My husband and I spent 5 days in Arenal/La Fortuna, Costa Rica less than a week ago. Even though it was the rainy season, we were fortunate to have great weather for 98% of our trip. We decided to stay at the Arenal Nayara Hotel & Gardens ("Nayara") based on the reviews on Trip Advisor. From the very beginning, we found the staff at The Nayara to be professional, accomodating and really committed to making sure we would thoroughly enjoy our stay.
We arrived at San Jose airport on 5/3/11 and booked a private shuttle van through the Arenal Nayara. Our driver, Fernando, met us right outside of customs at San Jose airport and was an absolute delight. The shuttle was new, clean, roomy, comfortable and air conditioned. Having Fernando as our driver was an unexpected and deligthful occurrence. He showed us sloths and other wildlife during our 3 hour commute and shared a great deal of wonderful information with us regarding the region. It was a pleasure to see the country through the eyes of someone who loved it so much! If you book a shuttle van through the resort, ask for Fernando.
When we checked in, we were met at the shuttle by one of the front desk staff. Everyone at the front desk was welcoming. We were offered batidas and a warm towel infused with aromatherapeutic herbs. Very nice after a long drive. The check-in was a breeze and in less than 10 minutes we were in a golf cart on our way to our suite.
The grounds of the resort are amazingly lush and full of exotic flora and fauna. It is kept incredibly clean and was beautifully designed. The Nayara is a small resort, which we prefer, but it has more than enough to offer. The Nayara doesn't overwhelm the natural surroundings, but rather compliments it.
We booked a Nayara suite for our stay and was assigned to Suite 30. At first, we didn't like the fact that we were further back on the property. However once we walked into our suite and saw the degree of privacy that we had in this location, we were very pleased. The Nayara suite was absolutely gorgeous. The Nayara suite included a canopy bed; indoor eating area; lovely hand carved wood furnishings throughout; his and hers vanities; a gorgeous overhead double head shower; a romantic outdoor shower garden with showers for two; ample storage and closetry; a bar area and fridge; a wraparound porch with an outdoor jacuzzi, hammock, outdoor eating area and lounge chairs for 2 overlooking a private backyard with an array of beautiful exotic plants and flowers. It was everything they advertised on the Nayara site and more. And the view....We had a complete unobstructed view of Arenal volcano. The pictures do not capture the grandeur of this volcano and the beauty of this resort and the Arenal region.
We enjoyed the complimentary breakfast every day and took advantage of the room service in the evenings. The food was very good - especially the breakfast - but the selections were somewhat limited. We ate in town during most of our stay and thoroughly enjoyed the lovely places we dined at. The room service menu was extremely limited. We ended up ordering the cheeseburger and fries with maduros and guacamole, which were all AMAZING. On the last night of our stay, our room service order was not to our expectations. The staff were very apologetic and willing to make it right. The restaurant manager even personally came and apologized to us while we were checking out the following morning. Something we were not expecting, but appreciated. Another example of the degree of pride the staff at The Nayara has in their work and the level of commitment they share to offering the best service to their guests.
We were disappointed that the restaurants, bars and room service were only open until 10 pm. Since the resort is not centrally located in town, it would be nice to have the option to order room service or, visit the bar later than 10 pm. We are a younger married couple, not party people, but do not necessarily like to turn in as early as 10 pm. We remedied this by shopping at the supermercado in La Fortuna. We were able to purchase wine, ingredients for mixed drinks, snacks, etc for only $60 USD in town. We visited La Fortuna almost every day during our trip and found everything we needed there. We really enjoyed interacting with the Costa Rican people and enjoying the things they enjoy. We never felt unsafe and loved the people.
If you need to go into town, all you have to do is ring the front desk and they will call a red taxi for you. The taxi generally arrives in 10 minutes and is a $10 USD fare into town. Since I am of Central American descent, it was easy for me to communicate with the drivers, staff at The Nayara and the locals. However, other guests who did not speak Spanish found it very easy to also get around and communicate. We visited the La Fortuna waterfall, Arenal Natura Park and other sites during our stay. The resort will also coordinate tours for guests, but we decided to explore on our own.
In addition, the resort offers free wi-fi throughout the property and free calls to the U.S. at reception. A fantastic plus and what we expect of resorts of this caliber.
We are already planning our next trip back to The Nayara next year and are bringing a group of adult couples and relatives with us. After seeing all of the photos and hearing how wonderful our trip was, everyone wanted to join us on our next trip.
This was our first trip to Costa Rica and Arenal. Honestly, my husband and I could not recommend a better place to stay if you are in the Arenal region than The Nayara. You will not be disappointed. We can't wait to go back!
Thank you everyone at The Nayara for making our stay so incredible. We look forward to seeing you again in 2012!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.