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!
- 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