Five for Four

Stay five nights, pay for four!

With our summer green season promotion on from June 16-August 24, there is still time, and space, to book! The promotion allows guests to stay five nights, only paying for four, so we have put together a possible itinerary for these magnificent five days. With an outstanding number of things to do, this is only a sampling of all the possibilities at Arenas Del Mar and in Manuel Antonio!

Day 1

  • Surfing lessons – Head out first thing in the morning, and catch some serious waves all before lunchtime. Being one of the top countries in the America’s for surfing, a trip to Costa Rica is not complete without an attempt to ride the waves.
  • Play and relax poolside – With two chlorine-free pools on our property (one beside Playita’s beach and the other by El Mirador restaurant), dedicating some serious time for playing in, and lounging around, the pools, is very key!
  • Sunset horseback riding – Bring your first day to a close with a beautiful walk along the beach, on horseback. This is a lovely way to see the long, white sand beaches, while also enjoying the sensational Costa Rica sunset.
The beautiful beach of Manuel Antonio

The beautiful beach of Manuel Antonio

Day 2

  • Fresh local coffee – Get a fantastic start to the day with a hot cup of coffee. Grown and harvested in Costa Rica you can feel really really good about each sip.
  • Damas Island Magrove – Explore this beautiful island ecosystem by kayak or motor boat. See the stunning wildlife and greenery of the mangroves, while learning about the history of the area and the contemporary issues facing its inhabitants. White faced monkeys, herons, snakes, crocodiles and iguanas are just a few of the members of the animal kingdom you’ll see on this adventure!
  • Easy Being Green tour – Witness the eco-friendly inerds of our luxury lodge. Native plant nursery, hydroponic vegetable garden, compost area, energy saving processes, water and waste management and conservation are just a bunch of the things we do to reduce our impact on the precious environment that surrounds us.
Our hydroponic garden where we grow some of our ingredients!

Our hydroponic garden where we grow some of our ingredients!

Day 3

  • Check out the Tiendita – In spanish this means little shop, and this on-site little shop is dedicated to promoting and showcasing the works of local designers. Often utilizing recycled materials, these creations are one-of-a-kind and beautifully crafted.
  • Manuel Antonio National Park – This tour is a must. The park is one of the best in Costa Rica and all of the Americas, and with numerous trails taking you through the rainforest and onto pristine white sand beaches, what you see will be unforgettable. Tropical butterflies, birds, monkeys, snakes, iguanas, sloths, orchids and more bring the park to life. Take the tour privately or in a group, and tailor it to suit your abilities and interests.
  • Tortilla making class – Tortillas are a staple in the Costa Rican diet, and learning to make these simple and versatile breads is a wonderful way to learn about the local culture, and bring something home with you that is lasting and intangible.
Squirrel monkeys have lots to eat in green season.

Squirrel monkeys have lots to eat in green season.

Day 4

  • Hanging bridges and waterfalls tour – Anyone interested in nature or hiking must do this tour. It is a beautiful and unique way to see the flora and fawna of the lively rainforest. With a plethora of species, observing the wildlife is a highlight, but so is the dip you get to take in one of the waterfalls at the end!
  • Treatment at Las Brisas Spa – Massages, facials, wraps, scrubs, pedicures and manicures all available at our onsite spa. This is the perfect way to end a day, and with our final booking available for 7:00 you can wind-down from an adventuresome day with this luxury.
  • Eat at El Mirador Restaurant – Our onsite restaurant is a fabulous and convenient option. With a full menu, always being added to and revamped, you won’t get bored! Open air and fitted with a few to astonish any guest, enjoy complementary breakfasts here, as well as freshly caught fish for dinner!
A massage on the beach!

A massage on the beach!

Day 5

  • Spices, garden and flavors tour – Experience the sights, tastes and aromas of tropical spices, essential oil plants, sustainable farming practices, spice drying and packaging. From vanilla, cinnamon and cocoa to black pepper, allspice and a variety of exotic fruits, essential oils and medicinal plants, you will seriously expand your knowledge and understanding of spices.
  • Cocktail at El Mirador – On your last day, if you haven’t done this already, this is a must. Our onsite bar El Mirador throws together any tropical cocktail you desire, all with fresh and local ingredients.
  • Night walk – this is an awesome way to complete your five day trip at Arenas Del Mar. Explore the rainforest at night with the help of our experienced tour guides. While we’re sleeping the rainforest astoundingly active with all types of nocturnal creatures, and this is the perfect way to witness that!
Monkey business drink at Arenas del Mar

Monkey business drink at El Mirador

Well, we hope that got you excited for the trip to Arenas Del Mar you’re going to book!

Mini Dinosaur or Iguana?

You decide! These reptiles appear to have many characteristics of those huge reptiles that roamed the earth some 250 million years ago… and yes, we’re talking dinosaurs. The iguana is a reptile native to Mexico, Central America, several islands in Polynesia and the Caribbean, but can be found in the wild in California, Florida and Hawaii (primarily because they have escaped captivity or have been purposely released by an owner).

This exotic reptile has made cameos in popular culture on a number of occasions, with Godzilla being inspired by iguanas and there even being a villain named Iguana (who surprisingly looked like a giant iguana…) in a Spider Man cartoon! However, much more importantly, the iguana is fascinating and beautiful creature to observe and learn about!

Three black spiny-tailed iguanas in the wild

Three black spiney-tailed iguanas

Being diurnal, these guys are active during the day, and sleep during the night, just like humans. When Iguanas wake in the morning, they search for a sunny spot to lay in for a while, to warm up, and then begin foraging for food. Being strict herbivores their diet consists of leaves, flowers, soft fruits and young plant shoots. Once they have eaten they will once again find a ray of sun and lay down, allowing their food to digest. Later into the evening, they find a nice spot to go to sleep, and by sundown, they’re zonked out. Sounds pretty good, huh?

Iguanas have great vision, capable of see shapes, shadows, colors and things far away. Young iguanas are the victim of many prey in the environment, but once reaching adulthood, iguanas can live for 10-15+ years!

Green iguana baby at Arenas del Mar, Manuel Antonio

Green iguana baby

The Iguana Iguana, or the green iguana is well known for its calm disposition and bright coloring. This iguana is also the most common species found as a pet.

While the green and black iguana species’ are safe, some of their relatives are not. That is why coming to a place like Arenas Del Mar is such an invaluable experience. Not only will you see incredible wildlife, but you will do it in an eco-friendly way. You will learn about each animal, how they fit into the animal kingdom, and if they are plentiful or few and far between.

These reptiles can be seen on our Manuel Antonio National Park Group/Private Tours, the Night Walk Nature Reserve, or the Hanging Bridges and Waterfall Tour! And of course, they sometimes make an appearance on the property!

We Go Wild for Wildlife at Arenas Del Mar

Situated on the Central Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, overlooking Manuel Antonio National Park, our property is the best place to go if you’re looking for wildlife!

With Costa Rica occupying 0.3% of the worlds surface, but holding 5% of its biodiversity, the quantity and variety of creatures to see here is astonishing. Here are some commonly sighted animals!

These mammals often get a bad wrap for their slow pace of life… but we’re here to tell you there’s a lot more to them than just being slow! Firstly, sloths tongues can extend as long as 12 inches, making them very useful for gathering the staples in their diet (leaves and insects). They also have evolved incredibly well to suit their environment, developing long limbs and sharp claws to facilitate hanging from trees, which is how they spend most of their time. Beyond that, they spend much of the day sleeping and being super cute!

Brown toed tree sloth chews on a leaf

Owl Butterfly
The owl butterfly gets its name for the beautiful spots on its wings. These spots emulate the eyes of a much larger creature, possibly an owl. The spots confuse predators, and thus protect this beautiful insect from being eaten! The main predators of this butterfly are lizards and frogs, of which there are plenty in our rainforests.

Owl butterfly in Costa RicaBottle Nose Dolphin
This is the most common and well-known member of the dolphin family. Found typically in pods of anywhere from 10-30 animals, they are highly social animals. Dolphins find their prey using echolocation, which is similar to sonar! Bottle nose dolphins have been examined extensively for their intelligence, and have been found to be highly advanced in many areas. This unfortunately often makes them often the object of captivity, as they can learn to do many entertaining feats and tricks.

Bottlenose Dolphin jumping through the water


With so much to offer for flora and fauna, this is just a tiny sampling! Come to Costa Rica to see the rest.

FIFA World Cup Costa Rica! 

Today, employees and guests alike gathered around the projector in our Playitas restaurant to watch Costa Rica’s final soccer game, this time against England, before we advance into the octavo de finales, or the next round of 16 teams competing for their spots in the quarterfinals.

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

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

The guaranteed opportunity to move up to the next round combined with a final score of 0-0 demonstrates unparalleled achievement in Costa Rican history. Costa Rica hasn’t been in the octavo de finales since playing Italy in 1990, and so of course, the whole hotel – and the whole country – has been buzzing for weeks now about Costa Rica’s performance in the World Cup so far.

For the guests, this means celebrating like a Tico for a day: Guests enjoy painting their faces with the Costa Rican flag, and spend their days relaxing by the beach enjoying lunch while cheering their current “home” team to victory. These past weeks have served as wonderful opportunities to learn – many guests from the United States, where soccer is not as popular, converse with their waiters to better understand the game and learn key fútbol terminology. (Want to brush up on your World Cup terms? Check out this cheeky but helpful article from the Washington Post!)

A couple of our guests getting into the tico spirit.

A couple of our guests getting into the tico spirit.

And for those employed here at Arenas del Mar, the World Cup serves as a joyous and exciting opportunity to celebrate our country and pass that enthusiasm along to our guests. While many government organizations cease to function during game days (Tico’s are serious about their soccer!), here at Arenas del Mar we prefer to share the experience with everyone staying here on property. From our Playitas restaurant to the Reception area bar, you won’t find a single television on site that isn’t tuned in to the game (even when Costa Rica isn’t playing).

Getting painted up for the game!

Getting painted up for the game!

It has just been announced that Costa Rica will be playing against Greece for the next round this upcoming Sunday. Stay tuned, and cheer along with us here at Arenas del Mar as we prepare to celebrate our next victory.


“Olé, olé olé olé, Tico’s, Tico’s!”

Hey… quit monkey-ing around!

Looking for monkeys? Well Arenas Del Mar, situated on the Pacific Coast of Costa, is an ecological paradise. Aside from our on-property private nature reserve, the Manuel Antonio National Park is just a stones-throw away.

Enjoying the wildlife here in Costa Rica is a pastime enjoyed by most, but for our guests it is always a special treat! With hundreds of species of birds and innumerable other animals, there is never a dull moment, for us or our visitors.

Monkeys are often a crowd favorite here, and three of the most commonly sighted species are Howler monkeys, Squirrel monkeys and White-Faced Capuchin monkeys.

Howler monkey perched at the top of a tree

Howler Monkeys!

Howler monkeys are native to Central and South America, with 15 currently recognized species. These loud monkey’s call can travel just under 5 km through dense rainforest, and their noses can smell  food (primarily fruits and nuts) up to 2 km away. With extremely long tails (sometimes found to be 5 times the body length) they are incredible agile and make swinging from tree to tree look oh-so-easy! Howler monkeys, just like humans, are trichromats, meaning they see many colors, just like us. Threats to Howler monkeys include human predation, habitat destruction and capture for the use as zoo animals and pets.

Squirrel monkeys have lots to eat in green season.

Squirrel Monkeys!

Squirrel monkeys live in the canopy layer of the Central and South American tropical forests. The Central American Squirrel monkey and Black Squirrel monkey are listed as vulnerable by the IUCN, while the Common Squirrel monkey which is regularly captured for pet trade and medical research is not. Unlike many other New World monkeys, their long tail is not used for climbing and rather is a kind of balancing pole and tool.

White Faced Monkey

White Faced Capuchin Monkeys!

White Faced Capuchin monkeys, like the other two above, are native to the region. These monkeys are highly important to the rainforest ecology, because of their role in dispersing seeds and pollen. This species is highly intelligent, and has actually been trained to assist paraplegic people. The White Faced Capuchin feeds on anything from fruit and other plant material to invertebrates and small vertebrates. Living in troops that can exceed 20 animals, this medium-sized monkey can live up to 54 years!

what’s the food like in manuel antonio

When you think of Costa Rica, what comes to mind? Birds? Monkeys? Beaches? Surfing? Sure, all of those are fantastic, and Costa Rica is full of experiences that are built around these options.

But, most people don’t think of food. And, they should. At Arenas Del Mar Beachfront & Rainforest Resort we love to surprise guests who arrive thinking that our food will be bland and simple.

A delicious steak dinner

A delicious steak dinner

First, we go out of our way to incorporate the use of fresh, local ingredients for our guests. We work with local farmers and providers to obtain everything from chicken to cheese. We only use fruit that is in season, so depending on when you come you could be eating fresh mangos or fresh papaya!

If you’re looking for fish, we have a catch of the day – and we mean it. Our catch of the day changes, depending on what is caught and provided to the hotel. You could be dining on Dorado or Yellowfin tuna depending on the day, and how the fish are biting.

The ingredients to Gallo Pinto in small individual bowls

Fresh ingredients for making a traditional gallo pinto

When it comes time for kitchen scraps, we ensure that nothing goes to waste. All food waste from our restaurant is composted and used to add nutrients to the soil for our gardens.

Chef prepares fish in Arena Del Mar kitchen

Preparing a ceviche

If you’re still not convinced that you should be adding food to the list of things to experience in Costa Rica, we invite you to visit during one of our Guest Chef culinary weeks, where a US-based chef will be on-site to incorporate their at-home skill with Costa Rica’s best ingredients. For more info, check out the list of events.

What does Arenas Del Mar mean?

Many of our guests are interested in taking Spanish classes while they are here. Learning a bit of Spanish isn’t hard and it really helps you connect with the people of Costa Rica (Ticos).

The beautiful beach of Manuel Antonio

The beautiful beach of Manuel Antonio

The name of our hotel, Arenas Del Mar, means “Sands of the sea”.

We thought it was the best way to describe our property as we are the only property with direct access to our little beach (La Playita) at high tide and also access to the main Manuel Antonio beach. This means we sure have a lot of sand!

Sometimes you've got the whole beach to yourself!

Sometimes you’ve got the whole sandy beach to yourself!

The sands that we get at Manuel Antonio are golden in colour and stretches all the way from our property to the small town of Manuel Antonio and past that to the National Park. A walk down the beach, or a run for the fitness crowd, is a fantastic way to start or end your day here at Arenas Del Mar.

Magic hour from the Balcony at Arenas Del Mar

Magic hour from the Balcony at Arenas Del Mar

So come and join us at the Sands of the Sea in Manuel Antonio.


What To Do at Arenas Del Mar

Here at Arenas Del Mar we have beautiful and functional facilities, delicious food and wonderful service.

Does that sound familiar? So many other hotels and resorts boast having those same three things! Well, how we truly distinguish ourselves, is by offering an adventure-filled array of educational and incredibly fun tours and activities. When staying with us you can choose from more than sixteen tours, including on and off-property tours with Arenas Del Mar guides as well as tours offered by the community.

These tours are awesome and unique, as well as super close to the resort, reducing travel time and increasing the number of tours you can take part in. Guests can go from touring Manuel Antonio National Park and walking over hanging bridges and under waterfalls to making tortillas by hand and taking surfing lessons – all in the same afternoon.

The Beach
Our guests love the beach. With beautiful soft sand and warm pacific water, they’re perfect for lounging and enjoying the warm equatorial sun. They’re also lovely for a walk, with many guests going at sunrise or sunset to capitalize on the gorgeous views of the sun over the ocean. With your choice of Playa Espadilla and Playitas Beach, there is much to explore and savour.

Costa Rica. Mauel Antonio Beach and preserve

One of our beaches

Tortilla Making
This tour takes you around the property to Petatillo, where many of our staff reside. This provides guests with a very authentic experience, getting to chat with the local staff and learn more about their culture and identity. The later part of the tour takes you to tortilla making, where you can learn how to make the staple for your next Latin American themed dinner. With only four ingredients – flour, lard, salt and warm water – there isn’t too much danger of getting it all wrong, so take a chance and enjoy cooking the old fashioned way!

Making tortillas

Making tortillas

Sustainable Hotel Tour
Arenas Del Mar is a sustainably run hotel, with many practices in place to ensure that our footprint is as small as possible. We have energy saving practices, water conservation and management processes and waste reduction methods, and much more. This tour takes you behind the scenes, allowing you to see everything we do to serve you and the environment.

Compost bins used at Arenas Del Mar

The compost bins at Arenas Del Mar

Corvocado National Park Tour
The Cordovado National Park is one of the gems of Costa Rica, and it is right on our doorstep! With 424 squared kilometers, it is the largest park in Costa Rica, protecting two thirds of the Osa Peninsula. National Geographic named the park the most biologically intense place on earth in terms of biodiversity, and we can definitely back up that claim with the astounding number of species we ourselves have seen while in the park. Guests can enjoy the park either privately or in a group, all with one of our dedicated and knowledgeable hotel guides.

Brown toed tree sloth chews on a leaf

A brown toed tree sloth enjoying a leaf!

Bird Watching
Birding has steadily grown in popularity to now be one of our most popular tours! Yes at home you may be able to see crows, pigeons and seagulls… but they really don’t compare to the more than 800 species of birds you could see in Costa Rica. We believe that an integral aspect of sustainability and environmental awareness is education. When people learn about the habitats and inhabitants of an ecosystem, they feel more responsible for their protection and well being. So, birding is not only a wonderful activity because you get to see so many exotic animals, but because you get to play a role in advancing environmental understanding. With your choice of the early or sunset and the half day bird watching tours you will definitely get your fill.

A red Legged Honeycreeper seen in Birdwatching Manuel AntonioWhite Water Rafting
This full day tour will provide for a super fun, adrenaline filled experience. As you’re racing down the Savegre river, you can enjoy the wildlife and foliage along the banks, while getting a little wet and wild too! The rapids of the Savegre are world renowned, and make for a ride that is manageable yet exciting, so bring along the whole family. We love white water rafting here and we think you will too.

Some guests enjoying their ride!

Some guests enjoying their ride!

Zip lining
Zipping through the rainforest is not something everyone gets to do all the time. We are all about providing guests with new and different ways of seeing out country, and this is definitely one of our favorites! This tour is a lovely complement to any one of the Corcovado National Park tours, as it allows you to see the vibrant and animated jungle the way the birds see it, from above.

zipOur Team
These are the people who will help make your activities and tours amazing!

Arenas del Mar team 2012


Things to do in Manuel Antonio

One of the best parts of visiting Arenas Del Mar Beachfront & Rainforest Resort are the tours of nearby rain forests, national parks, rivers and of course, animals.

Child guests make silly faces for the camera

Kids laughing after a guided tour of Manuel Antonio.

Costa Rica is an incredibly diverse country, full of multiple species of animals, birds and plants that all seem to be a bright as a rainbow. A few tour options for guests staying at Arenas Del Mar include:

Manuel Antonio National Park Group Tour
Manuel Antonio is one of Costa Rica’s many national parks, located near to the resort. Tours of the park depart in the morning or afternoon, and guests have the opportunity to explore white sand beaches, clear waters and plenty of wildlife. The park protects some spectacular rainforest, a mangrove swamp, coral formations and a dozen islands that offer sanctuary for birds.

White Faced Monkey

White Faced Monkeys hanging out in Manuel Antonio

Hanging Bridges& Waterfalls Tours
If you love nature and hiking, this is the tour for you!Easy to follow footpaths with handrails connect a breathtaking canopy bridge system with observation platforms at the treetop level. From here you can see waterfalls,explore the area’s rich biodiversity and discover the forest from a bird’s eye view. At the end of the walk, there are several beautiful waterfalls where you can take a refreshing dip.

Collage of guests enjoying suspension bridge and waterfall

Collage of guests enjoying suspension bridge and waterfall

Night Walk
If you want to conquer a fear or explore more of theworld at night, the night walk tour brings you to the home and habitat of anumber of nocturnal and night-loving creatures, including frogs, snakes,spiders, and owls. This is the perfect opportunity for guests to see, hear and appreciate the thrill of the night!

White Water Rafting
The rivers of Costa Rica are famous for their rafting andthe nearby Savegre River plays a large part in maintaining this reputation.This white water rafting adventure takes guests on a full-day journey throughthe rainforest and exciting white water. The Savegre River is one of the most pristine in the country, complete with a number of magnificent waterfalls.

Some guests enjoying their ride!

Some guests enjoying their ride!

Horseback Riding
Experience a picturesque ride through the rainforest to nearby waterfalls and explore exuberant natural world of tropical plants and wildlife in a non-intrusive manner. This half-day tour takes guests on an exciting exploration of some of the best Costa Rican landscapes, from an elevated view!

What would be your top tour at Arenas Del Mar Beachfront& Rainforest Resort?

More to Costa Rica than Rice and Beans…

Our Food

Italy eats pasta Bolognese, Britain blood pudding and scones, India curries and naan, America the cheeseburger and Costa Rica rice and beans.Traditional Costa Rican food shares a great deal with the traditional dishes from around the world… simple, cheap to make and high in carbs and protein. Ultimately, the traditional food of any country is rarely that which leads the culinary world, but when that traditional food meets foreign and current flavors and styles, the product is often outstanding.

Modern cuisine is dynamic, flavorful, textured and innovative, and that absolutely defines the food Costa Rica is serving up these days. Contemporary Costa Rican cuisine epitomizes that blend of the old and the new, with many top chefs honing in on the secret to making culturally inspired, current and delicious food.

Fresh salsa with homemade tortilla!

Fresh salsa with homemade tortilla!


Fresh, Local and Organic

The shift in North America, and many other parts of the world, in the way people select ingredients and restaurants with a stronger focus on organic and local, has encouraged many in the food industry to reassess their means of sourcing and production. The positive ramifications of this change in consumer behavior and expectations has absolutely been seen in Costa Rica, and has been enthusiastically accommodated at Arenas Del Mar.

The climate of Costa Rica definitely works in our favor providing us with a plethora of fresh local tropical fruit, from juicy mangoes and sweet pineapples to succulent papayas and exotic melons. We are also fortunate to have coffee, sugar and many legumes and vegetables close by too. However, our efforts to provide our guests with the best and most environmentally conscious food possible are not all out of convenience.

Our hydroponic garden where we grow some of our ingredients!

Our hydroponic garden where we grow some of our ingredients!

Our belief here is that we have a responsibility to Costa Rica, her people and ourselves, to reduce our impact on the environment, stimulate and support the local and national economies, and create positive change in the community, and all the while inspiring others to do the same. So creating delicious food in a sustainable way is just part of that mission.


Top Class

Manuel Antonio, the city in which Arenas Del Mar is situated, is a hotbed for culinary experimentation and discovery. For lunch in Manuel Antonio you can find everything from a casual, fun and delicious falafel bar to El Gato Pescador’s fresh fish and chips. As far as dinner goes, one of the best is El Mirador Bar and Restaurant, our onsite restaurant. Not only will you relish in our menu’s unconventional and heavenly pairings of flavors and ingredients, you will enjoy this food in an intimate setting, all the while looking out onto the pacific ocean.

beach side dinner “The best way to build Costa Rica’s culinary reputation [is] to introduce top chefs from other parts of the world to our local ingredients and dishes,” explained Hans Pfister – CEO of the Cayuga Collection, the managing company of Arenas Del Mar – and that’s just what we did. Last year we brought in a total of six world-renowned guest chefs from Philadelphia to cook up a storm in our kitchens!

steak guest chefs
During their stay with us, they coached our local chefs in their methods and practices, sufficiently elevating the industry know-how of our already incredibly skilled and local chefs. And, as showcased by these guest chefs, there is much more to Costa Rican food than rice and beans.