We spent 5 days in this Garden of Eden slice of paradise. From the moment the hotel car service picked us up from the airport to when we had to sadly say goodbye, our entire experience was absolutely perfect. The hotel is set within a private expansive rainforest directly on a picturesque beach. This unique location makes for amazing surprise visits from capuchin monkeys and other exotic wildlife while you're relaxing on the beach or eating lunch at the beachfront restaurant. The rooms and the lobby are situated throughout the rainforest property (i believe they have 11 acres). We got the OCEAN VIEW PREMIUM room (603A) and it was worth every penny. The deck overlooked the entire beach and surrounding rainforest. The deck had 2 very comfy lounge chairs and a love seat. The best part was the private tub on the deck which was perfect for relaxing after a day of exploration in the sun.
Another thing about the location is that you are walking distance from Manuel Antonio Park, which is a nature reserve so there is a ton of wildlife to see there. You want to get a guide to take you through the park (you can get a guide through the hotel or directly at the park) because you won't see anything if you go by yourself. The guides bring telescopes and you can see sloths, monkeys, butterflies, birds and all types of wildlife close up. Put your camera up to the lens and you can get really great close-up pics.
A hugely important factor is that the hotel staff is just incredible. They even specially prepared sandwiches for us when we arrived around midnight since the kitchen was closed. I've been to many resorts with great staff, but the group at Manuel Antonio seem to be a family and they make you feel like you are part of it while you are there. A few standouts were Robin, Bryan and Allan who took special care of us and make this the a truly remarkable experience. But what's really great is that the staff is so helpful and caring without feeling intrusive. It's a perfect balance that I've actually never seen before.
The hotel is also a 5-leaf resort which is evident from the second you arrive. The eco-friendly vibe definitely adds to the experience. Ersel took us on a night hike around the resort grounds and we saw all types of creatures, including the red eyed tree frog. Ersel was so passionate about the rainforest and Arenas Del Mar's mission that it was contagious. You feel like you are part of the conservation efforts when you're staying there.
And the weather in Manuel Antonio is PERFECT. There wasn't even a cloud in the sky the entire 5 days...I learned that rainy season is May-December so we just missed it. Every day was a 10!
The food was pretty good, not great, but definitely decent.
A few warnings, and these are NOT negatives because I can't stress enough how perfect this resort it...1. The property is expansive and hilly. Walking from the beach to our room gave us a good workout. There are many golf carts that will come pick you up in just minutes if you can't or don't want to make the hike, but just wanted to throw that out there.
2. There are not dark shades in the bedroom so I woke up with the sun and the birds every morning around 6am. it was actually pretty cool to watch the sunrise and the rainforest and beach come to life. But if you're like me, and you like to sleep in on vacations, bring a sleep mask. The bed is super comfortable though.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located within walking distance of Manuel Antonio National Park, Arenas Del Mar is an extraordinary beachfront and rainforest resort catering to travelers looking for more than the typical luxury hotel experience. Stunning, luxurious, and sustainable, this hotel has 38 rooms with exclusive beach and nature views as it is nestled in eleven acres of rainforest with private trails and two tree-shaded white sand beaches. Unique among the hotels in Manuel Antonio, our carbon neutral property offers sustainable, luxurious lodging—the first Costa Rican luxury hotel to be awarded the Five Sustainability Leaf Award and a Five Star Award. Arenas Del Mar is the perfect base for exploring on your Manuel Antonio vacation. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Arenas Del Mar Beachfront And Rainforest Resort, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica Manuel Antonio National Park