Latin America

Where to Stay in Costa Rica: 8 Best Areas for Tourists [2022]!

Updated on:  
June 29, 2022
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Camila Wanderley
Camila Wanderley
Contributor
https://camilawanderley.journoportfolio.com/Follow us on Linkedin
Traveling to Costa Rica and overwhelmed with the options of where to stay? Explore all the best areas in this guide to make the most of your trip in 2022!

Disclosure: Pilot is supported by our users. We may earn a small commission fee when you click on affiliate links on our website, and all recommendations are independently reviewed.

Costa Rica has at least three countries in one – a surfer's paradise on the west coast by the Pacific Ocean, incredible wildlife and nature on the center, and a bohemian laidback beach vibe on the east coast, by the Atlantic. There are dozens of towns and regions, each with its particular charm and list of activities. Because of that, it is hard to pick which spot to visit and where to stay while in Costa Rica.

When planning your trip, knowing what experience you want to have is essential. 

Are you seeking a romantic getaway for two, or do you want to party and meet new people daily? Are you a surfer or a yogi, or maybe both? Beach or forest? Or maybe, you want to do it all!

If you need some help with planning, we've covered the best toursthings to do, and top places you won't want to miss in Costa Rica!

With that in mind, here are 8 of the best and most famous spots to stay in Costa Rica. These locations have lots of different hotels and hostels and lots of things to do and see! 

Where to stay in costa rica nature
Photo by Alex Ip on Unsplash

Best Places to Stay in Costa Rica

1. Tamarindo

Tamarindo is one of the first places discovered by tourists in Costa Rica, and it remains one of the most popular destinations for those who want to party by the ocean until the sun comes up. 

Tamarindo has a rich backpacker culture and many hostels where you can stay for an affordable price. Close by the Playa Grande and visit turtle nesting season. You can also explore the nearby wildlife at the Tamarindo Wildlife Refuge. 

Tamarindo is also a popular surfing destination. If you're a starter, there are lots of places where you can get a lesson. Some of the best waves in Costa Rica are here, so there are always surfers on the water. 

Kayaking, diving, and snorkeling are also popular activities, and there are many other water sports for you to practice. 

Ride a horse by the beach or zip line over the sea. You will never run out of things to do here!

Best places to visit in costa rica surfing
Photo by Zachary Shea on Unsplash

2. Puerto Viejo

Puerto Viejo is where you will find the reggae, laid-back vibe of the Caribbean. Embrace the Rasta colors and how slow the time can move on the Atlantic side of Costa Rica, with lots of Jamaican influences on the culture and food. Have a cocktail by the beach and ride a bike back to your hotel or a restaurant. 

Find famous beaches like Montezuma, with a bohemian vibe to them. Mingle with like-minded backpackers who seek relaxation and low SPF sunscreens. Enjoy the Pura Vida that Costa Rica is so famous for. 

3. Monteverde

Monteverde is famous for its cloud forest, protecting locals and visitors from the sunlight and allowing for days with a lot of exploration while escaping from the tropical heat. 

In this 10,500-hectare reserve, you can indulge in ecotourism and become one with nature. The clouds that seem to hover over the trees are already reason enough to visit Monteverde and stay for a couple of days. There are plenty of hotels in town, and most of them embrace the eco-friendly vibe of the place. 

If you're a bird-watcher, this is your paradise. There are hundreds of bird species in Monteverde and plenty of tours that take you into their natural habitat. Spot migratory species depending on the season, and let your tour guide fill you in on the wonders of the Costa Rican ecosystem. 

For coffee lovers, you can also go on a tour to visit some of the most popular coffee plantations in the country, as well as see a frog pond and a butterfly garden.

where to visit costa rica monteverde
Photo by Ralph (Ravi) Kayden on Unsplash

4. La Fortuna

La Fortuna is ideal for those who seek adventure in the middle of the forest. 

It is seen as the entryway to the Arenal Volcano National Park, where you can find unique wildlife, ziplines, and many trekking options that lead you straight to the famous Costa Rican Arenal volcano. 

Hike through lava fields and try rock climbing as well. The Balsa Rives is perfect for white water rafting, and the nearby waterfalls are a refreshing way to rest from trekking in the jungle. When you're tired, you can relax in hot water springs across La Fortuna. 

5. San José

San José is the epicenter of Costa Rican culture. An urban jungle in the middle of all the natural wilderness, this is where you will find the majority of the country's population. 

As the capital city of Costa Rica, San Jose has everything a cosmopolitan tourist wishes to find: shopping opportunities all over the place, some of the best restaurants and bars in the country, and amazing clubs for unforgettable nights out. 

Aside from that, here you can discover much of Costa Rica's history. Visit museums, learn about the country and its people, and look at the governmental buildings, important landmarks, and places like the national auditorium. 

Costa rica hotels in san jose
Photo by Eelco Böhtlingk on Unsplash

6. Manuel Antonio

The Manuel Antonio National Park is an extensive stretch of land that holds some of the richest fauna and flora of Costa Rica, and there are plenty of tours and treks for you to explore it all. 

Like Monteverde and La Fortuna, Manuel Antonio is perfect for those who enjoy wildlife and all the adventures you can find in the jungle. However, it is also extremely close to the beach, so it can attend to the needs and desires of those who prefer the ocean over the forest.

7. Peninsula Papagayo

If you're seeking a little luxury, it is worth staying at Peninsula Papagayo. 

This is an exclusive spot of Golfo de Papagayo in the country's northwestern part, where you can find close-to-empty beaches and intact wildlife. 

Because of its natural beauty and preserved landscape, Peninsula Papagayo has become the spot where people come to spend a little extra money and enjoy the perks of this lavish piece of land. 

There are two five-star resorts and lots of extravagant rental homes here. Also, find elegant restaurants and even a golf course. 

Where to stay in costa rica on the beach
Photo by Luna Venegas on Unsplash

8. Nosara

The famous Pura Vida life of Costa Rica seems to be concentrated in Nosara

Here you will find the wellness mecca of surfing in the morning, practicing yoga as the sun goes down, and eating some of the freshest food you will ever try. 

There are many different beaches for different surfing levels, so you can start easy at Playa Guiones and even join a surfing camp to improve your skills. 

Many retreats combine surfing and yoga lessons for full-on mindfulness and a healthy experience. Open-air yoga studios in front of the ocean make you feel like one with nature. 

Tired of the beach? Hike on the hillside covered by thick forests. 

Where to Stay in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a country that offers activities for every type of traveler. Backpackers and resort lovers can find a home in every part of the country, and there is always something new and exciting to see and do. Here we have shown you eight of the best regions and towns to stay in Costa Rica. 

Nature and beach lovers will indulge in the fresh air and feel connected to the richness of the country's ecosystem. Cosmopolitan party lovers will find fantastic nightlife. Everybody is always happy here! 

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Originally published on:  
June 29, 2022

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