Top 10 best luxury hotels & resorts in Costa Rica

Monday newsletters always feature top 10 travel lists to inspire.

Today: Top 10 best luxury hotels & resorts in Costa Rica

From the jungle to the coast, Costa Rica is a laid-back traveler’s tropical paradise. This tiny country is located on the Central American isthmus, bordered by the Pacific Ocean to the west, the Caribbean Sea to the east, Nicaragua to the north, and Panama to the south. Its tropical topography and diverse landscapes make Costa Rica one of the most biodiverse countries in the world. Divided into 29 national parks, 19 wildlife refuges, and 8 biological reserves, the country thrives on ecotourism and travelers will find everything they are looking for: exhilarating adventures, sun drenched beaches, lush jungle, active volcanos, exotic wildlife and much more, including sublime resorts and wellness facilities. Here’s my top 10 list of the best luxury hotels & resorts in Costa Rica.

There is more information (with reviews & YouTube videos) below the slide show. Think I missed one? Share your favorite hotel Costa Rica in the comments section.

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10. LOS ALTOS RESORT & SPA

Tucked into the rainforest canopy, Los Altos Resort and Spa offers a relaxed ambiance in the pristine eco-wilderness near Manuel Antonio National Park. Wake to the sounds of howler monkeys, glimpse toucans among the trees, and breakfast with hummingbirds – you’ll be surrounded by restorative nature here. Rooms at Los Altos vary from spacious to huge. Each has an immersed-in-nature feel, with sweeping outlooks over rainforest, sea or both. And all are suites offering kitchens and sumptuous lounging spaces – especially great for groups or families. Children are welcome here, but there are plenty of moments for grown-up relaxation too. Sip your fruit cocktail by the infinity pool with views over the ocean, wander down through the trees (or hop aboard the shuttle) for a day at the resort’s own private beach, or even better, enjoy a chef-hosted dinner on your private balcony.


9. EL SILENCIO LODGE & SPA  – RELAIS & CHATEAUX

El Silencio Lodge & Spa is tucked among the valleys and waterfalls of picturesque Bajos del Toro, which has been declared a UNESCO cultural heritage site. Just 60 minutes from the capital San Jose, it is the only luxury hotel experience in a private cloud forest reserve flanked by the Juan Castro Blanco and Poas Volcano National Parks. Just 24 freestanding accommodations – built on stilts to minimize environmental impact – dot 500 acres of cloud forest (which is a mostly private reserve). By offsetting carbon and using premium, planet-friendly materials, the zero-harm lodge promotes a holistic concept of tourism. The property believes that its guests’ well-being derives not just from experiencing the stunning environs and unique culture of the surrounding communities, but also from taking part in preserving them. Hike to hidden waterfalls, enjoy cultural experiences, savor organic specialties, and sleep in upscale “rustic Zen” suites.

  • Official website: El Silencio Lodge & Spa
  • Tip: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out and $100 USD resort credit).

HOTELS COSTA RICA


8. PACUARE LODGE

Disconnect from tech and tune into nature in all her jungle glory at the intimate Pacuare Lodge. The adventure begins before you arrive, rafting the Pacuare River’s white waters to the lodge’s shores (or alternatively, take the gondola!). You’ll find 20 enchanting suites, made of sustainably sourced lumber with thatched roofs built by local Cabécar people, tucked among the treetops. Simple, and yet sophisticated, the indigenous architecture, pristine rainforest, farm-to-table exquisite cuisine, and luxurious, well-appointed accommodations come together to offer a great travel experience. Solar panels and water turbines mean little impact on the environment – and a transformational experience for you while connecting with the rain forest from your private terrace and spring-fed pool. Jungle treks, canopy tours, and other leafy experiences await.

  • Official website: Pacuare Lodge
  • Tip: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out and $100 USD resort credit).

HOTELS COSTA RICA


7. KURA BOUTIQUE HOTEL

Dubbed Costa Rica’s most glamorous romantic resort by Forbes Magazine, Kura is a boutique, adults-only hotel set high in the rainforest hills of Uvita overlooking Marino Ballena National Park and the iconic Whale’s Tail sandbar. Contemporary and playful in design, and yet surrounded by lush rain-forest canopy, Kurà is a dynamic concept fusing sustainability and natural beauty. An exclusive destination in its own right, Kura comprises just 8 luxury suites whose tropical minimalist decor and panoramic views set the stage for ultra-personalized pampering, relaxation and privacy. Lounge in a two-person hammock on the veranda or swim into the sunset in the stunning infinity-edge pool. Food is grown on-site or sourced from local artisan producers; activities focus on wellness, nature, and local culture.

  • Official website: Kura Boutique Hotel
  • Tip: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out and $100 USD resort credit).

HOTELS COSTA RICA


6. NANTIPA – A TICO BEACH EXPERIENCE

Surrounded by the deep blue waters of the Gulf of Nicoya, Nantipa is a cloud-nine boutique retreat that redefines barefoot luxury. Every element is inspired by the ocean and sky – right down to its name, which means ‘blue’ in the native Nicoya tribal language. From dawn to dusk you’ll have the sand between your toes and the sound of crashing waves in your ears. The 21 bungalows, suites, and villas feature all the luxuriously beachy amenities you could want (some even have private plunge pools and indoor/outdoor showers). The thatched-roof Manzú Restaurant serves traditional Tico recipes with a modern twist. And just outside your door, you’ll find endless ways to explore, including horseback riding, artisan fishing, and surfing. The concierges at Nantipa will happily recommend and arrange all sorts of unforgettable adventures.

  • Official website: Nantipa
  • Tip: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out and $100 USD resort credit).

HOTELS COSTA RICA


5. HACIENDA ALTAGRACIA, AUBERGE RESORTS COLLECTION

An escape for those seeking total well-being and unbridled adventure, balance at Hacienda AltaGracia is founded with the belief that total wellbeing comes from being able to move fast or slow. Tucked away from the frenzy of modern life in the foothills of the Talamanca Mountains, Hacienda AltaGracia marries seclusion and exploration, comfort and excitement, privacy and personalization. This serene 50-casita resort features 180 bird-song-filled acres of untamed tropical forest, coffee farm, equine stables, organic chef’s gardens and a wellbeing center by one of the world’s leading holistic wellness providers, THE WELL. Experience the escape of our soul-stirring wellness journeys, soulful cuisine, and adrenaline packed adventures through bespoke itineraries – personally curated to elevate your experience and leave you transformed.

  • Official website: Hacienda AltaGracia
  • Tip: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out and $100 USD resort credit).

HOTELS COSTA RICA


4. ANDAZ COSTA RICA AT PENINSULA PAPAGAYO

Where the Gulf of Papagayo meets the sapphire blue waters of Culebra Bay, Andaz Peninsula Papagayo personifies Costa Rica’s “Pura Vida” (pure life) expression, an extension of the native spirit of the country. The hotel design by Costa Rica’s most famous architect Ronald Zurcher translates the healthy and poetic integration of men and nature, with 153 rooms (including 21 suites) that make you feel you part of the breathtaking setting and buildings created to the images of jungle creatures. The resort offers four restaurants, three beaches, four pools, spa and wellness programs, extensive on-site activity options, including complimentary Cambi kids program. Guests also enjoy access to the amenities of exclusive Peninsula Papagayo, including golf, tennis, electric assist bike share, The Explorers activities, teen/tween programming and transportation to seven additional restaurants within the community.

  • Official website: Andaz Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo
  • Tip: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out and $100 USD resort credit).
  • Review: read my review of Andaz Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo here.


3. LAPA RIOS

Costa Rica’s pristine Osa Peninsula is blanketed by some of the last remaining lowland tropical rainforest in Central America and edged by beaches rich with marine life. At its tip is Lapa Rios, a remarkable lodge surrounded by a 1,000-acre reserve, which helps to buffer the Osa Peninsula’s Corcovado National Park – home to 2.5% of the world’s biodiversity and a regular feature on National Geographic’s nature documentaries. It would be hard to find a more authentic rainforest experience than this. You awaken to the mesmerizing sounds of the jungle, watch scarlet macaws glide by from your private outdoor shower, and set off into the trees to explore with local guides whose knowledge of the area’s ecosystems runs deep. And yet the experience is relaxing too – there’s a secluded beach, delightful meals served al fresco, and a luxurious bungalow awaiting you at the end of the day.

  • Official website: Lapa Rios
  • Review: read my review of Lapa Rios here.


2. FOUR SEASONS RESORT COSTA RICA AT PENINSULA PAPAGAYO

Just like the Andaz (cf above), Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica is located on the exclusive Peninsula Papagayo, a master-planned resort community encompassing 2,300 acres. The hotel’s 155 guest rooms, suites and residences capture the exotic character of Costa Rica, with comfortable rattan and bamboo furnishings, local artwork and indigenous wood and stone finishes. At the heart of the property – right between two stunning beaches – await three swimming pools, immersed in lush landscaping and surrounded by spacious pool decks with abundant chaises lounges. Other facilities include three restaurants, children’s club, and a world-class spa encompassing eight massage rooms, seven wet treatment rooms with showers, and four facial treatment rooms. Designed by Arnold Palmer, the resort’s 18-hole, par-72 championship golf course was designed with the golfer in mind.


1. NAYARA TENTED CAMP

Located in central Costa Rica, Nayara Tented Camp is one of the first luxury camps in Central America inspired by the luxury canvas lodges of Africa and Asia. The property’s luxurious and spacious tents are built at a higher altitude on a hillside to provide unobstructed views of the famous Arenal Volcano. Multigenerational travelers and like-minded groups can opt for a set of two connecting identical tents while couples and privacy-seeking guests can book standalone units. All tents come with a private plunge pool and the indoor/outdoor design blends contemporary, barefoot-luxe touches and unique-to-location design. Guests staying at Nayara Tented Camp have full access to all the facilities – pools, spas, and restaurants – of its sister resorts, family friendly Nayara Gardens and adults only Nayara Springs.

  • Official website: Nayara Tented Camp
  • Tip: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out and $100 USD resort credit).
  • Review: read my review of Nayara Tented Camp here.


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2 Comments

  1. Thank you so much for featuring our amazing tented camp in Costa Rica. I would like to let everyone know that we have just completed the main area with an infinity pool overlooking the Arenal Volcano, and three large tents which include a reception, a library bar and a restaurant. Now the tented camp is complete and is looking even better!

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