Fodor's Expert Review El Mangroove

Bahia Papagayo, at Playa Panama, at intersection before Hilton Resort, Playa Arenilla, Guanacaste, Costa Rica

Barefoot luxury abounds at this hip boutique hotel where an airy courtyard leads to a 45-meter pool lined with beach bungalows and modern rooms. Architect Ronald Zürcher integrated stone, sugarcane, and towering guanacaste trees into the design. Any trees removed during construction were repurposed into bedroom furniture such as tree-stump tables and wood-framed mirrors. Unique L-shaped rooms open into enclosed patios, meaning you’re greeted by a hammock and sunshine on your way to the bedroom. Offering mangrove or garden views, rooms have walk-in closets, minibars, Wi-Fi, touch-screen phones (like internal iPads), and thoughtful touches like dominoes, a deck of cards, and Rubik’s Cubes. Only two corner suites have ocean views, but the five poolside cabanas—equipped with TVs and draped in linen—are just a stone’s throw from the sand. Although popular with young couples, the hotel is still child-friendly with a kids’ club, water sports, beach cruisers, surf lessons, and night paddleboarding ($90) with illuminated boards that lure marine life. The casual beachfront restaurant has a sandy floor and a DJ spinning chill-out music, while the more formal restaurant borders the pool and dishes up some of the finest cuisine in the region. If your schedule allows, book a room between September and November when rates drop by nearly 50%.


  • 24-hour room service
  • nice gym and spa
  • gorgeous rain showers
  • all-inclusive plan available


  • poolside cabana costs $150 per day
  • only two rooms have ocean views
  • mosquitoes in common areas
  • staff lacks attention to detail


On the beach
Casual Chic


Phones: -4701–0000


85 rooms
Rate Includes: No meals

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