Where to Travel, Accommodations & Touristic Regions of Costa
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Costa Rica Hotels

Costa Rica is developing a very complete touristic platform, a small country with several regions to visit with different and varied characteristics, the perfect ingredients to become the country that everyone wants to visit. Besides the proximity and variety of these regions, the country also has a lot of natural attractions that are protected as National Parks, Natural Reserves or Private Reserves, all of them appropriate for the enjoyment of the visitors who need a place to stay close to these attractions; here is where the Costa Rica Hotels do their part. But then the big questions arise, where should I stay? What is the best location? Which is the most reliable? These questions will be addressed further ahead on this blog.

find the best hotels for a costa rica vacation

Let me begin by saying that Costa Rica has 2 international airports where you can arrive: San Jose International Airport which is the main and busiest airport of the country; and the Liberia International Airport, located in the North Pacific Region in the Province of Guanacaste and close to the beach resort’s area.

san jose international airport

If you decide to land in San Jose, these are the places we recommend to visit and the type of hotels you would find in each place:

San Jose Hotels: Staying in San Jose would be good for those travelers who don’t have a lot of vacation time and wish to do a few Day Tours from San Jose; or for those travelers who prefer to stay in one location right in the middle of the country and visit all the main attractions on One Day Tours. San Jose is also a good option if you are planning to take a loop around the country, but need to rest on the arrival day, or be close to the airport the night before of your departing flight. San Jose has a huge array of accommodations of all types, from modest hostels, to midrange type of hotels which is by the way the vast majority of them, or 5-star luxury hotels.

a good place to stay when travelling to costa rica

Speaking of the hostels, most of them are located in the heart of the main cities of the San Jose area: Alajuela, Heredia and close to Downtown San Jose. Most of these places are regular houses of local Costa Rican people who have decided to turn them into accommodation facilities; the most of them are located in regular neighborhoods of our Central Valley (San Jose greater area).  Speaking of the mid-range type of hotels, most of them are located in commercial areas, close to shopping centers and business parks, since San Jose is a huge business hub in Central America; there are thousands of companies from other countries established here and many of their employees come to work from other countries or for business meetings. It is important to say that some of these mid-class hotels are taking a turn and have established in natural settings of our Central Valley, away from the Cities’ fast pace; creating a more quiet environment for the visitors to really rest during their Stay in San Jose. Last, the 5 Star Luxury Hotels are not too many, some of them are located in the City for business purposes, but like the mid-class hotels, some others have established in more natural environments, like coffee plantations, forested areas, etc. Based on our experience, the mid-class hotels we can recommend if you are looking to explore the areas close to Downtown San Jose are: the Country Inn and Suites Hotel, the Grano de Oro Hotel, the Don Carlos Hotel, the Apartotel Suites Cristina, or the Presidente Hotel. Now, if you are looking to stay in a regular Costa Rican neighborhood outside of the noise of the city, then we highly recommend the Villa Colon Hotel, located in a town called Ciudad Colon. On the other hand, if you are looking to stay in a unique 5 star accommodation, we highly recommend the Finca Rosa Blanca Hotel, which is a Luxury Boutique Hotel settled right in the middle of a coffee plantation, as a matter of fact, that is actually the main theme of this hotel, our Costa Rican Coffee

the perfect hotel to stay in san jose

Puerto Viejo de Limon Hotels: This place is about 4 hours from the San Jose International Airport, but this is the airport where you need to land if you wish to visit this region, since the Liberia Airport is another 4 hours further away. Puerto Viejo is a good destination for those travelers looking for a more authentic beach experience, since the “vibe” in Puerto Viejo is more relaxed than on the busy beaches of the Pacific Coast. Puerto Viejo is a very beautiful beach area with rainforests everywhere, where is normal to see Wild Animals of Costa Rica everywhere you look, and reggae music sounds wherever you go. The vast majority of the accommodations in the Puerto Viejo area are modest, with lots of hostels and budget hotels all around the area. There are also many midrange type of hotels and a handful of them are beachfront. There are not 5 star resorts in this area. The mid-range hotels we can recommend in this region are: La Costa de Papito Hotel, Cariblue Hotel or Villas del Caribe Hotel.

a nice hotel for a caribbean beach vacation in costa rica

Sarapiqui Hotels: The Sarapiqui area is great for the observation of the Costa Rican Rainforest, our Wildlife and to do White Water Rafting at the Sarapiqui River, where the best rafting class II-III of the whole country is done. All the hotels in Sarapiqui are modest accommodations, but the experiences there are worth sacrificing a little comfort… The accommodation we can recommend in this area is the Sarapiqui Rainforest Lodge, because is located right next to the Tirimbina Biological Reserve, so many animals that come out of this reserve can be seen on the grounds of this hotel.

one of the best hotels in the rainforest of costa rica

Arenal Volcano area Hotels: The Most Visited Region of Costa Rica is the Arenal Volcano area, where the options for things to do are endless and the beauty of the place is incomparable. Speaking of things to do, here you can find volcano observation hikes, waterfall rappelling, zip lining parks everywhere, farming tours, wildlife observation tours, mountain biking, kayaking, hanging bridges, rainforest tours, plantations tours, cultural tours, etc. In terms of hotels, there are lots of options in Arenal, from hostels to 5 star resorts; but the vast majority is the midrange type of hotels. The theme of most hotels here is nature, even some of the modest ones are surrounded by beautiful tropical gardens, and others with a bigger property have hiking trails, good views of the volcano or even hot springs on the premises. The only ones where nature is not the main theme are the ones settled at the town of “La Fortuna”, but those have the advantage of being at walking distance to shops, restaurants, or attractions of the town. This is a place where it would be a good idea to spend more in your accommodations, because the higher the price of the hotel is, the better the experience; and it could end up being a REALLY good one if you choose one with good views of the volcano and hot springs on the premises… Some of the mid-range cost hotels we can recommend in this area are: Lomas del Volcan Hotel, Magic Mountain Hotel, Arenal Country Inn Hotel, El Silencio del Campo Hotel and El Secreto La Fortuna Hotel. On the luxury side, the best 2 hotels we recommend are Tabacon and The Springs Resort and Spa.  

find the best hotel options near arenal volcano

Monteverde Cloud Forest area Hotels: The Monteverde Cloud Forest Region is a good place to admire nature, specifically the rare Cloud Forest Eco-system. This is a place very different from most Touristic Destinations of Costa Rica, because is located high up in the mountains, where the temperatures are cooler. There are many lodging options in Monteverde, from hostels to midrange hotels, but there are not 5 star hotels in this area. The main theme of most places here is the “Mountain Hotel”, where the visitors enjoy of nature and can relax on the foggy, cold and cloudy days. The Hotel Recommendations we can do in Monteverde are: Fonda Vela Hotel, Ficus Hotel, Poco a Poco Hotel, El Bosque Hotel and El Establo Hotel, all of them are considered as mid-range type of accommodations.   

visit the cloud forest on your next trip to costa rica

Jaco Beach Hotels: Jaco Beach is the most developed party town in Costa Rica, a beach city full of restaurants, bars and nightlife entertainment. This town has modest accommodations and midrange type of accommodations, but not 5 star resorts. Some of the hotels we can recommend on the mid-range side are: Balcon del Mar Hotel and Club del Mar Hotel.

great hotel for a beach vacation in jaco

Manuel Antonio National Park Hotels: The Manuel Antonio National Park area is the most beautiful coastal area of Costa Rica, the ideal place to enjoy of the beach, sun, nature and wildlife, because is a great natural rainforest area full of animals, especially monkeys and sloths. In this area the travelers can spend their time at the renown National Park that was rated as one of the 10 most beautiful in the world, or at the main beach area, where there is a lot of activities to do, like parasailing, surfing, kayaking, banana boat, stand up paddling and others. The Hotels in Manuel Antonio are either up in the mountains or down at the beach area. The ones down by the beach are very few, because the area is small; but the ones up on the hills are numerous, featuring great ocean views for he most of them, but a little inconvenient because of the distance to the beach and National Park. The accommodations range from many hostels, mid-class hotels and a handful of 5 star hotels. The main theme of the hotels up on the hills is nature and the ocean views, while the ones by the beach is nature and beach, but regardless of where you stay it is almost for sure that monkeys will come to the grounds of your hotel! The absolutely best hotel we can recommend in Manuel Antonio close to the beach area is called San Bada Hotel, with the best location of the area, next to the National Park! Other good mid-range hotels down at the beach area are Playa Espadilla Hotel, Cabinas Espadilla Hotel and Costa Verde Hotel; and the ones up on the hills would be La Mariposa Hotel or Parador Hotel. 

stay in manuel antonio beach when travelling around costa rica

Uvita Beach: The Uvita Beach area is less populated than the beach areas mentioned before, but here you get a more authentic Costa Rican Beach experience, since most of the people are locals and not tourists. The Uvita area is a good location to enjoy of the beach, but this place is better known in Costa Rica because of whale watching. The hotels here are modest hostels and midrange accommodations, with a couple of 5 star resorts located up on the hills featuring incredible ocean views because they are more of a honeymoon-spa type of places. The 2 hotels we recommend in Uvita are: Cristal Ballena Hotel which features incredible ocean and mountain views at a close distance to the beach, and Bungalows Ballena, just steps from Marino Ballena National Park. Both of this hotels are mid-range accommodations. 

nice sunset at the beautiful uvita beach

Now, if you decide to land in Liberia, these are the places we recommend to visit and the type of hotels you would find in each place:

Papagayo Gulf area: The Papagayo gulf area is very good for a beach vacation. There are several resorts, regular hotels and hostels to choose from, but it’s important to understand that this whole area is great just for a beach vacation. The activities and tours near Papagayo are good, but not nearly as great as the ones on the other side of Costa Rica (the ones at the places mentioned above). The best hotels in the Papagayo Gulf area are: The Secrets Papagayo Resort, Occidental Papagayo Hotel, The Riu Guanacaste Resort, The Riu Palace Resort and of course the 5-star Four Seasons Resort.

best way to enjoy the guanacaste beaches of costa rica

Tamarindo-Flamingo-Conchal Beach area: This area is by far more beautiful and more developed than any other in the Guanacaste Province. This is also a great place for a beach vacation, but the activities, like in the Papagayo area, are just “ok” compared with the ones at the other side of the country. The accommodations here are modest hostels, midrange hotels and 5 star resorts. The most developed town of this region is Tamarindo, a place full of restaurants, bars, shops and entertainment. Most of the accommodations are either down at the beach or close to it. The Best Hotel in Tamarindo is the Tamarindo Diria Resort, but there are 3 others on the mid-range category that we can also recommend called Pasatiempo Hotel, Cala Luna Hotel and Capitan Suizo Hotel. In Flamingo Beach we can recommend the Flamingo Beach Resort, Padise Flamingo Beach Hotel and the Sugar Beach Resort. In Conchal Beach we recommend the 5-star luxury resort Westin Resort Playa Conchal.

tamarindo beach is ideal for a beach vacation in costa rica

Nicoya Peninsula Hotels: The Nicoya Peninsula is a less developed area, where the hotels are scattered along the coast, with less crowded tourists areas and less activities to choose from. The most important towns along the cost of this Peninsula are Samara Beach, Nosara Beach, Santa Teresa Beach, Montezuma Beach and Mal Pais Beach. The hotels in this area range from modest hostels to 5 star resorts, being the vast majority the mid-class hotels like in the rest of Costa Rica. The best hotels we can recommend in this area are: Flor Blanca Hotel, Manala Hotel and Latitud 10 Hotel In Santa Teresa-Mal Pais areas; Giada Hotel in Samara Beach; and Punta Islita Hotel at Punta Islita Town.

try to visit santa teresa beach on your next trip to costa rica

Other touristic areas of Costa Rica: There are many other areas of Costa Rica where tourism doesn’t have a center of attention, but have some scattered hotels where the travelers go in the search of places with no tourists. Among some of this places I can mention Bajos del Toro, San Gerardo de Dota, Drake’s Bay near the Corcovado National Park, Rio Celeste near the Tenorio Volcano National park, the Rincon de la Vieja National Park area, the Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge area, Turrialba Volcano area, Cartago Province, Zona de los Santos Region, Cerro Chirripo, San Ramon, the Poas Volcano area, among others. Some of the hotels in this areas that we can recommend are: El Silencio Lodge Hotel in Bajos del Toro, the Rio Celeste Hideaway Hotel in Tenorio Volcano National Park; Trogon Lodge in San Gerardo de Dota; and Villa Blanca Hotel in San Ramon.

bajos del toro area is ideal for to see the real costa rican culture

This is a brief idea of Touristic Areas and Costa Rica Hotels, for more details feel free to contact us and we will be more than happy to provide more information about hotels or other information of interest for your Trip to Costa Rica.

best hotels for a family trip to costa rica

24 Aug 2017
Andrey S