Costa Rica's 10 Best Hotels: Sleep Great and Be Happy

Costa Rica has the highest standard of living in Central America, and the highest-standard of lodging, too. For budget-conscious families, jet-setting socialites and honeymooners, great places to stay exist for all kinds of traveler in Costa Rica. With a national tourism board dedicated to 100% responsible tourism, the country's best hotels are eco-friendly establishments that have earned green leaves of sustainability demonstrating adherence to stringent environmental protection policies. In the bustling capital city of San Jose, The 40 room Hotel Grano del Oro in San Jose is a member of Costa Rica's exclusive group of Small and Distinctive Hotels, as is the nearby and no less exceptional Alta Hotel; both also have excellent on-site restaurants.. On the remote Osa Peninsula, the Iguana Lodge invites visitors to "take a walk on the wild side" among the lush vegetation surrounding its rooms, but it's the monkey decks and toucan verandas that give this hotel an extra cool edge. On the Caribbean coast, Le Cameleon Boutique Hotel boasts minimalist rooms set into the forest across from Cocles beach, where La Sula Lounge has hammocks and gazebos for relaxing after a long day. Closer to the center of town check into an air-conditioned suite at the Lizard King Resort, an oasis of a hotel hidden in plain sight.


Tropico Latino is a beachfront boutique hotel in Santa Teresa, a stunning white sand beach on Costa Rica's Nicoya Peninsula on the Pacific Coast. Four acres of unspoiled beach surround the hotel, with plenty of places to swim, snorkel and explore the natural tide pools. Beautiful bungalows beneath the rainforest canopy are constructed from exotic hardwoods and feature air-coinditioning among the luxurious amenities. Wildlife abounds: howler monkeys, birds and iguanas are among the residents, drawn by the tropical foliage and exotic flowers. A full-service spa that makes its own natural products from local ingredients and yoga studio add to the charm.

Recommended for Best Hotels because: Wait out rainy days in 5-star digs or in the casino at this eco-friendly luxury hotel conveniently located between San Jose and the airport.

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El Silencio Lodge and Spa

With only sixteen rooms, El Silencio is not only quiet, but small and cozy, too. Some rooms have fireplaces, other have balconies, all feature Egyptian cotton linens, down comforters and high-quality guest bathrooms. Guestrooms. 16 guestrooms at El Silencio Lodge and Spa feature fireplaces and coffee/tea makers. Balconies offer mountain views. Beds come with Egyptian cotton linens, down comforters, and down blankets. Bathrooms feature showers, double sinks, makeup/shaving mirrors, and bathrobes. Wireless Internet access is complimentary. In addition to safes, guestrooms offer phones. Also included are windows that open and slippers. A nightly turndown service is offered, and all rooms are non smoking.

Recommended for Best Hotels because: Getting in touch with nature is easy when it's outside your door, and there's an on-site spa at this cozy retreat.

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The Iguana Lodge is in the little town of Puerto Jiménez on Costa Rica's little-developed Osa Penninsula, nestled on a prime piece of beachfront property that boasts views of the waves from many of the rooms. Touting the phrase "Take a Walk on the Wild Side: Green is the New Black" the Iguana Lodge goes out of its way to encourage visitors to immerse themselves in the lush vegetation that surrounds the lodge while offering onsite activities such as a chemical-free pool and jacuzzi and two yoga studios to keep guests entertained, plus a world-class restaurant serving meals made from locally sourced ingredients to keep them satisfied.

Recommended for Best Hotels because: Amazing hotel with restaurant to match. It's Monkey Decks and Toucan Verandas have been featured in Architectural Jungle Digest.

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Hotel Luisiana
Photo courtesy of Sophia LaMonica

Hotel Luisiana was originally owned by an American, who built the hotel in the 1950s in his native southern-American style. In 2008, Italians took over and completely renovated the property into the boutique hotel that it is today, with a distinctive blend of European taste, American comfort, and delicious homemade Italian food. Every room is air-conditioned, has a flat-screen tv, wi-fi, and a refrigerator, and some rooms have full kitchens and jacuzzis. A generous breakfast is included with all rooms. Located in Santa Ana, Hotel Luisiana is well-situated for exploring the city, and boasts an enviable view of the city and the central valley from its grounds.

Recommended for Best Hotels because: Leave it to the Italians to revamp this classic hotel and serve delicious cuisine at the on-site restaurant.

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Hotel Le Caméléon is Puerto Viejo's most upscale and modern hotel, just down the road from the center of town in the quiet beach community of Cocles. The hotel takes its name not from the reptile known for camoflauging itself but for its rooms, which change colors with the flick of a switch. By daylight, however, the entire hotel is basked in white, which looks refreshing against the backdrop of the lush green jungle behind it and the turquoise sea just across the road. A sparkling pool, an on-site restaurant and a well-stocked bar make it even harder to leave the premises of this boutique hotel.

Recommended for Best Hotels because: Unpretentious and luxurious, Le Cameleon is a sparkling modern hotel designed to complement the lush Caribbean coast.

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Just about an hour south of San José, Savegre Hotel, Natural Reserve & Spa lies in a private reserve of 400 hectares, an the ideal base for exploring Costa Rica's amazing tropical cloud forest and many of its nearby attractions. Hotel Savegre's services are a perfect match for nature lovers seeking a memorable experience. The resort has 41 rooms, a bar and restaurant, day spa, conference room, laundry service and shuttle service, as well lush gardens and an extensive network of trails. To top it off, the resort has a friendly staff that will go out of its way to make you feel at home.

Recommended for Best Hotels because: A network of trails on the hotel's private nature preserve offers a great way to explore Costa Rica's tropical cloud forest.

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The Alta Hotel is a subtly luxurious hotel located close to the historic district and within walking distance of many museums, shops and attractions of San Jose- it is also only seven miles from SJO International airport. In addition to modern amenities like high speed Internet access, air conditioning, direct dial phones, minibars, and cable TV, the Alta Hotel also boasts a swimming pool, a jacuzzi, and an excercise room; a sauna and massage services are available upon request. Well-appointed without being fancy, the Alta Hotel's onsite restaurant has gained its own reputation for serving excellent food in an inviting setting- reservations are suggested.

Recommended for Best Hotels because: The Alta Hotel is a member of Costa Rica's Small and Distinctive boutique hotels.

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The Lizard King Resort is a bed and breakfast hotel with a pool and cafe ideally located in Puerto Viejo de Limon. Modern yet rustic, the polished wood rooms are the perfect place to wait out a rainstorm with flatscreen tvs, high speed wi-fi, great food from the restaurant. On sunny days, the Caribbean's best beaches are within walking distance, and there's an inviting pool to dip into. The Lizard King Hotel's included breakfast is a highlight, with homemade bread and delicious gallo pinto among the options. Bikes are available for rent and tours are easily arranged to local attractions.

Recommended for Best Hotels because: A modern classic, artful rooms surround a cool pool and highlights include strong wi-fi and a delicious breakfast.

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Not your everyday Marriott, this beautiful luxury hotel is actually a colonial hacienda set on a 30 acre coffee plantation. With its exquisite architecture, enchanting grounds, and stellar service, it is no wonder Conde Nast voted it one of the best hotels in all of Central America and Mexico. It has two outdoor pools, a golf driving range, a coffee inspired Kuo Spa, and an amazing restaurant, La Isabela, recognized for its tapas and wine. While the staff is eager to arrange tours to the nearby butterfly and orchid gardens and volcano expeditions, an on-site gym with state-of the art fitness equipment, tennis course, and jogging trails can keep you entertained without leaving the premises.

Recommended for Best Hotels because: Why it's a beautiful colonial hacienda on a coffee plantation with the coffee-inspired Kuo Spa, and La Isabella for tapas and wine.

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Despite its stature as a luxury hotel, this place feels more like a boutique bed and breakfast than a resort, and offers all the creature comforts of home, if home were a 40-room converted Tropical Victorian mansion. Located just off of Paseo Colon, Hotel Grano de Oro is a sanctuary in the heart of the city. Beautiful flowers burst from the corners, hallways are lined with original art, and fountains of Spanish tile highlight the atriums, where the sound of water adds to the ambience. The rooms are impressive enough, but it's the restaurant that has folks writing home and coming back for more: French chef Francis Canal has turned the once simple cafe into one of the country's best dining establishments.

Recommended for Best Hotels because: This member of the small and distinctive boutique hotel of Costa Rica has a great restaurant at its core and jacuzzis on the roof.

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Meet Sophia LaMonica

On Sophia's first trip to Costa Rica, she came face to face with white-faced monkeys, gasped at the sight of giant purple crabs, and rode horseback through plunging waterfalls. Costa Rica...  More About Sophia