While planning your trip to Costa Rica, choose the best place to stay any time of the year. Costa Rica is a Latin-American country located in Central America between the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific ocean. And over the past few years, Costa Rica has been a dream tourist attraction.
The tourism industry is exponentially growing in Costa Rica, and more than 1.7 million tourists visit annually. Costa Rica has many tourist attractions where you can enjoy your stay. Beautiful beaches, inclusive resorts, natural hot springs, active volcanoes, sandy beaches, and its cultural heritage sites will let you fall in love with this place.
You will find every type of enjoyment in Costa Rica. If you are looking for some calm sunny beaches, both the Pacific and Caribbean Coast have stunning beaches. You can book the best resorts to stay near the beach and enjoy the open space.
An Abundance of Rich History
Costa Rica is very rich in culture and art. If you are a fan of art, history, and cultural heritage, you can visit some of the best museums and theaters.
Of course, we suggest you visit famous Archeological and Geological sites while in Costa Rica. There will be a lot to learn about the Pre-Colombian history of Costa Rica when native people used to live between the fertile lands of active volcanoes.
Costa Rica should be your next destination to relax, enjoy, and party. November to May is the best time to visit this country however you might get accommodation at some extra cost. In this situation, lodging is the best option to save some money. We will list the 8 best places to plan your future stay while visiting the country.
Before coming to Costa Rica, you should memorize “Pura Vida.” Although the meaning of this word is “Simple Life” or “Pure Life,” Costa Rican people use this word to greet each other, to say Hello, Good Bye, or Thanks. You will hear this phrase everywhere you go in Costa Rica. So, you should learn to say “Pura Vida” anytime you meet someone or leave a place.
Here is every detail you will need to know about these places before you plan your holidays to stay in Costa Rica.
Away from the city lights, Santa Teresa is a perfect place for tourists who wants to enjoy fascinating beaches, surfing, and Sea Food. Nevertheless, this place is famous for water sports, weekly jungle parties, great restaurants, and abundant wildlife.
Santa Teresa is a small town on the Nicoya Peninsula’s western side. Most people use ATVs because of the town’s dirt roads. This town is famous for fishing because the primary source of income here depends on it. Moreover, Santa Teresa is a great place to have some fresh and delicious Costa Rican seafood.
Santa Teresa has the best beaches in Costa Rica, where you can enjoy mesmerizing sunsets with your loved ones. Playa Carmen is the most famous beach here. Although driving through the main road is much easier to reach Playa Carmen, you can also take a short walk through shops and restaurants. This is the favorite place for rip surfing lovers.
Playa Santa Teresa is one of the white-sand beaches in Costa Rica. Reaching this beach can be confusing because some hotels, private residences, and a thick Jungle are on the way. This place is best for beginners who want to improve their surfing skills.
Take Caution While Swimming
Because of the high tides swimming on the beaches of Santa Teresa can be challenging. But you don’t have to worry. There is a famous tidal swimming pool, Santa Teresa, where you can enjoy safe underwater swimming. Don’t forget to wear water shoes because you might hurt your feet with sharp rocks.
Mias Pais tide Pool is another fantastic place in Santa Teresa that you will not want to miss. You can enjoy this group of small hot tub-shaped pools like your private outdoor pool.
Once you are done with all the beaches, take a boat trip to Tortuga Island. This island is like heaven, and you will not want to return once you spend some time there.
Tortuga Island has a breathtaking white sand beach where you can do all the fun. While enjoying the cool breeze, relax your body in the sunshine. You can also book a tour with travel operators to get a complete package, including a BBQ lunch and scuba diving.
Cabo Blanko Nature Reserve should be the next destination for hiking and nature lovers. Costa Rican authorities preserve this area from development to keep it clean and natural. For this reason, a thousand animal species live here, including birds and monkeys.
Banana Beach Restaurant, Kooks Smokehouse, The Bakery, and Couleur Cafe are some of the best places to eat some tasty food in Santa Teresa. Also, there are many luxurious hotels to stay in during your trip.
You must include Santa Teresa in your list if you want to spend some time with nature far away from the city lights, traffic, and noise.
La Fortuna is a small town in the Northwest of the Capital City of San Jose. It will take you 3 hour’s drive to the center of La Fortuna from Liberia International Airport. This is an excellent place to stay for adventure-traveling lovers. There is a lot to do in La Fortuna, so you come here with plenty of free time.
La Fortuna is well-known for its Active Volcano known as Arenal. It is like a mini-version of Mount Fuji, Japan. Also, many tourists only come here to see this volcano eruption. You can also enjoy hiking to reach the hot springs of Arenal Volcano National Park.
There are plenty of the best things to do here if you are a thrill lover. Horseback riding, ziplining, mountain biking, and dirt biking can take you to the peak of the Adrenaline rush.
Because La Fortuna is a popular destination for tourism, there are many accommodation options to choose from, staying within your budget. Tabacon Thermal Resort, The Springs Resort, and Baldi Hot Springs Hotel are some luxury hotels in La Fortuna.
Hotel Arenal Kioro Suites & Spa is another option. You will enjoy this Arenal volcano’s stunning view in spacious rooms with big glass ceiling windows. Also, you can relax in the hot springs situated on the hotel property.
Volcano Lodge, Hotel & Thermal Experience is the best hotel if you want to enjoy private rooms with access to hot springs for only $30.
La Fortuna should be your prior choice to stay if you are planning to visit Arenal National Park. This is a fantastic, lush rainforest having 850 different species of birds and animals like deer, jaguars, snakes, and howler monkeys.
La Fortuna has excellent restaurants and cafes to enjoy breakfast, lunch, and dinner. For fine dining, go to Don Rufino, Fusion Latina, Asia Luna, and Las Ventanas.
Organico Fortuna and Red Frog Coffee Toaster are the best places to taste delicious breakfast dishes. Nanku, Tiquicia, and Soda Viquez are perfect restaurants to taste the local cuisine.
La Fortuna is an excellent option for nature lovers. This is a family place where you can spend quality time with your loved ones.
Quepos (Manuel Antonio)
Manuel Antonio is the main attraction for tourists on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. It is famous for its wildlife and incredible white sand beaches. While your stay in Costa Rica, you should visit this place to enjoy some outdoor fun activities.
Playitas Beach, Espadilla Beach, and Biesanz Beach are the most beautiful white sand beaches in Manuel Antonio. These beaches are best for getting tan and enjoying the beauty of the Pacific Coast. Whether young or old, You will definitely enjoy the spectacular beauty of these beaches.
Manuel Antonio is the perfect spot for adventure sports like water surfing, kayaking, and ziplining. But before doing all this, remember to renew your travel insurance.
Manuel Antonio National Park is located at the border area of Quepos. It covers around 7 square miles of area with thick rainforest, incredible beaches, exotic animals, and high mountains.
You will find some best areas while hiking through the national park. There is a lovely cafe at the end of the hiking track where you can find almost everything, like sandwiches, ice cream, drinks, and fruit.
You can watch this video to learn more about Manuel Antonio:
You can rent a home for your entire family to enjoy the breathtaking view of the Pacific Ocean. Vista Oceana, Casa Cielo, and Villa La Isla are luxury villas to book your stay in Manta Antonio. You can also stay in Beach Cabins and Country Lodges if you like a small clean place.
Manuel Antonio is the place where you can relax as well as entertain yourself. You will get everything from bars to shopping malls and restaurants. Shana Restaurant, La Luna Restaurant, Al Arado Restaurant, and Marlin Restaurant are great places to taste the local cuisine. You can enjoy your meal viewing the Pacific Ocean and palm trees in your surroundings.
The thing which makes Manuel Antonio different is its preserved water life in Marino Ballena National Park. Here you can entertain yourself by watching sea turtles, whales, and dolphins swimming in the Pacific.
Manuel Antonio is the perfect place to enjoy relaxing your body in Hot springs and have outdoor entertainment. You will regret it if you will not visit this beautiful place while staying in Costa Rica.
San Jose is the Capital City of Costa Rica. It is one of the best cities in Central America for urban tourism. The capital city is around half an hour’s drive from one of the International airports in the country (Costa Rica has only two airports).
After landing in Costa Rica, this will be your first destination to stay. You can stay near the airport and get domestic flights from Juan Santamaria International Airport.
San Jose is a perfect destination to enjoy the urban lifestyle. Apart from the modern buildings in San Jose, there are historical buildings, exceptional Museums, and world-class theaters. You will find diverse cultural activities and unique art in San Jose. Also, the population of this city is a mix of white, Asian, Hispanic, and black.
Traveling Around San Jose
Although you can easily find taxis in San Jose, you can wander the city on foot. Especially if you are living in the city center, many tourist attractions are within walking distance. However, if you are traveling alone, we suggest you walk only in daylight and take an Uber at night for safety.
San Jose’s nightlife is pretty amazing. There are a bunch of bars, nightclubs, hotels, and restaurants to make your night enjoyable and worth remembering. You can enjoy live music and street concerts at night. Avenida Central is the shopping hub of the city.
San Jose is very rich in culture and traditions. If you wish to observe Costa Rican culture and know about its history keenly, you should visit the best museums in the world in San Jose.
Jade Museum is famous for its jade artifacts from the pre-Colombian era. Also, the pre-Colombian Gold Museum and National Museum are best to learn about the history and ancient culture of Costa Rica. National Museum is famous for getting knowledge about the archaeological and geological history of Costa Rica.
At 60 minutes drive from San Jose, El Silencio Lodge & Spa is the best luxury and eco-friendly place to stay. It covers an area of around 500 acres. Because of its romantic vibes, this place is best for making your honeymoon memorable.
The best thing about San Jose is that it is in the center of Costa Rica, and you have direct access to every other city. While staying in San Jose, you can plan an entire trip to other parts of the country.
Like all other big cities, San Jose can be a little expensive. However, the best way to save money is to book a room in a boutique hotel. Selina San Jose is one of the best hotels for accommodation with free parking.
Being the capital City, San Jose is the safest place to stay for tourists. First-time tourists can easily stay here and explore more than they expected.
Also, there are many famous places near San Jose that you can visit even in a day. La Paz Waterfall Gardens, Poas, Barva, and Irazu volcanoes are great places to visit in San Jose.
The Nicoya Peninsula is a small rural town in northern Guanacaste Province and southern Puntarenas Province. Nicoya is well-known for its world-class magnificent surfing beaches in Costa Rica. The weather in Nicoya is primarily dry, with sharp sunlight throughout the year.
Nicoya is home to some incredible beaches, which surfers mainly discover. Montezuma, Santa Teresa, Samara, and Nosara are some of the most beautiful and most-visited beaches.
Montezuma beach is in a remote village named Montezuma. The ambiance of this place will let you fall in love with it. Apart from the beach, Montezuma village has some lush waterfalls where you can go hiking. El Chorro and Montezuma Waterfalls are worth visiting.
If you want to enjoy swimming, Samara beach is the perfect place for you. Also, the calm water of Samara beach is best for snorkeling and fishing. It will also give you a sense of serenity and peace.
If you are a fitness freak and love to do yoga, Nicoya is the perfect place to stay. You can take yoga classes from the top yogis in the world to relax your body and mind.
An interesting fact about the Nicoya Peninsula is that the average age of people is 90 years. This place is one of the world’s 5 “Blue Zones,” where locals live longer, healthy lives.
This is all because of the pure and fresh environment of Nicoya. You will get a lot of fresh organic vegetables and fruits to eat here. So, spending some days in this small village can heal your body, mind, and soul.
As most of the areas of Costa Rica are rich in wildlife, the Nicoya Peninsula has some unique species of animals living in the surrounding green rainforest. You will find Parrots, Monkeys, Sloths, Sea Turtles, Coatis, and numerous species of birds. Also, marine life is abundant here, including dolphins and other types of fish.
The best time to come here is from December to April. But to fully enjoy your time, remember to bring sunblock and beach clothes. We bet if you stay a few days in the Nicoya Peninsula, you will go home healthier and happier.
This peninsula is on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. It has a small village with only 12000 people living in the area, which makes it a very peaceful place to stay while traveling.
You can do almost all the fun activities in this beautiful and adventurous place. Osa has fun, like hiking, surfing, and diving. You can take a local flight from San Jose international airport on Sansa Air.
Corvacado National Park covers almost half area of Osa. This place is home to various rarest animals, including some endangered species.
You will see the mighty harpy eagle, howler monkeys, tapir, anteater, and some big cats of Costa Rica. Take a boat ride to reach this place or if you are a hiking enthusiast, travel by foot on jungle trails.
But the hiking will take your entire day to reach the park’s heart. Corvacado park has the most significant number of majestic creatures, Jaguars, in Costa Rica. Around 50 to 60 total Jaguars are living in the Corvacado National Park.
There are plenty of accommodation options for you in the Osa Peninsula. Every option is available for travelers, from rented homes to eco-lodges.
Osa Peninsula is the best option for a solo adventure trip. Osa will not let you get bored if you are a lone traveler. There are many adventurous activities for you to do and meet new people from around the world. You can make friends with like-minded travelers to spend your time exploring some undiscovered beauty of the Osa Peninsula.
Rancho Quemado and Dos Brazos were the gold mining villages in Costa Rica. You can visit these rural areas to explore how past gold mining. You will find some old buildings belonging to miners, including jails and brothels of that time.
If you are a chocolate lover and want to know where dark chocolate comes from, visit Finca Kobo. It is an organic farm that produces chocolate from the Cacao plant. Most of the area is allocated to protect different trees, plants, and natural ecosystems.
You can take a 45 minutes boat ride to an unpopulated island called Isla Del Cano. It is one of Costa Rica’s marine life revsevres. Sea plumes and corals are in abundance.
The people of Osa are very friendly. You can hire a local tour guide to take you to places you can’t discover alone. Some essential things to take with you on the Osa trip are light clothes, skirts, waterproof shoes, sunglasses, and sunblock.
The Caribbean Coast
The Caribbean Coast is a beautiful place to stay while visiting Costa Rica. Although the Pacific side is more tourism-oriented, you can’t ignore the beauty of the Caribbean Coast. Many attractive tourist destinations can be explored on the Caribbean side.
Visit the Most Famous Small Village in Costa Rica
Puerto Viejo is the most famous place to visit in this region. It is a shore village situated on the southern side of the Caribbean Coast. With some beautiful white sand beaches, Puerto has a lush green mountainous jungle.
You can get close to nature and exotic wildlife while hiking through the green forest. While enjoying nature, you can experience the rich Caribbean culture here. The locals of Puerto are amiable and culturally rich. This makes Puerto a perfect destination for tourists exploring Costa Rican culture.
You can enjoy surfing and snorkeling on the splendid beaches of Puerto Viejo. Also, staying in Puerto is relatively inexpensive. All the accommodations in this area have at most 20 rooms.
The rooms have all the basic facilities, so you should not hope for luxury resorts like Papagayo Gulf. Puerto Viejo is still a developing region; however, you can enjoy other exciting things here.
Staying in Puerto is fun. Cahuita National Park is located only 20 minutes ride from the town, where you can watch some wild animals. You will spot tucans, sloths, monkeys, exotic birds, and more.
Aside from Cahuita Par, there is another best spot for nature lovers: Gandoca Manzanillo Wildlife Refugee. You will find a Jaguar Rescue Center where you can get close to the majestic Jaguar.
Tortuguero is a remote town on the Caribbean Coast located north of Limon City. It also has plenty of wildlife; however, most tourists come here between July and October to see the nesting of Green Sea Turtles. Tortuguero is a perfect destination for photographing some magnificent places and exotic wildlife.
Punta Uva is another beautiful place to stay on the Caribbean Coast. It has spectacular beaches with palm trees which makes it a must-see place.
You will find some shops, restaurants, and small hotels in Punta Uva. Bring a bathing suit, T-shirt, shorts, sunblock, and towel with your luggage.
Cahuita is a small Caribbean village and emerging tourist destination on Caribbean Coast. During your stay in Cahuita, you will enjoy Caribbean cuisine, beautiful beaches, and a national park.
Although the area has not had many fancy restaurants, you can still enjoy the incredible taste of local cuisine. Most of the businesses in Cahuita are owned by local people.
Playa Cahuita and Playa Negra are lovely beaches to relax your mind and body. You can also enjoy surfing and swimming on these spectacular beaches of Cahuita.
You can explore the entire Puerto Viejo in 3 to 4 days. The time is enough to explore the undiscovered beauty of this place and do all the fun activities.
The Gulf of Papagayo
The Gulf of Papagayo is the best place for enjoying a luxurious stay in Costa Rica. It is located on the Northeastern coastline of Guanacaste Province. Papagayo has all the lavish 5-star resorts and private villas to enjoy the holidays. Also, there is a beach club, marina, and golf course to enjoy extra amusement.
The government of Costa Rica specially developed this gated community place to make it a luxury tourist attraction. You will not find cheap hotels or guest rooms in Gulf Papagayo. All the resorts are pretty costly, with lavish facilities for their guests.
Compared to any other Costa Rica region, The Gulf of Papagayo has the most 5-star luxury resorts in every square kilometer. The high demand for luxury resort tourism in this area encouraged the government to build a new airport in Liberia. It will take you around 20 minutes to get there.
Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Papagayo is one of the most famous luxury resorts. It offers 4 swimming pools, a fitness center, 2 private beaches, spa treatment, and much more. Staying in Four Seasons Resort will make you fall in love with this place, and you will feel like a king living in his fortress.
You also have the option to book an adult-only hotel to enjoy private moments with your partner in the romantic environment of Papagayo Gulf.
Playa Panama, Playa Hermosa, and Playa Del Coco are areas in Gulf Papagayo where you will find splendid resorts, restaurants, tennis courts, shops, bars, and other recreational activities.
The Gulf of Papagayo is a dream place to visit. We highly recommend this place if you spend holidays in Costa Rica and can afford exclusive resort luxuries.
There are many other beautiful tourist places where you can stay in Costa Rica. Puerto Viejo is one of the attractive towns situated on the Caribbean Coastline in the southeast. Playa Negra is the most famous beach because of its black sand.
Another splendid place is Playa Conchal beach, on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. There is a plethora of water life and different fish species on this beach.
Playa Conchal is not just a beach area; you can also do some adventurous things like jet skiing, ziplining, ATV adventure rides, and mountain tour. If you take a walk in the jungle area of Playa Conchal, you will find sloths, bats, frogs, and monkeys. Sea shells add to the beauty of Playa Conchal.
Tamarindo beach is best for beach parties. It has many restaurants and bars to enjoy your nighttime at the beach. Sunset sailing is a great outdoor activity. Tarmanido beach is an excellent reason to extend your stay in Costa Rica.
Drake Bay is another fantastic place to stay in Costa Rica. This incredible bay area is located in an area called the Osa Peninsula. Although Drake Bay is remote, you can enjoy fun activities like fishing, hiking, and tubing. With the abundance of wildlife, you can enjoy your stay in Drake Bay.
Monteverde cloud forest, Tortuguero national park, and Puerto Jimenez are other stunning places to visit and stay in Costa Rica.
You will also find some gorgeous waterfalls in Costa Rica. La Fortuna, Volio, Bajos Del Toro, and La Paz are the most famous waterfalls in Costa Rica. Rio Celeste waterfall, with pure blue water, is another stunning place to visit.
From cheap hotels to luxurious resorts, you will find everything here. Casa Chameleon and Villa Buena Onda are luxurious accommodations while visiting Costa Rica.
Although Costa Rica is a small country, there is much to experience. Get a break from the daily hustle to freshen up your mind.
If you want to experience village life, stay in Santa Teresa; if you want to enjoy the city’s hustle, stay in San Jose. Costa Rica is not for one class of people.
Diversity is the thing that makes this country remarkable to visit. No other country in Central America has such a diverse range of activities. For this reason, Costa Rica is a must-see destination for every traveler.