Amor de Mar

Perched at the mouth of the Montezuma River, on a rocky point overlooking the Pacific coastline, an Adirondack-style lodge houses Amor de Mar’s 11 rooms. Most are paneled in dark wood and decorated sparely (open shelves to hold your belongings and a small bar for hanging clothing), so as not to distract from the views (best from the second-floor porch). All but two rooms have private baths.

Next to the hotel are two family-friendly bungalows, Casa Luna and Casa Sol. The owners, who bought the property after coming to Montezuma on vacation in 1991, used to live in the bungalows (back then, the bungalows were connected). Both have a huge master bedroom upstairs with a balcony that has views of the garden and ocean; the first floor has a full kitchen with a refrigerator, stove, coffeemaker, and dishes.

A patio restaurant overlooking the ocean serves breakfast all day, emphasizing simple fare like tropical fruit juice, homemade bread, and jams made from papaya, pineapple, and passion fruit. The wide front lawn is spotted with hammocks and mango trees, and gently slopes toward a rocky point, where there’s a tide pool big enough to swim in that’s filled with small, colorful fish. It’s a five-minute walk to the nearest sandy beach, or you can ride horses along the shore.

Thrill seekers will be pleased that Amor de Mar is close to the famed Montezuma Canopy Tour, a zip line that whizzes between trees and down over waterfalls ($35 for two hours). Four miles away, Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve, Costa Rica’s oldest nature reserve, covers the tip of the Nicoya Peninsula and is home to howler monkeys, coatis, armadillos, more than 150 varieties of trees, and an assortment of other wildlife.