If you like the vibe of an African safari camp, Nayara Tented Camp is the closest you will get to that in the Americas.  The Tented Camp is one of the three different but connected properties on the side of a mountain overlooking the La Fortuna Volcano.  The Tented Camp welcomes families and adults and as does Nayara Gardens, whereas Nayara Springs is adults only.  The Gardens and Springs are both Relais & Chateaux properties so you can be assured of delicious, creative culinary options.

I love that the entire property is lush, the individual accommodations set nestled into the jungle with privacy (see the view from our room above). Another feature I enjoyed was 24/7 access via WhatsApp to the concierge team.  To make or change reservations, order up a golf cart pick up or room service.

ARRIVAL

Arriving at their reception tent, you will find friendly staff who will welcome you with a coconut cocktail/mocktail, go through the map of the property and take you via carrito (golfcart) to show you to your tent.

ACCOMMODATIONS

I absolutely loved our tent – in the Sloth section #22S. The tents are so spacious – the bedroom, bathroom, closet, showers, terrace – everything. See a video walkthrough of our tent here.

The mini bar is a beautiful, mirrored on the inside piece of luggage, filled with snacks and drinks.  All but the hard alcohol is complimentary and replenished daily.  The tents also have air conditioning and in October we needed it.

Nayara has a mission focused on sustainability which is seen throughout the resort.  Their shampoos and such are all in ceramic containers, the water is from the tap in glass bottles and they give you refillable water bottles for your stay.  Most of their employees are from the surrounding areas and we met many who had worked there for 4+ years.  They have built their rooms into the topography of the land and preserved the rain forest and secured habitats for the local wildlife.  They support local farmers and intentionally design their menus around local foods and seasons. It all feels harmonious and authentic.

Another wonderful feature – complimentary laundry service.  This was a life saver, as my trip was 8 days and I was in need of some clean clothes.

BEING ACTIVE

On Property

To be active on property, you simply can go out for a walk.  It’s very hilly terrain and great exercise! They also have complimentary, daily yoga classes at 8:15a in an open air studio.  Just watch out for the feathered friends who may stroll in while you are doing a vinyasa.  Nearby the yoga platform is a well outfitted gym with glass walls overlooking the jungle.  There are no Pelotons.

They currently have three pools and several thermal pools.  In Nayara Springs you will find one of the adults only pools, and the other which we really enjoyed is Cielito Lindo, effectively an entire swim up pool bar.

Cielito Lindo pool

The thermal pools (ranging from “normal to 100 degrees) are family friendly as is Kali Kali, which has a swim up pool bar and ping pong. Nearby several hot tubs are nestled in the trees.

Nayara Kali Kali pool

Out and About

There are so many options. Two of the most popular experiences are:

  • Visiting La Fortuna waterfall
  • Walking the hanging bridges

We did a short (~3 hour) canyoning tour and lunch, organized through hotel with Pure Trek.  Lunch was definitely several steps down from Nayara quality and was nothing special.  I would consider their canyoning as rappelling.  We did five rappels including my favorite, the Monkey Drop. It is not too physically challenging and it’s fun.  Note: unlike other canyoning trips, there is no jumping off rocks or swimming. It was about ~$114/pp.  Bring a bit extra cash for gratuities and $30 (credit cards accepted) to buy photos after the tour.

About to make my first descent (no link to video!)

There are many other adventures to be had and here are a few to get you thinking…

  • mountain biking
  • SUP
  • hiking
  • kayaking
  • horseback riding
  • safari floats
  • canopy tours/zip lining

If you have adventurous teens, add to the list zorbing, white water rafting, water biking, jumping off waterfalls and ATVs.

Note – many are full day experiences.

Relaxing

A visit to the spa is always a good choice on vacation.  There is one main Nayara spa in the adults only Springs section.  There is another smaller spa in Nayara Gardens.  They have individual and couples’ treatment rooms.  They have a steam room too, but other than that, it doesn’t have as many relaxation areas, saunas etc. as you might find at some other spas.

Here are some other relaxing ideas to consider:

  • Reading in a hammock
  • Yoga
  • Chilling in a swing at the bar
  • Relaxing in thermal baths
  • Taking a coffee class or playing pool or darts at Mi Cafecito
  • Going on walks to spot monkeys, sloths, armadillos and toucans

NOURISHING

Nayara Springs and Gardens are Relais and Chateaux, so expect high quality dishes.

Two of their dinner restaurants have live music:

  • La Terraza
  • Amor Loco

Cozy and romantic Amor Loco

Two restaurants are open for breakfast:

  • La Terraza (buffet)
  • Mis Amores (a la carte)

We enjoyed our breakfasts at Mis Amores, where Ana, one of the most delightful servers I’ve ever had, brought us avocado toast, Mexican eggs, green juice, fresh breads and French press coffee.

Nostalgia

We loved this cozy, intimate wine bar, with a novel serving method.  The bartender will give you an intro and a keycard that you enter into a spot on a wall of wines, somewhat like a vending machine.  You choose the size – tasting, ½ glass or full glass.  They also serve Spanish tapas, so you could have a light dinner here or stop by for a drink before another dinner reservation (which is what we did).

I learn about and select my next wine to taste

PEOPLE

As I mentioned we loved Ana, our server at Mis Amores.  Her colleague Sebastian was also delightful.  Sol is quite a serious yoga teacher that doubles as a heavy-handed masseuse.

The carrito drivers are so helpful, always there to pick you up timely and answer questions about the property.

DEPARTURE

Check out is normally noon, and late checkout was not an option for us because they were fully booked.  A carrito driver picked up our bags and stored them at reception for us while we lounged around the pool for the afternoon.  An abrupt change in the weather occurred mid-afternoon and it was POURING as we left.  Luckily there are umbrellas in your room and at each restaurant/pool bar.  A carrito driver picked us up and delivered us dry to reception where we met our driver to take us to San Jose.

EXTRA INFO

The gift shop is hidden away.  If you are in need of a book, a new dress, some typical souvenirs or some nice jewelry or leather goods, it’s good to know it’s there.

Nayara is still building – more tents, including some larger, two bedroom ones, two VIP tents and another pool, restaurant and arrival tent.  The construction is not visually obvious except for a bit from the thermal springs.   While we were there I didn’t hear any construction noise, but I’d double check the location of your room if it’s important to you (and it probably is, as it’s your vacation!).

WHO IS A NAYARA GUEST?

DURING THE HOLIDAYS – Winter, spring break, summer

Understandably there are a lot more families during school vacation time.  Couples – for honeymoons, anniversaries or simple getaways may also be there, especially because the entire Nayara Springs and two pools are adults only.

DURING SHOULDER/LOW SEASON

More couples or families with small children.

 

INSIDER TIPS

  • If you are going for a special occasion, reserve ahead a private, romantic dinner at Bésame Mucho.
  • If you enjoy happy hour, you’ll find it at the pool bars from 4-5p.  Each of the bars has its own specials, so try one each day.
  • If you are going with more than two kids, book two of the tents with a shared walkway between them.
  • I highly recommend the mango passion margarita
  • Nayara is a Virtuoso property and my clients get VIP treatment including:
    • Upgrade on arrival and Early Check-In / Late Check-Out, subject to availability
    • Daily breakfast for two guests per bedroom
    • $100 Spa Credit, once per stay

Extraordinary Experiences for
Adventurous Families

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