I recently enjoyed a great holiday in Miami & Costa Rica. You can read my trip reports here:
- Review: Lufthansa Boeing 747-8 Business Class from Frankfurt to Miami
- Review: Acqualina Resort on the Beach, Miami, USA
- Review: Nayara Tented Camp, Arenal National Park, Costa Rica (today)
- Review: Nayara Springs & Garden, Arenal National Park, Costa Rica
- Review: Lapa Rios Lodge, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica
- Review: Los Altos Resort, Manuel Antonio National Park, Costa Rica
- Review: Andaz Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo
- Review: Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo
- Review: Edelweiss Air Airbus A340 Business Class from Liberia to Zürich
Today: Review of Nayara Tented Camp (Arenal, Costa Rica)
- Location: Google maps
- Hotel website: Nayara Tented Camp
- Tip: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso
Located in central Costa Rica, Nayara Tented Camp is one of the first luxury camps in Central America inspired by the luxury canvas lodges of Africa and Asia. The property’s luxurious and spacious tents are built at a higher altitude on a hillside to provide unobstructed views of the famous Arenal Volcano. Multigenerational travelers and like-minded groups can opt for a set of two connecting identical tents while couples and privacy-seeking guests can book standalone units. All tents come with a private plunge pool and the indoor/outdoor design blends contemporary, barefoot-luxe touches and unique-to-location design. Guests staying at Nayara Tented Camp have full access to all the facilities – pools, spas, and restaurants – of its sister resorts, family friendly Nayara Gardens and adults only Nayara Springs (which I reviewed here).
Nayara Tented Camp features in my top 10 list of the best hotels & resorts in Costa Rica.
Have you ever stayed at Nayara Tented Camp? If so, what was your experience? Leave a comment.
In this review (more info and photos below my YouTube video):
- Pros & things I like
- Cons & things to know
- My verdict
- Tips for future guests & save money
- Best time to visit
- How to get there
PROS & THINGS I LIKE
- Positioned within Costa Rica’s fertile northern lowlands, Nayara Tented Camp is located close to (and offers a stunning view of) Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica’s most famous volcano. After nearly 400 of years of inactivity, Arenal began erupting in 1968, when it exploded and buried over 5 sq mi (15 sq km) in rocks, lava, and ash. That eruptive cycle took pause in 2010 when the volcano entered an indefinite resting phrase. For the time being, travelers are unable to watch the much-loved explosions (although that could change quickly) but they can still enjoy the area’s bountiful sights, sounds and activities – there are hot springs, mountains to be hiked, lakes to be fished and rivers to be floated. As one of the country’s most scenic areas, it is a requisite stop on any tour of Costa Rica and just under a 3 hour drive from the capital San Jose.
- When it opened in December 2019, Nayara Tented Camp was the first luxury camp in Central America. By staying in glamorous, canvas-shrouded tents, guests are truly immersed in nature and can sleep & stargaze outside, only surrounded by the relaxing sounds of the rainforest. Staying at Nayara Tented Camp feels a bit like a childhood camping trip combined with a stay at an excellent luxury hotel (“glamping”). The tents are made from canvas with technology developed by Ferrari. While the interior canvas feels cozy, the exterior of the tents is robust and durable to endure the rainforest’s weather conditions. The year-round camp is the brainchild of Colombian owner Leo Ghitis who was inspired by the luxury canvas lodges of Africa and Asia.
- Nayara Tented Camp comprises 29 tented accommodations dotted up a hillside, all with views of the volcano. Each tent is built on stilts to maximize the stunning vistas and leave a minimal footprint on the natural surroundings. Families or larger group of friends can opt for a set of two identical tents that connect with a covered passageway while couples and privacy-seeking guests can book standalone units. On the inside, the tents feature a spacious bedroom with kingsize bed, writing desk, and two sofas that can be converted into daybeds (each tents can accommodate a maximum of 4 guests). The ensuite bathrooms feature double vanities, standalone bathtubs and outdoor shower areas. Each tent comes with a furnished terrace and a private plunge pool with natural mineral hot springs sourced directly from the volcano.
- The low-impact, high-yield design of Nayara Tented Camp was developed by Luxury Frontiers, an experiential lodging expert with a global portfolio of design projects, which includes famous resorts like Chief’s Camp in Botswana, Swala Camp in Tanzania, and Olonana Camp in Kenya. The indoor/outdoor design of the camp blends contemporary, barefoot-luxe touches and unique-to-location design features: a master suite created as a nod to traditional African safari style tents fused with a Costa Rican sense of place; canopy beds with a botanical headboard mural; private plunge pools fed by natural mineral hot springs; and double-head outdoor showers. Complementing its stunning jungle setting, the camp’s color palette aptly showcases tree bark tones, shades of green, and touches of leather.
- Dotted in the rainforest – at the peak of the hill which Nayara Tented Camp calls it home – are seven interconnecting, private hot springs. Filled with water of varying temperatures, these cascading hot spring pools represent a peaceful bubbling natural waterpark in the middle of the jungle. To the untrained eye, this lush vegetation seems as though it has always been there, but the camp sits on what was once a decimated hillside turned into a cattle pasture over 50 years ago. When he purchased the land, owner Ghitis brought in over 20,000 trees to reforest the hill (and more are on the way). Part of the reforestation included the planting of hundreds of Guarumo trees, which are the sloth’s main food source. With these trees, Nayara Tented Camp has created a sloth sanctuary, currently offering a haven to over 15 of these sedentary creatures.
- Nayara Tented Camp is a resort within a resort, as it is part of Nayara Resorts, a collection of three sister properties (the other two are Nayara Gardens and Nayara Springs). Nayara Gardens is a tranquil, family-friendly retreat, featuring 50 spacious and private casitas (bungalows), all with private terraces with outdoor showers and Jacuzzi tubs for two. Nayara Springs is adults-only resort with 35 luxury villas, each one equipped with a private plunge pool fed by mineral hot springs and an expansive private garden with exterior shower, sleek four-poster bed wrapped in soft cottons, and indoor and outdoor sitting areas. Though each resort has a distinct area on the larger property, guests can roam between all three (24/7 buggy service is provided), using the different pools, bars, spas, and restaurants.
- Guests staying at Nayara Tented Camp can enjoy complimentary daily in-villa breakfast, which makes for a wonderful experience. A menu is located on the desk inside the tent, where you can pick which dishes you want to have for breakfast the next day and you hang it outside your door before 10pm the night before. At the time of your choosing, the hotel staff will set up the breakfast on the terrace table, so you can enjoy the first meal of the day with a view of the volcano. The breakfast selection includes a basket of bread rolls, American breakfast, Tipical breakfast (local dishes), eggs Benedict, special omelettes, French toasts, traditional pancakes, Brussels waffles, fresh fruits, and cereals. Alternatively, guests may also have their breakfast at one of the restaurants at Nayara Gardens or Nayara Springs.
- Upon arrival at the camp, guests are introduced to a dedicated naturalist, who will accompany them on exciting experiences throughout their stay – à la safari rangers in the African bush. Onsite activities include sloth sanctuary tours, early morning bird-watching walks and nighttime frog spotting tours. Intrepid travelers cal also explore the surrounding Arenal region and choose activities such as trekking over the dried lava fields of the volcano, ziplining, or white water rafting. A highlight is a guided hike through the Arenal Hanging Bridges Park, followed by a picnic with postcard views of the volcano for a midday break. Located on the edge between two types of forest, highland and lowland, Arenal Hanging Bridges Park features plenty of fauna and flora, including 350+ bird species, 700+ plant species, 250+ reptile species, and 120+ mammal species.
- Nayara Tented Camp is counted among the portfolio of the Leading Hotels of the World (LHW). The latter is an exclusive collection of more than 400 luxury hotels and resorts in over 80 countries. LHW does not own hotels; it rather offers a reservation service for independent hotels and supports sales and marketing, advertising and public relations, financial services, quality control, and hotel inspections for its member properties. LHW has many iconic properties in its portfolio, such as such as The Gstaad Palace in Switzerland, the 12 Apostles Hotel in Cape Town, The Datai Langkawi in Malaysia, Le Sirenuse in Positano (Italy), Il Sereno Lake Como (Italy), Laucala Island in Fiji, the Setai Miami Beach, and The Ritz in Paris.
CONS & THINGS TO KNOW
- At the time of my visit (April 2022), Nayara Tented Camp featured limited facilities. The property had its own tented reception area as well as a lovely hilltop area with the mineral hot springs, but that was about it. Guests were mainly staying inside their tents, and had to venture out to the resort’s neighbouring sister properties (family friendly Nayara Gardens and adults-only Nayara Springs) to make use of other resorts facilities, such as communal pools, two spa facilities and restaurants (which I will review next week in my separate review of Nayara Gardens & Nayara Springs). This made my experience at Nayara Tented Camp feel less intimate and impressive than I expected. However, the good news is that all of that has changed by now. Early August 2022, Nayara Tented Camp opened a new chic area with an infinity pool overlooking the Arenal Volcano and three large tents (which include a reception, a library bar and a new restaurant).
- Nayara Tented Camp is built into a hillside with all tents located along steep, narrow walkways that are almost entirely enclosed by dense landscaping. This is beautiful and feels as it should be in the middle of the jungle, but it may make walking and wayfinding difficult and challenging. Guests can rely though on the resort’s efficient golf cart service (24/7), which connects Nayara Tented Camp with Nayara Gardens and Nayara Springs.
- Location: 9/10
- Design: 9/10
- Pool: N/A (not available at the time of my visit)
- Rooms: 9/10
- Food: N/A (not available at the time of my visit)
- Breakfast: 8/10
- Spa: N/A (not available at the time of my visit)
- Service: 9/10
- Value for money: 8/10
- Overall experience: very good 8,6/10
TIPS FOR FUTURE GUESTS & SAVE MONEY
- Save money: get complimentary VIP perks at Nayara Tented Camp when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, and $100 USD food & beverage credit).
- Save money: read here my tips for getting the best deal at a luxury hotel like Nayara Tented Camp (and/or receive many free perks).
- Read my tips for preparing your trip in time.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
The best time to visit Costa Rica depends on where you want to go as the country’s climate and seasons vary by region. There are two primary seasons in Costa Rica: the rainy season and the dry season. The dry season (or high season) is from mid-December to mid-April and it is the best time to visit as there’s a smaller chance of being drenched in the rain. The rainy season (or “green” season) is generally from May to November: it may rain for several days in a row (and torrential rains are frequent) but on a positive note, hotel rates and tour prices are significantly lower and the country turns a wonderful deep green.
HOW TO GET THERE
Nayara Resorts is located in La Fortuna, which is a 3 hour drive from either Jose Airport (SJO) or Liberia Airport (LIR). There is also a small airstrip in La Fortuna and private flights to/from San Jose or Liberia can be arranged. Click here for an updated list of airlines that offer direct flights to San Jose and here for an updated list of airlines that offer direct flights to Liberia.
Below is a selection of my photos of Nayara Tented Camp. To view more photos of the resort, click here.