Bo and I decided randomly one night while sitting on the couch at home that enough was enough, we had to go away again. The year previous we had traveled our epic journey around the world (Milan, Amsterdam, Prague, Thailand), and since stepping foot back in Toronto it had been all we thought about. (And it still is!).. We started the usual process for figuring out where to go. Usually I’ll start somewhere like Pinterest and type in a few places to start getting inspired. We knew we wanted to go somewhere that wasn’t across the world.. as we only had a week to travel we had to plan something that wouldn’t eat up too many of our limited vacation days.
I had personally always wanted to see Costa Rica. Seeing wildlife is a big thing for me, it’s probably one of my favorite aspects of travelling. After a few Google searches I discovered that I could see TONNES of animals in the wild in Costa Rica.. everything from dolphins to crocodiles, to toucans, monkeys and lizards. (spoiler alert: we saw all of those!)
After a few hours of Googling and daydreaming about sloths, we decided.. let’s just do it. (Kind of our travel motto.) And in a complete act of spontaneity we pretty much immediately booked two tickets..
Well.. back that up a second. As soon as we had decided Costa Rica was the place.. I immediately hopped on Airbnb. This was actually my first experience using Airbnb, I had heard really positive sentiment from a blogger I follow so I decided to give it a shot.
For anyone who isn’t aware, Airbnb is this tremendous website where you can rent peoples houses for your trip. You create a profile and join this cool community of travelers. Everything is based on reviews, so every time you stay somewhere you have to leave a review (the host also leaves a review on your profile). The host can approve or deny you, and there’s a messaging feature to let the host know a little bit about yourself. Why is this so awesome? Well, there’s like a million reasons but here’s my top few.
A lot of times the pricing on Airbnb is SUPER reasonable. Not to mention- sometimes the price is for renting the entire house! (Actually in all my experiences so far it’s been for the entire house!)
2. ADVENTURE BABY.
An experience with Airbnb is so much different than a hotel because you’re getting all the insider-super-secret-hyper-local tips on what to do in the town based on the host, you know.. actually having lived there. This my friends.. is pure gold. An example of this in action? Oh, I don’t know.. maybe the secret 20 foot waterfall that was a half an hour hike through the rainforest in our “back yard” that ONLY US were at. (Instead of the tourist waterfalls with 30 people wielding selfie sticks) ..I digress.
3. Great Design & Unique Experiences
There’s a big difference between staying in a hotel room that is a carbon copy of 20 other rooms on the same floor as you, with the same mini bar, the same curtains and the same boring ass carpets- or staying in a house that is oozing with character, stories, and thoughtful design. As someone who really loves design, being surrounded by a carefully curated space makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. With little hints at past stays (sometimes Airbnb hosts will keep a guest book and you can read little tidbits from previous guests), to quirky and adorable little touches.. (Like handwritten notes and fresh flowers)..I just think there’s a lot more heart involved in an Airbnb trip. (And if you’re waving your finger about how staying in a stunning house decorated with vintage mid century furniture MUST be like quadruple the price.. you’re totally off. You can find gems all over the world for reasonable prices, you just have to do some digging.)
Choosing to stay in a hotel on Airbnb might have been the single greatest decision we made the entire trip.
Back to my story.. Not even an hour into my Airbnb search I found it. The money shot. The DREAM HOTEL. You know when you stumble upon something and your heart just lurches out of your chest? That was this. It’s like we were meant to find each other. I went into a frenzy reading all the reviews, 5 stars, 5 stars, 5 stars.. Not a single bad thing to say about this hotel with like 20 reviews to back it up. I was already envisioning sipping my morning coffee looking out into the rainforest.
“You can hear howler monkeys when you wake up.”
“The entire front of the house is screen so it’s like sleeping in the jungle.”
“Hummingbirds, toucans, the most incredible view of my life.”
“A fantastic place where time stops.”
At this point I was like, kind of freaking out. We HAD to stay here. I showed my boyfriend, who- obviously wasn’t was psycho about the hotel as I was and he said, “Yeah.. That’s cool.. We should do that!” I am not sure he was even really 100% listening to me.. So I booked it. I didn’t even Google the address. I had no idea where in Costa Rica it was. This is not a travel tip blog. LOL. So, my boyfriend, dear Bo.. Was a little bit annoyed that “You don’t even know where in Costa Rica it is?”.. The new rule is we need to Google the addresses before we book things.. Duly noted.
So where did we stay?
I promise you, photos don’t even begin to do this home justice. My heart literally swells just thinking about this place. We stayed in a sustainable living eco-home with rain water catchment & solar panels 4 KM up the mountains in Uvita Costa Rica.
I have never seen anything like it. Rainforest kissing the clouds. Like being on top of the world.
The view from our Air BnB. Absolutely outstanding. We are literally in the middle of the rainforest. Our house has screen floor to ceiling windows, it was like sleeping in the jungle last night. No words! #autumnandbodotheworld #costarica #shareascene A video posted by AUTUMN HACHEY (@autumnhachey) on
As soon as we arrived we saw toucans hopping on trees right in front of our balcony. Side note: One of the shuttle drivers that drove us told us that Toucans are actually a little bit evil and a lot of people don’t like them because they prey on birds eggs and baby birds.
The entire front of the house was made out of sliding screen doors, with full glass walls in the bedroom. I can’t even describe the sounds at night and in the morning. A symphony of nature. You can hear howler monkeys hooting at 5Am.. The birds all singing together in chorus. At night, all the insects and nocturnal animals can be heard clear as day. Unbelievable and truly indescribable. (Just go stay here please, you will thank me a billion times over).
All throughout the property there were fresh fruits that you could harvest and eat yourself. We had Guaro and Squirt.. a Costa Rican version of vodka & 7UP with fresh limes from our backyard the entire trip.
The house sits on 4 acres with views of the Costa Rica Whale Tail, so you really experience the best of both worlds with beach and water on one side, and lush mountains and clouds on the other.
Are you convinced yet? I want to bring everyone I know here. It’s like the best kept secret ever. If you’re looking to make the trek, here’s a few more details:
We flew from Canada to San Jose. From San Jose we hired a shuttle to drive us to Uvita for around $100 US. (As opposed to renting a car). It was approx a 3 hour drive.
We loved this shuttle company! Our driver’s name was Ronnie and he was awesome. (Everyone in Costa Rica was!).. Ronnie pulled over on the way to our Airbnb and let us check out all the crocodiles at Darcomes Bridge. (We saw 27 people!) He also stopped and bought us fresh mangos- what a guy! When we got to town, we had Ronnie drop us at the grocery store so we could stock our fridge at home.
We then flagged a cab to take us the rest of the way. You will need a 4×4. Since we like to have a few drinks whenever we’re out, we didn’t bother renting a 4×4 for the entire trip but that is an option as well. To save some cash we would walk to town each day and cab back each night for around $20US.
We took a cab back to the airport when the trip was over.. we just arranged it the night before with a cabbie from town and he was there bright and early at 3:30 AM the next morning to take us to the airport.
You can read about the rest of our trip here. (Where I talk about ziplining, snorkelling, and the night we pretty much almost died.. How’s that for a cliff hanger?)
If you have any questions, leave them below. Happy travels!