Costa Rica is as diverse a landscape as a traveler could want. From rainforests, dry forests, and cloud forests to multiple volcanoes and access to the Caribbean and the North Pacific Ocean, it’s the supreme vacation destination.
When traveling to Costa Rica, you’ll have access to a plethora of places to go, things to do, and many interesting things to see. The country has over 800 miles of coastline featuring turquoise and emerald- green water highlighted by sugar-white sand. National parks such as Arenal Volcano National Park, Manuel Antonio National Park, and Parque Nacional Barra Honda offer a look at the colorful landscape and interesting wildlife. Other activities of interest include birdwatching, which is a popular activity, hiking along a mountain trail, booking a river tour, or exploring underground caves. While staying in Costa Rica, your travel itinerary will never be dull or empty.
Costa Rica offers every type of accommodation to fit any budget from resorts and swanky luxury digs to affordable three- and four-star hotels and low-budget motels. Whatever your heart desires in where you lay your head at night is available to suit your individual taste and requirements.
Like any other country, though, there’s the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to selecting a quality hotel. While a picture may speak a thousand words when viewing a hotel online you may be in for an unpleasant surprise. So, before you go, it’s good to know hotels to head to and hotels to avoid.
20 Best - Nayara Resort, Spa, & Gardens
Ok, here’s the deal of the century. Explore the rainforest, discover the interesting landscape and resident wildlife of a national forest, and view a volcano while staying in a luxury hotel. This is no joke. The Nayara Resort, Spa & Gardens is nestled amid the splendor of the Arenal Volcano National Park. Recognized by Conde Nast as “one of the world’s best resorts” you can expect superior service, genuine hospitality, and a luxurious room, five-star cuisine, and replenishing spa.
19 Best - Los Suenos Marriott Ocean & Golf Resort
Picture an oasis where you are pampered with a relaxing massage before stepping out onto pristine sand for a walk to the sparkling water of the ocean. Inhale fresh air tinged with sea salt as gentle breezes waft past as you make your way to the golf club for some leisure time on the greens. Nearby Carara National Park and Jaco Beach, they offer their own interesting adventures. At day’s end, relax on your private balcony, take a nap in the in-room hammock then prepare to dine at one of their internationally inspired restaurants.
18 Best - The Springs Resort & Spa at Arenal
If having access to spectacular views is part of your vacation itinerary, this is the resort that pleases visionary cravings. You can share pictures of an actual volcano from your room. How awesome is that? The resort keeps you invigorated with artesian hot springs, spa, and a fitness center. Take your pick from among luxury guest rooms, suites, or villas with amenities such as a mini-bar refrigerator, in-room safe, surround sound system, Jacuzzi and more. Add poolside dining, fine dining, and swim bar to complete the experience.
17 Best - Tamarindo Diria
Situated on the beach with ocean views anytime you like, Hotel Tamarindo Diria Beach Resort gets a thumbs up for its focus on guests. Each guestroom is well-appointed and comfortable, but it's the other amenities you'll want to experience. Check out multiple pools, a spa tub, tee off at the driving range, and try your luck at the in-house casino. If that's not enough, play tennis, dine at 1 of 5 restaurants, or enjoy a cocktail at the inside bars or the swim-up bars.
16 Best - Parador Resort & Spa Manuel Antonio
With over 2700 travel rating reviews, Parador Resort and Spa has earned a 4.5 out of 5 star guest rating. Not bad considering all the hospitality competition in Costa Rica. Several pluses go along with your stay at the resort such as the complimentary breakfast, steam room, library, and complimentary self-parking. An airport shuttle runs around the clock for a fee. For on-site food and entertainment, there are four restaurants, a coffee shop, resort bars, health club, tennis court, and four pools.
15 Best - JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort & Spa
When staying at a Marriott hotel, it's on a grand scale with beautifully detailed double or king guest rooms or suites. Or, step it up with the presidential suite. Dining options are many with the poolside bar, fine dining where you dress to the nine's, buffet style, and family-friendly. Arrange surfing lessons, horseback riding, canopy tours, kayaking, and more, with the concierge, or relax at the pool, get a beachside massage, or unwind at the fitness center. It's 24/7 luxury.
14 Best - Hotel Costa Verde
A beautiful setting bordered by lush jungle and the ocean greets guests at Hotel Costa Verde. Take in the view of the jungle canopy and the ocean from the floor to ceiling windows in your room. Use an in-room kitchenette to whip up a snack or visit one of the four on-site restaurants with indoor and patio dining. From the private terrace of your room, enjoy panoramic views and gentle ocean breezes. The hotel has a friendly, vibrant, and romantic atmosphere. Take your pick.
13 MAVI Surf Hotel
If surfing is your favorite thing to do, MAVI Surf Hotel is the place to bring yourself and your board. Select a studio as your base, then plan your day with the many activities available along with surfing. You can walk to the beach, visit waterfalls and national parks, go horseback riding, observe land and sea wildlife, and just chill at the hotel bar. Amenities include 24/7 reception, free parking, and Wi-Fi. The hotel is quiet and compact and best suited for adults.
12 Best - Barcelo San Jose Palacio
Palm trees swaying in the breeze border, the Barcelo San Jose Hotel just a few clicks from the heart of the city and less than 20 minutes from the airport. Convenience, comfort, and entertainment are on this hotel's menu. For convenience, there's the 24-hour free shuttle and complimentary breakfast; for comfort, it's all about spacious rooms and amenities, and for entertainment, there's tennis and squash courts, swimming pools, bar, live music, spa, and relaxing botanical gardens for a romantic stroll.
11 Best - Oxygen Jungle Villas
Picture the undulating emerald-green waves of the South Pacific amid a setting of sun, sand, and a serene Balinese atmosphere and you've arrived at Oxygen Jungle Villas. The exclusive 12 all-glass villas with private terraces ensconced in the jungle is an oasis of relaxation for adults only. Oh yes, just the grown-ups get to experience personalized service and peacefulness while enjoying the many activities available, including sunset walks on the beach, hiking in the national park, or booking a sightseeing tour.
10 Might Be Best To Avoid - Tucan Hotel
The good, the bad, and the ugly hotels are subjective based on individual expectations. Such is the case with the Tucan Hotel. The 4.5 guest rated hotel has plenty of thumbs up and likes as an exceptional place to stay with a relaxing atmosphere, affordability, and extra friendly service. On the flip side, some have had an issue with a bad mattress resulting in sleepless nights, a lack of friendly service by the staff, noisy rooms, and old rental bikes. It is a no-frills place with a diverse clientele.
9 Might Be Best To Avoid - Bahia del Sol Beach Front Boutique Hotel
Nestled in the North Pacific region, Bahia del Sol offers a safe destination for beach enthusiasts craving a tropical experience. Now the downside. From a recent guest review, issues left them dissatisfied. First were the flies they noted were everywhere. Relentless. Next issue was about the housekeeper who entered the room without knocking - ignoring the "do not disturb" sign - only to find the guests unclothed. The response from the hotel's director could leave someone more than a little bit irked.
8 Might Be Best To Avoid - Divisamar Hotel and Casino
Divisamar Hotel offers a great location and economy. The 3-star hotel gets high marks for its location as does the staff. The reviews of "very good" and "terrible" are nearly equal. For the very good, reviews noted clean rooms, affordable, breakfast included, and convenient to Manuel Antonio National Park. For the bad, guests noted things such as no hot water, clogged shower drain, no safe, no hair dryer, limited TV channels in English, plus uncomfortable beds.
7 Might Be Best To Avoid - Country Inn & Suites by Radisson
Country Inn and Suites is a 3-star hotel with an overall guest rating of 84.1 percent. It has been re-modeled and features two pools, tropical gardens, restaurant, and bar for your enjoyment. Rooms and suites are available and provide the comforts of home. Reviews are mixed from guests with some happy with the room, restaurant, and the service while others noted furniture was outdated, some rooms are extra noisy due to traffic, and carrying luggage up the stairs was inconvenient as there are no elevators.
6 Might Be Best To Avoid - Hotel Marielos
Yikes! When guests leave a "one" rating out of a choice of five with five being the highest, you must consider there are some issues. Such is the case with Hotel Marielos. Rude staff was noted by more than one guest. Noisy rooms - earplugs provided, thin sheets, no air conditioning, lack of cleanliness with bed linens and paper thin walls (so much so you could be part of the adjoining room's conversations). Economical hotel but overpriced for what guests received.
5 Might Be Best To Avoid - Autentico Hotel
The Autentico Hotel is making its way from a flat 3-star rating to edging its way into the 4-star parking lot. With a few 2018 reviews describing stays as "horrible", "zero stars if possible" and "the worst hotel", this may halt progress in moving on up. Here are what some guests encountered: Unfriendly staff, smelly rooms, bugs in the bathroom and bed, old bedding that was suspect, cold breakfast, and it's located in a sketchy area, but the hotel has a guard at the door... Sweet dreams.
4 Might Be Best To Avoid - Hotel Cocal and Casino
Okay, the reviews for the Hotel Cocal and Casino are consistent and from the looks of it, have been so for quite some time. Here's the deal - no pun intended - if you're looking for the basics in accommodations, the hotel is small, affordable, and has a pool. The casino is also small. There seems to be an issue with unfriendly service and the potential for unsavory shenanigans. The on-going issue is the ladies of the evening frequenting the casino on a steady basis.
3 Might Be Best To Avoid - Hotel Villas Playa Samara
The hotel is within walking distance of the beach and features a pool and restaurant. Its convenient location puts it near downtown for shopping and dining. The last guest with a review stayed in July 2018. Their assessment included a non-updated room with old, but usable furniture and appliances. Food in the restaurant was average but the cocktail was served warm with no ice. Kitchenette had limited utensils, Wi-Fi didn't provide a good connection, and exercise equipment did not work. Overall, a fair assessment.
2 Might Be Best To Avoid - Hotel Villa Tournon
Although rated as a 3-star hotel, the "three strikes and you're out" is the feeling for some guests. The hotel did hit a home run as being functional with a decent lobby and pool, but strikes were prevalent. Just a few comments to consider include: an extremely uncomfortable bed; bathroom had broken fixtures and tiles; one guest room had a glass entry door; noisy rooms due to traffic, no shower curtain, cheaply prepared food, non-friendly staff, and pictures are deceiving.
1 Might Be Best To Avoid - Hotel Riu Guanacaste
The four-star hotel has nice views, is located on the beachfront, has friendly staff, and the price includes breakfast and free parking. Good to go, so, far. Sigh. There's always another side to the story. The hotel has received some criticism for having outdated decor and smelly rooms with zero atmosphere, a broken TV, and the free-standing bathtub was too close to the bed. One guest also claimed that air conditioning issues resulted in wet luggage; sewer smell at the pool and bar area, poor service, ants, and questionable elevations. You decide.