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“I can't imagine any place better than this in Costa Rica” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Arenas del Mar Beachfront and Rainforest Resort, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

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Arenas del Mar Beachfront and Rainforest Resort, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
4.5 of 5 Resort   |   Punta Quepos, Manuel Antonio National Park 311-6350, Costa Rica   |  
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Charlotte, NC
1 review
“I can't imagine any place better than this in Costa Rica”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 28, 2009

My husband and I stayed here for 5 nights in May '09, and absolutely loved it! The rooms were beautiful, large, and had great views of both the beach and the jungle (we had an Ocean Breeze Suite, which had a jacuzzi on the balcony). The staff could not have been more helpful or more friendly, and the food was excellent.

There are two beaches - Playa Espadilla, which runs all the way to Manuel Antonio National Park (20-25minute walk along the beach) and Playitas, a smaller beach on the other side of the property. Both are beautiful, white- and gray-sand beaches with gorgeous green Pacific waters. Both had security guards, and although the beaches are not private, the security guards' presence seemed to keep the "ticos" (locals) from coming around and harassing the guests.

The two infinity pools were also beautiful and very well-kept. Since the property only has 38 rooms, and there are so many things to do in this area, there were several times when we were the only people at the pool or on the beach!

The wildlife here, even around the hotel, was amazing. One day, the white-faced capuchin monkeys decided to stop by for lunch in the trees right outside our room! Seveal of the iguanas have been named by the staff (Felix lived near our room), and sloths often napped in the trees over the beach.

We booked two trips through the hotel - a tour of Manuel Antonio Nat'l Park and a Canopy Tour. The Nat'l Park tour was led by Arenas' resident naturalist, Pablo, who has the equivalent of something like a Masters Degree in agriculture/ecology/sustainability. He knew so much about the plants and wildlife, and he could pick out bats and sloths in the trees that we would never have been able to see on our own! The Canopy Tour was led by an outside company, and despite my fear of heights, I always felt safe with them. They were very professional, efficient, and safety-oriented. Don't test your luck - let the hotel book your tour with these guys.

I've read some reviews that mention how bad the road into Arenas del Mar is, and I want to comment on this. We didn't drive ourselves, but when we went in/out of the resort and had to take this road, the drivers were used to it and could avoid the worst parts. It was bad (even by Costa Rica standards), but not impossible or painful! If you drive yourself, just be prepared and take it slow.

Another note about the staff - the entire staff was extremely friendly and accommodating, especially the wait staff. When we wanted to have lunch on the beach, we just asked, and they gladly brought it to us. Especially on Playitas Beach, they came around often to get you another drink, a towel, sunscreen, whatever you needed. And the guys driving the electric carts were really nice and seemed genuinely intereseted in where you're from, what you did today, etc. (The resort is spread across several hills, so they have electric carts to taking you from one place to another if you don't want to walk.)

  • Stayed May 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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962 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (288)
Date | Rating
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English first
Sonoma, California
Top Contributor
59 reviews 59 reviews
26 hotel reviews
Reviews in 37 cities Reviews in 37 cities
92 helpful votes 92 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 27, 2009

What a wonderful place to stay if you want to try to have a little bit of all Costa Rica offers. You get the jungle and monkey, sloths, iguanas, many birds, etc, the ocean and just pure tranquility. The resort makes every effort to be eco friendly and they are doing a very good job of it. The layout is that there are four buildings in the upper jungle area (bldg. 7 has the best views) and there are three buildings on the ocean. It is a good location no matter where you stay. The restaurants are very good and the stay includes "pick of the menu" fantastic breakfasts. You can actually walk their private beach all the way to Manuel Antonion beach (about 20 minutes). I would say the best stay in the area as you have the jungle feel and the ocean at your feet. We were with another couple so we reserved the Ocean Breeze Apartment and it was perfect with a huge deck with a hot tub.

  • Stayed May 2009, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Chicago, Illinois
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 22, 2009

We were so impressed with every little detail about this resort. The staff was some of the most friendly, helpful people we'd ever dealt with. They are always willing to help you out. Seriously, we LOVED the staff and were very sad to leave this resort.

My fiance and I arrived to Arenas del Mar on Thursday and got married on the private beach (Playitas Beach) on Saturday. The staff of Arenas del Mar was wonderful. Everybody stopped to congratulate us on our marriage, the General Manager even gave us a Horseback Riding Tour as a wedding gift! They arranged a fabulous, romantic private dinner for us on the balcony overlooking the sea. We didn't have our families with us to celebrate our wedding, but the staff at Arenas del Mar made us feel right at home.

The beach is so naturally beautiful. There are a lot of palm trees lining the shore, and a beautiful view from all of the 38 rooms. It is such a friendly place that by the end of our stay we were pretty sure we'd met all of the other guests in the resort.

Both restaurants on the property are very good. There isn't a huge selection on the menu, but we tried almost every item during our 5 night stay, and we liked everything. The complimentary breakfast is also delicious -- they even make fresh juices of different flavors every morning.

Arenas del Mar works with Costa Rica’s Certificate for Sustainable Tourism. There are solar panels on the roof which help to power the water heaters. They compost and even use Bamboo straws in the drinks at the restaurants to reduce the amount of non-recyclable waste produced on property. The swimming pools don't even have chlorine in them!

I would definitely recommend a tour of Manuel Antonio National Park, especially if you can request Pablo as your tour guide. He has a way of finding wildlife in the most hidden places! We saw tons of sloths, monkeys, insects, frogs, ant eaters, even a huge boa constrictor eating an iguana! I would also recommend the Horseback Riding tour with Valentin. It was a beautiful tour deep into the rainforest for views you couldn't get anywhere else. The only thing to be cautious about is if you have a bad back, the van ride up to the Horseback Riding farm is pretty rough.

Oh, and as you're driving into the property from the main road, it gets VERY bumpy. Don't worry -- just keep driving. The bumpiness only lasts a few minutes and the resort is so much better!

Overall, this was the most amazing place! We never wanted to leave the property the entire time we were there. We went into Manuel Antonio once and Quepos another time just to see what else they had to offer for shopping and food, but seriously everything we needed and more was at Arenas del Mar.

  • Stayed May 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Alabama
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 19, 2009

I cannot say enough good things about this place! Everything at Arenas Del Mar was absolutely wonderful! We stayed in an Ocean Breeze Superior Room and it was so very nice. The staff was second to none. I mean they did anything and everything to make sure that we were happy at all times and we were!!! The food at both restaurants was excellent. It was so good that we ate there 6 of the 7 nights we were there. The scenery was absolutely beautiful. The beaches were gorgeous and it was so cool to see monkeys outside our balcony! The massage and facial that I had at the spa was incredible! I almost cried when we had to leave. I cannot wait to go back!

Stayed May 2009, traveled as a couple
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Florida
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 14, 2009

My husband and I stayed here two nights in May and would have stayed a third had they not been booked! The grounds were beautiful, but you must be able to walk steep hills unless you want to call for the golf cart every time you want to go somewhere (but they are quick to come). The rooms are stylish and immaculately clean. The views from the rooms can't be beat, just watch out for the monkeys stealing from your mini bar! The restaurant was absolutely delicious and prices were a bargain for what you got considering the rest of the area. The bar tender was fantastic as well. If we ever come back to this area, this would be our pick of hotels!

  • Stayed May 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Toronto
1 review
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 6, 2009

We stayed at the Arenas Del Mar for five nights and loved this property. We were 2Adults/2 children 17yrs/10yrs, and booked two superior rooms. 1st of all. Location: Hotel is one of the only properties with direct beach access. Both beaches that they have acess to our absolutely amazing. As we were a family, we were put in building one (furtherest away from main reception and main restaurant). Although furtherest away, it is nearest to Playitas Pool/Playitas beach and restaurant, which is perfect for families ). For ocean view building 6 and 7 is way to go.
Playitas beach restaurant was great for lunches (originally we had planned to walk along beach to Manuel Antonio restaurants)with average price between $8-$12 for meals. But everything we ordered here was amazing, and kids always wanted to eat here. Cocktail drinks (both alcoholic and non alcoholic) averaged around $7 and were HUGE!!! and good value. The Playitas beach was very rough, yet my 10year old had great time with 'boogie boards' provided by hotel. Very understated are the security guards on the beach here, who go under the radar but are very attentive, often bringing us fresh towels, moving our chairs etc. Important to note that although the Arenas Del Mar is on the beach, with direct access to Playa Playitas, and Playa Espadilla, they are still open to the public (thus why the hotel has bodyguards). The Playitas beach has an area on the West side which was the hot spot for the gay community. We were unaffected by public access. The other beach, Playa Espadilla, th is is accessible from hotel reception by golf cart, or across rocky promontory from Playitas Beach (my 10yr old had no problem walking across). The beach was unbelievable, and midweek often felt we had to ourselves!!! In the morning you would often see local surfers catching waves. The water is much calmer here compared to Playitas Beach. The ocean was so warm. This was a great place to go for a run/walk to Manuel Antonio park and rikki tikki bars (also market stalls set up to buy souvenirs, and shell jewellery etc.)- great for those of you who want to get their shopping fix!!
Rooms: We originally booked two superior rooms (As per web sit around $200 each). Also superior rooms cannot be interconnecting, so we had one on bottom floor, and one room above on second floor. Although the superior rooms are beautiful, and bathroom stunning, they are very small. We did not want to pay $600+ for the apartment option (which is in fact a superior room and suite together on the same floor). After two nights I spoke to front desk, and pleaded with them to transfer us to a suite. This was not normal hotel policy as the suite has king bed, and pull out couch (good for 2-3 people and we were four). However we were willing for both kids to sleep on couch, As the hotel was not full at the time, they allowed us to trade in our two rooms for one suite. The suite is the definite way to go, the extra living area, two bathrooms, and gorgeous balcony with jacuzzi is fabulous. The suite is the definite way to go!!.
Breakfast was included in room price , and was also amazing!!!. French toast with encrusted macadamia nuts and tropical fruit compote was my personal favourite!!!
Absolutely loved the Eco and natural setting of this hotel!!! We had lots of monkeys swinging before us as we sat on our balcony, and whilst eating lunch on the beach. Halloween crabs at night, made having a ground floor apartment quite interesting, but added to the character of this stunning natural setting. The resident I
guanas Felix and Pueblo would often greet you in the morning.
We had two meals at 'El Mirador' restaurant, and both were fabulous, very upscale cuisine. The average entree was around $15.00, but excellent food. We adventured into Quepos for dinner one night, and had another night at a nearby restaurant 'Mar Luna'. On both occasions hotel organised taxi for us (around $10.00 each way). If you can pop into Cafe Milagro, and the top of the hill, for an amazing Espresso Milkshake.
Last but in no ways least...the staff ...so friendly and accomodating. Special mention to 'Diego' and 'Muni', who made our stay truly unforgettable.
If I had to fault one thing, there is definitely no nightlife here, and my teenage daughter would perhaps have liked that. But in all honesty, in this day and age, it was great to get back to nature, and simple life, and enjoy the stunning environment.. On our last vacation in an all -inclusive in Cuba, we hardly saw our daughter- and we spent some quality family time together.
We were lucky to get some beautiful sunny beach days, but even if you find yourself amongst a tropical downpour, watching nature 1st hand in all its splendour as you sit in your outdoor jacuzzi, sipping a wonderful cocktailon your balcony... Life doesnt get better than that.!!!

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Doylestown, PA
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 3, 2009

We expected a nice place, but our expectations were definitely exceeded. The staff were incredibly friendly and attentive. The hotel property is beautiful and our room (the least expensive room at the hotel) was very, very nice. The pool area and beach were great places to relax. Nice shade trees give you the option to fry in the sun or stay cooler in the shade. The main restaurant as well as the restaurant by the pool/beach were both great. Air conditioning worked fine but the staff may have turned it off, so we had to turn it back on when we returned in the afternoons. We gave the hot tub in the room a shot, but it would have taken HOURS to fill up, so it wasn't used. Arenas del Mar reminded me of a friendlier, less fussy alterntative to a Four Seasons (not that I have ever had anything bad to say about a Four Seasons!). Manuel Antonio was bustling (overrun?) with tourists, so if you're looking for getting to get out in the rainforest away from civilization, this is not the place. Still, we took a guided hike in the park and we did see lots of wildlife.

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Arenas del Mar Beachfront and Rainforest Resort, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

Address: Punta Quepos, Manuel Antonio National Park 311-6350, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Puntarenas > Manuel Antonio National Park
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Top resorts Hotel in Manuel Antonio National Park
#2 Spa Hotel in Manuel Antonio National Park
#2 Luxury Hotel in Manuel Antonio National Park
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Manuel Antonio National Park
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Arenas del Mar Beachfront and Rainforest Resort, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica 4.5*
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

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