I may be a little bias, but I believe that Arenas del Mar Nature & Beachfront & Rainforest Resort in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica is hands down the best hotel ever, but for the purposes of this blog post, I will keep the claim as the “best hotel in Manuel Antonio,” mainly for Google search rankings.
Arenas del Mar Hotel Activities
One of the reasons I love Arenas del Mar is the fact that there is SO much to do! I’m not talking about those awkward “activities” that all-inclusive resorts have every couple hours by the pool, I’m talking about guided tours of the rainforest. Spanish lessons overlooking the ocean. Bird watching tours with the most knowledgeable guide you could imagine.
During my most recent trip to Manuel Antonio, I was accompanied by my best friend, Alana. We’ve spent plenty of vacations together, but this was completely different. It wasn’t an all-inclusive resort with the main highlight being an open swim-up bar. THIS was what a vacation SHOULD be—relaxing, refreshing, rejuvenating.
A typical day at Arenas del Mar during our best friend vacation included the following:
Reading on the Balcony
I’m an early riser, so I woke up around 6am and either enjoyed reading my book on the balcony while listening to the waves, or joining one of the complementary fitness classes hosted by the hotel staff.
Six in the morning sound early to you? It’s not when you’re in Costa Rica! The sun sets around 6pm (at least during the time we visited the hotel in November), so you naturally shift your schedule to rise early and go to bed early. Plus, it isn’t difficult waking up early when you have a view like this!
Breakfast with a View
After Alana sipped her coffee in bed, we would head off to breakfast. Once again, the views at Arenas del Mar are straight out of a travel magazine—literally, because I’m pretty sure they’ve been highlighted by multiple travel magazines. So as you eat your fresh fruit and sip on some freshly squeezed orange juice, you’re able to watch surfers below catch a wave.
Sun and Sand
Once we filled up at breakfast, it was time to enjoy the beach! Arenas del Mar is unique in that the hotel has a semi-private beach to offer its guests. How is it semi-private? There’s this mountain of rocks that separate the beach from the main drag, making it difficult for people to climb over (unless they’re super motivated). This allows Arenas del Mar guests to lounge on a secluded beach, while enjoying top-notch service, whether it be ordering a margarita or Ceviche for lunch.
Guided Tour or Walk on the Beach
During our stay, we either had a guided tour of Manuel Antonio national park, a long walk on the beach, or Spanish lessons planned during our afternoon. Once again, there’s no shortage of activities at Arenas del Mar—you actually learn more, see more and do more at the hotel, which is something you don’t usually take away from a vacation.
Dinner—Gluten Free, Of Course!
Finally, one of the main perks for me when it comes to Arenas del Mar is the gluten-free food! The kitchen staff went through the National Foundation of Celiac Awareness GREAT Gluten-Free Kitchens training program, so you can feel safe ordering the chocolate lava cake that’s on the menu—they take all precautions in the kitchen to prevent cross-contamination!
Speaking of the lava cake, I totally ordered TWO one of the nights. I had one at the restaurant and took one to-go. Totally normal, right?
Having been gluten free for nearly seven years now, I know how it is to feel like you don’t have options when traveling. To be clear, you DO NOT feel like that for one second at Arenas del Mar.
Back to the schedule of the day…
Alana and I usually planned our dinner reservations for 6-6:30pm. The truth is, we were tired from going during the day that an early dinner allowed us to get back into our jammies and hop into bed by 8:30—not even kidding.
After we indulged in delicious food at El Mirador restaurant at Arenas del Mar, we would return to our room, throw on our robes, upload a pic or two to Instagram and settle in for a restful night. Yes, you actually REST while on vacation at Arenas del Mar.
So if you’re looking for the type of vacation that you don’t need a “vacation” to recover from, Arenas del Mar is the answer. And if you’re gluten free, it’s the obvious choice.
Have questions about Arenas del Mar’s gluten-free accommodations? Visit my Contact Page to send me a message. Interested in booking your stay at Arenas del Mar? Be sure to mention G-Free Laura during the reservation process!