Where to Stay in Costa Rica → 10 Top Areas & Hotels (2024)

A panoramic view of a green landscape with a prominent volcano, surrounded by scattered trees and a partly cloudy sky.

I hope you’re ready for the adventure of a lifetime as we embark on this guide on where to stay in Costa Rica!

I was lucky enough to live in Costa Rica for a few months and explore many incredible places that I included below! So read this post and find which are the top 10 places to stay in Costa and the best hotels in each of those towns, which I listed from most to least expensive.

I handpicked all the accommodations and included only the ones with amazing reviews, so you’ll easily find your dream spot!

In short, Tamarindo is the best area to stay in Costa Rica, as it offers incredible attractions and gorgeous hotels. 

But fear not, we find 9 more places if that one doesn’t suit you, so make sure you scroll below.

This holiday destination is becoming more popular so I highly recommend booking your hotels in advance to secure your favorite spot. 

Quick Picks for Your Stay

Check out this short list that has the best hotels in Tamarindo, one of Costa Rica’s most beautiful areas: 

luxury hotel
Row of wooden lounge chairs with blue cushions on a sandy beach under string lights, with palm trees and water in the background at sunset.
mid-range hotel
A person sits on the edge of a small, round pool in a lush, tropical garden with palm trees and pink flowers.
budget hotel
A neatly made bed with a geometric navy and white bedspread, complemented by green accents, sits beside a window with closed gray curtains. Three floral-themed artworks hang above the bed.

Hostel La Botella de Leche

Best affordable accommodation in the center

Here is a map with all the areas where to stay in Costa Rica that I will be talking about in this post:

A colorful map highlighting the best areas to stay in Costa Rica with numbered locations and labels for easy navigation
  1. TAMARINDO: for first-timers
  2. PUERTO VIEJO: most romantic
  3. MONTEVERDE: for hiking
  4. SAN JOSE: for history lovers
  5. ARENAL VOLCANO & LA FORTUNA: for nature lovers
  6. MANUEL ANTONIO: for wildlife
  7. MONTEZUMA: for beach lovers
  8. JACO: for a well-rounded experience
  9. OSA PENINSULA: for outdoor adventures
  10. UVITA: for a unique experience

1. Tamarindo – best place to stay for the first time

A tropical beachfront scene at dusk with palm trees, a thatched hut, and lantern-lit buildings nestled among lush greenery. A small cart is visible on the sand in the foreground.

Set on the gorgeous Nicoya Peninsula, in the Guanacaste Province, Tamarindo is a gorgeous town known for its amazing beaches, surfing and fun nightlife!

Tamarindo is one of the best places to stay in Costa Rica if you’re traveling here for the first time as it kind of has a bit of everything, from natural beauty, beaches, jungles and some fab hotels! Plus, it’s also great if you’re looking for a spot to stay in Costa Rica without a car.

This town, on the Caribbean coast, is also surrounded by different parts of the Parque Nacional Marino Las Baulas (map), which basically means that you’ll have lots to do while here!

When you’re not chilling on Tamarindo Beach (map) you can check out the gorgeous viewpoints here! Some of my favorites are Scenic Overlook of Tamarindo (map) and Mirador de Tamarindo 2 (map), both are perfect for catching a scenic sunset!

And talking about sunsets, you’ll be happy to know that after the sun goes down, Tamarindo becomes even more alive! That’s right! You’ll find lots of bars here and even the amazing Tamarindo Moonlight Night Market (map) that takes place every Thursday night and includes live entertainment and stalls with yummy food.

If you want to continue the night you can head to La Oveja Surf House (map), Ocho Beach Club (map) or just explore around and see what catches your eye!

Now let’s check out the top Guanacaste hotels and some Costa Rica beach resorts:

Luxury hotel
A collage of three hotel photos to stay in Tamarindo: A charming hotel with a large blue pool surrounded by tropical greenery, a cozy bedroom with modern furnishings and a pool view, and a serene garden path lined with palm trees leading to the hotel rooms.

If living on a beach has been your dream for a long time, then you should check out this beachfront Tamarindo luxury hotel! You can literally wake up, get your surfboard, and off you are, in the Caribbean sea! The boutique hotel has all the amenities you need including an airport shuttle, an outdoor pool and rooms with pool or beach views. 

Other accommodation options in Tamarindo

A person is sitting on the edge of a round swimming pool, surrounded by lush greenery and pink flowers, with a hut in the background.

Set near the pristine beaches, this hotel comes with spacious suites, a swimming pool and free parking

A covered porch with hammocks, a wooden table, and lush tropical plants surrounding the area.

Relax in a hammock in the lounge outdoor area of this hotel that has free parking, a library and a pool

A bright and airy bedroom with a large bed, ceiling fan, and small table with chairs by the window.

A fully equipped lodge in a colonial house with backyard, that’s located near the beach and clubs

Things to do in Tamarindo

  • Catch a sunset at Scenic Overlook of Tamarindo
  • Eat the best food at the Tamarindo Night Market
  • Have some drinks at La Oveja Surf House 
  • Explore Parque Nacional Marino Las Baulas
  • Explore the Papagayo Peninsula
  • Visit the Ostional National Wildlife Refuge and see sea turtles
  • Check out Gulf of Papagayo
  • Surf all day on Tamarindo Beach

2. Puerto Viejo – best place in Costa Rica for couples

A serene tropical beach with lush palm trees, a small blue boat on the sand, and gentle waves lapping the shore under a partly cloudy sky.

Planning a romantic getaway? Then look no further than Puerto Viejo, a town located in southeast Costa Rica, on the Caribbean coast, among rainforests and black sand beaches!

This place is so abundant in gorgeous romantic places that you and your partner will love exploring all day long!

Also known as Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, this area is pretty tranquil and has a laid-back vibe, so you can enjoy the natural beauty of this place with your loved one by taking a long walk on the gorgeous Playa Puerto Viejo (map). 

Make sure you also check out the black sands on Playa Negra (map) and take some iconic pics there at sunset!

NOTE: When you search for Puerto Viejo on maps, write out the whole name “Puerto Viejo de Talamanca” as there’s some other, smaller Puerto Viejo beach in Costa Rica, which shows up when you type in just “Puerto Viejo” without “de Talamanca”.

Since Puerto Viejo has easy access to the jungle, you can take lots of tours, or if you have a car, just go on your way to explore around! There are also some hiking paths like this one (map).

A really cool place to see in the jungle is The Amazing Treehouse and Nature Observatorio (map) that offers some incredible views! And, of course, you definitely have to see the Jaguar Rescue Center, which is one of the biggest attractions in the area! 

Luxury hotel
A collage of three hotel photos to stay in Puerto Viejo: A stylish outdoor lounge area with white furniture and a pool table, a unique thatched-roof pavilion near the beach, and a picturesque pool surrounded by lush tropical vegetation.

This boutique hotel will make you feel like you’re living in a tropical forest! Spend some unforgettable days with your loved one, enjoying spa treatments, chilling by the infinity pool, and drinking cocktails at sunset on the outdoor terrace. The accommodation also has a private beach area and 2 on-site restaurants.

Other accommodation options in Puerto Viejo

A charming house with a red roof, surrounded by tropical plants, featuring a poolside bar and dining area.

Private aparthotel with a beautiful terrace, a bar and a garden where you can cool off by the swimming pool

A tropical-style house with open-air upper floors, surrounded by lush palm trees.

A cozy budget hostel close to Negra Beach, with free Wi-Fi, comfy rooms and a shared kitchen

A bedroom with a canopy bed enclosed by mosquito netting, wooden floors, and natural light filtering in through the windows.

This great place in the beach town has a little patio with a hammock, a kitchen and it offers garden views

Things to do in Puerto Viejo

  • Visit the friendly Jaguar Rescue Center
  • Go white water rafting on Pacuare River
  • Go on a romantic walk on Playa Puerto Viejo (map)
  • Taste some delicious cacao at Talamanca Chocolate (map)
  • Relax on the beach of Cahuita National Park (map)
  • Hike to the Bribri waterfalls nearby (map)
  • Go on a trip to Tortuguero
  • Grab a bite at Bread & Chocolate (map)

Subscribe here to get up to 35% off your accommodation for your next trip!

3. Monteverde – one of the best places to stay for hiking

Author of the post stands on a hilltop, facing away, overlooking a scenic landscape with rolling hills, a body of water, and a partly cloudy sky.

Can’t leave Costa Rica without a visit to this place, so why not make things even more convenient for yourself by staying right in the heart of the cloud forests, where you’ll be just a few minutes away from all the lush greenery!

I loved exploring this area while I was in the country and can say for sure that you’ll like it here, especially if you’re into outdoor adventures!

I’m not going to lie, this area which is located in the heart of the Cordillera de Tilaran mountain range, can get pretty crowded as lots of tourists come here to visit the cloud forest (which carries the same name).

Still, there are ways to visit the attractions here and I talk about this, in more detail, in my post with things to do in Monteverde! One great thing if you do decide to stay here, is that you’ll be just minutes away by car from all the attractions, so you’ll definitely get a head start. 

Some of the main things that you should definitely see are the cloud forests, Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, Santa Elena Cloud Forest and Children’s Eternal RainForest. You’ll see so much wildlife in all of these places, and unique flora and fauna.

Honestly, what can be better than spending time admiring Costa Rica’s natural beauty?

Some other fun activities here are walking on the famous hanging bridges, ziplining, which is huuuge here and bungee jumping!

As I mentioned there’s so much wildlife here and I wanted to see as much of it as I could, so I also went to the Curi Cancha Reserve where I saw some gorgeous birds and to the Butterfly Garden.

Below you’ll find the best hotels in Monteverde. You’ll see that most are located in Santa Elena, which is the main town closest to the Monteverde Cloud Forest (around a 5 min drive). There are also some scattered on the way from Santa Elena to the Cloud Forest. 

Luxury hotel
A collage of three hotel photos to stay in Monteverde: A luxurious wooden interior with large windows offering forest views, a cozy seating area on a wooden deck, and a spacious bedroom with a wooden accent wall and contemporary decor.

Wake-up to a stunning view of the Pacific Ocean while staying in this eco-friendly, spacious resort in Monteverde that is known for its sustainability efforts! This boutique hotel offers a great breakfast made with ingredients from their organic farm, a wellness center where you can practice yoga and relax at the spa and a garden. 

Other accommodation options in Monteverde

A cozy bedroom with a colorful spiral painting above the bed, two bedside lamps, and wooden ceiling beams.

This Monteverde place offers amazing mountain views from its terrace, mountain views and family rooms

A bedroom with glass sliding doors opens to a balcony with a table and two chairs, overlooking greenery. The room is furnished with a bed, a painting on the wall, and indoor lighting.

An affordable hotel that has spacious rooms with a balcony overlooking the mountains

An outdoor patio with a wooden table and benches, surrounded by potted plants and greenery.

You’ll love this studio that has wooden furnishings, a large window and a kitchenette

Things to do in Monteverde

  • Visit the Cheese Factory in Monteverde
  • See cute birds in the Curi Cancha Reserve
  • Admire the flowers at Monteverde Orchid Garden
  • Play with the butterflies in the Butterfly Garden
  • Visit the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve
  • Try ziplining in Monteverde
  • Snap a pic on the hanging bridges

4. San José- where to stay in Costa Rica for history lovers

Author of the post  in front of a large, decorative wing sculpture in a park, giving the appearance that they have wings. Trees, a gazebo, and well-maintained garden areas can be seen in the background.

Welcome to Costa Rica’s capital city and a great place to stay if you want to dive deeper into Costa Rican culture!

San José is also home to 2 international airports, Tobías Bolaños International Airport and Juan Santamaría International Airport, and it’s most likely that you’ll arrive on one of these 2 depending on where you’re coming from. 

I lived in San José, in the Central Valley, for a few months while exploring the country and can say for sure that this is a great place for those of you who want to set base somewhere, rent a car and explore the country!

That’s what I did and it was great, as I got to see a lot of places during my trip! 

As I mentioned, the capital city is a great place for those who want to visit some museums and learn about the country’s past! While I was here I loved exploring the Jade Museum, which is the biggest jade museum in the whole world and the Costa Rica National Museum,

If you want to eat some goodies, definitely head to the San José Central Market (map), where you can try all sorts of fresh and delicious fruits.

Most of these places are centered around the Downtown area, which is also home to the Pre-Columbian Gold Museum, the National Theater and the city’s main street Avenida Central (map).

The nightlife is also pretty amazing in the capital city, and there are a lot of bars where you can grab a drink after a day of visiting attractions like Central Pub (map).

San Jose can also be great for those traveling on a budget, as there are lots of affordable hotels here. 

Luxury hotel
A collage of three hotel photos to stay in San José: An indoor pool area with modern lounge chairs, a bright bedroom with a large bed and city views, and a vibrant dining area with colorful seating and stylish decor.

Set near the central area of San Jose, just a 20-min drive away from San Jose International Airport, this hotel has such a cool contemporary design with industrial-chic features! When you’re not exploring the city, you can relax in the hot tub, swim in the pool or hit the fitness room. The accommodation also offers a bar and a restaurant. 

Other accommodation options in San José

A cozy hotel room with a bed, green leaf-patterned bedspread, desk, chair, wall-mounted TV, and a window with light-brown curtains. A coffee maker and slippers are also visible in the room.

Set within walking distance of the attractions, this hotel has rooms with a private bathroom and a restaurant

A living area with patterned couches, a potted plant, and a colorful wall mural depicting a red parrot and the words "Pura Vida".

Drink your morning coffee in the garden of this hotel that offers city views, spacious rooms, and free Wi-Fi

A bright studio apartment with a bed, a small kitchen, and a nature-themed wall art.

This studio comes with a kitchen, free parking for guests and washing facilities

Things to do in San José

5. Arenal Volcano & La Fortuna – for nature lovers

Author of the post in a red shirt and black shorts is sitting in a large wooden ring with a mountain landscape in the background. Trees and plants surround the area.

Put your hiking shoes on and get ready to walk, walk and then walk some more!

Arenal is a famous Volcano that’s 1650 meters tall, located about 3 hours drive away from San Jose and neighboring La Fortuna town and the waterfall with the same name.

Everyone who comes here, including myself, visits Arenal and La Fortuna together since they’re close so that’s why I paired them up. 

This is by far one of the best places to stay if you like being in the middle of all the action and out in nature! If you stay in Arenal and La Fortuna, you’ll just be minutes away from all the hiking trails, national parks and natural hot springs!

What better way to start your morning than with a cup of coffee in Arenal National Park?

Just like Monteverde, Arenal Volcano and La Fortuna can get pretty packed with tourists. So my advice is to get an early start, and hit the attractions in the morning, when they open.

Some of the main things that you should definitely see while here are the Místico Arenal Hanging Bridges and Arenal Volcano National Park, where you can admire the volcano in its full glory and check out La Fortuna Waterfall (and swim at its base!).

These are just the main ones, there are many other fun things to try in Arenal, like relaxing in its many natural hot springs! I just loved soaking in Costa Rica’s natural waters which are heated by the volcano. Some really great ones are Ecotermales Hot Springs (map) and Rio Chollin (map).

Luxury hotel
A collage of three hotel photos to stay in Arenal Volcano: A serene poolside scene with a woman relaxing in the water, a cozy patio area with mountain views, and a rustic bedroom with a canopy bed and traditional decor.

You’re going to love the luxurious bungalows that feature local hand-woven fabrics and handcrafted wood furniture! The rainforest resort is surrounded by the typical Costa Rican lush vegetation and it comes with a spa, a pool and 3 restaurants.

Other accommodation options in Arenal Volcano

A beautiful swimming pool with a view of a lush green hillside and a tall volcano in the background.

Set right near the Volcano this boutique hotels comes with a spa, swimming pools and amazing views

A cozy porch with hammocks, wooden chairs, and tropical plants, under a wooden roof.

This boutique hotel has gorgeous gardens with exotic birds, an outdoor pool and family rooms

A bright hotel room with two double beds, colorful bedding, and tropical-themed wall art.

A family friendly, quiet, budget lodge in Arenal with Wi-Fi, a hot tub and a nice terrace

Nayara Springs – Here’s another amazing resort in La Fortuna that offers gorgeous rooms with a balcony and a private pool, 4 restaurants and a spa.

Things to do in Arenal Volcano

  • Admire the volcano in Arenal National Park
  • Check out Lake Arenal (map)
  • Go ziplining with Sky Adventures
  • Chill in the hot springs at Ecotermales Hot Springs
  • Go for a swim at La Fortuna Waterfall
  • Go rafting with Costa Rica Descents
  • Snap a pic on a hanging bridge at Místico Arenal Hanging Bridges

6. Manuel Antonio – best region to stay in Costa Rica for wildlife

Aerial view of a tropical coastline with dense green forest, sandy beaches, and turquoise waters extending into the horizon.

Want to spend your holiday relaxing on Costa Rica’s white sand beaches, exploring forest trails and meeting wild animals in the lush rainforest?

Then Manuel Antonio is for you! Located on Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast, this beach town is home to one of the most popular attractions in the country (drum roll please) Manuel Antonio National Park (map).

Home to pristine beaches, hiking trails and animals (sloths call this place a home), the park is so incredible that it was even named by Forbes, as one of the world’s most beautiful parks.

That’s something, right?

When you’re not exploring the park, you can check out the town area, which is home to lots of restaurants, where you can dine with a stunning view of the Pacific Ocean! Oceano Seafood (map) is a great spot!

Since there are so many fun outdoor activities to do here , especially in the Manuel Antonio National Park, this area would be a great place where to stay in Costa Rica with family!

PRO TIP: If you are booking super last minute and there are no good options left in the town of Manuel Antonio, check out Quepos, this town is about 15-20 minutes by car/bus from the park (and most tours include the transportation from Quepos in any way).

Luxury hotel
A collage of three hotel photos to stay in Manuel Antonio: A luxurious room with a private hot tub on a balcony, a cozy bedroom with modern furnishings and artistic decor, and a man relaxing in an infinity pool with ocean views.

This super stylish boutique hotel is located a 10 min drive away from Manuel Antonio National Park and just a 5 min walk from the beach. The accommodation has everything you need for a fun stay, including rooms that overlook the ocean, a swimming pool and a spa center. 

Other accommodation options in Manuel Antonio

An outdoor seating area with bamboo furniture, surrounded by lush green tropical foliage

Just a 5 min drive away from the National Park, this hotel has an outdoor pool and cozy terrace with loungers

A cozy porch with purple walls, wicker chairs with orange cushions, and various potted plants.

A unique hotel that boasts family rooms with patios, free Wi-Fi and a beautiful garden

A serene bedroom with an open view of dense greenery, featuring a bed with pillows and a small table with chairs on the balcony.

This fully equipped, secluded tree house offers a small porch, a kitchen and beach access

Things to do in Manuel Antonio

  • Relax on the Manuel Antonio Beach (map)
  • Play with the howler monkeys at Playa Playitas (map)
  • Visit the Kids Saving the Rainforest sanctuary on the Pacific Coast
  • Explore the hiking trails in Manuel Antonio National Park
  • Go ziplining at Zip Coaster (map)

7. Montezuma – where to stay in Costa Rica for beaches

A beach scene with people relaxing on the sand and swimming in the ocean under a clear blue sky, surrounded by palm trees and green vegetation. Rocks are visible in the foreground.

We’re continuing this guide with a gorgeous place that all beach lovers will fall in love with!

Located on the southern shore of the country, on the Nicoya Peninsula, Montezuma is filled with beautiful vistas, soft sands and dreamy waters and is the perfect place to stay if you want a perfect beach holiday!

Just imagine, waking up, heading for a swim, drinking some delicious Costa Rican coffee on the beach! Pura vida indeed! 

As the home of lots of artists who come to visit and even live here, Montezuma has a bohemian atmosphere lingering on the streets, that you’ll undoubtedly feel while here.

Montezuma Beach (map) is one of the main attractions so definitely head there and enjoy lots of swims in the Pacific Ocean. If you get hungry you’re lucky as there are plenty of restaurants near the beach, like Cocolores (map).

Like in most areas in Costa Rica, you’ll also get a fair share of hiking spots! Montezuma Waterfalls Trailhead (map) is a great one to get you started while here. 

Once you get to know the area a bit you can also head to the nearby beaches and spend some time there, as they’re so nice! Playa Las Manchas (map) is a great one, as is Piedra Colorada Beach (map).

Luxury hotel
A collage of three hotel photos to stay in Montezuma: A picturesque beach with a single person walking along the shore, a beautiful pool surrounded by sun loungers and lush greenery, and a modern bedroom with a view of the forest through large windows.

Practice yoga, chill by the pool and explore the incredible area! This boutique hotel is surrounded by lush vegetation and it offers some incredible, modern rooms, some of which come with a little terrace where you can enjoy your morning coffee.

Other accommodation options in Montezuma

A round room with a wooden ceiling and floor features a canopy bed, cozy seating area, ceiling fan, tree trunk decor, and a bathroom entrance. Natural light streams through the windows.

Chill in the hammock of this hotel that has a garden, rustic-style rooms and a spa

Sunset view over a serene swimming pool surrounded by tropical plants and trees, with lounge chairs on a wooden deck nearby.

An affordable place overlooking the Pacific Ocean that has an infinity pool and free parking 

Covered wooden deck with a dining table and chairs in the center, surrounded by a wooden railing. Two hammocks are hung on each side of the deck. Green foliage is visible in the background.

This amazing has 2 rooms, a garden view, a private balcony and a kitchen 

Things to do in Montezuma

  • Chill all day on Montezuma Beach 
  • Grab a bite at Cocolores
  • Take a trip to Santa Teresa town
  • Explore the Montezuma Waterfalls Trailhead
  • Go for a swim at Playa Las Manchas

8. Jaco – best place to stay for a well-rounded experience 

Three people carrying surfboards walk towards the ocean on a beach with buildings and mountains in the background. The sky is partly cloudy.

Amazing surfing conditions, delicious food in fab restaurants and exciting nightlife!

Yep, Jaco is a small town located on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, southwest of San Jose that seems to have it all! 

You definitely won’t get bored while here! What’s great about staying in Jaco is that it combines the perks of being in a city with the perks of being close to the ocean and having some amazing spots for surfing and trying other water sports! 

The best of both worlds if you ask me! 

Once you get here, head over to the palm tree-lined Jaco Beach (map), and chill on the shores or have a go at surfing. You’ll also find lots of hotels and also bars where you can grab some cocktails after a day in the sun. Koko Gastro Bar (map) is a great place to start the night. 

This beach town off the Pacific Coast is also home to a Shopping Center (map), where you can go for a quick shopping trip and to lots of restaurants, as I mentioned earlier. You’ll find most of them located on Pastor Diaz Avenue! If you’re a fan of burgers, make sure you drop by Ridiculous Burgers (map), a popular spot in town!

Luxury hotel
A collage of three hotel photos to stay in Jaco: A luxurious resort with multiple pools surrounded by palm trees and beachfront views, a cozy dining setup on a balcony overlooking the pool and ocean, and a modern bedroom with a sea view from the balcony.

Immerse yourself in the Pura Vida lifestyle while staying in this hotel right near the white sand beaches and Pacific Ocean, which has 4 restaurants, a garden and a swimming pool. 

Other accommodation options in Jaco

Two people, carrying surfboards, are exiting a building labeled "OCEANO." They are dressed in swimwear, and the entrance is surrounded by plants.

Enjoy a free breakfast at this hotel that offers spa services, a fitness rooms and an outdoor pool

Aerial view of a swimming pool surrounded by lounge chairs, greenery, and palm trees; a small building with a red roof is adjacent to the pool area.

This fully-equipped studio has a kitchen, a flat-screen Tv and it offers access to a shared pool

A modern hotel room with a queen-sized bed, a surfboard wall decoration, wooden furnishings, a large mirror, and a small bathroom to the right. The decor is beach-themed with light colors.

A cool studio that offers beach access, a shared patio and beach access

Things to do in Jaco

  • Go surfing on Jaco Beach on the Pacific Coast
  • Enjoy some drinks at Koko Gastro Bar 
  • Grab a burger at Ridiculous Burgers 
  • Buy souvenirs from Jaco Shopping Center
  • Admire the views from Mirador Jaco (map)
  • Explore the Los Sueños area

9. Osa Peninsula (Drake Bay) – for outdoor adventures

Aerial view of a lush, forested coastline with a small river inlet. Several blue boats are docked near the inlet, and a speedboat is seen creating waves in the nearby open water.

Are you ready to take by storm one of the most off-the grid locations in Costa Rica?

Osa Peninsula is located at the southern end of Costa Rica’s Pacific coast, and it’s only reachable by plane or boat, which doesn’t make it super accessible to lots of tourists who come to Costa Rica.

NOTE: if you’re coming by plane, you’ll touch down on Drake Bay Airport (map), which has only domestic flights.

But this secluded area sure deserves all the trouble of getting there, as it is home to a lush rainforest that hosts Costa Rica’s largest remaining population of jaguars and tapirs and to some breathtaking mangrove forests that you can explore by boat. 

Its rawness and natural beauty remained mostly untouched over the years, which is why National Geographic called Osa Peninsula the most biologically intense place on earth!

The main attraction here is the Corcovado National Park (map), which covers most of the peninsula. You can only visit the park with a guide, and most accommodations offer tours there so you can definitely explore it!

While staying here, you’ll get the chance to try all the activities here, like hiking, scuba diving and even seeing some whale sharks while exploring underwater!

Luxury hotel
A collage of three hotel photos to stay in Osa Peninsula: A tropical outdoor patio with hammocks and comfortable seating, a spacious room with multiple beds and wooden decor, and an aerial view of a lush rainforest resort by the ocean.

Tucked away between Costa Rica’s lush vegetation, on the Pacific Coast, just outside Corcovado National Park, this eco-friendly boutique hotel has some amazing rooms with a terrace and Pacific Ocean views. You’ll also find an on-site restaurant that serves organic food and a bar. 

Other accommodation options in Osa Peninsula

A wooden porch with an empty chair and a hammock overlooking a lush green garden with trees and grassy landscape in the background.

Chill in the hammock of your private balcony at this hotel that offers breakfast and an airport shuttle 

A small wooden cabin bedroom with a double bed, pink bedspread, fan, shelves, and colorful curtains. Walls are wood-paneled with a couple of pictures hanging. A stool and hammock are also visible.

This nice lodge offers wooden-made cabins with a balcony and a private bathroom 

A small green house with a porch is surrounded by trees and vegetation. A dirt path winds past the house through the shaded garden area. The sun filters through the tree branches.

A great bungalow that offers beach access, a backyard and free parking 

Things to do in Osa Peninsula

  • Go on a hike in Corcovado National Park
  • Try scuba diving at Drake Bay 
  • Chill on Playa San Josecito (map)
  • Catch a sunset on Playa Sàndalos
  • Visit the King Louis Waterfall (map)

10. Uvita – where to stay for a unique experience 

Aerial view of a sand formation resembling a whale's tail extending into the ocean, with lush green hills and cloudy skies in the background.

Located a 3h drive away from San Jose, Uvita is not a place that’s super visited by tourists but definitely worth a visit! I’d definitely recommend staying here if you’d prefer a more quiet beach holiday, where you just get to relax on Costa Rica’s golden shores and explore around. 

This area is home to the gorgeous Marino Ballena National Park (map) that has a super long beach where you can spot dolphins and whales, lush vegetation and gorgeous waterfalls in true Costa Rican style!

Punta Uvita (map), the main beach in the Park, is actually pretty popular, as if you look from above during low tide, the stretch of sand looks like a whale’s tail!

There are lots of things to see while you’re in Uvita like the beautiful Catarata Uvita waterfalls (map), the Aussicht hiking area (map) and these hidden natural pools (map)!

Yep, there are plenty of things to do in Uvita and if you’d prefer a holiday far from the tourist crowds, then this might be the right spot for you!

Luxury hotel
A collage of three hotel photos to stay in Uvita: An outdoor bathtub surrounded by vibrant greenery, a bedroom with floor-to-ceiling windows offering stunning views, and an infinity pool with a waterfall feature overlooking the landscape.

You’ll never want to leave these luxury villas! The suites have large windows overlooking the Pacific ocean, a balcony with a private plunge pool and a kitchen! The private villas also offer a free breakfast and an airport shuttle. 

Other accommodation options in Uvita

Outdoor swimming pool with clear blue water, surrounded by lounge chairs under umbrellas. A small waterfall feature is present at one end, and greenery decorates the area. A bright, sunny day.

This great hotel comes with rooms with a kitchen, an outdoor swimming pool, and free parking

A small bedroom with yellow walls, a double bed with a tropical-themed bedspread, two large windows, and an air conditioner mounted above one window.

Enjoy the Costa Rican sun by the pool of this hotel which has family rooms with a pool view, a restaurant and a bar

A wooden oval-shaped cabin with a small porch, located in a lush, green setting. The porch has a white chair and is surrounded by plants and decorative stones.

This cute tiny home comes with a kitchen, a Tv, air-conditioning and free parking 

Things to do in Uvita

  • See dolphins and whales in Marino Ballena National Park
  • Relax on Punta Uvita 
  • Snap a pic of the Catarata Uvita waterfalls
  • Explore the Aussicht hiking area
  • Enjoy a bath in these hidden natural pools
👑 Luxury price:US$160
💵 Mid-range hotel:US$80
🛏️ Budget:US$40
📍 Best area:Tamarindo
🛎️ Best luxury hotel:The Coast Beachfront
🧳 Best mid-range hotel:Ten North Tamarindo
👛 Best budget hotel:Hostel La Botella de Leche

FAQs about where to stay in Costa Rica

A woman in traditional bright floral attire and headpieces dances outdoors, accompanied by others in similar clothing. A crowd watches in the background. Trees and buildings are visible.

🌄 What is the best area to stay in Costa Rica?

Tamarindo is one of the best places to stay in Costa Rica! This beach town has incredible beaches, lush vegetation, great surfing conditions and fab hotels.

🔝 Where is the safest place to stay in Costa Rica?

Tamarindo and Puerto Viejo are 2 super safe areas to stay in Costa Rica.

🏖️ What is the nicest part of Costa Rica?

The Pacific side of the country is the nicest part of Costa Rica that you can visit. It has the best resorts, the Manuel Antonio area, the Osa Peninsula and unique hotels. These are the top choices for every traveler who chooses to stay in Costa Rica!

⏳ What is the best place to stay in Costa Rica for a month?

Manuel Antonio, with its stunning beaches, lush rainforests, and abundant wildlife is a great place to stay in Costa Rica for a month.

⚖️ Which side of Costa Rica is the best to visit, the Pacific or the Caribbean?

It depends, both the Caribbean and Pacific coasts are great! The main difference between the 2 is that on the Pacific coast, there are more national parks, wildlife refuges, protected areas, and forest reserves than on the Caribbean coast.

📅 When is the best time to visit Costa Rica?

The best time to visit Costa Rica is from the end of November to April (the dry season), when the weather is at its best! 

🚌 What’s the best way to get around Costa Rica?

The best way to get around Costa Rica is by car, but if that’s too expensive you can also use the bus to reach certain destinations. 

🤔 How many days in Costa Rica is enough?

I’d recommend spending at least 2 weeks in Costa Rica, especIally if you want to visit many towns. 

🏖️ Which part of Costa Rica has the best beaches?

The Pacific Coast has some of the most beautiful beaches in Costa Rica! 

Final thoughts on where to stay in Costa Rica

Author on the post sits on a narrow metal suspension bridge surrounded by lush green forest. They are looking relaxed and contemplative.

Phew, it was a long one but we definitely had so much to talk about!

I hope this guide on where to stay in Costa Rica, Central America, will help you plan your trip! I loved living in this country and exploring all these towns, and I’m sure you’ll feel the same!

Before we wrap up, I’ll leave you with my top 2 Costa Rica resorts, both located in Tamarindo: 

I highly recommend booking your hotels, private villas or whatever you choose for an accommodation in advance! Costa Rica’s popularity (and prices) is increasing every year and places sell out fast. So it’s better to secure your spot early! 

Have fun planning your trip and don’t forget that you can always drop me a comment below if you’ve got any questions!

Since I’ve lived in Costa Rica for a while , I could surely help out!

Buen viaje mis amigos,


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