With its colorful jewel tones and peaceful ambiance, Alma del Pacifico is the treasure of Esterillos Este, Costa Rica
As I sat on our private, beach-front terrace at Alma Del Pacifico, I sipped a glass of chilled Chilean rosé, and watched a big family with kids enjoy a private surf lesson in the gentle waves of Playa Esterios. Smiling at their triumphant cheers as one boy caught a wave and rode it in, I thought about the blessings in my life; not the least of which is the privilege I have to visit, and experience, so many of the distinctive hotels, resorts, and vacation properties of Costa Rica.
After a week spent with visiting family in nearby Playa Herradura, Jaco, my partner and I welcomed the quiet respite of an overnight visit to Esterillos Este; just the two of us, the endless expanse of the Esterillos beaches, good food, long walks, and quiet seclusion.
Upon arrival, we were greeted by the hotel porter who offered to carry in our bags. We sat down in the little alfresco reception area and were served a cold, revitalizing, juice-mocktail while the receptionist checked us in. We’d been booked in a garden bungalow, but, to our delight, were upgraded to a king size, beach-front villa with its private courtyard, gated entrance, garden, and steps-to-the-sand patio; wow, what an incredible enhancement to our escape!
The bright, colorful, jewel-toned interior design of our spacious bungalow was enchanting, but the Indoor-outdoor flow (facilitated by floor-to-ceiling, sliding glass doors) of beach and interior was enough to make us want to stay forever. With perfect attention to detail, the hotel staff had left fresh flowers on the coffee table in the sitting area, paperbacks on the bookshelf, and candles along the mantle; comfy cushions invited seating-room lounging, a desk with WIFI sat in the corner for those who need to get some work done, and the well-stocked kitchenette with its mini-fridge (filled with complimentary juice and water, as well as wine and beer for purchase), glasses and dishware, and coffee maker, left us feeling extra pampered.
We immediately turned off the air conditioning and opened all the windows and doors, turning on the ceiling fans to create a fresh, natural breeze throughout; the background crashing of waves adding a touch of perfection to the already sumptuous ambiance. As we did so, we discovered that our massive bathroom was also home to a semi-alfresco garden shower; again, floor-to-ceiling sliding doors creating the perfect flow of outdoors to in. Bathrobes, plush towels, a double vanity, a separate enclosed toilet, and organic, biodegradable products by Raw Botanticals were the final indulgent touches.
Watching the waves from our lounge chairs on the patio, we decided that the occasion called for a couple’s massage at the spa. Dialing the front desk, we quickly arranged for a post-sunset appointment (in my opinion, the perfect way to end a day at the beach), and then headed out to the hammocks on the sand to enjoy the fiery sunset to the west.
After sundown, a quick shower had us heading for the peaceful spa, where we enjoyed an hour and a half of pure bliss. “Walk in, float out” says the hotel website of the spa, and they definitely called it; this was one of the best massages I’ve experienced in a while. We were greeted in the spa reception area, where we were introduced to our therapists and offered a refreshing glass of water. Taking note of any injuries or special instructions, needs, or preferences, our therapists then showed us to a large treatment room, dimly lit with candles, lightly scented of herbs, and welcoming. As any world-class spa should be, the spa was ambient, restful, and Shangri-La-esque.
After our couple’s massage, it was tempting to hit the sack, so relaxed were we, but we had a reservation at the hotel restaurant and, as I’ve shared before, we are big on food and wine; especially while on vacation.
Mosaic Restaurant did not disappoint. Our friendly waiter told us about the chef’s specials and even offered to set up a private table for us on the sand. We declined, as the alfresco dining area of Mosaic Restaurant boasts a perfect view of the beach with its rolling waves, and we were comfortable enough where we were. However, we’ll definitely remember that for next time; especially if we’ve got an extra romantic evening in mind.
But, I digress.
The food was divine; the wine list extensive. We couldn’t have asked for a better meal or a better setting. We started off with the garlic lime shrimp (Oh-My-Goodness!) and the tuna tartar; then, I had the surf and turf kabab, and my partner enjoyed the red-snapper. A bottle of Argentinian Pinot Nior was the perfect accompaniment to a perfect meal.
After dinner, we made our way back to our room where we enjoyed a digestive of 20-year-old tawny Port on the terrace, listened to some international Latin Jazz, and then slept like babies to the sound of the ocean, feeling safe and secure with our doors open as the night-watchman made his rounds up and down the beach throughout the night.
Waking early, I took a long, peaceful walk along the water, the beach reaching far out before me, a seemingly endless stretch of sand. Time for thought and reflection, along with the morning’s exercise, left me feeling rejuvenated and hungry for a big, Costa Rican breakfast. Returning to our bungalow, I stopped to watch a morning yoga class taking place under the almond trees and palms on the beach, and then headed “home” to get ready for breakfast.
We considered ordering room service, but then decided to enjoy the complimentary breakfast buffet at the restaurant. We’d brought along a bottle of Champaign, and so after breakfast, we returned to our room and ordered some Champaign flutes, an ice bucket, and a bottle of orange juice so that we could have mimosas and watch the waves from the lounge chairs on our balcony.
Conversation and music filled our morning, and we were loath to leave that tranquil place. Nevertheless, we had plans to meet up with a monkey at Manuel Antonino National Park, so check out we did, and then, we headed down the road to seek a little more Costa Rica adventure and discovery.