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Is Casa Chameleon (Mal Pais) mainly for relaxation or is it close to nature hikes, beach and surfing?

Is Casa Chameleon (Mal Pais) mainly for relaxation or is it close to nature hikes, beach and surfing?

Old May 4th, 2007, 10:03 AM
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Is Casa Chameleon (Mal Pais) mainly for relaxation or is it close to nature hikes, beach and surfing?

This place seems very nice but all the reviews seem to focus on the honeymoon/romantic and service aspects. Which sounds great but wondering if it is also close enough to some nature trails and activities. We're particularly interested in learning to surf, so wonder if it is close to a small wave beach. Travel date is August. Thanks!

Thanks!
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Old May 4th, 2007, 03:40 PM
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It's been a while...Finally a question I can answer on here LOL!

Casa Chameleon is GREAT for exactly what you mention. They are just up the hill (I think 200 or 300 meters) from Punta Barrigona which is a great uncrowded left(Don't tell). There is also some great hiking/nature trails up their road. If you are just learning to surf I'm sure they have local instructors to recommend. You will probably be learning at Playa Carmen which is just five minutes away by car. It depends on the swell, not the beach for the wave size. But there's some of the best surf in the world in Mal Pais! If you can actually get in to Casa Chameleon, and you're someone that understands the beauty of Costa Rica is in the majestic underdeveloped nature, you're sure to have an incredible time!
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Old May 5th, 2007, 06:40 AM
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I 100% agree with surfexec. CRido just did a GREAT report and the photos are amazing! Just type in CRido and click on the photo link to see photos of the new villa at Casa Chameleon. The one thing to mention is you definitely want to rent a car or ATV to get around this area. Also, they do have great instructors for surfing. Ross at surf camp was really sweet and is an incredible surfer to watch. He does these spins out of the water on his surf board! Have an amazing time!!!
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Old May 5th, 2007, 11:46 AM
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Thanks surfexec and nulywed. Surfexec I read the report on how you proposed to your girlfriend, that was amazing!

And Nulywed thanks for the tip about Drido's report. VERY helpful. I'm waiting for her to post the Bosque del Cabo portion. We're trying to decide whether to spend 5 days at Casa Chameleon or at Bosque del Cabo. They both have vacancy on the days we want but we need to decide and act fast. Do you guys think 3 nights at BdC + 2 at Casa C will be psuhing it?
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Old May 5th, 2007, 11:48 AM
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Oops sorry to CRido for mispelling you name...
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Old May 5th, 2007, 07:06 PM
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I'm dying to go to BDC. We were supposed to go this past March but had to wait due to work schedules. We plan on combining a trip with CC for about 5 days and BDC around 5 days.

August was a great time in Mal Pais but I'm not sure about the Osa. I've heard the Osa is better in the dry season due to the heavy rains, more bugs, etc. Others on this board will know best since I haven't made it there yet.

For two years in a row August has been perfect in Mal Pais. It's the dry forest there and from what I understand the only really bad time as far as rain is September and October. I was impressed with the nature and wildlife in Mal Pais and the Curu reserve.

It does sound like the Osa has even more which is why I can't wait to check that out too. But I wasn't at all disappointed with the amount of wildlife in Mal Pais. Hopefully someone on this board can comment on how things are in August in the Osa to help with your decision.

I would not recommend trying to do both in only 5 days. I believe others here will agree that you need to commit to just one location for such a short trip. At least with the areas you have chosen. I know the country looks small but these areas are worlds away when it comes to traveling. You can visit one this time and the other on your next visit. At least that's my opinion. Hope this helps.
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Old May 5th, 2007, 07:50 PM
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I have been to the Osa in July but not August so can't say for sure. Check with Leo at Bosque del Cabo. He handles a lot of the reservation requests. He will answer your questions.

You can learn to surf at BdC. It is a 1 1/2 hr hike down to the beach via the Gulfo Dulce trail but you can get a ride for a couple of dollars. You do see lots of wildlife and birds on the way down if you walk.

Wildlife there is unbelievable. All 4 kinds of monkeys and you don't even have to leave the cabin. Peccaries, tyra, coatis, wild cats (they have a motion activated camera that has taken pics of them and one of the maids saw one), Scarlet macaws. It is a pretty amazing place. There have been lots of pictures posted. I have a few pictures of mostly the buildings and some of the grounds in my Here and There pics posting. I have been a regular there for several years now and it is by far my favorite place. There are also a couple of pics of Orlando (her naturalist guide) who is our best friend as well as our driver down there.

nulywed was right on about not trying to do both. Mal Pais sounds like a beautiful place as well.
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Old May 6th, 2007, 08:25 AM
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Thanks nulywed and Suzie, your posts continue to be very helpful to our trip planning. Surely you have fgured out by now that this is our first CR trip

Nulywed raised a great point about the Aug weather in Osa. We didn't think we would mind the rainy/green season when we chose to go to CR in Aug, but we're worried about how bad the bugs and humidity would be in CR. I'll post specifically about that. thx!
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Old May 8th, 2007, 06:54 PM
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And you did a great job, surfexec. . nice to hear you chiming in! How's "the search" coming along?

Casa Chameleon sounds like such a great place. We are anxious to get back to that area and check it out one of these days. We were there once in March and once in July. It was a little dry and dusty in March for my taste. I really do love the rainy season in Costa Rica!

flatfeet, I "third" the suggestion that you choose one. Whew--it would take you one whole day to change locations! 'twould seem a waste. . .although the countryside in between is nice to look at! You'd probably rather be doing than looking! Either would be a great choice. But for August, I might lean toward Malpais. . .
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Old May 9th, 2007, 07:06 AM
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Thanks flatfeet, that was an incredible experience that really worked out well for me Jen's my wife now and Mal Pais will always be our special place!

Hi Shillmac,
Well, I gave up on the property search for now because Jen's expecting and the priorities have changed a bit. Prices are really high there now but if I come across a great deal I might try to swing it. It looks like Mal Pais property is a
great investment. Costa Rica in general seems to be better than the stock market! I will be sure to keep you posted if I do end up finding something. Thanks for asking!
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Old May 9th, 2007, 05:57 PM
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Hey! Congratulations, surfexec, on the new person growing at your house! What fun news! Boy or girl, bet that little one will be a surfer one day. Malpais indeed a good investment, as we've discussed, would've been a steal about 3-4 years ago! Darn it! Yes, do keep me posted. If you find a REALLY good deal, we can be neighbors! I'll babysit!
Congratulations to Jen as well--hope she's feeling well.
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Old May 9th, 2007, 09:06 PM
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Wow Surfexec, Congrats! Best wishes to your family.

Ok after weighing all the great expert advices, I've decided to do 5-6 nights in Mal Pais and skip Osa for this trip, main factors being the August weather and also our interest in learning to surf.

Any recommednation on whether we should stay at Mal Pais Surf Camp for 3-4 nights then 2 nighs Casa Chameleon for relaxation before return flight home, or to do Casa C for all 6 nights? Is Casa Chameleon close enough for daily access to the beach for beginner surfing (I believe that's El Carmen)? From the map it looks close enough but thought I'd ask. Shillmac I think I read from one of your earlier posts that the Surf Camp is not a bad place to stay...

Thanks for continuing to chime in!
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Old May 10th, 2007, 08:26 AM
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Thanks Shillmac and Flatfeet on the well wishes. We are very excited!

Flatfeet, as far as your first trip to Mal Pais (and Costa Rica)it really depends on what you like and what you are looking for in terms of accommodations.

Surf Camp is great! It is mostly a younger crowd. Groups of rowdy gringos sit around the television and watch football (not soccer, american football) at least every time I go there. I'm sure they have soccer games or whatever sports are available. They have ping pong, a pool table and a mechanical bull! It's alot of fun and they have great parties on Wednesday nights. It can be a bit loud, but a fun vacation party place.

Casa Chameleon is a VERY private, quiet place. They have 3 villas and all three are couples only. They DO NOT make exceptions to this. (Shillmac, maybe we could work something out with the babysitting so we can stay there once the little one comes LOL)This is fantastic when you want to be guaranteed relaxation and privacy. But it is not a party scene or a family scene. It's quiet and romantic. They did this so specifically(as explained by the owners) because it's very hard to allow kids and maintain a quiet romantic atmosphere. It makes sense. They don't even have a sign now because the paparazzos tried to bust in on some celebs staying there. So, people can't just wander in off the streets. This is perfect for people who want to sit in nature and not be disturbed except maybe to be served by their private chef! Don't get me wrong, it's not at all snooty. The owners are young and hip and are VERY into animals and help with rescue operations and planting trees for the monkeys. They are great people that I feel I can now call friends after so many stays there. But, this place wouldn't be for everyone because like I said it's couples only and more about peace and quiet than partying.

So, like I said, it just depends on what you want for this trip. I would say that you want a car or something no matter where you stay because you won't get to some of the best places on foot. Surf Camp and Casa Chameleon are just down the street from each other. Casa Chamelon is up a steep hill but that's why the views are so incredible. None of it's far, but walking on the dirt roads in the heat gets old fast. Like I said get a rental car no matter where you stay! Just drive slow because the kids play on the streets! It's a beautiful place! Have a great time!

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Old May 10th, 2007, 09:52 AM
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flatfeet, no, sorry--I know nothing about surf camp. We stayed at Tropico Latino But surfexec's advice would be a good guarantee.

As for the all-night babysitting--bring it on! Heck, you could even fly us down there and install us in a kid friendly place so you could visit your little one occasionally!
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Old May 10th, 2007, 03:48 PM
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By the way, when will you officially become a father? DO announce on Fodor's when he/she arrives!
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