Where to stay in Costa Rica [Best Places to Stay for 2024]

Costa Rica is a great place for eco-tourism. About a quarter of the country is protected jungle, full of amazing wildlife.

We’ve found some of the best places to stay in Costa Rica in 2024, perfect for exploring the rainforests or relaxing on the beach. Travel times between destinations can be long, even though the country isn’t very big, so it’s a good idea to stay in a few different places.

You’ll find all-inclusive resorts all over Costa Rica. These resorts are some of the top places to stay, because who doesn’t love having everything included.

For all of our European readers that are travelling to Costa Rica via the United States, will need an ESTA Visa, even if you won’t be leaving the airport during the layover period.

Costa rica map for best places to stay

If it’s your first time in Costa Rica and you’re not sure where to stay, we’ve listed 9 great areas. This guide will help you choose the right city for you. We’ve made it simple to understand.

Our guide includes the best hotels, top places to visit, and the best areas to stay in Costa Rica. We also have information on hotels near popular attractions and a guide to the neighborhoods. To make planning your trip easier, check out our detailed list of hotels in Costa Rica!

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Please note, while pricing is great to have in articles, due to the seasonal fluctuation, I don’t want to provide inaccurate information.

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Want A Quick Video Overview?

Discover the best places to stay in Costa Rica in this informative video! Whether you’re looking for luxury, budget-friendly options, unique local experiences, or you’re unsure what area to stay in Costa Rica, our guide covers it all.

Dive into Costa Rica areas and find your perfect home away from home. Watch now for insider tips and make your Costa Rica trip unforgettable!

San Jose – Best places to stay in Costa Rica

Exploring Costa Rica often begins in San Jose, its capital. It’s not just a transit point; it’s a place brimming with culture and history, offering a unique Costa Rican experience you might miss in tourist-centric beach resorts.

San Jose, the heart and soul of the country, serves as a fantastic base for discovering the wonders of Costa Rica, from cloud forests to breathtaking volcanoes.

Who is San Jose Ideal For?

  • Foodies looking to indulge in authentic Costa Rican cuisine.
  • Tourists planning day trips.

What’s Good About San Jose?

  • Central location for exploring.
  • A food scene that offers both traditional and international cuisines.
  • Busy markets and lively nightlife.

Why Stay in San Jose?

Where is the best place to stay in Costa Rica for culture lovers? San Jose lets you immerse yourself in the historical aspects of Costa Rican life.

San Jose is not just a stopover; it’s a destination in itself. It represents the best places in Costa Rica to stay for those who want to experience the true essence of the country. Whether you’re here for the culture, the food, or the convenient access to Costa Rica’s natural wonders, San Jose has something special to offer.

For those wondering where to stay in San Jose, Costa Rica, you’ll find a variety of accommodations to suit every taste and budget.

Things to Do in San Jose:

  • La Sabana Park: Known as San Jose’s ‘Lungs’, this park is perfect for strolls and picnics, surrounded by mountain views.
  • Pre-Columbian Gold Museum: This museum showcases a stunning collection of ancient gold artifacts, offering a glimpse into the region’s pre-Spanish history.
  • San Jose Central Market: Here you can shop for unique items and enjoy traditional Costa Rican dishes.

Here’s My List Of Places To Stay In San Jose

San Jose Map in costa rica

Selina San Jose – Best Hostels In San Jose

Selina San Jose

If you’re interested in finding a community of like minded travellers, stay at Selina San Jose, one of the best places to stay Costa Rica on a budget. This hostel has an impressive range of facilities, including a cinema room, a billiards table, an on-site bar and restaurant, a co-working space, and a rooftop activities centre. The modern dorms have privacy curtains and ceiling fans, while the private rooms are super cosy and homey.

Sleep Inn Hotel Paseo Las Damas – Best Budget hotel In San Jose

Sleep Inn Hotel Paseo Las Damas offers older-style budget-friendly rooms in an excellent location by España Park. Each of the private rooms includes a microwave, a fridge, a coffee maker and air conditioning. The hotel’s restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and there’s even an onsite casino.

Selina San Jose

Holiday Inn San Jose Aurola – Best Mid-range hotel In San Jose

Holiday Inn San Jose Aurola

Holiday Inn San Jose Aurola is a large hotel offering simple mid-range accommodations. The suites are impressively large for the price, and even the standard rooms have plenty of space. Fill your plate at the breakfast buffet served at Tropicana, and enjoy dinner with a view at Mirador Restaurant on the 17th floor. The hotel also has an indoor pool, a fitness centre and a business centre.

Radisson Hotel San Jose – Best Family hotel In San Jose

Despite the central location in the city, the Radisson Hotel San Jose is full of calming gardens, creating a little oasis. The outdoor swimming pool, hot tub and sauna also add to the relaxing atmosphere. The studio suite with two double beds has more than enough room for a family of four, and the one-bedroom king suite is a perfect treat for you and your partner. For dining, there are two onsite restaurants, Acuarelas and Cafetería, which are both worth stopping by.

Radisson Hotel San Jose - Costa Rica

Gran Hotel Costa Rica – Best Luxury hotel In San Jose

Gran Hotel Costa Rica, Curio Collection By Hilton

For luxury in the heart of San Jose, consider staying at Gran Hotel Costa Rica. The 1930s building immediately sets an elegant tone, though all of the rooms are renovated in a contemporary style. Dine at Cultura5 for international cuisine, and stop by the fifth-floor piano bar for a whisky and beautiful views of the city.

SAN JOSE,COSTA RICA - - Park in front of the building National Theatre in San Jose. San Jose is Capital of Costa Rica.

Manuel Antonio – Where to stay in Costa Rica for couples

Manuel Antonio, is a perfect for couples and nature lovers. Located within Costa Rica’s Manuel Antonio national park, this area is a blend of rainforests, stunning beaches, and coral reefs. It’s a perfect spot for travellers looking for an intimate getaway.

Who is Manuel Antonio Ideal For?

  • Couples looking for a romantic getaway.
  • Adventure travellers looking for hiking and water activities.
  • Families wanting a blend of relaxation and adventure.

What’s Good About Manuel Antonio?

  • Home to one of Costa Rica’s most visited national parks.
  • Offers a range of accommodations, from cozy to luxurious.
  • Proximity to both beach and rainforest experiences.

Why Stay in Manuel Antonio?

Manuel Antonio is among the best places to stay in Costa Rica for couples, offering idyllic beaches like Playa La Macha and Playa Tulemar.

The town itself offers eco-resorts and surf beaches, ideal for those wondering where to stay in Costa Rica for beach and rainforest adventures. Its national park, although small, is a biodiversity hotspot, home to sloths, howler monkeys, and more.

Things to Do in Manuel Antonio:

  • Visit Manuel Antonio National Park: This park is a home to over 100 mammal species and 180 bird species. Its well-managed trails like the Mangrove and Sloth Trails are perfect for explorations.
  • Relax at Manuel Antonio Beach: This iconic beach, set within the national park, offers golden sands and calm waters, perfect for a post-hike swim.
  • Enjoy Espadilla Beach: Part national park, part public beach, Espadilla is ideal for surfers and beach lovers, complete with board rentals and hotel options right on the sand.

Here’s My List Of Places To Stay In Manuel Antonio

Manuel Antonio Map in Costa Rica

Hostel Plinio – Best Hostels In Manuel Antonio

Hostel Plinio

Go back to basics and surround yourself with nature at Hostel Plinio. The open-air property feels like a treehouse, with wooden bunk beds and other furnishings. There are private studios, double rooms and family rooms if you don’t want to stay in the dorms, and communal areas like the outdoor pool, kitchen, lounge area and games room. To save a bit of money, make sure to wake up in time for the daily breakfast.

Karahe Beach Hotel – Best Budget hotel In Manuel Antonio

With direct access to Playa Espadilla Beach, the Karahe Beach Hotel is great for couples wanting to save some money on accommodation. Get the beachfront room with an extra-large bed and a balcony overlooking the garden. The onsite restaurant has a breakfast buffet, as well as an a la carte menu for lunch and dinner.

Karahe Beach Hotel

Hotel Villas Lirio – Best Mid-range hotel In Manuel Antonio

Hotel Villas Lirio

The beautiful Hotel Villas Lirio embraces its natural setting with plenty of green palms, wooden furnishings and Costa Rican decor. If you’re coming here on a romantic getaway, the eclectic and spacious garden view suite comes with a his and hers double vanity, a private kitchen, a living room and dining area, and a private pool. The peaceful mid-range hotel also offers international cuisine at the restaurant, a billiards table, a pool and a bar.

Shana by the Beach Manuel Antonio – Best Family hotel In Manuel Antonio

Shana by the Beach Manuel Antonio is a wonderful place to stay on a family trip with the little ones. Located up on the hills of Quepos Point, the boutique hotel offers plenty of opportunities to relax, from the stunning outdoor pool with a sun terrace to the spa and hot tub. There are plenty of room options, whether it’s just the two of you or you need extra space for the kids. Regardless, you’ll be able to admire the incredible views from your private balcony.

Shana by the Beach Manuel Antonio

Gaia Hotel & Reserve (Adults Only) – Best Luxury hotel In Manuel Antonio

Gaia Hotel & Reserve- Adults Only

Wondering where to stay in Costa Rica for the beach and rainforest? Get away from the outside world and spend some quality time together at Gaia Hotel & Reserve, an adults-only accommodation surrounded by the rainforest. Spend time at the three-level infinity pool, treat yourself at the beauty salon, and sweat out those toxins at the steam bath. The luxurious suites and villas all feature balconies overlooking the Pacific Ocean, and incorporate natural building materials with modern comforts and amenities.

Manuel Antonio Costa Rica - SUP Stand up Paddle boarding in blue bay with empty beach Central America

Arenal – Where to stay in Costa Rica for first timers

Arenal, with its iconic volcano and lush forests, is a prime destination for those visiting Costa Rica for the first time. Just 90 kilometers northwest of San Jose, this area combines natural beauty with adventure, making it the best part of Costa Rica for first-time travelers.

Who is Arenal Ideal for?

  • Nature lovers lookng for a mix of volcanoes, waterfalls, and rainforests.
  • First-time visitors to Costa Rica wanting an unforgettable experience.

What’s Good About Arenal?

  • Home to the famous Arenal Volcano and stunning La Fortuna Waterfall.
  • Offers a wide range of activities from hiking to relaxing in hot springs.

Why Stay in Arenal?

Arenal is the best place to stay in Costa Rica for those who want to enjoy the “real Costa Rica”. It’s not just about the beaches; here, you’ll find a blend of adventures and beautiful scenery.

The town of La Fortuna, near Arenal, offers nightlife and a variety of Costa Rica accommodation options, catering to different budgets.

Arenal is a destination that encapsulates the essence of Costa Rica, making it an ideal spot for first-time visitors. Whether it’s hiking, soaking in hot springs, or just enjoying the stunning scenery, Arenal offers a diverse and fulfilling experience for every traveler.

Things to Do in Arenal:

  • Explore Arenal Volcano National Park: Venture through the different types of landscapes, from rainforests to petrified lava fields, and enjoy views of the volcano.
  • Relax at Tabacon Hot Springs: Enjoy these warm, natural pools, a perfect way to unwind after a day of exploring.
  • Visit La Fortuna Waterfall: This waterfall is a must-see, offering a picturesque hike and an opportunity for pretty photos.

Here’s My List Of Places To Stay In Arenal

Arenal map in Costa Rica

Arenal Backpackers Resort – Best Hostels In Arenal

Arenal Backpackers Resort

Arenal Backpackers Resort is one of the best places to stay in Costa Rica for first timers on a budget. The stunning property is surrounded by nature and offers safari tents, shared dorm rooms, typical double rooms, and unique “cylinder rooms” (for adults only). Arenal also has an outdoor pool, an on-site restaurant and bar, lush gardens, laundry facilities and a sun terrace.

La Fortuna Downtown Hotel Boutique – Best Budget hotel In Arenal

For a centrally-located and affordable accommodation, La Fortuna Downtown Hotel Boutique is a great option. There are standard double, triple and family rooms with balconies overlooking the shared swimming pool, plus air conditioning. The hotel has an onsite steakhouse and Lebanese restaurant if you want to try something new to eat.

La Fortuna Downtown Hotel Boutique

Hotel Lomas del Volcan – Best Mid-range hotel In Arenal

Hotel Lomas del Volcan

Set among peaceful green gardens, Hotel Lomas del Volcan offers secluded wooden bungalows at a reasonable price. Each cosy bungalow has western amenities like a coffee machine, a mini fridge, and a hairdryer. Enjoy a relaxing swim in the pool with views of Arenal Volcano in the backdrop, take a soak in your private jacuzzi, and order in room service.

Hotel Villas Vilma – Best Family hotel In Arenal

A family-friendly tropical oasis can be found at Hotel Villas Vilma. There are comfortable rooms with two double beds and a little terrace with views of Arenal Volcano. Yet, the best part about this hotel is the serene outdoor pool and hot tub. While there is no onsite restaurant, there are plenty of dining options and shops only a short walk away.

Hotel Villas Vilma

Nayara Gardens – Best Luxury hotel In Arenal

Nayara Gardens

In the middle of the Costa Rican rainforest is Nayara Gardens, a luxurious boutique hotel and spa. If you’re seeking a secluded environment, this is one of the best hotels in Costa Rica. The private bungalows offer laid-back luxury, with a balcony and plunge pool, an outdoor shower, handcrafted furniture and beautiful hand-woven fabrics decorating the rooms. Stop by the wine bar, try an exotic cocktail at the pool bar, book a safari or a horseback ride, taste Costa Rican cuisine at the bamboo decked restaurant, and get a volcanic mud treatment at the spa.

Scenic view of Lake Arenal in central Costa Rica and a lodge

Tamarindo Beach – Where to stay in Costa Rica on the beach

Tamarindo Beach, a surf town on the Pacific Coast, is the best choice for beach lovers. Just an hour from Liberia’s international airport, this destination is known for its surfing, diving, and fun atmosphere.

The beach itself is a hotspot for nesting leatherback turtles from October to May, making it an eco-friendly location.

Who is Tamarindo Beach Ideal For?

  • Beach lovers.
  • Surfers of all skill levels.
  • Nightlife goers who enjoy bars and clubs.
  • Families and couples looking for a mix of relaxation and adventure.

What’s Good About Tamarindo Beach?

  • Proximity to Liberia’s international airport for easy access.
  • Excellent surf conditions suitable for beginners to advanced surfers.
  • Plenty of dining and shopping options, from local boutiques to art galleries.

Why Stay in Tamarindo Beach?

Tamarindo Beach is the best place to stay in Costa Rica for beaches, offering the perfect blend of sun, surf, and social life. Known for its beautiful stretches of sand and thriving surf scene, it’s a haven for both relaxation and adventure.

If you’re wondering where to stay in Tamarindo, Costa Rica, you’ll find plenty of options right along the beach, catering to every taste and budget.

Things to Do in Tamarindo:

  • Relax on Playa Tamarindo: A picturesque beach with cinnamon-colored sands, perfect for sunbathing, picnicking, and enjoying stunning sunsets.
  • Surfing Adventures: Whether you’re a seasoned surfer or a beginner, the waves at Playa Grande and the main beach cater to all levels.
  • Enjoy the Nightlife: Tamarindo comes alive at night with a variety of options, from beach bars to the famous Sharky’s, offering a fun and vibrant party scene.

Here’s My List Of Places To Stay In Tamarindo Beach

Tamarindo Beach map in Costa Rica

Tamarindo Backpackers – Best Hostels In Tamarindo Beach

Tamarindo Backpackers

700 metres from the beach is Tamarindo Backpackers, a relaxed hostel with chill, friendly vibes. You’ll instantly feel welcome here by both the staff and the fellow guests, and you can easily make new friends hanging around the pool. There are both shared and private rooms, and if you’re travelling in a group, you can even book an entire dorm room out.

Best Western Tamarindo Vista Villas – Best Budget hotel In Tamarindo Beach

Best Western Tamarindo Vista Villas is an affordable accommodation overlooking Tamarindo Bay. There is plenty of entertainment here at the onsite Monkey Bar, with a live salsa band and a DJ every Friday night. There is also a swim-up bar at the beachfront pool with tropical frozen drinks. Most of the rooms can fit families or small groups of friends.

Best Western Tamarindo Vista Villas

Casa Calico – Best Mid-range hotel In Tamarindo Beach

Casa Calico

The charming Casa Calico is a laid-back four-bedroom holiday home that is perfect for families. With six beds, three bathrooms, a kitchen, a barbecue, an outdoor pool with a terrace and spa facilities, each guest will have their own space while still enjoying quality time together. The home also comes with basic essentials like a washing machine, a tea and coffee maker, and a safe deposit box.

Hotel Tamarindo Diria Beach Resort – Best Family hotel In Tamarindo Beach

Hotel Tamarindo Diria Beach Resort is one of the best places to stay in Costa Rica on the beach if you don’t want to overspend. Surrounded by swaying palm trees, the resort has three outdoor swimming pools, a casino and a spa. Among the four restaurants and four bars are a pizzeria, a cocktail lounge, a steak and seafood spot on the terrace, and a beach bar. Stay in one of the suites with a spa bath on the balcony, or book a family room with sunset views over the ocean.

Hotel Tamarindo Diria Beach Resort

JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort & Spa – Best Luxury hotel In Tamarindo Beach

JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort & Spa

With its stunning natural surroundings and thoughtful amenities, JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort & Spa is the perfect destination for anyone seeking a luxurious stay in Costa Rica. This beachfront getaway offers a posh and upscale experience, with an infinity pool, outdoor jacuzzis and beachfront access. The hacienda style resort includes multiple dining options, a luxury spa, and comfortable rooms with balconies facing the ocean, pool or gardens.

Aerial view of western Costa Rica seashore

Conchal Beach – Where to stay on Costa Rica on a Budget

Located along Costa Rica’s Gold Coast, Conchal Beach is a hidden gem for budget travelers. Known for its calm waters, it’s an ideal place to visit for travellers looking for a quieter, more affordable beach experience away from the more popular spots like nearby Tamarindo Beach.

Who is Conchal Beach Ideal for?

  • Budget-conscious travellers looking for affordable beach stays.
  • Swimmers and snorkelers who enjoy calm, warm waters.
  • Travellers looking for a less crowded, more relaxed beach experience.

What’s Good About Conchal Beach?

  • Warm, calm waters ideal for swimming and snorkeling.
  • Less crowded compared to other Costa Rican beaches.
  • Proximity to budget-friendly accommodations in Brasilito town.

Why Stay in Conchal Beach?

Conchal Beach is the best place to stay in Costa Rica on a budget. It boasts a beautiful stretch of sand and clear waters, perfect for a variety of beach activities. The nearby town of Brasilito offers a range of affordable accommodation options, making it accessible for all budget levels.

Whether you’re lounging on its sandy shores or exploring nearby natural areas, it provides a perfect blend of relaxation and adventure.

Things to Do in Conchal Beach:

  • Beach Relaxation: Enjoy the calm and scenic Conchal Beach, ideal for sunbathing, swimming, and snorkeling in its clear waters.
  • Explore Playa Zapotillal: Just a short distance from Conchal, this untouched beach offers a chance to experience Costa Rica’s wild coastline and possibly spot sea turtles.

Here’s My List Of Places To Stay In Conchal Beach

Conchal Beach Map Costa Rica

Conchal Hotel – Best Budget hotel In Conchal Beach

Located near Playa Conchal, the Conchal Hotel offers budget-conscious travellers a cosy and charming retreat. Surrounded by tropical gardens and local wildlife, this boutique hotel provides an inviting courtyard pool and a relaxing terrace to unwind at. The rustic-style rooms include both ceiling fans and air conditioning, a wardrobe, and a private furnished patio. Welcome drinks and a free breakfast buffet at the onsite Papaya Restaurant are both included.

Conchal Hotel

Hotel Diversion Tropical – Best Mid-range hotel In Conchal Beach

Hotel Diversion Tropical

Hotel Diversion Tropical is a great base for a relaxing and adventure-filled getaway in Costa Rica. There are simple double and family rooms, with an outdoor pool and access to a shared kitchen if you feel like cooking. The friendly staff ensures a warm welcome, and the free breakfast offers a perfect start to the day.

Villas la Paz – Best Family hotel In Conchal Beach

Create some wonderful family memories at Villas la Paz, your laid-back home away from home in Costa Rica. The colourful one, three and four-bedroom villas come with private kitchens and access to a beautiful pool surrounded by palm trees. Despite the jungle-like setting with wildlife all around you, the beach is only 400 metres away.

Villas la Paz

The Westin Reserva Conchal – Best Luxury hotel In Conchal Beach

The Westin Reserva Conchal, an All-Inclusive Golf Resort & Spa

The Westin Reserva Conchal offers a sophisticated beachside resort experience. This all-inclusive golf resort and spa has a plethora of luxury facilities and amenities, including two swimming pools, countless world-class dining options plus room service, a refreshment station, tennis courts, and a relaxing day spa. The beautiful, contemporary suites are ideal for a carefree trip with you and that special someone.

Waves coming in on the beach in Guanacaste

Gulf of Papagayo – Where to stay in Costa Rica with Family

The Gulf of Papagayo, with its protected waters and family-friendly resorts, is a great choice for families exploring Costa Rica. Just under an hour from Liberia Airport, this area offers a mix of beautiful beaches and wildlife encounters, making it one of the best places to stay in Costa Rica for families.

Who is the Gulf of Papagayo Ideal for?

  • Families looking for safe and enjoyable beach experiences.
  • Nature lovers eager to spot marine wildlife like orcas and whales.
  • Travellers looking for all-inclusive resort options.

What’s Good About the Gulf of Papagayo?

  • Sheltered beaches ideal for swimming and snorkeling with children.
  • A range of accommodations, from eco-friendly to luxury resorts.
  • Diverse activities suitable for all ages, from whale watching to hiking.

Why Stay in the Gulf of Papagayo?

The Gulf of Papagayo stands out as a family-friendly hotel hotspot, offering calm beaches perfect for young swimmers and a variety of resorts catering to family needs.

Whether you choose Playa Hermosa for adventure activities, Ocotal Beach for its chilled out environment, or Playas del Coco for its resorts, you’re in for a great family vacation.

Things to Do in the Gulf of Papagayo:

  • Whale Watching: Join one of the many tours available for a chance to see orcas and humpbacks, especially during peak seasons in January-February and September-October.
  • Explore Santa Rosa National Park: Venture into one of Costa Rica’s wildest parks, home to diverse wildlife including pumas and jaguars, and enjoy family-friendly hikes.

Here’s My List Of Places To Stay In Gulf of Papagayo

Gulf of Papagayo map in Costa Rica

Riu Palace Costa Rica (All Inclusive) – Best Mid-range hotel In Gulf of Papagayo

Riu Palace Costa Rica - All Inclusive

Experience all-inclusive relaxation at Riu Palace Costa Rica. Located 200 metres from the beach, the suites are modern and colourful, with an optional hot tub on the balcony. The resort has an impressive range of facilities, including five swimming pools, five restaurants, a jacuzzi, a sauna, a kids’ club, a small water park for children, and a spa.

Planet Hollywood Costa Rica – Best Family hotel In Gulf of Papagayo

Planet Hollywood Costa Rica is easily one of the best places to stay in Costa Rica for families. Located near Iguana Cliff and Manzanillo Beach, this 5-star resort offers stylish suites with STAR Class amenities like a personal agent, VIP pool and bar access, and a personal rider to choose your in-room snacks. It’s also right by Papagayo Urgent Care, which will reassure nervous parents. There are seven different restaurants onsite, five bars, a Splash Kids Zone, and a spa and beauty bar.

Planet Hollywood Costa Rica, An Autograph Collection All-Inclusive Resort

Secrets Papagayo All Inclusive (Adults Only) – Best Luxury hotel In Gulf of Papagayo

Secrets Papagayo All Inclusive - Adults Only

Secrets Papagayo is one of the best places to stay in Costa Rica all inclusive. Located on the beautiful Papagayo Gulf by Arenilla Beach, the resort provides secure, adults only bungalow suites among the natural flora and fauna. Offering an Unlimited Luxury experience, you can make the most of the resort’s four gourmet restaurants, one cafe, five bars, and room service. As well as beach access, there are two swimming pools, and a full-service beauty salon and spa to unwind at.

Secrets Papagayo Luxury hotel with beach Golfo de Papagayo in Guanacaste, Costa Rica

Monteverde – Where to stay in Costa Rica for young adults

Monteverde, an area for ecotourism and adventure, is an excellent choice for young adults exploring Costa Rica. Known for the Cloud Forest Reserve and unique wildlife, it offers an experience different from the typical tropical beaches of the country.

Who is Monteverde Ideal for?

  • Young adults and adventurer looking for thrilling activities.
  • Nature lovers and bird-watchers keen on spotting exotic species.
  • Eco-conscious travellers looking for a unique rainforest experience.

What’s Good About Monteverde?

  • Home to some of the Cloud Forest Reserve in Costa Rica.
  • Offers a chance to see rare wildlife, including the quetzal bird.
  • Variety of adventure activities, from zip-lining to canopy hikes.

Why Stay in Monteverde?

Monteverde is the best area to stay in Costa Rica for adventurer and young adults. It’s not just about the wildlife; the thrill of zip-lining and canopy tours add to the excitement.

For those wondering where to stay in Monteverde, Costa Rica, options range from eco-lodges to backpacker hostels in Santa Elena, catering to various budgets.

Whether you’re interested in hiking through stunning landscapes, observing unique wildlife, or seeking an adrenaline rush, Monteverde has something exciting to offer.

Things to Do in Monteverde:

  • Explore Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve: Discover this iconic reserve with its rich biodiversity, walking paths, and suspension bridges.
  • Experience Zip-lining: Enjoy some of the best zip-lining in Costa Rica at Sky Adventures Monteverde Park, offering breathtaking views and an adrenaline rush.

Here’s My List Of Places To Stay In Monteverde

Monteverde map in Costa Rica

Hostel La Suerte – Best Hostels In Monteverde

Hostel La Suerte

With its humble accommodations and amenities, Hostel La Suerte is a great choice for young solo travellers looking for an affordable stay. The eco-friendly hostel offers simple rooms and studios, mixed-gender dorms, free breakfast, a shared kitchen and BBQ areas. The shared lounge area also has yoga mats you can use.

Dreams Lodge – Best Budget hotel In Monteverde

Set in a peaceful private property, Dreams Lodge offers a beautiful accommodation away from the hustle and bustle. The affordable double, triple and family rooms are simple yet cosy, with lovely balconies for you to watch the local wildlife from. With a nice breakfast, friendly staff and easy bike rental, the lodge makes for a great base to explore Costa Rica from.

Dreams Lodge

Los Pinos Cabins & Reserve – Best Mid-range hotel In Monteverde

Los Pinos Cabins & Reserve

One of the best places to stay in Costa Rica for young adults is the eco-friendly Los Pinos Cabins & Reserve. The one and three-bedroom wooden cottages are built far apart from each other and are surrounded by a natural reserve, offering you a peaceful and secluded experience. Take the opportunity to help the staff harvest fresh vegetables grown in the hydroponic garden and watch for monkeys harvesting their own fruit from the trees.

Monteverde Country Lodge – Best Family hotel In Monteverde

With its eco-friendly design and beautiful tropical gardens, Monteverde Country Lodge offers a cosy stay in the Monteverde Cloud Forest region. There are comfortable rooms with one, two or three beds, making the lodge suitable for young families too. Enjoy a fusion of cuisines at the convenient on-site restaurant, and have some snacks and drinks at the bar.

Monteverde Country Lodge - Costa Rica
Red suspension bridge in Monteverde Cloud Forest, Costa Rica

Poas – Coolest places to stay in Costa Rica

Poas, home to a dormant volcano, stands out as one of the coolest places to stay in Costa Rica. Just a 90-minute drive from San Jose, it offers a blend of nature, from sulfuric crater lakes to cloud forests.

Who is Poas Ideal for?

  • Nature lovers intrigued by volcanic landscapes.
  • Hikers looking for moderate treks with rewarding views.
  • Travellers looking for a quieter, less crowded nature experience.

What’s Good About Poas?

  • Proximity to San Jose, making it accessible.
  • Home to one of Costa Rica’s most fascinating volcanoes.
  • Opportunity to experience cloud forests outside of Monteverde.

Why Stay in Poas?

The area allows you to explore the Poas Volcano National Park early in the morning, providing a quieter, almost private encounter. Costa Rica hotels in the area offer convenient access to this natural attraction.

Poas combines the thrill of volcanic landscapes with the calmness of nature parks. Whether you’re a solo traveler or with a group, Poas is a destination that promises an unforgettable adventure.

Things to Do in Poas:

  • Hike the Poas Volcano: Head out on a 1.5 to 2-hour hike to see the stunning blue crater lakes and panoramic views of the Central Cordillera.
  • Visit La Paz Waterfall Gardens Nature Park: Explore this beautiful nature park with its gardens, waterfalls, and diverse wildlife, easily reachable from Poas and San Jose.

Here’s My List Of Places To Stay In Poas

Poas map in Costa Rica

Poas Volcano Rooms – Best Budget hotel In Poas

If you’re looking for where to stay in Costa Rica for hiking, Poas Volcano Rooms offers cheap accommodation for all types of travellers. The standard loft room will fit one or two people, while the seven-bedroom apartment is perfect for big families or groups of friends exploring Costa Rica on a budget. There’s a lovely garden to relax in, and the property is only 10 minutes away from the Poas Volcano.

Poas Volcano Rooms

Poas Volcano Observatory Lodge & Glamping – Best Mid-range hotel In Poas

Poas Volcano Observatory Lodge & Glamping

Hands down, the coolest mid-range hotel in Costa Rica is the Poas Volcano Observatory Lodge. This unique lodge offers a one-of-a-kind experience, combining the fun of glamping in a chic “pod” with the opportunity to wake up to beautiful views of the mountains. You are able to immerse yourself in nature while enjoying the convenience of comfortable accommodations and modern amenities, including a coffee machine, room service, and a paid laundry service.

Villa Calas – Best Family hotel In Poas

Villa Calas is a casual lodge surrounded by green gardens, creating a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere. The one and two-bedroom cottages are fairly modern, with fireplaces and cosy balconies to take in the views. The lodge has a shared lounge, a restaurant serving local Costa Rican cuisine, and a bar offering high tea and cocktail hour.

Villa Calas

Peace Lodge – Best Luxury hotel In Poas

Peace Lodge

As one of the best hotels in Costa Rica, Peace Lodge is the perfect choice for those seeking a memorable retreat with breathtaking natural surroundings. Located in the Poas Volcano National Park, this rustic-chic hotel offers eclectic one and two-bedroom guest rooms and villas, all including fireplaces, balconies and hot tubs. The lodge has a peaceful outdoor swimming pool, a restaurant and bar, and even a games room.

Main active crater of the volcano of Poas. Costa Rica of Poas. Costa Rica

Alajuela – Where to stay in Costa Rica near the airport

Alajuela, Costa Rica’s second-largest city, located just 20km from San Jose and close to the Juan Santamaría International Airport. It’s an ideal base for travellers looking for easy airport access and a central location to explore the country’s natural and cultural attractions.

Who is Alajuela Ideal for?

  • Proximity to the airport for early departures or late arrivals.
  • Coffee lovers interested in exploring Costa Rica’s coffee heritage.

What’s Good About Alajuela?

  • Close to San Jose and the international airport.
  • Gateway to natural attractions like Poas Volcano National Park.
  • Home to interesting cultural sites, including churches and museums.

Why Stay in Alajuela?

Staying in Alajuela allows for a hassle-free start or end to your Costa Rican adventure, with its close proximity to the airport.

It’s also an excellent spot for enjoying the local culture and nature, like the Doka Estate’s coffee tours and the hikes at Poas Volcano National Park.

Things to Do in Alajuela:

  • Visit Poas Volcano National Park: Discover one of the region’s most active volcanoes, with rewarding hikes offering views of crater lakes and the Central Valley.
  • Explore Doka Estate: Learn about coffee cultivation and processing at this famous estate, a short drive from Alajuela, perfect for a guided day trip.

Here’s My List Of Places To Stay In Alajuela

Alajuela Map in Costa Rica

Alajuela Backpackers Airport Hostel – Best Hostels In Alajuela

Alajuela Backpackers Airport Hostel

Alajuela Backpackers is the top budget hostel to stay at if you want to be close to the airport. Both shared dorms and private suites are available, all with air conditioning. The convenient onsite restaurant serves dishes like pizza and pasta, and you can kill some time in the TV room. A free shuttle service to the airport is offered too.

Hotel La Guaria Inn & Suites – Best Budget hotel In Alajuela

Only a five-minute drive from the airport, Hotel La Guaria Inn & Suites is a cheap accommodation offering double rooms and two-bedroom apartments. Enjoy a complimentary breakfast, kill some time by the pool, and take advantage of the hotel’s free airport shuttle and laundry services. You can’t miss the brightly-coloured green and yellow exteriors!

Hotel La Guaria Inn & Suites

Holiday Inn Express San Jose Airport – Best Mid-range hotel In Alajuela

Holiday Inn Express San Jose Airport, an IHG Hotel

Holiday Inn Express San Jose Airport is a reliable and modern mid-range accommodation with plenty of convenient amenities. The simple yet comfortable rooms come with one or two large beds, an iron, a wardrobe, a coffee maker, and more optional extras. The breakfast buffet has lots of choices, and can also be taken away if you’re in a hurry. Free airport shuttle is offered 24/7, and there is an outdoor pool and gym to keep you occupied.

Hotel Santa Maria Inn – Best Family hotel In Alajuela

For families who need to be close to the airport for a night, Hotel Santa Maria Inn offers family rooms with plenty of space. Enjoy a fresh breakfast in the backyard before taking the free shuttle to the airport. The host and staff are very friendly and easy to communicate with.

Hotel Santa Maria Inn

Hampton By Hilton San Jose Airport Costa Rica – Best Luxury hotel In Alajuela

Hampton By Hilton San Jose Airport Costa Rica

The most luxurious hotel option near the airport is the Hampton By Hilton San Jose. It offers a range of amenities including an outdoor pool, a gym, a 24-hour airport shuttle, and a complimentary hot breakfast. The contemporary rooms have soundproofed windows, a coffee maker and a TV, and coffee tasting tours nearby can be organised if you’ve got some downtime before your flight.

Zarcero, Costa Rica - The Francisco Alvardo Park with its famous topiary and the colorful catholic church of San Rafael in Zarcero, Costa Rica.

FAQs About where should i stay in costa rica

For first-time visitors, staying in the Arenal area is highly recommended. It offers a perfect blend of adventure, nature, and convenience. Arenal is famous for its iconic volcano, rainforests, and the La Fortuna Waterfall. The area also offers a range of activities such as hot springs, hiking, and zip-lining. Plus, it has a variety of accommodation options, from luxury resorts to budget-friendly hotels, catering to all types of travelers.

The Gulf of Papagayo is ideal for families visiting Costa Rica. It’s known for its family-friendly resorts, calm beaches perfect for swimming, and a range of activities suitable for all ages. The area is close to Liberia Airport, making it convenient for travel. Attractions like the Santa Rosa National Park and various water sports activities keep everyone entertained. The resorts here often have kids’ clubs and family-oriented amenities, ensuring a comfortable stay for families.

For travelers on a budget, areas like Monteverde and Conchal Beach offer affordable options without sacrificing the Costa Rican experience. Monteverde is great for eco-friendly and adventure tourism, with budget hostels and guesthouses. Conchal Beach, known for its pristine beaches and tranquil atmosphere, offers budget accommodations in the nearby town of Brasilito. Both areas provide a rich Costa Rican experience with opportunities for adventure and relaxation while being easy on the wallet.

Final Thoughts: best area to stay costa rica

As we wrap up our journey through Costa Rica, it’s clear that this country offers something for every type of traveler. From the adrenaline-pumping adventures in the shadow of Arenal Volcano to the beautiful beaches of the Gulf of Papagayo, Costa Rica is destination waiting to be explored.

Whether you’re a first-time visitor, a family, or a budget-conscious traveler, travelling to costa rica for a week or a few days and you’re hankering for a tropical escape, Costa Rica’s range of accommodations promises, you’ll have the time of your life!

Remember, when choosing where to stay is just the beginning of what promises to be an unforgettable adventure.

So pack your bags, grab your sense of adventure, and head to Costa Rica – where your dream vacation awaits in every sun-kissed corner and misty cloud forest!

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  • Katie Barker

    Katie, a dynamic travel expert and photographer, is dedicated to exploration and sharing her adventures through travel and lifestyle blogging. With a global perspective shaped by residences in Cape Town and beyond, she offers insights into off-the-beaten-path destinations and budget-friendly travel tips. Katie's expertise spans digital nomad living, travel planning, and empowering solo female travelers.

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