Recently, we went to Costa Rica to see what all the fuss was! This country is a prime destination for Montrealers escaping the encroaching winter months as it’s a relatively short flight and boasts lush jungles, friendly locals, but mostly great surf beaches. If you are NOT a beach bum, then you can immerse yourself in the local food & culture! A vacation ideal for the tanned & barefoot seeking warm rays in short days! The sun sets early in Costa Rica due to its equator proximity, but don’t worry, the sun you do get it is like UV extract! It’s more than enough.

The Gilded Iguana was our first hotel on the map. Destination NOSARA

Greeting: As soon as we arrived, I knew this was going to be a pampered helluva time! We were greeted with a warm citronella face towelette and a fresh baby coconut water, with a neat biodegradable straw, made from dried grass shoots. Eco-travel is hot in Costa Rica as the government has put many initiatives to up-cycle and recycle in place! What a great first impression….  10/10

Luxury Surfing Nosara
Image copyright Andres Garcia Lachner – – – Instagram: @GarciaLachner

Rooms: We got the jungle room
It had two queen-sized beds, nice beach house style art. Tons of high design teak interior decor. Our large balcony integrated into their jungle garden. Quiet and effective AC that had a sensitive thermostat but didn’t freeze us. Walk-in rain shower with hand-painted ceramic tiles. Very nice. The only complaint was the noise that could be easily heard from the space below our door adjacent to the next Jungle room. Not a big deal, but something to think about improving. 9/10

Amenities: They score high here. They have private drivers, surfboard caddies, a surf club with a health bar, a large outdoor restaurant, decent WIFI in the lounge, and rooms (although ours expired early… oops! The concierge had it put back immediately). They also have an outdoor bar, a gorgeous saltwater pool with a jacuzzi area, and an integrated water chair. Shaded basket swings and different pool towels so as not to dirty your pristine white ones! 9.5/10

Ambiance: The architecture is quite a design gem. The pool itself has so many subtle and gorgeous attributes like small iridescent tiles that reflect the sun while swimming. The rooms have lovely sliding teak doors of opposing yet modern styles.  Architect Benjamin Garcia Saxe explains: “The Gilded Iguana Hotel is designed as a harmonious “dialogue” between the tropical identity of the past and a new toned-down, unpretentious, and timeless tropical modernity that sits softly in the landscape and reflects the relaxed town atmosphere which most wish to preserve.”   from ArchDaily. We agree. 10/10

Luxury Surfing Nosara
Image copyright Andres Garcia Lachner – – – Instagram: @GarciaLachner

Food: The restaurant surprised us in both good and not so good ways…I will explain it. They have a simple but popular eats menu with incredible and well-priced dishes like the grilled chicken with lemon cream sauce, yet one of our desserts was grilled pineapple, but it wasn’t grilled. How odd since it was the name of the dessert! It must have been an innocent oversight at the time. Another surprise (most would deem great) was the enormous size of the guac and chips appetizer. It’s meal-sized, so we feel the staff should have informed us that one was enough for two people who were planning to order a dinner plate after. The Resto staff could be equipped with a better grasp of English. While we loved learning Spanish, we do expect Resto staff to be able to explain dishes to us with ease. 7/10 

We ran into our friend and avid surfer Hermes, which was a pleasure as we had recommended The Gilded Iguana to our surfing and boarding magazine partner Duncan, who, in turn, let him know that we were staying there and enjoying our stay. He and his friend reported back loving the hotel stay and keeping it on their Nosara favorites list. All and all, The Gilded Iguana is a perfect hotel for surfers and their kids to enjoy quality amenities and a short walk to Playa Guiones to catch the perfect wave! Would we go back? Absolutely!

P.S The Gilded Iguana has a complementary relationship with the Tierra Magnifica. It is a luxury boutique hotel with an intimate OASIS where you go without the kiddos. Children under 15 years old are not allowed as of the steep nature of the hotel setting perched high above overlooking Playa Guiones. If you are a guest, go ahead and leave your surfboards with the Gilded Iguana Surf Club. The Tierra Magnifica is a getaway with delicious fusion cuisine & Wellness amenities. Ideal for couples, girls getaways, or small private weddings.

Getting ready for your trip to Nosara, pack light and smart.