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“Amazing place to stay with locals”
Review of Terra Viva

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Terra Viva
Reviewed January 2, 2010

Had a great stay with "real" locals in Costa Rica. Terra Viva farmstay has lots to offer - beautiful landscape, vast forests, horseback riding, decent rooms, most of all great people ! Stayed for 2 nights. Horseback riding was amazing. Wenth through great scenery. If you are looking for good local experience, peace and non-commercial stay Terra Viva is the place to stay. Rooms are basic, but worth the experience is worth the money. Dont expect luxury amenities here.

  • Stayed: December 2009, traveled as a couple
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Thank magesh_80
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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37 - 43 of 56 reviews

Reviewed October 12, 2009

Wonderful place. Got to milk cows and feed baby cows, really unique experience. There is nothing to do at night, but that was kinda nice. I was on my honeymoon so the lack of anything distracting was a special time for us to talk and...
The breakfast was free but was just bread and jam, nothing cooked. We didn't try the dinners. The owners were very nice and knew English very well.

  • Stayed: October 2009, traveled as a couple
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Thank linkette
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 28, 2009

Hmmm. I must say, I’m surprised by some of the negative reviews regarding Terra Viva. I recently visited this pristine location in the beginning of July, looking to have a unique experience on a dairy farm. During the five days I spent on the farm, I think the most powerful part of my stay was having the opportunity to explore the surrounding mountains. I was in awe of the beauty that encompasses this area, and coming from a small suburban town in the states, I have NEVER seen such an exquisite landscape. Also, I was able to sample typical Costa Rican cuisine at its finest, prepared right in the lodge at whatever time I desired. I saw the milking of the older cows (vacas), had a chance to feed the babies (los teneros), and could have participated in many other activities including making of cheese (queso) and arranging of tours of the area by horseback. The owners of this farm, Gaudy and Federico, are by far among the most hospitable and accommodating hosts I have ever met in all my travels. They were more than willing to suggest activities to participate in, including walking the suspended bridges and zip-lining, and visiting the cheese factory in Monteverde. I never hesitated to ask them for more towels or in arranging another meal, as they were friendly and willing to engage in conversation. There is something to be said about any homeowner who is willing to go the extra length to open their home and life to tourists, most of which are visiting internationally. I developed a fondness for all of their 4 dogs, some of which liked to accompany me on my hikes through the fields, and loved seeing the ducks and chickens wandering about through the day. To sum it up, I felt very “at home” during my stay and liked not having a more “contemporary lodging” if you will. Terra Viva is nothing but traditional and very rustic, and it an amazing to see the work of a dairy farm in action. I stayed in one of the rooms in the main lodge and was not let down by the traditional architecture and clean space. Also, the sunsets, if you are lucky enough to catch one through the clouds, are absolutely spectacular! I have been back in the states for a week, and already miss falling asleep to nothing but the sounds of crickets, cicadas, rain (lluvia), and a gentle wind. I have taken much from my time at Terra Viva and will always be grateful to the family who helped to bring me closer to attaining part of my life dream to gain a better awareness and perception of other cultures and countries. I hope I have taken some of what I learned with me, and that I can share knowledge with others in the states….If you’re in Costa Rica, do yourself a favor and skip the typical hotel. Terra Viva is a real treasure.

  • Stayed: July 2009, traveled solo
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1  Thank Experiencethemoment
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 23, 2009

I went with my sister-in-law & my elderly mother to Costa Rica & we decided to spend a night at Terra Viva to experience something different. We got there in the evening & were met by Mrs Munoz, very friendly, and shown to our cabin. While it was fairly clean, the room was full of bugs because the windows had been left open & the lights left on.
When we asked what time breakfast was (something we really wanted to try), she acted dumbfounded that we would want breakfast & kept changing the subject. We told her we would eat somewhere else.
In the morning we woke early up & went out to our car to go zip lining and found that we had a flat tire. We asked one of the farm hands for help & he refused, we asked at the house & were told that the husband was eating breakfast & would be out when he finished to look at it. He never showed up. The car rental place was no help as they were 4 hours away. So we had to order a cab so that we could wouldn't lose our reservation for the canopy tour.
When we returned, we worked for over an hour on the tire, out in the rain, because the jack was not working. No help was offered until we asked a second time. We were informed that the husband was now eating lunch & would be out when he was through. He showed up a 1/2 hour later, was extremely condescending & left as soon as he got the jack working, leaving us 3 women to change the tire ourselves.
I'm all for women's rights & I do know how & have changed tires before, but I expected a little common courtesy & help after paying $60 to stay there. Even a phone number of someone local that could help us would have been appreciated.
We were never shown over the property, offered any of the tours, offered a meal (paid or unpaid), told anything about the land or animals surrounding us (strange when it is supposebly run by a renowned biologist).
I would not recommend this place to anyone. We found a really nice hotel, Clara De Luna, which was not much more expensive that treated us so much better that we didn't want to leave. Don't waste your money on this place. You can see cows anywhere you go in Costa Rica . You can also buy fresh milk & cheese at the Monteverde Cheese factory & they don't charge for the tours to show you how cheese is made.

  • Stayed: June 2009
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2  Thank funtravelColorado
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 3, 2009

I was surprised by the two star review below. I am a notorious tightwad and also paid $40 a night plus an additional $20 for my two kids. I didn't feel taken at all. The kids (6 and 10) loved the place and Cholo the horse that roamed the property. Twice a day the cows are milked and my kids and I stood in the milking barn for twenty minutes watching the process and asking questions. We didn't actually milk a cow as it done with a milking machine but that is as close to a cow as my raised-in-the-city-kids have been. We were only there for one night so didn't get to take advantage of some of the hikes and walks but I would have preferred that to taking a taxi some miles for a walk through a more touristy reserve. The rooms, admittedly, were small and sparse -- a full bed and bunks; no TV -- but adequate enough seeing as how we weren't planning on spending much time in the rooms.

Our breakfast ($5/adult, $2.50/kid) was great: coffee, juice, a pitcher of milk from the cows on premises (I asked), two dry cereals, bread with butter and jams, scrambled eggs, beans and rice, frsh cheese and a selection of fruits (mango, pineapple, banana).

I don't know what other places in town go for but I can't argue with a room for the family for $60 and breakfast for four for $15. I would recommend the property if you are into "rustic".

  • Stayed: February 2009, traveled with family
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Thank SciGuyMrD
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 26, 2008

This place was amazing! admittedly, the accomodations are rustic-y, but who care when you are stayed on a property that is 60% rainforest, is a organic dairy farm, and is only 5min from the center of Santa Elena town which is very touristy. There is HOT water, a shared huge kitchen with wine and beer in the fridge, and giant breakfast of fruits and juices, eggs and milk from the farm, beans and everything for $4. Gaudy the lady who runs the place set all our tours up for us and even arranged a bi-ligual driver to take us back to SJO airport for only $140, the standard is $180 now.
We got to go on an epic 3hr horse ride on the property through all the forest, we even saw Queztals on the ride! We also milked a cow and got to drink the milk straight from the bucket, heavenly.
This trip was my husband and I, but it would also be great for a family with kids with all the animals around. A taxi can be called for you at anytime and arrives within 5mins, the cost to the town is $4-$5, to monteverde reserve is $10 and Santa Elena reserve is right next door.
We had the best time here and are so glad we didnt stay in town, we felt it made our stay more genuiene and relaxing.

  • Stayed: May 2008, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank kiwigrlnusa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 5, 2008

We found Finca Terra Viva through its web site and some other guests’ photos, and it looked really interesting. However, the only other review posted here was so negative that we almost decided not to stay there. I am so glad that we did anyway.

Terra Viva offers three things that you won’t find in most tourist accommodations: A beautiful and really unspoiled natural setting; the chance for city folks to be around farm work and animals; and maybe most importantly, the opportunity to experience a little slice of Costa Rican daily life.

The natural/environmental aspect is great. Terra Viva is located about 5 minutes drive from Santa Elena, and is completely away from the (relative) hustle and bustle of Santa Elena and Monteverde. It’s located in a little hollow, and from there one can’t see any other houses or buildings. At night it was just us, the cows, and the stars. The 300-acre property is about half woods and half pasture land with lots of places to wander. We did not take the horseback tour, but heard from other guests that it was great, and the horses gentle.

The finca (farm) aspect was a big plus. Our ten-year-old daughter loves animals, and was in heaven. She immediately bonded with a puppy belonging to the farm hands, and the two were inseparable for the duration. At one point, to avoid a cow in a hurry to leave the milking shed, she slipped and fell in a cow pie. This was a source of much laughter, and a tale oft-told during the remainder of our trip. (As a complement to the farm experience, we’d also recommend the tour of the Monteverde Cheese Factory, which gives a really excellent picture of the history and agricultural economy of the area.)

The third upside is the chance to be around local people who are doing something other than just waiting on tourists. The owners, Federico and Gaudy Munoz, are warm and delightful to be around, and are really trying to “walk the walk” in terms of environmentally sustainable tourism and agriculture.

The downside? As the previous reviewer mentioned at length, meals, tours, rubber boots, etc. are all “extra.” This was a little off-putting, but at the same time, the room rates are so low that even after paying for daily kitchen access, these were our least-expensive accommodations of the entire trip. We stayed in the four-room “standard” building, and had the charming, hand-build wooden structure to ourselves. (Think Deetjen’s Big Sur Inn, minus 50 years of patina and knick-knack accumulation.) However, sound proofing is non-existent, so with noisy neighbors this would not be fun. The casita offers more room and privacy, but is older and funkier.

So it ain’t the Ritz, and certainly not for everyone, but if you are looking for something a little off the beaten path, Terra Viva has much to offer.

  • Stayed: March 2008, traveled with family
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1  Thank NewtoCostaRica
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Terra Viva

Address: 2.5 Km from Santa Elena, route 619 | On the way to Las Nubes, Costa Rica
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Puntarenas > Monteverde
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #36 of 80 Specialty Lodging in Monteverde
Number of rooms: 7
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Small family-run Mountain Lodge, tucked in a large property mostly covered by Primary Forest connected to Monteverde Conservation Area and a dairy operation. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Terra Viva Hotel Monteverde
Terra Viva Costa Rica/Monteverde

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