Hotel Finds: Costa Rica
The diversity that is so characteristic of Costa Rica, with its 12 climactic zones and over 500,000 plant and animal species, applies to hotels and lodges as well. There are properties for every taste, preference and budget. Best of all, in such a spectacular environment you’re assured of beautiful surroundings.
SouthPacific Coast, Oso Peninsula
Lapa Ríos is located within a private 1,000 acre rainforest reserve with direct access to three nearby beaches: Pan Dulce, Backwash Bay and Matapalo. The property is noted for the level of comfort and service guests receive in a magnificently isolated, almost untouched setting. There are 17 spacious cabins with four-poster, queen-sized beds. Private decks and garden terraces allow guests to observe the reserve’s scenery and wildlife.
All meals are included in the rate. Seafood is a specialty as are exotic local fruits and vegetables. An infinity pool, massage hut and yoga deck are on premises. Guides are also available to hike or ride horseback with guests to wilderness areas or nearby beaches. A sustainability tour called “Pigs, Twigs & Garbage” is popular with visitors, who see first hand the resort’s eco-friendly infrastructure — which, of course, includes the contribution of its pigs.
The Lapa Ríos has been designated by National Geographic as one of the “Unique Lodges of the World.” The property has also been listed on the Conde Nast Traveler “Gold List” and is one of Travel + Leisure “World’s Best Hotels.”
North Pacific Coast
Slightly south of the red-hot surfing scene at Tamarindo is the secluded Cala Luna. Originally built in 1994, the entire property has had a complete makeover. Large, airy rooms are furnished with locally made furniture, polished concrete walls and mosaic-tiled tubs. All the rooms offer a patio terrace, flat screen TV with satellite and free Wi-Fi. Complimentary breakfast is also included.
The property restaurant Cala Moresca serves local and organically grown products and only fresh fish from artisan fishing. Cala Moresca is also the first restaurant in Costa Rica to offer a sustainable, organic wine list. The property’s spa is highly rated. Other amenities include jet skiing, snorkeling, and sport fishing from the lodge’s private boat. To ensure you don’t get bored, tours to Costa Rica’s interior can also be arranged.
North Pacific Coast
One of the largest hotels in Tamarindo, the Esplendor boasts 104 rooms with ocean views. If you’re looking for quiet seclusion, this is not your spot. The number of guests can make for a lively bar scene and the hotel is also a popular wedding party location.
Rooms are large, modern and comfortable with balconies showcasing the aforementioned ocean views. Bathrooms, however are on the small side and cramped. A generous breakfast – with pastries, cereals, yogurt, fruit, juice and coffee – is included in the rate and served on a pretty terrace. A restaurant is open during the high season only.
An enormous pool is one of the property’s most attractive features. The nearby Langosta Beach Club is available to guests as well.
HOTEL & SPA POCO A POCO
Monteverde Rain Forest
Surrounded by Cloud Forests, exotic birds and monkeys, Hotel & Spa Poco a Poco offers guests an opportunity to explore Costa Rica’s incredible wild life. The property offers 30 rooms that are simply furnished, but include flat screen TVs, DVD players and coffeemakers – complete with Monteverde Coffee. The Tocuma Restaurant & Bar offers a basic, but well-prepared menu and live music is provided every evening – along with accompaniment by the local critters and birds!
Volcan Tenorio National Park
North Pacific, Guanacaste
Also secluded deep within the rainforest, near Fortuna and the Arenal Volcano, is Río Celeste. The property includes 26 luxury casitas, each with open balconies and spectacular views of the nearby mountains and lush tropical scenery. Some rooms have private outdoor showers and gardens.
Rooms are attractively furnished with carved plantation-style furniture. Flat-screen TV with satellite and iPod docking stations are also available. A poolside bar and full-service restaurant provide guests with a respite from hiking, rafting and zip-lining. The Río Celeste received the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence in 2015.
TABACÓN: GRAND SPA & THERMAL RESORT
Arenal Volcano National Park
Northern Plains, La Fortuna
Located at the base of Arenal Volcano, Tabacón Resort has some of the most dramatic views of any property in Costa Rica. Proximity to the volcano also provides the hot spring rivers that have made the resort a top-draw. All 100 rooms and 14 suites at Tabacón have enormous bathrooms and large patios. The suites in particular are sumptuous with mahogany armoires and Jacuzzis.
The property boasts a gym, pools and the Grand Spa, which is particularly known for its Detoxifying Volcanic Body Wrap. Guests are covered with copious amounts of local, mineral-rich mud. Then after absorbing the beneficial goo, they soak in a volcanically heated stream. Definitely not on your typical spa menu.
Two restaurants and bars are on the property. Breakfast is included in the rate. This five star luxury resort is recognized as a member of The Leading Hotels and The Leading Spas of the World. It is a Signature Travel Group preferred hotel, and has been ranked as a World’s Top Ten Eco-Spa by National Geographic Magazine.