Arenas del Mar Beachfront & Rainforest Resort – Costa Rica
Wrapped in rainforest, right on the beach just a short distance from the Manuel Antonio National Park, Arenas del Mar fully immerses you in nature. The retreat is a delightful microcosm of everything this bountiful country has to offer – you needn’t move from your daybed or balcony to spot monkeys, sloths or a myriad of brightly coloured tropical birds. In fact, there are two beaches – one of them perfect for surfing – and you can reach the national park by foot at the other end of Espadilla beach.
The team here look after you seamlessly and the resident nature guides organise tours through the rainforest, pointing out the wildlife from tiny tree frogs to capuchins, from iguanas to coatis. For a little bit of everything, Arenas del Mar has it all.
At A Glance
Why We Love It:For being the closest luxury beach resort to Manuel Antonio National Park, and for its eco credentials.
Style:Contemporary beach and jungle luxe.
Location:In 11 acres of nature reserve right on the beach a few minutes from Manuel Antonio National Park.
Rooms:37 contemporary rooms and suites with views over the Pacific, Manuel Antonia National Park and the rainforest.
Swimming:Two infinity pools and two beaches – Playitas and Espadilla.
Children:It’s a haven for families.
Accessibility:There are ramps for wheelchair access and adapted rooms on the ground floor – the ultra friendly staff are always on hand to help.
Open From:Open all year round
Price:Price on request
Dotted along the beach, or on the cliff with lofty views, the rooms and suites are spacious and airy. They’re contemporary in style with marble bathrooms, king size beds and terraces or balconies looking out over the ocean or the rainforest. Or both. Ideal for couples, the Ocean Breeze Superior or Ocean View Superior Rooms offer studio style living, close to Playitas Beach.
The larger Ocean View Premium and Ocean Breeze Suites can sleep up to two adults and two children, and can also interconnect with other rooms., giving guests even more possibilities. They all come with covered terraces with their own hot tub and daybeds. The Playitas Suite is the one to go for if you’re travelling in a larger group. It sleeps up to eight guests, with three bathrooms.
The emphasis is very firmly on organic, fresh and local. Fishermen deliver their catch straight to the kitchen, whilst the fruit is something else. At El Mirador, there are à la carte breakfasts and dinners serving delicious modern Costa Rican cuisine, overlooking the Pacific. And at Playitas Beachfront Restaurant, you can eat with the sand in your toes. On certain nights there are beach barbecues and street food evenings.
A stay at Arenas del Mar delivers the best of both worlds – beach life and a chance to see some of the country’s most exotic species. The retreat has its own naturalist guides who are on hand to spot all manner of local creatures on personalised tours. They are knowledgeable and enthusiastic and are great at spotting things that are easily missed by the inexpert eye. Head out early for some bird watching, or join one of the night time rainforest walks, where the sounds are quite extraordinary.
Explore the Carara rainforest, the Marino Ballena National Park and visit the Barú National Wildlife Refuge, swim in rock pools – the most spectacular is at the foot of the Nauyaca Falls – zipline through the canopy, all the while seeing incredible wildlife. There’s equal adventure off shore, with whale watching tours and kayaking through the mangroves. Arenas del Mar has a resident surf instructor and the waters off Biesanz Beach, close by, are perfect for snorkeling and paddle boarding. Then back at the hotel watch the sunset, or treat yourself to a massage at the resort’s wellness centre.
There’s no doubt that Costa Rica is an incredible destination for families, and at Arenas del Mar, the proximity to nature is a constant wonder for younger guests. Hermit crabs invade the beach and night, and monkeys swing endlessly from the tree to tree. The rooms are set up for families, the tours are completely personalised to suit all ages and there are children’s menus in the restaurants.
Arenas del Mar is set within its very own nature reserve, and its eco credentials are exemplary. It was built with as little disturbance as possible and the surrounding nature is its utmost concern. From regular beach cleans to planting over 7,000 native species of trees, from buying and hiring local to a strict no plastic policy and a hydroponic vegetable garden, everything is tailored to minimizing the impact on the earth and sustainability.
Costa Rica, Central America
In 11 acres of nature reserve right on the beach a few minutes from Manuel Antonio National Park. It’s just a 15 minute transfer from Quepos airstrip, or a three hour scenic drive from San Jose.