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
- Eco friendly
- Parking On Site
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
There isn't too much I need to say about this place that hasn't been said. It is unlike an resort i have ever been too. The thick forest foliage that surrounds the place is amazing. Very easy to get lost on the property.. and I say that as a positive. The pools are great... and when Arenal is all clear - you have spectacular views. The drinks were loved by everyone (but expensive) except at happy hour when a few drinks are two for one. The included breakfast was superb each and every morning. (The only thing interesting here was that the waitress kept forgetting us when we came in.. like we had not been there the two, three, and four days before). I will let the other reviews detail the place.. but i agree with it all!
As I work in travel, I have been very lucky to stay in some nice places in the past, but this was truly the best place I have ever stayed. It was our honeymoon, so we wanted to treat ourselves to a villa, however we were upgraded to a Springs villa, which was even more incredible. Very private, fantastic location near to the pool and also with a great view of Arenal volcano. We saw lots of wildlife right outside of our villa, including frogs and lizards. All of the staff were so friendly, and they quickly learnt our names, however they still respected our space. I would also thoroughly recommend the wine pairing experience. The food and wine were amazing (one of the wines we didn't like, and he instantly changed it over for us, and it turns out it hadn't 'aired' properly, and he was apologetic for this). All-round amazing service in beautiful surroundings. I would also recommend Jacaranda tours - we did ziplining, whitewater rafting and the Hanging Bridges tour with them and they were fantastic.
One of the most beautiful destinations in Costa Rica. Gorgeous resort in Arenal area with views to the Volcano. Service was outstanding from beginning to end. Breakfast was delicious every morning. Our room was spacious with an outdoor and indoor showers and Jacuzzi on the balcony with Jungle views. Wish we could stay longer and will definitely return to this resort.
We spent four nights at Nayara in a Casita on the Gardens side of the property. Everything about this resort is spectacular. It is far more extensive than I imagined it to be. You will find little pieces of heaven around every corner and you are afforded much privacy everywhere you go. Our Casita (#4) was absolutely amazing. We ate dinners at every restaurant on property and each meal was amazing. Service was top notch. Private tours were top notch with the best guides. I felt like 4 nights was the perfect amount of time, I wouldn't have wanted to stay any less or any more. My one and only complaint about our stay is that our room was situated close enough to a restaurant that we could hear loud music and people hanging out at pool every single evening. This really detracted from the peace and quiet we were after. It definitely took away from the overall peaceful solitude that the rest of the resort exudes. We were also right behind parking area so not the best location. I'm sure that there must be other casita locations that don't get as much noise.
This hotel was so incredibly romantic. Me and my husband stayed here for our honeymoon and we couldn't have been more pleased. The room was fantastic, the staff left rose petals several night for us and all the restaurants were sooooo delicious. It is pricer, but hey you only honeymoon once right? We loved it and would go back in a heartbeat. Beautiful property, amazing food and drinks and super romantic touches.