Monkeys galore at our Costa Rica Beach Rentals

Casa Bambu ~ Costa Rica Beach House Rental

Four Unique Beach Houses -- Recommended by Lonely Planet

Scarlet Macaw convene at our Costa Rica Vacation Beach Houses.  Photo by guest Russell Burns.


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Where is the property located exactly? Where is the nearest place to eat or buy groceries?
Can you recommend a place to stay in San Jose? How bad are the bugs?
What is the climate like? Is there electricity?
Is the water safe to drink? Do we need to hire a guide, or can we find our own way around?
Will I need a car? What should we bring?
Is the beach in front of the house ever crowded? What about money?
Is the beach safe for swimming? Do I need to get any shots?
Is there snorkeling? Are there medical facilities nearby?
Is the area safe? Do you advise bringing children?
How far is it to Corcovado National Park? What if someone at home needs to contact me, or vice versa?
What is the nearest town? How far in advance should I reserve?

If you have any questions please feel free to contact us. We want to help make your trip a fantastic experience!

Where is the property located exactly?

Our property is located about 200 miles south of San Jose, in Costa Rica’s southern Pacific region, at the tip of the Osa Peninsula where the Pacific Ocean meets the Golfo Dulce. It is 18 km or 11 miles (35-40 minute drive) south of Puerto Jimenez, the Osa's largest town and about one hour from famous Corcovado National Park, in an extension of the same rainforest. See our Getting There page for a Google map.

The Osa Peninsula is on the Pacific Ocean side of Costa Rica, just north of Panama. The Golfo Dulce ("sweet gulf") is a huge gulf separating the Osa Peninsula from the Costa Rican mainland. For more information on the Osa and the Matapalo area, visit Matapalo & the Osa Peninsula.

Can you recommend a place to stay in San Jose?

Sometimes, due to flight schedules, you’ll need to stay over in San Jose on your way down to, or back from, our house. We can recommend some Costa Rican style, well-run hotels that treat our guests very well. One is in downtown San Jose within an easy walk of museums, shops and other sights and near the Nature Air terminal. The other is a lovely place with a gorgeous view of the city located near the International airport and the Sansa terminal.

What is the climate like?

Since this is a tropical rainforest, it can be hot and humid at times, pleasantly temperate at others. Because we are right on the water, we often have a lovely breeze and it almost always cools off in the evening. All our beds are equipped with bed fans, so sleeping is comfortable.

Of course weather is different from year to year, but typically temperatures range from the low 80s to low 90's, high 70's at night. During the dry season, from mid-December to the end of April, it rarely rains and sun worshippers love it. Temperatures then range from the 80s to 90s, with March and April the hottest months. Later in the year, August through November, it is generally cloudier and cooler, with temperatures in the 80s.

Early May to July is the beginning of the green season, when it rains a few times a week, usually at night. Around mid-June to mid-August "little summer" occurs, when rain is less likely. When it does rain, it is almost always at night. September through late November is rainier, with the heaviest rains in October to mid-November. Then the typical pattern is hard afternoon or night rains. Rain ranges from mist to several inches an hour.

Because San Jose is in a mountain valley its weather is very different from Matapalo. It can be quite cool, so bring a light jacket or sweater for that part of the trip.

Is the water safe to drink?

It is generally safe to drink the water in San Jose, Puerto Jimenez and throughout Costa Rica. We have never gotten sick from it. The water at our houses is pure nectar, straight from our artesian wells. Don't even think about getting bottled water while there. At our houses you drink and shower with the some of nature's best.

Will I need a car?

You don’t need a car if you don't mind hiking around, as most activities and restaurants are within walking distance and taxis are readily available for anything else. However, some people prefer to have their own vehicle. We can help you arrange a car rental with a discount.

Is the beach in front of the house ever crowded?

Never! Playa Pan Dulce is often deserted, or at most shared by a few. It is a glorious spot to relax; swim in warm, tropical waters; pick up shells; play in waves; watch hermit crabs; spot whales and dolphins; gaze at pelicans; gape at sunrises; stroll under palm trees; explore tide pools. We’ve even had the thrill of seeing baby turtles hatch out there and scramble into the ocean! Ours is one of a string of beaches in the immediate area that are among the most beautiful in Costa Rica.

Is the beach in front of the house safe for swimming?

Generally it is a very good swimming beach and quite safe. However, as always with the ocean, caution is recommended. If the surf seems too big (or too small) you can simply change beaches! The waves become progressively smaller as you approach town, larger as you approach the Pacific. Ours is about in the middle in terms of difficulty. Although sometimes it can be like a lake, other times it has great surfing waves, often perfect for beginners and stand up paddling. It’s only 4-6 feet deep for 200 yards out and the clean, blue water averages 83 degrees year round. The end of the beach towards our house is somewhat rocky, so it’s advisable to swim about half way down toward the north.

Is the area safe?

This is generally a tranquil and friendly area, but like anywhere else the usual precautions are advised. We recommend locking up your passports, money and valuable items in the house safe as a precaution and locking up the house if you leave for long periods. We also advise guests to lock the house at night, just as you would at home. It feels like paradise, but it is planet earth, and common sense is always called for.

How far is it to Corcovado National Park?

This magnificent, 100,000-acre park is a beautiful hour's drive away. Our manager, William, is an excellent (and affordable) guide for this trek. For more information on Corcovado visit the "tours page of this site and Matapalo and the Osa Peninsula.

What is the nearest town?

Known as the “gateway to Corcovado,” Puerto Jimenez is 11 miles from our property (about a 35-40 minute drive). It's a small, laid- back, friendly town with a well-equipped supermarket, many restaurants, two banks with ATMs, airstrip, gas station, bakeries, various stores and Internet cafés.

Where is the nearest place to eat or buy groceries?

There are well-equipped grocery stores in Puerto Jimenez. We send you a shopping list of what to expect in advance of your trip. We recommend you stock up when you arrive in Puerto Jimenez, as there are no stores out at Matapalo, where our houses are. However, we can often pick up items you might have forgotten for you and there are restaurants within walking distance. For more information, visit Getting There and Services.

How bad are the bugs?

Surprisingly, there are few or no mosquitoes most of the time, as they are repelled by the tannin of the rainforest debris or washed away by rains. Usually other insects are only noticeable downstairs in the evening and do not bite. In fact, they are very interesting and exotic! Any biting insects (the occasional mosquitoes or sand fleas on the beach) are easily discouraged with insect repellent. (Any brand that works where you live works in Costa Rica. Repellent containing DEET works for just about everybody, but usually natural repellents work fine).

Is there electricity?

Our houses run on solar power provided by solar panels. They have lights and fans that work perfectly, day and night, and are as convenient as regular electricity. They run on 110 volts, which is just like the U.S., so you don’t need adaptors to charge your laptop, phones or cameras. The only thing our system can’t handle is hairdryers, toasters and microwave ovens, but nobody cares what your hair looks like down here anyway!

Do we need to hire a guide, or can we find our own way around?

There is plenty of great hiking and exploring you can do on your own. We supply you with a map of the local area that shows you how to find the four deserted beaches within walking distance and the gorgeous local waterfalls. There are also tour guides. (See our Local Tours page). Our manager William has his own tour business just for our guests. He grew up playing in the forest and has an eagle eye for wildlife.

What about money?

Costa Rican colones and US dollars are universally accepted, but you won't get a very good rate of exchange when you pay for things like taxis or at small stores. If you want colones, we recommend exchanging money at the San Jose Airport in the baggage claim area immediately after you disembarque. You can also change money at your hotel in San Jose or in Puerto Jimenez at the banks, but the wait can be an hour. Generally, you can expect that things will cost about what they do in the U.S. Some items, such as local produce, are less, but this is a good general guideline. For a cash advance, there are two banks with ATM machines in Puerto Jimenez, and many in San Jose. If the machines don’t work you can go into the bank. For this you will need to present a passport. As regards using credit cards, some places in Puerto Jimenez accept them, including the supermarket. Many tours, if they accept them, charge a fee for credit cards. As regards traveler’s checks, no one accepts them. In general, you will need to cash them at the bank (which also charges a fee). Nobody accepts personal checks, as they take up to two months to clear.

As regards tipping, it depends on how the service is and how you feel. There is a 10% service charge incorporated within most restaurant bills, but of course you are welcome to add to this. Taxi drivers own their own vehicles, but if they go the extra mile you may want to tip them.

There is no sales tax in Costa Rica unless you're at a tourist type place. Restaurants include a 3% sales tax in addition to a 10% service fee.

Is there snorkeling?

Because we are on the Pacific and the waves stir up the water, this is not Caribbean quality snorkeling. That said, many guests enjoy playing around with masks and snorkels, exploring the waters on our beach. In addition, the Golfo Dulce Tour (see our Tours/On Water page) takes you to a reef with tropical fish and supplies masks, snorkels and fins.

Are there medical facilities nearby?

Puerto Jimenez has a 24-hour clinic. There is also a hospital in Golfito, across the gulf. For serious conditions or accidents, San Jose has some great hospitals and is a 50-minute flight by air ambulance.

Do you advise bringing children?

Matapalo is kid heaven and you haven't gone on a nature walk until you do it here! The children who have stayed here have said it was an unforgettable experience. Away from all the distractions of modern life, the place is wonderfully conducive to family time. (Nothing like getting away from TV, video games, computers, etc.!) Even our teens hang out with us, play cards and games and put on skits.

If you bring toddlers they need to be constantly supervised, inside and out. The yard is kept manicured, but there is wildlife everywhere and of course anytime you're by the ocean strict caution should be observed. In other words, all young children must be kept CLOSELY supervised.

What if someone at home needs to contact me, or vice versa?

There is now 4G LTE phone reception at the houses. You can bring a phone and buy a very inexpensive sim card from ICE at any supermarket. This will give you free local calls and enough bandwidth to use google maps for interactive GPS and driving directions. If you bring a laptop we also provide Internet access by wifi. Someone can always get a quick message to you by contacting us by e-mail ( or phone (US: 512-646-2658; Costa Rica: +506-4000-2148) these are forwarding numbers and do not accept text messages. If no answer, leave a voice message) and we'll get word to you.

How far in advance should I reserve?

To insure you get the exact dates you want, you should book the Christmas/New Year's, Easter/Spring Break and even Thanksgiving weeks many months or even a year in advance. Other times, it is advisable to make reservations at least 3 months in advance from Christmas to August. Mid August through mid-December there is usually more flexibility, but if you are locked into a schedule it is always good to reserve as far in advance as possible. However, never hesitate to inquire about availability at any time! We do have cancellations, so can almost always accommodate you.

What should we bring?

Life on the Osa is simple and casual. Beach clothes and swimsuits are the usual attire.

Other good things to bring:

  • Quick drying clothes
  • T-shirts, tank tops, shorts
  • A Long-sleeved shirt and lightweight pants for San Jose
  • Flashlights (with spare bulbs and batteries) are a MUST. Large beam recommended
  • Binoculars if desired
  • Day pack and water bottle for hiking
  • Beach sheet or mat if desired (beach chairs provided)
  • Footwear:
    • Comfortable walking shoes and/or sport sandals;
    • "Aqua sox" (mesh and rubber water shoes) for ocean and creeks;
    • Flip flops or crocs;

  • Sunscreen (at least 50 spf - 50+ is better)
  • Sun hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Insect repellent (with DEET, although natural often works)
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Swimmer's Ear prevention drops
  • An umbrella or light rain jacket in the green season
  • Camera (plus batteries)
  • Books, cards and games
  • Spanish/English dictionary

© Copyright 2009 Casa Bambu L.L.C.