You won’t need to pull out your wallet or sign a receipt (no, not even to charge something to your room) throughout your entire stay at the newly appointed Auberge Hacienda AltaGracia in the Talamanca Mountains of Costa Rica, but you better not call it an “all-inclusive”.

And, sure, you can get mud masks, massages and take any number of yoga or meditation classes there, too, but you’d be corrected if you called it a “wellness hotel”. The folks on property prefer the term “holistic rate” for their “well-being resort” and, by any name, it’s clear they aim to be the best in the world at this newly emerging hospitality category. By my estimation, they’re pretty damn close. 

The serene indoor pool at THE WELL, Hacienda AltaGracia
The serene indoor pool at THE WELL, Hacienda AltaGracia © Courtesy Auberge Resorts

A wellness destination worthy of an epic splurge 

Hacienda AltaGracia is where you go for your honeymoon, the epic splurge or the luxed-up eat-pray-love trip — the one where you eat as many oysters as your heart desires, open up your sixth chakra in a yoga palapa next to a babbling brook and fall in love with the version of yourself that’s fully at peace once every stressor is taken off your to-do list. Okay, you may fall in love with a vaquero, too. 

As part of a remodel, new ownership has planted 52,000 trees and 7000 coffee plants which they’ll someday use to grind their own brew. For now, they’re committed to the hyper-local in sourcing everything from ingredients to guides (the staff is 95% local to the region and, I’m told, maintaining a sustainable relationship with the community is a high priority here). 

But, what is a well-being resort, anyways? AltaGracia breaks down the experience into three pillars: wellness, adventure and culinary touches. The resort’s goal, I was told, is to keep a balance between all three. And that experience is one that’s tailored for each individual resident, starting weeks before they ever even step foot on the property. 

The best national parks in Costa Rica

The main entrance to THE WELL at Hacienda AltaGracia
The main entrance to THE WELL at Hacienda AltaGracia © Courtesy Auberge Resorts

The journey begins when you book your stay

Offsite, and before your stay, this looks like a consultation call with a representative of THE WELL at Hacienda AltaGracia who curates the programming of your vacation. Onsite, all of the spa services are booked through THE WELL, a cavernous, light-filled spa and soaking room. There, you can (at no additional cost) get a custom mixed body clay, layout on heated stone slabs, watch the sunset from one of two hot tubs and drink a green juice — all while wearing the robe of your choosing from the “robe bar,” (which is, of course, a hallway stocked with three different plush styles to wrap yourself in). Somewhere, Gwenyth Paltrow is fainting. 

Costa Rica is asking travelers to offset their carbon footprint

The panoramic view from a Hacienda AltaGracia casita
The panoramic view from a Hacienda AltaGracia casita © Courtesy Auberge Resorts

During my wellness call, I told my consultant that I had some muscle pain and that I was looking to both turn off my type-A planner brain and stay present, connecting with all that this chapter of my Costa Rica trip had to offer. This resulted in a week of activities including but not limited to yoga and meditation classes, a massage that had me drizzled with local flower petals, an excursion where I made tortillas and milked a goat and a three-hour horseback ride through some seriously paintable scenery. As for the muscle pain? There was a hot water bottle placed in my bed each night at turndown service, right where my low back would hit. 

You say “jump” and AltaGracia says, “let us show you to the 100-foot tree you can repel down”; you say “relaxation” and AltaGracia says “how about a body treatment in a riverbed.” There’s no lobby here, no concierge. Instead, you WhatsApp your compa, short for compañero, who helps facilitate your stay. And, since there’s no one-size-fits-all, you can make your stay what you wish. 

Dive into your own private pool in these luxe hotel rooms

Get more travel inspiration, tips and exclusive offers sent straight to your inbox with our weekly newsletter.
All-day snacks and coffee at Mercado, Hacienda AltaGracia
All-day snacks and coffee at Mercado, Hacienda AltaGracia © Courtesy Auberge Resorts

Finding the space to relax and unwind 

There’s enough space on the 180-acre property that you can seek tranquility in solitude, yet also enough communal space — two pools, three restaurants and a coffee shop — that you can meet fellow travelers, too. You can adventure or find stillness. Unwind or ride off into the sunset. Take all of the complimentary classes on, say, the “art of avocado” or order guacamole to the bed swing outside of your casita. 

6 road trips in Costa Rica that aren't for the faint of heart

A look inside Grano, one of the resort's restaurants
A look inside Grano, one of the resort's restaurants © Courtesy Auberge Resorts

For my part, after a week of surfing and bunking with multiple people in a hostel near the ocean, I chose to unwind here. And I really unwound. My days were structured but not too full. I ordered everything all at once for breakfast and by my third day my favorite juice (fresh passion fruit) would magically appear before I could even utter “por favor.” I meandered through the coffee shop and ordered gluten-free carrot cake that tasted full gluten. I meditated for (almost) a full 30 minutes. I sat in the sauna for what is probably considered a medically alarming amount of time because I got lost in a daydream about the sound of the rain. And, I swear to wherever that rain came from, I’m so not this kind of lady (hell, I’m a New Yorker!) but this is the kind of lady you become at Hacienda AltaGracia. An honest to goodness “you seem really rejuvenated” kind of lady — a compliment that was actually paid to me by my boss over Zoom a few days into my stay. And that feeling, even the memory of that feeling, may have alone been worth the price of admission. That feeling is included. It’s holistic.

The 12 best beaches in Costa Rica

Getting specific about the luxe details 

The interior of a one-bedroom casita at Hacienda AltaGracia
The accommodations at the resort are well-appointed and comfortable © Courtesy Auberge Resorts

The Rooms: The property, which reopened just three months ago after over a year and a half of serious renovations and now under new ownership, is comprised of 50 casitas, each with expansive showers and dressing areas and a lush outdoor patio. Some have multiple bedrooms and jet-enhanced plunge pools. 

The bar at Grano, Hacienda AltaGracia's locally-sourced restaurant
The bar at Grano, the resort's locally-sourced restaurant © Courtesy Auberge Resorts

The Food: It would be a crime to describe the “holistic” meal plan as “all-you-can-eat” which conjures images of cruise ship buffet lines, but definitely do eat all you can eat. There are three restaurants on the property that serve a range of international and Costa Rican fare. Room service is also available. 

When to go to Costa Rica

The Area: Though the lush surrounding area is stunning, don’t expect to see much of it unless you book off-property excursions. Most guests arrive via the chartered flights that the hotel will coordinate from hub airports in San José or Liberia

THE WELL at Hacienda AltaGracia, Costa Rica
Afternoon tea at THE WELL at Hacienda AltaGracia © Courtesy Auberge Resorts

Accessibility: Wheelchair rooms are available with roll-in showers. All public areas are wheelchair accessible including the gym and spa. Golf carts are the primary means of transport and access (guests ride in them, not drive them). All meals can be tailored to any kind of allergy or dietary restriction. 

How to get around Costa Rica

Al fresco dining at Grano with sweeping views of the Costa Rican jungle
Alfresco dining at Grano with sweeping views of the Costa Rican jungle © Courtesy Auberge Resorts

The Price: Listen, there are ways to travel Costa Rica on a dime and there are ways to stay for $1,300 and up a night. This is the latter. 

What’s Included: Room and board including all food and non-alcoholic beverages. The roster of daily programming includes yoga, meditation, culinary experiences, hikes and more. Use of the gym and the spa including sauna, steam room, hot tubs and clay mask treatment.

What’s Not Included: Off-property excursions, spa treatments, alcoholic beverages, charter flights and transfers. 

You might also like:
Discover Costa Rica's most unique tree houses
Costa Rica’s 7 most unique places to stay include tropical igloos and treehouses
Checking in: Fairmont Century Plaza, finding new life in old Hollywood glam

Safety recommendations and restrictions during a pandemic can change rapidly. Lonely Planet recommends that travelers always check with local authorities for up-to-date guidance before traveling during Covid-19.

Explore related stories

Surfing in Bocas Del Toro, Panama
Bocas Del Toro, Latin America, Travel, Tourism, Idyllic, Exoticism, Tropical Climate, Vacations, Surfing, Panama, Central America, Caribbean, Palm Tree, Island, Beach, Caribbean Sea, Carenero Island
Caernero surfer - stock photo
Surfing in Bocas Del Toro, Panama


8 of the best places to surf in Central America

Jul 11, 2024 • 9 min read