San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Asian-Inspired Relaxation in Manuel Antonio

The first step into Raindrop Spa is a step into a sanctuary. A thin veil of sandalwood incense marks the passage into the dimly lit lounge, where a calming white pebble floor, a gurgling, flowerfilled fountain and a chilled mango smoothie greet the senses. After a few moments on a wicker sedan under the soothing swish of the palm-paddle ceiling fans, it’s time to choose from a list of spa services that reads like a dessert menu. Among the delectable options are a Thai honey body wrap, chocolate therapy treatment and papaya-banana leaf wrap.

One of the first stops on the winding road from Quepos to Manuel Antonio, on the central Pacific coast, Raindrop Spa delivers Asian-inspired luxury, relaxation and holistic health treatments. Taking full advantage of its location as a part of Manuel Antonio Estates, the spa also offers yoga, aerobics, dance, Pilates and meditation facilities. The hardwood-floor studio hosts weekly classes as well as international workshops and training by bodywork professionals from all over the world.

Owner Richard Lemire of Quebec, Canada, is president of the local chamber of commerce and part of a movement of business owners urging that entrance fee funds from nearby ManuelAntonioNational Park be invested in sustainable development projects in the area.

“Our philosophy is holistic health – reacquainting ourselves with life,” says massage therapist Martha Chinchilla, the spa’s manager. In accordance with this philosophy, the massage suite’s double doors are flung wide open to embrace the sights and sounds of the rain forest outside. Asian flute music blends with chirping frogs, birds and cicadas to create what Chinchilla calls “the natural melody of the rain forest.” An eastern eye for design is evident in the simple garden, stone statues, architecture, breezy white uniforms and silk kimono guest robes.

Raindrop Spa offers shiatsu, hot stone and relaxing massage by certified massage therapists “to achieve maximum well-being and holistic balance of our energetic, biochemical and physical being. The most important aspect is to transmit love through touch,” Chinchilla says.

I received literally the best massage of my life to date from Chinchilla. Her deep understanding of massage is the result of years of study and, I suspect, an innate gift for healing.

Treatment prices range from $45 to $120 for massages, $70 to $80 for facials and $130 to $300 for combination packages. For more information, call 2777-2880 or visit


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