Lounge at Andaz Costa Rica, Costa Rica

Andaz Costa Rica

The Andaz Costa Rica, the second luxury hotel for the brand, is situated on the beautiful Peninsula Papagayo with breathtaking views from the entire property. Tucked away in a lush rainforest, the Andaz is a modern oasis, and the open-air design and neutral color scheme blend right into the tropical surroundings.

The resort has 153 sleek guest rooms and 21 suites, including four with plunge pools, and a two-bedroom presidential suite with a full pool. Each of the accommodations offers partial or full views of the bay through floor-to-ceiling windows. The décor is sleek and modern, while still being authentically Costa Rican with natural wood furnishings and rattan fabrics. The rooms also offer a complimentary minibar and WiFi, along with such beach essentials as flip-flops and straw beach hats for use during one's stay.

The hotel boasts two infinity-edge pools with views of the sea, one geared towards families and the other adults-only. The beach has complimentary activities, including kayaking, snorkeling and paddle boarding in the crystalline waters of Culebra Bay. There is also a Kids’ Club for children ages 4-12 that offers games, activities and art projects. The spa and wellness center is located in the leafy forest, providing treatments in a spectacular setting. There are two restaurants on property serving Latin American-inspired cuisine and a tapas and cocktail bar on the terrace with lovely views.

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El Mangroove

This chicly appointed El Mangroove is an excellent option for couples in search of a full-service resort experience at a lower price than the neighboring Four Seasons and Andaz.

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Bedroom at Finca Rosa Blanca, Costa Rica

Finca Rosa Blanca

Despite being situated so close to downtown San José, the tree-shaded Finca Rosa Blanca feels a world away from the craze of Costa Rica’s largest city. This is, in part, due to its location 4,000 feet above sea level (which makes for sweeping city views) and setting within one of the region’s best organic coffee plantations. The hotel’s distinct home-like charm can be attributed to its former life as the owner’s personal residence.

Spread among lush gardens, each of the 13 rooms and suites are done in an eclectic style, with vibrant murals adorning the walls and hand-painted tiles adding personality to the bathrooms. The quirky décor tends towards the bohemian side, but is nonetheless perfectly comfortable, and the property does have pampering amenities like a pool and spa, as well as air conditioning and WiFi (although it is intermittent).

The star attraction at Finca Rosa Blanca is the coffee plantation tour, where guests learn each step of the coffee bean growing process and can participate during harvest season (winter). Even those who don’t do the tour can experience the caffeinated specialty during a coffee-rub at the spa or at El Tigre Vestido restaurant; the al fresco dining room is known for its grilled chicken in a tamarind-coffee sauce, as well as other regional dishes.

Indagare Tip: Families spending a night at Finca Rosa Blanca should arrange a tour at the animal sanctuary nearby, which often has baby sloths. Indagare members can contact the Bookings Team to arrange a tour.

Aerial View of beach at Four Seasons Costa Rica

Four Seasons Peninsula Papagayo, Costa Rica

An equally wonderful place for couples or families, Four Seasons Costa Rica is perfect for travelers looking for a mixture of adventure and relaxation with five-star service, excellent food and luxurious surroundings.

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Pool view at Hacienda Altagracia in Costa Rica with reflection of umbrellas

Hacienda AltaGracia, Auberge Resorts Collection

A restorative resort in the Costa Rican countryside, Hacienda AltaGracia, an Auberge Resort offers a adventurous activities and a spa by The Well.

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Bedroom at Harmony Hotel, Costa Rica

Harmony Hotel

Sticking with the pura vida theme of Costa Rica, the Harmony Hotel emphasizes the natural environment with simple décor that uses only sustainable materials. The rooms feel fresh and airy and all are equipped with air conditioning (not a given in Costa Rica), fans, Wi-Fi and bathroom products made exclusively for the hotel with local ingredients. Located in the sleepy surf town of Nosara, the Harmony Hotel can have slower service than visitors might be used to, but it is the best accommodation option in the immediate area. With only 24 guest rooms, the hotel has boutique feel, but also boasts two open-air yoga studios, a pool, library, smoothie bar, healing center and one of the best restaurants in the region.

The Harmony is one of the only upscale options in Nosara, but it remains entirely family friendly. There is no nightlife, and the relaxed vibe is one that encourages rejuvenation, quiet and an early bedtime. Nosara boasts three different beaches, all of which are within walking distance of the hotel (the closest happens to be the best). There is also a nice array of restaurants and shops nearby.

Pool Lounge at  Kurà Design Villas, Costa Rica

Kurà Design Villas

Owned by a husband-and-wife architect-biologist duo, Kurà villas is a fusion of two seemingly opposite design aesthetics. The six one-bedroom villas are shockingly modern with in-room iPads, mod furnishings and red lighting in the bathrooms, and yet, the owners eschewed high-tech appliances in favor of low-impact ones like the solar panels used to power the property. This focus on recycling carries over to the resort furnishings, which feature bamboo ceilings, local wood furniture and a salt-water infinity pool. Double rainfall showers and two-person hammocks in each villa add a romantic element to the accommodations.

Set between the jungle and beach on Costa Rica’s southwestern coast, Kurà is perfectly positioned for guests who are looking for diverse activities. When not lounging by the infinity pool or at the spa, guests can explore the region surrounding the property. Water sports on offer include kayaking, surfing, white-water rafting and scuba diving, while those who wish to stay on land can go hiking, horseback riding or arrange a day trip to the Corcovado National Park or Caño Island Biological Reserve.

For such a small property, Kurà has a wide range of dining options. Sky lounge offers stunning 360-degree views, Diablitos bar serves indulgent piña coladas and the main restaurant focuses on fresh, Costa Rican fusion cuisine. Should guests tire of the on-property options, the nearby town of Ojochal offers a number of excellent restaurants. The resort also has luxurious amenities (air conditioning, WiFi) not found in all Costa Rican hotels, and while it does not have a gym, yoga lessons can be arranged.

Pool Lounge at Lapa Rios Eco Lodge & Wildlife Reserve, Costa Rica, Costa Rica

Lapa Rios Eco Lodge & Wildlife Reserve

In 1993, when John and Karen Lewis purchased this tract of land on the Osa Peninsula, they became the owners of Central America’s last remaining lowland tropical rainforest. Striking a balance between beach and jungle environments, Lapa Rios, a sustainable eco lodge that sits 350 feet above sea level, is now a harmonious part of its surrounding ecosystem. The sixteen private bungalows were built using local materials and feature thatched roofs, bamboo details, outdoor showers in the gardens and hammocks for lounging amid nature. The property features a swimming pool, restaurant, bar, spa and yoga pavilion. Unwinding is strongly encouraged—Lapa Rios does not have Internet or cell service.

The lodge offers numerous activities, most of which encourage submersion in the local environment and culture. Activities range from jungle-centric bird-watching hikes, zip-line tours and naturalist-led walks to oceanfront options like surfing, paddle boarding and dolphin and whale watching. Many day trips allow guests to engage with the local community; kids can play soccer during recess at the local Carbonera School and guests are invited to visit local sustainable projects. The property hosts a small roster of talks and shows each night, so guests can learn about the local wildlife (the Osa Peninsula boasts five of the six cat species found in Costa Rica (including the puma and jaguar), polish their skills at a Spanish lesson or enjoy a dance performance by local children.

The hotel restaurant, Brisa Azul, offers international cuisine infused with local tropical flavors. Many are surprised to learn that Lapa Rios does not employ a classically trained chef; several skilled locals helm the kitchen and turn out excellent and authentically Costa Rican meals. Mornings begin with complimentary room service coffee, hot chocolate or tea, placed in a basket at your doorstep to enjoy when you wake. Meals incorporate fresh, local products, so lunch could consist of gazpacho and fish tacos, while dinner might include sweet potato and quinoa patties followed by the plantain leaf–wrapped fish of the day.

Note that Lapa Rios has no air-conditioning and because the resort sits on a ridge, moderately strenuous uphill walking is necessary. Room service is also unavailable, because food in the accommodations can attract animals.

Villa at Nayara Springs, Costa Rica

Nayara Springs

Set deep in the jungle canopy, the peaceful Nayara Springs hotel sits in the shadow of the Arenal Volcano, which soars 5,000 feet high and dominates the skyline. While it was once the most active volcano in Costa Rica, the now relatively quiet landmark is one of the main reasons to visit the area and provides a constant reminder of the contrasting beauty and power of nature.

Within the same resort complex as sister properties Nayara Tented Camp and Nayara Spa & Gardens, Nayara Springs is geared towards couples and families with older children (kids under 18 are not allowed), and the serene atmosphere is immediately felt. The hotel has 35 villas, each with a private garden, an outdoor shower and a terrace with a Jacuzzi (fed by natural hot springs). Each room also features air conditioning, a TV and there is WiFi throughout the entire property.

Because of Nayara’s jungle setting, birds can be heard from almost anywhere on the property, providing a welcome soundtrack to your stay. Most of the activities engage the environment including the volcano tour or horseback ride to La Fortuna waterfall; the spa features dozens of delightful treatments that incorporate local traditions and ingredients, like the volcanic mud massage. Aside from the spa, wellness-seekers can enjoy daily yoga lessons, the resort’s small but well-equipped gym or afternoons spent leisurely by the pool.

While the resort emanates a soothing vibe, the décor provides a punch of color and personality. The villas feature an eclectic mish-mash of décor, with zebra-print footstools, crystal chandeliers and vibrant woven hammocks adding flair to the charming resort. While the Springs has two restaurants, Amor Loco and Mis Amores, guests can dine at any of the three restaurants at the Spa & Gardens, which includes La Terraza Del Arenal, Asia-Luna and Nostalgia Wine & Tapas. Reservations for all dining at Nayara are definitely recommended!

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two tiered infinity pool lined with white and wooden lounge chairs

Nayara Tented Camp

Secluded within Costa Rica's wilderness, this retreat blends sophisticated and luxurious accommodations with nature’s untamed beauty.

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Lounge at Pacuare Lodge, Costa Rica

Pacuare Lodge

Pacuare lodge’s uniqueness is evident upon arrival. There are only three ways to access Pacuare: hanging gondola after a 4x4 off-roading drive, white-water raft or helicopter. The remote eco-lodge was one of the first of its kind when it opened in 1993, and since that time, has grown to include 340 acres of protected land, which reside within a much larger 25,000-acre swath of protected rainforest. While the property has expanded, its heart and soul has remained the same; once one of National Geographic’s Unique Lodges of the World, the minimalist Pacuare is a tree house–like playground focused on eco-friendly initiatives, the joyful simplicity of unbridled nature and adrenaline-pumping adventure.

Harmoniously set among the lush landscape are the 20 standalone villas, spa, office and main pavilion complete with the restaurant and bar. The lodge is located along the banks of the Pacuare River bordering the indigenous Cabecar community, and the best rooms front the surging waters, making for spectacular views and a calming soundtrack in the evenings. However, those looking for peace and quiet should opt for one of the honeymoon suites tucked higher on the hillside or the Canopy Villa in the treetops. Regardless, all the rooms—which are basic but comfortable—blend in with the environment thanks to touches like thatched roofs made by local carpenters and the open plan for natural ventilation. All have indoor and outdoor showers, and some even include an outdoor bathtub. There is WiFi in all the rooms (though don’t expect it to be particularly reliable.

The activities on offer at Pacuare encourage guests to engage with nature and explore the acres of land surrounding the property. Even the pampering spa does so, with open-air pavilions overlooking the river and local, natural products. There is a tireless roster of activities that includes white-water rafting, zip-lining, waterfall hikes and bird-watching tours, as well as socially conscious excursions like visiting the indigenous village nearby and learning about the resort’s sustainability efforts. The property also has a lap pool stretching out towards the river below.

The restaurant serves simple but uber-fresh cuisine on the main patio overlooking the rushing Pacuare river (with much of the produce grown in the property’s garden). During lunchtime, guests can choose from one of four entrées (think grilled chicken and avocado salad with still-warm pita bread) before selecting their preferences for that evening’s dinner (in an effort to minimize waste). The most memorable culinary experience to book is a meal at The Nest, a dining platform set 60 feet in the air and reached via a nearly 400-foot long zip line. The pavilion, which holds four people, is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner (by candlelight).

Indagare Tip: While the one-hour whitewater rafting trip to reach the property is a unique and enjoyable way to reach the lodge, don’s miss the more exhilarating three to four hour rafting trip out of the property, which includes Class III and IV rapids.

Pool Lounge at Exterior View - Villa Rentals, Costa Rica

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