Whether you choose the Caribbean or the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, there are plenty of delightful high-end boutiques along the shoreline or deep in the rainforest. All of these properties offer their guests luxurious accommodation and awe-inspiring settings – several are also actively involved in environmental conservation efforts and eco-friendly hospitality practices. Enjoy the sunshine and soak up the Caribbean vibes at one of these unique hotels.
Jacó is known as the gateway to the national parks, making the all-suite Oceano Boutique Hotel a luxury base for nature lovers. The apartment-style rooms are comfortable and unpretentious – some even come with their own plunge pools to cool off after a day exploring. Connect with the outdoors through the activities on offer – the concierge can arrange zip-lining through the rainforest, volunteering at the Sea Turtle Refuge, whale-watching boat trips and birdwatching at Carrera Park. If you’re feeling less adventurous, discover Costa Rican culture at the hotel’s very own art gallery, displaying more than 500 original artworks.
Tucked between a national mangrove refuge and the Pacific Ocean, this stylish, contemporary resort offers a slice of Costa Rican sophistication with views over the hotel’s world-class marina. Even if you don’t arrive by yacht, you can still feel extra special by enjoying the hotel’s two swimming pools, a fine-dining restaurant and an informal Tiki-style bar. Choose from garden-, marina- or ocean-view rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows for those staggering sunsets.
A lush garden sanctuary in Tamarindo Beach on Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast could just be your own personal paradise. An adults-only boutique retreat, the guest rooms and suites in this family-run resort are nestled in the extensive tropical gardens, while the swimming pool appears like a mirage behind palm trees and vibrant flowers. A short, covered walk leads you to the private beach, complete with bar service and daybeds for ultimate oceanfront comfort.
Positioned right on the stunning Potrero Beach on Costa Rica’s North Pacific Coast, the endless pristine sands create an unforgettable setting for your getaway. Request the King Sun Suite for a real taste of Pura Vida (pure life) with jacuzzi, outdoor shower and hammock to while away your days in paradise. The Nasu restaurant offers guests creative, tropical gourmet dishes, but we recommend opting for the Papala Lounge for its oceanfront location – an unbeatable place to see the sun set over the Pacific.
An homage to Costa Rican cowboys and warm, friendly welcomes, El Rodeo Estancia is a ranch-style country hotel with a homely feel and the best steaks for miles. Ideally located just outside San José for those who want both city and countryside, El Rodeo Estancia offers all the amenities of a bigger resort hotel – swimming pool, popular restaurant and landscaped gardens – with an added extra of personalized service and a family-friendly atmosphere.
Discover the fascinating history and culture of Costa Rica at the Tifakara Boutique Hotel. Taking its name from the indigenous word for waterfall, this peaceful retreat is located in La Fortuna, the gateway to Arenal Volcano National Park. Traditional bungalows sit in tropical gardens and the outdoor pool is surrounded by lush foliage. Immerse yourself in the rainforest with unique activities – night hikes to a frog sanctuary, volcano hikes, rafting and horseback riding are all on offer.
Hidden away in the relatively undiscovered town of Puerto Viejo, Hotel Banana Azul is a 25-room boutique hotel reserved just for adults and children over 16, ensuring a quiet, peaceful stay. With a casual, rustic vibe, we recommend opting for the Tree House Apartment for full jungle vibes. Not all of the rooms have air-conditioning, but the sea breeze will keep you cool. Don’t forget to visit the nearby Jaguar Rescue Center for an up-close encounter with Costa Rica’s incredible wildlife.
With Balinese-inspired architecture, Kenaki Lodge is a small beachfront hotel with just four rooms, 100m from the Playa Grande in Cahuita. Wake up to a home-cooked breakfast each morning that includes coffee, tea, fruit, bread, jams, eggs and gallo pinto. Owners Isabelle and Roberto are on hand with any recommendations you need, plus Roberto teaches tae kwon do and jiu-jitsu lessons on-site. If you visit between February and August, you may be lucky enough to witness the leatherback turtles laying eggs on the beach outside.
Tortuga Lodge and Gardens is the perfect vacation spot for those looking for a nature-rich, authentic Costa Rican experience. Only accessible by boat or plane, the Tortuguero National Park is one of the most spectacular national parks in the country, and is an incredibly important nesting zone for four different types of sea turtles. This secluded hotel has 27 luxury rooms, including family rooms. Join a daily nature walk led by the hotel’s naturalist guides, or find one of the free fishing poles for some solo time by the river.
Cariblue Beach and Jungle Resort is steps away from the spectacular Playa Cocles, just outside of Puerto Viejo. The 23 rooms range from junior suites to the luxury bungalow with a private porch for relaxing in the hammock. Breakfast is included – tuck into omelettes, fresh fruit and pastries, washed down with Costa Rican coffee. They offer bike rentals and surf lessons, plus there are also around 120 species of birds that reside in this immediate area, making this the perfect choice for bird-lovers.
Health comes first at Le Cameleon Boutique Hotel. From beach yoga classes and reiki healing sessions to raw cooking classes, this upscale hotel knows how to look after its guests. The crisp, white, modern rooms contrast to the wild jungle surroundings outside. Alongside the wellbeing program, it’s also a great hotel for families looking to entertain kids with mini soccer and beach volleyball on-site. Head to the Noa Beach Club for fresh Caribbean lobster with lime hollandaise sauce, live music and after-dinner cocktails.
Connect with Costa Rica’s wild, enchanting surroundings by staying in luxury tents at Almonds and Corals, a family-owned boutique hotel. Each open-air tent provides a rustic, authentic jungle feel combined with luxurious beds, hot-water showers and hammocks to read your book in. There’s also a restaurant in the middle of the jungle with fresh Costa Rican cuisine, cooked up by Chef Krasinski, plus a golden sand beach for a swim just steps away from your table. Environmentally friendly practices are a key part of the ethos here.
Unplug from the outside world and step into one of six unique rooms at the Tree House Lodge. Would you prefer to sleep in a converted American school bus, or a beach suite complete with a domed bathroom and illuminated by colored glass windows? Owners Edsart Besier and Pamela Rodriguez transformed this swampland into a luxurious, eco-retreat on the Caribbean Coast. Each cabin is built using recycled, sustainable materials and the lodge also has its own foundation, the Iguna Verde Foundation, committed to protecting and restoring green iguana populations.
Looking for somewhere different to stay? Book into one of the best budget-friendly hotels in Costa Rica.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
This is a rewrite of an original article by Jenn Parker.
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I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
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Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.