Florblanca

Santa Teresa, Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica Book from Book from £397 per night

Top-notch surf, yoga, spa and healthy food at this tiny hotel in an utterly romantic setting in unspoilt southern Nicoya Peninsula
Beautiful Florblanca is secluded in jungly gardens beside a pristine beach - with wild surf, white sands and overhanging palms. Choose a modern comfortable villa, a rustic Surf House or the gorgeous Honeymoon House - most are spacious and airy, with sumptuous cream bedrooms and fairytale canopy beds. Wallow in a leaf-shaped bath by candlelight under palm trees in your outdoor bathroom. Sip cocktails by the free-form pool, practice some yoga or laze in a hammock by the beach. Hip young staff whisk up gastronomic delights; the yellow-fin tuna for your sashimi was caught just hours ago.

This is a very chic retreat indeed. You have the ocean on your doorstep, bird ballad and monkey chatter to wake you, that shapely pool, and yoga, pilates and creative cuisine. If you're not surfing the waves then bliss out in the spa, romantically perched above rushing water. It's a small slice of heaven, with its laid back but luxurious feel - oh, and the staff are described as "beyond great".

Highs

  • Florblanca’s villas are utterly luxurious: high-ceilinged sitting rooms open to the ocean breezes with grand bedrooms and wonderful alfresco bathrooms
  • Food is superb: funky Pacific Rim flavours with classical French influences
  • Excellent surfing
  • Honeymooners will love the ocean view Deluxe options, and dining in the private gazebo by candlelight
  • The award-winning Bambú offers outstanding treatments and massage

Lows

  • It's pricey, but the use of surf and boogie boards are included
  • Take a transfer, don’t drive here. The roads are terrible
  • Bugs and beasties - you're in the jungle after all

Best time to go

The dry season from December to March is blissful, but there are more people around. The Green Season from May to November is also wonderful - it’s still warm and there are fewer people. It tends to be sunny in the morning, rainy in the afternoon. In October it rains much harder, for maybe half the day, so there’s less chance to do activities, but Florblanca is still a wonderful place to come to relax, enjoy the spa and do yoga classes. The bedrooms remain little havens of light whatever the weather.

Our top tips

You'll want to stay for at least 4 nights - and make it the end of your holiday so you can completely relax before heading home. Bring a speaker if you want music in your room; but don't lug books as there's a good swopping library.

You don't have to dress up as it's very informal - shorts are fine for the restaurant - but you might some light long sleeves for the evening. During the Green Season, pack some slightly warmer clothes and a waterproof.

Great for...

Beach
Foodie
Great Outdoors
Honeymoon
Spa
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 11
  • Restaurant and bar (open daily)
  • Over 6 welcome
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Bicycles Available
Room:

Rooms

Villas are surprisingly sumptuous, given the remoteness of the setting and the depth of the jungle. All are decorated to an extremely high standard and set back along little paths deep in pretty jungle gardens, so that each is guaranteed considerable privacy. Cream walls hold dramatic paintings of tropical flowers, and very sensuous canopy beds come with clouds of cushions, wonderful mattress and blissfully soft bedlinens (strewn with tropical flowers on your arrival). One and two-bedroom options are available, Deluxes have sea views.

The open-air bathrooms are also beautifully designed, with a leaf-shaped baths under overhanging palms and a curved wall behind your private garden to give perfect seclusion. There’s also a powerful hot shower and an organically shaped sink; even the outside loo is a fun experience. And no, there aren’t creepy crawlies over everything!

The Honeymoon House comes fully equipped with a kitchen, a refrigerator, an open-sided living room and a dining table for 4. The whole of the upper floor is the bedroom and it also has a small plunge pool. The Surf House (a newer addition that we haven’t viewed yet) is a great-value and slightly more rustic 3-bedroom beachfront villa - perfect for outdoorsy types.

Organic, biodegradable toiletries are provided in big bottles (no waste of plastic), scented with Plumeria flowers from the flor blanca tree. Fresh flowers, a hairdryer, free WiFi, bathrobes, safe boxes and mosquito nets are all provided; some options also have minibars.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • CD player
  • Hairdryer
  • Internet access
  • Ipod dock
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Mosquito net
  • Phone
  • Safe box
  • Toiletries

Eating

You get truly excellent cuisine, in different settings, including a stylish bar by the pool with tables under an open roof, on steps leading down to the ocean. The cocktails are creative and the sushi is the best we've ever had.

Breakfast can be healthy or not. There’s good yoghurt and granola with fresh fruit or a Burrito of beans, avocado and cheese, also with fruit, as well as the usual eggs options. Tea and coffee are available all day - help yourself from the coffee bar.

Lunch here is superb: we sat by the pool and ate Greek salad with huge grilled shrimps, and seared rare yellow-fin tuna with Asian style noodles.

Dinner can be a laidback affair in the bar with cool music playing, or a totally private experience where ambitious young chef Spencer Graves brings Pacific Rim flavours to freshly caught local fish. Young staff are attentive and very friendly: you soon feel among friends.

Most romantic of all, ask for a dinner in the poolside gazebo: you’ll be completely alone, eating by candlelight from a table decorated with flowers: our amuse bouche of seared scallops on a bed of quinoa was sublime, followed by a tangy sea bass ceviche, then fettucini with spicy fish. Dessert was a delicate passion fruit cheesecake.

Features include:

  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurant
  • Room service
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Walk down the winding path through leafy gardens to find an organic shaped infinity pool tumbling into a wider pool where you can swim backstroke and gaze up at flor blanca trees, heavy with scented white blossom

  • Lie on hammocks slung between palms in a shaded part of the beach or sprawl on a lounger at the water’s edge

  • At the hippy town of Montezuma (1 hour drive) you can stroll among the craft stalls and try out the organic food in the many restaurants

  • There are waterfalls nearby, and a zip line adventure to try - Florblanca can arrange a guide and transport. Visit Rainsong reserve which looks after endangered animals; the birdlife is extraordinary

  • Use the splendid yoga studio to practice on your own, or join daily ashtanga classes. Pilates is on Tuesdays and Thursdays

  • Surf boards and boogie boards are available to borrow and staff can arrange private lessons for beginners

  • Swim from certain parts of the beach, but ask staff for the right spot as there are fierce rip tides in some areas. Too energetic? Lazily snorkel in the rock pools instead - the hotel has equipment available to borrow

  • Florblanca can arrange a deep sea fishing expedition and horse riding along the beach

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Cycling
  • Fishing
  • Horse riding
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Shopping / markets
  • Snorkelling
  • Surfing
  • Swimming
  • Well being
  • Yoga
  • Zip-wiring

Kids

Florblanca is geared towards adults, but older children (6 and over) are welcome. We think it would work well for families with adventurous or creative teenage children, who enjoy surfing, watersports, nature and art.

Best for:

Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

The two- and three-bedroom villas are perfect for families of 4-6, while the Superior 1-bedroom Villa can sleep 3 using an extra bed.

Kids Activities on site:

  • Pottery lessons
  • Free surf lesson for under 12s

    Kids Activities nearby:

  • Surfing
  • Zip line adventure
  • Snorkelling
  • Waterfall tours
  • Kayaking
  • Horse riding

  • Kid Friendly:

    Location

    Florblanca is in Santa Teresa on the Nicoya Peninsula. This is on the west of Costa Rica, a 25-minute flight from the capital city San José.

    By Air
    Tambor (30km) is the closest airport, served by domestic flights from San José. If you're coming from abroad, you'll fly into San José Juan Santamaria International (100km) then take an internal flight. Liberia (200km) is also used, usually for charter flights from Europe or North America. Click on the links below for a list of airlines serving these airports.

    From the Airport
    Transfers from Tambor to Florblanca are 60 USD each way.

    By Car:
    It’s useful to have a car here, so that you can drive to the local sights. See our car rental recommendations. Think twice before driving from San José: it takes 6 hours, via the ferry from Puntarenas to Paquera (arrive 45 minutes to an hour before the ferry leaves, to buy your ticket and get in line), and the last stretch is pretty rough. We'd suggest a 4-wheel drive to make the bumpy parts of the journey a bit more comfortable.

    Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through i-escape.com.

    More on getting to Costa Rica and getting around

    Airports:

    • Tambor 30.0 km TMU
    • San José Juan Santamaria International 100.0 km SJO

    Other:

    • Beach 0.1 km
    • Shops 1.0 km
    • Restaurant 0.3 km

    Our guests' ratings...

    Based on 1 independent review from i-escape guests

    10/10
    Room
    8/10
    Food
    10/10
    Service
    8/10
    Value
    9/10
    Overall

    Great location, right on the beach, with amazing sunsets. Too far from Santa Teresa to walk in, but only 5 mins in a car and everything is on your doorstep. Go 5 mins the other way and the amazing surf beach of Playa Hermosa is right there, where we learned to surf courtesy of Florblanca. Spa very good and the bar exceptional, with very memorable early evenings taking in the howler monkeys above us and the sunsets in front of us over a drink or two. Only thing that could be improved would be the food choice - the food is excellent and plenty of choice for a few days but can become a but same-y, but to be honest, Santa Teresa has so much choice that it far from a hardship to pop out for the evening!

    9/10,

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