This Costa Rican Rainforest Hotel Is Worth the Trek

Opened in 2021, Hacienda AltaGracia, Auberge Resorts Collection will quickly envelop you in its lush beauty. As you touch down on your complimentary charter plane directly onto the 180-acre rainforest paradise, all your worries will be forgotten. The resort is set inside Costa Rica’s Central Valley, surrounded by the Pérez Zeledón mountain range, and it’s in one of the country’s renowned coffee-growing regions.

You’ll hear a variety of bird calls as you’re welcomed with a refreshing local juice by your compa, short for compandre, who can take care of anything and everything. You’re then whisked away to your private casita.

All casitas feature one or two bedrooms, plus ample living space. The stylish design features several local accents like pottery and textiles, but the overall feel is safari-esque with lots of leather and linen in neutral tones. A gas fireplace warms the living area, while the bedroom features a stylish netted canopy. The bathroom is roomy with double sinks and a large shower, and the Luna Zorro linen robes are lovely.

Let’s face it though, you’ll mostly want to be outside and many casitas come with a gorgeous stone deck and jetted pool, which staff will gladly set to your preferred temperature. They overlook the rolling green hills dotted with trees and plants, and each morning expect to be greeted by countless colorful and chattering birds.

At the heart of the property is the main restaurant Grano and its bar and outdoor terrace, serving breakfast and dinner; two pools (one for adults only) with restaurants serving lunch; El Cultivo the farm; and Mercado, the coffee shop and high-end boutique. A coffee tasting class by the talented baristas is offered there three times a week and is a must for any coffee lover—they take their coffee seriously here.

Grano is the main restaurant and serves breakfast and dinner. It offers Costa Rican-inflected, clean dishes made from locally sourced ingredients. Breakfasts should be had on the outdoor patio, but the décor inside is super stylish with its basket pendants and natural wood accents.

The expansive property has a small network of rainforest trails that guests can stroll by themselves or with a guide during several activities that range from forest bathing to tree climbing. Keep an eye out for lizards, frogs, and at night, armadillos.

Whatever outdoor activities you choose (and there are a lot), you’ll probably want to save plenty of time to luxuriate in the stunning 20,000-square-foot spa, THE WELL. At its center is Casa de Agua, which is home to a large indoor pool and hot tubs, plus four marble heated stones where you can apply a Costa Rican clay mask and let it harden on the hammam-style slabs, before rinsing it off in a powerful shower. The women and men’s locker rooms have sauna and steam rooms, and the eight treatment rooms are where you can experience treatments like maderoterapia, where wooden instruments are used to help with lymphatic drainage during a massage.

One experience that combines the natural surroundings with wellness is the River Bath, which involves walking through the rainforest to a private bathing area filled with river water and herbs. You’ll apply a fragrant coffee scrub and then soak in the bath, finishing with a crystal healing session. 

Top Takeaways

Location: Pérez Zeledón, San Jose Province, Costa Rica

Rating: Five-Star

The Vibe: A sprawling retreat surrounded by the rainforest with meticulously designed casitas where guests are seeking adventure and relaxation in equal measure.

Our Favorite Thing About the hotel? The staff are truly some of the happiest, friendliest, most knowledgeable people in all of Costa Rica (and maybe the world).

Food + Drink: All food and non-alcoholic drinks are included with your stay. Most ingredients used in the five restaurants and cafes come from as nearby as possible—some from the resort’s very own garden. Grano is open for breakfast and dinner and serves Costa Rican-influenced dishes. Picotea and Las Brisas are the two poolside restaurants open for lunch and offering lighter fare like ceviche and fresh juices and smoothies. Mercado is the resort’s excellent coffee shop. The gem of the F&B program is El Cultivo, which is amid the resort’s garden and offers an unforgettable tasting menu. A weekly Cienfuegos horseshow and barbecue dinner is also offered.

Amenities: There are two pools—one adult only, a spa from The Well, and each casita has its own compa, the resort’s version of a butler. Rooms are stocked with complimentary drinks and handmade snacks, and the closet has linen robes and chic tote bags to use while on the property. There’s a rotating weekly activity list (many of them free) that covers everything from fitness classes to culinary demos to guided hikes.

What’s Nearby? Right near the hotel, just the rainforest. If you drive about 30 minutes you can visit some coffee and cacao plantations and other farms, but it’s pretty remote.

Rooms: There are 50 casitas in total, spread across the property, varying in size and room count, but all have separate living areas and some have private plunge pools and terraces.

Pricing: Rates from $1,550 per night per person, meals and many activities included

Closest Airport: San Jose International Airport. From there, you’ll fly in the hotel’s small charter plane straight to the resort.

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