It was another beautiful sunny day in Costa Rica and we were ready to discover Nayara Springs, a resort located in the Arenal Volcano National Park, promising us an intimate and luxurious experience.
1. It is a sustainable hotel
“Nayara is committed to integrating the principles of sustainable development in its everyday business activities.
They are engaging in practices that save energy and water, such as using fluorescent lamps instead of traditional light bulbs, reducing energy consumption, using bamboo straws for their drinks, recycling, and using their own water treatment plant. Nayara employs around 230 locals as well as supporting small local producers.”
2. It is located into a cinematographic decor in the heart of the jungle
“Our drive to Nayara Springs was an adventure in itself through the scenic Jurassic rolling hills and mountains of lush greenery with the magnificent volcano looming larger as we approached the mythical destination. No wonder films such as After Earth and Congo were filmed in the area.
During our stay, we enjoyed horseback riding up over the hills around lake Arenal. We had the most stunning views of the volcanic lush green landscape rolling down into the beautiful crystal-clear waters of the lake.”
3. The service at Nayara is like nothing you have ever experienced in Costa Rica
“It is more akin to the five-star resorts of Las Vegas and Europe than anywhere else. This striked us as soon as we arrived when we were guided through the check-in process and indulged with a selection of delicious local drinks including the ever-popular spicy tomato Costa Rican drink ‘chili guaro’ as well as a delicious fruity mango juice and a refreshing lemon cocktail, all in shot form! After sipping our welcome shots, the charming host guided us through the map of the resort pointing out highlights that were not to be missed, as well as booking us the must-have experiences.”
4. Yoga classes are offered daily at Nayara Springs
“In the morning I headed to the property's octogonal pavilion, where yoga is offered daily. From every corner of the wooden masterwork are views of nature and treetops. Meanwhile, you can hear the sounds of the rainforest and breath the fresh air. It is very relaxing! ”
5. In every room, guests have their private plunge pool fed by natural mineral hot springs
“In front of the bed, a glass wall slides open leading out into the beautiful private gardens with two seating areas. The big highlight is having your own large whirlpool plunge pool with water fed from the volcanic thermals below, keeping it consistently hot and refreshed. We immediately dove into the pool, as there are a few better things in life than sitting with the waterjets massaging your back in spring water, sipping champagne, and admiring the active volcano!”
6. To enjoy a mixology class with a talented mixologist
“At the pool bar, guests can have a mixology class with one of the most talented mixologists in all of Central America.
Smiley Monica greeted us with glasses of Prosecco and proceeded to teach us how to make five of the most delicious cocktails I have ever tried in my life, all of them either completely new or with fresh and delicious twists on the classics. After we had the exhibition, we tried our hand at making a cocktail, each marginally less beautifully delivered than our expert teacher, but with her guidance we managed to create perfectly acceptable versions of the ones we had tried moments earlier. Aside from being fantastic value for so many drinks, it is hilariously good fun and a wonderful option to engage in an easy and relaxing activity for a couple of hours while chilling in the swim up bar.”
7. The Spa is a sanctuary perched above the majestic rainforest
“We were booked in for the indulgent hot stone and the rejuvenating deep tissue massages. The professional therapists deliver the treatments expertly in the spa’s magical of surroundings.
We enjoyed foot massages to start before taking places on massage tables as soft as floating clouds. The essential oils created an almost hypnotic atmosphere of relaxation. Time flew by and all too soon it was time to decamp the seating area next to the meditation pools. It was a magical experience from start to finish.”
8. To taste the best food you can find in Central America
“The impeccable service extended to the restaurants and the food which was also the best we have had in any resort in Central America.
On the first night we were lucky enough to get a booking in the most romantic of their restaurants, Amor Loco, with décor reminding me of nights in the heart of Marrakesh with live music to set the mood. The sumptuous banquette seating and eclectic decoration is the perfect place for lovers to canoodle while enjoying an incredible menu filled with international favourites delivered with an almost Michelin-star level of attention to detail and flavour. I can thoroughly recommend the lobster linguini and the rack of lamb, and the chocolate volcano will never disappoint.
Breakfast is, as you would expect, excellent. The selection includes favourite classics executed to perfection as well as the typical Costa Rican breakfast of gallo pinto, eggs, and sweet plantain.
We enjoyed an amazing lunch with Mexican influences in the poolside restaurant Mis Amores including fresh fish tacos and an amazing grilled snapper, while being mesmerised by views across the jungle and up to the perfect cone of the Arenal volcano.
Our final dinner at was in Mis Amores restaurant prepared by the truly talented Chef de Cuisine Douglas Campos. Him and his team including the also talented Jonathan, have elevated the dining at Nayara above anything in the area or indeed in the country. Every meal was exquisite and I can honestly say that there wasn’t a single dish we tried that I wouldn’t wholeheartedly recommend! Along with the wonderful food, Nayara Springs offers one of the best wine lists in Costa Rica, not only with a good range but really well curated, ensuring no bottle on the menu will disappoint even the most discerning palate.”
9. To learn everything you didn’t know about coffee
“An experience not to be missed and unique to Nayara is the coffee class. Pablo, the resident coffee expert, is one of the most knowledgeable and passionate baristas we had ever met. Having grown up in Costa Rica from a family of coffee growers, pickers, and processors, he has lived and breathed coffee his entire life and his expansive knowledge is testament to this. Nayara roasts its own coffee on the premises and Pablo, along with his colleagues, through painstaking trial and error, has created unique roasting processes. These include changing the temperature minute by minute to ensure perfect flavours from every unique batch of coffee beans.
The 80 min class is truly fascinating and includes a coffee tasting experience with Pablo for you to taste the different flavours available and appreciate the wide range of aromas and terroirs more akin to a wine tasting in France than anything else.”
10. It is an award-winning property
“ The list of accolades won by the property announced the best for our upcoming stay: one of the 100 best hotels in the world by Travel + Leisure, Top 3 most romantic hotels in the world and the most luxurious hotel in the world by Trip Advisor, Best resort in Central and South America and Best Spa in the world by Condé Nast Traveler; amongst others.
We left Nayara Springs replete, relaxed, grateful, and truly in love with the hotel. The royal treatment of all their guests makes this place incredibly special and genuinely memorable. It has been, without doubt, one of the most amazing hotel experiences of my life so far, and I already can’t wait to go back.