by Amanda Geronikos
If you’re looking for a unique experience in Costa Rica, consider Cristal Azul, located on a hillside that overlooks 60 miles of gorgeous coastline. The remote resort only has four “cabinas” (villas), but that’s why it’s so charming. One cabina has three queen beds, perfect for a large family. Another unit has one double bed and a bunk bed, and another unit accommodates one queen and one double bed. Wi-Fi is available (on most days), but none of the units have TV’s, so you’ll be forced to unplug and enjoy your surroundings! Note: Rooms include open-air showers, but do not have bathtubs. Amenities include complimentary beach towels and a limited number of boogie boards, coolers, chairs and umbrellas to use.
An outdoor swimming pool surrounded by lush gardens and a bar and dining area adds to the appeal. You’ll also find a pool table, hammocks and board games to borrow. An onsite restaurant offers delicious dinners with fresh ingredients, including fish, chicken, pork, beef, rice, beans and salad. Kid-friendly fare includes pasta, pizza, hamburgers, fish sticks, popcorn shrimp and homemade French fries. Breakfast is also served; order the French toast! Oh, and did we mention there’s homemade ice cream?
Nearby, you’ll find plenty of things to do, from zip-lining to visiting a butterfly farm.
All-inclusive packages and group rates are available.
Our Editor Loves
- Private location with amazing views
- Pool, hammocks and a game room
- Activities and attractions nearby
I genuinely cannot say enough nice things about Cristal Azul or the hosts, Zene and Henner. It's more like staying with old friends you just met then staying at a hotel. Bonus points for the really adorable and friendly dogs that will visit from time to time and for the fact that the hotel has POTABLE WATER. Really. And an ice maker. Luxury!
The property itself is lovely, and the rooms are very comfortable. Personally, we were very fond of the palapa with shady comfortable seating, and a really marvelous pool table (which my husband totally took advantage of - it turns out he wasn't exaggerating about his pool skills). The pool itself is as lovely as all of the pictures portray it.
The staff is beyond terrific. Note - you need to seat yourself before they will bring out your breakfast, it took us a couple of days to figure that out. The food was fantastic, I'm still drooling over this fantastic sausage they served, and the coffee was ridiculously good.
DO listen to Zene when she tells you to rent an SUV, the roads are rather steep and rocky leading up to the hotel. You absolutely must have one. Lunch, dinner, snacks, etc. are easily obtained down the hill at the companion restaurant Locos Cocos. Seriously, EVERYTHING here is good. There is a very good reason people love this place = everything on the menu is fabulous. Henner's hot sauce is an absolute legend, and the fish is incredibly fresh. Have a cold beer, some ceviche, and look out on beautiful, unspoiled Playa San Miguel. If you are an all day nibbler, as I am, bring some snacks out with you to your room, but do keep them well sealed.
Amazing bird/wildlife watching, incredibly peaceful, just a wonderful place to escape from the world. Bring binoculars, you will absolutely use them. Don't bring much else. This is absolutely a bathing suit and cover up kind of place. Relaxed, friendly, and ridiculously accommodating, I truly can't recommend it highly enough. Zene and Henner are the most accommodating and gracious hosts, we really look forward to returning,
We are so glad we found this lovely hotel removed from it all. Zene was a gracious host and we enjoyed Henner's delicious ceviche next to the ocean. We were truly able to disconnect and often were the only people enjoying the gorgeous infinity pool with ocean views. Playa San Miguel is stunning and it's an unbelievable experience to enjoy a beach with so few people on it. We will definitely come back!