- Top beachside surfing destination
- Laid back atmosphere
- Surf school, yoga
- Mountain biking centre
The Gilded Iguana is a chic, contemporary hotel located just a stone’s throw from Costa Rica’s Playa Guiones, a stunning seven-kilometre stretch of beach in the north west of the country. Due to the consistent surf break here, the hotel is known first and foremost as a top surfers’ retreat, but it will also appeal to anyone into mountain biking or yoga retreats. Originally opened back in 1988, the hotel has generated significant growth in Nosara but, despite its increasing popularity, the town still maintains a certain undeveloped charm and the Gilded Iguana provides the perfect spot to ‘escape the rat race’ and unwind.
All of the hotel’s rooms are modern, spacious and air conditioned with high ceilings that let in plenty of natural light. Each room has its own outdoor living space complete with seating area and shower, along with an indoor bathroom, tea and coffee making facilities, a hairdryer and a minibar. All guests are provided with a key to their own surf board locker. There are four categories of room ranging from the more economic Surf Rooms, to the impressive Surfer Suite, which is the hotel’s largest and most expensive option – all come with complimentary Wi-Fi. The hotel’s restaurant and bar are popular with visitors and locals alike; the food is a delicious fusion of Mediterranean and Costa Rican cuisine, and there are live music evenings. There’s also a lovely spa offering a good range of treatments.
Without a doubt one of the key features of the hotel is its surf school which is open to everyone regardless of experience or skill level. Lessons are available for advanced surfers as well as complete beginners, and the retail surf shop sells surfboards and other essentials. Handily enough, the beach is just a short 200 metre walk from the hotel. While it’s true that surfing naturally dominates the property, there are plenty of other activities on offer. For example, the hotel has its own mountain bike centre with bike rentals and a number of two-hour guided excursions to choose from, along with birdwatching, snorkelling, paddle boarding and boat excursions.
The hotel is child-friendly and there are plenty of flexible accommodation options – some of the suites have bunkbeds and some house more than one double bed. Youngsters will love the large swimming pool and the beach and there’s plenty for all age groups to do in the area.
- Upmarket hotel with chilled-out feel
- Direct beach access, yoga, wellbeing spa
- Surfing for all experience levels
- Snorkelling, kayaking, biking
Two week self-drive Costa Rica family holiday covering all the highlights including Tortugeuro, Arenal, Monteverde Rain Forest, Nosara Beach and Manuel Antonio National Park.
Tailor-made Classic 15 days
From $2,635 per person
2 week adventure including surfing in Nosara, rafting Pacuare River and tubing and canyoning at Rio Perdido. Classic rainforest and beachside accommodation.
Tailor-made Luxury 2 weeks
From $2,847 per person
The ultimate Costa Rica holiday for surfers and their families. Explore Arenal Volcano, surf in hip Nosara and surf and see the wildlife in the stunning Osa Peninsula.
Tailor-made Luxury 2 weeks
From $5,605 per person
The safari trip was excellent! The stay, the food and the people were all very nice. We were happy to have Ryan and Stanley as our game drive guides they brought us up close to the animals and Ryan gave very good information throughout.
Would definitely recommend to friends who are interested in safaris :)
Also, thanks much for your help, particularly keeping the room for my Brother and his wife they’ve enjoyed the safari very much too!
Woan Chyi L reviewing Cape Town & Kruger Safari on 16 October 2019
Driver-guide: Very punctual, except for pick up for airport when he was delayed by >30 mins due to road closures. Vehicle very clean and well maintained- plenty of water and supplies of clothing for religious sites, tissues, postcards etc. Very good at understanding what level of conversation we wanted. Happy to stop for paracetamol, supermarket etc. Took us to signal box at railway since we were early (which was very interesting)
The Walawwa: Lovely place to arrive at and get a bit of rest. Great pool, lovely rooms and food etc. Peaceful oasis so close to town.
Wilpattu Camp: Wonderful food- really enjoyed trying lots of new things in excellent surroundings.Felt like the place had not been visited much recently (which I don’t think it had due to the terrorist attacks) so our safari guide had been brought up from another park and did not know the park too well- it worked out well though and we saw all the animals we hoped to see so no complaints on that front. We did feel that we should have been told about extra things we could have done- when we commented on the great food on final day we were told that they could have done a cookery demo for us, but it was too late at that point. It worked well for us but clients should probably know that they are likely to have multiple wildlife in their tents (eg frogs)- didn’t bother us at all, but others it might do. We were given a questionnaire to fill in at the end whilst all the staff were standing around, which wasn’t ideal as you felt a bit of pressure! Felt really well looked after here!
Water Gardens Sigiriya: Beautiful suites with plunge pools- quiet and peaceful with lovely big swimming pool. Food good
Jungle Beach: Beautiful location on beach. Rooms good. Food a bit limited I would have liked a bit more variety ideally.
Camellia House: Lovely location- beautiful views. Food OK but service below average- our food orders were wrong a couple of times and even pre-ordered food was delayed. Tea factory tour was only an hour and that was the main reason to be here. It was interesting but quite brief seeing it was the main attraction according to our itinerary. Also, we were taken there in a minibus which didn’t have seatbelts on all seats and was quite smelly- not up to the standard of the usual transportation. Rooms were described as having panoramic views- one did have amazing views but the other one definitely didn’t.
Galle Face: Lovely old hotel- but it did have some problems (leaking ceiling and ‘smuts’ coming out of air conditioning.) Weather very bad (spectacular storms). It was a shame the street food tour couldn’t take place but totally understandable given the weather, however we enjoyed our dinner here and free drinks/canopes!). Good choice at breakfast.
Pippa R reviewing Sri Lanka Highlights - Classic on 30 September 2019
Once again you organised a really good holiday for us.
If there was one criticism it was that there were too many flights. I don’t know whether you could do Bangkok first, Chiang Mai, then fly down South?
Your drivers and Guides - all really good. The variety of transport on the tours in Bangkok and Chiang Mai; we all loved.
Tamarind Village - Our room was a bit of a squeeze, with the 3 of us and 3 big suitcases.
Lisu Lodge- I enjoyed our time here. Going forward I would suggest only 1 night or they need to have some more activities. I liked how we ate on the floor, the food was really good. Staff very friendly. We liked the cycling, tea plantation, trekking and white water rafting.
Riva Surya- good location.
Elephant Hills- we loved looking after the elephants, the lake was also a really good experience. The guides were informative and looked after us well. The resort locations and tents were perfect.
Santiburi - amazing; we upgraded to a beach bungalow which was fantastic. The hotel is in a stunning location, the facilities and the service was impeccable. Sam has some private Thai boxing lessons, which he loved. We had cookery lessons and used the paddle boards. A perfect end to quite a busy holiday.
Natasha L reviewing Thailand Family Adventure on 24 September 2019