Costa Rican treehouse community with Oklahoma ties is an arboreal playground
Finca Bellavista is a tree house community in Costa Rica. Now five years old, it's growing almost as fast as the plants around it.
Chris Kneifl hadn't been planning on saying the words — not now, at least — but he couldn't have stopped himself if he'd tried.
What better time could there be? What better
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Here they were, still in sight of their rented tree house high in the Costa
So there, in the rain
“We were just spending time together,” said Kneifl, 36, a Spanish instructor at the University of Oklahoma, “and it was a beautiful setting, and I spontaneously proposed to my girlfriend. ... I didn't have a ring with me. It wasn't really planned.”
But it was perfect. Two and half years later, he and wife, Christina Chumard, are happily married and filled with fond memories of their holiday in southern Costa Rica.
Chalk up another win for Finca Bellavista.
Dream becomes reality
In 2006, Matt Hogan, originally of California, visited the South American country on a surfing trip. He loved the area so much that he returned with his wife, Erica Hogan, of Oklahoma City.
They purchased a 62-acre tract of land with the idea of creating a sustainable tree house community that would blend into the forest and cause
The Hogans didn't speak Spanish. They didn't have a place to stay. The early days of their
They also didn't know anything about constructing or managing a housing development, and despite its exotic nature, that's exactly what Finca Bellavista is. Erica Hogan describes it as “the world's first true arboreal tree house community, master planned and built from the ground up.”
In truth, not everyone there lives in tree houses, although there are eight on the property, which now consists of more than 300 acres. In all, there are 26 structures. Plots sell for $55,000 or more, and tree or stilt houses cost $35,000 to $150,000.
The land is heavily forested, but it is largely secondary growth; most of it has been cleared at some point. The base camp is located at the site of a former gravel pit; a small community took root there after the pit was abandoned, but fire drove residents away sometime in the 1980s.
Finca Bellavista (roughly translated: Beautiful View Farm) is accessible through an old logging road. When the Hogans purchased the property, it was advertised as a lumber site. Now the same trees that would've been chopped down serve as roosts for the tree homes and support an extensive network of zip lines. Foot paths are available for those who don't like heights.
The houses rely on
Several are available for rent, including the Hogans' own home, Mis Ojos Miran La Catarata, a two-level structure nestled atop three trees. Rates for various properties range from $80 (for a one room “jungalow”) to $260 a night (for a four-person tree house perched 90 feet above the ground, along with an attached casita).
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