Arenal National Park, Costa Rica
What it is
An all-villa resort in a tropical paradise with its own natural mineral hot springs and airy spa pavilions lofted in the rainforest.
What it isn't
Hangry. Guests are treated to a heaping breakfast buffet in the volcano-facing open-air dining pavilion; come back to sup on tempura jumbo shrimp with mango wasabi dressing, served atop tables colorfully hand-painted by the region’s indigenous Maleku peoples.
What we think
Costa Rica’s oft repeated tagline— pura vida, or “pure life” —may as well be the motto of this opulent resort, tucked away in the fragrant, lush foothills of the Arenal volcano. Because seizing the day comes easy here, whether you want to cross hanging suspension bridges to a misty 60-foot-high waterfall, follow one of the resort’s resident naturalists to find 28 species of Crayola-bright frogs in the light of the moon, or watch farm-fresh chocolate being freshly made...then sample a batch. It would seem a shame to return to your room with exploits like these, but not at Nayara: here, each casita and villa is its own form of paradise. For example, the “beginning” casita category is 856 square feet and has its own balcony with a jacuzzi and hammock; an outdoor shower that’s open to the bougainvillea-draped rainforest; and must-have amenities, ranging from zippy wifi to AC. Honeymooners (and couples that long for a restart) book the 1,135-square-foot Rainforest Villa, which is octagonally shaped and has a wraparound terrace overlooking Arenal Volcano. Did we mention this villa’s outdoor shower is built for two?
You're here because
The resort is a member of the famously persnickety Relais & Chateaux, which means it’s as perfect as it gets—with exquisite service. (For proof, look no further than your room’s hand towels, which will be folded into a different animal shape practically every time you return).
The cacophonous bird song arising from the rainforest beyond your open-air spa pavilion sounds so magical, it may as well be a CD. But when you pinch yourself, you know it’s real. You can’t help but indulge in a chocolate scrub and volcanic massage...as they say, Only in Costa Rica.
Restaurants & Bars
La Terraza del Arenal - family restaurant serving a-la-carte local and international food
Asia Luna - Latin American and Asian fusion menu
Nostalgia Wine & Tapas - Latin American and European tapas and drinks
In the foothills of the Arenal Volcano and 29,700-acre Arenal National Park, a 30 minute private flight (on their new plane) from San Jose’s Juan Santamaria International Airport.