Colonial-Style Hacienda Overlooking Lush Tropical Valley
Costa Rican coffee is justifiably famous, but when it comes to morning rituals, many Costa Ricans reach instead for a cup of agua dulce. Literally translated as “sweet water,” it’s made by scraping raw sugar into boiling water or milk, where it dissolves into a sweetened pick-me-up. At Hacienda Tayutic, a rustic colonial-style inn overlooking Costa Rica’s central valley, you can begin your day like a local, with a fresh cup of agua dulce. You can even witness firsthand the cultivation, harvesting, and processing of organic sugar—as well as coffee and macadamia nuts—via guided plantation tours.
The hotel's guest house is actually the childhood home of innkeeper Felipe Ortuño and has the lived-in charm of a family residence. Its five guest rooms are all subtly different, but each is decorated with antique furniture and natural wood. From its position atop a high hill, Hacienda Tayutic looks out on the valley below, which is especially fertile thanks to residual ash from once-active volcanoes. You can stroll through luxuriant tropical forests, tour an orchid greenhouse, or search for a pygmy minotaur in a small stone labyrinth.
The farm-to-table ethic is an integral part of the experience here, with included meals highlighted by the estate's produce and herbs. Costa Rican favorites are prepared with an upscale twist and served family-style under the open-air dining room's grass-thatched roof.
Turrialba, Costa Rica: Lush Jungles and Unparalleled Biodiversity
Costa Rica contains 6% of our planet's plant and animal species—an impressive statistic when you consider that it comprises just 0.03% of the earth’s surface. This biodiversity is on full display a few miles from Hacienda Tayutic at the CATIE Botanical Garden, a plant sanctuary with more than 4,400 floral specimens. You can also take in the natural splendor on early morning bird-watching hikes and forest tours led by hotel staff.