more hiking). In general visiting Corcovado is more expensive than visiting the other parks in Costa Rica though, but we thought that it was absolutely worth the money.

- If you're staying overnight in the Sirena Ranger station in the park as a 2 of 3 days trip from Drake Bay (which is highly recommended), it's better to sleep in a tent instead of in a room. The rooms of the ranger station have no mosquito nets (although you can probably install your own one quite easily) and we briefly saw the cute little eyes of a rat staring at us from the space between the wall and the ceiling, so you might sleep better in the comfort of a sealed tent (if it can ventilate air a bit to combat the heat of course). Sirena ranger station is an awesome place to spend one or two nights, it's smack in the middle of it all.

- Drake bay has the reputation of being very expensive, but in fact it's not that bad. You can get from/to San José to Drake Bay easily via bus-taxi-boat, which costs you around 70 USD per couple one way. Both ways, you can very easily do it within a day (you arrive in Drake Bay / San José somewhere in the afternoon). No plane needed, saves you a lot of money (and you don't lose a lot of time).

- The breakfasts and the dinners you can enjoy at Casa Horizontes are fantastic, and considering the view from the balcony, you'd miss a memorable moment if you would dine somewhere else. But if you're on a tight budget, you can still choose to eat in the village itself, as there are a couple of cheap restaurants there. The food isn't exceptional at these places, and there's no view, but it's definitely OK and above all it's not expensive.

- It's worth staying a day or so in Drake bay itself, by yourself, without guided activities. There's a nice path leading to a beautiful beach close to Drake bay, where you can safely swim and enjoy the beach. And it's also just great to hang out on the balcony of the lodge and enjoy the views and the bird-spotting from there.

- About the weather in the beginning of July: we had some very sunny days, and one day we had some rain showers around noon and it stayed dry but cloudy for the rest of the day. But in general the rains (which were quite heavy!) came during the night when we were asleep, and the next morning was mostly bright, hot and sunny.. So overall we had great weather, and we fully disagree with guidebooks who say that Corcovado should be avoided at this time of the year.

- There are budget hostels in the village itself, but these don't have a nice view and they don't share the in-the-middle-of-the-jungle feeling. For a few more dollars, you get a real "jungle lodge" experience with Casa Horizontes, with all the amenities and luxury you need.

- It's more fun to do it in Spanish (even if you know as little Spanish as we do) but you can also contact them in English. They're responsive and they'll help you to arrange everything, even if you only speak English.

- Why are we so enthusiastic about this place? Because Corcovado national park is one of the most amazing places to visit in Costa Rica and Nicaragua, and our stay in Casa Horizontes made the picture complete.

Room Tip: We enjoyed the El Tucán room, which has an excellent view and a private bathroom.
  • Stayed: July 2011, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank w_be1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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