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Tree Houses Hotel Costa Rica 2.5

La Fortuna/Arenal, Costa Rica

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Pros

  • The treehouses sit at eye level with the tree sloths, monkeys, and other arboreal wildlife
  • Daily 8 p.m. night walk through the rainforest with an exclusive guide who speaks English and Spanish
  • Staff bring coffee up to guests' treehouses every morning before breakfast
  • Private trails lead to exclusive waterfall and swimming hole
  • Hotel can arrange masseuse house calls for treatments on guests' porches
  • Breakfast included at the open-air common area

Cons

  • No Wi-Fi
  • Hotel doesn't serve lunch or dinner, so guests have to fend for themselves at restaurants in the small nearby towns
  • At least 40 minutes to La Fortuna over twisty, badly signed or unsigned roads (the hotel can arrange tours)

Bottom Line

This seven-room eco-resort, a scattering of rustic, sky-high treehouse bungalows, allows guests to live our their Lost Boys fantasies, and keep company with howler monkeys and tree branches. The location is securely out of the orbit of the central La Fortuna tourist hub (the town is a 40-minute drive away over bad roads), a pro for those looking for remote environs. Those who would prefer to stay closer to the ground might want to check out Leaves and Lizards on the other side of La Fortuna, for somewhat more per night.

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Scene

A boys' adventure fantasy come true, these rough-hewn but polished wooden bungalows in the sky make you feel like a part of the rainforest, not just a temporary observer.

Whether your particular fantasy involves the Swiss Family Robinson, Ewoks, or Peter Pan and the Lost Boys, this is a camp for the inner child in you, with seven rough-hewn wooden bungalows set high in the trees with only the rainforest and its denizens for company. (There are even bunk beds that were assembled out of knotty logs.) There's a common area for breakfast that feels like it came straight out of summer camp, where you can hang out with the other, mostly North American, clientele, but even when the place is booked solid, guests seem to throw themselves into the point of the place, which is being alone with the rainforest and the sky.

Location

The hotel's feeling of seclusion comes at a price, which is that the conveniences of the tourist hub of La Fortuna are just far enough out of reach to be inconvenient.

The hotel is located in a small town about 45 minutes to an hour away from the main tourist hub of La Fortuna, and once you pull off the main road, you drive through a veritable tunnel of rainforest vegetation to get to the property. Casual visitors who booked simply for the opportunity to sleep among the tree branches may find the drive into La Fortuna over twisty mountain roads and over sometimes intimidating one-lane bridges more of an inconvenience than they bargained for. The location is inconvenient for arranging day trips at an adventure outfitter (beside the hotel's) or going souvenir shopping in town. And unless you know what you're looking for, it's easy to miss the hotel's gated entrance when you're zipping down the main road -- even locals have trouble finding the place.

Rooms

Nature lovers can't ask for much more than their own perches among the tree branches, but acrophobes should steer clear.

Seemingly lashed together from varnished but rough-hewn logs, these cabins sit several meters into the air -- and solidly atop a steel structure hung with a hammock or two. The high-ceilinged cabins come with wraparound porches and bird feeders that the staff keep supplied with fruit to bring out hummingbirds and howler monkeys. To satisfy guests' grown-up needs, rooms come with conveniences like AC and safes, but modern comforts such as TV or Wi-Fi are nowhere to be found. It's a steep climb up, and the verticality of the bungalows is impossible to ignore, so acrophobes will want to count this place out.

Features

A daily guided night walk, a private waterfall trail, and morning coffee among the tree branches aim to ensure that you never miss the outside world as you immerse yourself in the rainforest.

The staff keep each treehouse porch's personal bird feeders lined with plantains to attract the non-human locals, and they also bring up coffee every morning before breakfast. The hotel can also arrange for a masseuse to make house calls, giving guests treatments right on their porches. Once guests are ready to leave their perches, they can hike a trail to a waterfall and private swimming hole, or wait for the daily 8 p.m. night walk, led by an English-speaking guide who is good at ferreting out the sloths, howler monkeys, and other fauna that call the property home.

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Address

300 Meters Norte de Cementerio, Santa Clara, San Carlos, La Fortuna de San Carlos, Province of Alajuela, Costa Rica

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