Hotel Cristal Ballena Resort & Spa
White buildings rise from an empty hilltop just south of the small town of Uvita. The grassy-landscaping is punctuated by magnificent fan-shaped palms, Heliconias and Birds of Paradise. And a stunning, gigantic, 4,300-square-foot pool seems to melt into the distant ocean.
The hotel’s 18 rooms each boast wide balconies, canopy beds and simple, yet clean furnishings. There are 15 standard rooms, two master suites and a family suite. For the adventurous, jungle lovers, two rustic cabins provide an ideal platform for bird-watching and animal spotting.
Small details here, such as welcome cocktails, fresh flowers in the rooms and the friendly smiles of the hotel staff make a night’s stay at Cristal Ballena a special experience. The only downside to staying here is that it is a drive to the area’s attractions and restaurants.
Menu items range from a tuna medallion ($22.50), to vegetarian quesadillas ($10.50), to rice with palm hearts ($9.50), to spaghetti aglio e olio ($9.50), to a wiener schnitzel ($19) accompanied with pan-fried potatoes and cranberries hand-carried from Austria.
Desserts with names like Passion of the Saints ($6.50), Banana or Pineapple Flambé ($11.50) and Ice Cream with Tropical Fruits ($7) can also whet an appetite.
What to Do at Cristal Ballena
Guests also use Cristal Ballena as a base for excursions to the busy Manuel Antonio National Park and the biologically-intense Corcovado National Park, for ultra light tours, for visits to the mangroves and for ATV or horseback excursions. All these tours can be booked at the front desk of Cristal Ballena.
How to Get to Cristal Ballena
From Dominical, drive 25 kilometers south (7 kilometers south of Uvita) where you’ll see the hotel entrance on the left. The hotel entrance is marked, but it is also next to a bus station and almost directly across from an entrance to the Marino Ballena National Park.
Rates and Reservations Rates range from $170 in the low season to $189 in the high season. The master and family suites are slightly more expensive at $229-$247 and the rustic cabins rent for $85-$89 a night. (LINK: http://www.cristal-ballena.com/cb_booking_engine/cb_en_booking1_v4a.htm) Rates include a breakfast buffet, but not the 13 percent government tax.
To make a reservation, visit Cristal Ballena online (LINK: www.cristal-ballena.com) or call 506-2786-5354 (Costa Rica) or 888-800-1923 (United States and Canada).