Los Altos Beach ResortManuel Antonio, Costa Rica
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Biggest and best rooms in Manuel Antonio, and an ultra-convenient property
Every single condo at Los Altos is a gigantic, 2,300-square-foot, three-bedroom unit, and the level of luxury is pretty hard to beat. Only the rooms at Gaia are equally luxurious, though they're not nearly as large. The level of convenience can't be topped, either: Unlike sprawling, eco-friendly luxury properties like Arenas del Mar and Buena Vista Luxury Villas, all of the units are in two connected buildings and accessible by elevator. But the tradeoff is that guests will get less of a sense of being surrounded by nature. Sure, Los Altos' grounds are lush, but they're not nearly as preserved and wildlife-rich as those of its competitors. The prettiest part of the grounds can be experienced on the way to the beach (you'll need to take a golf cart ride on a bumpy, unpaved road). Too bad the rocky beach isn't really worth visiting.
On Costa Rica's Central Pacific Coast, near Manuel Antonio National Park
Los Altos is located in Manuel Antonio and a few miles south of a slightly larger town, Quepos. The entrance to Manuel Antonio National Park -- home to spectacular preserved rainforest, exotic wildlife, and several perfect white-sand beaches -- is a short drive away.
Manuel Antonio National Park is one of the smallest national parks in Costa Rica, and one of the most popular with tourists. Its lush forests are full of howler monkeys, white-faced capuchin monkeys, sloths, tucans, parrots, and more, and line gorgeous stretches of perfect white sand. (Namely: Playa Espadilla Sur, an uncrowded beach that occasionally has rough surf; Playa Manuel Antonio, the park's most popular beach, with tidal pools and good snorkeling; and Playa Puerto Escondido, which has a blowhole in the rocks that shoots up water at high tide.) Just about every sort of outdoor activity is available in or near Manuel Antonio: hiking, snorkeling, scuba diving, water sports, boating, horeseback riding, waterfall rappelling, canopy safaris...the list goes on.
- 3-hour drive from San Jose (about $5 on a local bus; $40 using a shuttle service such as Gray Line, Interbus, or EasyRide; $120 for a taxi; or $170 for a private shuttle)
- 5-minute drive to Quepos
- 5-minute drive to Playa Playitas, a small, clothing-optional white-sand beach inside the National Park (although we didn't note any nudity when we visited)
- 5-minute drive to Playa Espadilla, a long, active beach outside of the park stretching most of the distance between Punta Quepos and Cathedral Point
- 10-minute drive to Manuel Antonio National Park entrance
- 1-hour drive to Jaco, a party-friendly beach town to the north
- 1-hour drive to Playa Uvita, a stunning beach to the south located in Marina Bellena National Park, where you can watch humpback whales between December and April
- 4-hour drive to Corcovado National Park, one of the country's best --and most remote --National Parks, with untouched beaches and diverse wildlife
- 5-hour drive to La Fortuna/Arenal
Three-bedroom condos with full kitchens and Balinese-inspired decor
It doesn't get much better than this. Every single unit at Los Altos (Penthouse Suite excepted) is a 2,300-square-foot, three-bedroom condo with all the trimmings: fully-equipped kitchen with stainless steel appliances, enormous living room with a big flat-screen TV, three terraces, and direct elevator access. (That's right -- the elevator opens right into your room. But don't worry, it's perfectly secure, so you won't get any surprise visitors.) The only difference between the rooms is the view: All the rooms face the ocean, but Standard Suites are on floors 2-3, Superior Suites are on floors 4-5, and Deluxe Suites are on floors 6-7. The two Penthouse Suites are on, you guessed it, the eighth floor.
When I visited, only a few of the condo units had been sold, but the hotel is planning to sell them all. They'll still be rented out when the owners aren't using them, unless an owner requests otherwise, and managed by the hotel.
Guests should note that the hotel bases all of its rates on double occupancy, so you'll have to shell out for extra guests -- $75 for adults, $50 for kids (though kids under six stay free).
All Rooms include:
- Fully-equipped kitchen with stainless steel appliances, electric stove with four burners, oven, microwave, dishwasher, breakfast bar with three stools, cooking utensils, dishes, toaster, blender, coffee maker
- Large living room with 42-inch flat-screen TV and sectional sofa
- Dining room table that seats six
- Three terraces: One off of the living room with ocean views, one off the master bedroom, and one off of the second and third bedrooms
- Three bedrooms: A master bedroom with a king bed, a flat-screen TV, and private bathroom; a bedroom with a queen bed; and a bedroom with two twin beds
- 2.5 bathrooms: One master bath with a walk-in shower, rain showerhead, and double vanities; second bathroom with walk-in shower and single vanity; and a half bath
- Direct elevator access
- Air conditioning
- CD player
- Iron and ironing board
- Front desk staffed 24 hours, and can help with arranging tours and transportation
- Room service 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
- Infinity pool with ocean views
- Open-air restaurant Karolas, open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., features ocean and rainforest views, locally-inspired cuisine (such as Mahi Mahi filet, fajitas, and the typical Costa Rican "casado"), and a kids menu.
- Spa Los Altos offers a range of treatments, including massages, skin treatments, and body scrubs and wraps
- Conference center
- Pretty, but rocky, beach
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Things You Should Know About Los Altos Beach Resort
AddressKilometer 4 on road to Manuel Antonio National Park, Province of Puntarenas 6350, Costa Rica
- Deluxe Suite
- Standard Suite
- Superior Suite