alta-hotelAlta Hotel
Old-world charm near San José

Outside of San José but still convenient to the airport is the lovely Hotel Alta. Its twenty-four rooms cascade down a gentle hillside in Santa Ana, a rural suburb of San José. Spanish colonial-style architecture creates a graceful, old-world ambiance, with red tiled roofs, terra cotta floors, and lovely handmade tile in the bathrooms. (see more)

anamaya-resortAnamaya Resort
Yoga, teacher traiing & detox

Perched on a hill above the beach town of Montezuma is Anamaya Mind Body & Spirit Resort, a lovely place with sweeping views of the coastline, healthy food, and an infinity saltwater pool. (see more)

arenal-springs-hotelArenal Springs Hotel
Convenient, family-friendly, with a volcano view

Stand-alone wood-paneled bungalows dot the landscaped grounds of this comfortable and convenient mid-range hotel with hot springs-fed pools and a volcano view. (see more)

baldi-hot-springsBaldi Hot Springs
Hot pools & water slides

At Baldi, more than a dozen hot pools are set amid landscaped grounds at the foot of Arenal Volcano. Heated by volcanic activity, the water in the pools varies in temperature, from slightly warm to piping hot. There are decks and platforms near most of the pools, some partially covered to protect from the rain. (see more)

bamboo-yoga-playBamboo Yoga Play
Yoga and Temple Dances

In 2007, Bamboo Yoga Play opened its spacious, second floor yoga studio in the small surf town of Dominical. (see more)

casa-69-bed-and-breakfastCasa 69 Bed & Breakfast
Gay-friendly B&B near city center

No longer gay owned, but still gay-friendly, Casa 69 is a boutique bed and breakfast located in a quiet residential neighborhood within walking distance of downtown San Jose. (see more)

casa-amanecerCasa Amanecer
Stylish and sustainable B&B

Just outside of San Ramón, Casa Amanecer is a stylish and sustainable gem run by Christopher Panzer (from the U.S.) and Peruvian-born Luisa Valdez, who met while building houses for Habitat for Humanity. (see more)

casa-marbella-b-and-bCasa Marbella B & B
Wildlife guide's riverside home

In carless Tortuguero town, near the Catholic church, is Casa Marbella B&B, the small and comfortable home of Canadian expat (and guide) Daryl Loth and his Costa Rican family. (see more)

colours-oasis-hotelColours Oasis Hotel
A great base or first stop for gay travelers

Colours► is a gay-owned boutique guesthouse in the quiet San Jose neighborhood of Rohrmoser, where many embassies are located and where the former President, Oscar Arias, makes his home. (see more)

coyaba-tropical-bed-and-breakfastCoyaba Tropical Bed and Breakfast
Good value, gay-owned inn on Pacific coast

A small, recently renovated, and gay-owned B&B near Manuel Antonio National Park that provides good value and a relaxed, homey atmosphere. Run by a gay male couple who promise "Canadian and Jamaican hospitality," the inn is also straight-friendly. (see more)

dantica-lodgeDantica Lodge
European elegance and Resplendent Quetzals

The slickest place in the mountain town of San Gerdardo de Dota, Dantica Lodge is also perhaps one of the nicest in the entire southern inland Valley. It’s also a great base from which to go Quetzal-watching. (see more)

explore-treehouses-of-costa-ricaExplore Treehouses of Costa Rica
Cavort with monkeys and sleep with the sloths

Many of us have dreamed of living high in the branches of a leafy tree, the floor swaying in the wind, birds our only neighbors. (see more)

finca-bellavista-treehousesFinca BellaVista Treehouses
Sustainable community in the trees

A few short years ago Erica and Matt Hogan were camped in the mud by the Bella Vista River, up a rocky road to a spread of gorgeous but undeveloped land in Costa Rica’s Southern Pacific. They weren’t sure what exactly was going to get them out of the mud, but dreamed of building a kind of Ewok village where they’d live in the trees and get to their neighbors’ houses via zipline. (see more)

flor-blancaFlor Blanca
Splurge-worthy beachside villas

Just north of the surf towns of Mal Pais and Santa Teresa is Flor Blanca, the place to go for a high-quality splurge at the southern end of the Nicoya Peninsula. (see more)

hacienda-del-solHacienda del Sol
Yoga and juice fasts near the beach

In the beach town of San Juanillo, north of Nosara on the Nicoya Peninsula, Hacienda del Sol is a small retreat center (capacity is 40) that offers raw food and juice ‘cleanses’ with daily meditation and yoga. (see more)

hotel-aranjuezHotel Aranjuez
Centrally located budget hotel

Within walking distance of downtown San José, this labyrinthine hotel sprawls across five contiguous old houses in Barrio Aranjuez, a quiet, historic, and somewhat run-down neighborhood. (see more)

hotel-cabinas-tropicalHotel Cabinas Tropical
Good value in town

This place is a clean and comfortable mid-range option, within walking distance of the beach and everything in Puerto Viejo but on a quiet back street. Of the ten rooms, eight are doubles, and two are bi-level rooms for 3 or 4 people. All rooms have private bathrooms, with abundant hot water and good shower heads, along with mini-fridges, fans, mosquito nets, satellite TV, quality mattresses, and a terrace with chairs and a hammock. A few rooms have a/c. (see more)

hotel-casa-turireHotel Casa Turire
Elegant and peaceful boutique hotel

Fifteen miles from Turrialba, Hotel Casa Turire makes a luxurious base for exploring Guayabo National Monument or rafting on the challenging Reventazón or Pacuare rivers. (see more)

hotel-le-bergeracHotel Le Bergerac
Quiet, charming, and centrally located

The small and charming Hotel Le Bergerac in western San José is surprisingly quiet, given that it's just a block south from the main road from downtown San José to San Pedro (the university district). This boutique hotel has bright and airy rooms, cool tile floors, cable TV, personal safes, ceiling fans, and big, firm, comfortable beds. (see more)

hotel-manatus-lodgeHotel Manatus Lodge
Luxury river lodge has a/c & tv

Manatus Lodge is a lovely small lodge up the canal from the town of Tortuguero. Its 12 separate luxurious cottages are equipped with cable tv, a/c, mini-bar, and even a private outdoor sunbathing area and shower (along with a large indoor shower). Their al fresco dining room has an extensive menu, complete with a tempting selection of cocktails and wines by the glass. They arrange wildlife and turtle nesting tours. (see more)

hotel-parque-bolivarHotel Parque Bolivar
Neoclassical jewel in downtown San José

This lovely and intimate boutique hotel is centrally located in San José but feels a world away from the smog and bustle. In a city not known for its historical architecture, it’s a joy to come across this exquisite neoclassical gem, with a curving polished wood stairway, chandeliers, and a small flower-bedecked patio on which to enjoy your complimentary breakfast. (see more)

hotel-puerta-de-solHotel Puerta de Sol
Italian-run boutique hotel with excellent food

In Playas del Coco, Hotel Puerta del Sol is in town but far enough off the main drag to be quiet. (see more)

hotel-silencio-del-campoHotel Silencio del Campo
Individual casitas with volcano views

This Costa-Rican-owned hotel near La Fortuna offers up 21 individual slant-roofed casitas with stunning views of active Arenal Volcano from their front porches. (see more)

hotel-villa-rocaHotel Villa Roca
Gay jungle mecca

Near Manual Antonio National Park and with stunning ocean and rainforest views, Hotel Villa Roca is gay owned and operated and exclusively for gays, lesbians and their friends. (see more)

la-cusinga-ecolodgeLa Cusinga EcoLodge
Birds, whales, and downward-facing dog

Located on a relatively remote stretch of the Central Pacific Coast, La Cusinga EcoLodge is a great place to either pack in the activities--from zip-lining to whale watching, from yoga to surfing to birding—or to just do nothing but soak up the quiet and the sweeping ocean views. (see more)

la-paloma-lodgeLa Paloma Lodge
Drake Bay Hideaway

A popular all-inclusive lodge on the north side of the Osa Penisula, at La Paloma Lodge you'll meet your fellow guests at mealtime in an open-air dining room with long communal tables. Potted palms, ceiling fans, and cloth napkins make you think you're back in the British raj, but the stunning views of Drake Bay and beyond are pura Tico (pure Costa Rican). (see more)

lapas-nest-treehouseLapa's Nest Treehouse
Sleep with the monkeys and sloths

This stupendous six-level treehouse► near Corcovado National Park is nothing like a kid’s backyard perch. With three bedrooms, two baths, and a full kitchen, it can sleep 6 to 8, with each bedroom located on a different level. (see more)

luna-lodgeLuna Lodge
Secluded jungle eco-lodge

At the end of the unpaved road from Puerto Jimenez to the tiny town of Carate (on the Osa Peninsula), Luna Lodge sits atop a heavily wooded hill above the Carate river and adjacent to Corcovado National Park. (see more)

montezuma-yogaMontezuma Yoga
Oceanside yoga at Los Mangos Hotel

Hatha-vinyasa classes (and some week-long retreats) are taught in a thatch-roofed, open-air pavilion on the grounds of Hotel Los Mangos. (see more)

Eco-village with yoga and detox fasts

Pachamama is a secluded eco-village near Nosara on the Nicoya Peninsula (a 6-hour drive from San José) that draws people from around the world. (see more)

park-hotelPark Hotel
Good in-town option

That this is your best bet in downtown Puerto Limon tells you something about the dearth of options here. Not that the Park is bad—it’s just overpriced ($70 – 120/night) for what it is: a clean, decent place to stay, with good beds, good water pressure, and a/c. (see more)

playa-negra-guesthousePlaya Negra Guesthouse
Colorful beach cottages

If you want to be close to the town of Cahuita (and its lovely national park) but not in the dead center, consider Playa Negra Guesthouse, about a kilometer north of Cahuita. All rooms have refrigerators, coffeemakers, ceiling fans, and wifi. The colorful stand-alone cottages also have front porches (and some have kitchenettes). Steps from the beach, and a short walk to a nice waterfront restaurant, Sobre las Olas. (see more)

pranamar-oceanfront-villasPranamar Oceanfront Villas
Beachfront yoga, surfing, and hanging out

In the Nicoya Peninsula surf town of Santa Teresa you'll find Pranamar Oceanfront Villas, founded by the folks who started uber-lux Flor Blanca. (see more)

punta-monaPunta Mona
Permaculture at Monkey Point

In 1997, Stephen Brooks, a Grateful Deadhead from Florida, bought 35 hectares (86 acres) of land on a remote Caribbean Coast peninsula called Punta Mona (Monkey Point). There were no roads leading to his new property; getting there meant (and still means) a 30-minute boat ride or a few hours tramping through the rainforest of Gandoca-Manzanillo National Reserve. (see more)

pura-vida-yoga-spaPura Vida Yoga Spa
Yoga amid highland coffee fields

A centrally located yoga retreat with spectacular views of the Central Valley and beautifully landscaped grounds, Pura Vida also has high-quality massage (including watsu in a newly-built pool) and spa treatments. (see more)

rancho-armadilloRancho Armadillo
Lazy comfort above the fray

In Playas del Coco, check out Rancho Armadillo, a laid-back boutique hotel on 25 landscaped acres above the fray of the actual town. (see more)

rancho-margotRancho Margot
Organic Farm Meets Eco-Resort

Down a rutted road on the southern end of Lake Arenal, past Arenal Volcano, lies lovely Rancho Margot, an off-the-grid treasure that welcomes both students of sustainable agriculture and travelers looking to get away from it all. (see more)

rio-chirripo-retreatRío Chirripó Retreat
Riverside yoga retreat near Mt. Chirripo

If you’re looking for a remote retreat in the cloudforest, the Chirripó River rushing by and the birds flying overhead, this is the place. (see more)

remanso-lodgeRemanso Lodge
Off-the-grid wildlife mecca

Serene and with an understated elegance, Ramanso Lodge is a great choice for families, groups of friends, or even honeymooning couples who want a jungle immersion experience tempered by a bit of ecologically correct luxury. (see more)

samasati-nature-reserveSamasati Nature Reserve
Yoga on the Caribbean Coast

Samasati definitely lives up to the "nature reserve” part of its name. It’s a lush and peaceful place where you might see a troop of howler monkeys on your way to morning yoga. (see more)

tierras-enamoradasTierras Enamoradas
Mountain retreat with zipline

Lands in Love (it sounds better in Spanish, doesn't it?) is an Israeli-run retreat 20 miles (32 km) north of San Ramón on the mountain road to La Fortuna and Arenal Volcano. (see more)

tortuga-lodgeTortuga Lodge
Remote riverside luxury

There are more than a dozen canal-side lodges near the town of Tortuguero, but Tortuga Lodge is the oldest and one of the very best. Run by the venerable Costa Rica Expeditions, the lodge has been continually upgraded over the years. Set amid wonderfully landscaped grounds, the charming rooms and suites have hardwood floors, screened windows, ceiling fans (that really do keep the rooms cool), safes, quality beds and bed linens, good reading lamps, wifi, hammocks out on your deck, and thatch roofs. (see more)

treehouse-lodgeTreehouse Lodge
Beachside luxury in the trees

A few years back, the remarkable bi-level treehouse at Treehouses Lodge was named by Travel & Leisure magazine as one of the top ten treehouses in the world. And it's only one of the lodge's four spacious and private lodging options, all set on 10 acres along a Caribbean Coast beach. (see more)

treehouses-hotelTreehouses Hotel
Rustic comfort for the kid in you

About an hour from La Fortuna in the Northern Zone, this is a wonderfully green and quiet place, with six treetop cabins on stilts set on the edge of 70-acre wildlife refuge. There are paths through the forest and down to a lovely waterfall, and the area is excellent for birdwatching. (see more)

tucan-hotelTucan Hotel
Backpackers haven plus treehouse

In the Central Pacific town of Uvita, south of Dominical, is a good-value budget hostel with a restaurant, a pen full of rabbits, and high-speed wireless internet. (see more)

villa-decary-hotelVilla Decary Hotel
Bird watching and lake views

Villa Decary has a lake view, beautiful grounds, and great birding opportunities. Located on the main (two-lane) road around Lake Arenal, the hotel has a motel-like block of nice rooms with little bird-watching decks, along with three free-standing casitas (further from the road than the rooms) of varying sizes, two with full-sized kitchens.  (see more)