When it comes to lodging options for visitors to Costa Rica, the selection is about as wide-ranging as the country’s incredible biodiversity.
Travelers can go the all-inclusive route at a big beach resort, such as the Riu Gunacaste or Occidental Papagayo, or brave canopy life at a rustic tree house hotel.
Surfers and yoga lovers have retreat after retreat dedicated to their respective pursuits, and hot springs seekers can try the healing waters at dozens of resorts with on-site thermal springs. And for those who dream of finding a sweet little bungalow to call their very own, there are plenty of hotels whose room choices include private, porched casitas.
Alma del Pacifico Beach Hotel & Spa
Alma del Pacifico Beach Hotel & Spa is an upscale beachfront hideaway with a laid-back vibe and attention-grabbing design — its rooms, restaurant, spa, and pool area all exude oodles of color and character.
The 20 bungalows and villas are laid across four acres of well-kept grounds, and all have dazzling, open-plan layouts that include wet bars and private terraces. Sofa beds, kitchenettes with coffeemakers and minibars, flat-screen TVs, and free Wi-Fi are all standard.
The hotel’s lawn eventually gives way to the gray-black sands of Playa Esterillos.
There are few other hotels found on this long beach, which means guests often have it completely to themselves (in addition to the hotel’s side-by-side swimming pools with pretty mosaics and small whirlpool).
The hotel’s restaurant and bar, Mosaic, is quite romantic, with an open side that offers wonderful ocean views.
Finca Luna Nueva Lodge
Dedicated to saving the rain forest, this 200-plus-acre farm hotel has a mellow collection of large plantation-style houses and small bungalows.
Rooms are large but relatively spartan, without the modern comforts that are now standard in most hotel rooms. In most cases, expect a ceiling fan instead of AC, no fridge, safe, or Wi-Fi, and definitely no TV (the hotel is focused on promoting guests’ connection to nature, not Hollywood).
A few guests have complained about the water temperature in the showers not getting hot enough. But guests who love birding and farming don’t mind Finca Luna’s creature-comfort shortcomings.
Hotel Shawandha Lodge
The Aztec-inspired Shawandha Lodge is ideal for small groups who want to be surrounded by nature without sacrificing certain hotel staples.
The 12 bungalows have ample space between them, plus one-of-a-kind mosaic bathrooms and front porches with cushioned benches and hammocks. They vary in size and decorative details, but are generally spacious and airy with screened windows and ceiling fans. Woody interiors have a simple elegance about them with African and Aztec wall art and carved wood closet doors.
Some bungalows come with extra twin-size beds in the same room that can also double as couches. There is no-air conditioning, TVs, or mosquito nets in any of the rooms.
Shawandha Lodge is well-known for its fine-dining restaurant (healthy breakfasts are included in the rates), and the property also features a large garden pool with a waterfall and a 400-year-old Ceibo tree.
Puerto Viejo’s three-pearl Korrigan Lodge is a one of the area’s better spots for jungle seclusion.
Housed within the Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge, the bed-and-breakfast’s four quaint bungalows and open-air reception area are totally surrounded by high trees, bright flowers, thick shrubbery, and fauna such as monkeys, sloths, exotic birds, and frogs.
It’s just a five-minute walk from the white-sand beach of Punta Uva, one of the best stretches in the area and a snorkel haven. The restaurants, shops, bars, and nightlife in central Puerto Viejo are a 15-minute drive, and it’s under a 10-minute drive to the Parada Jaguar Rescue Center.
Latitude 10 Beachfront Resort
Set along a quiet stretch of Santa Teresa’s gorgeous surfer beach, the oceanfront Latitude 10 was a private vacation home until 2011, when the owner converted his getaway into a boutique resort.
It’s managed by the Cayuga Collection, and similar to the company’s other properties, it focuses on environmentally sustainable stays. Expect locally sourced ingredients in the restaurant, a chlorine-free pool, and no plastics.
The resort’s casitas are scattered throughout lush, jungle-filled grounds interwoven with stone pathways, palm trees, and blossoming flowers. Rooms are set apart from one another and feel secluded.
All include private balconies and amazing open-air bathrooms, but keep in mind that they aren’t air-conditioned and there are no TVs. Generous freebies range from tasty breakfasts to yoga and Pilates classes to boogie boards, bikes, and snorkeling equipment.
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Whether tucked into the solitude of the jungle or steps away from a pretty beach, these are some of the most enchanting bungalows we’ve come across in Costa Rica.