1. Beach House (PLAYA HERMOSA)

Overview: This feels very homey, it's simple and beautiful plus we got the best view in the house! It's literally on the beach, so you can hear the waves from inside the room and the patio is a huge plus to just relax and enjoy the view. There are barely any bugs here and we never saw any in the room. The black sand on the beach tends to get extremely hot in the daytime unless wet or cloudy. The host is also friendly and helpful, and most things are within a 10-min walking distance. 

HOME 

Price per Night: $$$$  < $100

Cleanliness: High

Comfort: High

Privacy: High

Space: Moderate (perfect for <2)

Full kitchen? No

Check in/out: Host checks you in

Amenities: Common area & pool, private parking, stove, AC, refrigerator, microwave, patio.

LOCATION

Town: Playa Hermosa

Neighborhood: Lively, friendly

Environment: Rural

Safety: High

Great for solo trips? Yes

Accessibility to markets, restaurants, etc: High

Transportation: Uber, taxi

Food delivery: UberEats

REVIEW:

What's to love?

Amazing view, sound of the ocean waves, no bugs, friendly neighborhood, easy accessibility.

What's to dislike?

Nothing.

What's to manage? (Doesn't bother me, but would preferably have it another way)

Slow wifi, toilet water pressure is low.

Rating: 5/5

2. Jungle HOUSE (Uvita)

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Overview: If you love to be fully immersed in nature, this house is for you! The music of the jungle will constantly be on repeat; birds, frogs, bugs, monkeys, etc. it is never silent here, even indoors, because the ceiling windows have no glass, just a net screen. One important thing to note especially for jungle-living-first-timers is that it gets really loud at night (refer to the video above for audio). Most of the animals here are nocturnal so there is a higher activity at night than in daytime. During the day, what you mostly hear is birds chirping but once the sun goes down, it's lit for the gang. You will hear some sounds that you can't identify but not to worry though, it's nothing harmful. Being up in the jungle, there are some poisonous plants, spiders and snakes however, they are almost never sighted in the area (just be cautious). The bugs here? oo boy! They are active! Always keep the net screen shut and close the doors quickly whenever you open them. At night, light bugs as I like to call them (moth, flies, etc. attracted to light) find a way to get close to whatever light is on inside the house and the longer it stays on, the more insects gather. This was my only indoor insect problem but it wasn't that bad because they were small and trust me, insects freak me out. Now, the views are spectacular! In front of the house sits the ocean and behind sits lush green mountains so beautiful that you'd never want to take your eyes off it. This house is located up the mountain so the road up there is rough and steep (4x4 is highly recommended). Also, the location is not easily accessible so renting your own car or hiring a private driver is needed, taxis are difficult to find. The neighborhood population is very little and spread apart, however, this specific house has a neighbor right next to it and the caretaker lives on the property. There is also another bnb located on the property so you have people close by even though you barely ever see them. The caretaker is also incredibly helpful, she made us feel comfortable!

HOME 

Price per Night: $$$$  < $250

Cleanliness: High

Comfort: Moderate (animal sounds)

Privacy: Moderate (no curtains / other people on property)

Space: Moderate (perfect for <2)

Full kitchen? No

Check in/out: Self check in

Amenities: Pool, private parking, stove, fan, refrigerator, patio.

Electricity: Solar system

Rating: 4/5

LOCATION

Town: Uvita

Neighborhood: Quiet

Environment: Jungle/mountain

Safety: Moderate

Great for solo trips? No

Accessibility to markets, restaurants, etc: Moderate

Transportation: Car rental, private driver

Food delivery: No

REVIEW:

What's to love?

Amazing views, bird songs, fast wifi, fast communication with caretaker.

What's to dislike?

Loud animal sounds at night, no microwave, no curtains, partially closed ceiling windows.

What's to manage? (Doesn't bother me, but would preferably have it another way)

Indoor light bugs

3. Jungle VILLA (Uvita)

Overview: This hotel has a very similar feel to the jungle house I just described, but there are a few differences. It is a luxurious hotel, it is deeper in the jungle / higher up the mountain, the animal sounds at night isn't as loud surprisingly and it is more private. Given that it's a hotel, of course you have the perks of room service, restaurant/bar on site, tour/excursion and taxi arrangements, the whole shebang...all the while soaking up that view of the mountain. Just a heads up that the restaurant has a limited menu that changes every day. The view is straight up heavenly! It feels like you can literally touch the mountains if that makes any sense. This is an immersive experience of the jungle, the way to the rooms are all wiggly and steep, it felt like a hike every time I left my room. Walking with my sandals honestly wasn't the best, so if you're trying to be super comfortable, sneakers are the way to go. You will see a few animals like white nosed coatis, eagles, toucans, etc. Now, let's talk about the bugs y'all. They big over on this side. The light bugs? E choke!! They are HUGE! like big butterflies. One of them hit our glass window accidentally and it sounded like a little bird hit our window. Terrifying right? No worries though, as long as your doors and windows are all closed, you should be good. Oh and turn off the lights as soon as you're not using them because we noticed that the size of the light bugs flying around the indoor lights got bigger every time we took our eyes off it. So, the big guys outside were trying to find their way in. The trick is to turn on the outdoor lights and dim the indoor lights when you want to use them; this way, all the bugs will be attracted to the brighter light outside and whatever bugs left inside will try to get out. Like I mentioned earlier, close doors as quickly as possible because the insects here are bigger and always trying to get in. The only bug problem we had indoors was the light bugs but they weren't huge and we found a way to get rid of them. Oh wait, we spotted a medium sized spider trying to get into our suitcase and another medium sized flying insect that looked like a tiny leaf. They probably got in when the doors were open though. Other than that, everything else was copacetic and to top it all off, the customer service was excellent! Best I've ever experienced tbh.

HOME 

Price per Night: $$$$  < $499

Cleanliness: High

Comfort: High

Privacy: High

Space: Large (perfect for 2)

Full kitchen? No

Check in/out: Host checks you in

Amenities: Common area & pool, restaurant on-site, room service, excursion/transportation arrangements, private parking, AC, refrigerator, microwave, hot tub, soak-in tub.

LOCATION

Town: Uvita

Neighborhood: Quiet

Environment: Mountain/jungle

Safety: High

Great for solo trips? Yes

Accessibility to markets, restaurants, etc: High

Transportation: Taxi arranged by hotel or rental car

Food delivery: Room service

REVIEW:

What's to love?

Breathtaking view, huge shower, room service, tubs, excellent customer service, delicious food & drinks, helpful arrangements.

What's to dislike?

Bigger bugs (courtesy of mother nature)

What's to manage? (Doesn't bother me, but would preferably have it another way)

Indoor tub is discolored.

Rating: 5/5

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4. BOUTIQUE HOTEL (ALAJUELA)

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Overview: Cute and chic with beautiful views of farmlands? Private chef? Excursion/transportation arrangements? Sign me up! This boutique hotel was the cutest place we slept in during our trip. The room is tucked away in it's own little corner and the patio was literally a dream. Rocking in the chair while writing in my journal, listening to bird songs and staring at the farms was the perfect way to end my vacation. We spent most of our time here until night time when the bugs reminded us who was boss. The private chef who's also the host cooked delightful meals and drinks (which were served in our rooms as requested). My tastebuds were definitely thankful. This home is located about 15 minutes from SJO airport and about 30 minutes from San Jose City. The neighborhood is quiet with the exception of vehicle activity, not that it's disturbing though. I wouldn't call it the city and it's also not secluded like the jungle so suburban should do. Of course there were light bugs and other bugs when it was nightfall, but in the daytime, they were rarely sighted. However, this was the only place where we had to get rid of about six insects indoors and half of them were crawling insects. I'm not sure why, given that the windows were tightly shut and I barely saw them in the daytime. We suspected that they were coming through a locked door in the corner by the bathroom, since most of the bugs we spotted were around that area...who knows. After scanning the room every 5 minutes and getting passed the paranoia, we finally got to enjoy the bed which was very comfortable, the most comfortable on this trip I would say. And it was the only place that had a TV even though it came with only cable.

HOME 

Price per Night: $$$$  < $100

Cleanliness: High

Comfort: High

Privacy: High

Space: Small (enough for 2)

Full kitchen? No

Check in/out: Host checks you in

Amenities: Patio, private chef & restaurant on-site, excursion/transportation arrangements, private parking, AC, refrigerator, microwave, TV.

LOCATION

Town: Alajuela

Neighborhood: Quiet

Environment: Suburban

Safety: High

Great for solo trips? Yes

Accessibility to markets, restaurants, etc: High

Transportation: Taxi arranged by hotel or rental car

Food delivery: Private chef

REVIEW:

What's to love?

Amazing view, spacious patio, private chef, delicious food & drinks, helpful arrangements.

What's to dislike?

Bugs found indoors 

What's to manage? (Doesn't bother me, but would preferably have it another way)

No Netflix.

Rating: 4/5

wishlist

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These are a few places on my list that didn't make the cut due to unavailability, budget, late discovery or other reasons.

Please keep in mind that the information provided above are personal experiences which are not necessarily proven facts. Chioma Obiegbu will not be held liable by any individual, business and/or entity for the information contained herein.