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
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!
We arrived at the hotel to make a reservation for one night. The receptionist did not allow us to impressed the hotel and suggested that we see pictures on the internet. Of course we did not order after the unpleasant attitude. The hotel next door is much nicer and welcoming.
It is probably the best hotel we have ever been...
The rooms are equipped with all the facilities you can imagine, including an incredible private jacuzzi on the terrace.
The main infrastructure is shared with neighbouring Nayara Springs, so you have 3 swimming pools to choose, plenty of jacuzzis surrounded by astonishing tropical vegetation, wonderful ponds inhabited by several species of frogs, internal tracks that allow a short walk and watch plenty of animals... everything without stepping outside...
Although I had read mixed reviews with regard to cuisine, I can confirm that today it is top-level for both breakfast (buffet + à la carte) & dinner, and can compete with top European restaurants despite some lack of organization concerning with table service.
In addition to the wonderful surrounding environment and luxurious rooms, everything is done to give satisfaction and make your experience unforgettable... For example, as soon as the Manager knew that we were very interested in watching the sloths that live inside the hotel, he organised everything and mobilised the staff in order to be accompanied, letting us to have one of the best experiences of our trip to Cost Rica. Very interesting optional activities like coffee tasting and nature watching inside the hotel.
To cut short, if you are a nature or coffee lover, you are exigent with food and want to be treated like a king don't hesitate to stay in Nayara... you will never forget the experience...