Accommodation for your road trip in Costa Rica
It’s no secret – accommodation can make or break a trip, especially if it’s a holiday you’ve been anticipating for a long time. If you’ve been reading our articles, you’d know we hopped over to Costa Rica right after our road trip in Canada. After running into terrible luck with accommodation in Canada (everything was either sold out or overpriced!), we spent our time choosing accommodation for our road trip in Costa Rica. The result – some of the best places we have stayed in during the past few years 🙂
Here are a couple of things to keep in mind when choosing accommodation in Costa Rica:
- Try choosing eco-friendly hotels
While it is always advisable to be an eco-conscious traveller, this is nowhere more important than in Latin American countries. Their delicate eco-system is under danger and rainforests are disappearing fast – try to choose hotels that do their bit to protect and conserve the environment. Costa Rica is at the forefront of the green tourism movement, so it is easy to find eco-friendly hotels and accommodation here.
- Opt for experiential hotels
While most tourists step out of the hotel to experience everything that a country has to offer, Costa Rica offers several opportunities for experiential stays. Whether it be a hotel in the middle of a coffee plantation or a rainforest lodge, staying in the midst of a tourist attraction elevates a regular hotel stay to a special experience. Go that extra mile and choose accommodation that is an experience in itself.
Before you look at where all we stayed, you might want to check out our Costa Rica road trip itinerary to see where all we went. Here’s a list of places we chose to stay on our road trip in Costa Rica:
Cariari B&B: Comfortable stay near San Jose airport
If you, like us, land at San Jose International Airport at an unearthly hour, it’s best to choose a hotel in the vicinity. That was how we chanced on Cariari B&B, located just 10 minutes away from the airport. We rented our car at the airport and found the B&B within minutes.
On getting there we loved the informal vibe of this comfortable B&B. The house keeper ushered us in and even treated us to a huge platter of home-made guacamole and nachos (we could fly back just for that :-D). Our room was spacious and well-equipped. We slept peacefully and were treated to a hearty home-cooked breakfast next morning. Nom! We spent just one night at Cariari B&B but it would make for a great base to explore San Jose city as well. Compare prices and book here.
We rented a car and drove to Cariari B&B. If you don’t intend to drive around Costa Rica, try to opt for the shuttle service offered by the B&B. We’ve read mixed reviews about hailing cabs in and around San Jose, so do be wary.
Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation and Inn: Boutique Luxury in the midst of a Costa Rican coffee plantation
Finca Rosa Blanca is the first hotel that comes to mind when it comes to experiential stays in Costa Rica. The coffee plantation is a popular day trip from San Jose. Most people visit it as part of a coffee tour but we thought we’d take it a step further and stay here instead.
Forbes didn’t call Finca Rosa Blanca the most interesting hotel in Costa Rica for nothing. The boutique hotel offers just fourteen rooms encircled by volcanoes and sprawling coffee plantations. The expansive layout of the hotel is whimsical and the rooms are quirky and artistic. The blue-tiled bathtub, without any corners, reminded us of Gaudi’s buildings in Barcelona. Our suite was spacious and well-equipped, with a large patio overlooking the countryside – little touches like wrought-iron beds, spacious wardrobes, and white walls with bright murals, added to the rustic luxe vibe. We loved the infinity pool, ensconced by flowering vines and lush grounds laden with fruit trees and butterflies. But the main draw here is the coffee.
Gourmet coffee is like wine these days – it’s easy to spend hours in cupping sessions, tasting sessions, and coffee walks. We spent our days touring the coffee plantation, sampling different kinds of coffee, and Finca Rosa Blanca’s legendary breakfasts. The à la carte breakfast here is popular with locals – lots of families from San Jose flock to the coffee plantation on weekends. We don’t blame them. The focus on fresh produce really makes the food stand out. Everything we tried – from the tortillas to fried eggs – was cooked to perfection. Plus, the dining area offers a view to die for!
Finca Rosa Blanca is a part of the Cayuga Collection of hotels that comprises of eight award-winning lodges, resorts, and sustainable hotels in breathtaking locations across Costa Rica and Nicaragua. We were so impressed by little touches such as their insistence on bamboo straws instead of plastic straws and re-usable glass bottles instead of plastic bottles for water that we actually decided to stay at another Cayuga property at Manuel Antonio National Park. Compare prices and book here.
- Even if you don’t stay at Finca Rosa Blanca, make sure you drop by for breakfast and a coffee tour. This was the best coffee we had during our road trip in Costa Rica.
- The restaurant serves coffee on the house between 3 and 5 p.m. – you wouldn’t want to miss that since it’s some of the best coffee we have tasted in a while.
- Poas Volcano is a short drive away and makes for a perfect day trip from Finca Rosa Blanca.
- Try eating at a local Costa Rican soda (shack) in the neighbouring village of Santa Barbara. It also has a supermarket for all essentials.
Andaz Papagayo Peninsula: Classic luxury and beach bumming
This Hyatt property in Guanacaste screams classic luxury with an unmistakable Costa Rican edge. The sprawling hotel pays homage to Costa Rica’s natural surroundings by doing away with check-in desks and stiff formalities. Instead, the focus is relaxed service, tailored to the individual needs of each guest.
Everything at Andaz Papagayo Peninsula celebrates the tropical forests of Costa Rica. The infinity pool looks out to the rainforest and the dreamy ocean. In the same vein, local ingredients such as purple corn, beans, coconut and coffee are used for organic scrubs and moisturisers at their Onda Spa. Even the hotel’s rooms have large balconies and patios that give guests the feeling of being one with nature. The gorgeous Andaz Large Suite comes with a plunge pool and hammock and is perfect for honeymooners. The two of us opted for the smaller Andaz Baby Suite and loved it – it came with a huge bedroom, spacious shower, and grandiose living room. Thoughtful touches such as crumbly flavourful macarons on arrival, decadent toiletries and bath salts, 24 hour fitness centre, and fresh cold pressed juices and organic Costa Rican coffee at breakfast made our stay at Andaz Papagayo truly special.Compare prices and book here.
- Andaz Papagayo Peninsula is a short drive away from Liberia Airport. If you have just a few days at hand, fly into Liberia Airport and spend some time driving around the area.
- Nip out to neighbouring Playas Del Coco beach for sunset. It’s a short drive away from the hotel.
- Spend your days relaxing at Andaz Papagayo’s quiet and hidden private beaches. Make sure you go kayaking.
- Try amazing Latin American fare with live music at Chao Pescao. We tried all the restaurants at Andaz Papagayo but the food at Chao Pescao is mouthwatering.
- The gorgeous Andaz Large Suite comes with a plunge pool and hammock and is perfect for honeymooners.
- The hotel grounds and the surrounding areas are some of the best places to observe wildlife – from howler monkeys to some of the most unique birds of the world, so make sure you wake up early to go for a saunter.
Arenas Del Mar Beach & Nature Resort: A luxurious getaway in Manuel Antonio
Our skirmish with the Cayuga Collection in San Jose brought us to Arenas Del Mar and we’re so happy we stumbled on this little gem! Arenas Del Mar is a beach front luxury resort within walking distance of Manuel Antonio National Park. It offers a unique chance to stay within the rainforest and wake up to ocean front views every single day – when it comes to experiential stays, it truly doesn’t get better than Arenas Del Mar.
A short detour on a bumpy road brings guests to the entrance of the hotel. But this is just the parking. A short ride on the hotel’s bespoke carts leads to the property, enveloped by the Costa Rican rainforests. If you’re lucky you’ll spot iguanas, monkeys, and even sloths on your way to the reception. But neon green landscapes aren’t the only draw here. The breakfast area overlooks the stunning Pacific Ocean and the hotel’s beach provides several opportunities for kayaking and water sports.
Our room had a large and comfortable bed, 2 bathrooms, and an intimate seating area. The outdoor jacuzzi/bath tub at Arenas Del Mar makes it the perfect place for a romantic getaway. It’s easy to spend hours lounging out on the balcony, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. That’s exactly what we did. But that’s not all. Every evening we slept to the relaxing sound of waves crashing against rocks.Compare prices and book here.
- Try to opt for an ocean-facing room
- Manuel Antonio National Park is just around the corner. But the hotel offers several private trails and hikes in the forest if you don’t want to step out of the hotel premises or cough up the entrance fee for Manuel Antonio National Park. The forest around the hotel is teeming with iguanas, monkeys, adorable sloths, and dozens of colourful birds.
- Keep an afternoon (or two) aside for lounging on the beach – the hotel’s beach is gorgeous.
We had a great time driving around Costa Rica and experiencing the local life, culture, wildlife, and natural beauty. On this trip, the accommodation we chose enhanced our experience and made us fall in love with Costa Rica 🙂 Have you been to Costa Rica?