Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio is a 682-hectare piece of luscious, jungle paradise, packed with one of the most biodiverse natural habitats in the world; rainforest, a huge diversity of wildlife and spectacular coral reefs.
The whole of the coastline, including the beaches and the sea itself, has been protected since 1972, so every building and hotel has to be a fixed distance from the beachfront. All that is, except one – The Hotel Arboleda was the first hotel to be built here over thirty years ago before the boundary laws were introduced, so it’s the only property in Manuel Antonio that leads directly onto the beach.
As the name suggests (Arboleda –meaning Grove), the buildings are set amongst natural gardens of native bushes and coconut trees, the whole resort respects the environment in which it is set, and the air is filled with sounds of bird life, geckos, and iguanas scurrying through the leaves.
The hotel is styled much like a classic colonial lodge, unchanged and frozen in time for years, yet lovingly maintained with a slight hint of graceful decay, which lends to its character.
The rooms are spread over several buildings, some higher up the hill and some at beach level. Our double room was down at the bottom near the beach and restaurant, shaded by the trees. All of them are clean and comfortable, with air conditioning, a fridge, and a hot shower, a breakfast of eggs, bread, fruit, tea, and coffee included. Although the beach is only a few steps away, the swimming is large and set up on the hillside, giving views over the tree line and the ocean to the horizon.
The beach is perfect for swimmers and surfers of all levels and offers plenty of trees to shade from the sun. When you’re done surfing, swimming, and exploring, sit back for one of the most spectacular sunsets you’ve ever seen!
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