Bio-degradable water bottles given at reception? Check.
Early morning bird watching tours? Check.
Monkeys on the pool deck? Check.
Arenas del Mar, one of Costa Rica’s most esteemed eco-hotels, may be located in the popular area of Manuel Antonio, but it feels like it’s thousands of miles from civilization. I found the hotel when searching for environmentally-conscious resorts in Costa Rica’s Southern Pacific region and it didn’t disappoint (so much so, we’ve since returned three times!).
What we love about the hotel is its smallness and yet its access to amenities of a larger resort—the food served at El Mirador Restaurant is locally-sourced and mostly organic (and delicious!), there are two different pools which means that neither is crowded with guests, and access to two different beaches. You leave your car at the base of the hill which also means you’re blissfully unattached during your stay (and also forced to walk or take the battery-powered golf carts available for guests—I definitely suggest walking: if we hadn’t walked to the beach one morning, we wouldn’t have seen a seldom-seen ferruginous pygmy owl sitting on a low tree branch).
Perched on Manuel Antonio beach’s southern end, Arenas del Mar is the perfect combination of ‘away from it all’ relaxation while still close enough to the action to explore Manuel Antonio’s lively nightlife and nearby jungle excursions and natural parks.
Arenas del Mar is also part of an expanding brand of eco-tourism in Central America: the Cayuga Collection offers stays at amazing eco-focused resorts such as Lapa Rios on the Osa Peninsula, and Jicara Island Eco Lodge on Lake Nicaragua. Like Costa Rica itself, the Cayuga Collection (Arenas del Mar included) is part of an impressive move towards eco-conscious hotels and travel that will benefit not only travelers, but the world as a whole.