Last Updated on August 31, 2023

Looking to get away from the tourists and the hustle and bustle of life? Want to find a place off the beaten path, yet close to everything? Look no further than Villa Cassandra, located in the heart of Ojochal, Puntarenas, in Costa Rica’s Southern Zone.

Only a 3.5-hour drive from San Jose, visitors can rent a car, hop on a small plane to Ojochal, or take one of many coaches that run out and past Ojochal.

Because my wife and I spend most of our time in the city, being able to wake up to a beautiful mountain view from our three bedroom, two and a half bath home sleeping up to seven guests has been a welcome respite.

Costa Rica’s Southern Zone

We chose Costa Rica’s Southern Zone for its cloud-covered mountains, rainforest and solitude. Away from the noise of urban living, this area is alive with amazing color, lush vegetation, and its wildlife consisting of birds, sloths and monkeys is impressive.

The Southern Zone has been referred to as “where the mountains meet the sea,” and because of that, the climate is a little less harsh and slightly cooler than the rest of Costa Rica. Tourism is also lower in the Southern Zone. I believe it’s because the toll road to get there was only put in a few years ago and traveling the mountain road, while free, is a bit precarious, especially during the famous Pilgrimage to Cartago honoring the Virgin de Los Angeles, Costa Rica’s patron saint.

I can honestly say we did not let the lack of tourism steer us away. In fact, it was one of the main reasons we gravitated to Ojochal and the Southern Zone – less people and more birding, hiking and abundance of wildlife. We wanted a get-away-from-it-all vacation home where we could commune with nature. Yet we can walk or bike to everything we need.

Our Ojochal, Costa Rica Villa

Villa Cassandra Open Concept.
Villa Cassandra Open Concept. Photo by Joseph Ellis

When we’re not there, we rent out the home to other travelers. We hope you’ll enjoy its special features including a private dipping pool with an outdoor shower for rinsing and a covered carport. A lovely covered outdoor patio boasts a large resin wicker table and chairs as well as a comfortable loveseat and chair set for relaxing and enjoying the fresh mountain air. Guests also have access to a barbecue grill.

Hand-crafted cabinetry can be found throughout the villa, in the kitchens, bathrooms, and even the bedroom closets. The kitchen countertops are a lovely white quartz and all the appliances are stainless steel. The kitchen was set up painstakingly by my wife and I to have all of the conveniences of home.

The beds and dressers were made with local hardwoods, designed by me, then hand carved and built by a local artisan. The mattresses are very comfortable, and even the bedding was selected for each room with loving care and attention to detail.

The primary suite and living room feature smart TVs and sound bars, and the main guest bedroom also features a smart TV. This primary bedroom features a large desk and desk chair and the villa also has high-speed internet for those inevitable Zoom calls we cannot seem to get away from in this post-pandemic world. There is also air conditioning in all three of the bedrooms and ceiling fans throughout the home and the outdoor terrace.

Each piece of furniture was specially selected by my wife and me for its comfort and usability. I have a degree in interior design, and finding furniture that would complement the villa was a labor of love for us both.

I cannot count the hours spent on the hunt for just the “right” piece. I had mentioned to my wife Cassandra that “I want a statement piece, something coral.” As we were driving to the local farmer’s market she suddenly exclaimed: “Stop, we have to go into that store.” As I looked up, I saw our couch. It was beautiful, it was coral, and exactly what I wanted.

Every aspect of our villa was carefully planned, from it being a part of a community to the location, and even down to the color of the floor tiles. The dishes in the kitchen and the appliances were selected with the idea that this villa was more than just another stop on a map. This villa, our villa, is truly a home away from home. We hope it can be for you as well.

Book your stay at Villa Cassandra in Costa Rica

Playa Ventana Beach

Ventano Beach Costa Rica.
Ventano Beach Costa Rica. Photo by Joseph Ellis

I enjoy beautiful beaches and was pleasantly surprised at the natural beauty of Playa Ventana.  At first, I was a bit nervous heading to this beach; we had to cross over a stream and there was no telling how deep it might be, but we braved it and were richly rewarded. We didn’t even need a four-wheel drive.

The town of Uvita is 15 minutes north of Ojochal and Palmar Norte is 20 minutes to the south. This is where we found easy banking and shopping areas. There are countless secluded beaches within a 30-minute drive, and Dominical is a mere 45 minutes to the north.

Two waterfalls are within a short driving distance, and we were able to hike down to one of them to take a dip in the pool beneath the Cascade El Pavon falls. We found lovely nature walks nearby and plenty of restaurants with amazing food.

In fact, we learned that this was something Ojochal is known for, and it’s considered quite a “foodie” town. We tried each local eatery at least once and love them all from the “Mexican pizza” to the traditional breakfast.

Plans for Future Trips

Outdoor views from living room, kitchen. Villa Cassandra in Costa Rica.
Outdoor views from living room, kitchen. Villa Cassandra in Costa Rica. Photo courtesy of VRBO

Some of the things we look forward to doing on our future visits will be ziplining and taking the Sierpe River mangrove tour. I am also looking forward to deep-sea fishing, a pastime I used to do over the summers with my father and brother-in-law.

We understand surfing in the Southern Zone is fun and exciting, and there’s also kayaking and paddle boarding in the area. We’re also looking forward to traveling to Cano Island for snorkeling. High up on our list is the drive to Osa Peninsula where there are guided tours to see all variety of wildlife including puma.

The Southern Zone of Costa Rica is one of the most beautiful parts of the country, if not the world. We can’t wait to return and if you’re planning a trip here, we’d love to offer our magnificent Villa Cassandra for your stay.

What do you think?

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  • Karmyn Osorio
    September 2, 2023

    Makes me want to go back.

  • Laurie
    September 13, 2023

    What a beautiful place! Love the coral sofa and all the artisan work.

    • Noreen Kompanik
      September 15, 2023

      It is lovely. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.