Gaia Hotel And Reserve – Adults Only
What We Love
- Rate includes a 20-minute massage, facial or reflexology treatment per person, per stay, plus one guided hike through the 14-acre nature reserve
- Arrival gifts: cool, lemon-scented towels and a tropical welcome drink
- Daily à la carte breakfast is included in the Jetsetter rate
- The open-air La Luna; don’t miss the panko-crusted tuna or the signature Gaia tenderloin
- Kind and professional staff
- READ MORE: Find your perfect Costa Rica vacation
What To Know
- Only the Suites, Deluxe Suites and Villas have Jacuzzi bathtubs
- The ocean is seven minutes away, and a free beach shuttle runs from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily
- This is a certified green hotel, and the tap water is safe to drink
- Costa Rica’s dry season is December to May; during the rest of the year it can rain for several hours a day
- Free WiFi
- Free WiFi
- Handicap Accessible
- Parking On Site
In honor of its namesake Greek goddess, Gaia Hotel & Suites exudes a reverence for the earth, with its panoramic coastal views, three pearly white buildings and 14 acres of twisting jungle. Upon entering the white-on-white digs, guests are served lemon-scented towels and cool tropical drinks. The walls display the owner’s personal Latin American art collection, including photos he took for National Geographic and works by Ecuadorian artist Eduardo Kingman.
Bed and Bath
In the 22 rooms, suites and villas there are beds with 500-thread-count Italian linens, flat-screen LCD TVs, expansive en suite tiled bathrooms (some with Jacuzzi tubs), all done in a calm palette of cream walls, hardwood floors and oversize windows that offer breathtaking jungle and ocean views at every turn.
Equally impressive are the views from the three-tiered infinity pool, where sunbathers sip cocktails from a swim-up bar. And in the intimate Terra Spa, the free 20-minute mini-massages are made even more soothing by the lush jungle backdrop. At the five-star La Luna restaurant, such dishes as succulent Tico-style ceviche and thick tenderloin steak are accompanied by daily drink specials (from a Gaia sunset cocktail made from a myriad of juices to Costa Rica’s famous guaro liquor), all of it served alfresco against a technicolor sky. Come morning, a free breakfast spread of huevos rancheros, sweet mango juice and fresh coffee fuel reserve excursions led by an enthusiastic, certified nature guide, who spins tales of the jungle and its superlative wildlife.
In the Area
Once a center for orchid conservation and wildlife rehab, Gaia’s 14-acre nature reserve now has fantastic hiking trails; a free guided tour embarks Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays at 7am. And Manuel Antonio is just over a mile away, offering some of the country’s best opportunities for spotting sloths, monkeys, toucans and more. For parasailing, snorkeling, dolphin encounters, fishing, water-skiing and boat excursions, the Gaia concierge can recommend a tour outfitter that fits guests needs.
How to Get There
I am writing this review on our way to the airport after spending a week at Gaia. My husband and I had so much fun on this trip. Gaia is absolutely beautiful. The pool was amazing and you can see lots of birds, lizards, monkeys and macaws right from the lounger.
The service at Gaia was wonderful. Derek at the restaurant was our favourite. So nice and welcoming. All of the staff knew our names and were helpful with anything we needed.
The food at the restaurant was good. Breakfast was a choice of one 5 or 6 dishes and there was a selection of fruit, breads and fresh juice. We got lunch and dinner a couple of times at the restaurant and we went out a few times as well. Ronnie’s place was incredible for food and sunset there was lovely. Marco who worked at pool bar was so fun and kept the drinks flowing.
The shuttle to the beach was perfect. Always on time and comfortable and just a great feature of the hotel.
We had a couples massage at the spa and it was wonderful.
If you are looking for a wild party atmosphere, Gaia is probably not for you. That being said we had fun day by the pool.
It want a great view, head up to the roof (take the elevator up to the 3rd floor). The other night there were about 15 monkeys up there.
We had a jungle studio and it was nice. Next time we probably would have picked a room with a balcony. The housekeeping staff did an incredible job and the turn down service in the evening was so nice.
There is so much to do in Costa Rica but definitely take a morning or afternoon to relax by the pool and walk around the grounds to appreciate the beauty of where you are staying.
Often people review with cost vs. benefit in mind bu I have to start with the fact that I didn't have to pay for the room. That is to say that the trip was a birthday gift from my siblings.
My wife and I really enjoyed our stay at Gaia (rm: 341), with our favorite aspects being:
#1 the friendly and attentive staff. The folk there are very good at what they do. They seem to legitimately want you to have an exceptional experience and they are expert enough to not only respond to your requests but to also anticipate your needs. People greeted us by name and always knew what room we were in. These kinds of things don't just happen. There are clearly systems and protocols in place that guests never see but that keep us floating along on a cloud of superior service. On more than one occasion, Boris, the owner, appeared to greet us and assure us that we could call his extension -- 500 -- at any time if we needed anything. We never had to call -- not that we never needed anything, it's just that his staff took care of whatever came up.
#2 the physical beauty of the place. It's build into the side of a mountain so it's unusually shaped and hilly, with steep climbs and lots of stairs but it's really pretty and in the middle of a Scarlet Macaw preserve. We saw the beautiful birds frequently, along with squirrel monkeys, iguana and other creatures one expects to see in a tropical rain forest.
#3 the spa. We were split on this. We had our first couple's massage (after 24 years of marriage) and I loved the hour of bodywork I got from Enzio (I'm probably messing that up). My wife thought she didn't get enough from her masseuse but never said anything so I'm going to chalk that one up to her not indicating that she needed more pressure.
There's more to say but I'm running out of steam here so let me finish by favorably noting the tours and beach outings they helped arrange and get us to/from, the breakfasts, Tapas and cocktails and, again . . . the people. Nicely done Gaia -- Pura Vida!
Let's start with the less-than-perfect aspects of Gaia, since there aren't many of them. First, walking anywhere from it is pretty much impossible, and the food and drinks in their restaurant, La Luna, were a little pricey. That said, they offer shuttles to get around, and taxis are plentiful. And while the food and drink prices are relatively expensive for the area, they're pretty comparable to US prices, so it's not like you're paying an arm and a leg.
Now that that's out of the way, the good stuff, of which there is plenty.
The location is fantastic. It's about equidistant between Manuel Antonio National Park and the nearest town, Quepos, so that was convenient. It's off a main road, but it's up the hill a bit, tucked away in the jungle, so all you hear is the sound of the jungle, not cars on the road. There's a multi-level pool with a great view, which features a swim-up bar on one level. La Luna is above that, and features a beautiful view of the surrounding area, including some hilly jungle and the ocean in the distance. It's a great place to have a drink and watch the sunset. We didn't avail ourselves of the spa, so I can't speak to that, but it looked nice.
Our room was quite large, with a king bed, a love seat in front of the flat screen TV (which we didn't use, but it's nice to have the option), and a mini fridge. The bathroom was also roomy, and featured his-and-hers sinks and a shower large enough to accommodate "benches" built into the sides. It also had air conditioning, which was a nice bonus. We're used to open-air rooms when we visit the tropics, which have their advantages, but being able to get out of the heat and humidity sure was nice, especially when sleeping.
Since it's in the jungle, you're likely to see some critters, which I always enjoy. We sat outside our room with some drinks one night (there's a table with a couple of chairs out there), and were visited by a curious raccoon. I saw a snake on another night, and there are a variety of birds, including scarlet macaws.
Speaking of macaws, in addition to providing shelter for humans, they also have a macaw reserve/breeding center that's helping to increase the once-decimated macaw population of Costa Rica. It's an admirable bit of conservation, and made the hotel that much more appealing to us.
They also have a number of day trips that you can book. We did three, two with Amigos Del Rio (who were fantastic), as well as a tour of Manuel Antonio National Park with Juan, Gaia's rockstar in-house guide. We considered skipping the guided tour and just checking out Manuel Antonio by ourselves, but I'm glad we didn't. Juan spotted animals we wouldn't have otherwise seen, took some amazing pics for us, and provided all sorts of interesting information on the park and its animal inhabitants.
Which brings me to the best aspect of Gaia: the service. The staff at Gaia are top-notch. We received amazing service from Sirit, Jose, Johnny, Marcos, Derek, and Yendry (as well as others). How good were they? Well, one afternoon we were sitting in the bar area enjoying drinks, and a friend gave me her cherry, which she didn't want. The next drink Yendry brought her didn't have a cherry in it. No request to leave the cherry out, not even a mention of a cherry to Yendry. She just noticed and acted accordingly. My wife and I have been lucky enough to visit South and Central America almost every year since we got married in 2012 (the honeymoon was in Costa Rica, too; we love la pura vida!), and this was the best service we've ever received, hands down.
TLDR, we had an amazing time. Great location, big, comfy rooms, and high-quality service. If you're visiting the Manuel Antonio area, we highly recommend staying at Gaia. I guarantee we'll be back at some point. Hell, I wish I was there right now.