Bali House far exceeded our expectations. You can look at all of the photos on here, but until you’re there you can’t fully understand. We had 9 in our group and definitely could’ve fit more. The rooms were all a generous size, super comfy and had AC. We also hired a chef (Alejandro) and it was so worth it.
The location is excellent too. Far enough away from everyone that you truly feel like you’re in a remote area, but you’re close to the beach and can walk along the beach to restaurants and a grocery store.
I can’t even begin to describe how amazing the pool was. As another reviewer stated, you can spend hours in there... and we did. The monkeys came to visit us two days and pulled the trick others warned about where one distracts while another goes inside. They stole our eggs and fruit! But they were so cute we weren’t even mad.
We had a few bats come into the main house at night and more than once they hit the fan and fell to the floor dead. So make sure you’ve got someone brave enough to dispose of them with you.
We took a van from San Jose and it took 2-3 hours each way, but someone nearby also let us know there’s about a 15 minute flight from Quepos to San Jose. I’d have to do that next time to get more pool time in.
Seriously, if you’re considering Bali House, do it. You can’t go wrong.
Bali House is perfectly situated ...gorgeous mountain views and a short walk down the path to the white sands of the Pacific Ocean. The house is more beautiful than the pictures,it has every amenity you could possibly want or need.
We were a family of 10...three generations. Everyone loved our stay. Fernando and Maria were so helpful in planning our daily activities.
A true vacation that will be remembered by all of us
Pictures do not do it justice. The house and grounds are spectacular. The manager, Fernando and his daughter Maria are so helpful they only added to the enjoyment of our vacation. The grandchildren loved the morning visits by the white faced monkeys. Costa Rica and the people are wonderful and you quickly learn about Pura Vida. It was a perfect place to celebrate family and our 50th wedding anniversary.
The Bali House is a place which will exceed all of your expectations!
Our family arrived on a Thursday, late afternoon, after traveling from the States to San Jose International Airport. The transportation from the airport to The Bali House took about 4 hours, and we stopped for about 60 minutes to visit a couple of attractions. Without stopping, the trip takes a little under 3 hours, and the drive is amazing - lots to see. Our party consisted of 6 adults and 5 kids, aged 9-19, and they loved every second of the vacation.
On arrival to the House, our luggage was situated for us and then divided by owner/room. The kids immediately jumped into the infinity pool, which was clean and totally refreshing. We separated to settle in our rooms, which were all basically immaculate suites, with king beds AND another double bed in each corner. The bathrooms were spacious and clean and well kept. Andrea the housekeeper performed laundry and cleaning as needed and our chef provided for excellent meals.
The house itself is stunning! There are no other words to describe the craftsmanship that went into the construction of this house. Beautiful wood floors and appointments, a dining table which seated 12, all the suites had functioning air conditioning, and the main den area was enormous and easily accommodated our family. The infinity pool is insane, as were the views. Monkeys come to visit constantly, and keep an eye on your bananas! WIFI was available, although don't think you'll get the speeds you are used to in the States. But, who cares, put your screen down when you can and enjoy the beauty of this place.
The house itself was in the jungle, but the walk to the beach was very easy and only a slight bit of grade on the way back to the house. The path to the beach opens up to the Manuel Antonio beach, which is totally breathtaking. PLENTY of room for everyone on the beach, it was enormous. And, we took walks into the more commercial area, which was about a 20 minute beach walk. Parasailing, kayaking, tours, surf lessons and more await you, if that is your thing. The sunsets were absolutely awesome!
Overall, we were all raving about our experience at The Bali House, and the help from Fernando and Maria during our stay. One thing to remember - bring cash - you'll get better prices on activities, gifts and food.
Can't say enough good things about our experience at The Bali House, the locals and everyone who made this vacation the trip of a lifetime. Pura Vida indeed. I'd go back in a second! Fantastic!
I almost don't want to write a glowing review of this property because it will only help to fuel demand/price and make it harder for me to book the property in the future. But that wouldn't be fair to Peter and Lily. So I'll just be honest.
My family was one of three families (6 adults, 7 kids) that stayed at 9 days at the Bali house. My wife and I stayed in the master suite (like being in Ritz Carlton), the kids banded together to make their own accommodations, and the other two couples stayed in the other houses. All the bedrooms had A/C, which helps for a good night sleep. Everyone had plenty of room. We could have had a couple more people come, but they would have had to stay in the pavilion, which does not have A/C and would have been uncomfortable at night. 13 is the right number of people for a comfortable stay.
The open air pavilion in all the marketing pictures was where everyone would hang out, cook, play games, access social media and such. The view is stunning and mesmerizing. I would find myself just sitting there looking at the jungle/sky/ocean sunset and thinking I was in a dream. Be forewarned, you will be sad on your last night knowing you have to go back home to "reality". I was surprised that we could open all the sliding door windows (there are no screens) and wouldn't get eaten/stung by mosquitoes or other bugs. We prepared for the worse bringing all kinds of bug repellent, but I found the bugs weren't that bad at all (my wife didn't fare as well, but bugs know who's the sweetest). Right outside the pavilion we had a nice pool heavily used by the kids. Whole house, pool and large deck was probably 15 feet above the ground. You could look down into the jungle. Iquanas, lizards, geckos, monkeys (Capuchins and Howlers), big guinnea-pig type critters, birds, butterflies, moths, bats, even little house crabs were all around. The property is literally in the middle of a miniature rain forest. In a pack-like manner, almost daily the Capuchin monkey gang would stop by on their journey to view us humans like we were the one's in the zoo (of course they were looking for food). One of the kids, after waking from a snooze on the sofa in the pavilion, saw one of monkeys hauling off a couple plantains we had the in the kitchen.
Eating at the Bali house was an adventure. We stopped by Maxi Pali to load up on food/drinks/alcohol. Get some BBQ meats and cereal, chips, and milk The blood orange fruit concentrate was great for cocktail mixes, smoothies, drinks, and pancake syrup. If you want to live like a Costa Rican, buy beans and rice. Stop by one of fruit stands and buy some mangoes and papayas. If you don't want to fuss with cooking, hire a chef. We hired Tito Borge to cook one dinner meal for us after a long day of activities. He charged $170 plus grocery cost (turned out to be $130) to prepare a meal for 13 of us. It was delicious. Guacamole, chicken, red snapper, rice, beans, salads, all perfectly seasoned. Ice cream for dessert.
Beach access is the number one amenity of the Bali House. The beach is about a 1 minute walk through the jungle from the house. I didn't see any other homes "on the beach" like the Bali house. There was a gate with a chain/pad-lock that prevented the public from accessing the property. One person in our party bought three boogie boards for the kids. They were used extensively (we left the boogie board there for the next group of people to use). The waves were of different sizes and intensity, which gave options to people: some wanted to venture out and ride the larger waves, others could stay closer in and ride the small waves. Do be careful as there were some large waves could pummel you pretty good.
Everyone spent a lot of time at the beach, at their own time and pace. This is important for large groups because you don't have to pack-up and plan to do everything at the same time. The water is WARM: perfect in my opinion. Could stay in for hours and not get cold. Sometimes the intense sun would be blocked a little by afternoon clouds that would form. About 1/2 mile south down the beach several kids took surf lessons (loved it), and several people went parasailing. We used Dante's watersports for the surfing.
We had Johan Chaves and his assistant take our group on a guided tour of the MA rain forest. He's very knowledgeable, funny, chatty, and has an uncanny ability to spot critters. He charged us $47/person. We went on the El Santuario Zip Line Tour at $75/person (they pick you up at the Bali House and take to spot about 30 minutes away). Many in our group rated this event as one of their highlights. Some very fast, long, scenic and thrilling rides. They were very safety conscious and they made us sign a form that released them from all liability. They fed us a Costa Rican lunch (chicken/beans/rice) that tasted extra good after a couple hours of hiking and zip-lining through the rain forest. Guides were fun and had sense of humor.
I arrived home last night, kind of sad. You will definitely get post vacation blues after staying at the Bali House. As I think back over my adventure and some of the highlights, I have come to realize that Costa Rica, Manual Antonio, or all the activities/tours are not the destination. Bali House is the destination. You could stay there the whole week and not do anything else and come back refreshed and enlivened and will have felt that you didn't miss a thing. And that ends my review. Enjoy, you won't be disappointed.
Odds and Ends:
I can't quite give the property a perfect 10. One thing that was irritating was the slow ice-maker. With 13 people, 90 degrees and 99% humidity - we were demanding/using ice like crazy. Drinks, smoothies, cocktails. The ice maker seems old and worn and didn't make that much ice. Would only fill-up about 1/3rd way after being on a whole day. If they could get this fixed, then a perfect 10 in my book.
$160 van (plus tip) ride (could probably hold 8 people) each way from San Jose airport to Bali House. 5,000 Colones taxi costs each way into Quepos. Quepos has some shopping, but not really a tourist town.
Props to Fernando and his daughter Maria who arranged all our tours and events. They were friendly and available by phone/email. Great flavorful CR coffee provided every day. You will have workers around the property during the day. No problems with theft, we kept valuables locked up in safe. Bali house owners recommend a $10 per room tip per day. Owners Peter and Lily are easy to work with and responsive.
Watch the exchange rate. Most merchants just double the rate. 10,000 Colones = $20. Its really 10,000 colones = $18. In other words, if you buy something for 10,000 colones, you should be giving the merchant $18 dollars, not $20. However, this "doubling" can work to your advantage if you pay in Colonies for a service priced in dollars. No power outages.
Rains every night. Howler monkeys, if they decide to camp your area, will start howling at about 4:00am. They are very loud. Leaf cutter ants will form a line from outside and take away any unprotected breads, cereals, chips, etc. You cam leave fruits with skin out. It would be nice if Bali House provided a couple cans of Raid/ant spray. I wish owners would somehow let guest feed the monkeys. Pool was perfect (kids went back and forth between beach and pool).
Zip line tour takes pictures and charged us $70 for 50+ digital pictures that we can access on-line.
|How easy was it to book the property?||How easy was key pickup/access to the property?|
|Overall condition of the property||Bedding & mattresses|
|Kitchen & utensils||Bathroom cleanliness|
|Other facilities & amenities||Service|
|Friends getaway||Families with young children|