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.)
- 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