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A Hidden Gem in Costa Rica

February 27, 2012 By: Joe Pike Travel Agent


Florblanca is the first certified sustainable hotel on the southern part of the Nicoya Peninsula.


Costa Rica may be an ecotourism lover’s dream, but the destination offers so much more for travelers of all kinds. Whether it’s surfing, checking out the exotic wildlife or simply relaxing on the beach, Costa Rica has enough to satisfy niche markets that go far beyond saving the environment.

And Travel Agent discovered an unknown, luxury gem in Santa Teresa that has plenty of proof of this. Welcome to the Florblanca hotel.

About the Resort

Located on the Pacific Coast at the southern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula, Florblanca is an intimate option for affluent clients. It first opened in 2003 and is the first certified sustainable hotel on the southern part of the Nicoya Peninsula. Florblanca recently received four out of five “leaves” from Costa Rica’s Certificate for Sustainable Tourism program. The extensive sustainability program focuses on environmental protection, community outreach, cultural support and more.


Santa Teresa

For agents who aren’t familiar with the area, Santa Teresa is an ecologist’s dream, surrounded by untouched forest that is home to exotic birds, iguanas, troops of howler monkeys and much more. Situated on the southern most tip of the Nicoya Peninsula near Playa Carmen and Malpais, it is also the perfect spot for clients looking to surf. The surfing is truly world-class here, but manageable most days for all skill levels.

Other popular activities in and around Santa Teresa include horseback riding, ziplining, kayaking, sport fishing and scuba diving. The morning, noon and evening vistas of the mountains meeting the sea are also among the area’s top selling points.



The Accommodations

Florblanca has 10 luxury villas and the Surf House. The hotel is just finishing the renovation of the villas, which will feature special one-of-a-kind decorative pieces produced locally. For those who want even more space and luxury, Florblanca has its Surf House, a three-bedroom oceanfront accommodation that was recently converted from a private residence.

According to General Manager Cody Dillon, the resort invested approximately $75,000 in renovating the villas. Work on the villas began in October and was completed this February.

The villas are available for booking now. They are very inviting with large chairs, sofas, hammocks for two, huge bathrooms and comfortable beds. The decor is somewhat contemporary, but with “a splash of Latin flair too,” Dillon says. All fabrics are of the highest quality, and the colors are earth tones, greens and soft oranges.


Spa Bambu
Spa Bambu provides unique treatments using local ingredients like coconut and coffee.


Each villa has a large open-air living space looking out to the ocean or gardens full of tropical flowers such as birds of paradise, palms and heliconias. The bathrooms are also open-air with a huge rain shower and sunken tub. All villas are equipped with a minibar, iPod/iPad speakers and more. We recommend any of the three oceanview villas. The other seven villas have garden views.

The Spa

Florblanca also houses Spa Bambu, designed by San Jose architect Jean Garnier. Suspended over peaceful, waterfall-filled pools, the spa provides unique treatments using local ingredients like coconut and coffee. A new treatment will be a full body exfoliation with raw green tea mixed with essential oils. There are three treatment rooms, including one couples’ room. There is also a communal area in the center of the spa that has a Jacuzzi.


Nectar, the hotel’s signature restaurant, is headed by Chef Spencer Graves, who has worked with Thomas Keller and Eric Ziebold. He sources local and organic products, including free-range chicken and fish caught right in front of the hotel. Herbs and vegetables are harvested from the hotel’s own nursery.

Target Clientele

Florblanca attracts a wide range of clients, but the resort mainly appeals to couples looking for a romantic getaway. It attracts a lot of honeymooners or those celebrating an anniversary. But don’t ignore adventurous clients traveling either alone or in a group. The resort gets a lot of groups traveling together looking for adventure such as surfing, yoga and hiking. It is also beginning to attract more and more of upscale surf crowd in the 30-50 age group. Families with older children or teenagers also love the property since there is plenty to keep them all busy while the parents kick back.

Getting There

We were told that most clients heading to Florblanca arrive via San Juan International Airport, which services several airlines. From there, clients take a separate, smaller, 20-minute flight to the Tambor Airport, which is relatively close to Santa Teresa, Malpais, Montezuma, Cobano, Playa Cocalito, and Cabo Blanco Absolute Natural Reserve. It is the only airport on the Nicoya Peninsula.

Advise your clients that a valid passport is mandatory to enter Costa Rica; it should be valid during the following six months from their arrival date in the country. However, a visa is not required for U.S. and Canadian visitors.

Booking Information

Jetset World Travel and Rico Tours, both members of Virtuoso, sell the resort frequently. Abercrombie & Kent and Latin America Connection also sell the property.

The resort offers agents a 10 percent commission on bookings. However, we were told that commissions can go even higher depending on the credibility of the agent and the volume of the booking. Clients who book four nights before April 1 for travel in either May or from August 15 to November 15 get a fifth night free.

Agents should contact Patricia Rodriguez (011-506-2640-0310, [email protected]), reservations manager, with any queries.

Growing Demand

Demand for Costa Rica continues to grow and the U.S. remains one of its primary sources of visitors. The Costa Rica Tourism Board reports that the country welcomed 2,195,960 tourist arrivals in 2011, a 4.6 percent increase (91,000 plus more travelers) over 2010. Arrivals from North America rose 3.9 percent.

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About the Author

Joe Pike
Joe Pike is Travel Agent's senior editor covering the Caribbean, Bahamas & Bermuda; Hawaii; Central & South America. Previously, Pike was a newspaper reporter for The Asbury Park...

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