Nayara Resort Spa & Gardens
What We Love
- Close-up views of the famous Arenal Volcano
- Guestrooms are enormous
- Private outdoor shower and jacuzzi tub on the terrace
- Open-air spa with coffee scrubs and volcanic mud wraps
- The management regularly sprays for bugs, so the mosquito problem is not nearly as bad as at other rain forest properties in Costa Rica
- Free international calls, WiFi and laptops for guest use
What To Know
- Volcano views can often be obscured by clouds and rain
- The area’s rainy season is from May to November
- Handicap Accessible
- Parking On Site
Secluded Costa Rican retreat with an open-air spa, swim-up pool bar and volcano vistas
About 56 miles northwest of the capital, San José, the 5,358-foot Arenal Volcano juts up from a dense tropical landscape that acts as a kind of natural playground for visitors, with natural hot springs, zip-lines through untrammeled jungles, and plenty of hiking. At the center of it all is the Nayara Hotel, Spa & Gardens, heralded as one of the best retreats of its kind in Costa Rica, and certainly the most romantic. The 50 free-standing bungalows are set on a hillside with sweeping views (when the frequent rains have abated, that is). The large air-conditioned units (the smallest is 855 square feet) carry on the tropical-luxe feel with lots of dark wood and pops of rich color on the walls and in the fabrics. Flowers and birds festoon the outdoor decks, where you can swing in a hammock or soak up the views in your private outdoor bathtub built for two. Some units also have outdoor showers surrounded by stone walls. The restaurant, Altamira, set under a huge thatched palapa roof with surrounding stone patios, sticks mostly to Costa Rican basics. The breakfast buffet is ample, and for dinner there’s the churrasco steak washed down with local beers. The hotel pool has a swim-up bar underneath a palapa roof—a handy retreat when rain showers come to visit. There’s also an open-air spa, where mud treatments incorporate ash from the Arenal Volcano.
In the Area
The hotel runs its own guided volcano tour, which includes an easy hike on the Toucans Trail, traversing the rain forest and crossing over a 1992 lava flow. If you’re lucky you’ll see red lava flowing in the distance. The tour includes an optional stop at a mineral hot spring. This nearby family-run natural hot springs (in manmade pools) does not allow more than 100 visitors at a time, keeping the place mellow. It’s especially spellbinding at night, with soft lighting and the rain forest chirping around you. Rio Sarapiqui is a rafting river near Arenal. The river has its own character, from relaxing to rapid whitewater, depending on the seasonal rainfall. Any way you do it, a rafting trip is one of the best ways to get immersed in the overwhelming rain forests of Costa Rica. Take a horseback ride to the La Fortuna waterfall. The ride takes an hour, and once there you can take a swim at the base of the falling waters. Take a full day to go on an 8-hour excursion through Tenorio Volcano National Park. The five-mile hike leads you to natural mud baths and hot springs, and the final destination, the crystal blue Rio Celeste waterfall.
How to Get There
This hotel is probably tied with the Peace Lodge as being our favorite hotel in our two week stay in Costa Rica. They staff are super helpful and friendly. The dining was fantastic. The swim up bar made for great lazy afternoons. Perfect stay all around.
This resort is absolutely amazing! My husband and I stayed here for our honeymoon and we couldn’t have dreamed of a better place! We were upgraded rooms because it was our honeymoon! The views and wild life here are indescribable. The service is outstanding. Everyone is extremely personable and knowledgeable! Theres a wide variety of restaurants.Highly highly recommend! Will definitely be back
My husband and I stayed at the Nayara Gardens for our honeymoon. The entire stay was magical! The manager, Luis, made sure that every detail of our stay was handled with such style and attention.
We also went on several private tours through Nayara Gardens and we highly reccomend you do the same! Our guide, Pablo, was highly knowledgeable of each site we visited and he made our trip so memorable!
Also, the food was spectacular. We had a private dinner with Chef Nicolas and it was like something out of the movies!!! We were so impressed with the entire experience and each of the restaurants we visited on site were each magnificent.
I cannot say enough good things about Nayara Gardens! We cannot wait to visit Nayara Gardens again!!! It was fabulous!