Are you planning a trip to Costa Rica? In that case, you have come to the right place. This post will guide you on the best vacation spots in Costa Rica.
This beautiful rain-forested central-American country has stunning shorelines on the Caribbean and Pacific oceans, making it perfect for a relaxing getaway.
The country is known for its white sandy beaches, volcanoes, and biodiversity. When visiting Costa Rica, tourists can expect many exhilarating adventures such as river rafting, meeting locals in rural areas, and exploring the rainforest.
The Spanish-speaking country boasts stunning and picturesque views perfect if you are a shutterbug looking to improve your travel photography.
Here’s a list of the 11 nicest places to stay in Costa Rica.
The best time to visit Costa Rica is between December and April during the dry season.
During this time, the country attracts more visitors; as a result, the national parks and beaches are busier.
However, weather conditions are best for viewing the wildlife, going on adventures in the rainforest, and laying out on the beach.
The Arenal Kioro Hotel & Spa is a luxury-driven hotel with 53 suites and sits on 65 acres of land. From each of the suites, tourists have panoramic views of the Arenal Volcano.
The hotel has natural hot springs, perfect for relaxation after a long day of exploring the Arenal. The Neidin Spa offers guests luxurious services such as massages, mud masks, and body wraps.
You can enjoy delicious food at the Heliconias restaurant, serving Costa Rican delicacies. If you only need a cold beverage, perhaps after being on an adventure, you can go to the Carajillos Sports Bar.
Some fun activities you can do at Arenal Kioro include Sarapiqui river rafting, horseback riding, and hiking the Arenal Volcano.
Hotel Belmar is a world-renowned establishment located in the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. The hotel is dedicated to protecting the environment.
They even have an organic farm and serve their guests traditional Costa Rican cuisine using fresh produce from farm-to-table.
The hotel has 13 Belmar rooms and 9 chalets, and each suite is fully equipped with locally crafted furniture and handmade soap. Guests also get to enjoy spectacular views of the sunset from their suites.
Some other amenities in the hotel include private walking trails, a juice bar, a spa, and access to the best things to do at Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve.
Hotel Grano de Oro lies in the heart of Costa Rica’s capital city, San Jose. The beautiful Victorian-style building will make you feel like you’re in a private home.
The 40-room hotel has a restaurant highly celebrated for its tropical European fusion and cuisine.
The hotel has a rooftop garden where guests can enjoy a relaxing evening in the jacuzzi after a long day of exploring the city. Guests can also book massage services like deep tissue massages and aromatherapy.
Outside the hotel, guests can enjoy special activities like having a picnic at La Sabana Park, the most popular park in San Jose.
If you have a sweet tooth, you should visit the Alma de Cafe, where you can sample some homemade desserts made from locally produced Costa Rican chocolate.
The Gaia Hotel & Reserve is located on the Central Pacific Coast in Quepos.
The hotel lies in an area formerly known as Gaia Garden, a wildlife rehabilitation center, and a conservation area of orchids and other endangered species endemic to Costa Rica.
The hotel is in the Manuel Antonio area, which is one of the best places to visit in Costa Rica for first-timers. The site has rainforests, beaches, hiking trails, and off-shore coral reefs.
Visitors of the Gaia can enjoy a relaxing massage at the Terra Spa, where they can get treatments like hot stone massages, aromatherapy, and ginger volcanic clay masks.
Wyndham Tamarindo Hotel is a modern boutique-style hotel situated on a hilltop overlooking the quaint town of Tamarindo. Although it is a small town, Tamarindo beaches have some of the best sunsets in Costa Rica.
The hotel has 104 rooms and offers its visitors activities like horseback riding, daily surfing lessons, and mangrove tours.
In addition, guests may also choose to book themselves a catamaran to experience Tamarindo from the bay. Depending on the season, you may see sea turtles, dolphins, or whales if you are lucky.
You can treat yourself to breakfast, lunch, and supper at the Pura Vista restaurant.
Other amenities you’ll enjoy include a full-service spa, oceanview pool, fitness room, and sauna. The Wyndham hotel also provides guests a shuttle to the Langosta Beach Club.
The Los Suenos Condo and Home Rentals is a private residency with the services of a hotel.
The lodge is part of the Los Suenos Resort community and offers visitors accommodation in private villas with one to three bedrooms and private homes with three to eight bedrooms.
The Los Suenos is in the town of Jaco, on the Central Pacific Coast.
Guests of the Los Suenos Resort community have access to amenities like an 18-hole championship golf course, a marina, a hiking trail, and tennis courts.
Outside of the residency, guests can explore the town of Jaco and all that it has to offer.
The area is known for its hidden beaches, fantastic surfing spots, and sports fishing. Visitors can also swing by the Carara National Park to enjoy some birdwatching.
Villa Tucan is a stunning getaway nestled in the jungle. The villa is located in La Fortuna and has magnificent views of the Arenal Volcano.
Here visitors will find a perfect blend of nature, elegant vacationing, and a short ride from all the area’s top attractions.
After a long day of adventure, you will enjoy a peaceful sleep on the double or queen-sized bed provided, but not before making yourself a warm beverage at the coffee station.
The rooms also come with a mini-fridge suitable for keeping your snacks and refreshments cool.
Outside your villa, you will have access to a shared kitchen, swimming pool, and jacuzzi. Guests are welcome to visit the La Fortuna Waterfall, that’s less than 5km away, or the even closer Kalambu Hot Springs.
Xandari Resort & Spa is a tropical paradise; with its vibrant building designs and green-thumbed gardens, it is arguably one of the nicest places to stay in Costa Rica. The resort has 24 spacious villas situated on a 40-acre property.
Visitors can expect to enjoy their meals with breathtaking views of Alajuela City, one of the best cities to visit in Costa Rica.
Xandari terrace restaurant offers guests a variety of healthy options of Costa Rican cuisine, combined with Mediterranean and Californian influences.
Some amenities found in the resort include excellent hiking trails, a private forest reserve with five natural waterfalls, a coffee plantation, a yoga studio, three swimming pools, and a spa.
The Hotel Aguas Claras is a luxury bohemian hideaway nestled on the Caribbean Coast of Costa Rica. It has six bungalows, six-themed suites, and a two-story Caribbean House.
The hotel has a modern design with playful blends of tropical and bohemian styles.
The hotel is in the beach town of Puerto Viejo, which has incredible turquoise waters, ultra-soft white sand, and palm trees, making this town a traveler’s paradise.
Only 700 meters from Chiquita Beach, the hotel offers guests free bike usage and free parking.
Some activities you can do in Puerto Viejo include going on a chocolate tour where you learn about cocoa and the history of making chocolate.
Or perhaps visit the Jaguar Rescue Foundation, a wildlife sanctuary where you’ll learn how to care for wounded animals and nurse them back to health.
Located in Costa Rica’s second-largest city Alajuela, the Pura Vida Hotel is ten minutes away from the San Jose Airport and gives travelers more flexibility in case they fall sick while traveling and need to return home.
The hotel is also just an hour’s drive away from the Poas Volcano National Park and the Doka Estate, renowned for its exquisite coffee beans.
The Pura Vida Hotel has six suites that vary slightly in price during the different peak seasons. It also has a restaurant that features a gorgeous open-air terrace with a lush botanical garden.
Guests who wish to eat outside of the hotel are welcome to call a taxi or hire a rental car for their convenience.
Some activities available at the hotel include visiting the Poas Volcano, touring local villages, and sightseeing at the La Paz Waterfall Gardens.
Located in the Gulf of Papagayo, the Secrets Papagayo luxury hotel is perfect for a couple’s romantic getaway or honeymoon. The hotel offers exclusive access to Arenilla beach.
Here you can enjoy endless fun activities like paddleboarding, mountain biking, and scuba diving.
Along the Gulf, you’ll find many beaches with calm waters, where you may spot marine wildlife like orcas. You can also visit the Papagayo Peninsula, less than an hour away from Liberia Airport.
The Papagayo Peninsula is known for its calm waters, perfect for beginner surfers and tourists who would like to enjoy slow boating, canoeing, or paddleboarding on the beach.
Costa Rica is blessed with having the best geological position.
In addition to having coastlines with two of the prettiest oceans, the country has several natural landmarks such as active and inactive volcanoes, rainforests, and beautiful waterfalls.
The country has countless resorts, hotels, and retreats that vary in price and are suitable for any kind of traveler.
However, before booking your trip to Costa Rica, read up on the essential travel resources that you will need to make sure your trip goes smoothly.
Essential Info: Logistical Tips and Tricks to Book your Trip
BOOK YOUR FLIGHT
Find a cheap flight by using Skyscanner or Kayak. These are two of the sites I use the most due to their exhaustive search on several websites and airlines around the world. They usually bring the cheapest fares.
BOOK YOUR ACCOMMODATION
If you’re looking to save money by staying at a hostel, HostelWorld has the largest inventory of hostels. On the other hand, Airbnb offers a wide variety of rooms and apartments at affordable prices. (Get $40 off your first Airbnb booking with this link.)
For hotels, guesthouses, and other types of accommodation, I also recommend Booking.com. They usually have the cheapest fares for guesthouses and hotels. I always book my hotels with Booking.com.
DON’T FORGET YOUR TRAVEL INSURANCE
Travel insurance with comprehensive coverage will protect you against unexpected events like theft, cancellations, injury, and illness. I use World Nomads and highly recommend it.
If you’re a nomad and travel often or long term, then SafetyWing could help you save a lot of money on travel insurance.
FIND THE BEST TOURS AT THE BEST PRICES
If you’re looking for the best day-tours and cheapest ticket entrances to local attractions, I recommend checking Viator, as they have the largest selection of attractions, passes, and activities all around the world.
BOOK YOUR LOCAL TRANSPORTATION AHEAD OF TIME
Bookaway offers the easiest and most accessible way to book overland transportation with local operators; be it by bus, train, ferry, plane, mini-van, or even private transfers.
OTHER TRAVEL AND MONEY-SAVING TIPS?
Lastly, check out my resources page for some of the best products and companies to use for your trip. If you like saving money (like I do!), then this page will help.
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