The casitas/rooms are spacious and beautiful. All the vegetation gives a sense of privacy with a view of the volcano.
Included - DVD player, DVDs at the desk that you can borrow with NO charge, 3 laptops in the lobby with FREE internet, breakfast buffet included (at least in our package), umbrellas at each casita door and at the restaurant and lobby (even in the "dry" season it will still rain ocassionally), FREE shuttle to and from "downtown" La Fortuna (This is the same shuttle for employees to get downtown. It leaves the hotel at 210, 410, and 610.)
There are only 25 casitas, so it's a small cozy hotel. When I think back to Arenal, I remember how wonderful the rooms were and looking out the porch window and waiting for a glimpse of the top of the volcano. The rooms/casitas are huge, we had two beds, a flat screen tv, 2 large closets with slippers and bathrobes, large indoor shower area, an outdoor shower, large porch with a jacuzzi, two chairs, and a hammock. There are a lot of light switches for everything! (you'll understand what I mean when you get there)
Hotel Food -
Breakfast was pretty good as far as buffet breakfasts go. They have standard American pancakes, bacon/sausages and an omelette station, some Costa Rican stuff that was really good, fruits and assorted pastries. We only had dinner there once, the food was good but nothing truly exceptional. If you are trying to fit in lunch quickly before an excursion/tour, tell them when you order. Otherwise the "quick eats" section of the lunch menu will still take 30+min to come out. (no one in Costa Rica is on time except for the tour people)
There are 4 birds, and 3 bunnies that can be found on the property. One of the green birds will say "hola" and whistle at you if you speak to it.
The entire staff was very nice, especially the concierge guys in the lobby. Everyone spoke English, or at least some English.
The only thing I think they can improve on is the wait staff in the restaurant - they were disorganized, weren't the most friendly, and almost seemed like they didn't want to be there. When you are seated, 2 people come separately to ask you what you want to drink and your room number. They don't seem to realize someone else has already helped you. When we got the prix fixe dinner for $20pp it says that it comes with appetizer, entree, dessert, and coffee or tea. We asked for one tea and the waiter said it wasn't included. Then someone else came out and told us they could give us one tea, as if they were doing US a favor. It was also weird when you got the "check" for the free breakfast that they always reminded you that the tip is not included and stood next to you until you finished signing and tipping them. Having someone hovering over you and reminding you that tip isn't included is a bit awkward and rude.
La Fortuna food - We only tried Don Rufino. It's clean and the food is good. There's no air conditioning, only the cross breeze. I had Grandma Style Chicken which came in foil and a banana leaf. It was delicious, moist, and had a great sauce. Also came with vegetables and mashed potatoes on the side.
I would return to Arenal Nayara with friends or my spouse without hesitation.
General Info about Costa Rica -
*Most places have a garbage can near the toilet - you're supposed to put your toilet paper there instead of flushing it because the CR pipe system isn't that good.
*They use the same outlets as the US.
*Everyone accepted US$, most gave change back in colones however. So you don't need to change money before you arrive.
*Even though the tour books say that tipping or extra tip is not expected, it really is. Bring a lot of $5 and $1 bills for tips. For zipline and rafting tours we gave $20 for the 4 guys to split amongst themselves. (However, we noticed a lot of people didn't tip.)
*Most people run late except for the tour/excursion people.
*You don't need to speak fluent Spanish if you're staying in the tourist towns, but it's a good idea to know a few words. Especially for the taxi drivers.
*Even in the "dry season" it will still rain unexpectedly. In Arenal it rained every morning, and a couple of times in the afternoon or over night, but wouldn't last long. In Manuel Antonio it rained while we were rafting, but was dry by the time we finished and got back to the hotel. Pick up a $8 poncho from Walgreens for hiking tours. It packs down pretty small and comes in a small mesh bag.
*Bring a small backpack or wear cargo pants with lots of pockets (preferably zippered pockets).
*at Manuel Antonio National Park - do the morning walking tour. They have good telescopes and can point out things you otherwise can't see with your bare eyes. The tour is about 3.5hours. They can give you a ticket to go back into the park to enjoy the less crowded beaches (which closes at 4pm). Otherwise it's $10pp for the park. The park is closed on Mondays. Wear your bathing suit, water shoes, and bring a towel. Do not bring food unless you're going to eat it right away. The monkeys and raccoons are not shy about taking food. We saw 4 monkeys harass a woman while the 5th monkey stole her box of crackers.
*Use the bus in Manuel Antonio/Quepos. It runs every 20min until 6pm, then every 40min. They will stop where ever you pull the stop request cord, so you just have to keep your eye open for your destination. It cost 470 colones for 2 people (which is about $0.83 depending on conversion rate.)
*If you are using Sansa (25lbs, 10lbs carry on) or Nature Air (30lbs, 10lbs carry on) for inter country flights PACK LIGHT! They are serious about their weight restrictions and will weigh YOU with your carry on, then your carry on by itself. They did make us take stuff out of the carry on, even though we had room to add it to our luggage. I hear they charge $1 for each pound you are over the weight maximum. It's worth it to buy a $10 luggage scale from Bed Bath and Beyond if you don't already have a scale.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Arenal Nayara Hotel Spa & Gardens is a five star luxury boutique hotel that is widely recognized for providing premium luxury amenities and ultra-personalized service at surprisingly affordable rates. Located on the outskirts of the amazing Arenal Volcano, Arenal Nayara is an oasis of tranquility, where guests can experience a profound and organic immersion with nature, while living in luxury at the same time. Surrounded by lush tropical rainforest, each one of our 50 spacious casitas (bungalows) provide an exclusive, ultra-luxurious retreat. Each expansive casita (ranging from 855 to 1905 square feet) includes a secluded garden with an outdoor shower and a beautiful terrace overlooking the volcano with a private, intimate Jacuzzi for two. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Arenal Nayara Hotel And Gardens
- Arenal Nayara Hotel Gardens
- Nayara Resort Spa & Gardens Costa Rica/Arenal Volcano National Park