Where to Stay in Costa Rica 🇨🇷: Guide to the best Places to Stay in Costa Rica

Updated on April 16, 2024
by Alex Miller

Are you dreaming of a tropical getaway filled with lush rainforests, stunning beaches, and endless adventure? Look no further than Costa Rica! This Central American paradise offers something for every type of traveler, from luxurious eco-lodges nestled in the jungle to laid-back surf hostels steps from the sand.

With so many incredible places to stay, planning your Costa Rican accommodations can feel overwhelming. But don’t worry, I’ve got you covered! As a seasoned Costa Rica traveler, I’ve experienced the best (and worst) of what this country has to offer when it comes to lodging.

Our Pick of the Best Hotels in Costa Rica 🔝

In this ultimate guide, I’ll share my top picks for where to stay in Costa Rica based on your travel style, budget, and desired location. So grab a cold Imperial beer, kick back in your hammock, and let’s dive into the best places to stay in Costa Rica!

Quick Guide to the Best Places to Visit in Costa Rica 📋

1. San José and the Central Valley – Great Place to Stay for the First Time 👀

🌳 Natural Hub: San José, the capital city of Costa Rica, is a great base for exploring the country’s Central Valley.

🏘️ Residential Areas: Some of the top neighborhoods and places to stay in San José include:

  • Escazú: An upscale suburb known for its high-end shopping, dining, and luxury hotels
  • Santa Ana: A trendy area with a mix of boutique hotels and modern apartments
  • Downtown San José: The heart of the city, with historic buildings, budget hotels, and hostels
  • Alajuela: A charming town near the airport, offering a variety of accommodations and local charm
Poás Volcano National Park
Poás Volcano National Park
Irazú Volcano National Park
Irazú Volcano National Park
Braulio Carrillo National Park
Braulio Carrillo National Park
Braulio Carrillo National Park
Braulio Carrillo National Park
Doka Estate, Costa Rica
Doka Estate, Costa Rica
Oxcarts in Sarchí, Costa Rica
Oxcarts in Sarchí, Costa Rica

🗻 Natural Wonders: San José is also an excellent starting point for day trips to nearby attractions in the Central Valley, such as:

  • Poás Volcano National Park: A stunning volcanic crater lake and cloud forest ecosystem
  • Irazú Volcano National Park: The highest active volcano in Costa Rica, with panoramic views of the Central Valley
  • Braulio Carrillo National Park: A vast rainforest reserve with hiking trails and waterfalls
  • Doka Estate Coffee Tour: A historic coffee plantation offering tours and tastings
  • Sarchí: A picturesque town famous for its colorful oxcarts and handicrafts

🌐 Diverse Options: When choosing where to stay in San José and the Central Valley, consider your budget, preferred amenities, and proximity to the attractions you want to visit. With its diverse range of accommodations and activities, this region is a great introduction to Costa Rica’s natural beauty and cultural heritage.

All hotels in San José →

Where to stay in San José? 🏨

Best hotels near San Jose

  • Barceló San José Palacio – This upscale hotel offers a luxurious stay with its elegant rooms, lush gardens, and excellent amenities. I was impressed by the spacious pool area and the delicious cuisine at the on-site restaurants.
  • Casa Roland San José – A charming boutique hotel with a warm and inviting atmosphere. The rooms are beautifully decorated, and the staff goes above and beyond to ensure a comfortable stay. The location is perfect for exploring San José.
  • Costa Verde Inn – Nestled in the tranquil suburb of Escazú, this rustic hotel features a Spanish hacienda style that I absolutely adored. The rooms are comfortable and quiet, each with its own terrace surrounded by tropical plants. The complimentary breakfast is delicious and generous.

Best cheap/moderate hotels

  • Hotel Aranjuez – A hidden gem in the heart of San José, this hotel offers a perfect blend of comfort and affordability. The rooms are clean and well-maintained, and the staff is friendly and attentive. I particularly enjoyed the beautiful garden area, which provides a peaceful retreat from the city bustle.
  • Hotel Fleur de Lys – This charming hotel is located in a quiet neighborhood, yet still close to the city center. The rooms are cozy and comfortable, with a touch of Costa Rican flair. The complimentary breakfast is a great way to start the day, and the staff is always ready to help with any questions or concerns.

Best hostels

  • Hostel Castillo Tam – This unique hostel is housed in a beautiful castle-like building, creating a memorable experience for guests. The dorms are spacious and well-maintained, and the common areas are great for relaxing and socializing. The hostel’s location is convenient for accessing the city’s main attractions.
  • Lost in Costa Rica Hostel – A laid-back and friendly hostel that embodies the “pura vida” lifestyle. The dorms are clean and comfortable, and the outdoor common areas are perfect for enjoying the pleasant Costa Rican weather. The staff is knowledgeable and always ready to help guests make the most of their stay.
  • Eco Stay Hostel – This eco-friendly hostel is perfect for travelers who value sustainability and a connection with nature. I enjoyed the hostel’s peaceful atmosphere and the opportunity to meet like-minded travelers.

2. Arenal Volcano and La Fortuna – For Nature & Adventure 🌋

🌋 Nature’s Playground: The Arenal Volcano and the nearby town of La Fortuna are must-visit destinations in Costa Rica, offering a perfect blend of adventure, nature, and relaxation. This area is known for its stunning volcanic landscapes, lush rainforests, and soothing hot springs.

🥾 Outdoor Adventures: Some of the top attractions and activities in the Arenal area include:

  • Arenal Volcano National Park: Home to the iconic Arenal Volcano, with hiking trails and wildlife viewing opportunities
  • La Fortuna Waterfall: A beautiful 75-meter cascade surrounded by tropical forest
  • Hanging Bridges: A network of suspension bridges offering a unique perspective of the rainforest canopy
  • Zip-lining: An exhilarating way to experience the beauty of the rainforest while soaring through the treetops
  • White-water rafting: Thrilling rapids on the nearby Balsa or Sarapiquí rivers
  • Canyoning: Rappelling down waterfalls and exploring river canyons
Arenal Volcano National Park, Costa Rica
Arenal Volcano National Park, Costa Rica
La Fortuna Waterfall, Costa Rica
La Fortuna Waterfall, Costa Rica
Hanging Bridge, Costa Rica
Hanging Bridge, Costa Rica
Zip-lining, Costa Rica
Zip-lining, Costa Rica
White-water rafting, Costa Rica
White-water rafting, Costa Rica
Canyoning, Costa Rica
Canyoning, Costa Rica

🌡️ Thermal Relaxation: No visit to the Arenal area is complete without experiencing the rejuvenating hot springs. Some of the best options include Tabacón Hot Springs (luxury resort with extensive thermal pools and stunning volcanic views) and Ecotermales Hot Springs (more intimate and eco-friendly option with several pools nestled in the rainforest).

When it comes to accommodations, the Arenal area offers a wide range of options, from hot springs resorts to boutique and budget-friendly options.

All hotels in La Fortuna →

Where to stay in La Fortuna? 🏩

Best hotels in La Fortuna

  • Casa Luna Hotel & Spa – I absolutely loved my stay at this secluded eco-friendly hotel. The tropical gardens, outdoor pool, spa and restaurant create a tranquil and luxurious atmosphere. The rooms are spacious and comfortable with beautiful nature views.
  • Hotel Arenal Carmela – This charming hotel offers cozy cabins surrounded by lush gardens. I enjoyed relaxing on my private terrace and taking a dip in the outdoor pool. The location is very convenient, just a 10 minute walk to downtown La Fortuna.
  • Hotel Arenal Country Inn – The bungalows at this hotel are set in a spacious garden, providing a peaceful retreat. While the breakfast had limited options, the friendly staff, especially Jackie at reception, made me feel very welcome. It’s an easy 10 minute walk into town.

Best cheap/moderate hotels

  • Hotel Vista del Cerro – For the price, this hotel exceeded my expectations. My room had great views of the Arenal Volcano and the breakfast was tasty with plenty of choices. The staff were helpful in booking tours. Great value for the money.
  • Hotel Monte Real – I was pleasantly surprised by the modern, clean rooms at this affordable hotel. The air conditioning worked well and the beds were comfortable. While not right in town, it’s only a short drive to restaurants and shops. The pool was a nice bonus.
  • Rancho Cerro Azul – This small family-run hotel has a homey feel. The cabins are simply furnished but spacious and spotless. I loved the free breakfast served on a scenic outdoor terrace overlooking the rainforest. The hosts were so warm and accommodating.

Best hostels

  • Rio Danta Hostel – This hostel has a fun, social vibe that made it easy to meet other travelers. The dorms are basic but clean and have lockers. The shared kitchen is well-equipped. I enjoyed chilling in the hammocks and having a beer at the bar in the evenings.
  • Arenal Sloth Hostel – Animal lovers will adore this hostel. During my stay I saw sloths, toucans and iguanas right on the property! The pod-style dorm beds were cozy and the common areas were great for mingling. Fun daily activities like dance classes and hikes.
  • Argdivan Hostel – This small, family-run hostel has a peaceful location by the river, about 1km from town. The owners are so friendly and helpful. Breakfast is included. While the facilities are simple, everything is clean and well-maintained. A great budget option.

3. Guanacaste Province and the Pacific Coast – For Beach Lovers 🏄🏻‍♀️

🏖️ Beach Paradise: Guanacaste Province, located on Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast, is known for its stunning beaches, vibrant beach towns, and luxury resorts. This region offers the perfect mix of relaxation, adventure, and nightlife, making it a popular choice for beach lovers and sun seekers.

🏄‍♀️ Surf Spots: Some of the most popular beach towns in Guanacaste include:

  • Tamarindo: A lively surf town with a wide range of accommodationsrestaurants, and bars
  • Playa Conchal: A stunning white-sand beach with crystal-clear waters and luxury resorts
  • Playa Flamingo: An upscale area with high-end resortsgolf courses, and sport fishing opportunities
  • Nosara: A laid-back town known for its yoga retreatssurf breaks, and eco-friendly accommodations
  • Playas del Coco: A popular spot for scuba divingsnorkeling, and sportfishing
Surf Spots
Surf Spots
Surf Spots

🌊 Water Adventures: In addition to relaxing on the beach, Guanacaste offers a variety of water activities and nightlife options:

  • Surfing: Take lessons or rent a board to enjoy the excellent surf breaks at Tamarindo, Nosara, and Playa Grande
  • Snorkeling and Scuba Diving: Explore the underwater wonders of the Pacific Coast, including the Catalina Islands and the Bat Islands
  • Sunset Cruises: Enjoy a romantic sunset while sipping cocktails and spotting marine life along the coast
  • Nightlife: Experience the vibrant barsclubs, and beachfront restaurants in Tamarindo and Playas del Coco

🏨 Luxury Retreats: Guanacaste is also home to some of the most luxurious resorts and boutique hotels in Costa Rica.

All hotels in Guanacaste →

Where to stay in Guanacaste Province? 🏨

Best hotels in Guanacaste

  • Hotel Casa Carlota Tamarindo – This charming hotel is a true gem, located just 500 meters from the Villareal intersection in Tamarindo. The gated property provides a tranquil oasis, with immaculately clean and comfortable rooms equipped with refrigerators.
  • Hotel Gardenia Tamarindo – Just 700 meters from the stunning Tamarindo Beach, Hotel Gardenia offers a serene retreat with its inviting outdoor pool, lush garden, and terrace. The rooms are beautifully decorated, spotlessly clean, and feature well-equipped kitchens. 
  • Hotel Giada – Conveniently situated just 250 meters from Sámara Beach, Hotel Giada is a tropical paradise. The two outdoor pools surrounded by vibrant flowers create a captivating atmosphere. The delicious breakfast and easy parking right in front of the hotel added to the wonderful experience.

Best cheap/moderate hotels

  • Villa Hermosa Liberia – This delightful hotel offers incredible value for money. The rooms are spacious, clean, and well-equipped with comfortable beds and strong air conditioning.
  • Hotel Boruca Tamarindo – Hotel Boruca Tamarindo is a hidden treasure, offering a peaceful retreat just a short walk from the beach. The rooms are clean, comfortable, and equipped with all the essentials. 
  • Hotel Javy – The rooms are simple but well-maintained, with comfortable beds and air conditioning. The real highlight is the lush garden where you can relax in hammocks and enjoy the tranquil surroundings.

Best hostels

  • Hostel La Botella de Leche – This unique hostel, housed in a historic building in Liberia, offers a one-of-a-kind experience. The artistic decor and vibrant murals create a lively atmosphere, while the clean and comfortable rooms provide a cozy retreat.
  • Mai Ke Kai Surf House – Located just steps from the beach in Tamarindo, Mai Ke Kai Surf House is a surfer’s paradise. The laid-back vibe, friendly staff, and clean, comfortable rooms create a welcoming environment. I loved the outdoor common areas where you can relax in hammocks.
  • Pipe House Playa Grande – This eco-friendly hostel, nestled in the heart of Playa Grande, offers a unique and immersive experience. The warm and welcoming staff, along with the communal kitchen and outdoor spaces, foster a sense of community among guests.

4. Manuel Antonio and the Central Pacific Coast – For Manuel Antonio National Park 🐒

🐒 Wildlife Haven: Manuel Antonio, located on the Central Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, is a popular destination known for its stunning beaches and abundant wildlife. The area’s main attraction is the Manuel Antonio National Park, which combines pristine beaches with dense jungle and diverse animal species.

🏞️ Tropical Paradise: The Manuel Antonio National Park offers several highlights:

  • White-sand beaches: Relax on the park’s four beautiful beaches – Espadilla Sur, Manuel Antonio, Escondido, and Playita
  • Hiking trails: Explore the park’s well-maintained trails, which wind through the rainforest and offer stunning ocean views
  • Wildlife watching: Spot an array of animals, including slothsmonkeysiguanastoucans, and colorful butterflies
  • Snorkeling and diving: Discover the vibrant marine life in the park’s coral reefs and rocky outcrops
Hiking trail
Hiking trail
Mangrove tour
Mangrove tour
Mangrove tour
Mangrove tour
Kids Saving the Rainforest Wildlife Rescue Center
Kids Saving the Rainforest Wildlife Rescue Center
Kids Saving the Rainforest Wildlife Rescue Center
Kids Saving the Rainforest Wildlife Rescue Center
Kids Saving the Rainforest Wildlife Rescue Center
Kids Saving the Rainforest Wildlife Rescue Center

🌴 Adventure Awaits: In addition to exploring the national park, there are plenty of adventure activities and wildlife experiences in the area:

  • Zip-lining: Soar through the rainforest canopy on a thrilling zip-line tour
  • Mangrove tours: Take a boat tour through the mangrove forests of Damas Island, spotting birdsreptiles, and aquatic life
  • Spice Farm tours: Visit Villa Vanilla, a working spice farm, to learn about the production of vanillacinnamon, and cocoa
  • Wildlife refuges: Explore other nearby reserves, such as the Kids Saving the Rainforest Wildlife Rescue Center and the Rainmaker Conservation Project

This region offers a quintessential Costa Rican rainforest and beach experience.

All hotels in Manuel Antonio →

Where to stay in Manuel Antonio? 🏩

Best hotels in Manuel Antonio

  • Tulemar Bungalows & Villas – I absolutely loved staying at Tulemar. The private villas are spacious and luxurious, with stunning ocean views. The resort grounds are lush and beautifully landscaped, with hiking trails and a private beach. The staff went above and beyond to make our stay special.
  • Hotel La Mariposa – La Mariposa is a true gem perched high on a hill overlooking the Pacific. Our room had a huge private balcony perfect for watching sunsets. The infinity pool is spectacular and the open-air restaurant serves delicious Costa Rican cuisine. It’s a peaceful, romantic spot.

Best cheap/moderate hotels

  • Tres Banderas Hotel – This cheery hotel is an incredible value. The colorful rooms are basic but spotlessly clean and include AC, WiFi and a fridge. We loved hanging out by the pool surrounded by jungle greenery. The staff are so warm and welcoming. Great location an easy walk to the beach and national park.
  • Peace of Paradise – I was impressed by how much Peace of Paradise offers for budget-friendly rates. Our room had a kitchenette, the pool area is lovely, and a full breakfast is included. It’s a 20-minute walk to the beach. The owners are very helpful in booking tours and giving local tips.
  • Glamping Tomaselli – For a unique experience, try glamping in a safari tent at this property near the national park. The tents are large and well-equipped, with comfy beds and private baths. Waking up to the sounds of the jungle is magical. The shared kitchen has everything you need to prepare meals.

Best hostels

  • Teva Eco Retreat – Teva is a special place for nature lovers and yogis. Guests stay in simple cabins immersed in the jungle. Group yoga and meditation sessions are offered daily. The vibe is laid-back and communal, with shared veggie meals. It’s a great spot to unplug and recharge.
  • Hostel Vista Serena – You can’t beat the views from this hilltop hostel. Dorms and private rooms are available, all kept very clean. The staff are super chill and there are lots of hammocks to relax in. It’s an easy bus ride to the beach. Great place to meet other travelers on a budget.

5. Monteverde – Best Place to Stay in Costa Rica for Cloud Forests ☁

🌳 Nature’s Marvel: Monteverde, located in the Puntarenas Province of Costa Rica, is a must-visit destination for nature lovers and adventure seekers. The region is famous for its stunning cloud forests, diverse wildlife, and unique eco-tourism experiences.

🌲 Cloud forest Gem: The main attraction in Monteverde is the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, a 10,500-hectare protected area that is home to an incredible variety of flora and fauna. Some of the reserve’s highlights include:

  • Suspension bridges: Walk along the Sky Walk, a series of suspension bridges that offer a unique perspective of the cloud forest canopy
  • Birdwatching: Spot some of the 400+ bird species found in the reserve, including the resplendent quetzalhummingbirds, and bellbirds
  • Plant diversity: Discover the reserve’s incredible variety of orchidsbromeliads, and ferns

🦋 Thrilling Adventures: Also, Monteverde offers a range of adventure activities and educational experiences:

  • Night walks: Join a guided night hike to spot nocturnal wildlife and experience the cloud forest after dark
  • Butterfly gardens: Visit the Monteverde Butterfly Gardens to learn about Costa Rica’s colorful butterfly species
  • Coffee and chocolate tours: Discover the process of making coffee and chocolate at local farms like El Trapiche and Café de Monteverde
  • Horseback riding: Explore the region’s scenic trails on horseback with local tour operators
El Trapiche
El Trapiche
El Trapiche
El Trapiche
Café de Monteverde
Café de Monteverde

🏡 Eco-friendly Stays: Accommodations in Monteverde range from rustic eco-lodges to more luxurious mountain hotels.

All hotels in Monteverde →

Where to stay in Monteverde? 🏨

Best hotels in Monteverde

  • Rainbow Valley Lodge – The rooms are spacious and come with free WiFi and a private bathroom. Some even have a fully equipped kitchenette, which was super convenient. The lodge offers free parking and is a great base for exploring the area.
  • Bella Vista Lodge – This lodge truly lives up to its name with incredible views all the way to the Pacific. It’s surrounded by the lush cloud forest and is just a short 4-minute drive from Santa Elena town center. The rooms are cozy and comfortable, with a small fridge, coffee maker, microwave and cable TV.
  • YerbaBuena Modern Stay in the Cloud Forest – I was really impressed by the floor-to-ceiling windows in all the units here, with amazing views of the gardens and nature. It’s perfect for families or groups, with a shared lounge and kitchen. I loved the outdoor fire pit, BBQ area, and the bird-watching station. Hiking trails are right on your doorstep.

Best cheap/moderate hotels

  • Roca Verde Lodge – This lodge offers great value in a peaceful setting surrounded by nature. The rooms are clean and comfortable, with private bathrooms and free toiletries. Some have balconies with stunning views. There’s a shared lounge and kitchen, plus free WiFi throughout. 
  • Apartment Monte Luna Mountain View – The mountain view from the terrace was breathtaking, especially at sunset. The property has a garden and free private parking. It’s great for longer stays and is just 1.2 miles from the Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve.
  • Greemount Cabins – These cozy wooden cabins are nestled in beautiful gardens and come with a private bathroom, wardrobe, and lovely garden views. There’s a shared lounge and free WiFi in public areas. The cabins are just a short walk from restaurants and shops in Santa Elena.

Best hostels

  • Outbox Inn – This friendly hostel has both dorms and private rooms, all with orthopedic mattresses and shared bathrooms. There’s a great common area with hammocks, games, and instruments, plus a shared kitchen. I loved the free breakfast and tea/coffee throughout the day. The hostel also offers daily free guided hikes in the cloud forest.
  • Hammock House – True to its name, this laid-back hostel has plenty of hammocks to relax in. Dorms and private rooms are available, with shared bathrooms and free WiFi. The outdoor common area is a great place to meet other travelers. Breakfast is included and the hostel can help organize tours and activities.
  • Hostel Selva Verde Monteverde – This hostel is located right in the heart of Santa Elena, with both dorms and private rooms available. It has a cozy common room, shared kitchen, and an outdoor area with hammocks. Free breakfast is served each morning. The friendly staff can assist with booking tours and transportation.

6. Puerto Viejo and the Caribbean Coast – Best Place in Costa Rica for Couples 💞

🏝️ Laid-back Vibes: Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, located on the Caribbean Coast of Costa Rica, is a laid-back beach town known for its unique blend of Afro-Caribbean culture and stunning beaches. The area offers a more relaxed and bohemian atmosphere compared to the Pacific Coast, with a focus on eco-tourism and cultural experiences.

🌊 Beach Paradise: Some of the top attractions and activities in Puerto Viejo and the surrounding area include:

  • Beaches: Relax on the town’s picturesque beaches, such as Playa CoclesPlaya Chiquita, and Punta Uva, known for their white sandturquoise waters, and swaying palm trees
  • Surfing: Catch some waves at the nearby Salsa Brava, one of Costa Rica’s most famous surf breaks, or take lessons from local surf schools
  • Jaguar Rescue Center: Visit this wildlife rehabilitation center to learn about their efforts to protect and care for injured and orphaned animals, including slothsmonkeys, and wildcats
  • Cahuita National Park: Explore this stunning coastal national park, known for its pristine beachescoral reefs, and diverse wildlife, including monkeyssloths, and tropical birds
  • Chocolate tours: Discover the process of making chocolate from bean to bar at local cacao farms like Caribeans Coffee & Chocolate and BriBri Cacao Tour

🎶 Vibrant Culture: In addition to the activities mentioned above, Puerto Viejo is known for its vibrant nightlife and unique culinary scene:

  • Nightlife: Experience the town’s lively bars and music venues, where you can enjoy live reggaecalypso, and salsa music
  • Restaurants: Sample the area’s delicious Afro-Caribbean cuisine, which blends Caribbean flavors with Costa Rican ingredients, at popular spots like Bread & Chocolate and Restaurante Tamara

📝 Plan Ahead: When planning your stay in Puerto Viejo and the Caribbean Coast, consider the type of experience you’re looking for, whether it’s relaxation, adventure, culture, or a mix of all three. Puerto Viejo offers a range of options to suit all budgets and preferences.

All hotels in Puerto Viejo →

Where to stay in Puerto Viejo? 🏩

Best hotels in Puerto Viejo

  • Hotel El Bambu – This tropical hotel set in the lush rainforest offers both indoor and outdoor pools, spacious sun terraces, and free Wi-Fi. I enjoyed the bright, air-conditioned rooms with cable TV, safe, and private bathroom. The hotel’s restaurant serves a delicious buffet breakfast and regional cuisine.
  • Ara Ambigua Lodge – I was pleasantly surprised by the variety of birds right at the hotel, providing great photo opportunities. The gardens are beautiful and the pool is very nice. It’s a modern place with great facilities, including a decent gift shop. The on-site restaurant La Casona offers meals throughout the day with vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free options.
  • La Selva Biological Station – Staying here was an incredible experience for nature lovers. The rooms are basic but comfortable, and the location in the heart of the rainforest is unbeatable. I loved the guided hikes and night walks with knowledgeable guides. The food at the cafeteria was tasty and plentiful.

Best cheap/moderate hotels

  • Andrea Cristina – This bed and breakfast offers garden views and free private parking. I enjoyed the patio and some units have beautiful mountain views. The owner Alex is very knowledgeable about birds and wildlife, and he’s quite funny too. Lovely breakfast and a great natural place to stay.
  • Casa Sol Sarapiqui – This small, family-run hotel provides a peaceful and comfortable stay. The rooms are clean and cozy, with private bathrooms. I loved relaxing in the hammocks and watching the birds in the garden. The owners are very friendly and helpful with arranging tours and activities in the area.
  • Gavilan Rio Sarapiqui Lodge – Located right on the river, this lodge offers rustic but charming accommodations. I stayed in a lovely cabin with a porch overlooking the water. The restaurant serves good, hearty meals. It’s a great base for exploring the surrounding rainforest and waterfalls.

7. Osa Peninsula and Corcovado National Park – For Rainforests & Wildlife 🌳

🌴 Untouched Paradise: The Osa Peninsula, located in southwestern Costa Rica, is a remote and untouched region known for its incredible biodiversity and pristine natural beauty. The crown jewel of the peninsula is Corcovado National Park, a vast tract of primary rainforest that is often referred to as the “most biologically intense place on Earth”.

🐆 Wildlife Haven: Corcovado National Park is home to an astonishing variety of wildlife, including:

  • MammalsJaguarspumasocelotsslothsmonkeys (squirrel, spider, howler, and white-faced capuchin), tapirs, and peccaries
  • BirdsScarlet macawstoucansparrotstrogons, and hundreds of other species
  • Reptiles and AmphibiansAmerican crocodilesbull sharkspoison dart frogs, and various snake species
  • Insects: A staggering array of butterfliesmothsbeetles, and other fascinating insects

🥾 Hiking Adventures: Exploring Corcovado National Park typically involves hiking through the dense rainforest on guided tours or self-guided treks. Some of the most popular trails and destinations within the park include:

  • La Leona Ranger Station: The starting point for many hikes, located near the park’s southeastern entrance
  • Sirena Ranger Station: A remote outpost in the heart of the park, known for its high concentration of wildlife and stunning coastal scenery
  • Punta Marenco: A secluded beach on the park’s western edge, accessible by boat or a challenging hike
  • Cano Island: A small island off the coast of the peninsula, known for its excellent snorkeling and scuba diving opportunities

🏞️ Outdoor Paradise: Also, Osa Peninsula offers a range of other outdoor activities, like kayaking, fishing and yoga retreats. This region is best suited for adventurous travelers who are passionate about nature, wildlife, and off-the-beaten-path experiences.

All hotels near Corcovado National Park →

Where to stay near Corcovado National Park? 🏨

Best hotels near Corcovado National Park

  • The Sunset Tucano Lodge – This stunning lodge is set in a remote yet comfortable location, with the warm and friendly owners Guillermo and his family making you feel right at home. The cabins are perfect, the food is outstanding, and they organize great tours of Corcovado National Park and night walks on the grounds.
  • Bungalows with Ocean View – The pool was absolutely magical and the perfect place to relax. The food, which is included, was also delicious. We even had our own little plunge pool in our bungalow.
  • Jinetes de Osa – This place is simply magical, in total communion with the incredible wildlife of the area. I highly recommend going on a night hike to spot all sorts of animals. The owner Ron is extremely nice and helpful in arranging activities.

Best cheap/moderate hotels

  • Sunset Lodge – This lodge offers great value, with comfortable rooms, a nice pool area, and beautiful sunset views. The staff are very friendly and accommodating. It’s a great base for exploring the Osa Peninsula without breaking the bank.
  • Corcovado Beach Lodge – You can’t beat the beachfront location of this affordable lodge. I loved relaxing in the hammocks, watching scarlet macaws fly by, and walking along the expansive beach. The restaurant serves up tasty typical Costa Rican meals.
  • Cabinas El Tortugo – For a budget-friendly option, these cabins are clean, comfortable and have everything you need. The lovely owners grow a lot of the fruit and veggies served in their delicious home-cooked meals. It’s a short walk to a nice, uncrowded beach.

Other Notable Areas and Places to Stay 📌

While the previously mentioned destinations are some of the most popular and well-known in Costa Rica, there are several other notable areas and places to stay that offer unique experiences and attractions:

Tortuguero and its turtle nesting beaches 🏖

🐢 Turtle Wonderland: Tortuguero, located on the Caribbean Coast of Costa Rica, is a remote village known for its network of canals and lagoons that wind through the surrounding rainforest. The area is most famous for its turtle nesting beaches, where four species of sea turtles (green, hawksbill, loggerhead, and leatherback) come to lay their eggs between July and October.

Top activities include:
  • Turtle watching tours: Join a guided night tour to witness the incredible spectacle of nesting sea turtles on the beach
  • Canal boat tours: Explore the lush waterways of Tortuguero National Park, spotting wildlife such as monkeysslothscaimans, and colorful birds
  • Fishing: Try your hand at sport fishing in the Caribbean Sea, with the chance to catch tarponsnook, and barracuda

Nosara and its yoga and wellness retreats 🧘🏻‍♀️

🧘 Yoga Paradise: Nosara, located on the Nicoya Peninsula in Guanacaste Province, is a laid-back beach town known for its world-class yoga and wellness retreats. The area attracts health-conscious travelers who come to unwindrecharge, and connect with nature.

Top activities include:
  • Yoga classes: Participate in yoga classes and workshops at one of the many renowned yoga studios, such as Bodhi Tree Yoga Resort and The Harmony Hotel
  • Surfing: Catch some waves at Playa Guiones, a consistent and beginner-friendly surf break
  • Wellness treatments: Indulge in spa treatmentsmassages, and holistic therapies at the area’s wellness centers and eco-resorts

Jaco and its surfing scene 🏄🏻‍♀️

🌊 Surf’s Up: Jaco, located on the Central Pacific Coast, is a lively beach town known for its excellent surfingvibrant nightlife, and wide range of accommodations. The town attracts a mix of surfersbackpackers, and families, who come to enjoy the beautiful beaches and various activities.


Top activities include:

  • Surfing lessons: Learn to surf or improve your skills with lessons from local surf schools, such as School of the World and Surfer Factory
  • ATV tours: Explore the rugged countryside surrounding Jaco on an exhilarating ATV tour
  • Nightlife: Experience the town’s lively barsrestaurants, and clubs, which offer a mix of local and international cuisinelive music, and dancing

No matter which of these notable areas and places to stay you choose, you’ll have the opportunity to experience Costa Rica’s diverse landscapesrich culture, and pura vida lifestyle.

Best Resorts in Costa Rica on a Map 🗺

FAQs about Visiting Costa Rica ❔

Which part of Costa Rica is the best to stay?

Some of the best areas to stay in Costa Rica include the Central Valley around the capital San José, the beaches along the Pacific coast like Tamarindo, Manuel Antonio, and the Nicoya Peninsula, and the Caribbean coastal towns like Puerto Viejo.

How long to stay in Costa Rica?

For a proper vacation, most travel experts recommend staying 10 days to 2 weeks minimum in Costa Rica to have enough time to see multiple regions without feeling too rushed. 1 week allows you to pick one region, 2 weeks gives you a taste of 2-3 areas, while a month or more allows a much more immersive experience.

Is it safe to live in Costa Rica?

Yes, Costa Rica is considered one of the safest and most stable countries in Central America for expats and locals alike. It has no military, little civil unrest, and lower crime rates than many neighboring nations. However, petty theft and some drug trafficking exist, so standard precautions are advised, especially in major cities at night.

Where to stay in Costa Rica for jungle?

For an authentic rainforest experience, Tortuguero National Park on the Caribbean coast is hard to beat, with its remote lodges, hiking trails and turtle nesting. The Osa Peninsula in the southwest also has incredible biodiversity and quality eco-lodges like Lapa Rios. Arenal Volcano area and Monteverde Cloud Forest are other top jungle destinations.

Can i live in Costa Rica?

Yes, expats can live in Costa Rica through various programs like the pensionado (retirement) visa if receiving pension income, the rentista program for those with sufficient funds, or residential status if employed by a Costa Rican company. The process involves applying for residency, providing documentation, meeting financial minimums, and more. Many expats find the stable democracy and natural environment appealing.