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.
Yoga, teacher traiing & detox
Arenal 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.
Baldi 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.
Bamboo 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.
Casa 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.
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.
Casa 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.
Colours 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.
Coyaba 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.
European elegance and Resplendent Quetzals
Explore 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.
Finca 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
Splurge-worthy beachside villas
Hacienda del Sol
Yoga and juice fasts near the beach
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.
Hotel 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.
Hotel Casa Turire
Elegant and peaceful boutique hotel
Hotel 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.
Hotel 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.
Hotel 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.
Hotel Puerta de Sol
Italian-run boutique hotel with excellent food
Hotel 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.
Hotel 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.
La 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.
La 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).
Lapa's Nest Treehouse
Sleep with the monkeys and sloths
Secluded jungle eco-lodge
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
Eco-village with yoga and detox fasts
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.
Playa 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.
Pranamar Oceanfront Villas
Beachfront yoga, surfing, and hanging out
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.
Pura 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
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.
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.
Río 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.
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.
Samasati 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.
Mountain retreat with zipline
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.
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.
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.
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.
Villa 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.