Travel Weekly Stays: Nantipa Hotel,  Santa Teresa, Puntarenas Province, Costa Rica 

Hotel NANTIPA, Santa Teresa Costa Rica - Garnier Arquitectos - Andrea Artiñano Interior Design -  Image copyright Andres Garcia Lachner -

Why Costa Rica?  It seems so exotic and so far away, so I was pleasantly surprised that a flight to Costa Rica was only 5 hours, direct from LAX. For clients who are looking for an alternative to Europe, Central America has several spectacular locations, with Costa Rica being one.  

My first impression, especially after spending a week in Los Angeles, was how there was no plastic to be seen. Unlike LA, where 5-star hotel meals were served on plastic plates and drinks in takeaway cups. Even eating in where, despite asking, there was no option for a plate or glassware, Costa Rica encourages you to sit down and eat or drink your coffee at a table, including at the airport. It felt like a gold standard for how economics and environment can co-exist and flourish.  

Eight per cent of Costa Rica’s GDP comes from tourism with the country well set up for growth in this important sector for its 5.3 million residents, plus 5 million of its beloved sloth population. Costa Rica is one of the most biodiverse countries on the planet, and it’s not hard to spot toucans, white face monkeys and, of course, the adorable sloths. Sloths are not seen in Santa Teresa however, but a few hours away in La Fortuna, in the jungle, and there are plenty. 

Feature images: Hotel Nantipa, Santa Teresa, Costa Rica: Andres Garcia Lachner,

A side view of a Brown-throated three-toed sloth who is hanging on one branch with his face towards you.

Image: iStock

The story behind Nantipa 

In 2010, three Costa Rican friends – Harry, Luis and Meni – were discussing their plans for the upcoming December family vacations. They couldn’t locate a beach luxury hotel that had a small, local feel to it so Meni and Louis, who worked in hospitality and tourism, convinced Harry, who owned 1.5 hectares of beachfront in Santa Teresa to start a hotel.  

Santa Teresa proved the perfect location for an up-and-coming expat destination, famous for its surf beaches and great cuisine but very little in the way of small luxury hotels. And so Nantipa was born. 

Getting there and location  

Nantipa is centrally located in Santa Teresa, a remote beach town known for its spectacular sunsets over the beach. While we hired a driver to take us on the 5-hour drive from San Jose, you can also fly to Tanbor airport, which is only 45 minutes away. There is no easy way to get around Costa Rica without a car, due to its mountainous, jungle-like terrain. That’s what makes it so charming and exotic, so it’s worth at least a 3- to 4-day stay once you do arrive.  

Also, the main road is dusty and full of potholes, much to the chagrin of the driver who was muttering what a disgrace it was. Given the main drag was lined with high-end boutiques and restaurants worthy of Michelin stars, it was another example of the juxtaposition of travelling to far flung places like this.  

Image: Nancy Hromin

 The vibe 

 Nantipa is beautifully designed with an obvious commitment to sustainability. The country has long been a pioneer in eco-friendly practices, with Nantipa adhering to strict environmental guidelines. That includes architecture that embraces the beauty of its location and has minimal impact on the natural environment. The entrance of the hotel has the luxurious feel you come to expect from SLH hotels with the reception striking in its simplicity. 

 The food 

There are many wonderful restaurants to try out while in Santa Teresa and competition is fierce. We chose to eat at the Manzú one night and the cuisine was simple, made with fresh ingredients and an abundance of seafood. We were greeted with a warm homemade bread that was absolutely delicious as bread isn’t often seen on the menus of most Costa Rican restaurants. 

As a guest of the hotel, the breakfast inclusion is a must, with a combination of delicious pastries, yoghurts and a substantial and interesting a la carte menu to choose from. 

The rooms 

The best way to describe our accommodation is “refined elegance” where each room is a meticulously crafted sanctuary. It is pristine and minimalist with furnishings sourced from the artisanal hub of Masaya, Nicaragua. The room was both beautiful and comfortable and ideal for our 3-day stay. 

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