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
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
Nayarra Resort is beyond anything I’ve ever been to. The lush landscaping, flowing fountains, sky bridges, and view of the Arenal volcanoe from our room were “pura vida”. My only 4 star would go to one of the restaurants. Asia Luna, while a gorgeous atmosphere was lacking in quality of food. Otherwise, the food was great (particularly the breakfast buffet). Expect to pay premium prices for this premium resort.
We had the most wonderful surprise on arriving at this hotel, it had been booked for us by a third party and we arrived having just white water rafted out from Pacuare lodge,so we’re not looking exactly smart. The staff were so friendly and welcoming. Nothing was too much trouble.
We were given a beautiful Villa, very spacious and comfortable with our own infinity plunge pool - what a pleasure.
One of the best surprises was the free washing service which was a blessing as much of our clothing was either very wet or damp!
We were unable to take the best advantage of the amazing grounds and facilities as we were only there for 2 days, had a full itinerary and the weather was not at its best.
The dining options were varied and very good.
Would definitely recommend.
From the moment we drove up it seemed like everyone bent over backwards to take care of you. The service was top notch in all areas from check-in, help with activities and directions, the restaurant, the drinks by the pool...I mean everything was perfect. We enjoyed that there was a different happy hour drink each day, the quiet side pools/hot tubs with the feeling of being immersed in the jungle, the room having a hammock on the deck to relax in, views of the volcano. One night we wanted to try a pizza from a place nearby and the front desk offered that we have it delivered to the hotel so that we didn't need to venture out in the rain. The grounds are immaculate and we were able to view a sloth, which was really cool. The setting for a yoga class was definitely one of the best we've ever experienced and is a must if you're into yoga...and if not give it a try! Can't say enough good things about this place and the friendly people who make for such a pleasurable vacation!
This was far & away the best resort where we have ever stayed!! First of all, the resort, the gardens & the accommodations are simply beautiful!! As others have mentioned, it is in the middle of a rain forest! But what truly made the resort outstanding was the level of customer service. The staff went above & beyond at every opportunity! For example, when my mother’s sandals broke, a staff person took her sandals, fixed them at no charge, and returned them an hour later. The next day, my mom took a cooking class at the resort, and when she mentioned to the instructor that some of the ingredients are not available in the U.S., he went to the market & purchased the ingredients & brought them to her room. Time & again, the staff showed us that they are truly committed to ensuring that every guest has a wonderful experience. Stay at Nayara! You won’t regret it! We hope to return again.
We stayed here 4 nights and it was truly fantastic. The staff are genuinely kind and the accommodations were extremely clean and lovely. The grounds are gorgeous and the dining was excellent. Highly recommend!