Looking for the perfect Costa Rica bed and breakfast? Stay in your very own house in the middle of the Costa Rican rainforest at Casitas Tenorio. Milk cows, hike on the private trails, and bird-watch to your heart’s content.
I love that I wake up to the sounds of the roosters each morning. I love spotting toucans in the trees outside our house at breakfast. I love the cows and horses that meander past my office while I blog. And I absolutely love Costa Rican traditional food.
And I’m lucky- I live in rural Costa Rica where the roosters or the parakeets wake us up instead of the alarm clock. Where I see the neighbors passing by my office window on a cow. And where absolutely no one speaks English.
One of the best parts about living in rural Costa Rica is that my kids and I get to experience the true Costa Rican culture on a daily basis.
But- short of inviting travelers into my home, I wanted to find accommodations that replicate what we love most about Costa Rica- but for my readers. I wanted to find a place that felt like living in a real Costa Rican house, and with lots of quintessentially Costa Rican activities nearby.
So you can imagine how excited I was when Casitas Tenorio started following me on Instagram and I realized the family-owned accommodations are located in rural Costa Rica- and they have entire houses for rent!
Donald Varela-Soto and “Pip” Kelly own a group of six small houses (casita means small house in Spanish) near the Tenorio volcano in the rural Costa Rican village of Bijagua- and their houses are the perfect place for families looking for an authentic Costa Rican travel experience. Our family got to visit them for two nights, and I want to tell you all about why we are head over heels in love with Casitas Tenorio.
Casitas Tenorio B&B and Farm is located in the northern region of Costa Rica, just a couple of kilometers outside of the village of Bijagua. It’s about an hour away from the Nicaraguan border, and an hour away from Liberia. It’s located about three hours north of San Jose off of the main highway- highway 1.
It’s super close to the famous Blue River (Rio Celeste) and the Tenorio Volcano National Park. It’s also a good day trip away from the Cano Negro Wildlife Reserve and the Miravalles Volcano.
There are several routes to Casitas Tenorio from San Jose- you can take the main highway 1 up towards Liberia. But we took the route towards La Fortuna and turned off at La Tigra. The road was awesome, but what was even cooler were the breathtaking views of the backside of the Arenal Volcano.
Plus, we drove through the Guatuso Indigenous reserve and got to see the painted masks. I highly recommend that route!
Arrival to the Casitas Tenorio- Costa Rica bed and breakfast is super easy– Pippa has plastered signs for kilometers, making it so easy to find. You’ll drive up to a homey reception area to be greeted by a friendly face. The open area reception is also the breakfast area, and there are rocking chairs set up for bird watching as you check in.
Everything at Casitas Tenorio has a super homey touch, but I especially loved the painted rubber boots at the entrance and the hand-painted murals all over the houses and reception.
Casitas Tenorio is owned by Donald and Pippa, a Costa Rican/Australian couple and bilingual parents. They are some of the nicest people you will ever meet! They have two young daughters who love to share their toys and play with other kids- making this one of the absolute best places for families with children to stay.
Accommodations At Casitas Tenorio- Costa Rica Bed and Breakfast
Casitas Tenorio is a Costa Rica bed and breakfast and family farm nestled in the forest and home to some of the best birding in the world.
When you book your stay at Casitas Tenorio (on one of the best boking platforms I have ever used, by the way) you’ll get to choose your house. We chose to stay at Casita El Sol (little house of the sun), and I am so glad we did!
Our spacious house had high ceilings, two bedrooms, and two bathrooms. The modern house had super cool exposed cement floors, exposed wood ceilings, and gorgeous bedding. The rainfall shower was beautifully tiled and had no door. We also had private bathrooms– they were super modern and the lights were dimmable. Though there wasn’t air conditioning available, ceiling fans kept everything cool for sleeping.
Our house had a small twin bed right under one of the gorgeous hand-painted murals. We arrived exhausted, and my youngest daughter grabbed that bed and said: “I’m sleeping here.” She slept incredibly well the whole stay.
There are no televisions or internet at the houses- and the wifi in the main area was spotty at best. It was a great way for our family to unplug and just chill out together.
We also had a small kitchen area with dishes, a sink, a microwave, and a refrigerator. We had a spacious dining table, an outdoor porch swing, and two rocking chairs– and a private garden. The accommodations are downright sublime!
Food at Casitas Tenorio
At this particular Costa Rican bed and breakfast, breakfast is included– and it feels just like eating at home!
Pippa the owner serves your breakfast, and breakfast is a whole experience. From the music to the seating arrangements, breakfast is a time to commune with nature and the other guests.
Each table is set for the number of guests in each casita, and she has custom-made laminated bird guides on each table so kids can match the birds they are seeing with the pictures and descriptions right on the table.
There’s also an incredible Golden Orb spider named Sheila whose intricate web is above one breakfast table. My first breakfast with a spider! You can touch her web- it’s super strong and is even used in surgery.
The food is amazing- you will either have eggs and toast, gallo pinto, or homemade pancakes. Milk comes from the cow, and the homemade cheese is made on-site! There are yogurt and granola and lots of fresh, in-season fruit.
The drinks are amazing too- homemade juices (we had passion fruit), coffee, hot tea, and some of the best water you’ll ever taste.
For the other meals, you have the mini kitchen at your disposal if you want to keep costs down and cook at home. Pippa and Donald will be adding a communal cooking area in the future where guests can kitchen-share and make hot food.
Additionally, dining in the village is great- and not terribly expensive. There are lots of local menus available in the reception area, and the staff can give you directions and recommendations. I love that Pippa vets every restaurant they recommend- if it isn’t good service and food she doesn’t recommend it.
Finally, you can order dinner and have it delivered right to your door for $7. This is perfect for rainy nights, or if you put the kids to bed early and have a romantic dinner for two outside.
Looking for an all-inclusive option in the area? Check here.
Activities At Casitas Tenorio
There is so much to do in the area and at Casitas Tenorio. Here are some of the onsite and offsite activities.
- Casitas Tenorio is a working farm, and you can take a farm tour in the morning before breakfast. You’ll see rabbits, guinea pigs, chickens laying eggs, and get to milk the cows.
- Pippa, one of the owners, is a former school teacher, and her tour is super educational. My favorite part was the wall of farm terms in three languages with images. The kids loved it too!
- There is a one-kilometer hiking trail through the forest- we saw hummingbirds, toucans, and howler monkeys in the trees.
- Play in the reception area! Pippa has lots of different books and toys for kids and a huge Costa Rican book library with all kinds of local travel information and wildlife guides. There’s even a novel trading program for travelers. There’s a kid’s table with coloring, etc, and on the weekends Donald and Pippa’s kids come down to play. At one point we had 8 kids from 3 different countries playing together and it was an awesome moment.
- Towel art class- one of the girls’ favorite parts of the day was seeing the amazing towel art on our beds after the cleaning crew came. The crew will do a towel art class in the afternoon- super fun!
- Lazing around- we spent an entire morning at Casitas Tenorio just hanging out in the house. It felt like home to my girls, and they played while their dad birdwatched and I read a favorite summer beach read.
Casitas Tenorio is strategically located near tons of amazingly educational and fun activities.
- Rio Celeste- you can hike the famous Blue River waterfall in the Tenorio Volcano National Park (Parque Nacional Volcán Tenorio)
- Frog Tour- there is a fun night frog tour in town that allows you to see all kinds of different frogs and other reptiles that come out at night.
- Tapir Valley – Donald and Pippa have an amazing side project- a huge valley of pristine forest for wildlife viewing. We got to go and plant trees and do a night tour with Donald. Ask him more about the project and how you can visit.
- Heliconias Lodge- gorgeous hanging bridges for walking and exploring
- Ceiba Tree- one of the oldest living trees in Costa Rica (free)
- Blue River Swimming Hole – swim in the waters of the blue river for just the cost of parking
- Tree Chocolate Tour- find out more about how Costa Rican chocolate is made!
- River Floating and Rafting- Ask at the front desk for more info
- Horseback Riding- more info at Casitas Tenorio
- Las Pumas Wildlife reserve- amazing wildlife viewing courtesy of the University of Costa Rica
- Llanos de Cortez Waterfall and swimming hole- a great family day trip from Bijagua
Become Part of the Casitas Tenorio Family
I guarantee that once you visit Casitas Tenorio you will feel like you are part of Donald and Pippa’s family. They are just so genuinely nice- and it’s highly important to them that their guests have an excellent experience in Costa Rica. That’s probably why they have one of the top Costa Rica bed and breakfasts- and I’d argue one of the best in the world.
Donald was born and raised in the area and a highly experienced nature guide. If you have the chance to visit his new project Tapir Valley with him guiding, I highly recommend it.
Take a moment to get to know them and their family. The staff is open- they can tell you stories about the village, and their own lives in rural Costa Rica.
Additionally, you can support the community by looking at the Pack For A Purpose program Pippa has set up to support the local community to increase bilingualism. Just check their website for more information.
Casitas Tenorio is home away from home. It’s the absolute perfect place to bring children. Once you visit Casitas Tenorio, I have a feeling you won’t want to leave. And I bet you’ll visit more than once too!
- Casitas Tenorio consists of a series of six little houses in the Costa Rican rainforest owned and operated by Donald and Pippa, a Costa Rican-Australian couple. They were such welcoming and attentive hosts, and we felt right at home!
- Each little house is clean and comfortable. They feature a modern design and some of the best towel art I’ve ever seen! The Casitas do not have internet installed, but you won’t miss it with the warm sense community that the hosts and fellow travelers foster.
- In addition to being a rainforest bed and breakfast, Casitas Tenorio is also a working farm. My kids and I loved the farm tour– we even got to milk some cows!
- Pippa makes a fresh traditional breakfast for Casitas guests every morning! It’s included in the lodging cost and everyone eats together while bird-watching. (Or spider-watching… Sheila the Golden Orb Weaver is pretty magnificent!)
- Casitas Tenorio is located in the northern portion of Costa Rica, just outside of Bijagua Village and near the Tenorio Volcano. It’s also close to Rio Celeste, Costa Rica’s famous Blue River. To reach Casitas Tenorio from San Jose, I recommend taking the route towards La Fortuna and turning off at La Tigra.
- There are so many activities at and nearby Casitas Tenorio! Look under the “About” tab for more information.
What To Bring
- Casitas Tenorio is a great location for tropical birds, so have your bird-watching equipment at the ready!
- Your favorite books, board games, and art supplies, as the individual Casitas are not connected to wifi. There’s even a novel exchange program with fellow guests, so have an extra book handy.
- Swim gear for wading in the nearby Rio Celeste.
- Sunglasses, sunscreen, and bug spray.
- A good pair of hiking boots/ outdoorsy shoes.
- Rain jacket and/or umbrella.
- A gift for the surrounding community is always appreciated! Check out the “Pack for a Purpose” page on the Casitas Tenorio website for more information.
If you are looking to book a room at Casitas Tenorio, visit them at their website or follow them on Instagram.
- Does Casitas Tenorio offer Wifi? – Although the individual casitas do not come equipped with internet, the open-air lodge and dining hall have wifi available.
- Are accommodations available for guests with disabilities at Casitas Tenorio? – Yes, Casitas Tenorio has one room that is outfitted to accommodate travelers with disabilities.
- Does Casitas Tenorio have a swimming pool? – No, but the nearby blue river is excellent for swimming!
Other Costa Rica Travel Articles from Pura Vida Moms
- 20+ Amazing San José Costa Rica Day Trips
- A Foodie’s Restaurant Guide to La Fortuna, Costa Rica
- Planning a Trip to Costa Rica– Start Here!
- Basic Spanish Phrases for Travel