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There are so many hotels in Costa Rica that it can be nearly impossible to know where to start when choosing your accommodations. This post has every single secret hack I can think of to help you find the perfect hotel for your stay in Costa Rica.
Getting Started: Hotels In Costa Rica
You can find literally every type of accommodation under the sun in Costa Rica. If you’re looking for luxury resorts, we’ve got them. Surf camps? Check. Cabins? Glamping? Farm stays? All-inclusive? Honeymoon? Ayahuasca? Costa Rica has them all.
Read also: Top Places To Stay In Costa Rica With Kids
The problem is trying to narrow things down and book them. The first thing you need to do when you are planning a trip to Costa Rica is to decide where you want to stay in Costa Rica. This can depend on whether you want a beach vacation, a rainforest destination, or a combination of both. You will want to start by checking which airport you want to fly into in Costa Rica, and from there plan the actual places you want to stay.
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Once you’ve narrowed that down, you’ll want to determine your budget. There are generally hotels in Costa Rica for any budget, but the best ones fill up fast, especially during Holy Week, the Christmas Holidays, and for the middle two weeks in July when public schools have a break. Make sure to book in advance, especially for those times.
Remember that you can save some cash if you visit Costa Rica during the rainy season as many hotel rates drop drastically. Since Costa Rica weather is unpredictable, you’ll need to decide if the savings on cash is worth the gamble.
Finally, you’ll want to determine how many people you need in each room and what configuration of beds you prefer. Many traditional hotels in Costa Rica will have several options for sleeping- even sometimes two twin beds and a queen and rooms for five or more.
Types Of Accommodations In Costa Rica
You can narrow down your search according to the types of accommodations you might be looking for in Costa Rica. Here are many of the options you will find:
- Hotel Rooms
- Farm Stays
- Eco Resort
- Luxury Hotel
- Private Room
- Airbnb, Vacasa orVRBO
Note that cabinas are generally low-cost and pretty simple accommodations but can be great for families because they will usually have a shared kitchen or even a private kitchen. They are not “cabins” and can be found anywhere in the country- from rainforests to beaches.
It can be helpful to use the words above in the search terms when you are initially looking for hotels in Costa Rica. For example “Cabinas in La Fortuna” or “family hotels in Nosara.”
Booking Your Hotel: How To Get A Feel For The Hotel
The very first thing you want to do when looking for hotels in Costa Rica is to go directly to the hotel’s website. Since many hotels in Costa Rica are locally owned and operated, it can be easy to Google the hotel’s name and end up on a site like Booking.com or Expedia.
I like to get an actual feel for the hotel rather than be bombarded with reviews about the hotel, and I also like to book directly with the hotel if I can. This, of course, is done directly on the hotel’s website. Sometimes though, finding the hotel’s website can be tricky.
A lot of times when you Google the name of hotels in Costa Rica, on the right-hand side of the screen it will give you the hotel’s location on a map. Under there you will find “visit website.” You can save yourself a lot of scrolling by doing that.
Another thing to note is that many hotels in Costa Rica have only Facebook pages rather than their own website. This is not uncommon in Costa Rica, so you can always type the name of the hotel into the FB search. You will often get the hotel website with photos.
The last thing you can do to connect with the hotel directly is to use WhatsApp. This messaging application on your phone will help you connect to a business profile of a hotel- and often they will have images and pricing information on their hotels right in the profile.
You will know in Costa Rica if a phone number has a What’sApp number because it will be eight digits long and start with an 8. The country code for Costa Rica is 506, which you can choose when you put the number into your phone. Often if you are using WhatsApp and willing to pay in cash on arrival you can get really good deals on hotel rooms.
Finally, check the location of the hotel on the map. If you want a beachfront hotel in Costa Rica, it can be hard to find because development along the coast is heavily regulated. So check your Google Map, really zoom in, and get an idea of where the hotel is actually located in relation to the place that you want to stay.
Booking Your Hotels In Costa Rica: Choosing A Budget
I’ll divide rooms into three categories and tell you some of my favorites in each category. Budget is under $100 a night. Mid-range is $100-$250 a night. Luxury is over $250 a night- and not really my specialty.
Budget Rooms – Under $100 Per Night
Rooms for under $100 a night in Costa Rica are definitely available, but you have to really look for them. Some hotels will book for under $100 a night but charge extra for kids, making the room a little more expensive. If breakfast is included I generally think it’s worth it.
You will want to look for “Cabinas” for budget hotels, and you will also want to check out the family-style rooms in hostels, such as the Selina hostel chain. Many, but not all of these rooms include a traditional Costa Rican breakfast. For these rooms, you’ll want to find out if air conditioning or hot water is included- that’s not given in a budget hotel room. Neither is a television or a safe. Wifi is prominent even in budget hotels.
A few of our favorite hotels under $100 a night for four people are:
- Banana Azul – Limon (adults only)
- Selina – Manuel Antonio
- Cabinas Las Olas – Playa Avellanas
- Adventure Inn – San Jose Airport
- Whale Tail Hotel – Uvita
- Hotel Los Boyeros – Liberia
- San Bosco Inn – La Fortuna
Don’t forget that many AirBnbs offer cheap accommodations for under $100 a night- my absolute favorite is Casa Las Golondrinas in San Ramon which clocks in at just $67 a night and is 90 minutes from La Fortuna and 90 minutes from Jaco.
Midrange Rooms – $100-$250 Per Night
Midrange rooms generally have a mini fridge and breakfast included. Ask if there is hot water and wifi, although these are generally given at midrange hotels. You can also find many with a kitchen, so check for that amenity when you are looking at the hotel website.
Many midrange hotels offer rooms that sleep 5 or more- your best bet is to call and see what they offer. Many midrange hotels are called “hotels” as opposed to “cabinas” (budget) or “resort” (luxury).
A few of our favorite midrange hotels are:
- Casitas Tenorio – Tenorio Volcano
- Volcano Lodge and Springs – La Fortuna
- Lomas del Volcan – La Fortuna
- Hotel Karahe – Manuel Antonio
- Margaritaville Beach Resort – Playa Flamingo
- Rancho Margot – La Fortuna
- Hacienda Guachipelin – Liberia
- Baldi Hot Springs – La Fortuna
- Vista Ballena – Uvita
- Punta Leona – Jaco
For a midrange room rate, you can find a ton of awesome Aibnbs, Vacasa Rentals and more. One of my favorites is Casa Aviari, south of Puerto Jimenez on the Osa Peninsula.
- La Carolina Lodge (Rustic Farm Stay) – Tenorio Volcano
- Planet Hollywood All-Inclusive Hotel – Guanacaste
- Tabacon Resort – La Fortuna
- Four Seasons Resort – Papagayo
- Si Como No – Manuel Antonio
- Westin Conchal – Playa Conchal
- Andaz Papagayo
- Los Suenos – Jaco
- The Mangroove Hotel – Papagayo
Actually Booking The Hotel In Costa Rica
Once you’ve narrowed down your hotels, you will want to book the hotel. There are a few things to know about hotels in Costa Rica as far as booking is concerned.
- Know that 13% tax on top of the room rate is normal- this is a sales tax that applies to every hotel in Costa Rica. Check if it is quoted in the initial price of the room- generally it is, but if not, know that it is required by law.
- Kids are generally an extra charge per room. This can vary widely depending on the policies of the hotel. The good news is that the rate is usually listed right on the page. Kids 5 and under are almost always free. Kids 6-12 usually have a fee per child, and kids 12 and over are treated as adults.
- If you call the hotel and are willing to pay in cash upon arrival, generally the rates can go down. Some hotels will ask you to pay a non-refundable deposit in this case, while others will not.
- Booking directly from the hotel’s website will generally give you the best deal. They also will often not allow refunds. If you are uncomfortable with this, using a third party such as Booking.com may allow different cancellation policies for the room.
- It is standard to pay in advance for the room, and for that payment to be non-refundable.
- My biggest tip is to call and ask how to get the best price and what to expect upon arrival. Between free 1-800 numbers and WhatsApp, there is really no reason not to call. The worst that can happen is that no one speaks English- and that’s pretty rare for a tourist hotel in Costa Rica.
Arriving At The Hotel in Costa Rica
Once you have booked your hotels in Costa Rica, you’ll want to know what is standard practice for arrival and check-in. Parking your rental car is free 99.9% of the time in Costa Rica.
Hotels in Costa Rica will ask to see your passport and will make a note of your passport number upon check-in. Some hotels will ask for the passport of every member of your party. This is because this is your official international identification- a US driver’s license means nothing to hotels in Costa Rica.
Note that many Costa Rican hotels will ask for a deposit for your towel. It’s a national obsession that I can’t figure out, but it does happen. Don’t lose your towel, you’ll lose your deposit!
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Checking Out Of The Hotel In Costa Rica
A lot of times in the United States you will only officially check out of a hotel if you want a receipt. That is not often the case with hotels in Costa Rica. You will want to return the keys to the front office- even if they are plastic swipe keys.
Costa Ricans are generally very interested in how your stay went- so when you check out make sure to tell them! They will appreciate it and really care.
Favorite Hotels in Costa Rica By Region
Here are a few of my favorite hotels in each region of Costa Rica. If you have a favorite that is missing from here, please write me and let me know!
- Liberia Hotels
- Resorts Near Liberia
- Planet Hollywood
- Hacienda Guachipelin
- Westin Playa Conchal
- The Simple House
- Tamarindo Diria
San Jose/Central Valley
- Monteverde Hotels
- Arenal Hotels
- Casitas Tenorio
- La Carolina Lodge
- Baldi Hot Springs
- Rancho Margot
- Lomas del Volcan
- Tabacon Resort and Spa
- Volcano Lodge and Springs
What area is best to stay in Costa Rica?
For first-time visitors, many like to head to the Guanacaste region for the beaches, or near the town of La Fortuna at the base of the Arenal Volcano. Other popular destinations are Manuel Antonio, Jaco Beach and Monteverde.
What is the average cost of a hotel in Costa Rica?
The average hotel room is about $150 including taxes and fees. If you are staying for a week, you may inquire about lower weekly rates.
How do I know if hotels in Costa Rica are good for kids?
You should definitely check the hotel website to make sure the hotel isn’t adults-only. Then, most hotels are good for kids but some are better than others. I always look at the swimming pool to see if it would be fun for kids. After that, I check to see if they have cribs available- even though we’ve outgrown them, if cribs are available it means the hotel is used to hosting children.
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Welcome! I’m Christa, a former high school teacher married to a handsome Costa Rican and mother of two bilingual daughters. I love all things Spanish and bi-cultural, (especially travel and food!) and you’ll find my observations on life here. Thanks for stopping by