“A comfortable and colourful villa and spa resort, set on a seemingly endless stretch of Pacific beach”
The resort was originally designed by an architect and painter couple, who wanted to reflect Costa Rica’s colourful culture. They called it Xandari By The Pacific, and for many years it was a beloved beach retreat among discerning independent travellers. Purchased in 2011 by Rock Resorts, it still maintains the atmosphere of luxury and privacy in a completely relaxed setting, without any pretension. It works well for both families and couples on a romantic getaway, with 20 spacious villa-like rooms in a post-modern Californian style, and lush tropical gardens right on an incredible stretch of oceanfront; there's also a rejuvenating spa and an above-average restaurant. When the sun starts to sink, go for a stroll along the wide, glassy sands, then order a mojito from the bar and watch the spectacular sunset.
- A tremendous location on one of Costa Rica’s finest beaches: endless smooth sand, no rocks and great surfing - yet few people!
- A relaxed atmosphere, with fabulous light bouncing off the Pacific Ocean and a tempting range of spa treatments designed to soothe and restore
- Bright, luxurious and spacious rooms - all with private terraces, iPod docks and sofabeds (useful for families), most with ocean views, and some with private plunge pools
- Tasty, healthy food in the romantic restaurant, with plenty of local ingredients and sustainable seafood
- Just 45 minutes from Manuel Antonio National Park: see the wildlife and return to the peace of the beach
- This part of the Pacific coast is not Costa Rica’s top attraction, and there's little nightlife in the area apart from seedy Jacó - but the main point is to relax
- Taxis can be ordered, but if you want to explore outside the resort, you'll probably need to rent a car
- The pool area can get a bit noisy (there are separate pools for children and adults, but they sit next to each other). However, the rooms are quiet, and the vast beach offers solitude
- Rates include a continental breakfast only; if you want hot options, you’ll have to pay a bit extra
- The ocean here is only safe for swimming when the tide is coming in (you'll find a tide timetable in your room)
Best time to go
Our top tips
- Beach Resort
- Restaurant and bar (open daily)
- All ages welcome
- Open all year
- Outdoor Pool
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Beach Nearby
- Off-street Parking
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
The 20 rooms are designed in the distinctive style of architect and former owner Sherrill Broudy: dynamic open-plan spaces, flooded with light and colour. High curved ceilings create a soothing feeling, and walls are adorned with unique paintings that reflect the tropical world outside. The overall effect is warm, welcoming and very individual: the antithesis of bland hotel rooms!
There are 5 grades, starting with Garden Bungalows which, although lovely, don't have sea views. We'd definitely recommend splashing out on one of the beachfront options - of these, Beachfront Bungalows are the smallest, though they’re already huge. Beachfront Villas are even larger, and the Deluxe Beachfront Villas feature private plunge pools.
As well as comfortable kingsize beds (or 2 doubles), each room has 1 or 2 built-in sofabeds (ideal for children), desk space, and books and magazines to peruse. Lighting is excellent and candles are provided, too - both for atmosphere, and in case of power cuts! Thoughtful details include fresh fruit and flowers when you arrive, and complimentary snacks, coffee and soft drinks in the minibar.
Bathrooms are generous (most with 2 sinks); we loved the wonderful curved shower areas with mosaicked tiles and views to private gardens. There’s air-conditioning, plus fans, bathrobes, hairdryers, iPod docks, umbrellas, blinds for shutting out the early morning light, even torches for walking around the gardens at night. Best of all? Your private terrace - a good outdoor space with 2 recliners, a table, outside lights and, in most cases, a perfect view of the surf.
Alma del Pacifico also owns several 3-bedroom self-catering villas and condos, located 1.5 miles from the resort and useful for families or groups. They’re set on a ridge, with excellent kitchens, breathtaking views, private balconies or verandas, and infinity pools in the villas. Guests get access to the resort’s facilities, but you’d need a car; enquire for details if these are of interest.
- Air conditioning
- Coffee tea making
- Cots Available
- Extra beds
- Internet access
- Ipod dock
- Safe box
All meals are eaten in the airy open-sided restaurant (open 6.30am to 10pm daily), with its traditional palm-thatched roof and great views of the surf crashing to shore. Generous space between the tables ensures that each group feels private, and the friendly English-speaking staff make you feel like nothing is too much trouble. There are sweet flower arrangements throughout and, once the sun sets, the tables are lit by candles and the gardens beyond illuminated by torches; it’s a very romantic place to eat.
A continental breakfast is included in the tariff, with freshly squeezed juice, coffee or tea, a platter of seasonal fruit, and a choice of breads and preserves. Hot menu options (extra charge) include omelettes, pancakes and a Tico-style local breakfast with gallo pinto, fried plantains and tortillas.
The lunch and dinner menus offer international and Costa Rican cuisine, with an emphasis on sustainable seafood and healthy, local ingredients (much of the fruit, vegetables and herbs are grown in the colourful on-site gardens). There’s a good selection of sandwiches, salads, pizza and pasta dishes - particularly recommended are the mahi-mahi, which is grilled to perfection, and the Tico Tacos.
There’s a limited wine list and some specialty drinks; try the Monkey Tree or Guaro Sour. Snacks are available all day (the guacamole is excellent), and there’s a beach bar for those who don’t want to move too far from their lounger.
If you want to eat out, there are a few restaurants within immediate reach in Esterillos Oeste, and one on the way to Parrita. The built-up (and sleazy) town of Jacó is just 25 minutes away and has lots of interesting restaurants: reception can arrange taxis. Very close (you can walk along the sand) is quaint Hotel Pelican, and there’s a good pizzeria on the beach itself.
- Children meals
- Coffee tea making
- Go swimming: there are 2 pools set in lovely gardens - a lap pool (not for children) and a semi-circular pool (where children are welcome), both maintained with an ionised system so very little chlorine is needed. There's a Jacuzzi too - open all hours
- Head to the beach. It's blissfully private as there are so few hotels around, but you’re warned quite seriously to swim ONLY when the tide is coming in. Tide timetables are provided in each room but it's generally quite rough
- Go surfing right in front of the hotel - staff can set up lessons (with a photographer, if you want to capture your efforts!)
- Head to the spa for one of the superb treatments, classified under the 4 elements of Earth, Air, Fire and Water (chocolate and coffee scrubs, mud wraps, deep-tissue massages). We loved the coconut and ginger body scrub. Yoga can be arranged with a bit of notice, too
- Horse-riding is available in the hills behind the resort, and out on the beach - a local tour which is fine for novices
- Manuel Antonio National Park is just 45 minutes’ drive away. Here, rainforest fringes stunning beaches and coral reefs. The snorkelling is excellent and the forest is home to sloths, iguanas and rare squirrel monkeys. Reception staff will organise tours with reliable local operators to save you the hassle
- The Isla de Damas estuary tour offers some interesting wildlife too - monkeys, crocodiles and birds in a fragile mangrove eco-system, seen by boat or kayak. Make sure reception staff book your trip with experts Pablo or Henry, since other guides were less experienced
- Diving, fishing, golf and white-water rafting are also popular activities in the area
Activities on site or nearby include:
- Boat trips
- Plantlife / flora
- Private guided tours
- Scuba diving
- Well being
The resort is well-suited to family travel, and children of all ages are welcome; they stay free up to the age of 12. Rooms have sofabeds and plenty of space (they can sleep up to 5), and cots are available. Kids will love the pool, beach and nearby activities such as surfing, horse-riding and zip-lining.
Note that babysitting is not available and there are no bathtubs.
Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)
Family friendly accommodation:
All rooms have either 1 kingsize bed or 2 double beds, plus a built-in sofabed. Beachfront Villas and Deluxe Beachfront Villas have 2 sofabeds, plus space for an additional rollaway bed if required. Some of the Deluxe Beachfront Villas have separate living rooms and bedrooms - good for parents who want some privacy!
- 2 baby cots (available on request)
- Night light
- Bottle warming
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
Food is available all day, and there's a kids' menu.
Kids Activities on site:
- Swimming pool with a shallow end
- Beach toys
Kids Activities nearby:
- Surfing lessons
- Boat trips through the mangroves
- Manuel Antonio National Park
Families Should Know:
Please note the beach has strong currents at low tide, which could be dangerous for anyone; pay close attention to the tide charts provided in your room.
- Airport: 2 hours
- Hospital: 30 minutes
- Shop: 10 minutes