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“Very Good Private Beachfront Property in Manuel Antonio”

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Arenas del Mar Beachfront & Rainforest Resort
Ranked #4 of 46 Hotels in Manuel Antonio
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
Reviewed February 19, 2013

I would give this property five stars if certain changes were made. We stayed here three nights.
The property itself is beautiful. Golf carts are necessary to get around but the drivers all carry walkie talkies so when you request a ride you get one within minutes. The drivers were the friendliest employees (Ariel, Paul, Rodvin, Wilber, Brandon, Sergio and Alex: Pura Vida!) It never rained so it wasn't an issue. Not sure what the wait would be like if it was raining.
There is direct access to a private beach which is why many people stay here. We noticed that the two pools were almost always empty and the private beach was being used more often. There was a gentleman working for the property using a machete to cut off the tops of coconuts and offering coconut water with straws to the guests, really nice touch. The property has security guards at both beaches. They will call for a cart when needed.
The public beach is nice to watch surfers. The sunsets are magnificent.
We took two tours using a private guide through the property. If you choose to take a tour request Ersel Aguilar. He is a professional, intelligent, passionate guide.
We hiked through Manuel Antonio Park on the first tour and the property includes fresh fruit plates and drinks at the restaurant when you return. The hanging bridge tour (truly fantastic bridges, views, waterfalls with a swimming area with the clearest cleanest water) includes a full lunch for two when you return. Well worth the money.
We are birders and love all flora and fauna (in the park we saw a slaty tail trogon, panama flycatcher, hummingbirds, double toothed kite hawk, black crown tityra, hourglass frog, jesus christ lizard, yellow crowned night heron, blue grey taninget, sloths, blue morpho butterfly). The pictures we took were extraordinary.
The spa is five star. We had a couples massages on Valentines day and individual massages the following day. Request Andrea for your massages. Priscilla, if Andrea is not available.
We stayed in Building 5, third floor and it was very easy to walk to the main building, the pool by the front desk and the beach. We also hiked through the property.
We were disappointed with the size of the room (ocean view). It was big enough for a king bed and not much more. The balcony had no breeze and only two chairs (no lounge) and no table.
There is a mini fridge filled with 'Costa Rican snacks= junk food and fruit juice). No waters were given complimentary which is ridiculous. They could keep all the sugary snacks and drinks and just fill the fridge with bottled water.
The property offers happy hour at the bar in the main reception area which is very nice.
For $450 a night the rooms should be larger. The bathroom is as large as the bedroom: the shower is 6 ft X 7 ft. which is huge. There is only a single sink, a toilet and bidet. The door stopper is by the toilet so you have to be careful not to hit your foot on it.
We asked if we could pay more for a larger room but they were completely booked, so if you want larger accommodations make sure you book a suite in advance. It will be worth the money if you like space to move.
The bed is comfortable. The sheets are good quality. The pillows are comfortable.
The air conditioner works well. There is a ceiling fan as well.
The bird watching from the balcony with the ocean in the background is magical. There is no breeze from the ocean because the room is too high (bldg 5) so if you want a breeze request a room by the ocean at a lower part of the property.
This property says they are eco friendly and take pride in the fact that they are.
So it was very surprising when we took breakfast to go for our hanging bridges tour to see they use styrofoam containers. Really?
Breakfast is included in the rate and we were pleased with the quality of food offered. We ate breakfast by the pool overlooking the ocean.
We ate lunch in the restaurant by the beach and it was very good.
On my birthday they brought a slice of cake with birthday wishes written on the plate to our room which was very appreciated.
The basic changes that need to be made are:
service; the staff at the front desk needs more training. Ronny was very helpful and friendly.
we asked for change of $50 (for Colones) and they didn't have it at the front desk!
they did finally get it and brought it to us down by the beach where we were having lunch
some of the staff at the restaurant need more training
value: the size of the room for the price paid was too small
complimentary waters should be provided at this price point
internet: the internet was spotty at best; not working at all other times
beach and pool lounges: rock hard, no cushions offered back wrenching.
While our observations are subjective we strongly feel some changes need to be made in order for us to give this property five stars.
management: there needs to be availability of management for the guests
We would like to thank all the drivers mentioned above for their gracious and kind interactions with us throughout our stay. They really did make a difference in the enjoyment of our time at Arenas del Mar. Pura Vida!

Room Tip: Request a room by the beach. Try to book a larger suite if you enjoy more space in both the room an...
  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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7  Thank srk60
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cayuga S, Manager at Arenas del Mar Beachfront & Rainforest Resort, responded to this reviewResponded February 20, 2013

Dear Umich3,
Greetings from sunny Manuel Antonio. We would like to sincerely thank you for taking the time to write such a detailed review of your experience. We love to receive such a great combination of praise and constructive criticism as it helps us get better and provide the best possible experience for future guests. We really appreciate that you mentioned the names of so many of our employees that provided great service to you and are very happy to hear that you had a great stay around your birthday. Let us address some of the feedback. Unfortunately, we cannot change the size of the room, but we are working on some interior design changes to provide more space and functionality. We recommend the smaller rooms to guests that plan to be very active on tours and exploring the beaches and the suites for guests that prefer to spend time at the hotel. We are sorry we were not able to upgrade you during your stay due to high occupancy. As you mentioned in your review, the privileged location of the hotel on two secluded beaches in the middle of a rain forest full of wildlife makes the Arenas del Mar experience so special. Nevertheless, we will work hard on those service details that you mentioned and will change our packaging for takeout. We are committed to sustainability and pride ourselves for having the five green leaves certification. The week you stayed with us, we ran our of the biodegradable containers. Our bad. Thanks for pointing that out. The reason why we don't have bottled water in the rooms is that we try to avoid excessive plastic trash production. Our water is perfectly safe to drink and is tested regularly. We are sorry that this detail was not clearly communicated to you during your stay. Once again, thank you for such a great review. We are sure it will be very helpful for future guests. We hope to have you back with us (maybe in the rainy season so that you see that the golf cart transportation works very well in the rain as well). All the best,

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1,120 - 1,126 of 1,835 reviews

Reviewed February 15, 2013

We stayed for 11 nights which is a long stay for this resort, and we would have happily stayed longer as everything is perfect! I cannot recommend this resort enough!!


Service is second to none here. The staff are all so helpful and friendly, and nothing is too much. Pretty much every member of staff we met made our honeymoon the best it could be. In particular, we would regularly chat to:
Gabriel, Ronny, Laura and Elaine (front of house / white shirts)
Alex, Brandon, Wilberth, Rodbin, Sergio and Paul (carrito drivers / green shirts)
Danier (night security / brown shirt)
Ramiro, Minor, Kenner, Pedro and Julio (bar/restaurant staff / light blue shirts)
Roger (guide / brown shirt)
Leo (management / navy blue shirts)
and there is so many I've missed (my list of names is written elsewhere)


OK. So this place is not cheap, but what you get for your money is great value. The resort is very eco-friendly earning them 5 leafs, and with a 5 star service/hotel rating, that makes them a 7 star resort - the only one in Costa Rica (I think). Pretty much everything in the resort is recycled and this does not come cheap to do, so the money you pay for the room is vital in helping them continue to be eco-friendly and therefore preserve the rainforest and the nature in it. Even the water is 100% pure, and the pool only has the minimum requirement in it!
Furthermore, you do get a wonderful breakfast included in the price (which you can request takeaway if you're off on an early morning tour) with a daily stocked fridge with a few snacks and free phone calls from your room (international as well!)


Rooms are very clean and well-presented. There is enough storage for clothes/etc and we had packed enough clothes for 3 weeks even though we were only there 11 nights - all this was put away and the suitcases hidden from view. We were in room 302b to start with which I am guessing is an Ocean Breeze standard room - the view was of the Playitas beach, and you could hear the sound of ocean waves at night. I would recommend that you do lock the cupboard door to the fridge as we heard many a story of guests losing their snacks to raccoons. We had no problems with mosquitoes at this resort either, but we were heavily covered in repellent most days and nights - the wildlife does do a good job at keeping the population of mosquitoes down though ;o)
After 302b, we were upgraded for free to 203a for our last 4 nights! This Ocean View suite was amazing with some much floor space, two sinks in the master ensuite, additional shower room, sitting room, jacuzzi on the balcony and large sofa. The view was fantastic from the room, but I personally wouldn't spend the extra money on this room for a couple as the extra space was unnecessary for our needs - plus, 302b was actually so much more private!


The location is perfect. Right on the beach, one (kinda private) beach called Playitas and then access to beach that connects to Manuel Antonio National Park called Espadillas. With the resort in the rainforest you can actually see many of the animals you can see at the National Park with some of rarest animals like a Mono Titi (red back squirrel monkey) which we only saw on the drive down the very steep road to Arenas del Mar. You only have to stay by the main restaurant/bar called El Mirador for an hour or two to see at least one Capuchin (white faced monkey), and at night you can often hear the howlers. Oh, and look out for your breakfast if you eat by the pool - an iguana jumped up onto the table while my wife and I were eating; had to grab our plates just before he got his chops around it! *lol*


We had a couples massage at Las Brisas and it was fantastic and well worth it - very relaxing!

Room Tip: We stayed in 302b (Ocean Breeze Room) and 203a (Ocean View Suite). Both were fantastic, but personal...
  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank PhilAI
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 13, 2013

From the time we arrived we were treated like royalty. The hotel is built on the side of a hill going down to the ocean, and our taxi took us down about half way on a tortuous road to the entrance, where were greeted warmly, provided with refreshing cold water. A three seated golf cart took us further down to the lobby, where we took care of the formalities. Throughout our stay, several of the staff assisted us with questions we had.
We were shown to our room, 602B, which is a standard sea view, no Jacuzzi (we don’t use them). Our luggage was already there. We had a clear view of the ocean, and could hear the surf clearly.
The bathroom is very roomy with a huge shower, a welcome change to the very small shower we had endured for our 7 day cruise from Panama (see my review of that cruise separately (coming soon). The sink was in a small counter, and the toilet was beside a bidet.
Of special note, the complimentary wifi was the absolute best I have ever experienced in a hotel at any price.
The bed was super comfy. There was TV, DVD player, remote controlled air conditioning and ceiling fan, and a sliding door leading out to a large deck overlooking the ocean. On the deck was a wet bar including a fridge with some complementary items in it. There was plenty of space for luggage, as well as a safe.
Near the lobby is a pool with beautiful views out over the ocean. Also a bar and a small gift shop. A small reading area is well stocked with books. The dining room features tables inside and a few around the pool. Breakfast (included) and dinner is served here. The area is visited frequently by large iguanas and white faced monkeys. Howlers were heard, and even seen once.
Breakfast was good, and lunch down at Playitas Beach was also very good. The special dinner on Saturday night (also offered on Thursday) was also very good. But the one dinner we had up in the regular restaurant was average. We ate out the third night, which was planned.
TIP: If you are here on a Saturday or a Thursday, definitely take dinner down on the beach. It is a wonderful setting and the food was really great. Tiki lamps lit the way to tables under the palms with little candles on them. My wife said, “Cloth napkins on the beach! How can you beat this?”
With a short golf cart ride, we were down at Playitas Beach, a small but beautiful beach at the bottom of the hill. The restaurant (and bar) here serves lunch, and on Saturdays and Thursdays, dinner as well, in a tiki lit beach area with outside tables. There is a pool here also. A security person is on hand to watch things, but the beach is a long ways from a public entry, so there are few non-guests. Showers and rest rooms are available.
While there were a few families here, it is most suited for couples. There are many restaurants within a short taxi ride. We ate dinner here twice, and lunch twice. We ate two meals out; El Avion, and Kapi Kapi, reviewed separately (coming soon).
This is really a special place. We saw lots of different birds, iguanas, and two sloths. The people here are very friendly and helpful with taxi’s, rides, advice, etc., as well as general conversation. They are quick to point out observed wild life. A very nice, relaxing, upscale place to get away from it all.
Pictures here are very representative of what you will find, so I won't add any more. Recommend whole heartedly.

Room Tip: TIP: If you are here on a Saturday or Thursday, be sure to take dinner on the beach. Beautiful and...
  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank CaliforniaBillJ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 3, 2013

Truly a well designed beautiful resort. With Ocean on one side and the secondary forest on the other, it is a very restful and tranquil place to stay. They have their own private beach and beautiful shady trees where you can spend your whole afternoon eating lunch and enjoying the views...And the hospitality was amazing. Everybody knows your name and are concerned about your comfort. Very charming staff. Free phone calls, even international. No charge for food & drinks in refrigerator. Private balcony. Loved this resort very much.

Room Tip: Because this is a hot and humid area, the bathrooms can smell a little musty.
  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled with family
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Thank LisaMUsa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 2, 2013

We traveled to Costa Rica for the first time in June 2012 and stayed at Arenas del Mar and we could not have been more pleased. This eco-friendly, boutique hotel is tucked into the jungle on the beach.

If you appreciate wildlife like our family does, wildlife is abundant here. On the property, we saw sloths, coati, howler and capuchin monkeys, raccoons, agoudi, iguana and much more. The hotel owners have done an amazing job of providing a hotel with first class amenities while respecting the natural surroundings. We truly appreciated this.

The staff was incredibly friendly and helpful. They were great about pointing out animals to us in the trees, many of which we would not have seen without their trained eye. The food was amazing and our room was incredibly comfortable with a lovely hot tub on the balcony overlooking one of several pools. I think we had the most fun enjoying the monkeys on our porch and the baby sloth that came down from it's tree.

We highly recommend a surfing lesson from Alex and his brother. They give lessons by the hotel. Our 8 year old daughter had a blast and has not stopped asking when we can go back.

The hotel's location is great with proximity to Manuel Antonias Park and many other activities.
If you rent a car, we suggest renting a GPS too. It saved us.

We are planning our next trip to Arenas del Mar soon and cannot praise this "gem" enough. Thanks to Arenas del Mar, our first trip to Costa Rica far exceeded our expectations. Like some other reviewers, we are almost reluctant to let others know how wonderful Arenas del Mar is. We would like to keep it our little secret.

  • Stayed: June 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank Ann C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cayuga S, Manager at Arenas del Mar Beachfront & Rainforest Resort, responded to this reviewResponded February 13, 2013

Greetings from Manuel Antonio. Thanks for sharing your experience at Arenas del Mar Beachfront and Rainforest Resort on Tripadvisor and not keeping it as your secret (-: Your review will be very helpful for guests looking for a vacation in Costa Rica that combines wildlife viewing, adventure activities, rainforest exploration and beach time. As you pointed out, our resort is in a privileged location within walking distance of Manuel Antonio National Park so that all of the above can be found within walking distance of your room. Thank you for pointing out our efforts to respect the natural environment where we operate. We were first hotel to receive the highest possible score of 5 Stars for Luxury and 5 Leaves for Sustainability from the Costa Rica Tourism Board. We are especially excited that you are already planning your next stay with us. Just let us know if we can assist you in any way. We have great green season values available for the months to come. We look forward to having you and your family back with us real soon.
Saludos from sunny Costa Rica,

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Reviewed February 2, 2013

Really can't add any more superlative comments to those already made on Trip Advisor.

We stayed here in January this year for 6 nights & found it to be one of the most relaxing places in the world that we have ever been. The staff were just wonderful & we received the impression that the kindness, respect & willingness to make a perfect vacation for us was much more than just a job for them. Add to that the amazing location of this resort & you have heaven! Manuel Antonio beach must be on the world's top 10 list & hotel guests have direct access to it.

The only fly in my ointment is that Costa Rica is not easy to get to from the UK (& Manuel Antonio even more so). It will almost certainly involve at least one flight connection, if not two, to get to San Jose & then another flight to Quepos or a long car journey. And don't mention the CR road system!! If you plan on hiring a car, the GPS is unreliable at best & although the available maps appear more than adequate, there are little or no roads actually named with the numbers shown on the maps. As a result anticipated journey times are frustratingly extended by wrong turns & detours.

Room Tip: Top floor of the buildings near reception overlooking the ocean. You will have stairs to climb (no...
  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank foolonthehill2005
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 2, 2013

I recently stayed at the Arenas del Mar and was totally captivated from the moment I arrived. This hotel has worked hard to gain a good reputation as one of the best hotels in the area, if not Costa Rica. It is small and spacious with only 38 rooms all located within the rainforest. My third floor room, overlooking the beach, felt as if it was in the treetops. At night I could hear ocean waves lapping and in the morning I was awakened to the melodious sounds of the tropical birds.
The service is superb, all the staff goes out of their way to help you and have a vast knowledge of the local fauna and flora. Gabriel and Rodbin were especially helpful as was Jonathan one of the managers. The food is fairly simple and all a la carte, my favourite place to eat was on the beach. There are also a number of restaurants outside the resort. The Spa is well worth a visit, especially if you choose their 'in house' massage.
This is an Eco-tourism resort and situated in its own private reserve. All types of monkeys, sloths and birdlife can be seen amongst the lush tropical trees. There is a small private beach, which leads to an expansive beach, where you can take a 30 minute walk to the Manuel Antonia National Park., alternatively you can take a taxi for around £5 ($8).This hotel is not for people who want a lively holiday - it is quiet, romantic and unpretentious.If you have problem with climbing hills they have golf buggies to take you to your room, however request a room close to the reception if you are worried.
This is a charming place to visit and a way to enjoy the best of Costa Rica's Eco-tourism and friendly hospitality.

Room Tip: Third floor, overlooking the ocean
  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled solo
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Thank ButterflyWarwick21
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 & Rainforest Resort

Address: Punta Quepos, Manuel Antonio 60601, Costa Rica (Formerly Arenas del Mar Beachfront and Rainforest Resort, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica)
Phone Number:
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Puntarenas > Manuel Antonio
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
#2 Green Hotel in Manuel Antonio
#2 Spa Hotel in Manuel Antonio
#3 Luxury Hotel in Manuel Antonio
#3 On the Beach Hotel in Manuel Antonio
Price Range: $273 - $986 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Arenas del Mar Beachfront & Rainforest Resort 4.5*
Number of rooms: 38
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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Arenas Del Mar Beachfront & Rainforest Resort Costa Rica/Manuel Antonio

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