The Best Hotels in Costa Rica

Tropical paradise at the Montezuma Beach in the Nicoya Peninsula
Tropical paradise at the Montezuma Beach in the Nicoya Peninsula | © Jon Arnold Images Ltd / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Lorna Turnbull
30 November 2020

Costa Rica’s accommodation is as diverse as the country itself, from camping within the Gandoca Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge to luxury resorts in the Arenal National Park. Here are our picks of the most unforgettable hotels in the Central American country.

Dreams Las Mareas Costa Rica

Resort, Hotel
Map View
Courtesy of Dreams Las Mareas Costa Rica / Expedia
Set on the palm tree-studded beach of El Jobo, and surrounded by lush jungle and mountains, the Dreams Las Mareas resort caters for every type of traveler. Adults have their own infinity swimming pool looking out over the ocean, along with cocktail-making classes and world-class spa – while kids can discover the secrets of the rainforest at the Explorers Club or splash around in their very own swimming pool complete with waterslide. For the ultimate indulgence, choose the “unlimited-luxury” all-inclusive option for food, drinks, daytime activities and nightly entertainment.
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The Royal Corin Thermal Water Spa & Resort

Resort, Garden Hotel, Spa Hotel
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Courtesy of The Royal Corin Thermal Water Spa & Resort / Expedia | Courtesy of The Royal Corin Thermal Water Spa & Resort / Expedia
Nestled in the foothills of a volcano in the Arenal National Park, The Royal Corin Thermal Water Spa & Resort is a healing retreat, where rejuvenation and relaxation await. Lose yourself in the mineral-rich outdoor springs and follow the water circuit through natural hot pools, thermal Jacuzzis and waterfalls. Continue your natural wellness journey at the resort’s spa or head to the 5th floor Lava Bar for unobstructed volcanic views and an all-together different form of relaxation.
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Arenal Kioro Suites & Spa

Resort, Suite Hotel, Spa Hotel
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Courtesy of Arenal Kioro Suites & Spa / Expedia | Courtesy of Arenal Kioro Suites & Spa / Expedia
Set among 27 acres (11ha) of rolling countryside in the Arenal Volcano National Park, Kioro Suites & Spa is a lesson in green luxury, where sustainability sits alongside a deluxe stay. Suites are adorned with local artwork and come complete with two balconies for magnificent vistas over the jungle and volcano beyond. The grounds are vibrant, filled with tropical plants and flowers with a free-form pool, hot thermal springs and the soothing sound of the La Palma and Kioro streams running through the verdant estate.
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Nayara Gardens

Boutique Hotel, Garden Hotel, Spa Hotel, Resort
Map View
Courtesy of Nayara Gardens / Expedia
Escape to the rainforest and enjoy the laid-back luxury of Nayara Gardens. Nestled in the Arenal Volcano National Park, individual casitas spring up from the jungle floor, where stepping out onto the veranda means immersing yourself in nature. Continue your reconnection with the natural world at the spa, where yoga classes take place in an open-air pavilion. Discover the other residents of Nayara Gardens by going birdwatching or taking an after-dark frog-spotting tour, and finish your day in style at the al fresco restaurant, complete with unparalleled volcano views.
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Hotel Makanda by the Sea

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Courtesy of Makanda by the Sea / Expedia
An adults-only retreat, Makanda by the Sea takes its name from the ancient Sanskrit word for nectar, where paradise was found. This resort delivers a true taste of nirvana. Each room has an ocean view and are individually decorated with local materials and artisan pieces. For all-out glamor, choose the Junior Honeymoon Suite for its private infinity plunge pool overlooking the Pacific. Take things easy at the Shanti Spa or on the Biesanz Beach – famous for its endless white sands – or, for the more active, hike through the Manuel Antonio National Park, known for its lush foliage and rich biodiversity.
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Secrets Papagayo Resort

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Courtesy of Secrets Papagayo Costa Rica - Adults only / Expedia
A hideaway set right on the pristine sand of Papagayo Beach, this adults-only resort is a masterclass in luxurious living. Modern, stylish guest rooms and suites open out onto either ocean- or tropical-view balconies and the lush gardens hide two swimming pools, a world-class Pevonia spa and six dining options, including pan-Asian, Italian, a seafood grill and beachside bites. Ask the concierge to help design your perfect stay, from adrenalin-filled jet skiing to peaceful sunset cruises.
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Rancho Pacifico

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Courtesy of Rancho Pacifico / Expedia
Leave the kids behind at yet another luxurious, adults-only, rainforest hotel. Whether you prefer a contemporary suite with floor-to-ceiling jungle views, or a treehouse cabin complete with an outdoor soaking tub, Rancho Pacifico can cater to your every whim. Hike to nearby waterfalls and the Cloud Forest, surf the Pacific or volunteer at the turtle refuge – the opportunities for adventure are limitless. For those looking to unwind and decompress, daily yoga and a full-service spa are on hand at this mountain retreat.
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The Harmony Hotel, Nosara

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Courtesy of The Harmony Hotel, Nosara / Expedia

Whether you are a surfer, yogi or beach lover, the Harmony Hotel is ideally located near the popular Playa Guiones in Nosara, known for its great waves and abundance of yoga studios (including one on-site). Wander down the beach path to this delightful, environmentally hotel with a farm-to-table restaurant, serving organic Costa Rican fusion fare. There is also a juice bar and wellness center on the property. This is truly a place that you won’t want to leave.

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  • Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Farm And Inn

    Boutique Hotel, Hotel
    Map View
    Courtesy of Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation & Inn, Santa Bárbara / Expedia | Courtesy of Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation & Inn, Santa Bárbara / Expedia
    Located in the highlands of the Central Valley, the weather is much cooler here at Finca Rosa Blanca, a boutique hotel surrounded by tropical gardens and a coffee plantation. It’s run by Teri and Glenn Jampol, whose family have owned the inn for three-generations. For the ultimate stay, choose the Rosa Blanca Suite, which is housed in a 40-ft (12-m) tower with 360-degree views. This hotel is an ideal choice for those looking for a romantic rendezvous, outdoor adventures or just a place to rejuvenate – with great coffee.
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    Arenas del Mar Beach & Rainforest Resort

    Boutique Hotel, Resort
    Map View
    Courtesy of Arenas del Mar Beachfront & Rainforest Resort / Expedia | Courtesy of Arenas del Mar Beachfront & Rainforest Resort / Expedia

    For beachfront luxury, look no further than Arenas del Mar, a carbon-neutral hotel that is nestled within the world famous Manuel Antonio National Park. Winner of the Five Sustainability Leaf Award, eco-friendly practices are central to the hotel’s ethos – there are no single-use plastics on-site, they organize bi-monthly litter cleans and use solar energy to heat their water. Each of the 37 luxury suites has king-size beds, organic toiletries and rainfall shower heads. Alongside two sustainable restaurants, they also host Costa Rican street food nights, beachside barbecues and tortilla-making classes.

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    RipJack Inn, Playa Grande

    Boutique Hotel
    Map View
    RipJack Inn, Playa Grande
    Courtesy of RipJack Inn /

    Further up the coast from Nosara, you’ll find another legendary surf spot – Playa Grande – where two Californians set up the RipJack Inn. Since 2002, it’s grown to become a 21-room boutique hotel with two swimming pools, a yoga shala plus a treetop restaurant, serving casual fare such as fish tacos and Costa Rican casado. The local area is packed with adventurous activities – from zip-lining, horseback riding, sport fishing and scuba diving. The staff will make you feel like family right away, which is probably one of the reasons why so many guests continue to return to the RipJack Inn year after year.

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    Almonds and Corals Hotel, Manzanillo

    Map View
    Courtesy of Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Farm and Inn / Expedia

    Fancy camping? Almonds and Corals Hotel is a luxury boutique hotel, made from tents raised up on platforms from the rainforest floor. These aren’t any tents – inside you’ll find full hardwood floors, giant wooden beds and living rooms. This fabulously unusual hotel is located within the Gandoca Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge, a photographer’s and nature lover’s utopia. The hotel has Jacuzzis, a fabulous restaurant, a bar that whips up smile-inducing tropical cocktails and a golden-sand beach just around the corner.

    About this place:

    Adventure, Boutique, Cosy, Eco friendly, Outdoors, Romantic

    This is a rewrite of an original article by Jenn Parker.

    These recommendations were updated on November 30, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.