For such a small country, Costa Rica packs quite a punch. From jungles to beaches to volcanos and wildlife, Costa Rica has it all. For American vacationers and travelers wanting something close to home but a little more exotic than the typical Mexican getaway, Costa Rica is undoubtedly the spot.
Costa Rica is a paradise that accommodates any type of traveler. From the adventurous spring breaker on a budget to a family going on an extravagant vacation, there is something in Costa Rica to fall in love with. I loved exploring the jungles of one of the most biodiverse countries in the world. At the same time, I could laze away at any of Costa Rica’s marvelous beaches.
I promise that you will find something in Costa Rica to love, but where you stay can make or break your entire vacation. Whether it’s a lousy hostel or a resort with rude staff, sometimes your vacation is at the mercy of other people, and it might not take much for something to happen to put you in a sour mood for the rest of your day or even your trip. I recently discovered Luxury Retreats, which is a little bit like Airbnb, but offers the most amazing and luxurious villas.
I highly recommend looking into renting one of their Costa Rica vacation homes during your time in Costa Rica. Their selection in Costa Rica is plentiful, and you’re bound to find something both extravagant and within your budget. It’s perfect for families, romantic getaways, and even for younger backpackers who might think something like this is out of reach financially. Get a big enough group to split the cost and it won’t be far off the price of a Costa Rican hostel bed for exponentially more luxury. Treat yo’ self.
Like I said earlier, Costa Rica is a small country. You can drive across the entire country in a day if you really wanted, but that doesn’t mean it is short on things to do and places to see. Here are five of the best cities to visit on your vacation to Costa Rica, along with a stunning suggestion on where to call home.
Tamarindo is Costa Rica’s most popular beach getaway spot for locals and tourists alike. Tamarindo is a popular spot to learn how to surf, but even if you are not interested in that, this beach paradise is very much worth going to. I went to Tamarindo and the long stretch of beaches meant that we could always find a nice secluded spot no matter how many people were there.
Where to stay: Casa Lomas Del Mar
Jacó is a unique little community in Costa Rica. It is kind of a beachside hippie-surfer haven with great vibes all throughout the city. It is one of the best places in Costa Rica to accidentally spend a lot of time in, as you can easily laze the days away by going to the beach, shopping, and eating great food.
Where to stay: La Costa
Santa Teresa is one of Costa Rica’s more relaxed beach destinations. It’s not as famous as some of the other destinations in Costa Rica yet, and it is a bit harder to get to than the other beach cities, so you’ll have a little more privacy and seclusion than somewhere like Tamarindo. There’s plenty to do here, and most visitors spend their time surfing, going to the beach, or exploring the diverse nature Costa Rica offers.
Where to stay: Casa Capitan
The gulf of Papagayo is a part of Costa Rica’s famous Gold Coast, where you can swim in the beautiful Pacific Ocean. It is definitely a popular splurge vacation spot that couples can retreat to and avoid the hustle and bustle of your typical tourist area.
Where to stay: Los Poncho
Manuel Antonio gives you the best of both worlds by combining Costa Rica’s jungles, diverse wildlife, and pristine beaches. Manuel Antonio National Park has some of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen, and the fact that you can see monkeys and sloths up close is an added bonus. Manuel Antonio might have been my favorite stop in all of Costa Rica.
Where to stay: Villa Paraiso – Manuel Antonio
I cannot say enough good things about Costa Rica, and it is no surprise to me that that is where I’ve met the most diverse group of travelers. From young backpackers to families, couples, and retirees from all over the world, Costa Rica attracts all sorts of visitors. Compared to its other Central American neighbors, Costa Rica is by far the most welcoming to travelers in terms of both people and infrastructure. The Costa Ricans are a passionate people that love their country, and unlike some other countries, gladly and willingly welcome travelers to fall in love with their country as well.
They have a saying over there, Pura Vida. Translated literally, it means pure life, and although it is used for many things aside from its literal translation, I think it describes Costa Rica perfectly. When you are in Costa Rica, you are purely living and experiencing the best that life has to offer. This destination is a paradise unlike any other, and I encourage you to make the most out of your trip here.
Pura Vida, mae.