Dreaming of Costa Rica

Old boat in tropical river in Costa Rica

It’s true, we can’t travel to Costa Rica right now, but we can sure dream of it. 

While travel restrictions are in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve got to sit still for a bit and place our wanderlust on hold; nonetheless, that doesn’t mean we can’t dream. 

It’s tough, I know, to be dreaming of Costa Rica and unable to visit, but at the same time, it’s these very same restrictions that make us so eager to go. 

A peaceful country with no military and a thoughtful, proactive government that places deep importance on things like sustainability and the wellbeing of its citizenry are just a few of the reasons why so many find Costa Rica attractive. 

Here are five ways you can put that Costa Rica vacation notion right into motion.

Book now.

While it’s true that the airport is closed to foreign visitors until the unforeseeable near future, this pandemic and the restrictions that go with it won’t last forever. 

Now is a better time than ever to book flights. Most airlines have extremely flexible cancelation and change policies right now and flights are cheap cheap cheap.  

Do your research and find the best, most affordable Costa Rica flight you can find and go ahead and book! The great news is you can do so worry-free knowing you can simply change your travel dates if need be. 

Start exploring via good ol’ Google.

I love that the Internet lets us virtually explore just about every place in the world, including Costa Rica. With plenty of time to plan, you can check out the entire country and see which part you find most intriguing. 

If nothing sounds more intriguing to you than a misty mountain cloud forest, Costa Rica’s got you covered! 

Long walks on the beach, fun in the sun, and watersports are your thing? Costa Rica has not one, but two oceans to choose from and hundreds of miles of white, black, gold, and even pink sand beaches. 

Choose your stay.

Small Distinctive Hotels of Costa Rica has so many beautiful properties to choose from, it’s a challenge to pick just one! From right on the beach to deep in the forest, each hotel in this distinctive stable of properties has something special to offer. Spa days, sumptuous meals, and memorable experiences, there’s just no way to go wrong when you book at any one of these select properties. Have a little bit of time to explore the country? Select one from each area you are eager to explore!

Start saving!

With stay at home advisories in place in so many areas around the world, it’s a great time to save up a little cash for the Costa Rica vacation of your dreams. I don’t know about you, but before all this craziness began, my life was a series of “mini-vacations;” weekend hiking or biking trips, date nights, restaurant dining, Sunday brunch, concerts, movies, and more. My partner and I spent a lot of money on entertainment. 

The silver lining in all these pandemic protocols? I’m saving some cash. What better way to spend those savings than on a fantastic vacation adventure to beautiful Costa Rica when safety allows? 

Check your passport.

With so much going on, the last thing on most of our minds is whether or not our passports are up to date. Restrictions are going to lift before we know it (I’m an eternal optimist!); make sure your passport is ready to go when you are. With many government agencies, a bit backed up theses days, things like passport renewals may take a little longer than usual. Check yours today and get the ball rolling to get it renewed if necessary. 

“Dare to dream! ….. What you believe to be possible will always come to pass – to the extent that you deem it possible. It really is as simple as that.”   Anthon St. Maarten

Whether you believe in things like the law of attraction or not, I think there can be little doubt in the truth of the old adage that what you put energy in does come to fruition.

Why not put a bit of energy into the Costa Rica trip of your dreams? After all, you’ve got so little to lose and so many experiences and memories to gain!

Navigating the Nicoya Peninsula

Santa Teresa, Costa Rica - surfers walking on the beachJune, 28, 2018: Couple of surfers on the beach of Santa Teresa walking and enjoying the time together in a beautiful sunny day with blue sky and blue water

While you’re social distancing at home these days, you may be dreaming of Costa Rica travels. One spectacular area you should do your research on and consider exploring is the Nicoya Peninsula.

The Nicoya Peninsula is one of the best off-the-beaten-path destinations in Costa Rica. Taking the time to go there is worth your while from the prolonged dry season to stunning jungles, secluded world-class surf beaches, bohemian towns, international cuisine, and breathtaking waterfalls.

Located in Costa Rica’s Blue Zone, Tambor beach is a ‘must experience’ destination. Staying at the Tango Mar will allow you to cocoon yourself into a long stretch of private beach on 150 acres of exclusive grounds designed to pamper and spoil your body and soul while being able to take advantage of amazing day excursions to Montezuma, Mal Pais, and Santa Teresa.

To get to the Nicoya Peninsula you can either fly in a small plane from San Jose to the nearby tiny airstrip of Tambor or rent a car at the airport and drive south from Liberia along the Peninsula or North from San Jose and take the ferry from Puntarenas to Paquera.

Taking the ferry will save on driving time, is a beautiful 70-minute ferry ride, and you can book your tickets in advance online. If you rent a car, an SUV is recommended as many of the roads on the Nicoya Peninsula are dirt or loose gravel and when it rains it can get quite muddy. To get to Tango Mar is a beautiful and easy 45-minute scenic drive up the Peninsula.

Daily excursions from the Tango Mar will not disappoint you. You can start with a trip to Cocalito Waterfall, which drops right into the ocean and a short 10-minute walk from Cocalito Beach.  If you are not at Tango Mar to golf, spa or surf, you can arrange to boat out to Tortuga Island to snorkel or horseback ride along the beach. 

Montezuma is located on the most southern tip of the Peninsula and is a short 25-minute drive from Tango Mar. This chilled out little town will introduce you to the local bohemian-like pace of life where you can sample amazing international cuisine, stroll lazily in the sand and see some of the best waterfalls in Costa Rica. Make sure to take a break from the beach and feed your adventurous side by overlooking a stunning 80-foot waterfall off of a hanging bridge.

Santa Teresa is another very relaxed small town on the southern part of the Peninsula famous for world-class surfing waves. If you are a novice surfer there are exceptional surf schools. A short distance from Santa Teresa is Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve, where you can see monkeys, butterflies, and sloths. You can also go zip-lining or book a canopy tour to get a bird’s eye view of the breathtaking nature on the Peninsula. Mal Pais is a small fishing town also near Cabo Blanco reserve that is worth exploring. You can paddleboard if surfing is not your vibe, take a yoga class or peruse for celebrities that choose this secluded Peninsula for their vacation destination. 

The coronavirus pandemic won’t keep us home forever. Start planning your Costa Rica getaway now; the Nicoya Peninsula is waiting for you!

Don’t let COVID-19 Ruin Your Costa Rica Vacation

woman in airport traveling to Costa Rica

With just a few confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Costa Rica, it remains a safe and beautiful place to travel; still, all travelers, regardless of destination, should take precautions.

Costa Rica does have five confirmed, but isolated, cases of the new coronavirus, which has been named a global health emergency by the World Health Organization (WHO). The five cases are as follows:

  • A 49-year-old U.S. tourist, who was Costa Rica’s first confirmed case as reported by the Tico Times on Friday. Her husband, also 49 and a U.S. citizen, has also tested positive, though he is asymptomatic.
  • A 54-year-old Costa Rican man who remains in intensive care at a Costa Rican public hospital. The man has preexisting health conditions, complicating his case.
  • A 73-year-old woman who is the aunt of the hospitalized Costa Rican man.
  • A 41-year-old Costa Rican woman who was a caretaker for the hospitalized man.

The government is taking steps to reassure visitors and residents alike about its efforts to mitigate the spread of the virus now that it has appeared in Costa Rica.
The health ministry has announced protocols for businesses and government offices:

  • Signs describing the correct ways to wash your hands and to shield sneezes and coughs are required for all businesses, schools, and churches.
  • Businesses have been advised to disinfect doorknobs, washbasin handles, toilets, telephones, keyboards, and computer devices twice a day at a minimum.
  • The bus and train operators will regularly disinfect all surfaces touched by riders.
  • Public service reminders via radio and television about washing hands and not touching your face.
  • Costa Rica’s international airports and major ports have strict protocols for handling any suspected cases of coronavirus.

How to protect yourself and your family when flying to Costa Rica

Fortunately, you already know how to protect yourself against catching COVID-19 the same way you would handle any contagious disease or illness.

Still, flying presents a little extra risk when it comes to germs, regardless of how serious or benign those germs might be.
When flying, use the following precautions to protect yourself and your group or family from contagions.

  • Avoid physical contact with people; even though you became best friends with your seatmate on the plane, you really don’t need to shake hands to seal the new friendship. An elbow bump, or just a smile, will do.
  • Bring disinfectant wipes in your handbag or carryon. Don’t be shy about wiping down your seat-back tray, armrests and other surfaces around you on the plane.
  • Wash hands regularly with soap and water. When washing your hands, do so like you’ve just handled jalapeños and are about to remove your contacts; sing the ABCs just to be sure you spend enough time on the task.
  • Carry along hand sanitizer and use it frequently. Choose hand sanitizers that are at least 60% alcohol, use generously, and scrub your hands 20 seconds.
  • Masks are controversial; unless it’s an N95 respirator, a mask will not protect you from COVID-19. A paper mask, however, will help you prevent the spread of germs from you to others. If you want to be extra considerate by taking this precaution, most will appreciate the effort. Remember, there are few symptoms during the incubation period of COVID-19.
  • Finally, if you are feeling unwell before your trip, do check in with your doctor; also, please do reschedule your trip to Costa Rica if you’re sick! Most airlines and many hotels are making exceptions during this difficult time when it comes to change fees for rescheduling travel.

Clean hotel rooms in Costa Rica

When you’re not out and about, you’ll want to be confident your hotel room is as clean as possible. Disinfectant wipes can clean commonly used surfaces. Their effectiveness varies, so be sure to read the label.
These are some things to look for to assure yourself that your hotel room is clean:

  • Look around the lobby for a first impression. Are the floors clean and the upholstery in good condition? Are the fixtures and surfaces dust-free, no smears?
  • Once in your room, inspect the bathroom for cleanliness and, in the tropics, signs of mold. Are towels clean and in good condition? Are the shower, tiles, shower curtain, and sink spotless? Above all, give the toilet a good look. You’ll know if it’s clean.
  • Look at the floors around the bed and under it if you can. Any dust bunnies?
  • Go ahead and stash the bedspread in the top of the closet; you’ll be plenty warm with freshly washed blankets and sheets.
  • Look for fingerprints on light switches and handles.
  • Try to avoid big, chain hotels, smaller boutique hotels tend to hold themselves to higher standards. Also, smaller hotels host fewer people.

Making new friends during your trip to Costa Rica

Many gringos are enchanted by the European style of meeting and greeting others in Costa Rica; even strangers tend to say hello, or “nice to meet you,” with a customary air kiss on one cheek. Like in the States, shaking hands is common between men.
During this time of global concern, it may be best practice – and won’t be found offensive- to hold off on this kind of contact with others. As suggested above, a smile or elbow bump will do and your consideration for the health and safety of others will be appreciated.

How COVID-19 spreads

Like all human coronaviruses, COVID-19 spreads like any cold or the flu. The fall and winter seasons are when the virus is at its most active, but coronaviruses can appear at any time. Most people infected with COVID-19 have only minor symptoms, or they can be asymptomatic.
The World Health Organization has advised that the virus spreads by saliva or mucous droplets from sneezing or coughing. The WHO and other health agencies disagree on the length of time the virus lives on surfaces; it could be a window of 30 minutes or longer.
If you take common-sense precautions, you’ll reduce your exposure to COVID-19 and increase your peace of mind. There’s no need to let this coronavirus stop your vacation to Costa Rica; just take care of yourself and be considerate of others as you would at any other time.

 A romantic weekend in San Jose, Costa Rica

Picnic in Parque La Sabana Costa Rica

With Valentine’s Day just behind us, I’m full of warm reflection on my romantic weekend in San Jose, Costa Rica. 

St. Valentine’s day fell on a Friday this year, which gave us a great excuse for a long weekend- getaway to San Jose, Costa Rica. 

Just a 3-hour flight from Miami meant that my partner and I could leave Friday morning, have an amazing weekend in Costa Rica, and be back in the office on Tuesday morning. 

In fact, a long weekend trip to Costa Rica is entirely doable from most places in the States, as there are direct flights from Dallas, Los Angeles, Atlanta, and New York among others. 

Wanting to make the most of it, we decided to stick to the San Jose valley and nearby areas. 

Landing at Juan Santamaria International, there was a car waiting to take us to the nearby Hotel Grano de Oro

There, we quickly checked in, made dinner reservations at the hotel’s famous French restaurant for that same evening, dropped our bags in our luxurious room, and set out to explore the city

Since we just had the afternoon and wanted to get in some spa time before dinner, we decided to just head for La Sabana Park a few blocks away. There, we strolled along the large man-made lake, fed the ducks, watched the children fly kites and take pony rides around the park trails, and enjoyed an afternoon picnic of wine, cheese, bread, and fruit graciously prepared by the hotel restaurant at our request. 

Back at the hotel, we got our spa on; two blissful hours under the expert hands of the hotel’s massage therapists and at last, we felt truly relaxed. 

Then, floating along on tranquility and aromatherapy, we readied ourselves for our 8:00 pm dinner reservation on the terrace of Restaurant Grano de Oro, where a sumptuous dinner of Chateaubriand for my partner, and stuffed portobello mushrooms for me, awaited.   

Sipping on a sublime French Bordeaux (Did I mention that Grano De Oro has an exceptional wine list?), and enjoying dish after wonderful dish, we had a delightful evening listening to the soft tinkle of the patio fountain and music playing softly in the background as we chatted and discussed our plans for the following day. 

Chocolate and music in San Jose

Since we had theater tickets for an evening at the Teatro Nacional, we opted for a nearby rainforest and chocolate adventure for our Saturday adventure. 

A shuttle bus picked us up from our hotel in the morning and, upon arrival, we hiked through the rainforest, discovering far more in nature than we’d anticipated. Then we had a chocolate tour of a local cacao plantation. On our way, we got to stop at La Virgen del Socorro, a private reserve, where we had lunch at the local restaurant owned by a man called Don Jose.

That evening, we were off to Teatro Nacional in downtown San Jose. There, we enjoyed the soulful, and sometimes reggae-esque sounds of Debi Nova, a Costa Rican singer and musician who has been involved in several grammy-winning productions and has been nominated for a Latin Grammy award, among others.

On Sunday, it was all about Costa Rica white water river rafting.

Wow, what a thrill! The shuttle picked us up early in the morning and took us, along with our rafting mates, first to brunch and then to the put-in point where we had a quick safety lesson and got our life vests and helmets. 

Running Class III and IV rapids into the heart of the rainforest, and down the Pacuare River, our clothes were soaked and our hearts were pumping; it was the most fun we’ve had in quite some time!

At the end of the day, exhausted but happy, we enjoyed room service and relaxed, knowing we’d just have the morning to enjoy a leisurely champagne brunch at Restaurant Grano de Oro and then prepare for our early afternoon flight home. 

The perfect long weekend, romantic getaway; San Jose, Costa Rica. Reach out today to book yours. 




Visiting Arenal, Costa Rica

Arenal Volcano and Lake Arenal Costa Rica

Arenal and the surrounding area of northern Costa Rica are popular for things to do and see.

Visiting Arenal Volcano is a visit to one of the most recognizable volcanoes in Costa Rica. The volcano’s classic symmetrical cone shape rises out of the surrounding area and dominates the landscape of the national park. Last active in 2010, the volcano is currently dormant. As the region recovers from a series of eruptions that began in 2010, it’s creating new and unique ecosystems.

Things to do during your trip to Arenal

Even though the volcano itself is off-limits, Arenal National Park has miles of hiking around the volcano and over old lava flows. The hikes meander through unique microclimates and highly adapted ecosystems. Be sure to hire a naturalist guide who will make sure you don’t miss the exotic species of the Arenal region.

Lake Arenal, the largest in Costa Rica, sits at the base of the volcano. Kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, fishing, and boat tours are good ways to get on the water and explore. Bilingual guides will take you out for a cruise around the lake, pointing out waterfowl and terrestrial wildlife. For a special evening, try a sundown dinner cruise for unforgettable views.

For thrills, go whitewater rafting on the Balsa River, one of the most popular in the area. The river’s Class II and III rapids are suitable for beginners and more advanced rafters. Safe for all but the very young, the trip downriver is about 2 hours. For more advanced rafters, the Sarapiqui’s Class III-IV rapids require a bit more experience. Regardless, the rainforest looks very different from the river.

A visit to the Arenal Hanging Bridges presents eco-tourists with an opportunity to wander the trails of this ecotourism park. The 8 fixed bridges and 6 hanging bridges are part of a 600-acre private reserve. Hike with a naturalist guide to get the most out of the stunning variety of animals, birds, and flowering plant life. Entrance to the park for adults is US$26; US$16 for teens 11 – 18; seniors, $21; 10 and under, free. Other tour options include bird watching, natural history, and a night tour.

The Sky Tram carries thrill-seekers up through the canopy to the Miguel Angel Observatory. From the observatory, you can see the volcano and lake, as well as the Tilaran Mountains. The zipline canopy tour of 4.5 miles begins at the observatory. The minimum age for the Sky Trek zipline is 8 years old. The more sedate in the group can return via the tram.

Where to stay while visiting Arenal

La Fortuna is a small farming village, named for La Fortuna Waterfall. The waterfall is only accessible on foot (15 minutes) or by horse. The waterfall drops through lush rainforest to cool, crystal clear pool 200 feet below. Be sure to take a swimsuit for a refreshing dip.

In La Fortuna, consider treating yourself to a stay at Arenal Kioro Green Luxury. As its name implies, this boutique hotel mixes luxury with the verdant vegetation that surrounds it. The botanical garden paths offer stunning views of Arenal Volcano.

Visiting Arenal and the local area is a must for eco-tourists and adventure travelers in Costa Rica. The landscape of rolling hills and the verdant rainforest are a study of contrasts and the power of nature to renew itself.

Reach out today to start making plans for your next trip to Arenal, Costa Rica.

Visiting the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica

Costa Rica beach Nicoya Peninsula

One of the world’s Blue Zones, the Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica is a land of contrasts

It’s well worth visiting the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica; it’s isolated, mostly unspoiled, and has all the facilities available in more urban areas. The habitat, climate, and lifestyle have made it a place of longevity and contentment for its residents, as well as one of the most famous of the world’s Blue Zones.

Surfing is king on the Nicoya Peninsula; yoga runs a close second. Locally, alternative lifestyles and stunning landscapes reward anyone who visits the Nicoya Peninsula.

The best way to get to the peninsula is by ferry from Puntarenas to Paquera. Make reservations online (www.quickpaycr.com) or pay cash ($25) for the 70-minute ride across the Nicoya Gulf. Road conditions mean a 4WD vehicle is strongly recommended, and it takes longer to get places.

Places to stay on the Nicoya Peninsula

Midway between Paquera and Montezuma is the small but distinctive Tango Mar hotel—from here, it’s easy to explore Montezuma to the southwest. With only 43 rooms, you can relax and enjoy Playa Quizales on the Nicoya Gulf.

The Gilded Iguana on Playa Guiones in Nosara has been catering to surfers since 1988. With access to the area’s famous beach, surfers, yoga fans, and adventurous travelers will find plenty to do.


Montezuma, on the Nicoya Gulf, boasts several, almost secret, white-sand beaches. Montezuma has an eclectic and relaxed feeling that embodies the alternative lifestyle of its residents. Playa Grande, a well-known surfing break, is nearby.

Things to do on the Nicoya Peninsula include:

               Horseback riding on the beach

               Montezuma Waterfall

               Mangrove boat tours

               Day trip to Isla Tortuga for snorkeling

               Deep-sea fishing

               Scuba diving

               Cabo Blanco, Romelia Wildlife Reserve,

                and Curu Private Wildlife Refuge tours

Santa Teresa

Beautiful lonely beaches mix with the bohemian vibe of Santa Teresa, a major destination in Central and South America. You don’t just happen on Santa Teresa, you have to be committed to getting there on rough roads. Beach bonfires, live music, and the spirit of Pura Vida typify the town’s New Age groove.


Samara is a small beach town on the Pacific coast, where visitors to the Nicoya Peninsula can find a more authentic Costa Rica. The village still has a local feel, and the downtown adjoins the beach. The surrounding area is one of dry tropical forest and wildlife.


The village of Nosara is known as a yoga center, as well as for its beaches. Playa Guiones, with its consistent and long surf break, draws surfers from around the world. Also nearby, Playa Pelada’s nearby reef and tidal blowhole are just offshore. Olive Ridley turtles nest on the beach at Ostional Wildlife Refuge. The Gilded Iguana’s mountain biking center takes advantage of the area’s unique riding terrain.

Visiting the Nicoya Peninsula is a must for anyone that wants a look at the underdeveloped area, where locals and ex-pats alike enjoy the area’s natural beauty and history. The Nicoya Peninsula is a study in contrasts: rural, yet urban; dry tropical forests and savannahs, as well as rainforests. The Nicoya Peninsula is a must-visit destination.

Introducing Tango Mar


Tango Mar: Oasis of comfort and luxury on the Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica

Tango Mar sits on 150 acres of the scenically stunning and remote, Southern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica. Just down the road from Montezuma, the property is a private reserve with only 43 rooms and 3 villas, with views overlooking the Nicoya Gulf and the Pacific Ocean beyond.   

On arrival, the friendly and efficient staff greet you with refreshingly cool towels and a welcome drink. Attention to detail is the hallmark here—staff has been carefully trained to meet your needs. Tango Mar’s efficient operation and relaxing atmosphere ensure your comfort.

Rooms include standard and deluxe rooms that sleep 2 – 6 people, spacious suites and villas that sleep up to 10. Tile floors and minimalist décor serve to highlight the ocean and garden views. Breakfast is included at El Cristobal, the resort’s premier restaurant. The atmosphere throughout is designed to showcase the secluded and stunning beauty of the Nicoya Peninsula with sustainability in mind. 

The resort offers specially priced 3-night packages that include lodging, special activities, and tours, as well as breakfast and dinner each day. The per couple pricing is perfect for honeymooners and couples looking for an intimate getaway.

At El Cristobal for dinner, diners can expect offerings that include fresh seafood, international dishes, and Costa Rican dishes in an elegant dining room appointed with furnishings from the Cristobal tree. The setting is intimately casual, with a jaw-dropping ocean view.

More casual dining at the poolside El Rancho Grill and Restaurant takes advantage of the lush gardens just steps from the beach. El Rancho serves lunch, snacks, and tropical cocktails.

The palm-lined beach will appeal to beachcombers and sunbathers; with 3 pools and a swim-up bar, you’ll enjoy an opportunity for a refreshing and relaxing dip in the water. The resort offers horseback riding, tennis, and golf. Different tours and activities include boat tours through the mangroves and to Tortuga Island for snorkeling; or birding, sportfishing, and scuba diving. Curu, a private wildlife refuge, and Cabo Blanco Nature Park are nearby, the staff at Tango Mar can arrange a guided visit to either.

The 9-hole, par 3/4 Executive Golf Course takes advantage of the gently rolling landscape across the ocean bluff. The course is designed for casual play among palm trees filled with Costa Rica’s colorful exotic birds. Golfers playing here can tune up their short game. 

The full-service spa offers a full complement of massages, facials, wraps, and salon services for guests to pamper themselves. Spa guests can also take part in an hour-long Pilates class ($30) or design their spa package ($190 for 2 hours).

Tango Mar has something for every guest interested in relaxing in an astonishing atmosphere of beauty and peaceful relaxation. Contact us for more information about your stay, whether you’re coming to Costa Rica for vacation, or planning a family holiday vacation, your wedding, or your honeymoon.

The Gilded Iguana

The Guilded Iguana in Nosara is a surfer’s paradise that’s perfect for anyone

Billed as the “Surf Hotel,” The Gilded Iguana claims a spot in Nosara’s history as an off-the-grid destination for the international surfing community. It claims the distinction of being the first hotel in Nosara, and the hotel was the first to host live music. Surfers come here for the laid-back vibe and for a chance to hone their skills at Playa Guiones, one of the best beaches in the country. Designed to reflect the hotel’s dedication to the area’s history as a surfer’s mecca, The Gilded Iguana’s appeal lies in its luxurious authenticity.

The hotel adds to the appeal by offering organic produce from its gardens and just-off-the-boat seafood, as well as its eco-friendly sustainability practices. The breakfast and brunch menu has something for every taste. Fusing Mediterranean cuisine with traditional Costa Rican flavors for lunch and dinner, you can dine in the open air, with its casual and lively atmosphere. Whether it’s the catch of the day, creamy lime chicken, or a traditional casado, it’s all fresh and enticingly presented.

In addition to the beauty of Playa Guiones, with its more than 3 miles of white sand and consistent waves, guests can enjoy mountain biking, as well as the world’s longest zipline. That’s not surprising as The Gilded Iguana is in a designated Blue Zone, an area known for wellness, lifestyle, and life longevity.  New this year is the resort’s yoga retreat offering, where you are just steps from the beach, for a peaceful and relaxing workout.  

Maintaining its history as a fixture in the surfing community, the Surf Club and school is a mere 200 meters from the beach. ISA-certified instructors are available for beginners and experts to develop their skills at one of the top surf breaks in the world. Besides surfboards, the club has SUPs, boogie and skim boards, and beaters—a surf-boogie board combo. The club offers daily to annual memberships that include access to the locker room and changing stalls, showers, as well as discounts on surf lessons, at the juice bar and restaurant, mountain bike rentals/tours and in the Iguana Shop.

With a modern take on tropical living, the rooms include a balcony, patio, and an outdoor living area. Designed for comfort, the rooms boast vaulted ceilings, custom artisanal décor elements, and custom furniture in a light-filled and spacious atmosphere. Rooms also include a board storage area, complete with rack. From the economical Surfer Rooms (which sleeps up to 4) to the Surfer Suite (which sleeps up to 6), guests will find a home away from home for their Nosara vacation.

“No shirt, no shoes, Nosara” is so much more than just a local lexicon; it’s a lifestyle. Since 1988, The Gilded Iguana has nurtured a stress-free atmosphere that has attracted people from around the world. Recently renovated, the hotel has only improved on its 30-year charm and it’s a must when you visit Nosara.

Contact us for more information about our historical hotel and the exciting adventure that awaits you on the Nosara Peninsula.

Arenal Kioro Green Luxury

Arenal Volcano from Kioro Hotel Pool

Stylish boutique hotel with Arenal volcano views from every suite

The flower-adorned approach to Arenal Kioro hints at the carefully landscaped 27 acres that set off this luxury boutique hotel and spa. Bounded by two streams, the gardens include a private hot spring. The rainforest of Arenal National Park that adjoins Kioro adds to your sense of seclusion.

Kioro’s outdoor terrace, with pool and several thermal pools, is also where you’ll find Orquídeas, with its casual lunch and themed dinner menu. Bar El Higuerón, at the hot springs, is perfect for evening cocktails, national beers, and non-alcoholic fruit juices.

There are only two suite types: Couples (king-sized bed) or Family (two queens). Cathedral ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows, Spanish tile floors, and two balconies add to a sense of open space. Every suite features a view of Arenal Volcano. Wicker furniture, teak accents, and boldly colored accents in the soft furnishings bring a modern feel to the room. An in-room hot tub, air conditioning, free Wi-Fi and a flat-screen TV round out the standard amenities. The suite’s bathroom features double sinks in a natural stone vanity.

Breakfast is included at the hotel’s main restaurant, Heliconias, which offers a wide variety of hot entrees, mostly typical Costa Rican fare. Pancakes or French toast, fresh fruit, pastries, cold cereal, yogurts, as well as an egg station to complete the buffet breakfast offering. Lunch and dinner service are a la carte and more upmarket, offering a full range of dishes. As with the suites, the windows on three sides of the restaurant overlook the rainforest, augmented by flowering heliconias throughout.

Neidin Spa provides guests with full-service massage treatments and more limited scrubs, facials, wraps, and baths. Titokú Hot Springs (a natural spring only 5 minutes away by hotel shuttle) offers more stress reduction and relaxation.

There are several 4.5+ star restaurants in La Fortuna for a change of pace, including:

  • Restaurante Don Rufino – local, grass-fed beef, seafood, vegetarian, classic Costa Rican casado, including breakfast
  • Soda Mina – traditional Costa Rican fare
  • Snapper’s House – fresh seafood
  • La Parrilla de María Bonita – wood-fired grill, Lebanese
  • La Forchetta Ristorante – flavors of Northern Italy

As a guest at Kioro, Arenal, you can join outdoor tours of area attractions.

Among others, activities include:

  • Caňo Negro Wildlife Refuge Boat Tour – boat ride on the Frío River, starting near the border with Nicaragua that travels through the refuge; spot monkeys, sloths, caimans, and birds, as well as rare plant and animal species
  • Arenal Hanging Bridges – a 2-mile trail of suspension bridges; views of the volcano and Lake Arenal
  • Sky Adventure Park – stunning views of Arenal from the Sky Walk, the Sky Tram, or the Sky Trek zipline; choose one or try them all
  • ATV Tour – a wild ride aboard an ATV and a stop for a swim


Arenal Kioro Green Luxury exudes an atmosphere of casual sophistication that ensures comfort and relaxation for newlyweds and families alike. Contact us to find out more.

Is it safe to drink alcohol in Costa Rica?

Pretty Woman Enjoying an alcoholic beverage poolside in Costa Rica

What you need to know about adulterated alcohol in Costa Rica

The World Health Organization has reported poisoning incidents in more than a half dozen countries worldwide. In Costa Rica, the government has confirmed methanol-related 20 deaths since WHO issued its alert. The Costa Rican government has moved aggressively to find and seize methanol-tainted alcohol since early June in the face of widespread methanol poisoning around the world.

The Health Ministry of Costa Rica issued a sanitary alert July 10, saying several brands may contain methanol. Guaro Montano and Guaro Apache, as well as 5 aguardiente (schnapps) brands: Estrella Roja, Molotov, Sachetto, Barón Rojo, and Timbuka. In addition to the warning against buying or drinking these brands, the government is asking people to report seeing any of these brands for sale at denuncias.drpis@misalud.go.cr while the sanitary alert is in effect.

What you should know

  • Costa Rica’s Health Ministry said the methanol poisoning has affected mostly “people with chronic alcohol problems.”
  • Currently, Cartago, San José and Limón provinces are the affected areas.
  • Nationally, officials have seized the affected brands at distributors and retailers. Wine and liquor that were “unregistered or [that] had expired registrations” have also been seized. Similar raids are occurring nationally. So far, some 38,000 bottles of liquor have been confiscated, according to the Health Ministry.
  • As of July 24, liquor licenses will be suspended if any retailer or other establishment are found selling any of the suspect brands.
  • If you experience abdominal pain, headache, excessive or an excessively long-lasting “hangover,” or have an episode of incoordination, seek medical treatment immediately.

What the suspected brands of tainted alcohol look like

Be on the lookout for the brands that have been seized and are suspect. Always go for premium, or well known, brand liquors.



So, is it safe for me to drink alcohol in Costa Rica?

The short answer is yes but let us explain. Reputable restaurants, liquor retailers, grocery stores, and bars depend on consumer confidence in their services. They certainly take seriously the government’s warning and the resultant enforcement efforts because they depend on your patronage. Costa Rican officials are acting proactively to safeguard the supply chain.

That said, there are precautions you can take:

  • Patronize top restaurants and ask for premium brands.
  • Drink beer and wine instead and avoid the brand names listed above.
  • If your drink tastes or smells “funny,” don’t drink it.
  • You can buy duty-free alcohol in airport arrivals before leaving the airport. If you want to buy alcohol, shop at a reputable grocery store or liquor retailer.


As with any product, be wary of claims made about any brand name you don’t know. Don’t hesitate to ask your server or retailer about what you’re buying. Reputable sellers have a vested interest in ensuring your satisfaction and good health. The hoteliers of Distinctive Hotels have spent time and money on the reputation of their hotels. They want you to have confidence in their properties and feel safe during your stay in Costa Rica. If you have concerns about your upcoming visit, don’t hesitate to reach out today.