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“Slice of Paradise”

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Arenas del Mar Beachfront & Rainforest Resort
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
19 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“Slice of Paradise”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 28, 2014

Just got back from our second trip to Costa Rica and Arenas del Mar. We never repeat vacations, but Arenas del Mar was such a delight the first time, we had to go back - and we were not disappointed. What sets this hotel apart is its impeccable service. The staff is among the friendliest and most professional that we've encountered in our travels. When we arrived, we were greeted by name and welcomed back by Rodbin, whom we met last year. We were glad to see and be remembered by many friendly faces - special shout-out to Ariel! We were upgraded to a stunning top-floor ocean-view suite with outdoor tub down by Playitas (my POV: splurge on a nice room by the beach - it's worth it!). Both beaches adjacent to the resort were as beautiful as we recalled from our previous trip here. Other reviewers' comments re rough surf at Playitas are correct; the beach is well-signed with warnings and there is a lifeguard on duty, but exercise caution. A new addition to the beach this year were comfortable outdoor cushions to enjoy. Capuchin monkeys, iguanas, and sloths can all be found on the property (don't feed any of the animals!!). Take a night hike with one of the guides - you'll be amazed at what you discover surrounding you. Arenas del Mar is a great base to explore Manuel Antonio National Park - it's a lovely walk down the beach and right to the park. Stop at Balu's on the way for a delicious casado and happy hour all day. Note that there's no need to hire a guide at Manuel Antonio - just follow the hordes pointing up at the trees. We also discovered Playa Biesanz on this trip, a 5-minute drive away towards Parador. We rented a kayak from Lenin on the beach ($40 covered a 2-person kayak, fins, and Lenin watching our stuff) and snorkled for hours along the reef. It's beautiful. Cafe Milagro up the hill is a great spot for dinner (live music, local craft beer, yummy jerk chicken, carrot cake to die for). There's another nice lunch/dinner spot whose name I can't recall - it is by the Blue Monkey Inn (ask the front desk at Arenas). They did a great "Saltin" and a delicious bbq'd red snapper. Gabriel at the front desk recommended a wonderful tour for us on our way back to San Jose - it is the Jungle Crocodile Safari (sounds cheesy, but it's awesome). This boat tour along the Tarcoles River showcases lots of crocs to be sure, but the real highlights were the amazing birds we were able to spot. It was relaxing, interesting, and beautiful. We also made the rather long drive to Los Quetzales National Park (2.5 hours 1 way), but did not spot much wildlife there at all. All in all, highly recommend splurging a bit on this very special place. Thank you team at Arenas del Mar for a wonderful stay!

Room Tip: Pick a room by Playitas for easy access to the beautiful beach. Staying in a suite is worth it.
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
4 Thank psudopoddy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,761 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (559)
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English first
Potomac, MD
Level Contributor
141 reviews
60 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 185 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 27, 2014

We enjoyed our stay here. Pros: Beautiful exotic landscaping and jungle. Worthwhile to take day and night walks with the guide, at the park and on the property. Troops of monkeys come by periodically but are not there a lot. The views are great. The staff may be the friendliest I have ever encountered. The food was surprisingly good, better than the restaurant we went to. Cons: We got sick the first day, presumably from drinking the water--so only drink bottled water no matter what they say. The ocean varies from mildly to very rough. It's never placid and calm on this stretch of beach. There are no water sports The pools are small which could be an issue at times, especially if there were a lot of kids. The paths are very steep so most people called for the golf cart unless they wanted to do some real exercise. There is no fitness center. Also do your pre-trip research regarding activities because the front desk is more of a reactive group as opposed to coming up with ideas. There is no breakfast buffet and while it's good it's not memorable. The fruit especially is disappointing and small portions. Happy hour is a good deal. they have the same tropical band every other night which is a nice touch but the talent level is shall we say, really low. So if you are looking for a gorgeous tropical experience with nature activities and a relaxing beach this is a gray bet.

Room Tip: I reserved a garden room because everything else was too expensive and it went through on the web si...
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank david999
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Green Bay, Wisconsin, United States
Level Contributor
21 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 26, 2014

Pretty close to perfection. This hotel has a semi-private beach close to the pool and beach bar/restaurant. It also has access to a 1.5 mile stunning public beach fronting on the national park. Two beaches for one resort (and two pools); no other resort in this area can claim this. Rooms are luxurious, staff is friendly and helpful. Views are incredible; restaurants are good. We will come back here! For those who stay a week or more, the restaurant menu doesn't change and gets a little old (even though the food is good, you run out of choices). However, there are plenty of restaurants close-by and the hotel runs a shuttle.

Room Tip: All rooms are nice; the garden view rooms don't get the ocean breeze; can feel stuffy and the pa...
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
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    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Joyce C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Worldwide
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 22, 2014

What a fantastic place. The beer is cold, the beach is fine and sandy and the swimming pools are all clean. The level of customer service is exceptional from check-in to ordering food at the pool bar. The place is clean and the attitude of the staff is always upbeat.
The bedrooms are large and spacious. Go for an ocean-view and the balcony hot-tub is the deal clincher. STAY HERE.

Room Tip: Ocean view option won't be regretted.
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  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank TeddyWorldwide
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 review, January 23, 2014
Dear TeddyWorldwide,
greetings from sunny Manuel Antonio in Costa Rica. Thank you for your very concise and to the point review of your stay at Arenas del Mar. Of course we are ready to hear that you liked the rooms, the location (the direct beach access from the rooms is a big plus), the pools, the beaches and of course the cold beer (did you try our microbrews Libertas and Segua?). But what is most satisfiying for us are your comments on the service that you received. We believe that it all comes down to that and will try hard every day to provide the best possible service so that many more of our guests write reviews with the title of "best hotel in Costa Rica". Thanks again and we hope to have you back soon.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ambler, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 22, 2014

Paradise is truly the most accurate description of Arena Del Mar. From the minute we arrived, the wonderful staff made us feel at home. We spent 6 days walking the beach, going on fantastic tours, swimming in the crystal clear water, exploring the rain forest, relaxing and mingling with other guests. The accommodations were simply beautiful. Our room had an expansive deck which over looked the Pacific and was perfect in every way. The bathroom was modern and very clean. The bed was extremely comfy and the private tub on the deck was perfect for relaxing after a busy day. Also, my husband tends to get sunburned so he could sit on the deck during mid day and it felt like he was on the beach. Alternatively, the private beach had ample shade and umbrellas. This was our first vacation without our kids and was like a second honeymoon.

And, if you love the ocean, you can swim for hours! The water is delightful. I grew up on the Jersey shore and can ride waves endlessly. When I travel to Florida, there are always problems with Jelly Fish. Not here; the water was delicious. I spent hours a day in this crystal, warm, clear blue ocean. I also loved relaxing and reading my book on the private beach while enjoying cocktails And, the cocktails were yummy! We never missed happy hour! And, when we wanted more action, we headed to the public beach where we enjoyed para sailing and other activities. Manuel Antonio Park was within walking distance. The wildlife was wonderful and our tour guide was excellent. The hotel arranged our excursions and made the trip seamless. Again, their staff was excellent.....


Lastly, I loved the fact that an environmentally friendly boutique hotel could be soooooo luxurious. And, If you go, don't forget to check out the spa and treat yourself to a message. Have I convinced you to pack your bag?

Room Tip: Ocean Front
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  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank Alice B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ambler
Level Contributor
23 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 22, 2014

In a previous review of the resort, I should have spent some time reviewing the Bar and Restaurant on the premises.
One needn't leave the resort to enjoy and sumptuous breakfast served poolside unless you choose to sit indoors. however, eating a delicious repast by the pool affords one the unique experience of wonderful service by a very attentive and knowledgeable wait staff, in addition to the local wildlife! The menu is extensive...one begins with freshly squeezed juices...the mango, watermelon,guava,grapefruit....all superb and refreshing! Freshly baked sweet rolls are plentiful...the coffee,well, the coffee is aromatic and served really hot and refills are automatic! The main courses are such that you wish you could eat each...my favorite was the French Toast with berries and nuts...my husband devoured the Eggs,beans and Rice...one could also order eggs anyway....with a side of potatoes that are exceptional!...if you prefer lighter fare, there is always a plate of fresh fruit on the table...but do indulge...just walk it off later on the beach!
Dinners for us were amazing....we were treated to the freshest fish....wonderfully prepared vegetables...lots of great local fare...we are particularly fond of seafood and the shrimps were awesome! Again, excellent wait staff, eager to make your dining experience memorable! The ambience in El Mirador is superb...cool breezes in the evening,soft lighting, great food and wine! We are incredibly lucky to have been there for the Chef's events...each night the meals were spectacular! Local fare prepared with panache!
The Bar, manned by Juan Diego, is a treat without a doubt! He delights in creating wonderful drinks using the freshest herbs and libations! We were never fans of "cilantro" until Juan Diego blended it with Rum,honey, and crushed ice....WOW! The bar is stocked with the very best wines and liquors ....but do yourself a favor and try one of their special creations....!

  • Stayed November 2013
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank tsharnick
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bethesda, Maryland
Level Contributor
60 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 20, 2014

We have visited Arena Del Mar five times in the past five years and have had an excellent experience every time. The staff is exceptional in all respects and will help in any way possible. Spend some time talking with them and you will gain an added perspective on Costa Rica. Spend time walking the property as you will find as much nature and wildlife as you would on a tour. The food in the restaurant is very good, and they will cater to your taste. We have already booked our sixth trip. Splurge on the premium ocean view suite. Pura Vida

Room Tip: The Ocean view premium rooms in building 6 are the best. Building 7 is right over the pool and rest...
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  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank StevenB-cpa
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

Property: Arenas del Mar Beachfront & Rainforest Resort
Address: Punta Quepos, Manuel Antonio National Park 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 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 Green Hotel in Manuel Antonio National Park
#2 Spa Hotel in Manuel Antonio National Park
#3 Luxury Hotel in Manuel Antonio National Park
#3 On the Beach Hotel in Manuel Antonio National Park
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
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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Also Known As:
Arenas Del Mar Beachfront & Rainforest Resort Costa Rica/Manuel Antonio National Park

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