Villas have WiFi and TVs; cell phone service is spotty, but you're here to relax and take things down a notch
There can be riptides on Playa Esterillos, but you can take a dip in the two back-to-back swimming pools or work on your tan at the beach
Located halfway between Jaco Beach and Manuel Antonio National Park
If you're renting a car, we recommend reserving one with a GPS
Parking on site
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Colorful beachfront hideaway with a spa, two pools and an alfresco restaurant on dark sand Playa Esterillos
Less than two hours from San Jose, Alma del Pacifico sits on four landscaped acres flanked by jungle and the Pacific Ocean. A top-to-toe revamp in 2011 added a slew of modern amenities, including TVs, WiFi and a beach bar, but the signature multicolored buildings, eclectic artwork, organic cuisine and blissfully chill vibe remain undisturbed.
Bed and Bath
The open-plan Garden Villas are a spacious 455 square feet, with large terraces, private walled gardens, arching wood plank ceilings, huge windows and sitting areas. Art is a big theme here, and each room is filled with original paintings, mosaics and tapestries; even indoor/outdoor bathrooms are done up with colorful mosaic tiles. Villas have King beds, though families or groups can request the handful of rooms with two Full beds, and all have built in daybeds for lounging away from the two pools or beach.
Open-air Mosaic Restaurant serves up a seafood-heavy menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with many dishes using ingredients grown in the hotel’s own organic gardens and orchard. Or go for lighter bites and cocktails at the Beach Bar — perfectly positioned to watch the sun set over the Pacific Ocean. For activities away from the chocolate and gray sands of Playa Esterillos, book a treatment in the four-room spa, take a dip in the two back-to-back swimming pools or explore the acres of wildlife-filled rainforest that surrounds the resort.
In the Area
Manuel Antonio National Park is worth a visit, but you should also check out Carara National Park, about 15 miles north of Jacó. Dense and wet, the park is home to plenty of animals, including one of the largest populations of wild scarlet macaws in the region. Alternatively, Pura Vida Gardens and Waterfalls is a privately owned 50-acre botanical refuge with nearly 600-foot waterfalls (said to be the tallest in the country). For less active pursuits, head about 30 minutes up the coast to Jacó — a fun (if somewhat seedy) surfer town with a bevy of bars, clubs and discos to get your ears ringing again. For a memorable meal on the hillside of Manuel Antonio, check out El Avión, built inside an old airplane that was shot down by the Sandinista army in Nicaragua. Meals can be hit-or-miss, but the drinks are excellent.