Best Places to Stay in Costa Rica – Budget to Luxury

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Looking for the best places to stay in Costa Rica? You’re in the right place. I’ve asked some of my fellow travel bloggers to help me list up where to stay in Costa Rica. The list includes Costa Rica hotels, Costa Rica resorts, as well as some of the best budget hotels, ecolodges, and hostels in Costa Rica. 

Where are the best places to stay in Costa Rica? I've asked some fellow travel bloggers to help me list up where to stay in Costa Rica. The list includes Costa Rica hotels, Costa Rica resorts, as well as some of the best budget hotels, ecolodges, and hostels in Costa Rica. Costa Rica Travel | Costa Rica Vacation | Costa Rica Beach | costa rica hotel villas | costa rica travel hotels | Family Travel | eco hotel design | puntarenas costa rica | guanacaste costa rica | san jose costa rica

Best Places to Stay in Costa Rica

Start looking for where to stay in Costa Rica and you’ll soon be overcome with options. There are so many great Costa Rica hotels, eco-lodges, resorts, and hostels. You’ll find the most developed and sophisticated tourism industry in Central America here, in fact. Yet the country has been able to retain an environmentally-friendly outlook on tourism. Our list of the best places to stay in Costa Rica is just the tip of the iceberg but comes from the experiences of passionate travelers…including me! I asked some of my fellow travel bloggers to tell us where to stay in Costa Rica. Here are our suggestions. 

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Puerto Viejo Hotels – Best Place to Stay in Costa Rica East

When most people think of where to play and where to stay in Costa Rica, their first thoughts are of the mountainous center or the dramatic beaches of the west coast. That said, we have just begun to discover that some of the best places to stay in Costa Rica are along the shores of the east. Here you have the warmer waters of the Caribbean, along with plentiful wildlife and nature reserves. Here’s where to stay on Costa Rica’s east coast (so far). 

La Kukula Lodge – Where to Stay in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

La Kukula Lodge Puerto Viejo best places to Stay in Costa Rica

Tucked into a cozy green corner of the country’s Caribbean coast, La Kukula Lodge is one of the best places to stay in Costa Rica for wildlife lovers. During our last stay, we saw sloths, tropical birds and a boa constrictor (harmless to us, but beautiful) all within the first 24 hours. Oh, and then there were the howler monkeys, which we saw (and heard!) every single day. If that’s not enough Costa Rican wildlife, then the Jaguar Rescue Center is a short bike ride away.

Best Ecolodge in Costa Rica’s East Coast

This Costa Rica ecolodge is just a few hundred meters from the seaside road that runs through the town of Puerto Viejo. Yet it feels deep in the heart of the jungle. Bungalows are spaced apart with greenery surrounding so you feel secluded in your own space. Rooms have fans but no air conditioning, and we were shocked at how cool they were. Like all good ecolodges in Costa Rica, the rooms at La Kukula Lodge are designed to release heat and maintain airflow. I was surprised to wake up snuggling under the covers! The water pressure is low, but ample, with great environmentally-friendly soaps and shampoos provided.

La Kukula Lodge is run by a friendly Spanish family and their staff. They are kind and considerate without being obtrusive. Breakfasts are cooked to order. Dinners are available by reservation only and totally worth it. With surfing beaches and wildlife reserves minutes away, we fell under La Kukula’s spell immediately. It’s where to stay in Costa Rica on the east side.

Recommended by me, Jason at An Epic Education!

Read More: Our Full Review on La Kukula Lodge in Costa Rica

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San Jose Hotels: Best Places to Stay in Costa Rica’s Capital

When people talk about the best places to stay in Costa Rica, they are usually referring to the coasts, the countryside or near the volcanoes. Compared to the natural beauty of these places, the urban capital of San Jose has some stiff competition.

Most people don’t come to Costa Rica to spend time in San Jose, but the city has a lot to offer in terms of restaurants, museums, and other cultural activities. Moreover, most travel in Costa Rica involves flying into San Jose before venturing on to the country’s wilder territories. With this in mind, it’s best to know a few of the best places to stay in San Jose, as well. Here’s where to stay in San Jose Costa Rica.

Hostel Urbano

Hostel Urbano best hotels in san jose costa rica

Photo courtesy of Hostel Urbano

Hostel Urbano is one of the best places to stay in Costa Rica. Located in San Jose, it’s an easy bus ride from the city center. Lots of university students and professionals live in the area, which is lovely and quiet. There is plenty of green space as well as bars, restaurants, and shops.

Best Costa Rica Hostel in the Capital

The hostel has several excellent dorms and private rooms. Even in the dorms, all beds are incredibly comfortable. In addition, there is plenty of storage space, either in the large lockers at the bottom of the bunk beds, or in the closets. All dorms have a private (and pristine) bathroom.

The beautiful common areas are excellent places to socialize. There are a couple of lounges — one of them with a tv, a game room, a terrace, and a nice, well-kept garden. The kitchen is well equipped (well, beyond hostel standards) and the adjacent dining room is a great place for an evening meal. A good breakfast (fruits, juices, pancakes, and hot coffee) is served daily. As a bonus, the wifi works well, too, which is hardly a given in Central America.

Finally, the staff at Hostel Urbano is lovely and very welcoming. They go above and beyond to help their guests and to create a cozy environment. It’s where to stay in Costa Rica’s capital. 

Recommended by Claudia Tavani from My Adventures Across The World

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Hotel Kekoldi

Hotel Kekoldi San Jose where to stay in Costa Rica

For those exploring San Jose — or just need a place before or after a flight — Hotel Kekoldi is one of the best places to stay in Costa Rica.

Best Budget Hotel in San Jose

This is a small boutique hotel, with colorful murals of tropical scenes here and there. The room for my son and I was small but spotless, although I’ve read there are larger rooms as well. The owner, a kindly Frenchman, is a considerate host. We arrived late, and he went the extra mile to explain several nearby restaurants that would still be open.

Breakfast is served in a bright first-floor room, with fruit, juices, coffee, and eggs made to order. The walled-in outer courtyard, with its greenery and toucan mural, is a perfect place to sip coffee and plan out your day.

Recommended by me, Jason at An Epic Education!

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Best Hotel in Arenal, Costa Rica

For those looking for where to stay in Arenal Costa Rica, proximity to the volcano is a consideration. The views of this tectonic titan help define many of the best places to stay in Arenal, and the best places to stay in Costa Rica in general. The outdoor opportunities here are remarkable. There is excellent hiking, rafting, canyoning and more. After a long day in the jungles or on the lake, the Arenal area offers plenty of hot springs to soothe tired muscles. 

Arenal Paraiso Resort and Spa

Arenal Paraiso Resort Where to Stay in Costa Rica

Arenal Paraiso Resort is one of the best Costa Rica resorts for families. Located just outside La Fortuna, it’s a perfect place to stay when you’re wanting to see the many sights near the Arenal volcano. Just a short drive into La Fortuna and you’ve got all the shopping, dining, and entertainment you’ll need for your Costa Rica vacation. The surrounding area is full of adventure for you and your family, including jungle tours, zip lines, canopy tours, volcano hikes, and hot springs.

Speaking of hot springs, Arenal Paraiso has its own hot springs on site. A series of seven mineral water hot springs adorn the property and are only accessible to resort guests. They’re a blast to soak in and vary in temperatures so they’re sure to satisfy the entire family. 

Best Hotel in Arenal Costa Rica

A full breakfast is served each morning, including traditional Costa Rican cuisine and plenty of fresh fruit. A swim-up bar and a full spa add to the experience of Arenal Paraiso! Each room at Arenal Paraiso is its own personal villa with a porch, allowing extra privacy and a deluxe experience. Most rooms have volcano views or rainforest views, while some have both. You’re sure to enjoy your time here, staying in one of the best resorts in La Fortuna.

Recommended by Reid Fuller from Dotting the Map

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The Springs Resort & Spa

Springs Resort and Spa 2

What’s your idea of a vacation? Does it involve racing down the rapids in volcano-heated water? Or eating at gourmet restaurants and getting all the knots kneaded out of your muscles by intuitive hands? Then the Springs Resort and Spa, near the Arenal Volcano, is where to stay in Costa Rica. Each of the spacious rooms and villas has windows looking right onto the Arenal Volcano. From your private balcony, you could see the conical giant often shrouded by clouds.

Best Arenal Hotels in Costa Rica

The main building is the closest spot to access the 12 hot springs of Las Lagunas Springs. Hidden in nooks and coves and covered by overhanging tropical flowers and leaves, each pool varies in temperature between 84ºF and 104ºF (28ºC and 40ºC). Water ranges from clear to murky depending on the level of mineral concentration. 

The Perdido Springs are accessible down a stone path from Las Lagunas Springs. These seven springs are a bit warmer than the ones in the higher elevations. Ranging in temperature between 91ºF to 104º F (33ºC and 40ºC), they are also closer to the volcano.

Where to Stay in Arenal

The Springs Resort and Spa boasts just over a half mile of Arenal River frontage. This is where Club Rio is located, about a mile below the main building with shuttles operating from the lobby. Visitors can ride the river in inner tubes or hike around to discover more hot springs. They can also ride horses around the vast property. In fact, there’s a trail that takes you through the rushing water to discover the rescued animals housed in the animal sanctuary. The Springs Resort and Spa is a great mix of adventure and pamper, and one of the best places to stay in Costa Rica.

Recommended by Rina Baraz Nehdar from LA Family Travel

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Best Hotels in Guanacaste, Costa Rica

From arid plains to tropical vistas, Guanacaste Province is one of the best places to stay in Costa Rica for a beach vacation and more. The northwest corner of the country has some of the best beaches in Costa Rica, as well as some of the best Costa Rica hotels and resorts. Here are a few of the best Costa Rica hotels in Guanacaste.

Drift Away Eco Lodge

Drift Away Eco Lodge where to stay in Costa Rica Guanacaste

The Guanacaste region of Costa Rica is very popular with tourists. Yet there are still little hidden gems just off the beaten path that will excite any world traveler. Playa Avellanas, located just 20 minutes south of the popular hot spot of Tamarindo, is one of those destinations. If you need a place to stay, then the newly opened Drift Away Eco-Lodge is one of the best places to stay in Guanacaste, Costa Rica. Nestled in a tropical paradise, Drift Away Eco-Lodge sits between two of Costa Rica’s best surfing beaches: Playa Avellanas and Playa Negra. It’s the perfect base for an eco-conscious Costa Rican vacation.

Where to Stay in Guanacaste

The Eco Lodge is set in a lush green environment and features an outdoor pool, garden, charming terraces, a hammock hangout area, a juice bar and more. The lodge offers a variety of rooms, ranging from 2-bedroom villas to Deluxe King Rooms that feature a unique open concept. Different rooms cater to independent travelers, families and those looking for all-inclusive packages.

Sustainability is at the heart of the operations at the Drift Away Eco Lodge. The hotel was recently renovated using locally-sourced materials and labor. Looking for Costa Rica accommodation combining the Pura Vida lifestyle with a little luxury and a whole lot of love for the environment? Then Drift Away Eco-Lodge is where to stay in Costa Rica.

Recommended by Oksana & Max from Drink Tea & Travel, the founders of the Drift Away Eco Lodge

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Rio Perdido Resort & Thermal River

Rio Perdido best places to stay in Costa Rica Guanacaste

Photo courtesy of Rio Perdido

Walking across the entry bridge to the main reception building of Rio Perdido, it’s almost as if the howler monkeys had been briefed on our welcome. Set just above the treetops, the reception and main dining area of Rio Perdido Hotel & Thermal River offer panoramic views of the sprawling resort grounds. Then there is the friendly and curious group of howler monkeys, who enjoy hanging outside the windows opposite check-in. We stood for several minutes listening to the sound of their calling and chatting while trying to get a good angle for photos. Over the course of our stay, we saw new guests arriving and getting the same friendly greeting.

Top Guanacaste Resorts

Rio Perdido is one of the best luxury resorts in Costa Rica and has sustainability and environmental/social consciousness at its core. During the creation of the resort, care was taken to build around and celebrate nature. This allows visitors to enjoy this part of Costa Rica in a sustainable manner.

Set among 600 acres of land, the cabins at Rio Perdido are secluded and include balconies overlooking the forest. We recommend the brand new center bungalows. They have twin outdoor showers you will never want to get out of. The thermal river is open to all guests for bathing, and there’s a luxurious spa too. For those wanting some higher-energy activities, the resort has some of the best biking trails in Costa Rica, as well as its own zip lines. Rio Perdido is where to stay in Costa Rica. 

Recommended by Ellie & Ravi from Soul Travel Blog

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Ten North Tamarindo Beach Hotel

Ten North best hotels in Costa Rica Tamarindo

Photo courtesy of Ten North Tamarindo Beach Hotel

When we first arrived in Tamarindo, I was a little taken aback at the tourist bustle. Streets were packed with brightly-lit restaurants, souvenir stalls, and large, multi-story hotels. I saw people walking and milling about everywhere. My brother had booked our family vacation there, so I didn’t know what to expect. Then our airport transfer van pulled onto a narrow dirt road and bounced up to a gated driveway.

Best Hotel in Tamarindo

I was very curious about what awaited us as we rolled our suitcases up to a small reception building. What a marvelous surprise when we were led only a few steps beyond the reception into a quiet, secluded courtyard. It was like another world. Ten North Tamarindo Beach Hotel turned out to be perfect for relaxing accommodation, and one of the best places to stay in Costa Rica. All this and it was only a 5-minute walk — at a leisurely pace — to the lively main streets with restaurants and the beautiful beach.

Ten North is an intimate hotel with ground-level apartments and second-level rooms. They are arranged in a courtyard around a small swimming pool and sandpit with comfy beanbags. We rented two two-bedroom apartments for my family of six. They include a living room area and kitchenette, but best of all a lovely patio area. Here is where a hot breakfast was served right to our patio table each morning, with super yummy fresh fruit smoothies. Second-level guests eat at a common area next to the pool. Another plus: the hotel loans out boogie boards for free. This was great, as this beach was top-notch boogie-boarding territory!

Recommended by Shara Johnson from SKJ Travel

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Best Places to Stay in Costa Rica, Puntarenas

Puntarenas Province runs down most of Costa Rica’s western shoreline. With lush jungles and pristine Pacific-coast beaches, it’s one of the best places in Costa Rica to chill out and tuck your feet into the sand. Here is where to stay in Puntarenas.

Oxygen Jungle Villas

Oxygen Jungle Villa where to stay in Costa Rica Puntarenas

If you’re planning a trip to Costa Rica and want a unique and romantic place to stay, Oxygen Jungle Villas will steal your heart! Nestled in the lush hills on the Pacific Coast, this place is truly a paradise that blends luxury with nature. There are so many adventurous things to do in Costa Rica. In fact, it’s important to plan a little time during your trip to just relax and take it all in. With an infinity pool that overlooks the Pacific Ocean, Oxygen Jungle Villas is the perfect place to put your feet up and soak up the sun with a signature cocktail in hand. Each glass villa is surrounded by jungle and has a private terrace for unwinding with a book or enjoying breakfast in solitude.

Best Costa Rica Hotels in Puntarenas

This place is more than just beautiful. The service at Oxygen Jungle Villas is top-notch, and the onsite restaurant serves a variety of innovative dishes made with local ingredients when possible. Two of our favorites were the sesame crusted ahi tuna and the coconut cheesecake!

Don’t worry about getting bored. You can explore the onsite waterfall that’s only accessible to guests. You could also get pampered at the hotel’s spa, or head into the nearby towns of Uvita and Dominical to hang out at the beach. Then again, you could try surfing, sample local craft beer, or explore more waterfalls. Whether you’ve come to relax and get away from it all, or you want to have a luxurious place to rest your head after a day of adventuring, Oxygen Jungle Villas is sure to impress!

Recommended by Katie from Two Wandering Soles

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Best Hotels in Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica

Oh me oh my. Calling all amateur biologists and animal lovers of all kinds. The Osa Peninsula is one of the best places in Costa Rica — or anywhere really — for discovering flora and fauna. Sure, the Osa Peninsula is actually part of Puntarenas Province — mentioned above — but I think it deserves its own section.  This is literally one of the most biodiverse places on the planet, with thousands upon thousands of plant and animal species calling it home. Here’s where to stay in Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula. 

Bosque del Cabo 

Bosque del Cabo where to stay in Costa Rica Osa Peninsula

If your family loves the outdoors and amazing natural settings, then Bosque del Cabo on the Osa Peninsula is one of the best places to stay in Costa Rica. Located about 20 kilometers from Puerto Jimenez on over 700 acres on the southernmost tip of the Osa, this resort is perfect for adventurous families. Here you can immerse yourself in miles of nature trails. Some trails skirt the beaches of Matapalo, while others delve deep in the jungle near Corcovado National Park.

Best Hotels in Costa Rica for Animal Lovers

You’ll see so many animals up close, too. These include coatimundis, peccaries, and scarlet macaws. You’ll also see four different species of monkey: howler monkeys, spider monkeys, white-faced capuchins, and Mono Titis (squirrel monkeys). The resort sits high on a cliff overlooking the blue Pacific. Accommodations at Bosque del Cabo are rustic yet comfortable. Rooms have natural-wood furnishings and thatch roofs, and most have a private patio with amazing views.

Because the resort is so remote, Bosque del Cabo offers complete meal plans. Guests are treated to delicious, locally-sourced cuisine, served community-style for breakfast and dinner. Lunches can either be enjoyed at the resort or boxed up to-go if you’re out on the trail. You can join the resident naturalist for guided tours or strike out on your own for the day. Then head back and enjoy a swim before dinner. One of our favorite things to do at night is to join a night hike around the property to see what comes out when the sun goes down. We’ve been going to Bosque del Cabo for years. Why? Because it’s truly one of the most unique Costa Rica resorts we’ve ever stayed at. It’s perfect for nature-loving families and a great introduction for first-timers to Costa Rica!

Recommended by Lori Sorrentino from Travlinmad

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Casa Corcovado Jungle Lodge

Casa Corcovado Jungle Lodge best Costa Rica ecolodge

If you want to visit Corcovado National Park (and trust us when we tell you that you should if you have any interest whatsoever in nature and wildlife), Casa Corcovado Jungle Lodge is easily among the best places to stay in Costa Rica on the Osa Peninsula. For one, it’s literally right next to the park. In fact, it’s so close that you can easily hike into the area National Geographic referred to as one of the most biodiverse places on the planet.

Where to Stay in Costa Rica for Wildlife

This proximity means that you’ll see tons of wildlife right on the ecolodge’s property: from howler monkeys, sloths, and tapirs to an incredible array of colorful birds. And if that’s not enough, the lodge can also arrange snorkeling and scuba diving trips to Caño Island. This is a 45-minute boat ride away and is home to marine life ranging from sea turtles and spotted rays to dolphins and migrating whales.

The lodge’s cottage-style rooms are spacious and tucked away in lushly landscaped tropical gardens, with hammocks on the porch and tons of eco-friendly features. In fact, Casa Corcovado is one of the few hotels in the country that has been awarded the prestigious “Five Leaves” for sustainability by the Costa Rican Tourism Institute. And with indoor and outdoor dining, stunning sunset views, and daily guided tour options, you (and your family) will never run out of things to do there.

Recommended by Bret Love & Mary Gabbett from Green Global Travel

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Poor Man’s Paradise Lodge

Poor Man’s Paradise Costa Rica eco-lodge

Deep in the rich jungles of the Osa Peninsula lies one of the most rugged and unique accommodations in Costa Rica. Poor Man’s Paradise is an eco-resort that aims to offer an authentic wilderness retreat near the edges of Corcovado National Park. This rustic retreat, with its limited electric power and modest cabanas, may not seem like where to stay in Costa Rica for family travelers. Yet its remoteness is actually what makes it so special.

Where to Stay in Costa Rica for Roughing It

Yes, the beds can be lumpy. And it’s true that there is only power for a few hours each day, around dinner time. But in the morning, you are woken by toucans nesting on your deck. There might be monkeys playing in the hammock, or scarlet macaws flying majestically overhead. Off the coast of Poor Man’s Paradise, we saw humpback whales breaching, dolphin’s leaping, and flying fish gliding. We even had an intimate encounter with a young whale shark. And all of this was before we crossed the border into Corcovado National Park.

Poor Man’s Paradise is a destination where groups spend as much time chatting about the adventures that they experienced as they do embark on them. You arrive as strangers and leave as old friends. When you first arrive, you may find yourself second-guessing your decision. But by the time you leave, you’ll be begging to stay.

Recommended by Kevin Wagar from Wandering Wagars

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Luna Lodge

Luna Lodge Best Costa Rica Hotels & Ecolodges

Nestled deep in Puntarenas Province’s Osa Peninsula, the Luna Lodge is one of the best places to stay in Costa Rica for those who want to get away from it all. The rooms and bungalows here are comfy and rustic, and the food — locally sourced and homemade — is exceptional. Plenty of options for vegetarians and vegans, too.

Best Costa Rica Ecolodge to Get Away from It All

And then there is the view. Perched on a hillside, you look down upon the jungle and the Pacific Ocean in the distance. However, you may be distracted by the occasional families of howler monkeys traipsing through the branches in the foreground.

Luna Lodge sits next door is Corcovado National Park, one of the most biologically dense places on the planet. Hire the onsite naturalists and other guides to take you into the park. There you might see poison dart frogs, coatis, white-faced capuchins or some of the other millions of jungle residents. To reach Luna Lodge, we took a 5-seater prop plane from San Jose to Puerto Jimenez. There a Range Rover was waiting to take us the last leg of the journey. Getting there was part of the adventure itself! And it was worth it.

Recommended by me at An Epic Education!

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Do You Know Where to Stay in Costa Rica?

This list of best places to stay in Costa Rica is far from complete. I plan to update this piece regularly, so if you know more top Costa Rica hotels, resorts, hostels & ecolodges, let us know! We’d love to keep this fresh with the best information. Where are the best places to stay in Costa Rica on the East Coast? Where are the best ecolodges in Arenal? Tell us about Costa Rica hotels near the airport. Leave a comment below for our next update!

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Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which cost you nothing. However, when you use our links, we might receive a small commission if you book a Costa Rica hotel or one of the other best places to stay in Costa Rica. In this post, my opinions on Costa Rica hotels & resorts family vacations or of the travel bloggers features here. I do my best to only recommend the best places to stay in Costa Rica with children, with friends or on your own.