Darn Good Digs Review - Editors' Choice
Ostional, Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica: Hotel Luna Azul
Nominated By: Allison and Michael from Darn Good Digs, Brooklyn, NY, August '12
Price Range: US$110-$205 (breakfast included) # of Rooms: 7 Kid-Friendly: yes
What makes Hotel Luna Azul so Darn Good? Luna Azul's private bungalows come with outdoor showers and stylish wooden decks overlooking the jungle canopy. The open air restaurant serves scrumptious food in an elegant (but not stuffy) setting, and a swim in the gleaming infinity pool will soothe all your troubles away.
Vibe: Luxurious, yet laid-back. Fancy, yet family friendly. Rolf and Andreas arranged our trip to Ostional and gave us boogie boards and snorkel equipment for the next day's adventure in San Juanillo.
Location: Ten minutes from Ostional, Luna Azul is an obvious choice as a base for turtle watching. On our guided night-time walk along the protected beach, we had hoped to see the spectacular arribada, when thousands of Olive Ridely turtles lumber up the beach to dig holes and lay eggs, but instead we saw just a handful of turtles doing their thing - but so worth it! The next day we drove fifteen minutes in the other direction to spend the day in San Juanillo, a little fishing village with a sandy beach and a couple of tasty lunch spots. Nosara, the area's largest settlement and home to several popular surf beaches, is thirty minutes away.
Rooms: Luna Azul has seven bungalows situated along a winding path that leads though a lovely garden. The path culminates in the hotel's outdoor restaurant, lounge, and accompanying infinity pool. Our bungalow was bright and comfortable, but the highlights for us were showering in the blue-tiled outdoor shower and sitting on the deck rocking in traditional Guanacaste rocking chairs, all overlooking the forest canopy with views to the Pacific Ocean in the distance.
Food: In the morning, we sat down to a beautifully set table for a breakfast of fresh fruit, yogurt, granola, homemade jam, eggs, and pico de gallo. At night, we ordered a gourmet meal off the ever-changing chalkboard menu, eased back, and sipped our wine while dining by candlelight. Rolf, one of the owners, is a chef and everything we ate, such as the chicken with mushroom cream sauce, was absolutely delicious.
Keep in Mind: The unpaved coastal roads leading to Luna Azul, which sits on a hill in the middle of the rainforest, can be a bit of a challenge, and don't be surprised if you have to fjord a few rivers to get there. With a 4WD vehicle though, the adventure is most enjoyable and highly doable. Also, remember you are a visitor to the jungle, so be prepared for the occasional insect visitor.