Where to Visit + Stay in Costa Rica

With rainforest ziplining, surf breaks, and coffee farms galore, a trip to Costa Rica is a choose-your-own-adventure. Of course, you’ll find plenty of ways to unwind as well — whether that’s lazing on the sandy beaches, soaking in hot springs, or indulging in a local clay treatment at a spa. The accommodations very much reflect that thrill-meets-chill vibe. 

Scroll on for the best places to visit and stay in the Central American nation that invented pura vida.

Santa Teresa

Santa Teresa sits south of Nosara on the Nicoya Peninsula, one of only five Blue Zones in the world. Surfers have long made the journey to this off-the-beaten-path beach town. In recent years, its tourism stock has risen as more vacationers catch wind of its long, sandy shoreline that’s lapped by warm water, artisan shops, and cool restaurant scene. 

Where to Stay: Hotel Nantipa 

An eco-friendly dream on Santa Teresa’s breathtaking beach, Hotel Nantipa flaunts eco-minimalist bungalows with indoor/outdoor showers and plunge pools. There’s also a foliage-framed resort pool and an alfresco restaurant steps from the waves.

La Fortuna 

The gateway to Arenal Volcano National Park, the town of La Fortuna is a playground for eco-adventures — perhaps most notably hikes to one of the most famous waterfalls in Costa Rica. Add to that volcano walks, rainforest canopy hanging bridge tours, and bird watching. Natural hot springs bolster its wellness cred. 

Where to Stay: Nayara Tented Camp

A splurge-worthy favorite, Nayara Tented Camp boasts safari-style accommodations with private thermal plunge pools and jaw-dropping volcano vistas. Guests can unwind in the natural hot springs, see sloths, and sample gourmet fusion fare. 

Central Highlands 

Not far from Costa Rica’s capital city, San Jose, the Central Highlands is an under-the-radar pocket of the country with a wealth of eco-tourism opportunities. It’s home to many coffee farms, so tours and bean-to-brew tastings are up for grabs. Hiking enthusiasts will enjoy exploring the cloud forests and active volcanos at national parks. 

Where to Stay: Finca Rosa Blanca 

Finca Rosa Blanca is an agritourism-oriented getaway with incredible local cuisine, colorfully decorated suites, and world-class java. Don’t leave without doing the signature shade-grown organic coffee tour complete with a cupping experience.


Part of the Marino Ballena National Park, the tiny village of Uvita supplies two miles of white sand, turquoise waters, and the chance to spot humpback whales. It’s currency a favorite among in-the-know travelers, but a place this special won’t stay a secret for too long. 

Where to Stay: Kura

Intimate and oh-so-romantic, Kura attracts couples with a stunning infinity pool, upscale dining, and 8 luxury suites featuring sweeping views. The adults-only policy means kid-free quietude.


Tamarindo has long garnered tourism attention with its beaches and waves. More than just a surfers’ paradise, this buzzy resort town is a nightlife hub. (Chiliguaro shots, anyone?) Wildlife lovers should consider timing a trip to Playa Grande during turtle nesting season

Where to Stay: Cala Luna 

Cala Luna feels like a tranquil oasis. Guests share the lush grounds with monkeys, iguanas, and songbirds. Reiki, oceanic massages, and facial tapping are on the menu at the on-site wellness center. The hotel also hosts complimentary yoga and sound baths.

Tenorio Volcano National Park

Located in Costa Rica’s Guanacaste Province, Tenorio Volcano National Park covers nearly 50 square miles of protected wilderness. Its namesake volcano, the famous Celeste Waterfall, cloud forests, Lago Danta, hot springs, and hanging bridges through the rainforest canopy top the list of scenic drawcards. 

Where to Stay: Rio Celeste Hideaway 

True to its name, Rio Celeste Hideaway is a hidden gem tucked into the foothills of Tenorio Volcano National Park. Highlights include exploring the rainforest hiking trails, tubing along the Rio Celeste, and kicking back in nature-steeped casitas.

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