Costa Rica Trip Report
Andaz picked me up at the airport in a luxury SUV equipped with Wi-Fi. They mention it to be a 40 minute ride yet it only took 30 minutes. Arrival at the hotel was great. I was met with a delicious cold beverage of pineapple juice with fresh mint along with a cold towel. I was then quickly whisked away to my room on a golf cart and check-in was performed in room and I was given a tour of the room and explained how to use all the switches and gadgets. The shower and outdoor space was huge, the doors in the shower opened completely to make it an outdoor shower with spectacular views. All guest rooms only have showers, suites and above have tubs and showers. Rooms are spacious with a desk and small sitting area. The mini bar is included in the resort fee and is replenished once daily. Lighting in the bathroom was a bit dark, and difficult to put on makeup or pluck eyebrows, however, the suites had much better lighting. Andaz is very eco-friendly and did a great job of mixing local materials and neutral colors for a very calming feeling. They also did a great job giving the hotel a modern feel without losing the true sense of place.
Andaz has a large kids club called Cambi, with an indoor and outdoor jungle gym. The hotel has 3 restaurants. Chao Pescao is their tapas restaurant with a fabulous mixology bar. The goat cheese and spinach empanadas and lemongrass mojitos are not to be missed here! Rio Bhongo is the all-day local restaurant serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner (seasonally). Rio Bhongo is where breakfast is served every morning, the buffet is plentiful with American and local Costa Rican food. They also have a full coffee bar with a selection of coffees and teas. Maduro Chicken wrap and stuffed aubergine are the ones not to be missed here. Ostra is the hotel’s fine dining restaurant specializing in seafood. Caribeno ceviche and grilled octopus are the stars here.
There are 2 pool areas, one adult and one family pool. The family pool area has three pools. All pools have full food and drink service. The beach isn’t a smooth sandy beach but it is relaxing and they offer water sports including paddle board, kayaking, and snorkeling. Andaz also has studios for rent, which are great spaces for private dining, receptions, or to rent out with large family groups, they can be equipped with television, board games, ping pong, sofas, etc.
I unpacked and headed to the spa for my appointment so I was able to use all the facilities the spa had to offer including steam and sauna. The spa has a signature scent of orange and eucalyptus which is a magical scent and puts you into pure relaxation. I indulged in a hot stone massage and manicure, both were fantastic. Our second day we headed to Witch Rock Canopy Tours where we had the option to zip line or horseback ride (they also offer ATV tours). I opted for zip lining, the guides were great and very entertaining they were also very accommodating for all the different skill levels of our group.
The drive from Andaz to Nayara is a 3.5 hours on a winding road but it went quickly. One thing I noticed throughout the entire country, they had very clean bathrooms, even the gas stations. Quite impressive!
Nayara had a completely different feel than Andaz. It was a more authentic local flair to it, with incredibly friendly staff. We started with welcome drinks and lite bites at Amor Loco try the squid ink risotto topped with seared sea scallop and finish it with a lucky girl cocktail. Nayara has 5 restaurants total, each with its own flavor and vibe. I indulged at 3 of them. Altamira is Nayara’s all day dining option and where buffet breakfast is served. Grilled shrimp tacos and the spicy watermelon salad are the show stoppers here. Last restaurant I dinned at was Asia Luna which is their Latin Asian concept dining. The Marlin and shitake consume was fabulous enjoy a side of yellow fin sashimi, if they have it, enjoy a glass of 2013 Casa Silva Carmenere Reserva, delisciouso!
Nayara also has an adult’s only section, this is where the majority of their villas are. The Villa’s outdoor space is just as expansive as the inside; equipped with their own plunge pools, outdoor days beds, a hammock, and an outdoor sower. Inside they are equipped with king beds, sitting area with a tv, desk, his and her sinks. The woman’s sink also has a separate vanity area with lighted make up mirror. They also have an indoor shower with 3 shower heads, his and hers closest, full mini bar and a Nespresso machine.
On me second day at Nayara, I went on a nature hike through Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges Park my wonderful guide Pablo (he is a guide who works for Nayara and he is VERY knowledgeable and very patient, I highly recommend him). After the nature hike we headed to La Fortuna Waterfall. I had to hike down 600 steps but it was worth it to plunge into the cold waters of a beautiful and powerful waterfall. The hike back up the 600 steps was not as easy as the way down. Nayara offers many other daily activites, if you can catch Pablo on his early morning bird watching walk around the property and nearby, you won’t be disappointed.
Drive from Nayara to San Jose Airport is approximately 2 ½ hours, so be cautios when booking flights to early, as it makes for an early morning and long day. San Jose Airport is being renovated as we speak and is getting many new restaurants and shops.