I am so glad we chose to stay here, especially after seeing some of the other hotel accommodations in Moneteverde. Not that there is anything wrong with the other accommodations – quite the opposite! There is a fabulous array of boutique hotels and spas, friendly hostels and B&Bs run by locals, but to me, some of the larger hotels look a little grandiose for a hilltop village surrounded by a cloud forest. In contrast, I found our cabin (no.12 / standard cabin) at Los Pinos to be a perfect blend of rustic comfort in an absolutely beautiful and secluded location.
Cabin 12 was located at the bottom of a dirt track which was just about big enough for our 4×4 to fit through. We were the last in a row of 4 cabins, and as such enjoyed complete seclusion and tranquillity. Adjacent to our cabin was the start of one of the few hiking trails at Los Pinos, so we were situated right on the fringe of the rainforest and benefited from varied and unexpected wildlife sightings right from our bedroom and kitchen window – including a family of raccoons! During our entire 4 day stay, no humans wandered by our cabin, and we saw just 5 of the other guests from Los Pinos when wandering around the beautiful grounds and plantation.
The wildlife in the ground of Los Pinos was fantastic. During out stay we saw:
- Keel-Billed Motmots
- and at night, our cabin was surrounded with hundreads of fireflies – like tealights in the forest they danced around us and light out path through the grounds to the village.
We benefited from the most amazing decking area adjacent to our cabin, which was elevated above ground level, protruding into the trees. It was a great spot for hummingbirds which were attracted to the beautiful orchids and other flowering plants beside our cabin – it was a great opportunity to take pictures of them in the wild opposed to baiting them with nectar feeders. We often found ourselves enticed to come back t the cabin after a strenuous morning hiking, revelling in the chance to relax on the patio furniture and cook a meal from all the fresh (free!) ingredients gathered from the on-site fruit, herb and vegetable plantation.
Each cabin has its own garden area – some are filled with beautiful tropical flowers, others benefit from covered decking and porch areas, meaning you can sit outside and enjoy uninterrupted views of the wild afternoon storms with a hot cup of Costa Rican Coffee in hand. Each cabin looked as inviting as the next.
For the very reasonable price we paid (and despite very favourable reviews) I expected much less from the cabins. People warned of their rustic nature – but I found them utterly charming and more than fit for purpose. You get a lot of bang for your buck here. The cabins are extremely comfortable (though don’t throw yourselves down on the sofas as they are a little threadbare and you might end up getting prodded by a spring or two 🙂 ) The beds were extremely comfortable – I slept like a log and woke early every morning, refreshed and excited to face the day. The bedrooms also had a programmable safe, satellite TV and open wardrobes.
The cabin was surrounded with picture windows on two sides, offering you amazingly private views of the forest whilst you’re having your breakfast / supper. We had a private driveway (more on this later), and the most fabulous warm and clean powerful showers which were a godsend for the early morning and just the thing for easing aching muscles after a day’s hiking (don’t take these showers for granted – many places in Costa Rica suffer from water pressure).
The kitchen was wonderfully appointed – there were so many gadgets and gizmos that I had no idea what some of them were for. Crucially there was a coffee maker, which meant you could enjoy your own fresh Costa Rican coffee whenever you wanted. There was also a microwave and a two burner stove. There was also a fridge and a small freezer compartment – we often bought supplies from the supermarket in Santa Elena and then stocked up our fridge for packed lunches, breakfasts and dinners (and cold beers!). They also provided kitchen towels, washing up liquid, wine glasses, plates, bowls etc and a toaster oven.
Also provided was a much needed (!) dehumidifier. This we could not have done without -it was working to maximum capacity most of the time. We found ourselves having to empty it after a few hours of it running – the humidity was incredible. I have never experienced anything like it. You step outdoors and instantly you are drenched in your own sweat – and that’s the way you stay until you retire indoors once more. That said, the cabin was never uncomfortable, and it cooled down tremendously in the evening, allowing for an excellent night’s sleep.
The drive to cabin 12 was a challenge in itself! It was incredibly steep (and aimed straight at the cabin’s front door!). It tested driver skill, the car’s brakes and driver willpower. However, getting the 4×4 down the driveway was nothing compared to getting it out again! There was no room to turn our intermediate sized 4×4 round next to the cabin, nor beyond it, so the driver was required to reverse up an incredibly steep slope, and then continue reversing along the very windy and narrow dirt track all the way to reception. The first time we did so, we arrived at reception somewhat camouflaged having brought most of the surrounding foliage with us. But we got better at it over time 🙂
I’d recommend taking time to wander around the grounds during your stay – they are beautifully planted and full of orchids, palm trees and even pineapple plants.
As touched on before, Los Pinos has its own plantation and, as guests, you are allowed to wander freely through the poly tunnels to pick your own produce. We gathered handfuls of fresh basil and rosemary to cook up a pasta supper. Also on offer was tomatoes, lettuce, strawberries, chives, mint, sage, parsley, coriander etc. It was fantastic fresh produce from the heart of the forest.
Los Pinos perfectly located for all local attractions. Within walking distance you have an ATM, bakery, tourist office (where you can book sky tram etc), a butterfly farm, Johnny’s Pizzeria (nice) and the incredible and romantic Chimera restaurant (latin infused tapas) – where we had one of the most incredible meals ever (think seabass in mango and papaya sauce, amazingly composed soups and slow cooked pork with white beans and caramelised onions). A little further afield (5 mins drive) is the the reptile and orchid centre, the centre of Santa Elena with its supermarket and treetop bar and Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. About 15 mins drive away is the Selvatura Park.
We thought Los Pinos was a perfect place to relax, we wholly enjoyed our stay there and would not hesitate in returning – it is a gem! Visit the LosPinos website for further information.