A short 15-minute drive from the Quepos Airport in Costa Rica, the luxury eco-friendly Arenas Del Mar sits nestled between the beachfront and the rainforest. This luxury boutique hotel sits with views of the Pacific Ocean, with access to two gorgeous beaches, Espadilla and Playitas beach. Featuring 38 rooms, the structures take up just 25% of the property, saving 11 acres of land to serve as a biological corridor. This was important to the hotel, to connect the area to the surrounding Manuel Antonio National Park.
A family-friendly place to stay if you are hoping to see wildlife. Here you can expect sloths, monkeys, birds, lizards, macaws, and a lot more flora and fauna. They have four staff members on-site who act as naturalist guides, there to join you along your adventures to help you learn about the ecosystem and have extra eyes to help you spot wildlife.
Did you know the local diet is naturally gluten-free? That’s what inspired Arenas Del Mar to become the first Gluten-Free Luxury Resort in Costa Rica, and in 2014 initiated the fully certified gluten-free program. This is a certification granted by the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA). To ensure only the tastiest foods, they partnered with Monica Glass, a top-rated US pastry chef, and welcomed celiac bloggers to share their feedback on the offerings. Say goodbye to menu scanning for something you can enjoy and indulge in anything on the menu while on vacation here.
Sustainability runs through the DNA of Arenas Del Mar, as it is one of the most sustainable eco-lodges in Costa Rica. Even in the beginning, they found a way to reduce the number of approved trees cut, from the initial 40, to just 36. It was important to design a hotel that worked with the land, reducing space taken from the forest. Internationally built to be in harmony with nature and allow guests to become immersed in the jungle. The design of the space is very open, from a barrier-free reception area built to resemble an indigenous palm ranch, to the on-site restaurants without walls to enjoy full views of the outdoors.
The staff members on-site will make you feel like family. Visitors even say they hardly feel like they are staying in a hotel, but rather that they feel like they are part of the conservation efforts. An inclusive resort, they have 60 employees that they hire locally and have a 40% women staff. The local community is supported and valued, through sustainable chats with schools to educate the younger generation on the importance of protecting the environment. Read more about them here.
Lowest impact construction and operation
- The hotel design was changed several times, as they carefully considered the best option to reduce the amount of forest floor they would require. You will find trees incorporated into the eaves of buildings and in places such as the Mirador Restaurant, where they are a part of the decor.
- To protect the wildlife, their electricity system is housed underground.
- They re-purpose discarded plastic bags from the banana industry and use them as part of their roofing.
High level of energy efficiency
- There are many efforts across the grounds to reduce energy, with bathrooms equipped with sensors, and solar power used to heat water.
- Common areas have LED bulbs, and there are reminders throughout the hotel to turn items off when not in use.
- As a group, they were honored to be named “Earth Changers” at National Geographics World Legacy Awards in 2017, and the WTTC Tourism for Tomorrow Award in 2018.
- Since Costa Rica is one of the leading countries in renewable energy, on-grid electricity comes from more than 90% renewable energy sources.
Pioneer in waste management
- No Plastic Policy: There are no plastic bottles in the rooms, or the restaurant at Arena Del Mar. Tour guests are offered a complimentary aluminum bottle for their adventures and encouraged to enjoy Costa Rica’s 100% potable water. Instead of plastic straws, they have locally made bamboo stalks, and bags are made of cornstarch. These are fully compostable, reducing the recycling leaving the hotel.
- All bathroom amenities are bottled in glass containers, and they utilize an iPad, rather than flyers to share news.
- Arenas Del Mar is part of a program, where recycling is sorted, and points are awarded based on what you send. There are designated bins throughout the offices. They also work with a local company, to ensure organic waste is taken to feed farm animals off-site.
Using organic and chemical-free products
- At Arenas Del Mar, food tastes better when ethically and locally sourced. They work very closely with local suppliers to ensure that all products are organic, chicken is hormone-free, and all beef is grass-fed.
- Biodegradable, organic cleaning products are used, free of hazardous chemicals, to ensure no harmful effects on the ecosystem.
- On-site, they tend a hydroponic herb and vegetable garden so that you can expect only the freshest food. Hydroponic gardens use 10% less water than traditional gardens, as the water can be used repeatedly. The fertilizer used in the greenhouse is an all-natural product (no pesticides). Clean, simple, and sustainable.
Actively protects nature and community
- At Arenas Del Mar, they are passionate about getting people into conservation. Therefore, they offer sustainability tours, where your naturalist guide takes you around the property to show the sustainability practices. You will leave here with a broader education on how anyone can help make the world greener.
- They also take you to local farmers’ markets, to showcase the local culture, painting, dancing, and local artists. Feel free to shop at these markets to support the local community, but rest assured that you will also find some items for sale in the hotel gift shop sourced locally.
- Staff are active conservationists, taking part in tree planting and beach clean-ups and sharing with the next generation the importance of doing the same. They have also started a new program to #StopAnimalSelfie.
Most Popular Activities near Arenas Del Mar
- Nature walks and wildlife tours
- Sustainability walks
- Bird-watching walks to see many of the 20 Costa Rican birds.
- Explore nearby Manuel Antonio National Park.
- Nauyaca Waterfalls is one of 25 beautiful waterfalls in Costa Rica.
- Go zip-lining or on canopy tours.
- Mountain biking
READ ON – 36 Eco-friendly Things to Do in Costa Rica (From A to Z)
Best time to visit Arenas Del Mar
- To avoid the rainy season, plan your visit outside May-June and September-October.
- If you want to enjoy this place the sunniest it can be, visit in March or December.
- The humidity in Costa Rica is high all year around.
- Smaller showers or thunderstorms can be expected all year around, so please be prepared.
READ ON – Best Time To Visit Costa Rica (Factual Data, Pros & Cons, What to Expect)