donna and daryl shelter from the storm
your hosts - ready to pontificate
on any subject in the neighborhood
donna sunset uvita costa rica
in the Southern Zone - where
the sunsets go on forever
cayman sierpe shelter from the storm costa rica
where the wild life finds you attractive
jungle atv uvita
Jungle ATV Quad Tours
just 11km from Shelter
jungle atv tours on stream
Darn! It's a jungle out there
hacienda baru logo
The closest beach to
Shelter from the Storm, San Martin Beach
hacienda baru logo
Dominicalito Beach, calm swimming and fishermen's harbor
hacienda baru logo
If everyone was like Jack Ewing
(the founder of Hacienda Baru), the world
would be a better place - in our opinion :-)
jungle atv
The Hacienda Baru bird list is longer
than everything Donald Trump has ever written
jungle atv
More species in a day than many see in a year
jungle atv
Boogie the waves of - you pick it - Playa Hermosa,
Playa Domincalito, Playa Uvita
jungle atv
Contact us to find out what Dina
is up to the days you come to SFTS
jungle atv
San Isidro farmers market, a nice
half a day visiting with the locals
jungle atv
Let us know in advance if you'd like to join us
at the Borucan children's christmas party
jungle atv
You will be most welcomed
into the artists village of Boruca,
the best indigenous art in Costa Rica
jungle atv
Some of the most exceptional birding can be done
by kayak
jungle atv
Not your regular Disneyland
jungle atv
A photographers dream Kayak trip
jungle atv
Darn! It's a jungle out there
jungle atv
Darn! It's a jungle out there
jungle atv
Darn! It's a jungle out there
jungle atv
Darn! It's a jungle out there
jungle atv
Darn! It's a jungle out there
jungle atv
Darn! It's a jungle out there
ventanas caves
ask us about places on the roads
or
caves less travelled

YOUR BASE CAMP FOR SOUTHERN ZONE ADVENTURES

HAMMOCKS AND COCKTAILS

When we moved to Costa Rica over 20 years ago, we somehow thought that it would be like a “permanent vacation” with our days filled with reading, hammocks, cocktails and lazy evenings on the beach. Well, so far it hasn’t worked out that way for us but at least you will have the opportunity (albeit for less than a couple of decades) to do just that. You can choose to just lie around the pool and rancho/bar, enjoy our lush gardens, enjoy our spectacular ocean views or watch the wildlife pass through. But should you decide that you would like to be a bit more active (adventurous) there are literally dozens of activities, tours, attractions and just interesting places to explore within an hour of Shelter From the Storm.

WATERFALLS, RIVERS, OCEANS AND SURFING

Located as we are, “where the mountains meet the sea” and between two of the most popular national parks in Costa Rica; Manuel Antonio Park and Parque Marina Ballena, Shelter From the Storm offers both mountain adventures and river tours like rafting, kayaking, exploring waterfalls, ATV tours, tubing, canyoning (that means “jumping off high waterfalls with a rope around your waist and hoping that you will slow down before you get to the rocks below) as well as beach/ocean activities like kayaking, surfing, snorkeling, SUP, boogie boarding, whale watching, boat tours, deep sea and inshore fishing and just plain swimming in the surf.

DAY TRIP ADVENTURES - EXPLORING THE CUTURE

Beyond the water and mountain activities, there are some fantastic day trips that can be made from our unique spot on the globe, like the trip to the Dota region in the high mountains of Talamanca, to see the Resplendent Quetzal in its natural habitat. That’s two hours from sea level to over 2200 meters (over 7,000 feet) and from hot tropical beaches to cool cloud forests. It’s less than two hours to visit the Boruca indigenous village high in the mountains above the Tarcoles River or on Thursdays and Fridays, in less than an hour, you can visit the largest farmer’s market in the southern zone in San Isidro de General, the center of the world for 250,000 people from Dota to the Panama border.

TRIP PLANNING HELP - ASK US?

Given all of the options available and the fact that you will probably have less than twenty years for your holiday, you will have to make some hard choices and we’re here to help. We will be happy to assist you in planning your trip from your arrival at the airport to your departure as well as making all reservations; so, if we’re all sitting comfortably, I’ll begin . . . from ATV to zip lining:

ATV TOURS

For those among you who are more inclined toward motorized transport than horseback, Jungle ATV fills the bill. With both single quads and dual seat 4X4 ATV’s you have the option to explore where and how you wish. We have had only rave reviews of the tours from our guests and suggestions that we MUST try it. However, after spending 50 years on highway motorcycles I just can’t see my way clear to ford rivers, climb 45 degree slopes or plow through muddy jungle trails. I seem to be alone in that opinion, though.

Every morning about at about 8am, everyone gathers at the Jungle ATV shop in Uvita center to begin a very scenic tour that takes you over several mountain ranges and into the deep jungle providing amazing ocean & valley views, stream crossings, coffee & banana plantations and a bamboo forest that you won’t believe.

Continuing on through a small village and pass through several farms on the way to the San Luis waterfall, one of the tallest in Costa Rica and often the top cannot be seen as it is in the clouds. Continuing through the rainforest, you will stop for some fresh local fruit and a refreshing swim at another waterfall before heading back to town.

If you'd like to book an ATV tour ahead of your arrival just contact us at Shelter from the Storm.

The tour lasts about 4-5 hours

 . . .and includes bottled water, fresh fruit and juice as well as granola bars. Beginning at about 9am after a brief orientation, you should return in time for a late lunch.

As luck would have it, within a 30 second walk from the shop, is Toro Loco an absolutely fantastic Texas BBQ joint and The Roadshack with deli type sandwiches and ice cold craft beer.

BEACHES NEARBY

There are at least a dozen beaches within a five to twenty minute drive from Shelter From the Storm; each distinct from the others and every one beautiful
Each beach has its own personality and flavor. All are for the public use and have public access, but those that are part of the National Park System or are maintained by the local community, will collect entrance fees. In general, all beaches are best frequented up to 3 hours after low tide. See “Ballena Tales” (which should be in your rental and the Rancho) or pick one up at restaurants in the area) Make your own discovery and let us know which is your favorite. NOTE: National Parks closed on Mondays.

San Martin Beach

Location: About ½ km (left) towards Uvita from the entrance to San Martin. Park near the highway and walk down the rocky road. Description: Lots of rocks with interesting inter-tidal pools where you will find lots of tiny ocean life in a microcosm. . A pretty beach around low tide. Very secluded.

Dominicalito Beach

Location: A little over 3 kms towards Dominical. Turn left at sign for “La Parcela Restaurant”.
Description: Nice around low tide. Photogenic and a good sunset watching spot. Many fishing boats leave from here, as it is a natural harbor.

Roca Verde Beach

Location: About 7 kms (turn right) north of San Martin entrance. Turn left at Roca Verde Restaurant and park there. Bar/Restaurant Roca Verde is a great place for lunch or an ice cold beer after coming in off the beach

Dominical Beach

Location: 9 kms north. Turn left into the village of Dominical and pass through town until you hit the water. Park anywhere along the beach.
Description: Very long, picturesque and popular with surfers. Good for boogie boarding and surfing. Not a swimming beach due to the currents - better swimming beaches are in Uvita, south of Shelter from the Storm.

Guapil Beach

Location: Go over the bridge at Dominical, heading toward Quepos . Turn left past the gas station (2 km. from bridge). When at Hacienda Baru, it is good to park in their parking lot and go on the walking trails to the beach. No worries about your car in their parking lot.
Description: Very long with palm trees lining beach. Totally uncrowded. You can drive on road adjoining the beach.

Playa Linda

Very private beautiful beach 11 KM. north of the bridge with police check point past Dominical. You will see large bushes on right with lots of white flowers and then up ahead 2 cell phone towers on left. Turn left onto this dirt road and follow til there is a turn to right or left. To the right is usually less crowded if there is anyone there at all. Not many gringos know about this beach and during the week, you will probably be the only ones there. There is a guy (Tico) that sells cold coconut milk (aqua pipa) on the beach. Buy some even if you don’t think you like it. He cleans the beach, picks up the dead palm fronds and generally maintains the area better than a national park. He is worth whatever you give him. 500 colones/pipa

Puerto Nuevo Beach

Location: About 2.5 kms south on highway towards Uvita. Entrance is a litte bumpy when you leave the highway and unless you have a 4WD with high clearance, we suggest that you leave your car up by the road and walk down the slope to the beach. Description: Very pretty with its palms, rocky point and large rock poking out of nowhere. Hardly ever anyone there.

Hermosa Beach

Location: about 4.8 kms south on highway with two entrances at north end, clearly marked and easily accessible. This is only one of two beaches with lifeguards as well has snacks and beach stuff for sale. It’s not nearly as deserted as it used to be but it’s a whole lot safer.
Description: This is the 4 mile-long beach seen from the Rancho and Las Rocas. Great for walking and surfing. Now, with lifeguards, it has become a more popular beach and there are fruit stands, and other people selling things at stands.

 

Playas Uvita and Bahia (pronounced "oo-BEE-ta" and "bah-EE-ah")

Location: 11 kms south. There are signs pointing to "Ballena National Park". Turn right 1/2 km after 2nd B M supermarket at Cabinas Gato and continue straight down the paved road to the entrance to the beach. (See the hand-drawn map in the guest info book.)
Description: This is part of the Ballena Marine National Park (pronounced "bah-YAY-na" and means "whale"). Don't miss this classic spot as this is where you access the "Whale's Tail" sand split. A very enjoyable outing is the walk out to the point 1/2 mile offshore towards the end of low tide. The best return to shore is when the water is lapping at your feet, giving you the sense of walking on water. Here are the gentlest waters in the area offering good safe swimming for the entire family. Fantastic sunset-watching opportunities as well. There is a small fee of $6 per person to enter. This money goes to help the local community as they provide the upkeep, restrooms, and showers.

Playa Colonial

Location: 12 km S. On the way to Uvita/Bahia beach. After turning right off of main highway, turn left at the first intersection (Tienda Dona Julia on far right corner - pay phone in front). Continue along this road all the way to the beach. The $6 pp fee applies here, too (if someone is at the gate).
Description: This is the southern extension to the Bahia/Uvita beaches. Wide and usually gentle, especially around low tide (heard this before?) Often locals give horseback rides here along the beach for reasonable prices. Surfers like it here, too and some of our guests have claimed this is the best beach for body surfing.

Ballena and Arco Beaches

Location: 17 kms south just after The GoatHouse (20 minutes from Shelter from the Storm). Sign says Playa Ballena They might charge a $6 per person entrance fee, so don't be surprised. (To avoid the $6 fee, I park off the main highway alongside the grass landing strip just before the turnoff to the beach and then walk next to the airstrip to the beach.)
Description: Beautiful beaches. Go at low tide. While Ballena seems like the typical long rather shade less beach, it is really Arco Beach that is the hidden jewel. From the parking lot walk about 1 km north along Ballena beach until it seems like it dead ends into a small cove which will be filled with water at high tide. Continue walking straight into the woods and cross over the low ocean bluff using the trail. A very short walk later will bring you to the privacy of Arco Beach and its fun cave - one of the prettiest beaches in Costa Rica. Bring a snack or a picnic if low tide comes at that time of the day as you won't want to leave!

Playa Pinuela

Location: 20.1 kms S. Near a good seafood soda. Look for the sign. Being part of the park system, they probably charge an entrance fee.
Description: Popular with locals.

Playa Ventanas

Location: 21.5 S. Turn right onto newly made road which takes you all the way to the beach now. You need to go through a small stream, so may need to go into 4WD if stream is high. Famous for the sea caves kayakers cruise through.This beach is a beautiful bay surrounded by tall trees. FAVORITE of most of our guests. A must see at LOW TIDE.1, 500 c. per car 7a-6p
Although not as intriguing as it once was before the road was built, one can still enjoy the tunnels at low tide when the water is only ankle deep. At high tide they become “blow-holes” and offer high drama.

BIRD WATCHING

Here again, our unique geographical position and diversified terrain makes the Ballena Coast one of the best areas in Costa Rica for bird watching.  With over 900 species of birds in Costa Rica (according to the Audubon Society) In the past ten years our area, the Fila Costeña, has participated in six CBCs and identified more than 425 species of birds between the coast and the Tinamastes ridge, only a thirty minute drive from Shelter From the Storm.  

Add to that the high altitude cloud forests of the central mountain range, less than two hours from Shelter from the Storm, and you have the possibility of spotting dozens more.   In fact, a local “birder,” Brian Nice has noted 139 species while sitting on his porch (!) less than 2km from Shelter From the Storm. 

With Hacienda Baru Wildlife Preserve less than ten minutes away and encompassing over 800 acres of wetlands, primary forest and rainforest, the bird-watching possibilities are enormous. 

If one chooses not to “go it alone” with a day pass, Hacienda Baru offers both lowland bird hikes (secondary forest and mangroves) and rainforest birding tours, where the dense forest provides unlimited hiding places, and birding here is definitely hard work.

A guide is definitely recommended.  With a little luck, you will be rewarded with sightings of some of the more elusive birds such as: trogons, motmots, antshrikes, manakins, tinamous, curasows and others.  Besides the local (within 15 minutes) bird watching possibilities,

Manuel Antonio National Park (45 minutes to the north) and La Cusinga Lodge (20 minutes to the south) offer even the most avid bird watcher more potential thrills than can be had in almost any country in the world.    

BOOGIE BOARDING

So you don’t want to take the time nor suffer the potential trauma to learn surfing (let me tell you about my attempt to learn at 52 years old) don’t worry. You can still take advantage of the steady surf on the Costa Ballena (Whale Coast.)

At Shelter From the Storm we have boogie boards for your use and with a little practice, you can be sliding down the face of some great waves in no time.

Oh, and by the way, the boogie boards are just another of the “no extra charge” things that we provide at SFTS. We don’t believe in “nickel and diming” our guests to squeeze extra revenue. I suppose that is why we are only happy and not rich.

CHI QUONG

. . . or Qigong, depending on the Mandarin or Cantonese (according to a Chinese friend) is a martial art encompassing both the physical and mental focus so much lacking in my own life; hence my complete lack of understanding.

Dina Delany, the owner of Solfiggio Pavilion in Platanillo, will be happy to fill you in. You can write to her at indigonight@yahoo.com

After years of international study under the tutelage of grand masters, she now conducts regular classes and retreats along with visiting grand masters. After attending only one class, I can certainly attest that the location and views are gorgeous and the construction both tasteful and well done.

DAY TRIPS

Not everything to do here involves intense physical activity, mortal danger or finely honed motor skills. Sometimes you just want to drive around and explore the area and maybe absorb a bit of the local culture. To that end, we’ve included some stuff that, after all of our time here, still interests us and therefore, you would probably like, yourself.

Farmers’ Market at San Isidro de General

Every week from early Thursday morning until about noon on Friday, hundreds of farmers (agricultures) come to San Isidro to sell their goods in the largest indoor facility in the Southern Zone.

Find amazing tropical fruits and vegetables and even if you are not interested in purchasing, the locals will be happy to give you samples and tell you how it is used/eaten. If you are looking for something in particular and you can’t seem to find it, ask any of the sellers in any of the stalls. They will take it upon themselves to help you and will lead you around while asking the other vendors when it might be found.

Never, in any venue have we found more people with more willingness to help. I suppose that it is both the natural Costa Rican philosophy of “que toda se queda bien” or “that everything turns out well” as well as the normal tendency of the campesinos, (country people) to help each other to “get by.”

Boruca indigenous village

The Boruca Indians, the only tribe never to be defeated by the Spanish conquistadores, live the area of the southern valley of the Terraba River with the main village high in the mountains overlooking the fantastic views of the valley.

Known primarily for their “fiesta de los diablitos” at the end of the year, this tribe has been celebrating the struggle between themselves and the Spanish for hundreds of years. Dressed in hop-sacks and corn husks and wearing fierce “devil” masks, they struggle day and night for three days with one of the villagers, selected anonymously by a few of the tribal leaders, to wear the mask of the bull, representing the Spanish conquistadores.

This is their biggest tourist attraction.

When I asked a few years ago, how the tourist response was, I was told, “Great, this year we had twelve tourists!” This gives you the idea that this trip may be a bit off the normal tourist route.

We at Shelter From the Storm sponsor a Christmas party every year for the children of the reservation and thus, have a little “in” with the village jefa (leader.) We can arrange a personal tour that you will remember your whole life where they will not only give you a personal demonstration of their centuries old weaving style but serve you lunch in their own home. The women of the village, grow the cotton, spin it to yarn, dye it with natural dyes from leaves and berries collected in forest and then woven into beautiful bags, table runners and purses and then sold to you for practically nothing!

Probably, the tribe is best known for elaborate carving and painting masks to symbolize those worn during their festival de los diablitos. It’s a day that you will long remember and something to “tell the kids back home.”

DINING

. . . or Qigong, depending on the Mandarin or Cantonese (according to a Chinese friend) is a martial art encompassing both the physical and mental focus so much lacking in my own life; hence my complete lack of understanding.

Dina Delany, the owner of Solfiggio Pavilion in Platanillo, will be happy to fill you in. You can write to her at indigonight@yahoo.com

After years of international study under the tutelage of grand masters, she now conducts regular classes and retreats along with visiting grand masters. After attending only one class, I can certainly attest that the location and views are gorgeous and the construction both tasteful and well done.

FISHING

. . . or Qigong, depending on the Mandarin or Cantonese (according to a Chinese friend) is a martial art encompassing both the physical and mental focus so much lacking in my own life; hence my complete lack of understanding.

Dina Delany, the owner of Solfiggio Pavilion in Platanillo, will be happy to fill you in. You can write to her at indigonight@yahoo.com

After years of international study under the tutelage of grand masters, she now conducts regular classes and retreats along with visiting grand masters. After attending only one class, I can certainly attest that the location and views are gorgeous and the construction both tasteful and well done.

JUNGLE HIKING

. . . or Qigong, depending on the Mandarin or Cantonese (according to a Chinese friend) is a martial art encompassing both the physical and mental focus so much lacking in my own life; hence my complete lack of understanding.

Dina Delany, the owner of Solfiggio Pavilion in Platanillo, will be happy to fill you in. You can write to her at indigonight@yahoo.com

After years of international study under the tutelage of grand masters, she now conducts regular classes and retreats along with visiting grand masters. After attending only one class, I can certainly attest that the location and views are gorgeous and the construction both tasteful and well done.

KAYAKING

. . . or Qigong, depending on the Mandarin or Cantonese (according to a Chinese friend) is a martial art encompassing both the physical and mental focus so much lacking in my own life; hence my complete lack of understanding.

Dina Delany, the owner of Solfiggio Pavilion in Platanillo, will be happy to fill you in. You can write to her at indigonight@yahoo.com

After years of international study under the tutelage of grand masters, she now conducts regular classes and retreats along with visiting grand masters. After attending only one class, I can certainly attest that the location and views are gorgeous and the construction both tasteful and well done.

NIGHTLIFE

. . . or Qigong, depending on the Mandarin or Cantonese (according to a Chinese friend) is a martial art encompassing both the physical and mental focus so much lacking in my own life; hence my complete lack of understanding.

Dina Delany, the owner of Solfiggio Pavilion in Platanillo, will be happy to fill you in. You can write to her at indigonight@yahoo.com

After years of international study under the tutelage of grand masters, she now conducts regular classes and retreats along with visiting grand masters. After attending only one class, I can certainly attest that the location and views are gorgeous and the construction both tasteful and well done.

RAPPELLING

. . . or Qigong, depending on the Mandarin or Cantonese (according to a Chinese friend) is a martial art encompassing both the physical and mental focus so much lacking in my own life; hence my complete lack of understanding.

Dina Delany, the owner of Solfiggio Pavilion in Platanillo, will be happy to fill you in. You can write to her at indigonight@yahoo.com

After years of international study under the tutelage of grand masters, she now conducts regular classes and retreats along with visiting grand masters. After attending only one class, I can certainly attest that the location and views are gorgeous and the construction both tasteful and well done.

SURFING

. . . or Qigong, depending on the Mandarin or Cantonese (according to a Chinese friend) is a martial art encompassing both the physical and mental focus so much lacking in my own life; hence my complete lack of understanding.

Dina Delany, the owner of Solfiggio Pavilion in Platanillo, will be happy to fill you in. You can write to her at indigonight@yahoo.com

After years of international study under the tutelage of grand masters, she now conducts regular classes and retreats along with visiting grand masters. After attending only one class, I can certainly attest that the location and views are gorgeous and the construction both tasteful and well done.

SUP

. . . or Qigong, depending on the Mandarin or Cantonese (according to a Chinese friend) is a martial art encompassing both the physical and mental focus so much lacking in my own life; hence my complete lack of understanding.

Dina Delany, the owner of Solfiggio Pavilion in Platanillo, will be happy to fill you in. You can write to her at indigonight@yahoo.com

After years of international study under the tutelage of grand masters, she now conducts regular classes and retreats along with visiting grand masters. After attending only one class, I can certainly attest that the location and views are gorgeous and the construction both tasteful and well done.

SNORKELLING

. . . or Qigong, depending on the Mandarin or Cantonese (according to a Chinese friend) is a martial art encompassing both the physical and mental focus so much lacking in my own life; hence my complete lack of understanding.

Dina Delany, the owner of Solfiggio Pavilion in Platanillo, will be happy to fill you in. You can write to her at indigonight@yahoo.com

After years of international study under the tutelage of grand masters, she now conducts regular classes and retreats along with visiting grand masters. After attending only one class, I can certainly attest that the location and views are gorgeous and the construction both tasteful and well done.