More folks experience luxury travel to invest in the self. Travelers crave a different kind of luxury these days, as more hotels offer the five-star experience. They aren’t looking at the number of stars anymore, nor do they desire to frequent the places that celebrities tend to go. Tourist traps are out, and authentic, experiential luxury travel is in.

Luxury travel is no longer about the biggest, most lavish places and amenities anymore. People feel more interested in luxury experience. Among millennials, 78% spend on experiences over material possessions, and statistics show the experiential luxury sector continually outperforms other categories of luxury goods.

Today, luxury travel centers more around curated experiences that allow travelers to get away, broaden their horizons and experience a culture authentically without getting swamped by the pretense of globalization.

Small is big, and Costa Rica is making a big splash in luxury tourism.

Hoteliers shouldn’t think of luxury experiences as a trip behind the velvet rope. Luxury tourism isn’t classist — in fact, it opens doors for those with moderate incomes to splurge on experiences where precise details are curated for deeper needs and based on the surrounding area. Luxury, in this case, is about the meaningful details.

A traveler, who is also a foodie, may camp out for the dining experience of having a personal chef on site to prepare true local cuisines. It’s not about piling on over-the-top experiences. It’s placing the extraordinary within the ordinary and getting away to a country like Costa Rica is already out of the ordinary. What seems ordinary to locals will offer comfort and something new to luxury travelers.

Trending Destinations and Experiences in Costa Rica

While Costa Rica is a premier ecotourism destination, roughly a decade ago, the only places visitors found comfort in were a few hotels for those traveling for business and the odd luxury property for rent.

Now, luxurious hotels and resorts spring up around trending destinations and experiences in Costa Rica, but there’s much unique and personal to be found in these popular places.

Papagayo
For travelers who want a posh experience, the Gulf of Papagayo is the place to go in Costa Rica. Sparkling beaches line the Guanacaste Province in the northwest.

The Papagayo Peninsula serves as one of Costa Rica’s most luxurious destinations. The location is accessible from the Liberia (LIR) airport. Guests can personalize their experience through the rental of a lavish property or stay in a premier hotel, such as the Four Seasons Papagayo and Secrets. The region also offers spas, golf courses and white sand beaches.

Manuel Antonio
Visitors, especially honeymooners, flock to Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica for its untouched beauty and closeness to the San Jose airport (SJO). Manuel Antonio National Park is a popular ecotourism destination, along with Central America’s largest marina — Marina Pez Vela.

Pacuare River
Visitors seeking a unique experience wind down the narrow gorge of the Pacuare River to reach the Pacuare Lodge, a restored Spanish Colonial house with 14 suites that also serves as a coffee plantation. The poro and banana trees enrich the volcanic soil — visitors have access to limited hours of electricity on the self-sustaining plantation, but that doesn’t mean missing out on luxury.

An open-air restaurant serves all meals on a beautiful deck overlooking the natural area. Visitors have access to wildlife prowls and discovery hikes, along with trips to nearby villages. Once the trip is over, going back home means a trip again down the Pacuare River.

The Cloud Forests
Travelers escape the humidity and lowland heat with a visit to Costa Rica’s famous Cloud Forests. The landscape unfolds among a series of volcanoes and mountains where misty cloud forests please the eye and rare plants and other species reside. Visitors can dwell in the sky in a luxurious mountain lodge. The most popular forest is Monteverde, but those who shy away from crowds know it’s best to move on to Tenorio, Maravalles, Braulio Carrillo and Los Quetzales, among others.

From the Gulf of Papagayo to the Cloud Forests, Costa Rica is a flourishing gem for luxury tourism. Modern luxury travel doesn’t come pre-packaged in a chic brochure handed to a traveler by their agent. Today, the industry affords more interconnected cultural experiences outside the anticipated and expected.

Not long ago, many came to Costa Rica to backpack or for business, but the country is diverse for nature lovers, foodies and more. It’s safe and one of the oldest democratic nations in the world, with more than 2 million visitors annually  — luxury travelers look to make a social impact with their dollar while getting the finest experiences. Costa Rica aims to be carbon-neutral by 2021, so its focus on environmentalism brings tourists in.


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