La Fortuna, Costa Rica
Nayara Gardens and Nayara Springs
Jungle love—and jungle luxe
What it is
Luxury in the jungle—with a dose of romance.
What it isn't
Ideal for the mobility-challenged: The grounds are extensive, with some steep hills.
What we think
An extraordinarily well-executed version of a luxury eco-lodge deep in the Costa Rican jungle, Nayara is actually two hotels in one. Nayara Resort Spa & Gardens, the original property, has 44 casitas and villas. Nayara Springs, an adjacent expansion, has 35 larger and more luxurious villas with an adults-only policy. The two are connected by a pair of bridges suspended high over a lush green gully—in fact, the entire property is gorgeously landscaped with palm trees, heliconia and ginger plants. All the rooms have an upscale tropical vibe, with hardwood floors, canopy beds, and Balinese furnishings, but the villas in the Springs section are much larger and have private plunge pools that face the Arenal volcano. (The cone is usually draped by clouds, but keep your camera handy.) Given the resort's small size, the array of amenities is impressive: two pools (with swim-up bars!), two small spas, a coffee tasting room, a wine and tapas bar and four restaurants. You won't want to leave—but the point of being in this area is the wealth of adventures at hand. You can try horseback riding, jungle hikes, whitewater rafting, zip-lining, canyoning and more in the pristine rainforest surroundings.
You're here because
You're honeymooners with an adventure streak, or adventurers with a luxury streak. Nayara is about having the Costa Rican "pura vida" experience in the greatest comfort.
In your open-air treatment room at the Nayara Springs spa, the therapist strokes your skin with hot lava stones as the sounds of the rainforest—chirping birds, whirring insects, trickling water—lull you into a state of tropical bliss.
Just outside the town of La Fortuna in the rainforest of central Costa Rica, under the looming presence of the the Arenal Volcano. San José's international airport is about a three-hour drive away.