It took 3 planes and a taxi to get to Arenas Del Mar but well worth it once we arrived. My wife was very pleased we did not decide to drive the 3 hours to the resort. BTW, the price was the same to fly as it was to be driven. In San Jose, we took Sansa Air to Quepos. We chose Sansa due to the fact we could walk to their gate from main terminal. We were worried about short connection time and Sansa was vocal in their pre-boarding arrival time, which was not the case when we arrived. I wouldn’t want to be late but it appeared very relaxed when we arrived at check in.
The immigration and custom lines were long so I asked one of the guards and showing our tickets for the next flight, he was very kind to move us to the front of the line and we were out of the airport in 10 minutes, of course we carried on!
After landing on an airstrip carved out of the jungle we were picked up by prearranged transportation by Arenas Del Mar (ADM). It was $25.00 for one way 15 minute ride and worth it to have someone waiting for us, driver even stopped at a store so we could purchase a case of water (we learned later that it was unnecessary).
ADM is beautiful, sitting on a bluff above two spectacular beaches. There is plenty of space but the hotel takes a minimal footprint on the land. There are seven buildings overall holding 32 rooms. It appeared to me not to be a bad location for any one of them. We were in building 7 closest to the lobby and main restaurant. Our room 703B was very nice with large bathroom, sleeping area and great deck with a wet bar, microwave, coffeemaker and refrigerator. We did not have a Jacuzzi in our room as many others did however I don’t believe we would have used it anyway.
The lower numbered buildings seem to be surrounded by more foliage and more jungle like; I liked the way that they looked. The other advantage was the easy walk to the beach. Our building had the most privacy and the best views of the ocean. I think the best room is 703A, which I got to see during guest change. 2 bath, living room, and deck to die for! Truly a room where you could walk around in your underwear and not worry about privacy!! Jajaja
Due to some of the relaxed inclines of the property and the sun, most staff members travel by electric carts. Everyone also carries radios, so all you have to do is ask any one of the plentiful friendly staff to call you a cart. We never waited more than a couple of minutes for one to go by and give us a lift to anywhere we wanted to go on the property.
There are two beaches, two small pools and two restaurants. One beach to the right is somewhat secluded form the outside world. The beach bar restaurant, small pool and 4 of the lower numbered buildings are here. This is a lovely place to relax, on this jungle laden beach were the only traffic is that of the many species of wildlife.
The other beach to the left of the property is much larger and much more public. From the entrance to this beach it’s just a 20 minute walk to Manual Antonio and the Park.
The food: we consider ourselves foodies and have traveled to many countries. We also understand the burden of providing great food in somewhat remote locations. ADM handled the culinary aspect of our requirements admirably. Good amount of choices (since we did not venture out for dinners) and they always had a few specials each night as well. Everything was well prepared and presented, we were pleased with everything we ate; fish, meat, deserts and casado, there were also a few theme nights were different specialties were prepared in the dinning room. Some nights there was live music and once or twice a presentation on wildlife.
Breakfast was equally good; nice buffet of fruits, fresh juices, pastry and cereals followed by your choice of a hot entree from the menu. Breakfast and dinner were served in the main dining room just off the lobby area. * note; on Sundays you can make your own tortillas!
Lunch, when not walking into town and eating at Marlin’s, was served on the beach. Good selection of beach appropriate fare, of course sitting under a tree by the beautiful beach watching monkeys swing by wasn’t bad!!
The staff: These people work really hard and were very proud of their resort. Every question or request was responded to with a smile, pura vida and mucho gusto. Many learned our names after a couple of days and some just went out of their way to make sure we were happy.
My wife and I share the same birthday and we celebrated at ADM. On the night of our birthday, many of the staff and the musical trio came to our table and sang happy birthday to us..oh, they sang it twice, once for each of us. It was hilarious to see the servers pounding wine buckets as drums and then presented us with a complimentary chocolate cake..ahh yummy!
On the night after our birthday, one of the spa staff members made us homemade rice pudding, what a sweet gesture and sweet treat. One specific night I had a very special need that required special attention, staff member Nury Solano stopped everything she was doing to make sure I was taken care of. She stayed with the process until it’s conclusion to ensure I was completely cared for and my needs were met, this task required her to leave the building in a driving nighttime rainforest rainstorm. Something my wife and I will not soon forget.
Nury’s actions and the actions from the rest of the staff is testimony to the level of service they are committed to giving, there’s no wonder why they get such great reviews.
Walking the beach to Manual Antonio, we stopped along the way a few times to ask directions, mostly to assure my wife we were not lost. Always, everyone we asked would step aside to give us detailed instructions on how to walk straight down the beach. The town is quite small maybe a few blocks or so with vendors, shops and beach side restaurants.
Here you will find the entrance to the park; $10 US dollars will get you in. There are many locals perched outside to offer their services as guides. On the day we went into the park it was very crowded and we chose not to have a guide. We were happy we did, we just listened to guides talking and pointed out different things. I would guess if it wasn’t crowded and didn’t have the opportunity to eavesdrop, we may have missed some details about plants and some of the smaller species of animals. Here you can also find Manual Antonio beach one of the most beautiful beaches in Costa Rica.
From local encounters, the people of Costa Rica are truly friendly and pride themselves in showing their hospitality to visitors. In Manual Antonio you will find a colorful collage of tourism, bohemian lifestyle and a communion with nature that is expressed in their philosophy on life as Pura Vida.
- 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, our hotel has 38 rooms with exclusive beach and nature views, 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. As well, we are proud to be the first Costa Rican luxury hotel to have been awarded the Five Sustainability Leaf Award and a Five Star Award. With this stunning location and a myriad of personalized services, on-property activities and land and water-based tours catered for honeymooning couples and families alike, 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 & Rainforest Resort Costa Rica/Manuel Antonio