Just Back: Living #LikeAJetsetter in Costa Rica
Wherever Jetsetter roams, our travels always err on the side of stylish, mindful, and plugged in. We want the best, most authentic experience of a place—the inside scoop on a destination's newest and best hotels, restaurants, bars, events, fashion, and more. We are adventurers but also tastemakers. We love wellness but also great food! We indulge, but also want to know we're getting the most of what we spend. No place embodies that versatile lifestyle more than Costa Rica, where, just weeks ago, we were lucky to live #LikeAJetsetter alongside a few of our favorite travel influencers. Here's what we got up to.
Travel is easy—you dream, you plan, and you go. Traveling well, however, is something else entirely. Choosing the right hotel, securing reservations at the hot new restaurant, making time for that just-opened exhibit, and being conscious about what—and how—to pack is part of what being a Jetsetter is all about. Of all our resolutions for 2019, living #LikeAJetsetter is our new mantra. And what better to kick off a year of stylish, conscious, and meaningful travel than with a trip to one of our favorite destinations with friends that truly embody what our brand is all about?
Costa Rica is that place. No matter what your travel style is, you’ll find it here: there are mountains, coastlines, rainforests, and volcanoes. There’s adventure, wellness, wildlife, food, and culture. The best way to ease in? The beach, of course 😉 The best way to ease in #LikeAJetsetter: take the long, winding road down the Papagayo Peninsula and check in at the Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica.
Of course, this trip wouldn’t be complete without sharing it with other like-minded travelers. A few of our favorite Instagram tastemakers joined us for a week in paradise: Tezza Barton, Nicole Isaacs, Christine Tran, Jaci Marie Smith, Zoe Lazerson, and the man who helped capture it all, videographer and photographer Michael Moretti.
As the girls trickled in from their flights, we got to check out our rooms—spacious, earthy sanctuaries featuring dark wood furniture, full marble bathrooms, and shuttered sliding doors that opened out onto screened-in terraces facing the surf. Awaiting us was an incredibly warm welcome gift from some of our go-to travel gear brands: personalized Swell bottles, stylish and über-comfortable Olympia Activewear (perfect for the sunrise yoga and poolside drinks in our future), gorgeous shades from Wonderland Sun, and a custom-made box of beauty goodies from elevated build-a-box brand BoxFox. (The nourishing TonyMoly avocado hand cream and honey face mask from Korea-based Lapcos worked wonders for our sun-zapped skin.) Needless to say, we spent as much time as we could on and near the water…
The property’s 1,400-acre grounds, sandwiched between Culebra Bay and the the Gulf of Papagayo, sprawl out across the peninsula and are home to a clutch of alfresco restaurants and bars, a world-class spa, four swimming pools, two beaches primed for everything from swimming to kayaking and boating, and an 18-hole golf course where you’ll find the resort’s brand-new Latin steakhouse, Nemare—our destination of the night. As the moon slowly arched its way across the sky above our table on the terrace, the group dug into show-stopping dishes like dry-ice-enshrouded tuna tartare and Nemare’s signature sabanero steak, which is aged for 45 days and rubbed with house-made seasoning incorporating local herbs.
Although not so early to bed, it was early to rise for sunrise yoga on the lawn, followed by breakfast—fresh fruit smoothies and avocado toast with scrambled eggs—at poolside restaurant Bahia, where you can hear birdsong, howler monkeys, and waves hitting both beaches as you eat. Sun-filled hours on property disappear quickly, when paddle-boarding, kayaking, snorkeling, hiking, and napping on the sand is on your itinerary. By afternoon, it’s time for an exhilarating boat ride around the peninsula. The sunset does not disappoint.
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The next day, we’re in for a treat: Stefani De La O, the San Jose-based designer behind sustainable luxury travel line Nomadic Collector (assisted by Costa Rican influencer Nane Miller) has set up shop in the hotel boutique and we’ve got a front-row seat to her designs, which run the gamut from carbon neutral leather travel cases to clutches made with reforested wood. Afterwards, it’s time for our final Four Seasons hurrah: a luxurious treatment inside the newly reimagined spa. All wood, stone, and hanging lanterns, the multi-floor space is utterly tranquil, with men’s and women’s areas that open out onto terraces with hot and cool hydrotherapy pools and treatment rooms that offer various perks like ocean views or even a hammam. JS Tip: Depending on your needs, spring for the healing bamboo massage (which focuses on deep pressure points to relieve stress and tension) or the rainforest aromatherapy massage, which incorporates essential oils and fragrances you pick yourself. The blissful hours pass all too quickly, and before we know it, we’re all sluggishly boarding our transport. Next stop: the rainforest.
A few hours—and rainstorms—later, we’re pulling into The Springs Resort and Spa, a sprawling hot springs resort in northern Costa Rica’s lowlands with a dead-on view of the Arenal volcano. Although night has already fallen, guest rooms are massive, with loft ceilings, grand bathtubs, loaded mini-bars, and spacious terraces strung with hammocks and would-be volcano views. Instead, dinner at Las Ventanas brings the group back together; highlights include the ravioli stuffed with Costa Rica Pacific lobster and grilled beef tenderloin alongside pineapple salsa, cassava fritters, and sweet plantain confit.
There’s enough on these 165 acres to spend days exploring—there’s a sprawling spa, a wildlife rescue preserve, and a whopping 28 hot springs pools including one with its own swim-up bar, not to mention the adventure wonderland that is Club Rio—but Arenal offers its own wealth of adventure. No experience showcases Costa Rica’s incredible forest canopies like zip-lining with Sky Adventures, where we took in views of Arenal’s volcano and lake as each of us sped across the valley. After all that excitement, taking a long, luxurious breather at Tabacon Hot Springs was the lunchtime break we deserved.
Of all of Arenal’s natural wonders, the La Fortuna Waterfall is something that needs to be experienced if you’re in the area. Although you can view its 200-foot plunge from a distance, the 530 steps down into the valley are worth tackling to see (and hear) it up close. From here, it’s just a few minutes’ drive to the town of La Fortuna, where we have lunch at Don Rufino, one of the town’s hottest restaurants. The grilled octopus and chorizo and tomato-and-ginger gazpacho soup were highlights, as was the grilled short rib and fish fillet. I’m still dreaming about their decadent chocolate mousse dessert!
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the jungle is one of the most amazing places. I feel so much inspiration in the jungle! visited some hot springs yesterday and they took my breath away???????????? @jetsetterdotcom @visit_costarica #likeajetsetter #zoelaztravels #zoelazincostarica
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Our final full day comes all too soon. Lucky for us, it packs a one-two punch: horseback riding followed by a stroll along the picturesque Hanging Bridges inside Mistico Park—a series of suspension bridges strung high above the rainforest floor where you can take in the flora and fauna from a new perspective. Our time in Arenal has been a mixture of sporadic rain and clouds, but today, as we walk the path, the last wisps of cloud cover floats past and suddenly the volcano emerges in its entirety. Everyone scrambles for a shot, but no one’s worried: our elevated perch couldn’t make for a better view.
From Arenal, it’s a four-hour drive to San José (which is much better tackled the night before than the day of your flight). Costa Rica Marriott Hotel was the perfect home for our last night in Costa Rica. The sprawling property sits on a coffee plantation with its own pool, international restaurant, expansive gift shop, spacious and comfortable rooms, and—the clincher—is only a six-minute drive to the airport.
Goodbyes are always difficult, but this one is especially bittersweet. Pura vida, Costa Rica. We’ll be back!
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