San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

An Unforgettable Day With The Jungle House

If you live to your 80th birthday, you ve been given 29,200 days of life.

How many of those days would you remember? Would you remember the days that brought you joy, or adventure, or glimpses of untouched natural beauty, or a sense of accomplishment, or mirth?

Would you think it possible for one single day to provide all of that in eight hours? A day of adventure, of plowing four-wheelers up hills and across low-lying streams, of watching packs of monkeys swinging rhythmically through a sun-streaked jungle canopy, of swimming in a soothing pool at the base of a 60-foot waterfall, of hiking the side of a mountain to another waterfall that, if you are up for it, you can jump off of into another peaceful, serene pool.

Would you remember that day? Chances are you would.

That day is possible at The Jungle House, a quaint lodge in Santa Teresa, a small surfer town on the southwest tip of the NicoyaPeninsula. Here, if you go on the lodge s waterfall tour, that day the four-wheelers, the beach, the jungle, the waterfalls, the hike, the near perfection is all yours.

Pretty much every one who s done the day at the waterfalls has raved about what a great time they had, says Justin Carder, the manager at The Jungle House, who leads the tour. It s impossible not to enjoy it. It s everything you could want from Costa Rica. It s an epic day.

Epic is a good way to describe it, and epic isn t a word to throw around lightly. The first Star Wars, for example, is epic. Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Marlon Brando, all epic. The waterfall day offered by The Jungle House, dare I say, also finds its way into that distinguished echelon.

But there s more to the lodge than its memorable waterfall tour. It s also an ideal surf spot, and is often visited by international surfers looking for some of the most consistent waves in the country. They can find them right out the back door, as a 50-meter trail from the lodge leads directly to the vast beaches and endless waves of the Pacific.

I bought this place knowing that I wanted to some day have a spot to come in Costa Rica where I could get away from everything, surf and enjoy myself, says Andy Behar, owner of The Jungle House.

It s taken some time to get us where we are now, but we know we have a great spot here, and we know other people will want to enjoy all this as well.

Behar bought the land in 2003. In the years that followed, his cousin built the large, bamboo home, not knowing exactly what the next step would be. After some other ideas came and went, Behar opened The Jungle House last year. While the spot is ideal, entering the tourism market in Costa Rica proved challenging.

Then, a few months ago, Behar met Carder.

I was in Florida and looking around on an online surf forum to buy a futon, Behar says. (Carder) was selling one, and we began talking. When I mentioned Costa Rica, he told me about his history here and how he s worked in tourism for years. I was at a point when I was looking to take this place in a new direction, and we agreed to give it a shot. Carder, who has been living in Costa Rica off and on since 1996, worked as a tour guide for years. He knows the beaches, he knows the surf, he knows Santa Teresa, he knows Nicoya and he knows Costa Rica.

After his serendipitous meeting with Behar, Carder moved down to manage The Jungle House in June. Since doing so, the upstart lodge is making a name for itself.

It has really been picking up around here. Things are full weeks in advance, Carder says. We know that as we grow we re going to have to be patient, but, as long as everyone who comes here continues to have a great time, the word will spread.

The word should spread. Great surf and tour offerings aside, The Jungle House is cozy and accommodating, with an upstairs two-bedroom suite with private bathroom, pingpong table and living area, as well as five air-conditioned bedrooms on the bottom floor that sleep two to three each. The lodge has wood floors and wide windows offering a panoramic view of the surrounding trees, as well as a communal kitchen.

When you re here, you usually don t spend a lot of time inside, Carder says. It s great and comfortable in here, but people come here to spend most of there time outside.

As they should. Go outside. Go where the ocean, the mountains, the jungle, the monkeys, the waterfalls and the surfing all await. And experience a day you may never forget.


Going There

From San José, take the Puntarenas ferry to Paquera on the NicoyaPeninsula. Follow the main road from Paquera to Cóbano and proceed to Malpaís. At the crossroads, turn right toward Santa Teresa. Look for Pizza Tomate restaurant and the Beach Break Surf Hotel on the right-hand side. The Jungle House will be on the left; look for a big, red, sliding metal door.

Rates are $60 for a room with shared bath; $100 for a suite with half bath; $150 for a master bedroom with full bath; and $250 to rent the entire second level with two bedrooms and one full and one half bath.

For information, visit, e-mail or call 2640-0480 in Costa Rica or (407) 416-5753 in the U.S.



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