I feel so very fortunate that a side benefit of my visits to Costa Rica  is the friendships that evolve with hoteliers and others in the travel industry there.
Case in point… many years ago I discovered a tiny guesthouse—Tree Tops B&B —hidden away, quite literally, at the end of a dirt road in the hamlet of San Juanillo, mid-way down the Pacific Coast of the Nicoya Peninsula .
This simple, rustic, one-room B&B is the home of Jack and Karen Hunter. Former Hollywood society figures, their marriage was on the cover of People  magazine back in the day… or did the couple custom order a fake cover, which hangs in their kitchen?
Jack, born in England, loves to talk about his days as a champion racing driver and as a pal of race car legends Sir Stirling Moss and Sir Jackie Stewart. Jack’s a garrulous sort, full of fun tales of his past.
But I digress!
Jack and Karen and I became friends. Ever since, I regularly get emails asking: “When are you coming by? You must stay!”
Every two years on my research trips to update my Moon Handbook Costa Rica  I make it a point to call in to say “Hi!”, catch up, and savor Karen’s delicious gourmet cooking.
But it had been many years since I last stayed here. I always seemed to be pushing the envelope, concerned to push on to research Nosara  that same day (lonesome San Juanillo is mid-way between Nicoya’s resort areas of Tamarindo  and Nosara).
This year I committed to stay, grateful for having received yet another kind (and insistent) invitation to do so.
So two months ago I thrilled to an overnight at Tree Tops B&B.
What a treat!
The couple’s relatively humble thatched home perches atop a lushly forested ridge overlooking a postcard-perfect cove. Talk about an unrivaled sunset view! So priceless is its location, Jack and Karen have turned down multi-million dollar offers from Mel Gibson  and a major international hotel chain for their lot.
You can even swim with turtles, which crawl ashore to lay their eggs in the pristine sugar-white sands below the house. And Jack will take you fishing in his sport-fishing boat.
I lazed in a hammock on their shaded deck porch as we laughed and reminisced, while howler monkeys  cavorted in nearby treetops.
I slept in the B&B’s single bedroom, downstairs. Well-shaded and therefore delightfully cool, it’s furnished barebones with no more than a double bed and twin side tables. And I bathed alfresco in an open-air garden shower open to view by the voyeur monkeys.
Despite such austerity, Jack says four of the past five Costa Rican presidents have vacationed here. No wonder... It’s that special!
Perhaps they come for Karen’s cooking. So sublime are her off-the-cuff gourmet meals—Tree Tops is open for three-course lunches (11am-2pm) and five-course dinners, by reservation only—that patrons have been known to drive down from the super-deluxe Four Seasons Papagayo  just to dine here. That’s at least a three-hour drive that requires fording rivers!
A self-taught chef, Karen can conjure the simplest local ingredients into divine dishes.
I recently sampled a mango and choyote squash soup with coconut milk drizzled with chili oil; red and green leaf salad with avodaco, heat of palm, in balsamic with honey and vanilla; fresh red snapper with sherry and curry cream sauce with green rice, spinach, and coriander with veggies; plus coconut flan with coffee liqueur and grated orange and white chocolate, with fresh strawberries. Say ”Aaaaahh!”
Reason enough to stay here!
For complete practical and background information to Costa Rica, buy the latest edition of Moon Handbook Costa Rica .
If you're traveling only to San José and the Caribbean, buy Moon Spotlight Costa Rica's Caribbean Coast  pocket guide.
If you're traveling only to the beaches of Nicoya, buy Moon Spotlight Costa Rica's Nicoya Peninsula  pocket guide.
If you're traveling only to Arenal and/or Monteverde, buy Moon Spotlight Costa Rica's Arenal&Monteverde  pocket guide.
Learn more about Christopher P. Baker .
Disclosure: I occasionally accept free or discounted travel when it coincides with my editorial goals. However, my opinion is never for sale. The opinions you see in Cuba & Costa Rica Journal are my unbiased reflection of the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Copyright © Christopher P. Baker