THE BEST PLACES TO STAY IN COSTA RICA (2019)

best places to stay in costa rica

Looking for the best places to stay in Costa Rica? We took a nice road trip around the country and checked out various types of accommodations. Boutique hotels, all-inclusive resorts, villas, eco-lodges, and treehouses – Costa Rica has it all! Choosing a place to stay truly comes down to what you want out of your vacation and the price you are willing to spend. Keep in mind there are thousands of Airbnb’s in Costa Rica so staying in someone else’s home is also a great option.

We stayed at just about every price point of accommodation other than hostels. Price points vary a lot by location. For example, a nice hotel in Guanacaste may cost double what it does on the central Pacific Coast because it is one of the more popular areas to stay. Then you have the off-grid properties that can demand a higher payment given they have may have higher costs. Keep in mind that activities and food options offered by many providers.

If you’re looking to kick back in Costa Rica you may want an all-inclusive experience rather than a place you have to pay per meal. We break down the best places to stay in Costa Rica and the best areas to stay in Costa Rica here!


The Best Places to Stay in Costa Rica


Three Sixty Boutique Hotel, Ojochal

For the best views in all of Costa Rica, or perhaps the best in the world you have to stop by Hotel Three Sixty. Set on top of a hill in the middle of the rainforest the ultra-modern boutique hotel features exposed beams, a massive pool with 360-degree views of the ocean and jungle, and luxurious rooms with fine linen and high def Bluetooth speakers.

In our opinion, it’s one of the best places to stay in Costa Rica for couples as it’s secluded and romantic. Hotel Three Sixty is part of the Small Luxury Hotel group and for good reason.

Best Places to Stay in Costa Rica

It’s definitely intimate and luxurious and the rooms are among the most comfortable we stayed in Costa Rica. Featuring high-speed WiFi, a television, king size plush beds, bathrobes, and amazing balconies. Being the highest establishment around you can bet you get both sunrise and sunset here. We visited in the offseason but were told that when it’s busy people come from the whole area to watch the sunset over the ocean from the outdoor bar. Rates start at $350 a night.

Check Rates Here:

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Lapa Rios, Osa Peninsula

The Osa Peninsula is one of the best areas to stay in Costa Rica especially for wildlife. Lapa Rios is one of the pioneers of ecotourism in Costa Rica and likely one of the most famous lodges in the country. It’s one of the best places to stay in Costa Rica for families. It’s located in the Osa Peninsula and considered one of the most biodiverse locations in the world.

All the rooms here have outdoor showers, private decks with fantastic views, and screen walls allowing for the sounds of nature to enter the room. This isn’t the place you come if you want air conditioning and televisions. Rather Lapa Rios is a sanctuary for nature lovers who want to immerse themselves into the Costa Rican jungle. It’s a wonderful eco lodge in Costa Rica to travel to and completely disconnect for awhile.

This property is part of the well-reputed Cayuga Collection. They have some of the best guides in the country work here and there are all kinds of tours to fit everyone’s needs. We personally spent our two days here on night walks scouting rare frogs, sunrise bird watching, waterfall trekking, and guided hikes to see the howler monkeys.

On some days yoga is offered and they often have local vendors come in to share their crafts. Or you can chill at the pool all day and get full on watermelon juice. Whatever activity you choose will be unique and remind you of why you came to Costa Rica in the first place. All food and activities are all-inclusive. Rates start at $800 a night.

Check Rates Here:

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Latitude 10 Resort, Santa Teresa

Wondering where to stay in Costa Rica on the beach? Latitude 10 is another property managed by the Cayuga Collection and is one of the best reach resorts in Costa Rica.

This small beach eco lodge lodge in Costa Rica may have the most beautiful spot in all of Santa Teresa. It’s a collection of open-air casitas scattered throughout the lush seaside forest. The location is serene and peaceful away from any noise experienced in the main town. It’s the perfect place to come if you truly want a barefoot beach vacation and get back to nature while reading your favorite book in a hammock.

Where to stay in Costa Rica

The Latitude 10 staff engage guests in daily activities like cocktail classes and ceviche making. The location also can get you hooked up with some surfing lessons or a private yoga sesh. We loved the morning yoga class on the beach and breakfast overlooking the ocean. Rates here start at $225 a night, breakfast included.

Check Rates Here:

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Finca Bellavista, Piedras Blancas

Finca Bellavista is one of the most unique and coolest places to stay in Costa Rica. This eco-community is set in the middle of the Costa Rican jungle along the Pacific Coast. It’s a stunning track of secondary and primary forest with a network of hiking trails to explore on your own. Rooms here come in the form of treehouses spread throughout the forest, some an hour plus hike from the main lodge so make sure you book accordingly.

The whole community is off the grid and runs on solar power. Guests should be prepared to be pretty self-sufficient when visiting although there is a main kitchen dishing up tasty Costa Rican classics for those who don’t want to cook. With a down to earth vibe, it attracts a clientele in search of a digital detox and good conversation. Treehouses start at $100 a night, food not included but you will have access to their amazing grounds and hiking.

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Casitas Tenorio, Bijagua

Casticas is a collection of casitas that are eco friendly and spread among a hamlet of a primary rainforest. The bed and breakfast is family run and very active in the rural community. We loved the rooms, murals, and the location of Casitas Tenorio. As soon as I walked into our adorable casita I told Cameron that this is what I wanted my house to look like.

There are only a select number of casitas making the experience very quiet. There’s no WiFi or television here, but there are great views over the jungle so make sure to bring a book and a yoga mat and enjoy the serenity. The beautiful little property is also home to a few sloths and tons of birds which the owner Donald was kind enough to show us on a short tour. Make sure to get up early in the morning to take part in their farm tour! Rates start at $120 a night, breakfast included.

Check Rates Here:

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Villa Beuna Onda, Guanacaste

Still wondering where to stay in Costa Rica? Why not a private beach villa! Villa Buena Onda is an all-inclusive adult-only villa that sits high above Playa Hermosa in Guanacaste. There are only eight rooms in this large villa so the setting is intimate and private. It’s perfect for honeymooners or adult family getaways. The pool and swim up bar provide stunning sunsets over the coastline.

Where to stay in Costa Rica5

If you hang around here at night to watch the sunset you’ll also get a chance to drink a cocktail during their happy hour. Rooms are sizable and very comfortable with all the modern amenities you could need.  It’s all-inclusive with attentive staff helping those looking to unwind in Guanacaste. This property is not walking distance to the beach, but they do provide complimentary shuttles should you wish to walk on the Costa Rican sand. Rates start at $225 per person a night, all-inclusive.

Check Rates Here:

Hotels.comBooking.comAgoda


El Silencio Lodge, Bajos Del Toro

This eco-lodge features a private cloud forest reserve with a number of hiking trails and activities. The rooms are a series of villas nestled along a hillside each featuring a private deck, morning coffee delivery, and a hot tub. Rates start at $500 a night, food and activities not included. I won’t go into much detail here because we wrote an entire post on the Costa Rican eco-lodge.

Check Rates Here:

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Airbnb, Jaco

Best Places to Stay in Costa Rica

We stayed a few Airbnb in Costa Rica but our absolute favorite was this one we stayed at in Jaco. Set in a beautiful community with a pool outside of the main city this was our little oasis for a few days. The place was comfortable, had a full kitchen, washer and dryer, living room, and two bedrooms. Costa Rica isn’t known for having the best WiFi but this place had an amazing connection. New to Airbnb? Check out our tips and things to know before renting. Here’s $30 off your first booking.

Coupon Code:

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When is the Best Season to Travel Costa Rica?

Dry Season (Late November to Late April): Contradictory of high season in North America, Costa Rica celebrates its best weather during the North American winter. The high season in Costa Rica is the dry season. From late November to April you’ll get little rainfall to spoil your holiday. This is good and bad. Obviously, no one likes rain on their holiday, but it also means that everything won’t be nearly as lush as in the wet season. It’s during this time you’ll find higher prices, and accommodation options booking up fast. Advanced bookings are recommended.

Rainy Season (May to November):  Often referred to as the green season, this is when the rain falls in Costa Rica. May is the beginning of the rainy season with peak rainfall happening in September and dying back down come mid-November. The rainy season means lower prices and fewer tourist. However, you should travel with a rain jacket as chances are high you’ll get rained on. The plus side is everything is green and gorgeous. We traveled to Costa Rica during the middle of May and did get rained on at least once a day, but still saw plenty of sunshine and had a fantastic time still! Rain in the jungles of Costa Rica is so picturesque!

Best Place to stay in Costa Rica

Quick Costa Rica Travel Tips

  • Currency: Costa Rica Colón
  • Visa: Many nationalities can enter Costa Rica for 90 days visa-free
  • What to Pack: Good hiking shoes, a bathing suit, rain jacket, and rain boots. See our full Costa Rica packing list here.
  • Stay Connected: We recommend Sim Cards from either Kolbi, Movistar, or Claro. Sim cards can be purchased in town centers
Best Places to Stay in Costa Rica

What to Pack for Costa Rica


Things to do in Crete
Travel Insurance

We don’t travel without travel insurance and neither should you. You never know what can happen in a foreign country and it’s best to be prepared. World Nomads provides good short term coverage

SafetyWing is perfect for digital nomads. See our full review here!

Check Rates


Costa Rica Travel Guide
Car Rental

Renting a car is one of the best ways to get around the country. Compare rental prices here. 

Our Car Rental Tips


Lifestraw Go Water Bottle
Travel Water Bottle

Plastic pollution is a problem in Costa Rica so it’s best not to contribute to the problem buying plastic water bottles everywhere – plus the water from the taps here is perfectly safe to drink. We’ve shifted to using an insulated aluminum water bottle as it handles the hot sun well.

However, we also love filtered water bottles in areas we’re uncertain of the water supply. Read more about favorite water bottle for travel in our post.

Best Travel Water Bottles


jade mountain
Cover up

A cover-up is one of those beach vacation clothes you should always travel within your luggage. When packing for a day at the beach, make sure you don’t forget one. Not only do they look cute, but they will also protect you from the suns harsh rays.

Many establishments don’t allow beachgoers to wear just a swimsuit, so this is where the cover-up is essential. Most of my cover-ups come from Pitusa

Check the Prices


Costa Rica
Guide Book

You may not have internet to do research in all of Costa Rica. For wireless nights we typically turn to Lonely Planet.

Lonely Planet


REI Drypoint GTX - Best Packable Rain Jacket
Rain Jacket

In case you didn’t know, Costa Rica has something called the rainforest. It’s a safe bet that you’ll be caught in one of the countries many thunderstorms. If you are traveling Costa Rica in the wet season (May-December), a rain jacket is essential, but I would bring one any time of year just to be safe. The rain is typically short-lived, but you won’t want to get soaked during that time.

We both have rain jackets made by Arc’teryx. They are lightweight, durable, packable, waterproof, and windproof. Any rain jacket will do, but the top dollar ones will hold up and really help in inclement weather. If you’re looking for a more affordable jacket we’re big fans of Columbia’s outdoor wear for a good value.

Arc’teryxPatagonia Torrentshell Jacket Columbia Shell Jacket


Tevas vs Chacos Hurricane
Hiking Sandals

These were great to have! You’ll do a lot of walking around Costa Rica in the extremely hot sun. Hiking sandals allow for your feet to breathe and they do not collect sand when trudging through the desert. You bet we’ve reviewed the best hiking sandals for travelers!

Teva’s and Chacos


Things to do in Crete
Rainbow Sandals

Want to fit in in Costa Rica? Get yourself some Rainbow brand sandals, seriously everyone around you will be wearing them – and for a good reason. They are uber comfortable once you break them in and last forever!

Rainbow Sandals


Things to do in Crete
Travel Shoes

If you’re wondering what travel necessities to bring to Costa Rica then good walking shoes should be your top concern.

I love my Merrell Moab Ventilators and Allbirds for travel, I’ve been going strong in them for two years! Check out my other recommendations on women’s shoes, and the best men’s travel shoes.

Allbirds


Things to do in Crete
Beach Tote!

No matter what you will need a beach bag when heading to the beach. This is to throw in anything like towels, a book, a speaker, sunglasses, snacks, and sunscreen. As full-time travelers, we often use our daypacks for trips to the beach since a tote is unnecessary.

However, a classic tote that everyone has in their closet is a great option for those on short trips or live close to the beach. They also travel well as they can fold flat and lie in your luggage. For family beach goers I recommend a large yet durable beach tote like this one.

Shop Beach Totes


Things to do in Crete
Sunscreen

Skin cancer is for real! Don’t forget your SPF when traveling around Costa Rica. We recommend ordering some online before leaving the house as you will need it underneath the sun in the summer.

We highly recommend getting an eco friendly sun cream that does not contain harmful chemicals.

Purchase Sunscreen


Beach Packing List Sunglasses
Sunglasses

Make sure to protect your eyes from the sun. There are a lot of options for sunglasses and everyone should own at least a pair. It’s best to make sure they do have UV protection for the health of your eyes.

We made our first investment in quality polarized sunglasses with a pair of SMITH Optics Lowdown 2. Truthfully, not everyone needs to invest $150 in a pair of sunglasses, but they do make a huge difference from the crappy $10 ones.

See Sunglasses


Best Travel Towel - REI Micro Lite towel
Travel Towel

Most hotels will provide you with a towel, but they often aren’t suitable or allowed on the beaches. I like to travel with a microfiber towel because they are light and fold up small, and they also don’t cling on to sand our dirt. Here are a few of our favorite travel towels.

Best Towels For Travel



Costa Rica Packing List

Check Out These Posts

All Around Costa Rica

Travel Quote Inspiration

Tips For Your Next Trip

Be an Eco Friendly Traveler

Pack Your Bags


THANKS FOR READING!

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About the Author

Natasha

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Natasha is a five-foot blonde that believes she was made short so she could fit in air, train, car, and bus seats comfortably. She believes in watching every single movie nominated for an Oscar and loves all animals. Natasha has a passion for environmentally friendly and sustainable travel. Natasha recently made a move to Canada and resides near Banff National Park in Alberta and loves new adventures in the mountains. Natasha's favorite countries are Italy, Iceland, Greece, Japan, Mozambique, and South Africa.

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