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Where to Stay in Costa Rica on the Beach – 20 Best Places

Where to Stay in Costa Rica on the Beach – 20 Best Places

Costa Rica is one of the happiest countries in the world. Its landscape, with more than 200 volcanic formations, wonderful national parks, and beautiful beaches, is stunning. Costa Rica’s tropical paradise in Central America is home to more than 900 species of colorful birds and 500,000 other exotic species.

Costa Rica is my favorite place to visit for a well-needed break from the day-to-day hustle and bustle of work and technology. Still, it more than caters to active travelers looking for outdoor adventures too.

Costa Rica is perfect for family or friend events, long vacations, and weekend getaways. It has accommodation options for every budget, including all-inclusive beach resorts, luxury properties with ocean views, cost-friendly budget hotels and dorm rooms, and many activities to create new experiences. 

Looking for where to stay in Costa Rica on the beach? Here are the best places to stay for your Costa Rica vacation.

1. JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort & Spa Top Recommendation

Live the essence of Costa Rican in a luxury hacienda style resort in Guanacaste. This resort & spa sits oceanfront and is surrounded by the beauty of Costa Rican rich biodiversity. Located right at Mansita beach, guests can choose from 4 other beaches within Hacienda Pinilla.

2. The Westin Reserva Conchal, an All-Inclusive Golf Resort & Spa

The Westin Reserva Conchal is located in the heart of Costa Rica's North Pacific Riviera, just 15 minutes away from Tamarindo. While it may be close to the action, this luxury all-inclusive resort and spa is quite removed from it all. After enjoying a morning exploring Playa Conchal Beach or getting some exercise at the on-site gym and tennis courts, return to your suite to relax by the outdoor pool or soak in one of two outdoor Jacuzzis.

3. Andaz Costa Rica Resort at Peninsula Papagayo

Andaz Costa Rica Resort at Peninsula Papagayo – A concept by Hyatt is a luxurious resort located in the Costa Rican jungle near Culebra. The resort boasts an on-site spa and gym, plus a swimming pool and 3 on-site restaurants. There is also a tennis court, water sports on-site or zip-line between trees and canopies. Couples particularly like the location.

Best Places to Stay in Costa Rica On the Beach

1. JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort

Aerial view of JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort
JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort / Booking.com

The JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort is a five-star beachfront hotel located on the coast of Northwestern Costa Rica. It’s an excellent spot for families because it offers many amenities for everyone to enjoy, such as golf and tennis courts, mountain bikes, and indoor boogie boarding and surfing.

The resort has seven on-site restaurants, two wet bars, and a cafe. Parents get to enjoy relaxing spa treatments as well as yoga sessions, fitness training, and walking trails.

The JW Marriott kids’ club allows children to enjoy ping pong, chess, foosball, and movie nights. The resort is also pet-friendly and has easy access to three nearby beaches for the family to enjoy. Even though the resort is huge, the beaches are typically less crowded, giving families the space to enjoy swimming and snorkeling safely.

Pros:

  • Family-friendly
  • Multiple nearby beaches
  • Lots of onsite activities
  • Spa
  • Several restaurants

Cons:

  • Far from off-property locations
  • Expensive but not all-inclusive

See Related: Best Tropical Vacation Spots in the World

2. Andaz Peninsula Papagayo Resort

Aerial view of Andaz Peninsula Papagayo Resort
Andaz Peninsula Papagayo Resort / Booking.com

The Andaz Costa Rica Peninsula Papagayo Resort is another family-friendly resort that’s suitable for those who want a more high-end experience. It’s one of the best beach resorts in Costa Rica, overlooking the Gulf of Papagayo, and featuring floral designs from the local Guanacaste province.

This resort provides a beautiful family experience. One of its highlights is the fitness center and lovely spa, usually open 24/7. The whole family can enjoy this resort between its multiple pools and access to the ocean.

The suites feel like an oasis away from home in Costa Rica. Most of the suites have floor-to-ceiling windows and folding glass doors, as well as a bedroom balcony.

Pros:

  • Lots of onsite activities
  • Multiple pools
  • Several restaurants
  • Spa access

Cons:

  • Expensive for non-inclusive
  • Cannot walk to off-property locations

3. Hotel Tamarindo Diria Beach Resort

Aerial view of Hotel Tamarindo Diria Beach Resort pool area
Hotel Tamarindo Diria Beach Resort / Booking.com

Steps away from stunning Tamarindo Beach, Hotel Tamarindo Diria Beach Resort is an oceanside oasis in Costa Rica. Guests not only have access to the nearby Tamarindo Beach, but they also can swim in three different pool areas or get pampered in the onsite spa.

Like other Costa Rica beach resorts, this hotel’s shining star is its proximity to the beach. Even so, there are also lots of dining options from pizza to traditional Costa Rican cuisine. You won’t have a hard time finding things to do at Hotel Tamarindo.

Las Baulas National Park is just over half a mile from the resort, giving guests easy access to Costa Rica’s beautiful protected green space. No Costa Rica vacation is complete without lots of time in nature.

Pros:

  • Dining onsite
  • Multiple pools
  • Onsite casino and spa
  • Off-site spots are walkable

Cons:

  • The nearest international airport is 40 miles away

See Related: Best All-Inclusive Resorts in Costa Rica for Families

4. W Hotel – Reserva Conchal

W Hotel pool amenity
W Hotel / Booking.com

The W Hotel – Reserva Conchal is a beachfront hotel with a spa where families can play golf and go zip lining while the kids enjoy games made exclusively for them. The hotel gives you the feeling of luxury right off of Conchal Beach (Playa Conchal).

Clearly, one of the best parts about staying at the W Hotel is the nearby Conchal Beach, which gets its name from the Spanish word concha for “shell.” You won’t experience a lot of foot traffic here either although it is one of the most beautiful beaches in Costa Rica.

Many people who book at the W Hotel are looking for less traffic, and the calm, peaceful vibe of Conchal Beach. That’s what makes it the perfect destination if you’re looking for a relaxing day at one of the best white sand beaches in Costa Rica.

You’ll have a firsthand look at crystal-clear waters from the W Hotel’s beachfront view, and you’ll only be a twenty-minute drive from one of Costa Rica’s bigger surf towns, Tamarindo.

Pros:

  • Several restaurants
  • Not far from the airport
  • Suites available
  • Balconies for every room

Cons:

  • Expensive for non-all-inclusive

See Related: Best Day Trips From San José, Costa Rica

5. The Westin Reserva Conchal

The Westin Reserva Conchal dining area.
The Westin Reserva Conchal / Booking.com

The Westin Reserva Conchal is a king among Costa Rica beach resorts. Not only is it all-inclusive, but surrounded by gorgeous rainforests and white-sand beaches. You’ll feel like you’re taking a vacation on your own isolated, relaxing island.

It also sits along Conchal Beach (Playa Conchal) and has ten on-site restaurants and five bars. Among them are the beach-side seafood eatery Manglar, Asian fusion at Bamboo, and pizza at Spirulina Trattoria.

At this all-inclusive hotel in Costa Rica, you can take full advantage of all the tasty eats and drinks around the resort. You won’t have to decide whether or not to eat out, you’ll have to choose where.

Given the extensive dining options and nearby golf course and pool, The Westin in Costa Rica is one of the best beachfront hotels you’ll ever stay in. The Westin Reserva Conchal also offers snorkeling gear, kayaks, bikes, and even boogie boards if you’re in the mood to explore the sandy beach.

Pros:

  • All-inclusive
  • Next to Conchal Golf Course
  • All rooms have a balcony
  • Multiple restaurants

Cons:

  • The resort’s large size requires a lot of walking, though golf carts can transport guests

See Related: Things to Do in Liberia, Costa Rica

6. Si Como No Resort and Wildlife Refuge

Aerial view of Si Como No Resort
Si Como No Resort / Booking.com

Si Como No Resort and Wildlife Refuge is the perfect Costa Rica accommodation for families, especially those with young animal lovers. This resort’s wildlife refuge is part of the neighboring Manuel Antonio National Park.

When you are ready to visit the central Pacific Coast at Manuel Antonio Beach or Manuel Antonio National Park, just take the shuttle to see all the property has to offer. Otherwise, the national park is within easy walking distance from the hotel.

Manuel Antonio is one of the places you must see when you visit Costa Rica. Besides the hot springs and Arenal Volcano in La Fortuna, of course.

As a plus, this is also a boutique hotel. Si Como No only has 58 rooms and is decorated with a rustic wood feel, which perfectly blends in with the environment of the nearby rainforest.

This is the best hotel if you ever want to experience peace (the rooms don’t even have TVs!) It is three hours away from the capital city of Costa Rica and San José International Airport, though, so keep that in mind.

Pros:

  • On Manuel Antonio National Park property
  • Onsite butterfly garden
  • Movie theater
  • Multiple pools

Cons:

  • The closest beach is a mile away

7. Occidental Tamarindo

Aerial view of Occidental Tamarindo
Occidental Tamarindo / Booking.com

Right next to Las Baulas National Park, Occidental Tamarindo is one of the best beach resorts for budget travelers in Costa Rica. Not far from Tamarindo Beach, with Langosta Beach in its backyard, Occidental Tamarindo is a lush getaway.

This is one of the all-inclusive resorts in Tamarindo that offers international cuisine options and comfort food options for guests as well. The Italian and Japanese restaurants onsite serve á la carte meals which guests can either pay extra for or receive one meal per three days at the resort.

Nearby Langosta Beach is renowned for its surfing waves, though the less adventurous can also enjoy snorkeling or kayaking. It is considered one of the best surfing beaches in Costa Rica. Back at the hotel, there are two swimming pools as well as a spa for guests to enjoy.

Pros:

  • Next to Las Baulas National Park
  • Multiple pools
  • Several restaurants
  • Spa

Cons:

  • Off-site restaurants are more than half a mile away

See Related: El Capitan Suizo Tamarindo Review

8. Ocho Artisan Bungalows

Room interior in Ocho Artisan Bungalows
Ocho Artisan Bungalows / Booking.com

Another of the stunning beachfront hotels off of Tamarindo Beach, Ocho Artisan Bungalows has just seven accommodations to rent. Each bungalow can sleep up to four people between the king bed and two singles, making it perfect for couples or a family. It is surely the best hotel of its kind in Costa Rica.

Inside each 600 square-foot bungalow, there is also a full kitchen and indoor/outdoor shower in the bathroom. These bungalows are accentuated with wood aesthetics, undoubtedly a nod to the rainforests of Costa Rica.

Outside guests can enjoy a large pool area if they need a break from the beach. For water-loving folks, Ocho Artisan has water sports rentals available. Snorkeling and fishing are two of the big draws at Tamarindo Beach.

Pros:

  • Full kitchen area
  • Plenty of space for lounging in the bungalows

Cons:

  • No on-site dining or beverage amenities
  • May be difficult to get reservations as only seven bungalows are available

9. El Mangroove Papagayo

View of the pool area at El Mangroove Papagayo.
El Mangroove Papagayo / Booking.com

Over on Peninsula Papagayo, right on Papagayo Bay, the lovely boutique hotel El Mangroove Papagayo awaits. About two hours from Arenal Volcano, this quiet boutique hotel is more secluded than other beach hotels in Costa Rica.

All guests can use the outdoor swimming pools, hot tub, and lounge area, though some rooms have their small private pools to enjoy as well. Each room also has a garden-facing terrace for quiet, private contemplation.

With easy access to the beach, guests don’t have to leave the property for relaxation at the spa. You don’t even have to leave your room when you’re hungry since El Mangroove has room service. There is an onsite bar and a restaurant though there are several dining options in the nearby town of Playa Hermosa.

Pros:

  • On the beachfront
  • Onsite dining
  • Secluded, small property

Cons:

  • Not a lot of family amenities
  • Attractions are not walkable

10. Secrets Papagayo

Pool area at Secrets Papagayo.
Secrets Papagayo / Booking.com

The all-inclusive beachfront hotel at Secrets Papagayo getaway offers an adults-only experience for time away. Whether on a romantic getaway or a friend’s trip in Costa Rica, you’ll all fall in love with this spot.

Some rooms include a private balcony or terrace area for unparalleled views of the Pacific Ocean. At the same time, rooms at The Preferred Club level are suites with private lounge access, upgraded amenities, and minibar and concierge services.

Onsite there are four restaurants, a cafe, and five bars for guests to truly take in the all-inclusive experience. And don’t forget to indulge in some much-needed spa time at Secrets Spa by Pevonia.

You can also visit Panama Beach with its stunning Pacific Coast vistas. It’s a great place to enjoy activities like swimming, kayaking, and paddleboarding.

Pros:

  • Plenty of food options
  • 24-hour dining
  • Onsite spa
  • Adults-only
  • Private beach access

Cons:

  • Large property, over 200 rooms
  • A mile or more to offsite restaurants and things to do

11. Planet Hollywood

Planet Hollywood pool area
Planet Hollywood / Booking.com

Planet Hollywood is the place you want to visit if you’re looking for a good time, some familiarity, and glam on your Costa Rica beach vacation. If you want to kick back and enjoy live music, karaoke, and beach volleyball in an atmosphere made to make you feel like you’re a movie star, visit Planet Hollywood.

Planet Hollywood is an all-inclusive hotel with a DJ every afternoon and features local tribute bands. The dance clubs and bars set the stage for an unforgettable experience.

Not to mention, it offers an open buffet for all three meals. There is also 24-hour room service. If you want to wind down, there is also a spa to help you care for your mind, body, and spirit. Who says you can’t party like a rockstar in Costa Rica? Hollywood can’t have all the fun!

Pros:

  • Frequent live music options
  • Multiple swimming pools
  • Lots of restaurants and bars

Cons:

  • More of a party scene than other all-inclusive resorts on this list
  • Far from offsite attractions

12. Hotel Banana Azul

Guest room at Hotel Banana Azul
Hotel Banana Azul / Booking.com

Of the beachfront hotels mentioned so far, Hotel Banana Azul is the most affordable. This adults-only hotel on the Caribbean Coast is a gorgeous property with lush greenery and pool areas. Adults-only hotels throughout the Caribbean, as well as Central America, are expensive, so finding an affordable one in Costa Rica is worth mentioning.

Costa Rican cuisine is available at the onsite restaurant, though it serves other kinds of foods as well. There is also room service available as well as an onsite bar. Other restaurants are within walking distance of the hotel property in Puerto Viejo.

Ocean views are plentiful here since it’s right off Negra Beach. Plentiful gardens make Hotel Banana Azul a green patch of paradise along the beach. This Costa Rica accommodation is unique in its marriage of modern amenities and the natural world.

Pros:

  • Adults only
  • Within walking distance of off-property locations
  • Right off the beach
  • Onsite dining

Cons:

  • Not a lot of activities on the property
  • The nearby town is pretty small

See Related: Best Travel Sandals for Beach Destinations

13. Barceló Tambor

Pool area at Barceló Tambor
Barceló Tambor / Booking.com

Besides the volcanic sands of Tambor Beach, Barceló Tambor is one of those off-the-radar beachfront hotels in Costa Rica that visitors can enjoy in peace. This Pacific Coast hotel is also perfect for nature lovers since the property has an ecological park.

Tambor Beach is one of the best beaches for families because the waters along the beach are so calm. Many beaches in Costa Rica boast calm waters, though the swimming at Tambor is made unique by the dark sand from volcanic activity.

As an all-inclusive hotel, Barceló Tambor features four restaurants for guests to choose from. There is also a poolside bar and live entertainment each night.

Horseback riding along the beach or elsewhere nearby the hotel is a popular activity. A day trip over to Tortuga Island or Montezuma Waterfall is easy from here. Both are popular spots to see when adventuring through Costa Rica.

Pros:

  • Right on the beach
  • Roughly a mile from off-site locations
  • All-inclusive
  • On-site ecological park

Cons:

  • The closest attractions are not walkable

See Related: Budget-Friendly Family Vacations

14. Margaritaville Beach Resort Playa Flamingo

Aerial view of Margaritaville Beach Resort Playa Flamingo building
Margaritaville Beach Resort Playa Flamingo / Booking.com

If you are a nature lover that also enjoys city experiences (and perhaps the musings of Jimmy Buffet), the Margaritaville Beach Resort Playa Flamingo may be a great option for you. It is a great all-inclusive family and couples vacation destination in Costa Rica.

There’s a huge pool area as well as on-site entertainment. It’s located on Flamingo Beach, right beside the large pool area. There are three on-site restaurants and a bar that you can enjoy complimentary of your package.

The 5 O’Clock Somewhere bar offers live entertainment throughout the week. You can also go to License to Chill, their signature swim-up bar that you can swim up to and order. Doesn’t enjoying a cocktail and your favorite snacks in the water sound like paradise?

The main restaurant in the hotel is Banana Wind. Here you can enjoy a (Jimmy) buffet-style breakfast each morning while sitting on the terrace overlooking the beach. Who needs happy hour when you’re in Costa Rica?

Pros:

  • Live entertainment
  • Onsite spa
  • Multiple swimming pools
  • Several restaurants and bars

Cons:

  • May have more of a party atmosphere
  • Nearby attractions are not walkable

15. Pagalú Hostel

Lobby area of Pagalú Hostel.
Pagalú Hostel / Booking.com

In Puerto Viejo, a few minutes away from Negra Beach, this Costa Rica accommodation ranks high in the budget hotels category. Pagalú Hostel is a chill, inexpensive place to call home during a Costa Rica visit.

With standard hostel dorm rooms, Pagalú is a cozy stay. There is an onsite garden, lounge space, and terrace area. Some rooms have a balcony too. This is a way to see Costa Rica without breaking the bank.

Although there aren’t onsite restaurant options, there are plenty of dining spots available. You can walk to some nearby sodas (traditional Costa Rican diners) and then spend some time in beautiful parks nearby the hostel.

Pros:

  • Very affordable
  • Shared kitchen available
  • Can walk to nearby places
  • A few minutes from the beach

Cons:

  • No onsite amenities
  • No private rooms
  • Not directly on or beside the beach

16. Selina Puerto Viejo

The pool area and exterior of Selina Puerto Viejo.
Selina Puerto Viejo / Booking.com

Selina hostels are popular budget hotels for travelers coming to Costa Rica. Selina Puerto Viejo is no exception to that. These locations are hands down some of the best hotels for budget travelers coming to the country, especially if they want beach access.

This Costa Rica accommodation stands out because of its large variety of room types. From private rooms, tents, family-style rooms, and apartments, there are a lot of options. Not too many budget hotels have those kinds of options.

Plus the hostel has a swimming pool area as well as frequent live music. There is also an on-site restaurant and bar as well as a shared kitchen to make your own meals.

Both Cocles and Negra beaches are nearby and easy to walk to. The area is popular for hiking, kayaking, and snorkeling if you’re feeling adventurous. Enjoying nature is half the fun of visiting Costa Rica.

Pros:

  • Near two beaches
  • On-site restaurant
  • Variety of room types
  • Free parking
  • Nearby restaurants and parks

Cons:

  • May have a lot of college-age travelers
  • Far from attractions

See Related: Spring Break Destinations For Families

17. Hotel Santa Teresa

Aerial view of Hotel Santa Teresa
Hotel Santa Teresa / Booking.com

Outdoor enthusiasts, this is your spot. Hotel Santa Teresa is right off of Playa Carmen which is where you can find some of the best spots in Costa Rica for all kinds of outdoor activities. From yoga classes, surf lessons, and biking, the possibilities are endless.

Hotel Santa Teresa offers rooms with garden or ocean views, a pool, public terraces, and a snack bar. While it doesn’t have extensive dining options, it is easy for guests to walk to nearby restaurants, shops, and other locations too.

With such easy access to the beach, this hotel is a great spot for families. There are so many water and beach activities for kiddos of all ages at Playa Carmen which is a popular beach in Costa Rica. You can even arrange surfing lessons at the hotel!

Pros:

  • Nearby small town easy to walk to
  • On-site pool area

Cons:

  • Not many on-site amenities
  • No full-service restaurants at the hotel

18. Casa Cecilia Beach Front

The exterior of Casa Cecilia.
Casa Cecilia Beach Front / Booking.com

A simple hotel in Costa Rica near Santa Teresa Beach, Casa Cecilia Beach Front is a charming place to call home. At just ten rooms, this boutique hotel is surrounded by lush trees to give you a secluded getaway.

Guests at Casa Cecilia are treated with breakfast options every morning, while some rooms also have a kitchenette for easy meal prep. Each room also has a patio area for some private outdoor space.

Several restaurants are a short walk away, giving guests plenty of dining options to choose from. Plus the views along the way of Costa Rica’s greenery are not to be missed.

Pros:

  • Private beachfront area
  • Each room has a patio space
  • Walkable dining options

Cons:

  • No on-site amenities besides breakfast
  • Only ten rooms; may sell out quickly

19. CC Beach Front Papagayo

The exterior of the CC Beach Front Hotel.
CC Beach Front Papagayo / Booking.com

Also known as Casa Conde Beach Front Hotel, this lovely property is next to Playa Panamá. With the Pacific Ocean as your neighbor for a trip to Costa Rica, you will have a hard time saying goodbye.

Though there isn’t an on-site spa, CC offers massages. The outdoor pools are nestled in the hotel garden area and there is also a hot tub to melt your worries away.

As an all-inclusive hotel, you can enjoy all the dining and beverage amenities CC has to offer. From the international cuisine at Mare Calmo to the poolside bar, everything is included when you stay here.

If you want to get off the property for a while you can walk to a number of nearby restaurants. Otherwise, several parks that are practically made for wildlife photographers are just a short car ride away.

Pros:

  • Central location with walkable amenities
  • All-inclusive
  • Watersports available

Cons:

  • Limited dining

See Related: Places Similar to the Maldives to Visit

20. Hotel Bosque del Mar Playa Hermosa

Exterior of Hotel Bosque del Mar
Hotel Bosque del Mar Playa Hermosa / Booking.com

An all-suite boutique hotel, Hotel Bosque del Mar Playa Hermosa‘s property doesn’t fail to remind you how tropical Costa Rica truly is. Just off Playa Hermosa, Hostel Bosque del Mar’s spacious rooms will give you all the tranquility you need.

Niromi, the onsite restaurant serves both Costa Rican and international cuisines while the nearby Nya lounge is where guests can find cocktail specialties. Live music is a frequent offering at Nya as well.

The pool and hot tub area at Hostel Bosque del Mar are perfect for forgetting all your troubles. Or even resting sore muscles after a day of scuba diving, snorkeling, or exploring one of the national parks that are a short drive away.

Of all of the hotels listed so far, Hostel Bosque del Mar is one of the most natural retreats within less than an hour’s drive. Though you can’t just hop over to those areas like you could elsewhere in Costa Rica, there are a lot of fabulous day trips to consider.

Pros:

  • Central location
  • Live entertainment
  • Onsite restaurant and bar
  • All-suites on property

Cons:

  • Far from non-nature attractions

FAQs

What is the best beach to stay at in Costa Rica?

Jacó is the most popular beach area, especially for folks looking to just hang out at the beach. There are so many things to do in Jacó that it’s my favorite spot to use as a base camp. Tamarindo is also a gorgeous beachfront area with lots of hotels.

Which part of Costa Rica has the best beaches?

The West or Pacific Coast side of Costa Rica has the biggest variety of beaches. Because the environment varies so much on this side of the country, you’ll have greater diversity in the kinds of beaches.

What is the best coast to stay on in Costa Rica?

If you want calmer waters, staying on the Caribbean Coast side (the East side) is better. These beaches have less turbulent water which is better for families with little ones especially. The Pacific Coast is great for surfers, wildlife enthusiasts, and adrenaline junkies looking for an adventure.

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