Casa de Corazon in Costa Rica

house-from-aboveCasa de Corazon is where Jan lives. Her place includes her rebuilt Tico house, open air studio, Casa Tranquila and the two cabinas perched on the mountainside overlooking the city of San Isidro de El General.  Here life is simple with tropical rhythms of twelve hour days, sun, rain, abundant tropical fruits and vegetables – and always Pura Vida!

Enjoy a YouTube view of Casa de Corazon from the air

with original music by Jan’s son, Mike Owens


The air is always fresh and every morning is new.

5 a.m. Dec. 17   Orange morning 2015_edited-1   Morning view from Jans   5-a.m.-Jan-9_edited-square

Jan offers several ways to visit – with or without painting


Pura Vida Package 

Sun filled morning in Casa Tranquila, with views and full kitchen!

Sun filled morning in Casa Tranquila, with views and full kitchen!

for those who would like a Pura Vida break!

Come visit Jan at Casa de Corazon to see and feel what Pura Vida is. Casa de Corazon is Jan’s home, high above the southern city of San Isidro de El General. Besides Jan’s home, there are two private cabinas, each with a private bath and the new casita, that was being built for Frank. With his sudden passing in early 2014, Jan is completing it in his memory for use as a private retreat or short term rental with a fully equipped kitchen plus….  (You can rent the Casita separately from this Pura Vida package and use it as a home base and be more on your own). See below. Note.  There are 34 steps up to the cabinas, that have the superior views – kind of like living in a treehouse!  Casa Tranquila is at ground level – and the view isn’t bad, either!

Join Jan for a few days to unwind or re-wind and relax. Your choice about whether it includes painting with Jan

  • Pura Vida without Painting:  $185/day/person for 1 – 3 days. Single occupancy in one of Jan’s cabinas with private bathroom. (Double occupancy at reduced rate) or $200/day/person in the new Casa Tranquila with fully equipped kitchen and private bathroom, wifi, etc.
  • Pura Vida with Painting Want to add in some watercolor painting with Jan? An additional $150/person/day and Jan can even furnish your materials!

Jan can help you plan your Pura Vida and offer suggestions and arrange visits. She has contacts who can arrange all kinds of adventures for you (at additional minimal cost) – hiking, horseback riding to a magnificent waterfall, zip lining, Quetzal viewing with Billy, beach trips, etc. so just ask! 


Casa de Corazon Packages for Watercolor Painters

Artists painting in the outdoor studio

Artists painting in the outdoor studio

 for those who want to come visit and paint with Jan, too.

5 Day Painting Intensive with Jan

  • $1500/person for five days of painting and 6 nights at Casa de Corazon in either a cabina or Casa Tranquila.
  • See more details and photos here.

Helga and Que   Liliams hybiscus   Ruth final paintings   my garden 3

The fees above include two meals/day (usually breakfast by Jan or Anita (Jan’s Tico daughter/neighbor) and a light lunch or dinner at one of Jan’s favorite restaurants..), all accommodations and all local transportation while you are with Jan within 30 minutes of Jan’s place, open access to the outdoor shower and outdoor kitchen and studio and organic vegetable garden.   We will likely be painting in the Outdoor studio each morning for perhaps 4 –  6 hours. The meals provided are prepared by Jan or Anita and are non-vegetarian typical Tico cuisine. Please know that if you have special diet requirements and/or liquor, we have space in the refrigerator and Jan is happy to take you to a grocery store where you can purchase whatever you need. Your fee does not include your transportation to and from San Isidro de El General and Jan can provide recommendations for arrival and departure or various extended tours.



Cabina or Casa Tranquila Rental 

Cabina, with view out through trees to the valley beyond

Cabina, with view out through trees to the valley beyond

This is for those who would simply appreciate some time to themselves doing it the way they choose.  

This is for you who wish to do it all yourself – and have one of the Cabinas or Casa Tranquila for yourself, independently from Jan (except for perhaps relaxing on the Infinity deck  in the evening). Includes breakfast and coffee each morning.

  • Cabina.  $50/night/person ($75/night/couple) Single occupancy in one of Jan’s cabinas for 1 – 3 days (or more, possibly with reduced price for one week or more). 3 nights minimum and 3 weeks maximum  stay. Full access to the outdoor kitchen for your cooking needs.
inside Casa Tranquila from the kitchen

inside Casa Tranquila from the kitchen

  • Casa Tranquila.  $65/night/person ($100/night/couple) Single occupancy in Casa Tranquila with fully equipped kitchen and private Casa-Tranquila-squarebathroom, wifi and covered parking for 1 – 3 days (or more, possibly with reduced price for one week or more). 3 nights minimum and weeks maximum  stay.




See more photos and read about the Cabinas and Casa Tranquila rentals here

Relaxing in the hammock

Relaxing in the hammock


 Some Scenarios

Morning view from Jans

the view from the Infinity Deck

A Three Day Pura Vida Package …..

We will schedule  to fit your needs.  You could arrive on Tuesday and spend Wednesday and Thursday at Casa de Corazon in one of the cabinas or Casa Tranquila.

Maximum 3 singles or two couples.







  • Arrive in San Isidro by Musoc bus in afternoon. We’ll supply you with directions, etc. from San Jose or other…
  • Evening on the infinity deck at Jan’s place and a light meal – or we’ll eat out at Papas or another favorite restaurant in town.


  • Breakfast in the outdoor studio – traditional local food prepared by Jan and Costa Rican neighbors.
  • Whatever you’d like to do – a tour with Billy? Reading and relaxing?   To the beach?
  • Evening drinks on the infinity deck at Jan’s. You bring your own alcohol.
  • Dinner at a nearby local restaurant – probably at Papas de Paramo or the Mirador with a view over the entire valley!



  • Breakfast in the outdoor studio
  • Morning in the Market in San Isidro, Costa Rica’s largest open air weekly produce market to purchase dinner and see one of the big reasons the ExPats are moving here. We may want to choose the food that we’ll have for dinner. Fresh tuna? Red Snapper? Sea Bass anyone?
  • Lunch at Bazookas.
  • Afternoon to tour the city and outlying areas
  • Drinks and appetizers and possibly dinner at LaPrincesa with Billy Vargas and family


Casa Tranquila overlooking the valley and view


Breakfast in the studio. Mid morning Musoc bus to San Jose.

Artists painting in the outdoor studio

Artists painting in the outdoor studio

A 5-Day Painting Intensive with Jan

Jan’s very popular Five-day Painting Intensive is what she developed in order to build Casa de Corazon. Beginning in 2009, the first Intensive participants brought in what she needed to build the two cabinas. The outdoor studio and rebuilding of her house came next – along with the outdoor shower, gardens and other amenities. Casa Tranquila is the most recent addition to this place of Jan’s heart, Casa de Corazon.


Sunday.  You arrive, either by taxi with Francisco or by public bus from San Jose and we have the afternoon to get settled, visit an ATM machine and enjoy the evening on the Infinity deck before dinner.

Liliams hybiscusMonday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday – we plan them according to your interests and wishes. Some possibilities! Because the watercolor painter really wants to paint, we plan around that activity. Every day. The subject can be anything – from tropical landscapes to sloths to flowers! With two or three painters, we’ll find plenty to paint and enjoy!  I’ll offer what I know best – color, color relationships, design, watercolor process, techniques (glazing, tucking, dancing stroke, lifting, etc), light and shadow, subjects (animals, landscapes, still lifes, water, florals, and I’ll try anything!)  This can be an intense learning situation for us all!

  • We may want to have some of our painting time down at Papas, painting en plein aire as we enjoy the lovely gardens and food.
  • Of course we will go to the market on Thursday – to shop for food and see the amazing variety of tropical fruits and vegetables available here – the largest farmer’s market in Costa Rica!
  • We may want to visit Liliam’s for inspiration and photographs of her extensive orchid gardens.
  • We may want to take a drive to the beach (45 minutes) and enjoy the 87 degree water, the howlers and toucans as well as tuna tartare at La Parcela.  There will be time to paint en plein aire at Villa Lenora, too!

Saturday morning.  You return to San Jose via Musoc bus.

 enjoying watermellon at Liliams   Jan-and-Steve   Tuna tartare   view from La Parcela 2

What do others say?

Intensive-gals-and-Anita_edited-1“Every moment I spent in Costa Rica with Jan was an eye opening experience.  She has created a unique and lovely indoor/outdoor home in a magical place.  I found it peaceful and calming.

I also had fun sharing laughter, interesting conversation, great food and some “WOW”  experiences with my two fellow painters.

As an artist and teacher Jan is kind and encouraging, insightful and skilled in relaying ideas.  I loved her enthusiasm and her patience….

This was an unforgettable experience.  I came looking for inspiration and found it!”

         Mary Lu Larsen, 2015




“It’s All Open Space in Costa Rica


We wake up in a tree house to surround-sound, exotic bird songs as the windows here are always open. Sunrise around six, no curtains on the windows; adjust bedtime accordingly. Each morning is a fresh start but the weather changes little. The air is soft and warm, so full of moisture that nothing is completely dry. A natural moisturizer for skin and hair; my clothes don’t get a chance to wrinkle.

The morning view of the valley always delights me, almost like a programmed response. There are other houses hidden in the vegetation, but it seems to be exclusively our view.

We join Frank in the open air kitchen for strong coffee and quiet conversation as he prepares breakfast for us. Eventually, we all gather for another incredible meal, heavy on tropical fruit that we can barely afford to buy in the States. The mist is lifting from the valley, the sun is warmer; we are encircled by vegetal greenery and bright flowers.

If it’s Thursday, we can travel a short distance to an open market, a farmers’ market on steroids. Fruit and vegetables for sale in such abundance, it looks like it could feed the world.

carefree-life-of-Mennonite-womenThe market has a county fair like atmosphere as local residents come to socialize as much as to shop. All fun stops at the Mennonite lady’s table. Her breads are popular but do not smile here where life is apparently very serious and certainly not joyous or carefree. The cheese lady stands alone. Her cheeses may be superb and her hat is festive, but she is not having a great day either.

On another afternoon, we stop at a local, neighborhood bar. There is little separation of the inside and outside; windows with no glass or screens keep nature close. Anything seems possible; a jaguar or ocelot might be wandering the dirt road below our open window.

Given enough privacy from passers-by, glass and screens are completely optional here in the countryside. Our friend has lived here for nearly twenty years with artfully liberated windows.

But real open space begins at the beach. We’re on the Pacific Ocean side where there is a stunning lack of commercial development blight. People friendly beaches abound that are nevertheless not crowded with people.

spectacular-beachParadise doesn’t exist, and in other parts of Costa Rica there are bars on all the windows and razor wire is a prominent feature. But bars on the windows is also a state of mind, and I’m going for the open space.”

Vandana W., 2014





Frank and guest, catherine“I returned from a wonderful week with Jan and Frank on the tour, Simply Living in Costa Rica. I am also an artist with a limited income and the week was invaluable in giving me the experience of living a simple, inexpensive life as an expat within a Costa Rican community, and the information I need to decide if I want to relocate to CR. Jan brought me to an expat women’s potluck, we visited the homes of several of her friends, spent an afternoon at Frank’s finca AND went to the beach and to small neighborhood restaurants. Jan planned the perfect activities and we also spent time at her house so I got to feel what ordinary days are like. As a tourist, coming to CR on my own, I never, ever could have gotten such a felt sense of what my life in CR would be like — or had as much fun ! Jan and Frank were the most gracious hosts! Thank you, Jan! Thank you, Frank!”


Catherine H., 2012

Some advice for those thinking about becoming an ExPat

Before and After Jan’s Tico House Rebuilding 2009 (left) 2012 (right)

14-living-room-kitchen-wall  15-living-room-2012-with-chair

Jan’s cabinas at Casa de Corazon. Cabinas at night (left), Cabina interior (center), Outdoor kitchen with cabinas above (right)

cabinas-at-night-175  cabina-interior-175  outdoor-kitchen-with-cabinas-above-175

Casa Tranquila, newly constructed as Frank’s house – just across the tile entry way from Jan’s house.


Remembering one of Frank’s organic meals at his farm

  1. The place looks really great! It’s totally perfect for a family vacation! Hope that I can go there soon!

    • Thank you James. Yes – I believe I am very fortunate to be right where I am on this little spot at the side of the mountain. I hope you can come visit too! Let me know!

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Jan’s Mailing Address

PO Box 595-8000
San Jose, Perez Zeledon, San Isidro 11901,
Costa Rica, Central America