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.
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.
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.
Lapa Rios, Osa Peninsula
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.
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.
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. This little beach lodge in Santa Teresa may have the most beautiful spot on the entire beach. 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.
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.
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.
Casitas Tenorio, Bijagua
A collection of casitas 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.
Villa Beuna Onda, Guanacaste
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.
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.
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.
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.
What to Pack and Plan for in Costa Rica
Make sure to protect your eyes from the sun since you’ll likely spend a lot of time in the sun in Costa Rica. 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. It’s a brand name you’ll see a lot in the Costa Rica, in surf towns, as it’s a popular with surfers — and ski bums like us.
Truthfully, not everyone needs to invest $150 in a pair of sunglasses; however, we love ours and will never buy cheap ones again. Polarized glasses are great at enhancing vision in bright environments and removing glare from windshields and the water.
Grayl Ultralight Water Bottle
Costa Rica has great water quality with an abundance of rainfall. However, we like to travel with a water bottle that purifies water when traveling in Central and South America. We previously used the Lifestraw Go for all those times during our travels when the water is questionable.
However, over time we became annoyed with the water bottle as the filter aged and clogged. Plus the bottle leaks when it is on its side. We now switched to the Grayl Ultralight Purifier. It’s a more simplistic design than the Lifestraw that is more effective and does not leak. Most importantly it is a purifier, not a filter. The Grayl water bottle system purifies water vs. filters which removes viruses and virtually removes all threat of waterborne illnesses.
Quick Dry Towel
We always recommend bringing a travel towel for just about every destination.Quick dry towels are great when you’re out exploring Costa Rica. You can make an impromptu dip in ocean before drying off and heading to one of Costa Rica’s many surf town spots for fish tacos or an Imperial (local beer). They’re also tremendous when you hike to any one of Costa Rica’s numerous waterfalls as the towels are small enough to throw in your daypack and leave room for additional items.
The biggest complaint about travel towels is that they often feel nothing like the plush cotton towels we are accustomed to at home and in hotels. However, with the PackTowl you can forget about all of that because they set out to create a towel that mimics its cotton counterparts with the technical features of a travel towel. It comes pretty close to the real thing.
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 Kathmandu and Patagonia. 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.
I have to admit we travel a lot in rainy environments so we’ve invested in top of line Gore-Tex shell jackets. If you’re looking for a more affordable jacket we’re big fans of Columbia’s outdoor wear for a good value.
We pretty much live in loose pants when at the beach. After wearing several different pants we’ve landed on prAna for the companies commitment to sustainability and the awesome pants that they produce.
Their women’s Summit Pant is made out of hemp and recycled polyester while offering 50+ UPF protection. They are perfect for beach destinations, especially if you find yourself in more conservative areas.
These men’s Vaha pants are lightweight and weigh nothing in a carry-on bag. I could literally live in these pants if it were acceptable to wear them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner out. While in the Costa Rica, they were a wardrobe staple for nighttime as they are appropriate to wear barefoot out to a restaurant or bar while covering our legs from the pesky mosquitos.
Something to keep in mind for men, most Ticos wear long pants so it’s a good way to blend without feeling too hot in a pair of jeans.
Skin cancer is for real! Don’t forget your SPF when traveling to the around Costa Rica as you’re close to the Equator. We recommend ordering some online before leaving the house as you will find much higher prices in Costa Rica.
We highly recommend getting an eco friendly sun cream that does not contain harmful chemicals. They’re mineral based and usually only cost a few dollars more to help protect our oceans. If you’re not going to swim in the ocean just go with a reliable name brand — granted run off often still ends in our oceans.
We never travel without travel insurance with World Nomads. World Nomads is ideal for flexible and great plans!
You may not have internet to do research in all of Costa Rica. For wireless nights we typically turn to Lonely Planet.