100% Gluten-Free in Costa Rica at Arenas del Mar

Do you ever dream about faraway places but get scared because you have Celiac?
Do you ever think “I want to travel, but where can I eat gluten-free so far from home?”
Are you ready to take your first gluten-free vacation since you were diagnosed with Celiac, but you don’t know where to go?

I know exactly how you feel. That’s why I started my Gluten-Free Globetrotter website in 2011. I wanted to convince other Celiacs that they also can travel. Living with Celiac since 1981, I didn’t know anything else but gluten-free travel. In 2005, I took my first solo trip to the Grand Canyon and I never looked back. I’ve travel the globe and ate gluten-free 100% of the time!

Part of my mission with Gluten-Free Globetrotter is to find “safe” places for us to go around the world. When I learned about Arenas del Mar in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica, I was truly impressed. The more I read, the more I knew I had to go see it for myself. I diligently started doing my research, homework, and outreach to make this dream come true.


Photo credit: Arenas del Mar

Photo credit: Arenas del Mar

Arenas del Mar is a 38-room hotel on the southern Pacific coast of Costa Rica. In 2013, Travel and Leisure magazined voted it the Top Family Hotel in Central and South America. It has also been awarded 5 Stars for Luxury and 5 Leaves for Sustainability by the Government of Costa Rica. This is all nice, but not enough for this Gluten-Free Globetrotter.

GREAT kitchen logoWhat impressed me most? All of the kitchen staff at Arenas del Mar is currently being trained through the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness GREAT Kitchens training program“This comprehensive course teaches the essentials of gluten-free food preparation and cross-contamination avoidance – skills that are critical for serving customers with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity.” This is HUGE! Here is a hotel almost three thousand miles away that is learning how to cater to a Celiac customer in the middle of the jungle!!!

My gluten-free stars aligned, my unused vacation days were ready and waiting, and in less than three weeks, I will be traveling solo to the jungles of Costa Rica and staying at Arenas Del Mar* for five days! I am beyond excited for this trip. Traveling the globe, searching for gluten-free friendly places, and then sharing that with my readers is exactly what I want to do with my life. It’s why I write Gluten-Free Globetrotter. If I can encourage just one reader to step out of their comfort zone and book a gluten-free vacation anywhere in the world, then my mission is complete!

Arenas del Mar can cater to the gluten-free community year round, but there is an extra special treat later this year. In September and again in November, Arenas del Mar is hosting two weeks dedicated to the Celiac Community. These two weeks will be 100% gluten-free for all guests! How cool is that?

Photo credit: Arenas del Mar

Photo credit: Arenas del Mar

Here is more information about these extra special weeks:

A Week for the Celiac Community


In support of the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA), Arenas Del Mar will host two Weeks for the Celiac Community. During the weeks beginning September 13th and again on November 8th.  Both restaurants at Arenas Del Mar will go 100% gluten-free for their guests’ safety and comfort.

A Week for the Celiac Community was inspired by the daughter of one of the owners who has celiac disease and understands first-hand how anxiety bout dining out can deter those with special dietary needs from traveling. When she travels, she becomes scared at each mealtime with concern for the ingredients in her food and cross contact in the kitchen.

The first week, beginning September 13th 2014, will feature guest Chef Monica Glass, who herself has celiac disease, accompanied by Chef Nicole Petrongolo. Monica has worked as a pastry chef at the acclaimed seafood restaurant Le Bernardin in New York City, 10 Arts in Philadelphia and now Clio in Boston.

The second week, beginning November 8th 2014, will feature Michael Solomonov and Steven Cook, the owners and chefs of the highly rated Zahav in Philadelphia. This restaurant was named best restaurant in Philadelphia by Philly Magazine.

All the kitchen staff at Arenas Del Mar will also have completed the NFCA’s Great Kitchens training program which is accredited by the American Culinary Foundation.  A portion of the proceeds will benefit the NFCA.

For further details, please contact Jeremy Allen, Program Director and hotel Partner at AllenAllen@aol.com or 1- 610 407 9371. Please tell Jeremy you learned about Arenas del Mar from Erin Smith of Gluten-Free Globetrotter!

You can follow my Gluten-Free Globetrotter stay at Arenas Del Mar via:

* Arenas del Mar is hosting my 5-day stay later this June. The views and opinions expressed in this blog are purely and entirely my own.

About Erin Smith

Living with celiac disease since 1981 and eating gluten-free long before it was "trendy", Erin Smith has a unique perspective of growing up in the gluten-free community; Founded Gluten-Free Fun in 2007; Founded Gluten-Free Globetrotter® in 2011; Founded GlutenFreelancer® in 2014. Erin was the lead organizer of the NYC Celiac Disease Meetup group, a social community of more than 2,000 members for over a decade. She is the founder of the Santa Cruz Celiac support group. Erin currently resides in New York City and lives 100% gluten-free.
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6 Responses to 100% Gluten-Free in Costa Rica at Arenas del Mar

  1. stephanie says:

    Wow Erin, how awesome!! I cannot wait to hear about your trip, won’t be anything less than fabulous I am sure.

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