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Sueno Azul

Sueno Azul

Destination: Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui

Settled near the banks of the Puerto Viejo River, Sueño Azul's adventure hotel and resort encompasses 2,500 acres of rainforest, pasturelands, lakes, rivers and waterfalls. Guests spend their days relaxing in natural Jacuzzis at the cascades, taking in the aerial views on canopy tours and riding horses through miles of trails careening through the surrounding rainforest and meadows. Only an hour outside San Jose, Sueño Azul's a quick escape to the countryside from San Jose and a desirable starting point for adventuring toward Arenal or Tortuguero.

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A converted country home, Sueño Azul started as a weekend retreat for the Gallegos-Salazar family and grew into a hotel with 65 rooms, a pool, gym, rodeo, restaurant, bar and botanical garden. Keeping to the family's traditions, the rooms at Sueño Azul are designed for escaping the routine and harmonizing with nature.

Baked, adobe-tiled floors, hardwood furniture and patios with scenic views, the spacious rooms are free of modern technology like phones and TVs (though there's WIFI in the restaurant). There's a variety of room options from standard, to superior to suites. Standard doubles are $119 while superior doubles go for $139; however, prices fluctuate depending on the season.

Part of the Gallegos-Salazar original, antique home and bullring remain intact as the present day restaurant and bar. There, guests enjoy catered meals three times a day while absorbing pool and lakeside views. The chef-prepared menu changes daily, but includes Costa Rican dishes like roasted pork shoulder with tamarind sauce, Caribbean barbequed chicken, Gallo Pinto (mixed rice and beans) and desserts like banana flan.

Spa Treatments

A day at Sueño Azul's Awapa Spa can cleanse the mind and body, easing back tension and releasing pent-up frustration. A short walk from the hotel's front desk, the spa's at the heart of the hotel. Herbal steam baths, chocolate wraps, manicures, pedicures and aromatherapy are a few of the rejuvenating treatments offered. Masseuses trained in a variety of massage styles practice intuitive massage, lymph drainage, relaxation and acupressure.

Adventure Tours

Trails meander around the hotel and reserve circling the lakes, creeping down to the river's edge, and ascending over hills and into the valleys through the rainforest. Others lead to hidden destinations like the botanical garden or a small art museum dedicated to the works of contemporary artist Ana Victoria Garro. From the restaurant, there's a trail leading down to a rodeo arena where Sueño Azul holds equestrian shows, bull riding and dancing.

Another trail takes guests through Sueño Azul's rainforest reserve to the Malatoba creek's cascading waterfalls. Created by cooling magma bubbles thousands of years ago, the eight natural pools are great for cooling off on a hot afternoon. Nearby, there's a man-made pool filled using river water complete with a waterslide and picnic area.

While guests are free to roam the trails, a variety of tours are available highlighting the best aspects of wildlife and nature that the region has to offer.

  • Birdwatching tours start early, at 6:15 a.m. and take guests through a number of different trails in search of Green Macaws, Ospreys, Ibises, Chestnut Mandible Toucans and 146 other local bird species.
  • Horseback riding tours start at the hotel's corral and take guests on riding tours through the surrounding flora to the nearby waterfalls.
  • Canopy tours start within deep in the rainforest and take guests on a tour of the tree tops along 8 cables. The last cable stretches 800 feet and crosses over the Malatoba creek.

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Sueno Azul in Pictures