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Dreams Las Mareas is an all-inclusive resort located in the far north of Costa Rica, almost all the way to the Nicaraguan border (just 37 kilometers from the border crossing). The resort is situated on the Pacific Ocean side of the country, so you will see some truly phenomenal sunsets. This luxurious and modern resort opened just a few years ago, and everything from the rooms to the landscaping is exceptionally well-maintained.
I just returned from a week-long stay at this beautiful resort and am already missing the sunshine and hospitality! It was my first time staying at an all-inclusive resort, and I have the full scoop on everything you need to know about Dreams Las Mareas in Costa Rica.
How to Get to Dreams Las Mareas Resort
The best way to get to Dreams Las Mareas is to fly into the Daniel Obuder International Airport in Liberia, located 77 kilometers (or about an hour and a half) south of the resort. Although the San Jose airport in the capital city is larger, it is a much farther 4 hour drive. The Liberia airport is quite small — we breezed through immigration & customs both when we landed and when we departed.
To get to the resort, you can either book transportation via a shuttle service or you can drive yourself. If you aren’t comfortable driving in a foreign country, go ahead and book this easy shuttle — round trip transportation for up to five people is $250 (per group, not per person!). This is the best deal I found and it will be a private shuttle for just your group, meaning you won’t have to stop at other resorts/hotels along the way.
If you prefer the freedom of having a car throughout your trip, renting a car is the way to go. This is what I chose to do and it was a very simple process! I recommend using Adobe as they offer upfront pricing with no hidden fees (something that is a big problem in Costa Rica). Once you exit the airport, just look for a representative holding the Adobe company sign and they will transport you to their office via a shuttle. Once we arrived, it took about ten minutes to get everything squared away and start driving to the resort. PS, if you use this link, you will save an extra 20% on your car rental!
We found the roads to be very easy to navigate. We used Waze as our GPS system and never encountered any issues. The majority of the drive is an easy country highway, but you do go through some very windy mountains (but only for about five minutes). Once you get closer to the resort, the last 15 minutes or so of the drive will be comprised of a road that is filled with potholes. It’s not a big deal, though, we navigated the roads no problem. Once we had the car, we were also able to explore the nearby national parks without a guide or organized tour group (much more our style).
Accommodations at Dreams Las Mareas
From basic rooms to suites with swim-out pools, Dreams Las Mareas offers a variety of room types to suit your family or group. We chose the Junior Suite Tropical View with the Preferred Club, a mid-range room with a view of the lush mountains that surround the resort. Our room was on the top (2nd) floor of the building and offered beautiful sunset views!
The room featured a king sized bed, TV with cable (including American football games), a large shower with a rainfall shower head, and a spacious balcony. The balcony featured a comfortable couch and chaise lounge along with a jacuzzi tub! I was beyond excited about having a jacuzzi on the balcony — it felt like the height of luxury to me. It was so relaxing to enjoy the evening with a beer from my personal bubbly hot tub.
I had no complaints about the room whatsoever – it was a great size and very comfortable. The bed was the most comfortable hotel bed I have ever slept in. Normally, I dread not being able to sleep well in a hotel because of flat, floppy pillows that always hurt my neck. Not the case here! The mattress and pillows were perfectly soft yet firm and provided me with a great night’s rest.
Room service is available 24/7 at no additional cost. Although I never tried it out, the menu was extensive and would be especially nice for the rooms with private pool access. The mini-bar in the room was restocked each afternoon with a fresh supply of local beers, bottled water, and soda. They also happened to provide my two very favorite snacks: Pringles and peanut M&Ms! I thought it was so funny that the room felt so tailored to me, and took full advantage of the daily snacks and mini liquor bottle refills we received.
Bars & Restaurants at Dreams Las Mareas
Dreams Las Mareas Resort offers six full-service, sit-down restaurants plus a poolside grill, a coffee & ice cream shop, five bars, and a nightclub. I tried all but one restaurant and the nightclub. The nightclub didn’t open until 10:00pm each night and let’s be real: I’m half asleep by that time of night.
Himitsu: Pan-Asian Cuisine
Himitsu was one of our favorite restaurants at the resort! They offer a variety of Asian cuisine including sushi, Thai spring rolls, chicken satay, and more. I feel like sushi is a great cuisine for an all-inclusive environment, because it tends to be expensive and I always want to order more than I can afford. Here, you can order as many things as you want and no one will bat an eye. I really enjoyed the chicken satay and unagi rolls here. Himitsu is the only restaurant that accepts reservations, but only if you want to sit at the teppanyaki table (where the cook the food in front of you). For regular seating, it’s first come, first served just like at the rest of the resort.
Portofino: Italian Cuisine
Portofino is the only adults-only restaurant at the resort and the only place with a dress code. Men must wear long pants (jeans are fine) and will be turned away if wearing shorts. Women can wear anything but a swimsuit, basically. This is also the only restaurant where we ever had to wait for a table – we waited an hour to sit here one night, but it was totally worth it. We ordered multiple courses and enjoyed a few glasses of wine, and everything we ordered was delicious. I really liked the tomato & basil gnocchi here.
Oceana is open for both lunch and dinner and also features a full bar inside, making it one of the only restaurants where you can order liquor with your food (the other is the Seaside Grill). I loved the clam chowder from their dinner menu and my husband said his swordfish entree was great. We ate here once for lunch and once for dinner, and the menus were completely different.
Seaside Grill: Steaks & Grilled Specialties
Seaside Grill specializes in steaks, but you can order chicken or vegetarian options here as well. They offer several cuts of meat, cooked to order, along with a large selection of sides. Of course, you can choose as many sides as you like. Although I am not much of a red meat eater, I ordered the ribeye here and definitely enjoyed it. My husband would eat steak for dinner every night if he could, and he was pleased as well.
World Café: Buffet
The World Café is the only restaurant open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and is a buffet each time. The breakfast buffet was truly exceptional. The food was freshly cooked and they offered everything a guest could possibly want! A chef is available to make custom omelettes, there are waffles, pancakes, and crepes, plus a selection of breakfast meats and fresh fruits. There is also a mimosa bar with several juice choices — the pineapple was my favorite!
Lunch is a similar experience — plentiful options with something for everyone. There were several types of pizza, pasta, grilled chicken and wings, etc. We didn’t eat dinner here but I would imagine it’s just as good! This seems to be the most kid-friendly restaurant at the resort, as there was always plenty of food kids would like.
El Patio: Mexican Cuisine
This is the only restaurant on-site that I did not try. Although I do really like Mexican food, it was not the style of Mexican food I’m used to. As a current Texan and former Californian, I think I’m more used to coastal Mexican cuisine and this seemed more like upscale interior Mexican food. I’m sure there would have been things I liked, but we never made it to this restaurant. If you go, let me know what you ordered and how it was!
Coco Cafe: Coffee & Ice Cream
I visited the Coco Cafe Every. Single. Day. They offer lattes, mochas, and other coffee drinks in the morning, and ice cream at night! It was the perfect way to start and end each day. I became obsessed with a flavor of ice cream called “mascarpone and figs” — I don’t really know what either of those ingredients are on their own, but it was fantastic.
Bars & Lounges
There is no shortage of places to find alcohol around Dreams Las Mareas! There is a swim-up bar in one of the central pools and walk-up bars near each of the other pools. Staff members will also take drink orders directly from your pool chair as they walk around. There is one (adults only, obviously) actual indoor bar called Rendezvous — it appears somewhat fancy due to the decor and the musician playing piano in the center of the room, but people acted like they were in any old bar. This could be a positive or negative depending on your preferences, but I enjoyed the atmosphere. We sat at the bar one night ordering drinks for a few hours and had a great time.
Activities at Dreams Las Mareas
Dreams Las Mareas offers plenty of complimentary activities to keep you entertained day and night. The biggest draw is, of course, the large and beautiful pools. I spent many hours lounging poolside with a pina colada and enjoyed every minute of it. There are six total pools on-site, all surrounded with plenty of comfy pool chairs and cabanas. Pool towels are available at each pool area. One pool is reserved for adults only, and this was where I spent most of my time as it was quieter and more peaceful.
The resort does border a beach, so you can also relax on the beach if you prefer the ocean to the pool. One day, a group of monkeys came down from the nearby jungle and were playing in the small trees along the beach. It was so amazing to see wild monkeys that close up! The beach is fairly small as it is in a cove, but I never saw many people on the sand or swimming in the water. You can borrow a kayak, stand up paddle board, or snorkel equipment from the resort for free. We took a kayak out and had a great time enjoying the sun, sea, and mountains. My husband went snorkeling (the water was too cold for me that day!) and saw tons of sea creatures in the clear Pacific waters.
Throughout the day, you will find activities such as outdoor yoga classes, water aerobics, beach volleyball games, ping pong tournaments, and nature walks. Each night, there is also some sort of entertainment — dance shows, karaoke, and a fire show are a few of the things we saw while staying at Dreams Las Mareas resort. I was really impressed by the Caribbean Show – a 45 minute dance performance with gorgeous costumes.
The resort can organize various day trips and off-site activities for you to participate in, but these are not included in your resort fees. We decided to book two activities: an ATV tour and horseback riding. Both activities took place about 15 minutes away at a cattle ranch called Hacienda El Cenizaro, and we thoroughly enjoyed both activities.
We saw groups of howler and spider monkeys during both tours, and while on horseback saw a large sloth hanging out in a tree! Seeing a sloth was one of my top bucket list items for Costa Rica and I was so thrilled to find one in the wild. Luckily, the sloth wasn’t too high up so we got a great view, and I was even able to see its face! Sloths are one of the cutest animals to me.
The resort also offers day trips to La Fortuna, Arenal Volcano, and Nicaragua. If we had stayed longer, I would have loved to do the Nicaragua tour but we couldn’t fit it into our week this time. La Fortuna and Arenal are quite far away from the resort, and while the trips look amazing, might be better visited from a closer location in Costa Rica.
Is An All-Inclusive Resort Worth It?
Since this was my first time at an all-inclusive resort, I didn’t quite know what to expect from the food, service, etc. I really enjoyed my stay here and feel that the costs to visit are fully worth it. We received excellent service from every staff member we interacted with and felt that they truly wanted to assist us with anything at all that we needed. The food was great, the pools were beautiful, and the surrounding scenery was simply gorgeous. I loved being surrounded by lush, green mountains on three sides and the sparkling Pacific Ocean on the other side. It truly felt like a complete paradise where none of my troubles from home could follow me.
Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning that I earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you!) if you decided to purchase something. Everything I link is a product I personally use and 100% believe in, I promise! I paid full price for my stay and am not receiving any compensation for this post.
Book Your Costa Rica Resort: Use Booking.com as they consistently offer the lowest prices. Many of their listings also allow you to book now and pay when you stay, making it easy to plan ahead for travel.
Don’t Forget Travel Insurance: Travel insurance will protect you in case of injury, illness, theft, missed flights, and more. I have been using World Nomads for years and have had nothing but great experiences.
Get the Costa Rica Guide Book: I read the Lonely Planet guide book for my destination before every trip! Their guide books are full of great information.
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Whitney Houghen says
Wow Las Mareas looks very beautiful and a great vacation spot. I have been to some countries in South America but not to Costa Rica. I will consider taking my next vacation there. Right now I am finalizing my trip to some of the best safari destinations in Africa, when I get back I would love to see the waterfall at the Las Mareas Resort. Thanks for this information
It really is beautiful! The waterfall was the highlight of the trip — I totally recommend doing it!
This place looks and sounds so amazing!!!