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Where are the Top 6 vacation locations in Costa Rica?

Anthea Graham By Anthea Graham
14 Jun 2021
Costa Rica - Kura villas abseiling.jpg

Aptly nicknamed ‘The adventure capital of Central America’, Costa Rica is the place to make you feel alive and raise the pulse. You don’t have to rough it to get your adrenalin kick, there are now some gorgeous hotels and lodges to stay in – between the thrills!

From the Central Highlands, down to biodiverse Osa Peninsula, there is so much to keep you on the go in Costa Rica. You can even head to the beautiful coastline for some down time after your action-packed adventure! Here are my top recommendations for amazing places to stay during your luxury holiday to Costa Rica:


1. Pacuare Lodge, Talamanca Mountains

My absolute number one favourite place to stay in Costa Rica for an adrenaline shot has to be Pacuare Lodge. Reachable by raft, this luxury rainforest eco-retreat on the edge of the Pacuare River feels a world away from modern life.

It is powered by wind and solar, so the rustic suites are candlelit at night. The most spectacular being the Canopy Suite reached by a private suspension bridge with a welcoming four-poster bed and your own spring water-fed pool. For an exhilarating dining experience, book The Nest, a platform with a table for two in a ceiba tree reached by zip-line!


The privacy and seclusion are complemented by outdoor adventures in the surrounding forest and valleys that include options such a zip-line canopy tour, canyoning experience and rafting on the white-water river.

It all makes for the perfect adventure for families and couples alike. As a part of your trip, you can arrange a hike to a remote Cabecar Indian community. Their location is not easy to access so the walk takes two hours or more to reach one of the villages, but it is such an extraordinary experience that it is worth the trek.


2 Nayara Springs and Nayara Tented, Arenal

Arenal is a must if you love the idea of wallowing like a happy hippo at the end of a fun filled day with glass in hand. Slathered in volcanic mud, slip into the warm therapeutic hot springs that bubble up from the mountainsides and watch the stars appear one by one.

There are swinging bridges, hikes to La Fortuna Waterfall, aerial tram or ziplining through the forest canopy, kayaking or paddle boarding on Lake Arenal, caves and visits to Cano Negro National Wildlife refuge.


Adult-only Nayara Springs is fabulous and less than a 30-minute drive from the cone-topped Arenal volcano. There are 16 spacious villas here, with hot tubs on the deck fed by natural springs, and decadent bedrooms. The romantic villas have four-poster beds, vast bathrooms and decks with hot tubs filled from a nearby natural spring.

The newly opened Nayara Tented is equally luxurious, and families are welcome too. There is a spacious family unit to share and some of the tents are also linked together with a covered walkway to accommodate two couples or a family of up to four children. Inspired by African safaris but conceived in the tropical Costa Rican rainforest, the tents are a mix of sustainable luxury with a “Pura Vida” vibe.


Whatever your needs, the team is passionate about making sure your experiences are unique —some thrilling, some relaxing, all awe-inspiring. The private guides will let you explore the rainforest at your own pace, stopping for a snack if you’re hungry, or racing to the top of a hill if you’re up to it.

Costa Rica is home to over 900 bird species, and Arenal has plenty of tanagers, hummingbirds, toucans, and oropendolas. The birds, multi-coloured frogs and amphibians, volcano craters, and exotic plants all make for a unique region to explore on foot.


3 Lapa Rios, Osa Peninsula

To go to Costa Rica and miss out the Osa Peninsula is a tragedy… here you will find the most amazing species and just getting here by those wonderful light aircraft planes gives you a whole new perspective on this amazing place. Land on the simple grassy airstrip and you will feel a sense of wonder and excitement for the adventure ahead.

I love Lapa Rios, which sits on a forested ridge overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The lodge’s 930-acre nature reserve is home to more than 300 bird species and you might spot toucans, scarlet macaws, squirrel monkeys and other wildlife from your room, the pool area, or the restaurant. Your fun and knowledgeable guides will take you out to experience all this surrounding biodiversity.


4 Kasiiya Papagayo, Pacific Coast

Set on its own peninsula in the forest and home to monkeys, whales, dolphins, rare birds and other species, this is Costa Rica´s first tented luxury camp. Kasiiya Papagayo sits effortlessly within its natural surroundings on a private peninsula with access to two pristine private beaches. With just five spacious tented suites set in the hillside, you have 123 acres pretty much to yourselves.

Personalized experiences are planned from snorkelling to whale watching, yoga on their jungle platform, paddle boarding, tree climbing and kayak and jungle tours, plus special night ventures to follow baby turtles on their first journey.


5 Kura Design Villas, Bahía Ballena Coast

Named after the humpbacks that visit in season and perched above the sea overlooking the Bahía Ballena coastline, Kura Villas is a very high-end boutique property with only eight suites. It has amazing views and is just top notch in every aspect, from the spa, the food to the outstanding service.

Sip cocktails from the dramatic salt-water infinity pool with underwater sound system and relax in those sleek, sensual rooms with their bamboo ceilings, teak shutters each with terraces featuring double-width hammocks and a panoramic view over the Pacific.


Guests can walk the Punta Uvita Whale Tail during low tide or hike the lush rainforest trails. Swimming conditions are ideal at the beaches, and you can go riding, kayaking, hiking, swim in waterfalls, canopy tours or scuba diving can be arranged.

6 Nantipa, Santa Teresa, Nicoya Peninsula

Another option for you to end your adventure holiday is Nantipa – which is great for families and couples who love a Tulum-like hip retreat. Situated right on the beachfront in a laid back, surfer vibe area there are fun bars nearby, and plentiful fresh delicious food to enjoy.

For a real all-over wellness experience, you can be led by your own personal practitioner to guide you through active meditation, various kinds of life-coaching sessions, Ayurvedic therapy, and sound healing.


After what seems like an eternity pent up and ready to burst out onto the wonderful world we have missed, don’t hesitate, zip over to Costa Rica on a direct flight from London or the USA to immerse yourself in the pristine environs and feel truly alive. Experience first-hand their ‘Pura Vida’ (pure life)!

If you would like any more information about Costa Rica or other locations for a luxury adventure holiday please do feel free to get in touch. Or, if you would just like to dream for now, you can do so at our Video Library.


Images by kind courtesy of Kura Design Villas, Pacuare Lodge, Kasiiya Papagayo, Lapa Rios, Nantipa, Nayara Resorts.