Hilly property can be difficult for limited mobility travelers
Some rooms aren't renovated
No spa or gym
As one of the oldest hotels in Manuel Antonio, the three-and-a-half-pearl Hotel La Mariposa balances Old World charm, authentic Costa Rican design, and modern amenities. Panoramic views from the hilltop alfresco restaurant and two outdoor infinity pools are among the area’s best. All 62 rooms have flat-screen TVs, mini-fridges, free Wi-Fi, and balconies (some with ocean views), but not all rooms have been renovated as of 2017. Upgraded rooms add kitchenettes. Freebies include breakfast, Wi-Fi, and a shuttle to Playa Espadilla. Although it’s pricier, Si Como No Resort, Spa and Wildlife Refuge offers similar amenities, plus a spa and a nature preserve rich with wildlife.
Intimate Old World garden hotel with a quiet, adult-centric vibe
Considering La Mariposa is one of the area’s oldest hotels, it’s easy to assume that it would feel dated. Indeed, some areas are past their prime but, overall, it comes off as more charming and authentic than just plain over-the-hill. Towering palm trees, heliconias, and lush, tropical greenery dot every square foot of the grounds and there are sweeping 180-degree views of the Pacific Ocean and the lush foliage below. The Spanish-Mediterranean architecture is a beautiful blend of white stucco, wrought iron, and terra-cotta colored stonework that provides a distinct sense of place. While children are allowed, the vibe is adult-centric. It’s the sort of place that couples choose for a quiet week-long getaway to lounge by the pool every day, with easy access to an occasional happy hour. The atmosphere is lively and convivial but never rises to the level of an all-out party.
On a dramatic hilltop overlooking Manuel Antonio National Park and the Pacific Ocean
The hotel is situated on a quiet, tree-lined side street just a five-minute walk from the center of downtown Manuel Antonio. Yet, the hilltop location and lush tropical landscaping ensure that civilization feels worlds away. Dozens of restaurants, bars, shops, and tour offices are within a short walk, and a free beach shuttle ferries guests to the beaches at Playa Espadilla throughout the day. The hotel is less than 10 minutes by car from both downtown Quepos (with plenty of additional services) and the entrance to Manuel Antonio National Park. Most guests arrive via Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO) located at least three hours from the hotel. Paid shuttle service is available directly through the property and is typically the cheapest and safest alternative to renting a car at the airport.
All the essentials, including flat-screen TVs, free Wi-Fi, and ocean-view balconies
As of mid-2017, the hotel was updating all of its rooms. Half still feature the mostly original 1973 design with drab furniture, aging fixtures, and faded terra-cotta flooring. The updated rooms are distinctly more modern with upholstered headboards, floating wood nightstands, and all-stone bathrooms with tray sinks and frosted glass shower stalls. The decor in every room, renovated or not, borders on austere with few decorative accents. Floor plans include a private balcony, some of which offer all-glass doors and stunning ocean views. Standard amenities in every category include flat-screen TVs, mini-fridges, air-conditioning, and small safes (for a tablet or small laptop). Upgraded Suites and Apartments add luxury amenities like kitchenettes and balcony hot tubs. Bathrooms in every category feature generic shower products and walk-in shower stalls (bathtubs are unavailable).
Two infinity pools, an adult-only pool, and an alfresco restaurant -- all with stunning ocean views
The hotel takes advantage of its stunning hilltop location with a wide, two-tiered terrace that houses its best common amenities. The main infinity pool features a curved design with sweeping Pacific Ocean views that are especially dazzling at sunset. Ample lounge chairs and umbrellas line the space, and poolside drink service is available from the adjacent bar. An open-air lounge nearby features a small game area and a second, smaller pool with a seasonal swim-up bar. A tiny, adult-only pool is situated on the upper terrace with a covered swim-up bar and provides a second great vantage point to survey the water and Manuel Antonio National Park.
The upper terrace is also home to the restaurant. The space is a mix of covered, open-air seating and a wide, exposed patio. Low landscaping and the lack of a balcony wall ensure unobstructed, 270-degree views -- undoubtedly the area’s best -- of the ocean, the park, and Manuel Antonio. A daily breakfast buffet is included in rates, although the selection is minimal. Additional hot options are available for a fee. The lunch and dinner menus offer an ample mix of Western-friendly food (sandwiches, pasta, and seafood) and traditional Costa Rican fare. The food is generally well-reviewed, although it can be pricey.
Wi-Fi is fast and free in all common areas, including poolside. Free self-parking is provided in a secure, gated lot.
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