“Hilltop cottages on a friendly working farm; sit on your balcony and watch Arenal Volcano in action”
Accommodation here is either in 1 of the 6 cosy Cabins, built on a hillside a short (but steep) walk from the main house, or in 1 of the 3 self-contained Houses.
Each of the cabins - named Monkey, Toucan, Volcano, Mariposa, Congo or Coco - has a colourful mural, painted by Steve, on the wall, which clearly identifies one cabin from another. Inside, the cabins are spacious with different bed configurations. Monkey and Toucan have a queensize bed, and bunk beds making them ideal for a group of friends, or a family. Volcano and Mariposa each have a queensize bed, while Congo and Coco have 2 queensize beds - couples will enjoy having plenty of space.
Heliconia House, the first house built here, has 2 bedrooms (1 queensize bed, 1 double bed and bunk beds), as well as a kitchen, a living area and a porch with hammocks. Hummingbird Hacienda was added next and is situated on a private hill at the back of the property. It has 2 bedrooms (with 3 queensize beds), 2 bathrooms, a full kitchen and front and back porches. Both over look the garden and have views to the Arenal Volcano.
The newest addition at Leaves and Lizards is the Hobbit House. It looks like it's from J.R.R Tolkien's imagination, but personalised with the Leaves and Lizards touch. Expect a large circular door, a porch with rocking chairs and a hammock, which overlooks the garden and volcano. The house is built into the hillside and has 1 queensize bed and bunk beds, and its mural is of an erupting volcano and mountainous skyline.
Beds are super-comfortable, with orthopaedic mattresses and luxurious 800-count linen. There are mosquito nets on offer, but you shouldn’t need them. Each has a private bathroom with a large shower and bathrobes; shampoo, conditioner and body wash come in refillable bottles - this saves on plastic, and the products are biodegradable. There are charming homely touches, such as the fresh flowers. Instead of a TV, you'll find books to read, board games to play, a substantial folder of room notes to give you some background on the area, and a printed guide to the local flora and fauna. Each room is well-equipped too, and includes a minibar stocked with drinks and beer - just refill it before you leave, or leave Debbie and Steve some cash - whichever is easiest. There’s also a diary for you to jot down what you did, and things you saw - great reading for the next guest.
All meals are eaten in the Lava Lizard restaurant, a 5-8 minute walk up a steepish lane: good exercise before breakfast. The restaurant offers an amazing view of Arenal and guests are sometimes treated to a lava flow during dinner.
All the food eaten here is locally grown: Debbie and Steve are keen to support local producers, and for guests to sample Costa Rican life, so you won’t find much international cuisine. Instead local resident chef Mireya will cook superb Costa Rican favourites for you from delicious traditional ingredients. These include farm-grown eggs, chicken, tilapia, beef, pork and milk products - all of which is organic, as is some fruit. Pizzas can be made to order (with a couple of hours notice) in the brick oven, and delivered to your door. Vegetarian options are also available.
Breakfast is a small extra charge, and includes fresh fruit, juice and farm eggs if you’d like. The pancakes are hugely popular. Lunch is usually eaten out on your activities, or is served upon request in the restaurant. And dinner includes a soup course, fresh bread, a main course and a desert. We enjoyed delicious fresh corn tortillas filled with beans or chicken, salad, and fresh pineapple for pudding.
Children are positively welcomed at Leaves and Lizards, and will have an absolutely unforgettable holiday. There is so much to explore on the farm, and on neighbouring farms. The volcano is fun for older children, and there are plenty of activities. The horse riding packages, which include Costa Rican rodeo and being a cowboy for the day, are perfect for adventurous teens.
Teens (over 12)
The cabins Monkey and Toucan, and the Hobbit House, have 1 queensize bed and bunk beds. Heliconia House and Hummingbird Hacienda can sleep up to 6 and have their own kitchen area, plus Hummingbird Hacienda has a laundry area with a washer and a dryer
Leaves and Lizards is very remote and the road in and out is unsurfaced