Costa Rica is known for its lush rainforests, friendly locals and top-notch resorts, but did you know it is also a cost-effective vacation spot? Travel Channel and Oyster.com have scoured the Pacific and Caribbean beaches of Costa Rica to find the hotels and resorts offering the best bang for your buck. Check it out!
Gaia is one of the top luxury properties in Costa Rica, but it's also one of the country's best values: The prices are often surprisingly affordable for the level of luxury you get, and freebies abound (an a la carte breakfast, Wi-Fi and a mini spa treatment, to name a few). Tucked into the hillside of a 14-acre nature reserve, Gaia feels appropriately exclusive and private, and has the attentive, personalized service to match. Rooms are spacious and airy, and the great views are never-ending. Keep your eyes peeled for iguanas, sloths, and the like.
A sprawling resort in an area of mostly boutique-sized hotels, Hotel Parador is a relaxed, family-friendly property perched high above the ocean. It's not particularly luxurious or upscale (though we love the newer rooms in the Parador Suites building), but it keeps guests happy with several restaurants and bars, 3 pools, a tennis court, a relaxing spa and great ocean views.
For a small hotel, this 54-room boutique has a lot to offer: A beautiful hot springs pool complex with natural thermal waters, great views of Arenal volcano, a lovely spa, a bar with an outdoor terrace and an on-site restaurant. Contemporary rooms all have volcano views, but the property feels more developed, and less lush, than others in the area. All in all, though, it delivers the most bang for your buck in the La Fortuna area.
Despite being part of the Marriott chain, this hotel has a lot of character. The Spanish design influence is everywhere, from the terra cotta roofs, to the colorful porcelain tiling, to the central courtyard around which the hotel is wrapped. But although there's plenty to do on the property (driving range, tennis court, spa), the hotel isn't in a very exciting area, and most travelers will prefer to stay in other parts of Costa Rica.
This former Victorian mansion turned intimate, 40-room hotel features large, homey rooms, a rooftop Jacuzzi, and a renowned fine dining restaurant. Antiques, tinkling fountains, wood floors and artful flower arrangements make it feel like you might be staying in the home of a wealthy colonial-era plantation owner. But it lacks the features a larger hotel -- there's no business center, fitness center, pool or spa.