Trip week: May 19-26, 2018. I highly recommend staying at any of the properties at Manuel Antonio Estates. Three of us - me, my hubby, and my godson - enjoyed our time at Casa Cascadas and saw so much wildlife right off the deck! The house was well appointed and exactly as described - two large master suites that each had their own outdoor shower and side deck with chaise, a deck that ran the length of the house (with grill, table, chairs, settee), a two-sided carport under the house, and a nice cold plunge pool. Oh, and washer/dryer too ... we did laundry a couple of evenings so didn't have to bring as many clothes and we went home and didn't have to do laundry then. The staff we worked with were WONDERFUL ... started communicating with Dorit in February to see how responsive they were (very and quickly), what they could offer as a good location (perfect, right on edge of town, in the rainforest, and just short ride from lots of awesome tours and food). Maday at the concierge desk was just as responsive and so helpful in arranging much of what we did spur of the moment. We planned 2-3 trips with Dorit early and then just "winged it" for the other days once we arrived. We arranged for shuttle pickup from the San Jose Airport to Quepos (a good decision as traffic was heavy and the drivers were crazy!) Took about 2 1/2 hours to get to Quepos. The driver stopped for us at the Rio Tarcoles Bridge so we could check out the crocodiles - some big boys in there. Then stopped at the BM super mercado on the edge of Quepos so we could grab some groceries, and finally to the house to check us in and drop us off. The estates are in mountainous rainforest so the roads are quite steep - we walked up once or twice, but for most part arranged all tours so they picked us up and dropped us off at the house. We never rented a car because Maday and Dorit were able to arrange taxis/shuttles for anywhere we wanted to visit. Our day trips from Quepos included:
- Manuel Antonio National Park: about 20 minutes south - our guide Caesar was phenomenal. Without his expert help we never would have spotted all of the wildlife we saw - sloths, Motmots, hummingbirds, ibis, scarlet macaws, lizards, walking stick bugs, etc. Then to add to that, after our hike, he bought us all smoothies and a plate of local fruit. Great guy!
- Rainmaker Park: about an hour north - this was a spur of the moment decision ... didn't have anything scheduled, called Maday and asked about getting a driver to just take us around ... Jorge came in on his day off and shuttled us around. He recommended this park from his previous years of guiding tours - it was a very mountainous climb, treetop bridges, dart frogs, waterfalls, great Costa Rican lunch; afterward, he took us to Nahomi Point so we could get great views of the Pacific.
- Kids Saving the Rainforest monkey sanctuary: about 30 minutes north - we met one of the owners, Chip; and then had an awesome tour to learn about conservation and rehab efforts they were undertaking - monkey/wildlife bridges for crossing the roads, insulating electrical wires to reduce electrocution risks, digging tunnels for ground animals to cross busy roads, etc. They are doing some really great things.
- Jungle Night Tour: maybe 10 minutes to the east - Rudy was our guide and he was very knowledgeable and we got to see lots of cool frogs and insects - red eyed green tree frogs, dink frogs, tailless whip scorpions.
- Villa Vanilla Spice Farm: about 30-45 minutes to the east - guided tour through the processing area to learn more about how they do vanilla, chocolate/cacao, pepper, allspice, Ceylon cinnamon - and how they use a bio-diverse planting method to keep away pests naturally. The tour ends at a lookout point with a nice tasting of various foods made with their spices - cinnamon tea, vanilla cheesecake, vanilla ice cream on a chocolate cookie that was half brownie/half shortbread, star fruit, a granola style cookie with cacao, nuts, & oats, and hot chocolate prepared the way the indigenous tribes would). There's the opportunity to purchase spices packaged to bring back home.
- William Mangrove Boat/Kayak tour: about an hour north - we chose to take the boat tour with William's niece Laura as our guide. It started out in small canals but then kept opening into wider and wider waters until we reach where the mangroves met the Pacific ... so very beautiful with sightings of turtles, crabs, rainbow boa, 7 small bats roosting, and ended with our best "comida tipica" prepared by William's wife. Enjoyed supporting this small family endeavor - they were such nice folks.
- Hacienda Baru: about an hour or so south - Herminio, the shuttle owner whose company took us to/from the airport and provide us with Jorge on short notice, was our driver. Our guide there was Rigo and like all of the other guides we had, spoke great English and was very knowledgeable both book-knowledge and practical knowledge on where to look and find wildlife. Saw agouti, green iguanas, black iguanas, learned all about leaf cutter ants, sloths, common parauque, smelled but not seen peccary. This was our second unplanned day that the staff at MAE helped us plan.
And finally - back to the title "Wonderful Wildlife Viewing ... from my deck!" As it turns out, we never really need to leave the house. Just sitting on our deck, saw coati, two-toed sloth and three-toed sloth literally in the tree across the road, 2 scarlet macaws, a toucan tossing back papaya, a daily agouti visit, black iguana who liked the tree by the deck; a morning troupe of squirrel monkeys (titi) - 3 of whom had babies ... they just played in the trees all around the house and eventually made their way across our roof into the sloths' tree; 2-3 sightings of the white-faced capuchin monkeys; blue morpho butterflies; hummingbirds; more insects/lizards than I could count.
This was a fantastic trip - the house was perfect location; the staff were super helpful and super responsive; the food was wonderful; and the people - everyone we met - were so friendly and helpful and interesting to talk to. We will definitely be coming back and staying here ... along with making a trip to the north for a stay near the volcanoes. Don't hesitate if you're not sure ... just go and enjoy!
The location is amazing. We’ve stayed here several times over the years and wouldn’t stay anywhere else. The Cascada house is beautiful and has its private pool to cool off after a long day of fun!
The staff are always friendly and take such good care of you and any details to make sure your stay with them is perfect. Dorit is wonderful to work with from the time you make your reservation until you’re home.
Steve and Sharon
This large home in a beautiful, peaceful jungle setting is very comfortable with maid service and laundry available when required. The office (in particular Dorit) and housekeeping staff went out of their way to accommodate requests and answer questions, and were very pleasant to deal with. A problem with our air conditioning was fixed immediately. We enjoyed monkeys and scarlet macaw visits to our balcony daily! Home is within walking distance to Quepos, with easy access to to Manuel Antonio park and beaches by bus or taxi. A very steep hill to walk up to the house, so not recommended for anyone with mobility issues. Very enjoyable visit!
Casa Cascada at Manuel Antonio Estates was absolutely fabulous! We are a family of five, including three children ages 8 and under. The layout was perfect for us - two large suites with private bathrooms, joined by an open kitchen and living space. Each bedroom had a king-sized bed and the property managers provided a cot, as well. WiFi is available in the home and there are 2 TVs. To access the home, you must walk up stairs; the garage is underneath the home (which is good protection from rain). The small pool is also on the lower level and is covered. The location was safer for kids and kept you out of the direct sun. The property managers are very attentive and are available 24/7, if necessary. Great customer service - calling taxis, arranging tours, and even ordering & picking up a cake! We did not have a car and depended on the bus and taxis to get around the local area. Be warned, the hill is quite steep to the house! Monkeys woke us on the roof one morning so you get to enjoy the wildlife from your balcony. I absolutely recommend this home and Manuel Antonio Estates to travelers within Costa Rica!
We thoroughly enjoyed our stay. Everything was even better than advertised. Great location. Very safe and secure. Quiet and peaceful except when the monkeys come to visit you on your balcony- which is a fun treat! Bus stop is close by and convenient. Dorit in the office is FABULOUS and takes great care of you before and during your stay. Houses are very clean. Maid service is excellent and more than you would expect for a villa rental.
Very family and baby friendly. I took my 2 year old son and was provided with a high chair and crib in the rental at no charge
The hike up to the house is steep if you are out of shape.
We hope to come back in the future.