finca bellavista

Back to Basics at Finca Bellavista
It was actually my husband who first learned about Finca Bellavista. After sharing my ideas for a Costa Rica trip, he had done a little research and found that a treehouse community exists in Puntarenas, in the south of the country, on the Pacific side.

Unlike some of the other hotels I had stayed at during my trip, I knew that Finca Bellavista would be different...and in many ways, a refreshing change and perhaps, even a challenge.

The treehouse community and eco-lodge is bare bones in the best of ways. Apart from your "treehouse," you have nothing but the great outdoors to keep you company. It took a day or two to fully get into my groove but once I did, I understood why so many people move here to volunteer on the finca.

Our home away from home, Casa Estrella, was two levels, featured two bedrooms, a full bathroom and two balconies. It was way more space than we needed but a very nice treat. Unlike some of the other houses, the Estrella has a strong wifi connection, electricity and the convenience of being close to Basecamp.

My mornings usually started with a silent meditation of some sort, followed by some lazy book reading in our treehouse hammock. Around 7:30am, we'd here the bell ring, signaling breakfast. There, we'd indulge in homemade eggs, rice and beans, french toast, fruit and whatever fresh juice they had made that day.

Since Finca Bellavista touts itself as more of a community than a full-on hotel, meals are very casual. Everyone says hi to each other—guests, staff and volunteers. I was pleasantly surprised to meet some fellow New Yorkers. Clearly, there's something to be said about a real jungle (or rainforest in this case), versus the concrete jungle of New York.

Depending on your budget, you can order meals a-la-carte or make your own—each order comes with rice, eggs and the like, as well as access to their on-site herb garden. Despite being here a week, we never took advantage of this option. It did add up at the end, so it's worth thinking about before you arrive.

In true rainforest fashion, it starts raining in the early afternoon, so we'd usually squeeze in a hike after breakfast. Trails are marked by color: red is more of a road terrain, green is full-on nature and orange is a bit muddy. My absolute favorite part of Finca Bellavista is the hanging bridge that connects basecamp with all three trails. I felt like a giddy 5-year old every time I crossed from one side to the other.

I also gravitated toward the waterfall, which is about mid-way through the green trail. I found myself there almost every day that week, sometimes swimming in the natural pool it formed and other times, contemplating life and its clever mysteries from a nearby rock.

After staying on property for the first five days, we decided to venture to nearby Uvita for a whale adventure like none other. I've been a fan ever since a kid, and could not wait to see some breach the surface of the ocean. We opted for Pacific Whales and Kayaks, as they regularly work with National Geographic writers and generally, have a really good reputation.

The three-hour tour did not disappoint. After sailing past caves, the famous 'Whale's Tail' of Marino Ballena National Park, we spotted Humpback Whales. For someone who's adored whales from a distance for so many years, this was such a special experience and a great way to end my month-long trip to Costa Rica.

All in all, Finca Bellavista was a reminder of the good things in life—nature, nice people and the beauty of simply doing nothing. If I'm ever able to escape my emails for another week, I'll head back to the finca.
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Puntarenas Province, Piedras Blancas, Costa Rica
Sun - Sat 9am - 5pm