Features 2 minutes 21 March 2024

Sendero charms guests with surf culture and sustainability

Consider this a sign to book your next trip.

After spending four days at Sendero, a charming boutique hotel in Nosara, Costa Rica, I’m already planning a trip back.

Surrounded by lush trees, kind staff, baked goods by the pool and accommodations that include an outdoor shower with a view of the jungle, it was hard to leave. The space lends itself to both relaxation and adventure, with a tree-lined pool at the center of the hotel and surfboards lined up in a small room at the hotel’s entry, ready to be rented and taken out on the ocean, which is just steps away.

Along with pool and beach access, guests can participate in workout classes, surf and yoga sessions instructed by locals, meals hosted by celebrity chef Olivier Palazzo and off-site excursions like ATV rides.

A commitment to sustainability

With a tree growing through the ceiling in the dining area, the 25-room hotel exudes a commitment to nature, sustainability and comfort. The co-founders, Stefanie Tannenbaum and Sarah Kosterlitz—who originally met through mutual friends during a Nosara surf trip in 2018—also made an effort to build the hotel around the pre-existing vegetation. In addition, all of the materials that were used in the construction of the hotel, including tiles, wood and concrete, were either recycled or locally sourced. And when it comes to water sourcing, the team at Sendero regularly harvests rainwater and treats blackwater to be reused for irrigation.

Alexis Benveniste
Alexis Benveniste

How it all started

In 2018, Kosterlitz was already living in Nosara and Tannenbaum “instantly fell in love with Nosara and felt drawn to go deeper” during her visit. But it wasn’t until January 2020—when Tannenbaum came to Nosara for what was supposed to be a three-month trip with her husband and one-year-old son—that everything changed. The planned three-month stay took an unexpected turn due to the pandemic and resulted in an “extended quarantine” in the secluded beach town. “It was the community that drew me in and made me want to stay and eventually build my life here,” she adds. Now, Stefanie splits her time between Nosara and Massachusetts. 

Justin Aharoni
Justin Aharoni

Beginning with a coworking space

The pair initially teamed up to create a coworking space. “When I was in Nosara during quarantine, our rental home had its limitations with unreliable internet and limited space,” Tannenbaum recalls. It prompted her to daydream about the comforts of her office back in New York City. “Drawing from my expertise in luxury office spaces and playful boutique hotels, I started envisioning the concept of a resort town office space,” Tannenbaum says. “When I shared this idea with Sarah, she was totally on board, and together, we poured our energy into further developing the concept.” And in December 2021, Outpost was born.

Kosterlitz and Tannenbaum had just opened Outpost when they started construction on Sendero, and now, hotel guests have access to the members-only workspace during their stays. “After going through the process of building and opening our first business in Nosara, it felt natural to do a second,” Kosterlitz says. And Tannenbaum had a dream of owning her own hotel. “I realized that the same potential I had witnessed in New England resort towns could be found right here in Nosara,” she adds.

Alexis Benveniste
Alexis Benveniste

Connecting with the community

The duo makes an effort to stay connected to the community in Nosara, which began with their first project, Outpost. Kosterlitz and Tannenbaum worked with a local Costa Rican team that handled the architecture, design, construction and operations of the space. That intention and effort also carried over to the creation of Sendero and served as the heart of the project. All of the hotel’s employees are Costa Rica natives.

With that in mind, Tannenbaum and Kosterlitz have made an effort to create a culture of opportunity and growth. “Throughout the operations, we focus on sourcing employees from Nosara,” says Tannenbaum. “Whenever there is an opportunity for somebody to grow within the team, we always train them to align their abilities with new possibilities so they can grow within the organization,” she shares. She added that the team provides English classes for employees and encourages professional growth through therapy sessions.

The local culture is present at every turn. The in-house surf school, Chorotegas Surf School, is locally owned. The owner is the grandchild of Chorotega natives from a native community  based in Guanacaste. And deCERCA, the hotel’s art gallery that sits on the premises next to the dining area, features different Costa Rican artists every month. “We believe that through these localized efforts, we contribute positively to both the Nosara and Costa Rican communities,” Tannenbaum says.

Justin Aharoni
Justin Aharoni

Hero image: Justin Aharoni


Keep Exploring - Stories we think you will enjoy reading