Costa Rica – Nayara Hotel, Spa and Gardens

After staying at the Nayara Hotel, Spa and Gardens near La Fortuna, Costa Rica twice in the past three years, I decided it was worthy of a blog post.  I rave about our experiences there to anyone who asks about our trip; if we go back to Costa Rica for a third visit, I hope we can stay there or at the adjacent sister resort Nayara Springs.

We loved our stay there in 2013 and the resort has won accolades since then.  I used Tripadvisor to find it the first time and I looked at the reviews to see if it still lived up to our last visit; since it did, I booked the all inclusive package for 4 nights.  Last time, I learned that they will allow you to swap out the activities and pay the difference if you select more expensive activities.

The all inclusive package comes with breakfast and a three course dinner; it is more food that I typically eat and a great value.  For breakfast, you can do the buffet (huge selection of food) or the ala carte at the restaurant on the Springs side; for dinner, you can eat at 3 different restaurants.

We rented a car and drove from the San Jose airport in 2013.  This time, we flew into Liberia and used the hotel transportation —not badly priced considering it is a van with a driver who will stop if you want him to stop places along the way.  It made our trip more relaxing since the roads there are tricky to navigate.

There are many reasons why I rave about this place but I narrowed this post down to highlight the top 6 reasons.

1.  Friendly, accommodating staff

From the drivers to the actual resort staff, we felt welcomed.  The staff greet you every time you see them and, if anything “goes wrong,” they quickly rectify it to make sure your experience is as good as possible.  At dinner, they are not over bearing and they give you “space” and time to enjoy your meals and drinks.  While some people may feel they are not attentive enough, I felt it was perfect; we never felt rushed to eat or leave our table and they plan reservations at dinner so that you can linger and savor your dinner and evening.

 

Our welcome– every day, we got a different towel animal

 

2.  Quiet, secluded casistas

We stayed in casita 30 which was a distance from the restaurant and amenities; we stayed in last time and requested it this time.  We did not mind the walk “up the hill” and it made our casita very quiet.  The casitas closer to the front of the property (ie. near the restaurant or pool) may be noisier; however, the set up of the casistas gives you privacy.

 

Outdoor shower — there is also a gigantic indoor shower

 

3.  Gorgeous grounds

The grounds are well manicured but it is very apparent you are in the rain forest — turkeys, birds, sloths can be found on the grounds.

Doing yoga on the casita’s balcony surrounded by beautiful plants

Walkway to the Springs side of the property

 

 

 

Turkeys wandering the property — near swim up bar

 

3.  Amazing views of Arenal Volcano

 

View from our room — it was cloudy but last time, we saw the volcano clearly

 

 

4.  Delicious food (well priced for a resort)

We were very pleased with all the food; though it was included in our package, the prices for food were very good for a resort.  We had lots of seafood and more food than I want to admit!

 

Lunch served poolside

 

Part of the seafood night selection- cooked to order entree

 

Steak at Amor Loco — Delicious grass fed steak (and I rarely eat meat)

 

 

Tiramasu

 

Creme brulee

 

Flambed banana desert (takes bananas foster to a new level)

 

 

5.  For the money, a fantastic deal

‘Nuff said.

6. Free yoga class daily

Every morning, you can drop in for a yoga class in the outdoor (covered) yoga pavilion; the instructor was more knowledgeable than others and gave personalized instruction to us during the class.

 

 

My only complaint is that the gym is tiny and the machines are old; however, the hotel management is aware of that and they are in the middle of building a larger, better equipped gym.  The current gym view’s is amazing however and that made up for the bad treadmill; it did not stop me from getting in a few runs (20 minutes and two 5 milers) and looking out into the serene, lush greenery made the miles pass quickly.  There are plenty of outdoor activities that enable you to get in a good workout off the hotel grounds.

 

Questions — What is your favorite hotel?  Do you work out while on vacation?

***I am posting this review without any type of compensation from the resort.

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