The hoteliers of Costa Rica know that the right view, locally sourced food and opportunities to interact with nature can be just as rewarding as marble lobbies, Egyptian cotton bedding and chandeliered restaurants. So, there’s a long list of affordable accommodation in the country. From Guanacaste on the Pacific coast to Limón on the Caribbean side, these great options are bookable on Culture Trip.
The 10 cabins at Cabinas Las Olas are dotted across six acres (2.4ha) of protected woodland. Sink into a hammock on one of the verandas and catch glimpses of howler monkeys as they move through the cocobolo, laurel and guanacaste trees. You’ll see even more wildlife on the short walk down to Playa Avellana. The boardwalk passes through mangroves, around which fruit bats, iguanas, geckos and red-beaked oropendola birds flit.
Pachamama Lodge is located within the Gandoca Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge, on Costa Rica’s lower east coast. The villas here are surrounded by tropical gardens – you can sometimes spot white-faced capuchin monkeys, sloths, toucans, hummingbirds and howler monkeys from the verandas where breakfast is served. The hotel is right next to the river, and guests can hire kayaks or inflatable boats to paddle down to Punta Uva beach.
This adults-only hotel is fronted by Playa Negra, and offers diverse accommodation options ranging from ocean-view rooms to a treehouse apartment. Whichever you choose, you’ll get access to the swimming pool, palapa-shaded whirlpool and beach-view bar and grill. This place serves food all day, starting with a huge, hot breakfast of gallo pinto, omelettes and burritos – free to hotel guests.
Made with natural materials such as bamboo, hardwood and stone, the two-story villas at Pranamar are wrapped in swathes of jungle, a few steps from the unspoilt sands of Playa Hermosa. The highlight of the facilities is an open-sided yoga room, where classes take place daily. You don’t need to be a yogi to enjoy a stay here, though; other facilities include a freeform pool, a spa and a restaurant that puts Costa Rica’s native produce on a pedestal.
Hotel Mar Rey puts you in the heart of Tamarindo – the best bars, restaurants and the beach are all moments away. Rooms are set behind hardwood doors which are intricately carved with tribal designs. Inside, they’re unfussy spaces, with handy conveniences like microwaves, small fridges and coffee pots. You get use of a swimming pool when you stay here, too. It’s a decent size – large enough to float a few lilos.
The word “peace” says everything about the location of this hotel. It crowns a hilltop in the middle of the forest, a 10-minute drive from Playa Carrillo, and there’s greenery as far as the eye can see. Bungalows come with deckchair-topped patios, facing out over the mountains – sometimes you can look down on the clouds in the valley below. You get the same unforgettable view from the pool, swing chair, and the all-day restaurant.
Just around the corner from the National Theatre, this neocolonial hotel is all whitewashed walls, arcaded walkways, columns, dark wood and brass. The whole place wraps around a courtyard garden whose centerpiece is a swimming pool with an in-water bar. Breakfast is served on-site – both continental and Costa Rican dishes are available. For all other meals, the hotel is surrounded by restaurants.
Kinkara Luxury Retreat is set in the foothills of the Talamanca mountain range in southern Costa Rica. Accommodation takes the form of fully furnished bell tents, laid out in circular formations throughout the grounds. Guests can take part in all sorts of activities when they stay here: the resort’s signature experiences include river hikes, waterfall swimming, and cacao and healing ceremonies. There’s also a restaurant on-site, where dishes are made with produce from the retreat’s own mandala garden.
For a different stay, check into one of the best beach hotels or boutique hotels around the country – which you can book now on Culture Trip. If you want to treat yourself, splurge on a stay at the top all-inclusive resorts in Costa Rica.
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meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
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!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
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Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
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.