From the moment the huge arched doors were opened by Jorge the Butler to greet us, expansive ocean views and a cool breeze welcomed us. We travelled as a group of 5 couples on a kid-free week-long vacation and never wanted to leave. You will never spend time in your room unless you're sleeping (and the beds are luxuriously comfy) - instead, you'll lounge poolside, head to the beach, hike back up (it's steep!! very steep - workout!), play cards at your private bar cabana or be called to a meal al fresco and trust me, the food's incredible! Honestly, I hesitate to write a great review because I don't want too many people to know about this place! Oh - and Playa Ocotal is black sand gorgeous and almost private! PERFECTION!
Don't want to read my entire review? Here's a quick summary - book it before someone else does!
We take some pretty killer vacations, some of which you can find in our reviews on Trip Advisor in the past. Money is typically not a concern when we are booking, we are simply looking for unforgettable memories. We have accomplished this several times, but this one takes top prize for family. Villa de la Luna has been recommended to us by families that have stayed here several times. We we're fortunate to be the winning bidders for a one week stay here through a charity foundation auction. We paid about market rate for the Villa, so my review is based on staying here at nearly full (within 5%) retail cost.
Communication with the owner was light, yet efficent. I was sent all the pertinent information I needed to plan the trip upon booking. The owner always answered email within a day, usually much faster.
Easy flight from Miami to Liberia, Costa Rica. This airport is small, but immigration processing was quick, considering 3 planes landed within a few minutes of one another. Customs was even faster and then you enter the pickup area, which was a bit intimidating, with taxi and shuttle drivers screaming at you for a fare. Look for a sign with your name and the villa name on it. Our bags were scooped up and we were in a quiet, peaceful van in minutes. Our driver, Oscar, was very friendly, fluent in English and entertaining for the 30 minute ride to the Villa. He was very proud of his home town, Playas de Coco, and took us for a spin around town before heading up the hill.
The Villa sits high on a hillside overlooking Playa Ocotol. I mean really high! The road from the base to the Villa is steep, with a hard turn about 3/4 of the way up. The position on the hill gives you amazing views. The walk down to the beach is about 6 mins. The walk up is dependent on what shape you are in - it could be 10 mins or 20 mins. You need to be in reasonable shape to make the climb.
The Villa's neighborhood is safe. There is someone at the villa or on the grounds full time - staff during the day, security at night. The gate to the Villa is closed after 10PM. The house two doors down has full time security. I never once worried about my children or my stuff while staying here.
Upon arriving at the Villa the first time, the double doors swing open and you are greeted by not only the most amazing view of the bay, the Pacific, and surrounding hillsides, but also some very friendly faces that you will come to appreciate over the next few days (or longer!). Our chef, bulter/bartender, maid, and helper introduced themselves and presented us with a snack for our 300PM arrival. Drinks were already made and poured since our driver called the Villa to place our order. The tacos were fantastic and a good harbinger of the cuisine that would follow. The drinks were spot on throughout the stay. We discussed dietary needs and preferences quickly and never had to address it again during the stay.
I checked out each room and decided where everyone was going to stay. Our bags were taken to our rooms, we changed and hit the pool. The rooms are nicely appointed, each with a full bath. We put three boys in the upstairs room with a king and two bunks and three girls in the upstairs room with a king and a sleeper sofa (reported by the one teen to be not very comfortable). One couple took the king room front and center on the second floor with an outstanding view from the bed. The other couple took the king 1st floor room to the left. We took the first floor king to the right. 1st floor rooms have showers. 2nd floor rooms have shower/tub combos. I prefer the former.
Common indoor space is limited. 4 or 5 people can watch TV inside. This vacation is about being outside and this Villa delivers with some awesome spaces. The pool and patio surrounding it can accommodate everyone. The upstairs patio can accommodate everyone on it's own! The tiki bar has a TV, room for 8 at the bar and more at tables surrounding it. There is a half bath at this tiki bar. You will not want for space outside. All meals are served outside at the dining room table set for 12. It's a great view while you eat! We visited in August. We all live in SW Florida and are used to hot, humid conditions. There were a few nights it was even too hot for us and we crowded inside for an hour before heading off to bed. Be forewarned if you live up north, it may take a day or two to acclimate.
The pool is as outstanding as it looks in the pictures. The water temperature was perfect. Always sparking clean. The grounds are beautiful, with flowering plants everywhere you look. The grounds keeper is there at sunrise, quietly returning the chairs and chaises to their proper place and tidying up. The rest of the staff arrives around 700AM, depending on when you are leaving for your excursion that day.
Each meal is an event! Breakfasts (when you are not leaving at 730AM to do something fun) are outstanding works of art. Lunch, even better. Dinner, a home run every time. Drinks never stop flowing. I am sure I literally gained 10 pounds in one week. The ingredients are all fresh, locally sourced. Think you had farm to table in the US? This will put that idea to shame. This is true farm (or sea) to table. Presentation is outstanding. Service is quick and not intrusive. Desserts were always homemade and so delicious! The staff leaves after cleaning up for dinner. The bartender will mix anything you need before he leaves and places the pitchers in the fridge. We found ourselves to be pretty sleepy after dinner and only made it a couple of hours before going to bed. In August the sun sets around 600PM, sunrise is 530AM. On a clear afternoon, the sunsets are amazing. We were able to catch one really good one. You won't see sunrises from the Villa.
Housekeeping is performed everyday. The house was immaculate when we arrived and remained that way despite 6 teenagers living there. There is a basket to put your dirty clothes in in each room. Your clothes are laundered each day and returned folded up in your closet. You could bring two outfits and two bathing suits and never need anything else.
Excursions are handled by a man named Kojakc. Consider him your personal conceirge. He truly is. I thought he was the mayor of Playas de Coco. He knows everyone and everything that is going on in the entire region! Trust him and his recommendations. He will put together amazing experiences for you and your family/guests. He handles all of the money and payments. You just show up and enjoy. All transportation is arranged for you, reservations are made, fun is had! Are you paying a premium for it? Probably, but it is insignificant in the scheme of things and invaluable when you don't want to have one bad day on the trip. I could write pages on the excusions but we did these: ATV (tons of water crossings and waterfall), sailing and beach excursion with Sea-Doos, rooster/deep sea fishing, horseback riding, zip lining, mud bath, hot springs, river rafting, surf town. That was 5 days of excursions. We also had 5 Star Salon come by on Saturday when we arrived. We all set appointments for Sunday morning. The rates were so low compared to the US we didn't know what we were in store for. It exceeded every expectation anyone had. Do it, great way to start the vacation!
You can walk to the beach and Father Rooster's which is a beach bar/restaurant at the bottom of the hill in Playa Ocotol. You can walk up to Bull Dog Fitness if you want to lift weights. It's a good walk or run down the hill and about 1/2 way back up the other side. No AC, but nice equipment, and cool people inside. That's about it for walking anywhere. Your butler will call you a cab if you want to go anywhere. They come in about 10 mins and cost $6-8 each way to Playas de Coco.
We rented two mopeds. This is strongly discourged by the conceirge, and with good reason. One moped driver had a minor accident just outside the villa and didn't ride it the rest of the week. He was pretty banged up. I ended up exploring the coast every morning putting a few hundred km on the moped in 5 days. It was a blast, but you have to be confident, vigilant, and SOBER to operate these machines. Just coming down the hill from the Villa can be dangerous. Please use caution if you rent mopeds. Do not rent golf carts. There is no way the brakes on a cart can stop it coming down that hill, especially with more than two people in the cart. I would considered renting a small SUV next time I come to the Villa for running to town at night for some night life.
Tips for first timers
Bring cash or make sure your debit cards are working in Costa Rica. We were limited to $500 per day per card. We were burning about $200 per person per day on excursions. Some excursions can be charged (fishing charter boats), some are cash only, and some Kojakc can charge for you and pay later. You will need cash if you tip out your excursion guides, Zipline helpers, charter captains and mates, ATV leaders, etc.
There is a complete America style grocery store called Auto Mercado in Coco, next to the Hard Rock Cafe (I know, right???). Anyway, just about anything you need is there. Next to it is a surf shop, and next to that is a pharmacy, and then a bank/ATM. Lots of security in this area. I stopped by every day on our way back from excursions or on the moped in the morning or late afternoon.
People in this area are generally happy. They smile and say hello. They appreciate the business we bring to their country and I treated them with the utmost respect for hosting us in the hometown.
No review is complete without some criticism. I only could come up with three items. First, the stereo speakers outside are powered by a receiver inside. Since there is WIFI throughout the indoor and outdoor space, why not add a Chromecast device so you can cast audio from your phone while you're in the pool? I will bring one with me next time and leave it there. Second, in the center 2nd floor bedroom, the toliet is uncomfortably close to the tub wall. Maybe not much can be done with this, perhaps a switch to a short bowl toilet. Third, the mattress in the sleeper sofa was reported to be thin and not comfortable. I didn't try it out myself, I am just repeating the complaint here, so take it with a grain of salt.
I can't wait to come back. I doubt I will make it a year without returning. Villa de la Luna is an excellent value as a home base for exploring this part of Costa Rica.
Our two families just returned from Villa de la Luna last night. What a perfect place to spend a week! The rooms were spacious and immaculate. We awoke each morning to a post card sunrise, delicious breakfast, and usually an iguana or two. After returning from whatever we chose to do each day (thanks to our new friend Kojakc), Jorge had a drink ready, and Socorrito had us very well fed in front of another post card sunset! The week rolled by way too fast.
Villa de la Luna is the perfect base for family trips, guys' or girls' trips, for die-hard fishing outings, work retreats, or doing nothing but just relaxing by the infinity pool. Every detail of the trip- from booking with Karissa, setting up adventures with Kojakc, through departure day was effortless. We will definitely be back!
Often in life we can be let down when we anticipate something too much. We were referred to Villa De La Luna by some former guests who assured us that we would not be disappointed. We have the great pleasure to write that the adventures, the food (!) the accomamodations, and the trip overall exceeded our expectations. The wonderful staff pampered us daily with a level of service and meals befitting a 5 star resort. Take advantage of the adventures - world class fishing (roosters, sails, and others) while white water rafting, sailboarding to remote, secluded beaches, zip-lining, and even surfing. The accomodations and staff are the hinge to a great Costa RIca vacation. Pure Vida
Just got back from our stay at Villa de La Luna in Costa Rica. Everything was perfect and we could not have asked for a better vacation. The house is absolutely beautiful and the staff was amazing. We were immediately swept away from the moment we arrived by the breath taking views. We enjoyed the beautiful sunset each evening while we ate fabulous food prepared and served by the ever attentive staff. The rooms are large, clean and very comfortable. The location of the Villa is very convenient to access all the activities you might want to enjoy in the country. I highly recommend Villa de La Luna for a Costa Rican vacation!