El Sueno de Ocotal is our version of Shangri La, defining it as an idyllic, peaceful, and picturesque hideaway on Playa Ocotal, an easy 3.7 km from the hustle and bustle of exciting Playa de Coco, and only a 5 minute walk down a natural path to the most exquisite and quiet beaches we have ever seen.
We stayed in the modestly decorated, yet clean and comfortable huge one bedroom apartment with king size bed located on the first floor of a beautiful Spanish style villa, with its own wing, and very large outdoor patio dining area which is adjacent to the crystal clear pool we used for cooling off, and swimming lengths.
The kitchen is equipped with a two burner electric cook top with adequate cooking and storage containers, a toaster oven, microwave, refrigerator, dishes and utensils for four. Although basic, it does the job very nicely. All food except that are in airtight containers (including food waste) is best stored in the refrigerator, as it will attract insects.
The bathroom is quite large with ample space to store toiletries...we brought our own travel size body wash and shampoo etc. as none are provided, but that is perfectly fine, as we prefer using our own anyway. Dish soap and hand soap are both provided. Upon request Calin and Silvia were more than happy to oblige my request for the use of a hairdryer for the duration of our visit.
We chose to stay at El Sueno de Ocotal because it offered us the opportunity to cook for ourselves, to enjoy the beautiful scenery and natural environment, was an easy and very pleasant 45 minute walk (which we did daily) to the tourist area of Playa de Coco...most of all, it was a trip to unwind and get a feel for what it could be like to live in Costa Rica, and so far this is our favourite spot by far! Words cannot adequately describe the feeling of waking up and seeing the spectacular blues and turquoise of the Pacific Ocean from one’s bed – nothing sets you up for your day like that.
Having said all this, the true highlight of the trip was to spend time with, and getting to know our hosts Calin and Silvia - an absolutely delightful couple. They provided us with the most enriching opportunities to experience the local area, as well as the Guanacaste region as a whole...from shopping at the grocery store the locals use, buying fish from a local fisherman whose location would never been known if not for someone taking you there, visiting a very remote waterfall, experiencing the mud baths at Las Hornillas Volcano Hot Springs at Miravalles Volcano, accompanying them on their visit with friends at the luxury resort Rio Perdido Hotel and Thermal River, and shopping for fruits and veggies at the Farmers Market in Liberia. Most of all, we enjoyed cooking dinner for them... enjoying cocktails, good wine, ‘breaking bread’, and lively dinner conversation. We feel we have made friends for life.
We highly recommend El Sueno de Ocotal, in fact we are hoping to rent the 2nd floor 3 bedroom apartment (that spans the entire first floor) next year for ourselves and my in-laws to share 2-3 weeks in paradise together. El Sueno de Ocotal has excellent cost/value, is an easy drive from Liberia Airport, and in easy access to many of the other fantastic beaches along the coast. If you are looking for an upscale luxury resort experience, this is not for you...but if you are interested in experiencing more of the real day-to-day living in Costa Rica, hands down, stay here; it’s as close to authentic as you can get without losing any of the comforts of home.
Anne-Marie & Paul Candy, Barrie, Ontario, Canada
P.S. It’s much better to book directly with Calin at: email@example.com