Here we will discuss where to stay in Costa Rica; it’s by far not a comprehensive list because this incredible country has so much to offer, but the options below will not disappoint.
Over the past few decades, Costa Rica has consistently ranked among some of the most popular vacation spots in the Americas. This has a lot to do with the substantial efforts made by the nation’s tourism industry to increase visitor numbers.
Costa Rica’s rugged landscape and commitment to peace have earned it the moniker “Switzerland of the Americas.”
1. Where to Stay in Costa Rica?
We will discuss a few of the best locations to reside in Costa Rica, as well as your lodging choices and the types of excursions you can participate in.
Each of the locations mentioned below has its distinct charms; to a large extent, this variety is what gives this Central American country such a great vacation destination.
Before we get into the specifics of your upcoming trip to Costa Rica, keep in mind that the peak tourism season begins in November and lasts until early May, coinciding with the northern American winter. This means that higher prices for accommodation, transportation, as well as other travel expenditures can be anticipated when planning your trip; simultaneously, booking might seem a little tight, yet you will enjoy postcard conditions with virtually no rain.
During the remainder of the calendar year, lodging is much more reasonable, and you won’t have to deal with crowds at major sites; additionally, unless an Atlantic hurricane system comes in from the Caribbean, strong rains will only last a few hours in the afternoon.
1.1 San Jose
The bustling capital of Costa Rica, which is vibrant and full of Victorian mansions, was founded on the proceeds from the coffee trade, and thriving “golden bean” farms still encircle the city. Visit Mercado Central to sample newly roasted local beans. The Museo del Oro has gold that is more brilliant. In many recently renovated sites, chic hotels now exist. The nightlife is centered in El Pueblo, which was inspired by a Spanish village. It is typically seen as a hub rather than a destination. Don’t overlook the classy National Theater from 1897.
1.2 Manuel Antonio
Manuel Antonio National Park, often chosen as one of Costa Rica’s most accessible national parks, is an intriguing vacation destination where residential as well as resort districts are virtually within the primary nature preserve.
Legendary Manuel Antonio’s white sand beaches and stunning national park are lovingly preserved for the pleasure of visitors of all ages.
One thing to note regarding Manuel Antonio is the fact that it is highly suggested for wheelchair tourists that want to experience nature during their stay in Costa Rica.
The national park is a tourism jewel, attracting local families year after year because of its abundant wildlife, which can be seen on simple hikes. Accommodation options vary from seaside cabins to low-rise structures coastal hotels and country cottages. Accommodations with views of the ocean’s surface are not difficult to locate, and they are usually reasonably priced.
Jaco Beach is the most industrialized and Americanized of the beaches near the main city. This is how Jaco Beach feels if you’re acquainted with Southern California beach towns; in fact, some ex-pats refer to it as “Long Beach.”
Jaco has some of the finest and most difficult wave breaks in Central America. This is a large shoreline where it is nearly impossible to locate a day without chest-high swells.
Surfers from all over the world are aware of the long waves that develop in Jaco Beach, yet they are also aware that the winds can be dangerous. There are also lifeguards on the beach, but please exercise caution in the ocean.
The nightlife in Jaco is legendary enough that it has been highlighted on the Travel Channel’s channel several times. One of the few towns in Costa Rica that has high-rise condos and resorts on the coast in addition to casinos and nightclubs is this one.
In the area, you can go kayaking, climbing, fishing, riding a horse, and surfing.
National areas like Pura Vida Park and Carrara National Park are both easily accessible from Jaco.
Families should stay at all-inclusive resorts, and there are several hotels, but they tend to be as cheap as elsewhere together the Pacific coast.
You’ve probably seen images or sequences portraying the Monteverde cloud forest in films, video games, or tourism websites.
The elevated suspended bridges made of rope in the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, named one of the best ecotourism locations in the world by National Geographic, have become an iconic Costa Rican draw.
Most visitors who come to Costa Rica, especially for ecotourism involve Monteverde in their itinerary because the cloud forest is breathtaking. You won’t want to skip out on this experience; traveling here is simple as Monteverde lies within the municipality of Puntarenas, just minutes from the Pacific Ocean’s beaches, and conveniently located in the capital city.
Almost all of the activities available in Monteverde are related to adventure and conservation. The cloud forest canopy tours shouldn’t be missed; even though the time you spend in Costa Rica is brief, you should plan a visit, particularly if you appreciate bird watching.
Even though Monteverde is a small town, the variety of accommodations available is remarkable. You can remain in an affordable hostel in town or in inexpensive cabins within the mountains; however, there are also a few luxurious hotels where the cost is more than fair when you consider everything they have to offer.
If you only have a few days in Costa Rica, staying at bed and brunch sites in Monteverde is highly recommended.
1.5 La Fortuna
Many visitors who land at SJO are taken by taxi to La Fortuna de San Carlos, a famous tourist attraction in the Americas.
Even if you only have a few days in Costa Rica, you won’t go wrong with La Fortuna, a resort town at the foot of the highly active Arenal volcano, that looks like a tiny version of Mount Fuji in Japan but often pertains alive at midnight in a stunning display of small glowing eruptions.
La Fortuna is a family-friendly location with all-inclusive resorts as well as luxurious international hotel chains, but there are also rural lodges, breakfast-only inns, hostels, and mountain cabins. The hospitality standards in this region of Costa Rica are quite good, as well as the food is of the finest quality. When visiting La Fortuna, you absolutely must unwind in the naturally warm springs, which are located on the grounds of a few of the city’s most upscale hotels.
1.6 Papagayo Gulf
We saved this destination for last because it is easily the best holiday spot within the Guanacaste province, which means you should seriously consider it as your reason for remaining in Costa Rica.
The Gulf of Papagayo also includes a peninsula with spectacular beaches on the border of a vast tropical dry forest as well as a nature preserve.
The most restricted accommodations in Costa Rica were created in this beautiful land, and these are the type of hotels in which everything gets taken into consideration for guests. The Gulf of Papagayo is without a doubt the most appealing tourist destination in the Guanacaste province; to some extent, the abundance of luxurious hotels in this region of the nation is what inspired the building of the Daniel Oduber Quiros International Airport in Liberia, which can be described as a boutique air terminal.
When you arrive, you will most likely see limos and luxury SUVs ready to pick up passengers and transport them to the best all-inclusive hotels in Central America.
In Costa Rica, Papagayo has the most five-star accommodations per square kilometer. Accommodation options range from adults-only hideaways to comprehensive resorts on the beach for the complete family. Golf villas can also be booked at restricted country clubs with fairways perched on cliffs facing the Pacific Ocean.
While there are boutique beachfront homes, breakfast-only inns, as well as small condos available for long-term holiday rentals, there are no dormitories or inexpensive lodgings in the Bay of Papagayo.
When you choose Papagayo as you’re Costa Rica holiday location, you may not want to leave; in fact, many wealthy expatriates as well as celebrities have bought property there in recent years. Some people equate Papagayo to luxurious resort areas in Hawaii, yet it’s more relaxed and beautiful.
The hotel staff will organize for you to get driven to local wilderness areas via a Mercedes-Benz SUV, whereas your snorkeling adventure will commence onboard a stylish charter boat, replete with a champagne toast and gourmet hors d’oeuvres.
You will be able to discover dining and nightlife places within just a few steps of your hotel room if you stay at the right resort.
1.7 Playa Conchal
If Playa Conchal is where you want to remain in Costa Rica, bring thick-soled beach sandals and a bucket. Conchal takes the icing in a nation full of amazing beaches because it has an extensive area of sand entirely covered in seashells.
Marine biologists frequently visit here to investigate the moderate current of the ocean that has deposited seashells here for millions of decades, and one reason is that the seas surrounding this tiny bay are alive with life.
Conchal is the spot to stay in Costa Rica if you like diving.
Conchal is out in the middle of nowhere, but it has an excellent location in the waters of the Gulf of Nicoya, not far away from Liberia airport. Conchal’s only lodging choices are a pair of luxury comprehensive beach resorts that are well worth the money because they offer the kind of pampering that we ought to all be allowed to enjoy at least after our lifetimes, as well as a couple of budget options.
In addition to Playa Conchal, there are more lodging choices in Playa Flamingo as well as Potrero.
Tamarindo, an island municipality endowed with a beautiful beach that includes an estuary, a craggy portion with a wave break, as well as a very long stretch of golden sand, is situated in the Guanacaste region, which has the prettiest beaches in Costa Rica.
Tamarindo is considered to be one of Costa Rica’s most developed coastal towns; some consider it too Americanized, however, that would be Jaco coastal in Puntarenas, which we will discuss below.
Tamarindo has an abundance of American as well as Canadian ex-pats, so the beach town has many conveniences as well as suburban amenities that are not typically found in less developed coastal communities. Overall, Tamarindo is an excellent spot to stay within Costa Rica, albeit a little pricey. It should be mentioned that the proximity of the Daniel Oduber Quiros International Airport is a significant benefit.
Beachfront hotels ruled the landscape in terms of accommodations, but if you don’t mind spending a few streets away from the shore, luxurious resorts are more fairly priced.
Another idyllic hidden beach on the Nicoya Peninsula; on the map, it seems to be near Santa Teresa, but getting there would take riding a horse or even a helicopter.
You can fly to an established airport from the capital, San Jose, on a sightseeing plane run by Nature Air and Sansa, making your trip to Costa Rica even more memorable.
Nosara is a big beach in the city, but it is dispersed. The best vacations in this area are resort-based; there are specialized hotels offering yoga, wellness center, and detoxification packages. Additionally, there are just a few low-cost options.
This location is perfect for anyone interested in learning to surf or stand-up paddleboard, as well as for family outings.
1.10 Santa Teresa
This beautiful beach village on the Nicoya, which Peninsula was primarily known for locals that did not come frequently because it was difficult to reach.
Santa Teresa has changed dramatically since Hollywood celebrities began moving in and constructing hidden mansions in forests overlooking the sea.
The town reopened to tourists after the Wall Street Journal as well as The New York Times published stories regarding the burgeoning marketplace for luxury real estate. Santa Teresa is a string of beaches where mangroves and tropical dry vegetation extend all along to the water’s edge.
You may be able to explore Playa Carmen, Playa Hermosa, as well as Santa Teresa in a few days, depending on the length of your stay in Costa Rica, yet you ought to allocate time for sights such as a cruise to Tortuga Island and tide pool snorkeling.
Montezuma, known as the Pacific Coast’s Puerto Viejo, is an eccentric surf town ideal for visitors who think Jaco as well as Tamarindo have become too developed.
The primary draw of Montezuma is a small nightlife area located in front of a pristine beach, where a few hotels, beach homes, as well as budget hotels, can be found.
Montezuma is more popular with backpackers and surfers than with families, but it is a more affordable option to nearby Santa Teresa.
Many artists will tell that Montezuma is their favourite place to reside in Costa Rica, and you can see why when you explore the tiny community center, which local artisans have beautifully decorated. In recent years, several art galleries, studios, as well as workshops have opened in Montezuma, attracting foreign chefs.
Surprisingly, parallels to Puerto Viejo stretch to the styles of residential architecture, as many homes feature Caribbean design.
If you stay here, make sure to explore the Romelia Wildlife Reserve as well as the nearby waterfall, which is popular with honeymooners.
Montezuma becomes overrun by local tourists and partygoers a week before Easter Sunday; bear this in mind when booking your stay.
1.12 Puerto Jimenez
Puerto Jimenez, located on the island’s southern shore, is an ex-pat community and an almost hidden tourism spot with plenty to offer.
Puerto Jimenez is a tiny coastal town close to Corcovado National Park, an enormous rainforest that exemplifies why Costa Rica is such an incredible ecotourism location.
Whereas the climate near the ocean is hot and clear, Corcovado is extremely damp, so keep this in mind when making hotel reservations. Many tourism guidebooks recommend that visitors save Puerto Jimenez for last because it requires approximately seven hours to travel here to San Jose, however, you can fly into the tiny regional airport on an indirect flight which takes just over an hour from virtually any location in the country.
Renting a vehicle in Puerto Jimenez utilized to be risky, but it is now highly recommended as the paths around town have recently been paved.
You won’t be let down if Puerto Jimenez becomes your only stop in Costa Rica. Sport fishing, whale and dolphin viewing excursions, day trips to archaeological sites, horseback riding, shellfish eateries, and beach relaxation are all available along the coast.
Apart from seaside cottages as well as bungalows, Puerto Jimenez has a few hostels, numerous rural lodges, and a few boutique hotels, a lot of which offer luxurious amenities.
Beachfront sites and rooms with sweeping panoramas of Corcovado will cost a little more.
The question of “Where to stay in Costa Rica?” was the main focus of this. Some of the best places to stay in Costa Rica have been listed above with their description which will help you to decide where you can stay.
Queries and Answers
The following is a list of some of the frequently asked queries about where to stay in Costa Rica:
1. Which part of Costa Rica is preferable?
The Best Caribbean Coast Locations in Costa Rica. The majority of tourists to Costa Rica think that travelling along the Pacific coast is the best option. It is the better option because of the isolated Osa Peninsula, a monkey-filled region of Manuel Antonio, the surfing nearby Santa Theresa, and the touristy Nicoya coast.
2. What is the better aspect of Costa Rica?
The Best Locations on the Caribbean Coast of Costa Rica. The majority of visitors to Costa Rica believe that the Pacific coast is the best place to explore. It is a better option due to the isolated Osa Peninsula, the monkey-filled region of Manuel Antonio, the surfing near Santa Theresa, as well as the crowded Nicoya coast.
3. Is travelling to Costa Rica expensive?
Costa Rica is typically more costly than other nations in Central America like Nicaragua or El Salvador. Things do cost more because it’s more advanced and boasts a thriving tourism sector.
4. Which is better Costa Rica or the Caribbean?
According to the residents, the Caribbean coast prevails. The region south of Limon, which includes the well-known coastal towns of Cahuita, Puerto Viejo, and Manzanillo, is a favourite destination for well-travelled Costa Ricans. It is less costly, less crowded, and renowned for its fantastic food scene.