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 on-site who art 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, from the approval of the project, 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 on-site will make you feel like family, with visitors even saying you hardly feel like you are staying in a hotel, but rather that you feel like you are part of the conservation efforts when you are staying here. 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 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.
Highest 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.
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. In place 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 a 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 it’s ethical and locally sourced. They work very closely with local suppliers to ensure that all products are organic, chicken is hormone free, and that all beef is grass fed.
Biodegradable, organic cleaning products are used, free of hazardous chemicals to ensure no harmful effect to the ecosystem.
On site they tend a hydroponic herb and vegetable garden, so you can expect only the freshest food. Hydroponic gardens use 10% less water than traditional gardens, as the water can be used again and again. The fertilizer used in the greenhouse is an all-natural product, no pesticides just clean, simple, and sustainable.
Actively protects nature and community
Here at Arenas Del Mar, they are passionate about getting people into conservation. Therefore, they offer sustainability tours, where your very own naturalist guide takes you around the property to show the sustainability practices. You will leave here with a broader education on ways anyone can help make the world a greener place.
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, as well as sharing with the next generation the importance to do the same. They have also started a new program to #StopAnimalSelfie.