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The Gilded Iguana

Our rating

9/10

Price guide

Price rating 3

Highlights

- Top beachside surfing destination
- Laid back atmosphere
- Surf school, yoga
- Mountain biking centre

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Overview

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.

Nearby Alternatives

Our rating

8/10

Price guide

Price rating 4

- Upmarket hotel with chilled-out feel
- Direct beach access, yoga, wellbeing spa
- Surfing for all experience levels
- Snorkelling, kayaking, biking

Our rating

8/10

Price guide

Price rating 4

- High-end Boutique Hotel
- Surfing, hiking, kayaking, zip lining
- 2 infinity pools, spa, yoga classes
- Costa Rica's best sunsets

Suggested Itineraries for The Gilded Iguana

Our itineraries are carefully designed by our experienced travel designers based on years of experience and customer feedback. For a custom itinerary tailored to you, please enquire giving as much detail as possible on your brief.

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

Adults from $2,675 pp plus flights

'From Price' is the average per person price for ground arrangements for two people sharing.

Flights are typically an additional $998 per person economy class from London

Families from $1,930 pp plus flights

'From Price' is the average price per person for ground arrangements for a family of four (two adults + two children under 12).

Flights are typically an additional $998 per person economy class from London

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

Adults from $2,891 pp plus flights

'From Price' is the average per person price for ground arrangements for two people sharing.

Flights are typically an additional $998 per person economy class from London

Families from $2,418 pp plus flights

'From Price' is the average price per person for ground arrangements for a family of four (two adults + two children under 12).

Flights are typically an additional $998 per person economy class from London

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

Adults from $5,691 pp plus flights

'From Price' is the average per person price for ground arrangements for two people sharing.

Flights are typically an additional $998 per person economy class from London

Families from $4,414 pp plus flights

'From Price' is the average price per person for ground arrangements for a family of four (two adults + two children under 12).

Flights are typically an additional $998 per person economy class from London

Superb value self drive Costa Rica holiday designed for those on a tight budget with comfortable 3* accommodation. Includes Tortugeuro NP, Arenal Volcano and the Pacific Coast beaches.

Tailor-made Classic 10 days

Adults from $1,698 pp plus flights

'From Price' is the average per person price for ground arrangements for two people sharing.

Flights are typically an additional $0 per person economy class from London

Families from $1,062 pp plus flights

'From Price' is the average price per person for ground arrangements for a family of four (two adults + two children under 12).

Flights are typically an additional $0 per person economy class from London

What customers are saying after travelling with Tourdust

Average Rating

based on 506 reviews

(5.00/5)

  • We had a fantastic time and all the arrangements worked perfectly.
    We were very impressed with the quality and service levels of all 4 locations visited and it was truly a holiday of a lifetime.
    Thank you to you and to Lisa for giving us this experience.
    Particular highlights for us – really the whole experience, but of particular impact:
    Breathtaking scenery at Cathedral Peak Hotel
    Rhino Ridge game drives incredible, thanks to guide (we had their head guide, Hala, who’s knowledge, enthusiasm, kindness, interaction, ability to spot wildlife was out of this world)
    Luxury of Rhino Ridge (shower, food, views, service)
    Immersion in nature, torch lit meal on last night and beach trip at Kosi Forest Lodge
    Level of service, quality of food throughout

    MissingCatherine F reviewing South Africa Safari, Beach and Wetlands on 04 September 2019

  • We had a fantastic time. Thank you and it went smoothly in the main except for British Airways!

    The trip had the right degree of luxury and relaxation (for me) and adventure (all of us).

    A few points:
    Driving directions to Umlunghi Lodge were slightly wrong. The driving directions should read at the 4th roundabout take the first exit and turn right over the railway. We loved it there. Anton, Bianca and her son and Harriet were very informative and entertaining. The snake talk and handling, night walks and seeing scorpions and the walk in the bush and "bumping" into a giraffe were really special. The kayak trip to Makuzi pan that the lodge organised was good and Tomaz was very informative and kept a respectful distance from the hippos.3 nights was plenty.

    Rhino River Lodge game reserve was incredibly luxurious and we felt very looked after. The lion siting in camp the day we arrived sent an extra frisson of excitement down our spines. It was easy to forget there were predators that could attack us with all that luxury. The staff and guides (Karl) were knowledgeable and invested in their set up. We saw rhinos with baby, cheetahs with young, porcupine, Genet, wildebeast, Impala, Lion with young, buffalo, a puff adder, ostrich, zebra and giraffes. 4 nights was also plenty.
    They all served great food but I felt Ghost Mountain Inn topped the lot. The variety was amazing. We arrived at 10.30 but could not get into our room until 2 ish. The service was not so personal I guess because it is larger (far more than 50 rooms). We had been a bit spoilt at Rhino River! My daughter and I had some treatments at the Spa and loved it. We also went on a large boat trip on Jonzi and had a closer encounter with a large bull hippo and also a hike up Ghost Mountain with Patrick who was very informative and passionate about his people and his country. Isaac the other guide there took us on the boat trip and pointed out the sugar cane harvest on the way. he was very informative also.

    Lastly, Lalaria Lodge was fabulous and we all piled into the surf of the Indian Ocean. There was hardly anyone on the beach. It was "too cold" according to the landlady. The view from her terrace was of the ocean and whales breaching in the distance. I could have sat there all day. She very kindly provided us with a Scrabble board of her own for us to play. We took a Microlight ride from Ballito over the coastline in the hope of seeing whales and dolphins but no luck. If we had stayed longer we might have gone on a boat trip from Durban. We had a meal at a restaurant called Mozambique which was great fun with vast portions, plenty of carbs and fresh seafood!

    The value of the Rand to the Pound was excellent and therefore we felt that we got excellent value which also played a large part!

    MissingKatrina P reviewing South Africa Bush & Beach Safari For Families on 02 September 2019

  • We had the most incredible time thank you. We loved Karen Blixen camp and felt part of a family there, it was incredibly special. And Breezes was very relaxing.
    We can't fault all the transfers and the moment we were greeted on the tarmac at Nairobi airport we knew we were going to be well cared for.

    Thank you so much to you and all the Tourdust team for making it such a happy and memorable trip.

    MissingZoe A reviewing Masai Mara Safari & Beach on 27 August 2019

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