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jdp867 Jan 14th, 2012 03:14 PM

Arenas del Mar
I'm not big on making trip reports or reviews. However, over the years, we have relied on this board religiously and have received great tips on restaurants, hotels, drivers, etc. and want to return the favor. We just arrived yesterday at Arenas del Mar in Manuel Antonio and we abssolutely love it. We have stayed at 6-7 luxury properties in CR over the last 8 years (although we have never stayed at the Four Seasons). This one tops them all. Gorgeous room overlooking the ocean (definitely splurge for a premium suite) where we sipped wine in the jacuzzi overlooking the sunset. Short walk to the beach. One mile beach stroll to the reserve (many monkeys today). Wonderful food and incredibly friendly, helpful staff (even more than most in a country where everyone is friendly). Yes it is pricey for CR standards, but for a luxury trip, at half of the price of the Four Seasons, its definitely worth it.

volcanogirl Jan 14th, 2012 07:55 PM

Sounds very nice!

qwovadis Jan 15th, 2012 02:50 AM is awesome also like up the coast my two favs for upscale in that general area.
Have made a nice combofor me in the past.
Thanks for the heads up!

jdp867 Jan 15th, 2012 04:27 AM

Quo and VG--Thanks particulalrly to the two of you, who have been tremendous resources to us over the years.

volcanogirl Jan 16th, 2012 06:45 AM

Oh, thanks, jdp - everyone on the board always helps me too. Glad you had such a good time.

jdp867 Jan 16th, 2012 11:40 AM

Quick update. Our premium suite is awesome. Room 403A. Third floor. Furthest away from both pools (but in the middle so conveniently situated). However, some of the less expensive suites are much smaller and we were shocked to walk by and be able to see one of the other guests in her outdoor shower (I, of course, turned away).

Wildlife at the hotel is amazing. Iguanas everywhere (including at our feet this morning at breakfast). Sloth with baby hanging out next to a second story stairwell. Three-toed and two-toed sloths (as if we could tell the difference) Capuchins running in the parking lot and in the lobbby light fixtures yesterday morning and howlers (at a full roar) in the trees yesterday afternoon. We've seen more wildlife here than in Manuel Antonio (although we did get to see squirrel monkeys in the reserve).

One last tip. Be careful booking tours through the hotel. The night walk, which was advertised at $20, was actually $50 and held at a different hotel (we cancelled). Also the romantic sunset catamaran cruise with snorkeling (with a picture of a sailboat in the sunset) was basically a two story fishing barge (thinl Popeye) without any chairs (and an Igloo cooler of water...I kid you not). We bailed and received a refund. The hotel rocks, but if you stay here (or use Iguana Tours in MA), definitely investigate before committing in advance to any tours.

Kinkazote Jan 16th, 2012 02:19 PM

It's good to read all this. We will be there about noon on Thursday (Jan 19). Please give me a better idea about exactly where the lady and the outdoor shower are, so I can take pains to avoid the shock.

We are booked into the very cheapest room and don't anticipate anything special at all--as far as the room goes. The location, the food, and the wildlife are the draw for us.

jdp867 Jan 16th, 2012 07:14 PM

The room was on the first floor of Building 5. Another interesting wildlife encounter today. While I was searching for a corkscrew (they don't have one in the room), a capuchin monkey jumped onto our deck and scared the bejesus out of my wife. Also, we took a night walk with Roger. It is not offered by the hotel, but he agreed at our request to take us on one. Frogs, bugs, and bats (oh my).

mlgb Jan 17th, 2012 09:48 AM

I also enjoyed Arenas del Mar, went in "green season" last year at the "your age is your discount promotion."

As far as tours, I do recommend using Ersel for the early morning bird walk (and anything else he leads). I hope he is still the hotel's resident nature guide?

If they still do that free tortilla making demo, it's fun too. And you get to eat it afterwords. It is fatter than a Mexican tortilla and includes a bit of cheese..try it on the menu if you don't get to the class.

You may luck out with the cheapest room, the first one I had had quite a nice partial ocean view (the second one was not very good, just vegetation and an air conditioning unit.) Good luck with that. And be sure to lock up your refrigator and sliding doors when you're sleeping our out..the mapuches are clever!

Kinkazote Jan 20th, 2012 05:05 AM


We're there now. It's as nice as you said. Even the low priced units. We're
in building five, but the current residents seem to bathe indoors.
We have a fine ocean view and the sounds of rough seas.

Pura vida

mlgb Jan 20th, 2012 09:50 AM

Great Kinkazote, glad you got a good room. Is not that welcome drink yummy?

jdp867 Jan 20th, 2012 02:37 PM

Glad that you're enjoying the property. FYI, the Mojitos are awesome. We also had a fun night hike with Roger.

Jennifer_Blanton Jun 28th, 2012 08:03 AM

I was happy to read all the great reports about Arenas Del Mar! We will be there July 13th for 6 nights...I am so excited!

We have a room with a jacuzzi on the patio...and I can't wait to see our view of the water and see monkeys!!! Good tip about making sure that the sliding door is locked! I would have to have monkeys get in our room!!!!


Jennifer_Blanton Jun 28th, 2012 08:04 AM

correction...I would HATE to have monkeys get in our room! Oops!

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