In Costa Rica, life is everywhere. Hummingbirds whirr around sweetly scented frangipani flowers. Toucans and butterflies float across forest paths and canopy walkways. Cicadas hiss, tree frogs chirrup and even the laziest of stays will leave you reenergized and refreshed by the joyful abundance of living things. Our pick of Costa Rica’s best luxury villas will give you a true taste of pura vida – pure life – the perfectly apt national greeting.
This is a honeymoon-intimate, adults-only retreat outside Marino Ballena National Park on the Central Pacific Coast. Whether you’re relaxing in one of the 12 glass-walled villas or taking a dip in the infinity pool, the view is of pristine rainforest – unblemished by roads or buildings. The ocean is fringed with pearl-white beaches, and trails lead to secluded waterfalls with a soundtrack of trilling birds. And if you can bear to tear yourself away, the dining options of Ojochal are only a 25-minute drive away.
La Perla is a four-bedroom luxury villa in Costa Rica with its own infinity pool – the hacienda-style architecture is a stunning counterpoint to the blue Pacific it overlooks. Rooms have views of a sandy half-moon bay where the evening sun sinks into the ocean, silhouetting the masts of the luxury yachts in the marina. With plush rooms, lush grounds and breathtaking views, luxurious La Perla is moments from the beach and its ample accommodation makes it perfect for a family getaway.
Cala Luna is in the popular village of Tamarindo, surrounded by resorts and condos. This means you can enjoy all of life’s luxuries in a breathtaking natural setting. The secluded luxury villas at this Costa Rica resort, with little gardens around a private pool, come in soft, warm tones and are beautifully mood-lit for after-hours intimacy. The kitchen employs farm-to-table, local, organic ingredients, and after you’ve dined there’s a plush spa with a comprehensive wellness menu and the palm-shaded beach a 10-minute walk away.
Skip the standard rooms at Caletas. It’s all about the luxury villas, which are an Instagrammer’s paradise. With acres of polished Italian marble, Ionic columns and exuberant neo-rococo statues, they feel like Versace-decorated mansions. Beds have velvet pillows, opulent infinity pools are lined with blue mosaic and the views are tropical Capri – steep ridges swathed in lush forest falling to shimmering Pacific bays lined with beaches. This is very ’90s Miami – and we like it.
Villa Blanca’s mock-ranch-house villas in Costa Rica are on the edge of one of the largest stretches of cloud forest, Los Angeles Biological Reserve. Expect whitewashed walls, terracotta roofs and rocking chairs on terraces – the perfect place to rest your head after a day exploring the region’s biodiversity. While there are canopy walkways, waterfalls and volcanoes nearby, the reserve is the main draw: the trees are carpeted in soft mosses and there are more than 900 species of birds to spot, from sapphire blue hummingbirds to the long-tailed resplendent quetzal, Central America’s elusive equivalent to a bird of paradise.
The Nicoya Peninsula juts into the Pacific like a curled thumb near the border with Nicaragua. Its remoteness has so far kept the eastern corner of the country relatively untouched. The town of Tamarindo lies here – between rainforest and a long, broad beach of soft sand. The sea is so close to Tango Mar’s luxurious villas that you can taste salt on the breeze. Awaken to sun-flooded mornings, and relax: the resort has one of the highest sustainability ratings on the Pacific coast.
With its single dirt street, Santa Teresa village is about as remote as the Pacific Coast gets: it’s at the end of the road on the eastern Nicoya Peninsula. It’s an under-the-radar spot for surf-loving celebs. Model Gisele Bundchen has a house here and actors such as the Hemsworths are frequent visitors. Like their homes, and the handful of other Santa Teresa hotels, Pranamar is low-profile and new-age – wooden bungalows sit under shady coconut palms just off the beach. There’s a spa offering energy massage and wellness retreats run by yoga instructors from California. Life’s a beach.
This seven-bedroom luxury villa in Costa Rica with its own private pool is in the heart of the country’s condominium coast: a vast swathe of American-owned villas that pepper the Pacific lowlands near the Nicaraguan border. You’ll hear more English than Spanish and see more swimming pools than wildlife, but nowhere in Costa Rica has more sunshine hours. The long crescent of sand at Coco Beach is soft and powdery, there are golf courses and even a casino on the doorstep and Liberia International Airport is a 15-minute drive away.
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.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
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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.
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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.