Orlando and family live and work on a dairy farm very near to Santa Elena/Monteverde. We had the amazing good fortune to find their farmstay on Tripadvisor and book it based on the extremely positive reviews others before us had made. We are so lucky we booked!
We traveled as a family of 4 (2 adults and 2 children ages 5 and 7) and found our time at Orlando's family farm to be the most positive and memorable part of our Costa Rica trip that included visits to La Fortuna/Arenal and Manuel Antonio.
In short, the farm is incredibly beautiful with sweeping views of the surrounding hills and farmland. All Santa Elena/Monteverde sights and restaurants are easily accessible with a car from the farm.
But what makes this such a special experience is the family. Orlando (son), Yolanda, Orlando (father) welcomed us with a warmth and sincerity that made our stay wonderful. Orlando Jr provided a tour of their organic dairy farm and explained all the innovations they have made to make their farm organic and sustainable while protecting the land on which they farm. Our children loved playing with their friendly dog (zorro), gathering eggs from the chicken coop, feeding the goats, milking the cows, running through the farm. Orlando Jr showed them all the workings of the farm, explaining to all of us how and why they farm as they do. Yolanda (his mother) was so warm/generous and prepared delicious meals for us of typical Costa Rican fare. Our children loved being around her and were often underfoot in the kitchen while she cooked, watching her and seeing how she prepared everything. She even had our children make their own fresh cheese!
We loved being on the farm so much, we chose to eat meals with them rather than visit area restaurants. Orlando senior (or Orlando viejo as they affectionately call him) was an amazing conversationalist as well and we enjoyed speaking with him about the economic challenges of farming and Costa Rican politics.
Experiences as special as meeting Orlando and family and staying on their farm are rare in life. You should not pass up the opportunity to interact with such "buena gente" as them and learn about organic farming in one of the most beautiful settings one can visit!
We will visit again and would love to stay with Orlando and family. Frankly, we'd move in if we could ;-)
Of note, if your prefer not to interact as much with the family, this in perfectly possible and acceptable. You will stay in a comfortable private house with kitchen and enjoy the best views in the area with great access to all area sights and restaurants. Orlando and family will follow your lead regarding your vision for your vacation time.
Great, huge house, very clean. more space than I expected. Great owners, they gave us their dairy products, we also had a tour in their rain forest trail and got to pet their farm animals, milk goat and bottle feed little calves!
The family Vargas could not be better hosts, warmly welcoming you to an enchanting family dairy farm, with a nicely appointed vacation home for their guests. The views from the mountain farm near Santa Elena are truly breath-taking, making an arduous drive up on a very rough road very worthwhile. Orlando senior and junior, mother and wife Yolanda and sister Caroline treat you as part of their family, happily showing you around thieir small dairy farm, and sharing thoughtful insight about Costa Rican culture and good travel information about the surrounding area. The legendary Cloud Forest is less than a half-hour away, a terrific restaurant (Bel Cruz) is within ten minutes of the farm, and you will never tire of the beautiful sun rises and sunsets from this magical place. Minor negatives are beds that are a little lacking in comfort, and a hot water system that is a little unpredictable. But the overall experience is unbeatable. Can't wait to return!
Comfortable 4 bedroom, two bath Tico home with great view of mountains and Gulf of Nicoya. Friendly family owners. Great communication from Orlando. Coffee and night-time wildlife tours nearby, 6 km (10 minutes) from Santa Elena.
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