The Best Cheap Hotels to Book in Costa Rica

Kinkara Luxury Retreat will wash away your worries – including about the cost
Kinkara Luxury Retreat will wash away your worries – including about the cost | © Kinkara Luxury Retreat, San Jose Province / Expedia
Sarah Holt

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.

1. Cabinas Las Olas, Playa Avellan, Guanacaste

Boutique Hotel

Exterior of Cabinas Las Olas, Playa Avellan, Guanacaste, surrounded by trees
© Cabinas Las Olas, Playa Avellan, Guanacaste / Expedia

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.

2. Pachamama Lodge, Punta Uva, Limón


Raised, wood-clad exterior of Pachamama Lodge, Punta Uva, Limón, surrounded by rainforest
© Pachamama Lodge, Punta Uva, Limón / Expedia

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.

3. Hotel Banana Azul, Puerto Viejo, Limón

Boutique Hotel, Resort, Hotel

Outdoor pool at Hotel Banana Azul, Puerto Viejo, Limón, surrounded by plants and trees
© Hotel Banana Azul, Puerto Viejo, Limón / Expedia

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.

4. Pranamar Villas & Yoga Retreat, Santa Teresa, Puntarenas Province

Boutique Hotel, Garden Hotel

Outdoor pool at Pranamar Villas & Yoga Retreat, Santa Teresa, Puntarenas Province
© Pranamar Villas & Yoga Retreat, Santa Teresa, Puntarenas Province /

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.

5. Hotel Mar Rey, Tamarindo, Guanacaste


Aerial view of the outdoor pool at Hotel Mar Rey, Tamarindo, Guanacaste, surrounded by sun loungers and palm trees
© Hotel Mar Rey, Tamarindo, Guanacaste / Expedia

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.

6. Hotel Peace & Lodge, Playa Carrillo, Guanacaste

Hotel, Lodge

Small outdoor pool at Hotel Peace & Lodge, Guanacaste, with nature views
© Hotel Peace & Lodge, Playa Carrillo, Guanacaste / Expedia

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.

7. Hotel Colonial, San José


Walled outdoor swimming pool at Hotel Colonial, San Jose, lined with columns and the hotel building
© Hotel Colonial, San Jose city / Expedia

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.

8. Kinkara Luxury Retreat, San José Province

Spa Hotel

Exterior view of Kinkara Luxury Retreat, Costa Rica, with a firepit and large, open-sided tent in the grounds
© Kinkara Luxury Retreat, San Jose Province / Expedia

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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