reviews for: listing #152417vb - Punta Uva, Costa Rica rental

Its Almost Eden! Oceanview Villa and Eco Sanctuary
  • bedrooms  3
  • pool  yes
  • type  Lodge
  • baths  2
  • hot tub  no
  • rates (USD)  $ 200 - $ 250 / night
    $ 1,249 - $ 1,499 / week
  • sleeps  9
  • pets considered  yes

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Review submitted: April 23, 2014   Date of arrival: November 23, 2013

Sorry I took so long to come here to write a glowing review. I enjoyed my stay here very much and am contemplating my next trip SOON. Saw plenty of wildlife, both day and night. I came by myself so I entertained myself at night in the yard checking out the creatures in the trees with my flashlight. Also the local restaraunt/bar down the street always had some entertainment. Monkeys eating bananas in the front yard and toucans in the trees by the pool in the morning. Got a great workout up and down the hill to the house and saw sloths and monkeys on the way. Jeff was a great host and very helpful. Thanks again and see you soon I hope!!!... Betzi

Recommended for: adventure seekers, families with teenagers, girls getaway, sight seeing, romantic getaway

Helpful votes: 0 / 0


Awesome Jungle House!

Review submitted: April 3, 2014   Date of arrival: March 21, 2014

I stayed at Cielomar for 5 nights with my wife and three children 12, 14 & 17. This was my families third trip to CR so we kind of know what to expect but this property was truly more than we expected. This is a beautiful house that puts you up close and personal with the CR jungle and the animals that live there. Very eco-friendly with a rainwater recycling system that fills the pool and provides all water for drinking and bathing....very cool. If this is what you are looking for I don't think there is a better place to stay. The monkeys, sloths, toucans, parrots, bugs, geckos and poison dart frogs (all seen daily) were very, very cool. I read one review that pointed out some of the short comings of the property and another that described it as kind of like "camping" so we went in with eyes wide open. I will agree that some of the items in these reviews have merit but there are far more positives than negatives. If you love nature and adventure then this is the place for you. I would add that I didn't use bug spray at the house once and never got a single bite (not true on the beach though). We saw very few bugs in the house. If you want to be pampered then you should be in an all inclusive in Cancun anyway (although they have bugs too).

When reading VRBO reviews I'm always trying to pick out the practical information. Here are some practical items. The location is great along the coast and close (walking distance) to the best beaches, groceries and restaurants. You must have a 4 wheel drive vehicle to make it up the hill/driveway and walking the 1/2 mile or so to the main road is a workout due to the hill. The temp was always comfortable and the pool gets plenty of sun between 10 and 3. There are only two bedrooms that offer privacy but there are plenty of places to sleep inside. The upper level and back porch have beds but they are very much "open air". There is internet access for a laptop but cell phones/ipads require a trip to one of the many restaurants that have WiFi. The closest one is about 100 feet south along the main road by the Playa Chiquita stables. The surf was too rough for snorkeling off the beach while we were there but if it had been a calmer there would have been good snorkeling. Security was never a concern, there is a large safe that we could lock cash and electronics in. Jeff the caretaker was up early cleaning the pool and was very friendly and helpful.

We loved it and hope to return!

Recommended for: adventure seekers, age 55+, families with young children, families with teenagers, sight seeing, romantic getaway

Helpful votes: 1 / 1


The best family vacation ever!

Review submitted: January 8, 2014   Date of arrival: December 19, 2013

"Wow! This is the best view I have ever seen!"....these were my 6 years old son's first words when he woke up in the paradise. Our family (9 people) decided to spend Christmas in Costa Rica and after checking many houses we chose Cielomar. What a great choice it was! The house is simply amazing! You can not be closer to nature and beauty than that. It is a real paradise (... so please ignore comments from people who are concentrating on silly details; those people belong to all inclusive 5 gold apples resorts). Every morning monkeys made sure we were awake and ready to start a new day full of adventures. Taking a shower in the master bathroom with a huge window presenting the flora and fauna of the jungle was an incredible experience. We spent hours sitting by the pool inhaling the beauty of nature. The top floor of the house offers spectacular 360 degrees view of the jungle and the ocean. It was pretty awesome to sit there and just relax. We just couldn't get enough of the breathtaking view! Even though the house is located in the jungle it is pretty close to the most beautiful and wild beaches and many great restaurants. For people who would like to prepare their own food the house provides full equipped kitchen and the grill by the pool.
I would also like to mention that our stay wouldn't be as amazing as it was without Jeff. He was very friendly, always helpful and knowledgeable; he took us on a "jungle adventure" that we will remember forever.
Jeff, thank you so much for everything and for many great memories. Our family will definitely be back in the Cielomar :)
Agata with family

Recommended for: adventure seekers, age 55+, families with young children, families with teenagers, girls getaway, sight seeing, tourists without a car, romantic getaway

Helpful votes: 1 / 1


Miss Cielomar!

Review submitted: August 29, 2013   Date of arrival: May 14, 2013

I have been very busy since our vacation at Cielomar, so as I am finally getting around to writing a review, I am almost physically overcome with longing to be back! My husband, two sons, and two of their friends celebrated graduation from college with a trip to Costa Rica. When I was looking for a place to stay, Cielomar stood out. And it did not disappoint. I am glad to see more pictures because the ones that I had looked at did not do it justice. We felt like we had the jungle to ourselves. The wildlife is fascinating and plentiful. The howler monkeys heard every morning were one of the most thrilling sounds I have ever experienced. The grounds are gorgeous and well-maintained. Jeff, the caretaker, was very nice and helpful--one night we cooked out and invited him to dinner. He was full of knowledge about the area. One morning we decided to hike the trail which is steps from the front door. I walked in first, while waiting for the others, to check it out. There is a huge tree close to the entrance that is full of vines and that you could almost step inside. Marveling at this, I walked back to gather everyone, thinking, "OK, I know the way; I will lead." So I did, feeling a bit cocky. Almost as soon as I stepped back into the jungle, which immediatey swallows you, a howler monkey seemingly right above my head screamed at me and I jumped back several feet. It was one of the coolest things that has ever happened to me!!!! I felt like I was in an episode of Lost. If you are looking for a wonderful REAL experience in Costa Rica, this is it. I hope to return.

Recommended for: adventure seekers, families with teenagers, pet-friendly, sight seeing, romantic getaway

Helpful votes: 2 / 2


We plan to return!

Review submitted: August 9, 2013   Date of arrival: July 20, 2013

We had an absolutely fabulous vacation at CieloMar. The house is gorgeous - beautifully crafted, open spaces, amazing views. The highlight is the top floor where our two tween girls slept blissfully in the open air, waking to the sounds of howler monkeys. We are two couples, each with a tween girl, and the space was perfect for the two families. The pool provided instant entertainment for the girls - and we all enjoyed the warm water and watching the toucans fly overhead. The house caretaker, Jeff, made everything even more ideal. He was easily accessible for anything we needed, guided us on a jungle hike, answered any questions we had about wildlife or flora. He seemed to know everything about the area, and his experience and knowledge of the house itself is unique and impressive. He constantly kept the grounds clean and well-maintained while we were there, in an unobtrusive way. We look forward to seeing him again when we return next year!

Recommended for: adventure seekers, families with young children, families with teenagers, sight seeing

Helpful votes: 0 / 0


Wildlife bonanza!

Review submitted: August 9, 2013   Date of arrival: June 29, 2013

We stayed at Cielo Mar for 3 weeks. The house was beautiful and the kitchen nicely stocked. With the ceiling and floor fans we stayed comfortable. Jeff was wonderful and very helpful, showing us hiking paths, answering questions and even making sure we got to see some of the "wildlife" that he spotted. These were usually of the insect variety, as the other wildlife was very easy to spot. On our first day a bunch of Capuchin monkeys came by the pool. Howler monkeys were there about every other day. One howler hung out about 30 feet from the pool for over 30 minutes one day. It was quite the show!. Toucans were there on a daily basis and we even saw green macaws one day. Everyday day at sunset it seemed like we had a whole aviary outside of our house. Very cool. Of course, we saw the sloths and one day even got to see a coati. We stayed at a house at the bottom of the road last year and didn't get to see a fraction of the wildlife that we got to see at Cielo Mar.
The pool was great for our daughters (aged 8 and 11) as well as for me and my husband.
Take the advise and rent a 4WD vehicle. We slid going up the hill on even with ours. Parts of the road up to the house are close to becoming impassable. If you are going out in the evening by foot, remember that it is a steep walk up in the dark, though we did it more than once.
One thing I have to disagree with in the description of the house is the number of bedrooms. It is a 2 bedroom house, not three. You can easily sleep 7 and comfortably sleep 9, but putting a beds on the lanai and in the "crow's nest" doesn't make it a 3 bedroom in my opinion.

Recommended for: adventure seekers, families with teenagers, sight seeing

Owners response: Hi Mary I am glad you had a good trip.
I have recently undergone a relationship split and ended up with the honor and responsibility of owning Cielomar.
My first priority is to enclose the upstairs bedroom area. Its too open for me too. I have been waiiting for the opportunity to get in there and make some changes for while.
It was my ex partners favorite spot up there and he did not want to block the 360 degree view with partitions, so left it open. Thanks for the imput..Take care Kerry McCracken

Helpful votes: 0 / 0


Family Vacation

Review submitted: May 29, 2013   Date of arrival: March 14, 2013

A wonderful house. We enjoyed the amazing views and the cooler air on the hill. The pool was refreshing, surrounded by wildlife and a unforgettable ocean view. The house was very spacious and comfortable. We enjoyed jungle walks right from the house, lounging by the pool, and watching the sloths, monkeys and toucans in the property.

Recommended for: adventure seekers, families with teenagers, girls getaway, sight seeing, romantic getaway

Helpful votes: 0 / 0


As Advertised But...

Review submitted: April 15, 2013   Date of arrival: March 29, 2013

First and foremost. We enjoyed it and had a good family time. There are some things that are not quite as advertised or in need of maintenance that you may want to be aware of.

Bedrooms: It is advertised as 3 bedrooms BUT only one of those is fully enclosed. The master is in the basement, down a staircase from the front porch as advertised but it has a curtain that acts as a "door". This wasn't a problem until the last night we stayed when some type of beetle got into bed with my wife and I. The 3rd bedroom is either the open air front porch or the open air top level. Both have a bed (even some mosquito netting) but does that make them bedrooms?

The main floor bedroom is advertised as having "an extra twin bed". It does not. This might have been the bed that was on the front porch but I don't know.

Pool and Walkway: It is advertised with a pool area that is "romantically lit at night for evening entertainment or swimming" but the walkway lights no longer work. Nor does the light in the pool work. We didn't walk there at night in the dark to see how romantic it could have been.

The kitchen is very functional. The main floor is quite nice. There is a TV with a DVD and some movies but the TV doesn't work in color any more. This was OK. We didn't watch TV. We spent every night playing cards at the kitchen table. Great family time trying to identify the bugs and killing "bullet" ants that would join us.

Mornings were wonderful. Wake up to howler monkeys or toucans, grab a cup of coffee from the french press (the carafe for the coffee maker is broken) and head upstairs to watch the toucans, parrots, and occasional monkey troupe.

Days were spent on the beaches, touring the area (Jeff gave great directions to the "coffee lady" and a waterfall or shopping in nearby Puerto Viejo.

Overall - a nice area and a nice house in need of some repairs but still a nice family vacation.

Recommended for: families with teenagers, sight seeing

Owners response: We are truly sorry this person,did not appreciate Cielomar for it's strengths, and chose instead to concentrate on a few small annoyances. This person's family was treated to a guided hike in the jungle preserve, free,by our caretaker and he does not even mention that!. We do our best to accommodate our guests and respond to any needs they might have. The pool and walkway lights are fixable, and since being brought to our attention have been repaired... the carafe for the coffe pot had broken just before this person arrived, so he was forced to choose between 3 or 4 other ways to make coffee.
Please, if you come to Cielomar come with an open mind and a reasonable attitude! You won't be sorry you did!

Helpful votes: 2 / 2


a month at Ciel Mar

Review submitted: June 22, 2012   Date of arrival: May 13, 2012

How fortunate was I to stay at Cielo Mar for a month! I had a wonderful working holiday - morning walks to the beach, writing in the canopy room, afternoon swims in the glorious pool, jungle walks with Jeff. We hung out with the howler monkeys, watched the sloth in the nearby tree, delighted with the toucans and parrots. Cielo Mar is truly a bucket list destination.

Recommended for: adventure seekers, age 55+, families with young children, families with teenagers, girls getaway, tourists without a car, romantic getaway

Helpful votes: 0 / 0


Truly Amazing!!!!!

Review submitted: June 1, 2012   Date of arrival: February 14, 2012

(My Review below was supposed to be 5 stars!!!)
My husband and I along with our best friends stayed at Cielomar Lodge in February, it was such an amazing place. Jeff, the owner was awesome, he is so knowledgeable about the surrounding jungle, and even took the time to take us on jungle hikes. The house was absolutely beautiful, we loved the open air room as well as the pool overlooking the jungle and ocean. Bruce the caretaker was great too. He provided us with fresh fruit each day and made sure we didn't miss the sloth and monkeys. The house's proximity to surrounding grocery markets and beach is perfect, just secluded enough to enjoy the beautiful jungle but close enough to "run" into town. The four of us loved our time at Cielomar Lodge and cannot wait to return! Thank you Jeff for providing such a retreat!

Recommended for: adventure seekers, age 55+, families with young children, families with teenagers, girls getaway, pet-friendly, sight seeing, romantic getaway

Helpful votes: 2 / 2


A Nature's Paradise

Review submitted: May 17, 2012   Date of arrival: April 14, 2012

What a great find this was. Both my wife and I are into nature and wildlife and for that, this place was positively perfect. The top floor is open on all sides with amazing 360 views of the jungle (this is where we spent most of our time). You even have a nice view of the ocean. You’ll want to bring a good set of binoculars to take advantage of the many birds in the area. We saw both Chestnut Mandibled toucans and Keel Billed toucans on a regular basis. Other birds we saw, to name a few, included Aracari, a White Hawk, Laughing Falcons, and Oropendolas. Jeff provides a spotting scope for really zooming in on the wildlife. We also saw several sloths. One of the things that makes this property unique is that it comes with its own trails. It’s a very large property and trails snake throughout it taking you along a river, through mature jungle, and up to a high point that provides a really nice view of the surrounding jungle. Jeff was gracious enough to take us out on a tour of the different trails our second day there.

I should mention that even though this property is tucked back in the jungle, you are a very short walk or drive to the ocean. We found the beaches down in Manzinillo, which is a short drive south, to be some of the prettiest we have seen anywhere. The property has a saltwater pool that we used on a regular basis to cool off after hiking. Both Jeff and his caretaker Bruce are a pleasure to talk to and are good hosts. This place truly is unique and I highly recommend it.

Recommended for: adventure seekers, age 55+, families with young children, families with teenagers

Helpful votes: 1 / 1


Rare Opportunity to Experience True Jungle

Review submitted: March 11, 2012   Date of arrival: March 4, 2012

Thank you Jeff and Bruce for making our stay at CieloMar a great experience in the jungle. Our stay from Sunday, March 4th to Friday, March 9th was wonderful - from seeing the white-faced monkeys near the pool, to waking up to the howler monkeys and toucans and to all the little touches you did such as the fresh flowers in the house, the freshly picked bananas near the pool and the many up-to-date magazines you provided as reading material. Our favourite part was both looking out into the jungle from the 3rd floor canopy room (seeing both the ocean and the dense jungle) and the jungle trek with Jeff. We also enjoyed the many services available in Playa Chiquita and the neighbouring towns. Just walking down the road, we were able to see blue morpho butterflies, iguana and a sloth behind Botanica Organica. We loved El Refugio (excellent steak) and our visit to the Jaguar Rescue Centre. Had we had more time, we would have gone on a horseback tour through jungle and beach with Playa Chiquita Riding Stables.

This house is a great place to explore the jungle and the many facets of flora and fauna - including ants, spiders, frogs, reptiles, sloths (there's one behind the house) monkeys, toucan, parrots, , etc. My husband and I are in our 40's and our parents came with us - they're in their 80's and we all enjoyed the experience. Thank you for making this place possible and sharing your piece of paradise with us. Pura vida! Rick and Jill Jones

Recommended for: adventure seekers, families with young children, families with teenagers, sight seeing

Helpful votes: 1 / 1


Sandra, liz and kids

Review submitted: February 27, 2012   Date of arrival: February 21, 2012

This lodge is amazing!! It exceeded all of my expectations!! We had two children 9 and 11. The lodge itself is nestled in the jungle with a view of the ocean and rainforest. The house is very clean and Jeff and Bruce work to make the grounds beautiful and maintained impeccably. We heard monkeys every day and were fortunate to have a visit of about 15 one morning in a tree right above us. We also saw a sloth, coral snake, posin dart frog, bull frogs, two types of violet snakes. Just awesome. So quiet, safe and peaceful. We did not even lock our door!! My children and I loved having Bruce there, who has a stable on the huge property. We had the most amazing memories and wonderful experience riding with him for two days on the beach. He is very kindhearted and was amazing with my daughter. She will never forget riding the horses on the beach. He was so nice in bringing us fresh limes and coconuts!! The house is close to town where you have endless chooses of places to eat. We loved going to the beach and riding the waves. Most of all we enjoyed our night walks into the jungle to find any critter we could, it seemed that a whole new life came out at night and the house has wonderful trails that go for miles. It was exciting, mysterious and lots of fun discovering what was there. Bruce and jeff are a wealth of knowledge of the plants and wild life. It is great having them close by so they were always checking on us to make sure all our needs were taken care of. They both went above and beyond to help us. The laundry was great to have. There is a wonderful pool and bar area that would be fun to entertain at. Can't say enough how much we loved it. My 11 year old is so sad that we had to leave and they both are saying it was there favorite holiday. We have gone on many trips but ate lobbying on returning already. I highly recommend this lodge. You can veg out or go seek adventure it offers it all.

Recommended for: adventure seekers, families with young children, families with teenagers, girls getaway, sight seeing, romantic getaway

Helpful votes: 1 / 1



Review submitted: January 19, 2012   Date of arrival: October 1, 2011

I stayed here with a group of friends for my wedding and we had an amazing time. A lot of places boast about being in the jungle...YOU ARE IN THE JUNGLE! Wonderful people and the coolest house! Words can't really describe how amazing this place is, but defintely worth staying at! I hope to be back soon to hang out with the creatures and stare out at the ocean while sitting by the pool. A truly unique and satisfying adventure.

Recommended for: adventure seekers, age 55+, families with young children, families with teenagers, girls getaway, sight seeing, romantic getaway

Helpful votes: 1 / 1


Highlight of our three week trip to Costa Rica

Review submitted: January 12, 2012   Date of arrival: December 12, 2011

Off the beaten path with great views- woke to monkeys each morning at daybreak.
Bruce was very accommodating, we regret not to have had the right weather to go horseback riding with him. He brought us fresh fruit from the property each morning!
Jennifer is the other host, and several of us had excellent massage from her- she has a different style of deep tissue that was very healing- especially the neck and shoulders.
The layout of the house is really interesting- my wife and I took the upstairs open-air loft double bed with mosquito netting. That was really special to be able to lay in bed and see all around a 360 degree view of jungle and ocean, and waking and viewing howler monkeys from bed is unique!
The pool was great, and although we did not use it had a kitchen area with bbq.
The only downside was the kitchen gear was far beyond its useful life, but we heard that the owner was bringing new pots and pans so that should not be an issue. Local restaurants were excellent, but we enjoyed the house so much that we only ate out one of three nights.
The local hiking trails were very nice- a private walk that one should not hurry through.
Everyone talks about the bugs- they too were a highlight. Praying mantis, a 'headlight beetle' was our favorite, and we got far fewer mosquito bites there than in other areas of Costa Rica- we observed most of them on the mosquito net just after sunrise for about half an hour then they seemed to be gone.
Being situated on top of a small ridge made for really nice breezes- and again the view is waht really sets this place aside.
This is not for the high-maintenance types, but for the traveler who wants to have that unique and special place away from the masses.
Our only regret was in not staying longer. Fears about how the Caribbean Coast has such drug and other issues, including much rain, had us decide on only three nights. The rains are not an issue- take an umbrella or just get wet- it is warm! And the rains were infrequent.
The owner Jeff was quick to respond to emails, and we can tell that he has a passion for the place and does much work there.
There are many things to see in the area, and time here seems to pass too quickly each day.
If we are ever to return to Costa Rica, we will be sure to stay longer at Cielomar.

Recommended for: adventure seekers, age 55+, families with young children, families with teenagers, sight seeing, romantic getaway

Helpful votes: 1 / 1


jungle lodge

Review submitted: December 9, 2011   Date of arrival: November 5, 2011

My wife, 5 years old son, plus my inlaws - down from Mexico, and I spent a week at Cielo Mar in November 2011. We arrived shortly after sunset after a long drive from San Jose (I recommend trying to avoid driving the road from Limon at night!). Cielo Mar is at the very top of a steep, mostly dirt road of about perhaps a quarter mile from the main road. Four wheel drive should not be necessary, but extra clearance is good for the road and more generally for the potholes one encounters on the Costa Rica roads. The place is completely tranquil, other than the sounds of the jungle. There are no lights from other houses, no sounds from the road. Sligthly spooky the first night for my mother-in-law, but once the sun rose the next morning, and she got her bearings, she was fine. We had a terrific week. We explored the jungle trails in the reserve every day (saw spider monkers, howlers, two eyelash vipers and an ebony keelback, toucans, parots, oropendulas, blue/black poison dart frogs, etc.). Jeff joined us for several excursions, and was quite knowledgeable about the animals. In general, Jeff was an excellent host: informed, laid back, helpful, with a good sense of humor, and not intrusive. My inlaws appreciated as well that his Spanish is fluent.

The house is truly unique in its setting, views, and especially, the open-sided third floor. The jungle hardwoods used throughout give a nice feel, and my son especially liked climbing up and down the spiral staircase. But, it is not a luxury property (and does not pretend to be): some insects get in (nothing problematic, and mosuitos were actually not bad), the beds are a bit sqeaky, and the kitchen is simple, though functional. On balance, though, I have to say we were plenty comfortable, and I would not want to trade the wonderful jungle sounds, smells and sites for a higher end and more steril place.

The place is hard to convey, as it is unique in so many aspects. A typical day was to get up at dawn, eat a breakfast of eggs and very fresh fruit (including cacao and papaya provide by Jeff), spend an hour hiking in the jungle, smim in the pool, eat lunch at the house, walk down to the beech, walk back, swim in the pool, and then head down to "Jungle Love" restaurant for a well-prepared dinner. Then early to bed to the sounds of the jungle. Repeat.

We all agreed we definitely want to return.

Recommended for: adventure seekers, age 55+, families with young children, families with teenagers, pet-friendly, sight seeing, romantic getaway

Helpful votes: 0 / 0


Truely Amazing Experience - Just know what your getting into

Review submitted: December 2, 2011   Date of arrival: August 26, 2011

My wife, parents and I stayed at Cielo Mar in late August. The setting is absolutely gorgeous and a one of a kind experience. My parents in particular LOVED the location and the bird watching was like nothing I have ever experienced. My Mom and I hiked the pathways and spent hours outside. You are quite literally in the jungle so you will absolutely will be in the middle of all of the flaura and fauna that comes with it so keep that in mind. The house itself is beautifully built. The nature of its location makes it naturally damp and dark and you absolutely will have close encounters with many, many bugs. We didn't have any more problems with being bitten than anywhere else we were in CR but if you are not tolerant of damp / dark conditions or are not a "bug person" you might consider it "kind of like camping" as my wife described it. Bruce (the caretaker) was immensely helpful, generous and very interesting to talk to (He's got great stories of his many travels). All in all, we had a great experience in a truely unique location that we will never forget.

Recommended for: adventure seekers, families with young children, families with teenagers, sight seeing

Helpful votes: 0 / 0


Three weeks in paradise

Review submitted: September 11, 2011   Date of arrival: July 28, 2011

Cielomar is located up a steep hill a few driving minutes from the beach. The villa is entirely surrounded by impressive natural jungle: overgrown trees, colorful flowers, howling monkeys, sleepy sloths, tukans, parrots, and much more. A covered terrace on top provides a 360* view of the jungle and the ocean. Great views also from the pool, with groups of parrots and toucans flying in the trees above us.

Punta Uva, Puerto Viejo and Manzanillo have incredible beaches, lots of nature, good restaurants, friendly people, coco loco, and it's virtually tourist-free. We enjoyed driving over unpaved roads to jungle waterfalls, turtle sanctuaries and hidden beaches. We are glad we rented a 4-wheel-drive SUV for our jungle explorations. The beaches closest to Cielomar, such as Arecife and Punta Uva are very beautiful as well.

Our 2-day trip to Vulcan Arenal taught us that we had found the best place for us in Costa Rica: Punta Uva. We (4 adults and 2 children) stayed at Cielomar for almost three weeks - and it was a sad day when we had to return home.

We thank Jeff for being a great helpful host; and our daughters say hi to Puca and Africa and all the other dogs they met during this most memorable vacation.

Recommended for: adventure seekers, families with young children

Helpful votes: 1 / 1


Exceeded our expectations

Review submitted: July 14, 2011   Date of arrival: June 24, 2011

We spent a week at this wonderful property, and with the combination of the wildlife we saw from the canopy room (or as the kids called it, the jungle room) and what we saw on hikes through Jeff's personal jungle preserve (65+ acres) we did not feel the need to go an any additional jungle tours or travel to Manuel Antonio. It is amazing to have primary jungle with well maintained trails right in one's backyard. We saw howler and white-faced monkeys, sloths, flocks of toucans, parrots, red-eyed tree and poison dart frogs right from the house. Insect life was also amazing. All this will an ocean view and proximity to some very beautiful beaches. We and the kids took turns sleeping in the canopy room. The sound of the jungle (and waves crashing on the beach) at night is amazing. This was an amazing trip that we and the kids will remember for the rest of oyur lives.

Recommended for: adventure seekers, age 55+, families with young children, families with teenagers, sight seeing

Helpful votes: 1 / 1


Best place in costa rica

Review submitted: July 14, 2011   Date of arrival: June 14, 2011

We spent the beginning of a 2 week stay in costa rica at this wonderful home. Jeff was so helpful, and we truly enjoyed his company and his stories about the place. We saw more animals here than anywhere else and it was so active in the morning. we were up early every day. loved the hike to the ranchero, lots of interesting birds and bugs, loved the geckos in the house (keep looking for them at home out of habit). the pool was so refreshing to come home to daily. fun things to do-snorkel at punta uva, it was calm and we saw many fish, the rescue center and holding the monkeys, good places to eat, A 4x4 is necessary if you dont want to walk a great deal, we however managed our 5 days without one, (and with some help from jeff). there are no ATMS within walking distance, but local grocery did take debit. restaurants tended to only take cash. the water in the home was great, no problems..loved how everything is kept so natural by jeff and environmentally fits in. would go back again!! was our favorite part of the 2 week stay, only wish our friends had joined us in this home instead of in manuel antonio. thanks jeff!

Recommended for: adventure seekers, families with teenagers, romantic getaway

Helpful votes: 2 / 2


We went back!

Review submitted: June 14, 2011   Date of arrival: June 26, 2010

This was our second trip to Cielo Mar. We could not wait to return. The property immediately took us in and made us feel at home for our short 8 day stay. The first thing we noticed upon arrival was the AMAZING view of the ocean. I did not think it could get any better but I was wrong. We spent every night on the 3rd floor playing games and laughing. Then we would all retire and listen to the jungle noises. We watched troupes of howler monkeys, toucans, and parrots everyday while we relaxed at the pool. This area had some amazing restaraunts near. We even cooked a few times for breakfast. Such a magnificent place. This is a must visit. The view alone will make your day. We can not wait to return again. Hopefully before the year ends.
Jeff has always been more than helpful with our needs. The property is meticuouly maintaned and let me tell you again... the pictures don't do it justice. Thanks for sharing such a wonderful place!

Recommended for: adventure seekers, age 55+, families with teenagers, girls getaway, sight seeing, romantic getaway

Helpful votes: 0 / 0


amazing view and location

Review submitted: May 19, 2011   Date of arrival: April 30, 2011

9 of us just spent a week here and absolutely loved it. The pictures do not do it justice for the house or the view. The house is beautiful with amazing views. It easily accommodated us and Jeff was very helpful with scheduling things and with information. We were within 10 min of 4-5 different beaches and the seclusion up in the jungle made the trip even better. We felt like we were all alone in the jungle, but were just minutes from fantastic food and other amenities. We were a little worried about the water and about being hot, but it wasn't bad at all. The breeze from the jungle, along with the occasional storm, left our house cool. We had no problems with sleeping or staying cool. The surrounding jungle is full of life and was fun to explore. The paths that Jeff maintains makes it very easy to walk through, for the less adventurous type. You will definitely need a car with 4 wheel drive, but they are easily attainable. We are definitely going to go back again and spend our time at this wonderful house. Thanks again. Feel free to contact me with any questions.

Recommended for: adventure seekers, age 55+, families with young children, families with teenagers, girls getaway, sight seeing, romantic getaway

Helpful votes: 0 / 0


Cielo Mar

Review submitted: May 12, 2011   Date of arrival: April 23, 2011

We spent 6 days at Cielo Mar, April 23-29, and loved it!! There are a bunch of things that would have been helpful to know going in though, so I'll spell them out here.
First: If you are thinking about staying here or anywhere in caribbean Costa Rica, you'd better get over your fear of bugs! They grow them HUGE and plentiful - not the really annoying kinds, like flies and mesquitos, but the crazy, amazing kind, like spiders and grasshoppers and moths the size of your hand. I must admit that we were a little freaked out the first night we arrived, but got over it pretty quickly. In fact, the bugs turned out to be one of the most interesting things there, and we actually came home with a lot fewer insect bites than we would have gotten in the States.
Second: If you are looking for luxury, go to Aruba. You are in the rain forest, so don't expect down pillows and fluffy cotton mattresses - they would mildew in short order. The furniture in this part of the world is, of necessity, the indoor/outdoor type. Not uncomfortable, just not fluffy and overstuffed.
Third: The heat - it's not nearly as bad as we expected! Cielo Mar was never uncomfortable, and even the lowlands weren.t bad at all. We must have hit a dry spell, because it only rained a couple of times while we were there, and then for only a couple of hours at a clip.
Fourth: You WILL need a 4x4 to get up the driveway, unless you can have someone bring your things up in theirs. This is not to say you must have a car once you get there; you could pretty easily do without if you're in good physical shape and don't mind walking. There are good restaurants within a mile of the house, and the beach is an easy walk as well - again, as long as you're in fairly good shape.
Now for the house. LOVED it! The pool is wonderful, as is the canopy room. I actually set my alarm in the morning just so I could go out and watch the jungle start the day. Coffee by the pool was a ritual I very much miss to this day :-( We had 2 sloths in the tree right outside the house, but it took us 4 days to find them. There is a reason they've survived for 16 million years - you CANNOT see them if they aren't moving! The howler monkey troupes waging verbal war across the property was pretty darned exciting, and a little scary until you realize how small they are! The jungle trails behind the house were amazing, and great excercise. Darnit, out of space. Thank you for sharing your wonderful place with us Jeffrey, we LOVED IT!!

Recommended for: adventure seekers, age 55+, families with teenagers, girls getaway, romantic getaway

Helpful votes: 2 / 2


Jungle Paradise

Review submitted: April 5, 2011   Date of arrival: March 15, 2011

We were a family of 6, 2 grandparents, 2 parents and 2 teenagers who had a wonderful week at Cielo Mar. The wildlife was amazing! Jeff was a great host and helped to haul our luggage up to the house when we were shorted at the car rental agency and failed to get a 4WD vehicle. Everything you need is close by. We could easily walk to the beach, explore the jungle, groceries are just down the road. We had a great dinner at Jungle Love, really good food. Our week was very relaxing and a true jungle adventure!

Recommended for: adventure seekers, age 55+, families with teenagers, sight seeing, romantic getaway

Helpful votes: 1 / 1


Should not be missed

Review submitted: March 19, 2011   Date of arrival: January 30, 2011

We are a family of five that spent one week at Cielomar on our three week stay in Costa Rica.
We travelled through Monteverde, La Fortuna, Dominical area, Turrialba and the Caribbean.
We saw more wildlife here in the first few days than the previous two weeks in Costa Rica!
The 60 acre nature reserve beyond the house was a wonderful place to walk on its rugged, non-touristy trails. Walking the creek bed was very memorable.
The community that exists close by is friendly and helpful. All the services one needs are right there.
Highly recommend C&J’s Juice Bar: nice people and good food.
We had no car so we walked up the hill but it seemed to get shorter the more we walked it!
The pay off for climbing the hill is privacy and delightfully cool evenings. No air conditioning needed.
The beaches were wonderful and with a bike/car rental /taxi or bus, one could easily explore a different one every day.
The pool was a most enjoyable place to sit and relax as well as cool off during the day.
We did less “tours” than we thought we would because everyone just wanted to hang around the house. The kids loved the open third floor with its ocean views, the many birds flying in amongst the canopy and monkeys jumping from tree to tree. There is a lovely private balcony off the master bedroom where we could steal time away from the kids to have a coffee.
The house was clean and safe and the caretaker was most helpful and informative.
The worst thing was leaving.
If we could come back to only one place in Costa Rica . . . this would be it.

Recommended for: adventure seekers, age 55+, families with young children, families with teenagers, girls getaway, pet-friendly, sight seeing, tourists without a car, romantic getaway

Owners response: Most groups that come here have a car. This family thrived without one! It really is only a 10 minute walk to the stores, restaurants, or beach. They also took advantage of the hiking right here at Cielomar, which several groups have told me was a better jungle experience than anything else they found in the area. Besides going to our "rancho" , (on a high ridge overlooking the jungle into Panama) they went with me on some alternative trails which take you down into the creeks on the property before looping back up to the house. They are among several groups this year that have been taking advantage of exploring the preserve, which is one small part of a much bigger area protected voluntarily by the land owners here, preserving the wildlife corridor between Manzanillo and points further north. Jeff

Helpful votes: 1 / 1


Toucans, Howler Monkeys, Ocean View, Oh My!

Review submitted: March 9, 2011   Date of arrival: February 10, 2011

We stayed a week on this beautifully situated property (4WD is best) where you can laze in a hammock on an open air landing while listening to the birds. Taking a jungle walk is easy and right out the front door for the ambitious ones or a nice swim in the pool to feel on top of the world. My 2 1/2 year old granddaughter had a blast and loved hiking with her parents, checking out bugs, frogs, monkeys, and birds.. Jeff is a great host who makes sure your stay is comfortable. Water filtering system is perfecto so no worries there.. Drive to the grocery store (order a fresh loaf of french bread!) is very close and Playa Chiquita is a beach one thinks is only available in your dreams! (Oh, and please try to make it to the Jaguar Rescue Center to support their efforts with rescuing orphaned wildlife!)

Recommended for: adventure seekers, age 55+, families with young children, families with teenagers, sight seeing, romantic getaway

Owners response: Vivivian is referring to our ceramic filtering unit for drinking water. Tap water placed in the top filters thru ceramic elements and comes out potable on the bottom! Jeff

Helpful votes: 0 / 0


Gary and Rose from the Bay of Fundy

Review submitted: March 6, 2011   Date of arrival: March 6, 2011

We traveled to many places and this was by far the most wonderfully unique place ever. If you appreciate a wonderful host, being secluded, having lots of space indoors and out, living among the wildlife, hiking in the jungle, having access to beautiful beaches, little shops and restaurants...this place is for you. We were definitely glad we had a 4 wheel drive vehicle to reach the house. This place has an amazing view and the house has so many wonderful touches including beautiful hardware throughout, a wonderful deep soaker tub and a shower with a full wall window view of the jungle with its beautiful flora, fauna, butterflies and birds. We loved sleeping in the jungle room and being woken each morning by the howler monkeys. We recommend a camera with a really good zoom if you want some outstanding pictures of the monkeys and birds. We hope to return someday. Thanks Jeff!

Recommended for: adventure seekers, age 55+, families with young children, families with teenagers, sight seeing, romantic getaway

Helpful votes: 2 / 2


Wildlife Paradise

Review submitted: December 2, 2010   Date of arrival: November 20, 2010

Four of us stayed at Cielo Mar for the Thanksgiving holiday and had an absolutely awesome stay. The house and property was everything the listing and photos portrayed and more. Probably some of the best views of any property in the area since it sits a little ways up the hill but still close enough to walk to the beach (5-10 minutes). We spent every morning and evening watching the amazing wildlife either from the top level open observatory or amazing pool area. Due to the bordering nature preserve, the animal and bird watching was a highlight of the trip. We watched howler monkeys, white faced monkeys, sloths, coatis, agoutis, toucans, and more exotic birds than we could possibly identify. Everything was clean and well maintained throughout the property. The driveway to the house is steep and rocky so a 4WD vehicle is a benefit but probably not required. We would definitely go back and highly recommend this property to others.

Recommended for: adventure seekers, age 55+, families with young children, families with teenagers, girls getaway, pet-friendly, sight seeing, romantic getaway

Helpful votes: 2 / 2


beautiful home

Review submitted: July 22, 2010   Date of arrival: June 25, 2010

This home is close enough to walk to the beach yet it is far enough away to be completely secluded and safe. The wood work in the home is beautiful and the privacy and views from all 3 porches is spectacular. You are in the middle of the jungle, surrounded by many birds and monkeys. If you want to be near the Carribean and still feel like you are all by yourself this is the place for you.

Recommended for: adventure seekers, age 55+, families with young children, families with teenagers, girls getaway, pet-friendly, sight seeing, tourists without a car, romantic getaway

Helpful votes: 3 / 3


Magical Property

Review submitted: June 8, 2010   Date of arrival: May 29, 2010

We stayed for one week and it was much more than we had expected. We had worried that not having a/c would be a problem but we were quickly proven wrong. The breezes were sufficient.
The house has amazing wood work throughout. The third floor observation room was the most utilized by my party. We were able to games while watching the unbelievable birds that live around the property.
Next to the house is the owners 70 acre rain forest for everyone to explore. They have created an amazing trail system. One with a rancho at the end.
Now the grounds are covered in wonderful bananas, gingers, plumerias, bromeliads, and many other tropical plants.
The pool will take your breath away. It is set up with a full sized bar and a table. It has unsurpassed views of the ocean and the canopy of the surrounding trees.
We were able to see Toucans and parrots everyday while hanging out in the pool.
The beaches are just at the bottom of the driveway (4 wheel drive needed).
I will recommend this place to everyone. A lovely find above it all.

Cielo Mar is truly a magical place to visit. Please let me know if you have any questions. I would be happy to answer any that i am able.
We cant wait to go back!

Recommended for: adventure seekers, age 55+, girls getaway, pet-friendly, sight seeing, romantic getaway

Owners response: Thanks Chad, I'm glad you enjoyed our little lost Eden. Come stay again..we give old buddy discounts!!! Kerry McCracken

Helpful votes: 2 / 2


Review submitted: January 4, 2010   Date of arrival: January 4, 2010

The place is as wonderful as the other reviewers say. The pictures here do not do the place justice. We hope we can come back many times! Truly amazing! Also, the property is huge and the hike to the cabin was as good as the national parks we've visited in Panama. Thanks to Jeff & Kerry & Ishmael! It was a pleasure.

Helpful votes: 1 / 1


Review submitted: August 26, 2009   Date of arrival: August 26, 2009

Cielo Mar is a gorgeous house atop a hill, where you can look over one shoulder to the Caribbean Sea, and over the other one towards the Talamanca Mountains. The pictures posted by its owners speak volumes about the beauty of the house and grounds but nothing compares to being there in person next to the tropical rainforest. During my stay there as a primate researcher, I was able to observe howler monkeys from dawn until dusk (poolside!) and closely observe a variety of other animals, including toucans, parrots, sloths and coati mundis. The relatively large size of the property, which is mostly rainforest with trails, makes Cielo Mar a suitable place to observe wildlife – for research or pleasure. I recommend Cielo Mar to anyone seeking tropical wildlife, scenery, or serenity.

Helpful votes: 1 / 1


Review submitted: December 22, 2008   Date of arrival: December 22, 2008

Our stay at Cielo Mar last summer was one of the most delightful and relaxing vacations I have ever had. The location on the hill (about one quarter mile from the beach) provided not only cool breezes but spectacular views of the Caribbean and surrounding jungle. My favorite spot was the covered deck, built of gorgeous native wood, open on four sides, sitting atop the house – perfect for reading, napping, watching the ever-changing sea or the wildlife in the surrounding jungle. We saw toucans, parrots, and a huge variety of other birds I could not name (great for birdwatchers), as well as monkeys, and sloths. The views could be enhanced by a telescope on the top deck. In the late afternoon, the Howler monkeys would occasionally gather in large numbers in the trees around the swimming pool (my second favorite spot), seemingly conferring about where they would spend the night. On top of the natural beauty, there were great restaurants offering top-notch international cuisine just a short drive from the house. More restaurants and night life could be found in Puerto Viejo, just a 20-minute drive up the road. I can’t say enough about this little piece of paradise – friendly people, beautiful surroundings, and activities galore (from boating and fishing to swimming and surfing in the Caribbean, to hiking in the jungle).

Helpful votes: 1 / 1


Review submitted: December 21, 2008   Date of arrival: December 21, 2008

This place is spectacular..We felt like we were in a zoo
without bars.It is real primary jungle,real interface
with it,but in a luxurious setting,and the pool is just
perfect..We plan to come back often and hope we can
help with some of the projects in the preserve.

Owners response: Its so true..thats why I love it here..I feel like I am among the angels
watching the birds and monkeys from the ridge..KM

Helpful votes: 1 / 1


Review submitted: December 21, 2008   Date of arrival: December 21, 2008

This place is spectacular..We felt like we were in a zoo
without bars.It is real primary jungle,real interface
with it,but in a luxurious setting,and the pool is just
perfect..We plan to come back often and hope we can
help with some of the projects in the preserve.

Helpful votes: 1 / 1


Review submitted: October 12, 2008   Date of arrival: October 12, 2008

I would like to to share with whoever is interested that I had a very memorable time staying at this home last summer. The view from the home and pool is like nothing I saw anywhere else in Costa Rica. The swimming pool was a favorite hangout spot for me as it always had cool breezes. We spent hours walking along the beach between Punta Uva and Manzanillo or Punt Uva and Puerto Viejo.
Another plus was the wildlife around the home. I saw Howler and El Capitan monkeys numerous times from the home. Upon arriving back in the US, I really missed the beautiful sound the Howlers make which you could here through the jungle almost daily. Finally I want to mention the upstairs balcony with open air views in all directions. This was the "reading haven" for me and my friends and I spent hours reading and watching the view. I hope to go back again and am so thankful for the experience!!
Craig Bowie-Elementary School Teacher
Flagstaff, Arizona

Helpful votes: 1 / 1


Review submitted: September 24, 2008   Date of arrival: September 24, 2008

My fiancee and I stayed at the lodge for three weeks in May/June 2008. the simple truth is it's breath-taking. the views and sunsets are stunning. we found ourselves surrounded by toucans, howler monkeys and many wonderful frogs. the house itself is wonderfully crafted from wood for a rustic feel over three levels, yet retains modern comforts with washer, dryer, warm water and expansive kitchen etc. and best of all the cool breeze on the ridge keeps mosquitos to zero. a short walk are the most unspoiled and quiet beaches with all the trappings of a tropical paradise. the warm charm of the house is complemented by the jungle to explore and the pool for a quick dip. we really loved our time and will come again. you make friends in minutes of moving in or have the space to be aone on the hill in paradise. Geoff and Carry the owners are people we trust and keep in touch with as friends. your time there, at the risk of sounding trite, is going to give you some of the fondest memories of your life.

Helpful votes: 2 / 2


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