Sun-Drenched Paradise Near the Gulf of Nicoya
In the courtyard, a sparkling coral path appears to shimmer under the natural light of one of the sunniest regions in Costa Rica. Exotic plants with identification placards encircle the outdoor pool and jacuzzi, both of which evoke the rounded shore of a natural lagoon. In this Eden-like slice of tropical forest, tranquil afternoons unfold amid swaying palms and dangling bunches of bananas.
Tropical design elements abound within Hotel Costa Coral. Freshly picked flowers are scattered throughout bright, inviting rooms that feature vine-laced staircase banisters, polished tile floors, and salsa-dancing howler monkeys. Six of the boutique hotel’s 10 air-conditioned guest rooms boast private, furnished terraces overlooking the pool enclosure and the estate’s opulent gardens, peppered with vibrant bird-of-paradise flowers.
Nearby, the hotel’s international restaurant and bar serves eclectic American classics and local specialties. Linen-draped indoor tables encircle a trickling waterfall fountain, and patio seating brings fine dining to the poolside. Hearty entrees include sautéed shrimp ($16.75 USD) and lomito, a Chilean-style steak sandwich ($18.50 USD), all accompanied by fine wine and imported beers. A post-meal visit to the onsite spa promises the kind of serenity one might enjoy after somersaulting through a meadow of mattresses.
Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica: Tranquility in Time-Stopping Surrounds
One of the world’s six Blue Zones—a designation for regions whose residents commonly survive for a century or longer—the Nicoya Peninsula's picturesque setting encourages an abundance of life-affirming activities. The hotel's excursion trips (included as a possible package option) explore the sun-soaked Pacific coastline with adventures such as paddleboarding ($50 USD for two hours), horseback riding ($100 USD for four hours), and canopy ziplining through tropical forests ($150 USD for six hours).
Nearby, the fishing village of Tambor lies beside Whale Bay, named for the migrating ocean behemoths that return each year to repopulate and captivate old friends with honeymoon slideshows. In Tambor, local boats moor with fresh fruits of the sea, which are soon prepared in nearby restaurants. Adventurous bargainers can procure their ingredients directly from the fishermen who hawk their wares on the mainland. For a rowdier time, the city of Montezuma serves up some of the island’s premier dance clubs and shopping plazas.