By Greg Aragon
2020 is not just another turned page on the calendar; it is a whole new decade. And this means a new era of travel for Greg’s Getaway. With this in mind I would like to share an exciting trip that I am planning for the New Year.
Standing out on my travel map for the near future is a journey to the island paradise of Costa Rica. With an ideal location in the heart of Central America, Costa Rica boasts incredible beaches on both the Pacific Ocean side and the Atlantic Ocean side of its 20,000 square-mile landmass. And both sides of the island are just three hours from the capital city of San José by land, or just 45 minutes by plane.
The Caribbean side is known for a wide variety of marine ecosystems and its white- and black-sand beaches, ideal for activities centered around nature and the ocean, including surfing, diving in crystal clear water, basking in the sun and hiking along the coast. On the Pacific coast is where major tourism centers are found and where surfers hit beaches such as Esterillos, Jacó, Hermosa and Boca Barranca.
When I do visit the island I am looking at staying a few nights at Arenas Del Mar Beachfront & Rainforest Resort. Located in the small oceanside village of Manuel Antonio, the resort bills itself as the only luxury hotel in Manuel Antonio that is truly on the beach and in the rainforest. Arenas Del Mar is located on an 11-acre private rainforest reserve, with lots of unique animals and plant life to see.
The luxury hotel boasts 38 suites and guest rooms that have views across Manuel Antonio National Park, the Pacific Ocean and the rainforest. Rooms feature plush bedding, air conditioning and ceiling fans, free local and international calls, high-speed Wi-Fi, 32-inch flat screen TVs with cable, safes and coffee makers, mini-bars, housekeeping and more.
The hotel also boasts two pools, a wellness center, and a gourmet restaurant.
From the hotel grounds visitors can regularly see monkeys and sloths in their natural habitat. To make sure guests get the full experience, the hotel has four resident naturalist guides on staff to help spot rainforest wildlife, host guided tours, and give intimate interpretation of the flora and fauna to be seen.
The property also offers direct beach access to two of the area’s best beaches: Playitas Beach, a great spot for lounging on the sand and sipping cocktails; and Espadilla Beach, a surfing hotspot and a long stretch of coastline that leads directly to Manuel Antonio town.
Manuel Antonio is a tiny yet bustling town located off Costa Rica’s Central Pacific Coast. It is a popular tourist destination due to its beautiful beaches and Manuel Antonio National Park, which features amazing flora, fauna, excellent hiking trails, and 109 species of mammals and 184 species of birds. Animal highlights include sloths, iguanas, toucans, parakeets, and four species of monkeys.
The park is located in the tropical forest and offers memorable scenery, with numerous hidden coves with white sand beaches and lush foliage surrounded by impressive mountains. Known for its ideal climate and scenic beauty, the roughly three-square-mile wide Manuel Antonio National Park is visited by about 150,000 tourists per year and was recently listed by Forbes among the world’s 12 most beautiful national parks.
To help see all the exotic wildlife and fauna, Arenas Del Mar Beachfront & Rainforest Resort offers a variety exciting personal tours. Tour highlights include Manuel Antonio National Park up close with expert guides; surfing lessons in the warm Pacific Ocean; a night walk in the forest along jungle paths; and a rainforest hike to Nauyaca Waterfall, where guests can swim under and around two incredible waterfalls, one of which stands at 120 feet-tall.
For more information on visiting Costa Rica, go to visitcostarica.com.