What’s Costa Rica like?

One of the first things that people type into Google when looking for vacation spots is: “What’s Costa Rica like?”. While this can be a tough one to answer as our country is so diverse we can try and give it a shot.

Pura Vida

The simple answer is “Pura Vida”, a term that any Tico or traveller to Costa Rica is very familiar with. Literally translated it means “Pure Life” and can be used in many different cases. People will often ask how someone is doing with a response of “Pura vida”. The pure life is probably one reason that Costa Rica consistently ranks as one of the happiest places in the world.

Staff members at Arenas Del Mar showing their Costa Rica pride.

Staff members at Arenas Del Mar showing their Costa Rica pride.

The Rich Coast

Another answer could be found in our name “Costa Rica” or the “Rich Coast”. Originally the rich coast is how our country was described when explorers found huge amounts of gold here in the 1500s. However gold is only one thing that we’re rich in. Our rainforests are abundant, our parks are ever expanding, our oceans are full of life, our people have deep and interesting culture, and our food is delicious! When you ask what’s Costa Rica like, you could just say… it’s rich!

The rich coast

The rich coast

Costa Rican Weather

One of the first things that travellers will notice is the weather, it’s perfect. We have two seasons, the green season with a short stretch of rain everyday and the dry season where it can go months without rain. They are both beautiful times of year for different reasons.

 

In the green season the vegetation springs to life and the entire country is covered in a deep green shade. You really notice this from the air as you’re flying into the country.

Enjoying the dry season

Enjoying the dry season

The dry season is nice because it’s so consistent. You know exactly what the weather will be like everyday and planning what to pack for your trip is a breeze!

The Food

Our little country is blessed with fantastic farming land and the perfect weather to grow food. The abundance of local fruits, vegetables, fish, and meats ensures that your meals will be fresh and flavourful. Our restaurant at Arenas Del Mar is actually the top rated restaurant in all of Manuel Antonio! We also boast a large gluten free menu for guests will gluten intolerance or celiac disease.

The ingredients to Gallo Pinto in small individual bowls

Fresh ingredients for making a traditional gallo pinto

So…. what’s it like in Costa Rica? It’s amazing!

Family Adventures in Arenas del Mar

Getting painted up for the game!

Getting painted up for the game!

It is the season to be jolly and many families across North America get together over the Holidays and plan the next escape from the snow, rain and chilly winds of winter.

The beauty about family holidays is you get to experience the destination through your eyes and through the eyes of your children and elder relatives and Arenas del Mar is the perfect place for a family get away.

Only in a family vacation at Arenas del Mar would you be able to experience the wide eyes of children as they see their first live three toed sloth, monkey or dolphin and also relax in the afternoon with you significant other by having a delicious dinner in our restaurant El Mirador.

Arenas del Mar offers so many activities that bored kids will never be an issue, a few things you could do while staying with us are:

  1. Spend a day at the beach playing in the surf with your family.
  2. See wildlife up close at Manuel Antonio with one of our experienced local guides.
  3. Plant a tree in the nearby volunteer rainforest project to celebrate biodiversity and wildlife conservation.
  4. Take a break from the beach with an al-fresco lunch at Playitas Restaurant.
  5. Zoom through the forest on a canopy tour high above the treetops.
  1. Try horseback riding on the beach.
  2. Go whitewater rafting along the Savegre River.
  3. Learn to make tortillas with a local senora for breakfast.
  4. Make a wish, as the sun sets on a family sailing trip in the nearby Pacific Ocean.
  5. Take our rainforest night hike and watch the rainforest come alive in the evening.

Ps. A family holiday is always better when there is sharing and interaction between all members, this is what we believe at Arenas del Mar, and our cellphone and internet policy helps everyone stay engaged.

Nature viewing with the whole family in Costa Rica

Some of the experts are young

End of the green season, bring on the sea breeze!

Ocean Breeze

 

 

 

 

 

The green season in Costa Rica runs from May through November and this is when we expect most of the rains that keep our forests alive and green. However, in not more than two weeks, this season will be over and we will be entering our “Dry Season”. This period from November to May is when most of our guests arrive, wanting to escape the cold winters of North America and Europe, so it is good to make a reservation a few months in advance.

Costa Rica’s dry season is perfect for guests to book and stay at our Ocean Breeze suites which  face the Pacific Ocean, with views through the rain forest of our boutique resort in Costa Rica. Enjoy warm ocean breezes from your private deck with views. Our ten Ocean Breeze Suites are located on the first, second and third floors.

Our Ocean Breeze Suites have:

  • 330-square foot deck facing the Pacific Ocean with views through the rainforest
  • Private tiled hot tub and lounge chairs on the covered deck
  • 155-square foot bedroom
  • Spacious living area (some with full-sized pull out sofa bed for two small children or one adult)
  • Kitchenette with dining table and small refrigerator
  • Bathroom with tiled shower (some Ocean Breeze suites have two bathrooms)
  • Iron & ironing board
  • Accommodates up to three adults (most have a king-sized bed + full-sized pull out bed)
  • Recommended for those who want lots of time to relax in the comfort of your room facing the Pacific Ocean.

Arenas del Mar has something just perfect for every season and these suites are our recommendation for the upcoming months.

ArenasDelMar-Views

 

More Wildlife at Arenas del Mar: Coatimundis

Continuing on with our wildlife profiles today we talk about a distinct inhabitant of Manuel Antonio and neighbor to Arenas del Mar: The Coatimundi.

coati papagayo<br />
 - Costa Rica

This cute mammal makes its home of the lowland rainforest that surrounds arenas del mar and is one of Costa Rica’s 200 mammal species. The Caotimundi,  is sometimes mistaken for a raccoon as it is similar in size and appearance. Coati fur is typically reddish-brown to dark brown in color. Their heads are long and slender with a pointed snout well-adapted to rooting in the ground for insects.

Coatimundis are diurnal, meaning they are usually most active during the day and seek the refuge of trees at night. You can find them during one of our Manuel Antonio National Park’s group tours.A wildlife guide from Arenas del Mar will help you spot them and avoid confusions. This tour is a daily activity at our resort, and on it our experienced tour guide will teach you not only about the Coati, but also about the park’s distinctive plant life and point out some of the resident fauna, which include 109 mammal species, including 3 species of monkeys, three-toed sloth, and more than 300 species of birds.

What are you waiting for?

Map of hotels in Costa Rica and Nicaragua

Seabass Ceviche

One of the many pleasures at  Arenas del Mar is to enjoy the delicious food prepared and served at El Mirador Restaurant.

Chef prepares fish in Arena Del Mar kitchen

Preparing a ceviche

El Mirador is famous for creating beautiful dishes from local ingredients, here you will  start your day with our complimentary breakfast comprising fresh fruits, homemade granola, warm muffins and breads, eggs, pancakes and, of course, Costa Rican coffee roasted to perfection. Our dinner menu includes highlights such as locally caught fish and other delicacies at this authentic full-service Costa Rican restaurant. One of our most popular dishes is the Seabass Ceviche.

The ingredients to Gallo Pinto in small individual bowls

Fresh ingredients

 

Many guests leave wanting to take our Chef home.This is why, in the interest of your palate, we will give you a simple recipe to make your own Ceviche at home, just to hold you up until you come to Arenas del Mar.

Ingredients:
1 pound of raw corvina (white sea bass or other firm white fish), cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 cup fresh lime juice (enough juice to completely cover and “cook” the fish)
2 medium red bell peppers, finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 large handful of fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1/2 cup of club soda
salt and pepper to taste

 

Directions:

1. Combine all ingredients in a large glass bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and allow the fish to “cook” in the marinade for at least 30 minutes. Tastes best after at least 6-8 hours; phenomenally good on the second day.

2. Serve with on a bed of lettuce with sliced avocado, bell pepper strips, cucumber slices, and, if you like to, a splash of Lizano Sauce.

 

 

The best activites to do while in Manuel Antonio

Some of the top attractions in Costa Rica are located right here in Manuel Antonio. Located just 132 km from San Jose, Manuel Antonio is easily accessible after an international flight.

There are many reasons why Manuel Antonio is a treasured area of Costa Rica. Here are some of the great things you can do while visiting us.

  1. Go on a tour of Manuel Antonio National Park.The park has a huge amount of land and marine biodiversity with beautiful coral reefs.

    IMG_1242

    There’s so much to see in the national park!

  2. Hang out on the beach! The long Manuel Antonio beach makes the perfect spot to setup for the day and take in the sun.

    Sometimes you've got the whole beach to yourself!

    Sometimes you’ve got the whole beach to yourself!

  3. Go wildlife viewing or bird watching. With so much biodiversity there is a lot to see. Make sure you meet with one of our guides to get the most out of this experience.

    Nature viewing with the whole family in Costa Rica

    Some of the experts are young

  4. Go surfing! Just down the steps from Arenas Del Mar you can rent a surfboard and learn how to catch some waves! There’s also boogie boards available to rent or you can even body surf.

    Boogie boarding

    Boogie boarding

  5. Look at the forest from the top down… on a zipline! One of the most popular attractions is the amazing ziplining through the rainforest.

    Ziplining through the rainforest with Arenas Del Mar

    Ziplining through the rainforest with Arenas Del Mar

Arenas Del Mar WildLife: Sloths

Brown toed tree sloth chews on a leafCosta Rica’s rain forest is know for it’s biodiversity and beauty, with several species sharing a relatively small space. Among the animals that call Arenas Del Mar and the Manuel Antonio reserve in Costa Rica home are the two and three toed sloths.

These cute, peaceful, and slow moving animals make their home all over the rainforest of Costa Rica, they are arboreal, medium sized mammals and they eat buds, tender leaves and shoots.

Sloths are not aggressive animals and they also serve as hosts for other species like beetles, moths, cockroaches and ciliates.

Back in prehistoric times there used to be  Ground sloths the size of elephants! However, today they are all extinct and only arboreal sloths survive in Central and South America.

In the past Sloths have been endangered due to habitat destruction. However, Costa Rica makes a great and sustained effort in protecting this species and thanks to the measures taken by the Costa Rica government and private reserves like the Arenas Del Mar their numbers have climbed over the last few years.

You can spot this funny and peaceful animals during your stay at Arenas Del Mar or in our Manuel Antonio National Park Group or Private Tours.3 toed Sloth at Arenas del Mar, Manuel Antonio

Arenas Del Mar an “Intelligent Resort”

Arenas Del Mar is privileged because of its location and elegant facilities but mostly because of our staff.

Staff members at Arenas Del Mar showing their Costa Rica pride.

Staff members at Arenas Del Mar showing their Costa Rica pride.

Arenas Del Mar focuses on making every one of our guest’s experience unique and to do this we are committed to understanding every single guest’s preferences and vacation goals. To be able to achieve this goal we depend on our staff. Arenas Del Mar is an intelligent hotel because it uses the most powerful computer on the face of the earth: The human brain.

From our front desk staff to our managers, cleaning and maintenance crews you will find a special interest in finding out what makes you comfortable at the hotel and what engages you while outside our walls. There are several experiences available in Manuel Antonio and we will make sure we fit you with the right one for you and your party.

This approach also applies to our chefs and dining staff. We will make sure we know what you love to eat and what you don’t like so much or if you have any food allergies and, of course, provide you with options. We are here for you, and this simple idea is what makes Arenas Del Mar an “Intelligent Resort”

Chef prepares fish in Arena Del Mar kitchen

Preparing a ceviche

Arenas Del Mar Youtube

One of the most popular ways for future guests to research our property is through Youtube. It used to be Google and TripAdvisor were the only places but video just makes so much sense! Getting to see a video of the property you are visiting takes any guess work out of your trip planning and lets you put yourself right into the action.

We’ve got a channel on Youtube and we will be updating it with videos that we make of our guests, staff and activities and we will also be sharing and commenting on some of our guest’s’ videos as well.

Touring Around the Rain Forest

Howler monkey at Arenas del Mar Reserve, Manuel Antonio

As we know, Arenas del Mar is located in the Manuel Antonio region of Costa Rica home to some of the most spectacular rainforests in the world. Touring around in the rainforest in the Manuel Antonio ecological reserve with the most experienced guides you can find in Costa Rica is certainly an adventure to treasure forever and not something everyone gets to do.

Now imagine doing it in a kayak. Yes, Imagine going through the Manuel Antonio reserve with its 109 different mammal species and over 300 species of birds in your own kayak following an experienced guide through a calm river that will take you to and through the Damas Island Mangrove.

The Mangrove Forest is a singular ecosystem that only exists in a few places around the world, and Costa Rica has gone through great efforts to conserve it. The trip will take you right through the heart of the jungle to spots you cannot normally reach by foot.

White Faced Capuchin monkeys are common in this area so expect to see this fun primates quite a bit while you are paddling.

This is only one more of the many exciting tours available at Arenas del Mar, but quite an exciting one at that.