9 Distinctive Destinations in Costa Rica

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9 Distinctive Destinations in Costa Rica

 

Costa Rica has a delightful destination for whatever your heart desires

Costa Rica’s diverse terrain and abundance of natural wonders leaves little to be desired for any discerning traveler. Check out the top nine on our list of “must visit” areas, each with its own distinctive hotel.

San Jose

San Jose, Costa Rica’s capital, is filled with the sights and sounds that might be found in any major city around the world. What some may find surprising, however, is the rich cultural heritage that is also in abundance. Museums abound, along with theaters, parks, and historical buildings. San Jose is a great place for a walking tour, and you’ll enjoy the colorful diversity of newer, modern buildings, stores and restaurants, alongside interesting historical landmarks. 

From your home-base at the beautiful Hotel Grano De Oro, you’ll find that exploration and discovery are easily accessible. Grano De Oro is pure elegance with its sweeping staircases, hard wood floors, and graceful Spanish hacienda vibe. Guests are pampered by the hospitable staff and the scrumptious offerings of Restaurant Grano De Oro.

Vara Blanca

Famous for its La Paz Waterfall Gardens, visitors flock to the area of Vara Blanca for the park, but are surprised to discover other delights, such as the Poas Volcano and rolling hills dotted by dairy farms where tours and fresh cheese are in abundance.

So much more than just waterfalls and hiking trails, the park at La Paz Waterfall Gardens features a hummingbird habitat, a butterfly farm, a reptile exhibit, restaurants, a bar, and a fresh trout pond where guests can fish.

The Peace Lodge, situated within La Paz Waterfall Gardens, offers pure luxury in paradise, with stone fireplaces, four poster canopy beds, and waterfall showers. With impeccable attention to detail, each room features indulgent amenities that make guests feel right at home. 

Monteverde

The lush, verdant cloud forest of Monteverde is a haven for bird watchers and thrill seekers alike. Horseback riding, ATV tours, the best canopy zip-line in the country, hiking trails, and an abundance of flora and fauna make this beautiful area a must for visitors to Costa Rica.  A quaint little town founded by Quakers, Monteverde offers wonderful dining options and quiet evenings.

Your accommodations at the Belmar Hotel offer panoramic vistas from floor to ceiling windows and private balconies. In addition to the rich forest that surrounds the hotel, Belmar enjoys a unique position in Monteverde, which allows for views of the Gulf of Nicoya in the distance.  

An eco hotel, Belmar has received the coveted 5 leaf Certificate for Sustainable Tourism with their “farm to table” practice of sourcing local ingredients, and their commitment to renewable energy.

Tamarindo

Tamarindo has experienced tremendous development over the last twenty years, which has brought affluent foreign culture to the region. Visitors are likely to find trendy restaurants, bars, cafes, tattoo and surf shops, side-by-side with typical Costa Rican “sodas”, mini-supers, and souvenir shops. 

One of Tamarindo’s biggest draws is nearby Tamarindo National Wildlife Refuge, which boasts protected forest, rich mangroves and estuaries.  Also close is the Parque Nacional Marino Las Baulas, which offers visitors an opportunity to witness leatherback turtles during nesting season. 

Though still close enough to join the fun, Hotel Capitan Suizo is an oasis of peace and quiet within the fun and lively town of Tamarindo.  Ask your concierge at to schedule you on a tour or to help arrange other exciting activities available in the area such as sport fishing, ATV rentals, horseback riding, Stand Up Paddle, or surfing.

Santa Teresa on the Nicoya Peninsula

Adjacent to the fishing village of Mal Pais (Bad Country)Santa Teresa has the distinct essence of a hip, urban destination, yet possesses the simplicity of unspoiled beaches, dirt roads, jungle living, and a small town community.

Lost in Santa…”, a local expression, adeptly defines the phenomena that occurs when visitors to the area discover how special it is. Once a sleepy little surf village, Santa Teresa is now an international community made up of surfers, artists, chefs, wanderers, and yogis who once fell in love with the town and stayed.

With over 90 restaurants to choose from, the area is pure heaven for foodies, while world-renowned surf, art galleries, yoga classes, day spas, artisan shops, a fun nightlife scene, and breathtaking sunsets all come together to create the perfect vacation spot. Reach out to your concierge during your stay at the beachside Flor Blanca to arrange for horseback riding, ATV tours, waterfall hikes, zip-line canopy tours, and more.  

Central Pacific

Just an hour and fifteen minutes outside of San Jose, the Central Pacific coast is home to Villa Caletas, a luxury boutique resort situated high in the forest above the ocean.

Featuring a restaurant, bar, amphitheater, and private beach, you may never want to leave the hotel! The perfect space for families or couples, Villa Caletas is surrounded by lush, green forest and enjoys breathtaking ocean views of the Pacific.

However, should you care to wander out and explore, you’ll find the upscale Los Sueños Resort & Marina at Playa Herradura nearby for sport fishing, golf, dining, and more; next door, lively Jaco Beach has plenty of restaurants, bars, shops and easy surf breaks for beginners; and finally, beyond Jaco, you can head for the surf village of Playa Hermosa with its casual bars and restaurants right on the beach, as well as more advanced breaks for experienced surfers.  

South Pacific

Bahia Ballena and Surrounding Areas

Truly a place represented by the colloquial phrase “tranquilidad ante todo” (tranquility before everything), the areas of Dominical, Uvita and Bahia Ballena are abundant with quiet, pristine beaches and untouched forest where the jungle meets the ocean; this is the perfect spot for those seeking to surf, explore, whale watch in season, and nap in a hammock.

Your comfortable home base at the Hotel Cuna Del Angel is the ideal, secluded escape from which to discover and enjoy all that the areas has to offer. Cuna Del Angel’s unique architecture, gourmet restaurant with 100% gluten free fare, and world class spa set it apart from the usual.

Osa Peninsula

Approachable only by boat, this sanctuary in the southern zone of Costa Rica is not to be missed. Nicuesa Lodge, famous for its culinary delights, is perfectly tucked away in the forest on the edge of the waters. Completely sustainable, Nicuesa Lodge was built in harmony with nature from fallen trees and recycled materials.  The lodge relies on sun energy for electricity, and permaculture farming practices bring healthy, organic meals to the guest table.

Whether relaxation or adventure is on the agenda, Nicuesa Lodge has it all. The Osa Peninsula is made for the ultimate eco-adventure vacation. Families, corporate groups, friends, and couples alike will enjoy this beautiful jungle escape.    

Turrialba

Situated just under two hours from San Jose, in the the agricultural region of Turrialba, this lovely property sits right on La Angostura Lake, with the Turrialba mountains looming above.

Nearby outdoor activities include such adventures as white-water river rafting, canyoning and horseback riding, as well as educational coffee, sugar cane and cheese tours.

Casa Turire, reminiscent of a luxurious plantation home, was created to receive guests in elegance and comfort. Casa Turire boasts an exquisite menu, making use of only the best local ingredients.