Boutique Hotels in Costa Rica
Luxury boutique hotels in Costa Rica offer a unique opportunity to interact with local people and sample the local culture.
It’s not uncommon to meet the owners and get to know them. You'll hear how the place started and enjoy their recommendations for things to do and local restaurants. to eat nearby.
Most of these properties are owner-operated and have a high ratio of staff members to guest rooms. This ensures special treatment in the form of personalized and friendly service throughout your stay.
Family-Run, Eco-Sustainable Businesses
Costa Rican tourism as we know it goes back to the 1970s when the first smattering of North American and Europeans began coming here and seeing how beautiful it is. Some stayed and put down roots, becoming entrepreneurs and setting up small hostels and hotels for others coming down for the surfing and nature.
In the '80s and early ‘90s, these boutique hotels fueled the rapid growth of Costa Rican tourism. In some of these hotels, you’ll find the main building was initially the owner's family home.
These families unknowingly led the tourism industry by providing authentic experiences different from main chain hotels. Guests enjoyed their stays and noticed the difference between this type of travel and staying at a resort.
While staying in a resort, it might not be clear what country you're in. For example, a resort in one country looks precisely like one elsewhere. However, when at a boutique hotel, you know you're in Costa Rica. The "pura vida" vibe is unmistakable.
In the late ‘90s and early 2000s, the larger resorts and main chains came, household names like the Marriott, Westin, and Hilton. But the small hotels never really suffered too much - by then, they’d found a niche and a type of tourist who wanted them.
The resorts have their place, sure, but for every large resort in Costa Rica, you'll still find dozens of small, unique hotels.
Many boutique hotels in Costa Rica enjoy prime locations in popular areas, as they were built (or bought) years ago, when such property prices were lower. And they offer a level of personalized service that a big chain hotel could never compete with.
Costa Rica is unique in its trend toward boutiques over resorts. For example, it's pretty different from certain parts of Mexico, where you see resort after resort through entire towns. Of course, both have a certain allure, but many people prefer boutique-style traveling because it's calmer, relaxing, and authentic.
You can still be near all the adventures you could dream of but enjoy knowing that when you're ready to head in for the night, you'll get a good night's rest in a clean, comfortable, and beautiful boutique.
Best Boutique Hotels and Resorts in Costa Rica
Boutique hotels come in many forms. Some are quirky destinations in and of themselves, others are modern, and others are rustic. Some are in the centers of tourist activity or cities and some are remote. We even have a hotel so remote that it's only accessible by rafting down a jungle river or helicopter!
There are excellent boutique hotels in San Jose, in the rainforest, at the beach, by volcanoes, and in the cloud forest.
They are a Costa Rica speciality, and they make the country stand out from other destinations. Each area has its vibe and a different type of offering.
Boutique Hotels near Arenal Volcano
The Arenal Volcano area attracts tourists seeking nature and adventure. Many La Fortuna boutique hotels have natural and healing volcano-heated hot springs onsite.
Arenal Manoa is a family-friendly, service-orientated hotel with a small farm onsite that children love. There's a pool, a Jacuzzi, a swim-up bar, a spa, and pretty gardens. The rooms each have a patio and rocking chairs to enjoy pristine volcano views.
Another Arenal boutique hotel we like is Volcano Lodge & Springs. It's comfortable, affordable, and has great volcano views from its tropical gardens. There's a pool, jacuzzis, a kids pool, playground, nature trails, spa, sunken pool bar, and restaurant. The pool is hot-spring-fed for ultimate, natural relaxation.
These boutique hotels are great home bases for all the activities in La Fortuna and around the Arenal Volcano.
Boutique Hotels in Guanacaste, Costa Rica
On the northern Pacific coast, Guanacaste is where most of the resorts are. Still, there are plenty of boutique hotels in the various beach communities up and down the coast, communities like Tamarindo and Playa Hermosa, to name just two.
Cala Luna is a clear favorite in Tamarindo, on a secluded beach with a pool and pool bar, restaurant, and gorgeous gardens. Enjoy the complimentary sunset beach cocktail!
Another great option is Bosque Del Mar, an eco-conscious boutique hotel in Playa Hermosa. It's right on the beach and away from the crowds. You can enjoy kayaking and paddle boarding here, relax in the pool, and dine in the restaurant.
Caribbean Boutique Beach Hotels in Costa Rica
Le Cameleon is a beautiful beach hotel in the Caribbean community of Puerto Viejo, on the golden sands of Playa Cocles. You'll find A/C, cable TV, wi-fi, and an iPod dock in each room. The room colors change daily, adding flair to the contemporary decor. This hotel offers a pool, yoga classes, live music, happy hour, and spa treatments.
Osa Peninsula Boutique Hotels
The Osa Peninsula is also known for its boutique eco-hotels.
This off-the-grid location in the far south of Costa Rica is mostly free of big chain resorts, adding to its charm and allure.
The Osa is a favorite among nature enthusiasts because it's largely untouched due to the vast Corcovado National Park down here, home to big cats, monkeys, tapirs, and more.
Copa de Arbol is a secluded jungle hideaway, minutes from the beach, with spacious cabins and a spectacular, multi-level infinity pool. It's the only hotel in the area with A/C.
Santa Teresa, Costa Rica Boutique Hotels
Nantipa is a beachfront hotel in Santa Teresa on the Nicoya Peninsula, another community known for its laid back lifestyle and boutique hotels.
Enjoy fresh fish and fall asleep to the sounds of nature, spend lazy spa afternoons after surfy mornings.
Boutique Hotels near Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
Manuel Antonio has a great feel because there are only boutique hotels, creating a special kind of tourist town. You won't find a main chain hotel here. Take your pick from the myriad of options in this beautiful part of Costa Rica.
Adults-Only Boutique Hotels Costa Rica
Are you seeking some glamor and romance? The Kura Boutique Hotel in Uvita is the place to be. Kura is a small hotel accommodating a maximum of twelve adult guests.
It's never crowded and is always relaxing.
The sleek, spacious villas come with a king size bed, covered terrace, hammock for two, and double rain glass showers with panoramic views. Each villa has binoculars so guests can check out birds or even whales out in the ocean down below.
Three Sixty is another adults-only boutique hotel in Uvita with a, you guessed it, 360-degree view of the Pacific coastline. You'll find this place on a jungle-clad hillside overlooking the Pacific Ocean with access to nature all around.
We have a great relationship with our boutique hotels and we appreciate them for the high-quality experiences they provide our clients. To start planning your boutique experience, give us a call.
FAQs About Best Boutique Hotels in Costa Rica
What is the best part of Costa Rica to stay?
It depends on your preferences. if you like sunshine and beaches, Guanacaste is best. A surf and party vibe? Jaco. Nature and rainforests in an easy location? Manuel Antonio. Cooler climates and birdwatching? Monteverde. Hot springs and volcanoes? Arenal. We suggest choosing a smaller boutique hotel for the best-personalized service in any of these places.
Where should I stay my first time in Costa Rica?
If it's your first time in Costa Rica, why not try out a few locations? Many people like to combine 2-3 spots, depending on the amount of time they have. Some common combinations are Arenal or Monteverde with Manuel Antonio or Guanacaste.
Can you stay in the rainforest in Costa Rica?
Yes, and we recommend you don't leave Costa Rica before experiencing the rainforest. Some of the very best boutique hotels are in the rainforest.