Everyone else can tell you how great Zene and Henner are. I would like to mention some things that others have not. While this place takes a little effort to get to, it more than makes up for that with one of the most beautiful settings you will ever encounter. The photos don't really do it justice.
While my wife and I enjoyed sitting by the pool or in the hammocks being quietly pampered by the staff, what really made our trip memorable were all the great day trips we took to surrounding "attractions". With just a little gumption you can see a ton of the Pacific coastline and nearby "towns".
We spent one day just lazing in the Pacific at the lagoon that is just at the bottom of the hill. While it looked like something out of the movies, there were local families and fisherman also enjoying the day. Seeing seven year old boys opening coconuts with a machete takes a little getting used to, but it is definitely something you won't experience at The Hilton or Sandals.
Just "up the road" is Butterfly Mikes outdoor butterfly farm. While the tour is called a butterfly hike , it is more of an ecology lesson on the whole Guanacoste region of Costa Rica. On his 50 acre parcel he has several specials of bats ( that you can get very close to ), beautiful flower gardens ( to attract the butterflies ) and depending on the season a few hundred varieties of butterflies. He also harvests and sells all natural honey from four different species of bees, all of which are distinct in flavor and texture. Be sure to bring cash so you can bring some home.
As a former professional chef and life time hospitality industry worker, I am always looking for culinary treats. Zene, Henner, Chrisly and the rest of the staff did not disappoint. Local eggs, fruit from the garden, and bacon, made at a nearby farm just for them, are a great way to start the day. Even the hot sauce they make on premise is amazing. For dinner you will have to put up with some of the freshest seafood you will ever see, unless you catch it yourself. You can literally watch the boats bring it back to the beach as you take a dip in the pool.
While they don't typically serve lunch, we found this to be a great excuse to go see what else was happening up and down the coast. If you haven't traveled much in Central America, the decor and laid back attitude of some of the local restaurants takes a little adjusting to, but you will be well rewarded. Remember that they are serving you the same food they feed their friends and neighbors. It is made with love and you can taste it. My wife had one of the best fish sandwiches of her life, while a few chickens pecked at bugs and grandma ironed shirts nearby. These are things you probably won't see in San Jose, or at Arenal for that matter.
We also spent a day going to Punta Islita and Samara. These were more touristy in flavor, and for us we enjoyed the ride more then the towns. Samara especially has a gringo infested feel to it, but it could be a fun place to do some dancing at one of the many nightclubs and bars. And there were some great places to sit on the beach and have lunch. The drive there and back however is one ridiculously beautiful vista after amazing beach after jungle after quant little church. Bring extra camera batteries, you will need them.
To sum it up, if you want to see what Costa Rica was like Fifty years ago while still enjoying all the amenities of modern life, this place can not be beat. Great food, great staff, great rooms (gentlemen be prepared to explain why you can't have an outdoor shower back home or start saving for it now) wifi access if you can't live without and all requests greeted with a sincere " not a problem", than this is a great place to visit. If you think getting drunk at Sandals is great vacation this place probably isn't your cup of tea. Don't get me wrong, the bar is stocked with everything we have in the states, it's just not the focus. If you have a mildly adventurous spirit then this place makes an amazing base camp to enjoy the Pacific coast of Costa Rica.
It is very possible the monkeys will wake you up in the night if it is raining. You get used to soun...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.