Here I am flying over the clouds down into my next new adventure. From five-star luxury hotels to tree houses, Ladyhattan does it all…On a spontaneous whim, Jessica and I decided to experience what it would be like to live in a tree house for a few days. No, not that kind of tree house you can find in a suburban backyard…But a magical tree house shaded by palm trees and filled with the sounds of Costa Rica! I dreamed to fall asleep far from civilization to the sounds of crashing waves and distant monkeys howling in the night. My dream came true at Tree Tops in Costa Rica.
Although a bit out of my lady comfort zone, I was determined to someday find this magical little tree house and see what everyone on TripAdvisor was talking about. What in the world is the Tree Tops Bed and Breakfast of Costa Rica? Was it really a tree house? Was it just a fancy hotel that looked like a tree house on the outside?
We packed our bags, flew 5 hours in the air, rented a car and drove about 2 hours southbound from the Libera Airport. The drive was an adventure in itself. Along completely undeveloped dirt paths, we came across snakes, monkeys and cows. Every few miles we would make our way through a small village with the local school and grocery. The last 20 or so miles, we saw nothing but green – no people, no shops, no stores, just animals and greenery. A slight moment of panic came over us when we started to wonder if we missed a turn. We screamed for joy when we finally noticed a small handwritten sign and arrow pointing in the direction of the Bed and Breakfast. We were not lost afterall, but simply in the middle of nowhere and far from civilization.
We had to park our car and walk up a muddy path toward the ocean. The owner of the tree house, Jack, popped out of the jungle surprisingly and greeted us with a happy smile. He helped us with our bags and immediately started chatting away about everything and anything. Jack, along with his wife, Karen, own this special little bed and breakfast tucked away in the jungle. They built the tree house themselves on a sacred lot of land sweeping across the oceanfront. With investors regularly inquiring about buying the land for millions of dollars, Jack and Karen have refused even the highest of offers. They love the tranquility of their tree home, the unique guests that come to visit them from all around the world, and feel that if the land is sold-off to a developer… well…. it will just never be the same. Can you spot the tree house? There it is, tucked away behind the tree tops.
We met some of Jack and Karen’s neighbors – a family of Monkeys that lived right near my bedroom window. After meeting our new monkey friends, we followed Jack upstairs to the main “lobby” of the tree house. We had no idea what to expect, and yes I was a bit terrified when I realized that we REALLY would be sleeping in the jungle without a concierge or hospital within 200 miles… seriously.
My fears were suddenly erased when I took in the reality of our view for the next several days. It felt as if I had suddenly fallen asleep and woken up inside the scene of the book Swiss Family Robinson… It was an actual tree house – constructed by Jack’s hands himself! As we gazed out from the lofted home, all we could see were miles of untouched land beside the Pacific ocean. Here is the legendary Jack himself, taking a break and reading the NY Times that we brought him from the States. He sure was happy to get an actual copy of the newspaper – a luxury when you are hours away from the closest grocery store.
What better way to freshen up from our long day of traveling with a swim. Following the dirt path below the tree house down to the waterfront, we jumped in the brisk ocean waters and ran back upstairs to catch the sunset while sipping one of Karen’s famous “Mango Margaritas” – made completely from scratch! I would fly back to Costa Rica just for one more sip of this margarita…
We stayed in the main “tree house” quarters with two twin beds and a small bathroom. All meals are provided by Karen. She creates a customized five course dinner with all the local ingredients found right in her very own backyard and ocean. From fish, soups, salads to mouthwatering dessert, these were some of the best home cooked meals of my life. We awoke to a fresh breakfast each morning, again, made all by Karen our host. Breakfast was always my favorite time of the day at Tree Tops. We would watch the sun creep above the horizon from the deck area; sipping hot coffee and fresh squeezed juices while reading the news to the backdrop of nature at it’s purest state, will forever be some of my best travel memories of all-time.
During the day we did whatever we wanted in the middle of nowhere. We hiked up the hills of Jack’s expansive property, snorkeled along the rocky reefs, discovered a waterfall, rode horses along the coastline and snapped shots of beautiful wildlife we came across. Typically in the late afternoon, we would return from our day of exploring and lay in the hammock or lounge chairs on the main deck of the home. Karen would surprise us with warm chocolate chip cookies and milk. It felt like being a kid all over again with the most loving mom (Karen) constantly spoiling you with sweet surprises.
Only two guests could stay at the main section of Tree Tops at a time – so book your trip far in advance as they are a very popular destination for adventurous travelers. Jess and I were all alone with only the company of our friendly hosts, Jack and Karen. The couple recently built a private bungalow down the hill from the main tree house. The bungalow has been enjoyed by a variety of international guests, specifically couples or honeymooners, who want some extra privacy in their own miniature house suite. With an outdoor shower and two small twin beds occupied by Jess and I, this isn’t the kind of bed and breakfast that’s notable for privacy and ultimate luxury. However, I will say that when we drove over an hour to “town”, locals raved about the food at Tree Tops and noted that several high profile figures have ventured all the way out to the jungle just for a taste of Karen’s mango margaritas! I told you they were lengendary. Jack claims that Mel Gibson smoked a cigarette at their tree house and asked if he could buy some land to create a “helipad” for easy access to Karen’s cooking. Of course the answer was, “sorry Mel. We don’t want helicopters here, they are too loud.” If you are still curious about this magical escape in the trees, here are some quick travel tips from my time at Tree Tops:
- For easy access to all the famous “surf beaches” and scenary, fly into the newly developed LIBERIA AIRPORT.
- Rent a car and drive south toward San Juanillo (84 mile drive from the airport).
- If you get motion sickness easily, make sure to pack Dramamine because the roads are extremely bumpy (many of the back roads are not paved).
- We stayed at the bed and breakfast called Tree Tops (owners Karen and Jack will be your hosts and help plan any activities you choose to do) – click here for more information about this accommodation.
- Dry Season: December to May (prices tend to be higher during this hot and sunny season).
- Rainy Season: May to November (don’t be afraid to travel during rainy season. Flights are often cheaper, the touristy spots are less crowded and the rain really only comes in waves. Typically it rains over night and the day can be very clear + pleasant.)
- Plan your trip around the Turtle hatching season and witness turtles come to life before your eyes on the beaches of Costa Rica.
- Pack bug spray – you’ll need it.
If you are traveling through Costa Rica, you won’t want to miss this experience of a lifetime at the Tree Tops Bed and Breakfast… Just imagine sleeping in the tree tops to the sound of ocean waves crashing and monkeys howling outside your window to wake you up for a homemade breakfast overlooking a breathtaking view. It’s truly an experience of a lifetime. And if that imagine doesn’t sell you, then just trust me on Karen’s cooking and mean mango margaritas… It’s definitely worth adding a Tree Tops visit to your “bucket list” items for 2015! Until the next sweet escape.