While it has always been a fan favorite among mindful travelers, Costa Rica is especially appealing in 2021 as it has begun welcoming tourists with open arms, despite being mid-pandemic. Popular for its beaches, rainforest, and volcano, there’s something for everyone in this Central American country that straddles the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. The biggest decision you have to make is when to go and where to stay. Here are some of the Costa Rica resorts that top our list, as they have footprint, culture and community top of mind.
Located in the heart of San Jose, Hotel Aranjuez is a great base in the city, before you head off to the beach or the rainforest. A fusion of five houses built in the 1930s, this historical property offers an authentic Costa Rican home visit experience. With a focus on architectural heritage, local hospitality, culinary traditions and conservation of the environment, this hotel has been a sustainability leader since it opened in 1992.
Lapa Rios Eco Resort
Lapa Rios Eco Resort is located on Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula. This 17-bungalow lodge preserves more than 1,000 acres of rainforest and assists in the development of the local community. Enjoy interpretive hikes, bird watching walks or local medicine tours. On the latter, you will learn about traditional medicinal uses of plants, trees and seeds used to treat various ailments. With a ban on plastic, use of solar power and an onsite organic garden, Lapa Rios is based on sustainable and regenerative principles.
Danta Corcovado Lodge
Highly immersed in the local community, Danta Corcovado Lodge offers a rustic, authentic experience. Wake up to squirrel monkeys passing overhead, or go to bed with the sounds of pings and clicks of frogs, the chattering of kinkajou, or the long whistles of the Potoo bird on the prowl. Located just outside the Corcovado National Park, the lodge is in close proximity to the Indigenous Territory Guaymí and guests have the opportunity to visit the locals and learn about their lifestyle, culture and beliefs.
Arenas Del Mar Resort
The perfect blend of beach and rainforest, Arenas Del Mar is the only luxury resort with beachfront access in Manuel Antonio, making this one of our favorite Costa Rica resorts. Boasting ocean views just steps from Manuel Antonio National Park, Arenas Del Mar has direct access to two of the area’s best beaches: Playitas and Espadilla (perfect for beginning surfers). Snag an ocean view premium suite and soak in your private hot tub on the terrace while watching enjoying the views over the beach and the 11-acre property.
In designing and building the resort, nature conservation was top of mind. A very limited number of trees were cut down during the construction process (and over 7,000 have been replanted). You’ll even see trees integrated into some of the buildings, discarded plastic bags from the banana industry incorporated into the roofing and electricity systems located underground, so as not to interfere with the wildlife.
Hotel Aguas Claras
In Puerto Viejo, Hotel Aguas Claras is a boutique luxury hotel on the South Caribbean coast. Eclectic and bohemian, the modern bungalows have beach-side access to Playa Chiquita. Adorned with art from local artists, Hotel Aguas Claras has a rich Afro-Caribbean vibe. Think Calypso music and coconut-infused flavors in local cuisine. Explore the expansive coral reefs at the nearby Cahuita National Park. Alternatively, enjoy a guided hike through Cahuita’s coastal rainforest trails.
Romantic getaway sans kids? Kura Hotel is the one for you. This eco-chic property is sleek and sexy, made for lounging poolside. If you want to add a dose of adventure, hike to the nearby Nauyaca waterfalls, explore the seven idyllic beaches of Uvita or go horseback riding on the beach. Tropical minimalism abounds at Kura and their Spa Sha is the perfect place to unwind with a hot volcanic rock massage after a day of activities…or doing nothing at all. There is no stress here, just pura vida.
Senda Monteverde Hotel
This list wouldn’t be complete without a cozy mountain lodge in the cloud forest. Senda Monteverde is just minutes away from the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve that protects 26,000 acres of rare cloud forest. It houses multiple biological zones, making it a true paradise for nature lovers. Go zip-lining or tour a local coffee farm and then settle back into the lodge for dinner at El Sapo. Local farmers and suppliers ensure that every product is organic, every chicken is hormone-free and every cow is grass-fed. Likewise, your breakfast eggs will be free-range, and your fish will always be responsibly-sourced.
Regardless of your budget, you can’t go wrong with any of these Costa Rica resorts. They all put people and planet first and provide a quintessential Tica experience. For ideas on other things to do on your trip, check out our guide to Costa Rica. Before you book, check out the Travara Membership to see if your hotel of choice is one of our partners to enjoy exclusive discounts and perks!
MICHELLE ARELLANO MARTIN