The SpaceRustic, clean two bedroom one bath house located in the safe, delightfully friendly, pastoral community of San Ramon de Rio Blanco on the Nicoya Peninsula of Costa Rica. Wake to bird calls and howler monkeys. Walking distance to the Karen Mogensen Nature Reserve and community eco-tourism project. Lots of hiking trails, waterfalls and cool freshwater swimming holes. Electricity; gas stove; refrigerator; mosquito nets; comfortable beds (2); toilet & shower; washing machine (solar drier). No TV; no hot water (you don't need it); only a few people in the community speak English. Spring fed water from the tap is safe to drink. Great as a quiet get-away; bird watching; wildlife viewing; cultural exchange; volunteering; immersion Spanish; or a tropical romantic hide-away.
Discounts for teachers and biologists.
Directions for the taxi cab driver in Jicaral:
500 meters from the casa de Fernando and Xinia Quiros. Your hosts, the Quiros, will check you into the JUNGLE HOUSE.
Here is an interactive map of the Nicoya Peninsula:
Here is some information on the Karen Mogensen Nature Reserve: (URL HIDDEN)
Safe and very friendly pastoral community. You have to like nature. YouTube: Fidel's Oxen (URL HIDDEN)
Public transportation San Jose to Jicaral. Bus: San José, Calle 12, Ave. 7/9 Empresa Arsa S.A. Tel. (PHONE NUMBER HIDDEN).Daily6:00, 15:30 / Return (PHONE NUMBER HIDDEN) hrs. Or...
Or, Bus/ Ferry option. Take any bus San Jose to Puntarenas. In Puntarenas take the Playa Naranjo Daily ferry: (PHONE NUMBER HIDDEN)
Return: (PHONE NUMBER HIDDEN). ~ 1 hr. CONATRAMAR Co. Tel: (PHONE NUMBER HIDDEN). The bus to Jicaral will be waiting at the ferry station. From the Jicaral bus station you will need to take a taxi (~$15) to the house of Fernando and Xinia Quiros. Fernando and Xinia will guide you to the Jungle House.
Minimal stay is 3 nights. Weekly and monthly discounts are available. Teacher and researcher discounts are available. Guest AccessElectricity; gas stove; refrigerator; mosquito nets; comfortable beds (2); toilet & shower; clothes washing machine (solar drier). No TV; no hot water (you don't need it); only a few people in the community speak English. Fans, no A/C. Interaction with GuestsFernando and Xinia Quiros in San Ramon de Rio Blanco will be your hosts. They will guide you to the Jungle House (~500 meters) and answer your questions. Español. Spanish only. The NeighborhoodThe community: San Ramon de Rio Blanco (SRRB) is not a tourist town. It is a Tico farming community with about 50 families. Most of the population of SRRB own their own homes and at least half own large tracts of land. About 25 years ago the community voluntarily set aside some of their property as a protected watershed and a future location for a community ecotourism project. They received the encouragement, and a bit of financial assistance, from the Costa Rican government, international conservation organizations and, quite notably, a Danish woman named Karen Mogensen. Some of this set aside land was primary growth tropical rain forest, but the majority was cow pasture which, thanks to the foresight of the community, is now a healthy secondary growth forest. The vegetation is a mix of evergreen and deciduous trees. Ecologists describe this life zone as a transitional-dry tropical forest. The availably of accessible year-round open water, the diverse vegetation and the determination of the community to re-grow a forest has created a healthy habitat for people and wildlife. The community named their reserve after the Danish conservationist and their benefactor, Karen Mogensen. Getting AroundYou can rent a car at the San Jose (SJO) or Liberia (LIR) airports. Once you book your vacation at the Jungle House I will send you very detailed driving instructions. Drive carefully on the Costa Rican roads.
RE: Public transportation San Jose to Jicaral. Bus: San José, Calle 12, Ave. 7/9 Empresa Arsa S.A. Tel. (PHONE NUMBER HIDDEN).Daily6:00, 15:30 / Return (PHONE NUMBER HIDDEN) hrs. Or...
Or, Bus/ Ferry option. Take any bus San Jose to Puntarenas. In Puntarenas take the Playa Naranjo Daily ferry: (PHONE NUMBER HIDDEN)
Return: (PHONE NUMBER HIDDEN). ~ 1 hr. CONATRAMAR Co. Tel: (PHONE NUMBER HIDDEN). The bus to Jicaral will be waiting at the ferry station. From the Jicaral bus station you will need to take a taxi (~$15) to Casa Fernando Quiros. Fernando or Xinia will walk (~500 meters) you to the Jungle House. The taxicab drivers can drive you right up to the front door of the house. Other Things to NoteJungle Hideaway with Wildlife
Experience authentic Costa Rica; interact with the locals in a Tico farming community; eat wholesome locally grown organic food; view a plethora of wildlife; enjoy great photography opportunities; appreciate the quiet tranquility; experience rustic yet comfortable accommodations; practice your Spanish.
Hello AirBNB friends:
I enjoy the Jungle House, the tropical climate, the friendly, safe and healthy community of San Ramon de Rio Blanco, the forest and its varied wild critters great and small. That is what initially intrigued and continues to delight me about this special place. I like hiking forest trails, taking a dip in a tropical freshwater pool, waking at dawn to a chorus of monkeys and birds, taking an afternoon siesta in my hammock slung under a mango tree, observing tropical wildlife from my patio, the peaceful silence, and so much more. Sharing this special place is my motive for offering to rent the Jungle House.
I want other folks to enjoy what I call an ‘authentic’ Tico experience. Authentic can be comfortable but it is not touristy. So, in the interest of full disclosure, I want you to know ahead of time the special - well let’s call them ‘opportunities’ - that come with a tropical vacation at the Jungle House.
If you are truly the adventuresome type .… skip this and enjoy. If you don’t like surprises, are traveling with a significant other (or friends), and for those who may be newcomers to the non-touristy side of travel in the tropics, you may want to read the following tidbits. I offer this information not to discourage you, but as an invitation to help you fully enjoy your travel experience.
The community: San Ramon de Rio Blanco (SRRB) is not a tourist town. It is a Tico farming community with about 50 families. Most of the population of SRRB own their own homes and at least half own large tracts of land. About 25 years ago the community voluntarily set aside some of their property as a protected watershed and a future location for a community ecotourism project. They received the encouragement, and a bit of financial assistance, from the Costa Rican government, international conservation organizations and, quite notably, a Danish woman named Karen Mogensen. Some of this set-aside land was primary growth tropical rain forest, but the majority was cow pasture which, thanks to the planning and foresight of the community, is now a healthy secondary growth forest. The vegetation is a mix of evergreen and deciduous trees. Ecologists describe this life zone as a transitional-dry tropical forest. The availably of accessible year-round open water, the diverse vegetation and the determination of the community to re-grow a forest has created a healthy habitat for people and wildlife. The community named their reserve after the Danish conservationist and their benefactor, Karen Mogensen.
Note: The San Ramon de Rio Blanco community operates the Cerro Escondido Lodge located in the Karen Mogensen Reserve (KMR). It is a great place if you want to spend just a night or two in the jungle. To reserve a cabin at the KMR contact Arnulfo or Mari Quiros at ((PHONE NUMBER HIDDEN) (Spanish only) or (EMAIL HIDDEN) The Karen Mogensen Reserve is a hike-in destination. The guided hike into the KMR cabins takes about an hour and a half. Once there your friendly Tico hosts will provide you with comfortable accommodations and delicious Costa Rican cuisine.
You may want to review the following information if you are planning to stay at my Jungle House. It is long, and goes into much too much detail, but that is why I call it "FULL" disclosure.
The Jungle House: The Jungle House is approximately 64 square meters (~640 sq. ft.) and is divided into four rooms: two bedrooms (each with a full size bed), one bath, and an open living /dining / kitchen area. The Jungle House sits on 2500 sq. meters of land and is surrounded by private land that is a mix of forest and pasture. The nearest neighbors - and your hosts - are Fernando and Xinia Quiros. The Quiros’ home is one half kilometer to the south. They will let you in and get you set up in the Jungle House for your stay. The Jungle House is called Iles Futuna after a tiny island in the South Pacific. (Long story.)
Neighbors: San Ramon de Rio Blanco is a wholesomely friendly Tico community. I encourage you to get out to meet your neighbors and you can pretty much expect visitors. The locals will give you your privacy, but they will also want to get to know you. Xinia and Fernando are your closest neighbors at about 500 meters to the south of the Jungle House. Toothless and friendly Don Rubin is the one of the oldest Ticos in San Ramon de Rio Blanco. Don Rubin's house is about 1.5 km up the road to the north. He lives in his rustic dwelling with his dogs, pigs, chickens and stingless beehives. Fabio and Carlos Rojas are two bachelor farmers in their 70ties who live at the end of the road at the entrance to the Karen Mogensen Reserve. The Rojas brothers own and manage a large tract of land with primary and secondary growth forest, cool freshwater streams and waterfalls. The Rojas brothers support themselves by charging a small fee to enter their property and use their hiking trails and cool freshwater swimming holes.
Drinking water and sanitation: Water from the tap is fine to drink. The bathroom has no sink and there is no hot water in the shower. A cool shower is refreshing in this climate. Toss the toilet paper in the trashcan next to the toilet. (This is standard procedure for Latin America. The Costa Rican septic systems cannot handle paper.) The Jungle House has a clothes washing machine. There is a burn barrel for paper. Please crush and bag up your non-burnable trash (i.e. plastic, cans and bottles). Power outages are not uncommon. Mosquito nets protect you from critters (insects, etc.) that drop from the ceiling.
Things to do: Take a hike on the many quiet roads and paths; take an early morning bird walk; charge your flashlight and take a night walk; visit the Karen Mogensen Reserve; arrange for a guided walk in the KMR with Arnulfo Quiros; walk up the Rio Blanco to the Velo de Novia an 84 meter tall waterfall; swim in the many cool freshwater swimming holes in the KM Reserve; Chat with Fabio and Carlos Rojas about the history of the KM Reserve; enjoy a cool drink and some hammock time under the mango tree; arrange for a horse back ride with the Quiros; visit, swim and surf the quiet isolated Nicoya Peninsula beaches (– 1 hour drive); tour Jungle Mike’s Butterfly Farm (English/Spanish) at Playa San Miguel (URL HIDDEN)
Check out this web site for maps, weather, transportation and other things to do on the Nicoya Peninsula. (URL HIDDEN)
Wildlife: Critters big and small are numerous and usually not going to cause a problem. To note, there are very few mosquitoes, blackflies or chiggers. I rarely ever get bit and hardly ever use repellent. There are a few snakes in the area but they keep pretty well hidden and you will be lucky to see one. The tropical rattlesnake and the coral (yellow/black/red bands) are potentially the most dangerous. The rest are harmless or only mildly venomous. There are a few critters that are, more or less, your permanent housemates. Small lizards and geckos are always on the hunt for an insect snack. It is fun to watch them stalk their prey on the window screens and around the lights at night. The rather loud chirping sounds that you hear at night are the geckos. There is a hive of stingless bees (Mariolas) that live in the front door. A colony of about 20 Great Lined bats (Saccopteryx sp.) permanently reside in the ‘bat house’ attached to the front of the house. These bats are insect eaters and it is great fun to watch them take flight every evening at dusk.
The occasional animal visitors might include an impressively large cockroach (~ 6 cm), scorpions and whip scorpions (no tail and no stinger). These three are always in contention for the ugly bug award. The scorpion sting is comparable to a bee sting. As a precaution, and to avoid surprises, I recommended that you shake out your clothing and shoes prior to dressing. On very special occasions you may enjoy a surprise visit from the army ants. Acting as a single unit they march by the thousands creating an enormous living black undulating mass over the forest floor. When they take a detour for a house the floor and walls are blackened with ants. For their prey of small insects and arthropods there is no escape as the ants gain entrance to the most inaccessible cracks and crevices. Ticos call these ants the “house cleaners” so noted for their ability to rid a dwelling of roaches and spiders. It is the attack of ‘shock and awe’ of the insect world. With pheromone driven communication, discipline and resolve they are in an out of a house in about half an hour. It is enough to leave you scratching your head in disbelief. One moment they are there by the tens of thousands and the next there is not so much as evidence of one disoriented ant soldier.
Then there are the barely visible sugar ants. When there are sweets around - they abound. Most often, they find you before you see them. For their size they pack a remarkable fiery sting. The assortment of tropical ants is impressive and they all enjoy their particular niche food. Your cooking area will never be free of ants, however, you can manage their numbers with an immediate and thorough cleanup after meals. The impressively large Marine Toad (Bufo marinus) will hop up on to the patio and is not at all shy about entering the house if you leave your door open. During the rainy season you may find yourself sharing your shower with a tree frog (family Hylidae). The midday heat brings out the lizards. The most noteworthy of these is the Ctenosaur or Black Iguana (Ctenosaura similis). This large lizard actively patrols the forest edges, the access road and the area around the Jungle House. For the uninitiated it can be a bit startling to have a meter long lizard waddle/run across your path or in your direction. These lizards (the Ticos call them garrobos) are very accustomed to living around humans. They are omnivores and will often visit the Jungle House looking for a handout. I mention this because some have become quite tame to the point where they will come up to you and eat out of your hand. Ctenosaurs have sharp claws and rows of jagged teeth. Don’t let them mistake your finger for a bit of food. There are also true iguanas. These lizards are slightly larger than the Ctenosaur, greener in color and much more cautious around people. I suggest that you keep your doors closed. Once the large lizards, bats or birds get into your house they create holy havoc and it is difficult to get them out.
Things that go bump in the night: At night you might hear armadillos scraping the dirt around the house for bugs or worms. The loud chirping sounds are the geckos; you might enjoy owl hoots or the ‘creel’ of nightjars (Caprimulgidae). Occasionally you will hear a nocturnal prehensile tale porcupine crunching on a coconut. Just before daybreak listen for the stomp of oxen hooves and the rattle of a passing ox cart. Fidel, the ox cart driver, may even be singing on his way to work.
Telling time by nature: The male howler monkeys get started just before daybreak at about 5 am. Their roar is quite loud as they are often in the trees just outside your door; the bird chorus starts in at around 5:30 am; Male long-tail manakins (Chiroxiphia linearis) call "toledo" from dawn to dusk during mating season; from about 10:30 am to 2 pm is lizard time; 5 pm is the a bird song reprise; and at 6 pm enjoy the sound of insects, frogs, nightjars and owls until about midnight.
Transportation: The Jungle House is accessible by rent-a-car or taxi from Jicaral. (See details on travel options from SJO or LIR). The 16km drive from Jicaral to the Jungle House is on a secondary/gravel road. Tell the taxi driver to take you to the home of Fernando and Xinia Quiros in San Ramon de Rio Blanco. The taxi ride costs approximately $15. (~ 8000 Colones in 2015). Any of the red truck taxis will be able to help you when you provide them with this information. Once at the Quiros residence the road takes a turn to the left and crosses a small river (Rio Blanco) that is approximately 250 meters from the Jungle House. During the rainy season (April to October) the normally calm Rio Blanco can become a raging torrent during and immediately following a heavy downpour. Under these conditions, the procedure is to wait for the rains to subside and the subsequent drop in the water level. In the rainy season always cross with a good deal of caution. Your hosts, Xinia and Fernando Quiros, will advise you on crossing the river. The river crossing is equal-distant between the Quiros’ house and the Jungle House. (A 4X4 vehicle is only necessary when the river is running high during the rainy season.)
The ARSA Bus Company provides service from San Jose to Jicaral. (Empresas ARSA, Tel. (PHONE NUMBER HIDDEN)) You can also catch a bus to Puntarenas and cross the Gulf of Nicoya by ferry to Playa Naranjo. At the ferry dock in Playa Naranjo you will find a bus waiting to take passengers to Jicaral. Driving or taking the bus it will take you ~ 6 hrs from SJO.
Food and Fuel: Fuel up your rental car in Jicaral. The closest grocery store of any consequence is in Jicaral and it would be wise to provision up before you leave Jicaral for the Jungle House. Xinia raises chickens so you can buy good fresh organic eggs from her; Don Pio and Dña. Mele – get directions from Xionia and Fernando - have fresh farm raised, pesticide free pork and chicken. They also sell delicious home made cheese. A number of San Ramon de Rio Blanco farmers raise honeybees so you can purchase locally raised (killer bee) honey.
Hints on arrival at the SJO airport: You will need Costa Rican Colones. Avoid the numerous currency exchange booths - these are a rip off. Use your bankcard at one of the ATM’s located in the baggage claim area. The ATM’s give you the actual exchange rate (minus your bank fees). If you have an unblocked cell phone you can buy and install a Costa Rican phone chip and use your phone to call Costa Rican numbers at the local rate. You will also have a data plan so that you can use your phone to connect to the Internet, etc. There is a booth to purchase cell phone chips in the baggage claim area of SJO. SJO offers free Wi-Fi. Most gas stations and the grocery store in Jicaral take Visa or MC. Another option is to fly into the Liberia airport (LIR - officially named Daniel Oduber Quiros International Airport), rent a car and drive to the Jungle House. Total time: ~ 3.5 hrs.
Security: Use common sense. The community of SRRB is very safe. When you have visitors they enjoy a sit on the patio. Keep the doors closed and lock the house when you leave the house for any length of time. Keep your valuables out of sight.
Spanish: Although most people in the community do not speak English communication is hardly a problem.
Communication with the outside world: A few restaurants in Jicaral have Wi-Fi so you will have Internet service, (SENSITIVE CONTENTS HIDDEN), (SENSITIVE CONTENTS HIDDEN), etc. Cell phone service at the Jungle House is intermittent.