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. This tropical paradise in Central America is home to more than 900 species of colorful birds and 500,000 other exotic species.
It’s my favorite place to visit for a well-needed break from the day-to-day hustle and bustle of work and technology, but it more than caters to active travelers looking for outdoor adventures too.
Costa Rica is the perfect place for family and friend events, long vacations, and even 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.
Where to stay in Costa Rica on the beach? Here are the best places to stay for your Costa Rica vacation.
Table of Contents
- Best Places to Stay in Costa Rica On the Beach
- 1. JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort
- 2. Andaz Peninsula Papagayo Resort
- 3. Springs Resort and Spa
- 4. W Hotel
- 5. Westin Resort and Spa
- 6. Si Como No
- 7. Arenal Kioro
- 8. Villa Buena Onda
- 9. Hotel Volcano Lodge & Springs
- 10. Secrets Papagayo
- 11. Planet Hollywood
- 12. El Mangroove Autograph Collection Resort
- 13. Playa Cativo Lodge
- 14. Margaritaville Beach Resort
Best Places to Stay in Costa Rica On the Beach
The JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort is a 5-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 also has seven on-site restaurants, two wet bars, and a cafe. Parents get to enjoy relaxing spa treatment as well as yoga sessions, fitness training, and recreational walks.
The JW Marriott kids’ club gives children the space 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.
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, and overlooks the Gulf of Papagayo, and features floral designs from the local Guanacaste area.
This resort provides a beautiful family experience. One of its highlights is the fitness center and lovely spa, which is usually open 24/7.
Another plus at the Andaz Peninsula Papagayo resort is the digital room key. Entering your room is as simple as clicking on the app and waving it in front of the room door.
The suites feel like an oasis away from home. Most of the suites have floor-to-ceiling windows and folding glass doors, as well as a bedroom balcony.
The Springs Resort and Spa is located in La Fortuna, overlooking the Arenal volcano. This resort is one of the top all-inclusive resorts for families and couples looking for adventure.
It also features the well-known Club Rio, which offers different activities such as horseback riding, surf lessons, kayaking, tubing, hiking trails, mountain biking, tours, Hot Springs, swimming, and even fishing.
If you are into nature and watersports, Club Rio is the place to visit. They also offer nature tour day trips to introduce travelers to the wildlife and vegetation available in the area. And if that wasn’t enough, animal lovers can take a walkthrough of the Arenal animal sanctuary.
The Springs Resort has nine restaurants and cocktail bars. The restaurants’ specialties range from hamburgers to sushi and a variety of local gourmet dishes.
The resort also features a wildlife reserve, which is actually one of their main attractions for families to enjoy. There are wild turkeys, capuchin monkeys, sloths, and pumas that have been rescued and get to enjoy their life free of distraction at the resort.
4. W Hotel
One of the best deals in Costa Rica is always boutique hotels. They are usually very small but have a sophisticated feel and design. They tend to be very personal and the best hotels for couples; however, the W Hotel is also one of the best budget hotels in Costa Rica for families.
The W Hotel is a beachfront hotel with a spa. Families can play golf and go zip lining while the kids enjoy games that are made exclusively for them. The hotel gives you the feeling of luxury without the luxury price.
However, 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. Even with other tenants staying there, you won’t hear any noise through the walls.
Since many of the people who book at the W Hotel are looking for less traffic, the calm, peaceful vibe of Conchal Beach makes it the perfect destination if you’re just looking for a relaxing day at one of Costa Rica’s best white sand beaches.
You’ll have a firsthand look at Playa Conchal’s 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.
The Westin Resort and Spa has always been one of my favorite hotels in the whole world because of its ambiance.
A king among Costa Rica beach resorts, not only is it all-inclusive but surrounded by Costa Rica’s gorgeous rainforests and white-sand beaches, you’ll feel like you’re taking a vacation on your own isolated, relaxing island. There’s not a ton of foot traffic around this resort either, which makes it a great pick for families that need a low-key vacation or couples wanting to get away.
It also sits on Conchal Beach, and it has ten on-site restaurants and five bars, which include:
- Manglar: this beach-side eatery offers freshly-caught seafood you won’t want to miss when you’re staying at this resort.
- Bamboo: You may be in Costa Rica, but this Asian-blend dinner restaurant offers everyone’s favorite Asian cuisine dishes.
- Spirulina Trattoria: You can get wood-fired pizza and delicious pasta if you’re in the mood for a hearty meal at this resort restaurant.
- Faisanella: Faisanella’s sophisticated entrees and appetizers are perfect if you’re looking for fancier dining.
- El Ranchito: Located near the main pool at this resort, El Ranchito offers quick bites after a long day of swimming and relaxing by the beach.
- Mitra: Along with a breakfast buffet, there are plenty of international options when you dine at Mitra.
- Caracola Poolside restaurant: You can’t miss out on Costa Rica’s traditional cuisine, and fortunately, that’s exactly what you’ll be able to order at the Caracola Poolside restaurant.
- Cauri Lobby Bar & Bistro: You’ll have a front-row seat for the golf course at Westin Resort, as well as endless cocktails to pick from.
- Bar Imperial: This sports bar and lounge has a relaxed vibe that’s perfect for winding down in the evenings.
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 Resort and Spa offers snorkeling gear, kayaks, bikes, and even boogie boards if you’re in the mood to explore the sandy beach.
You won’t have to worry about food or supplies, as everything will be covered in their all-inclusive package.
See Related: Best Black Sand Beaches in the World
6. Si Como No
Si Como No is the perfect Costa Rica accommodation for families, especially those with young animal lovers. This resort is a wildlife refuge located in the central Pacific Coast Hotel, and the property is part of the Manuel Antonio National Park.
No matter which room you stay in, you will get to see beautiful views of the rainforest or the stunning Pacific Ocean.
It’s the perfect family getaway to have a new experience and not have to worry about lugging your kids up and down the road. When you are ready to visit the Pacific coast at Manuel Antonio beach or Manuel Antonio National Park, just take the shuttle to see all the property has to offer.
The resort offers a movie theater and an on-site waterslide. Also, the national park is only 10 minutes of easy walking distance away from the hotel.
As a plus, this is 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 and quiet (the rooms don’t even have TVs!) It is three hours away from the capital city and San Jose international airport, though, so keep that in mind.
7. Arenal Kioro
The Arenal Kioro resort offers on-site hot springs as well as a spa. Perfect for those who care about the environment, it’s one of Costa Rica’s more eco-friendly resorts. The local rainforest serves as a tranquil backdrop for anyone who chooses to book at this resort.
In addition to the on-site hot springs, you can also take the shuttle to the Titoku hot springs, which are an easy way to unwind but also to explore some of the adrenaline-pumping activities in Arenal Volcano National Park.
The Arena Cairo Suite is a great option for families that want to do a lot of relaxing and food tasting in Arenal Kioro. One of the highlights to enjoy is the buffet breakfast. Start off your day with your favorite breakfast delights and experience not eating the same food twice!
For anyone that wants a front-row seat to some of Costa Rica’s most magnificent scenery, the “Juliet” suites at the Arenal Kioro resort offer eye-catching mountain and volcanic views straight from your window.
For group events, the Orquideas Restaurant is perfect for a bachelor or bachelorette party since it is right beside a pool – and there are even two function rooms for bigger parties and gatherings.
With plenty of nearby attractions, including the national park and hot springs, I’m not surprised that this resort has been picked as the 2021 Traveler’s Choice from TripAdvisor.
We can’t talk about places to stay in Costa Rica without mentioning some romantic getaways for couples. Costa Rica is such a beautiful and tropical place that it is the ideal romantic destination for weddings, honeymoons, and even staycations for couples looking to strengthen their relationship.
For a couple looking to enjoy themselves with some relaxation and adventure on the side, the Adults Only Retreat at the Luxury Home Villa Buena Onda is for you. The retreat is only available for up to 20 people at a time. Therefore, it’s best to book as soon as possible.
In this adult-only retreat, you don’t need to plan anything. Your itinerary is already set, and on day 4, you get to choose which activities you want to do.
You can choose to participate in activities with other couples or just the two of you. You have options to relax, get a couples’ spa treatment, and see the beautiful views of Coco Beach.
Or you can go sailing, kayaking, surfing, scuba diving (make sure you get travel insurance), visit the casinos, restaurants, and bars.
The Secluded Costa Rica Retreat at Hotel Volcano Lodge & Springs offers a 9-day romantic getaway for couples.
They offer three daily meals, housekeeping, and a full staff available 24 hours a day. The resort also provides airport transportation to and from the airport by an English-speaking driver.
You get to visit Tamarindo Beach, enjoy customized spa services, and get to participate in activities such as ziplining and nature trails with hanging bridges on the exciting Sky Tram Combo Tour.
Here, you will experience three different beach hotels in one vacation. After your stay at the Volcano Lodge and Springs, you head to Poco a Poco, a boutique hotel in Santa Elena that lives beside the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. You get to visit the Capitan Suizo beachfront boutique hotel for the latter part of the trip.
Throughout the trip, you’ll be able to experience new restaurants and beautiful views of trees and gardens (and insects!). With so much activity and moving from one hotel to another, this option is for those who like to keep busy.
10. Secrets Papagayo
The all-Inclusive beachfront hotel at Secrets Papagayo getaway offers an established itinerary for the whole family. At this location, there are seven-day stays provided to give you the opportunity to enjoy everything the hotel has to offer.
The beachfront hotel and on-site restaurants fill up your first couple of days. On day three, you get to enjoy the Palo Verde Tour National Park Tour. It is an excellent opportunity for you and your family to experience and learn about the local wildlife and exotic vegetation.
You can also visit the nearby Arenillas Beach. It’s a great place for couples to enjoy activities like swimming, kayaking, and paddleboarding.
Make it a date of learning how to paddleboard at this all-inclusive beachfront getaway.
11. Planet Hollywood
Planet Hollywood is the place you want to visit if you’re looking for a good time and glam. 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 bands that play tribute concerts to celebrities.
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 are looking to wind down, there is a spot and beauty bar to help you take care of your mind, body, and spirit.
El Mangroove Autograph Collection Resort is a beachfront boutique hotel with an all-inclusive option.
This boutique hotel has views of the Pacific Ocean, and I especially think it is suitable for couples and families who want to pack their vacation full of activities – the resort offers kayaks and bicycles as part of their all-inclusive package, so there won’t be any reason to spend your days cooped up in your suite!
One thing to love about this resort is that it’s not directly in the city, so it is a quieter option. But if you want to go to the city, Hermosa is only 15 minutes away.
Speaking of its central location, this resort is also the closest beach resort to San Jose International Airport, so it’s one of the more convenient places to book your Costa Rica stay.
If you’re down to have fun in the water, whether it be indoors or outdoors, the El Mangroove Autograph Collection Resort offers just that.
You can rent paddleboards at this location, but there are plenty of other on-site activities, including both private and group yoga classes and a multifunctional gym that’s open day and night.
As far as dining goes, there’s no shortage of good food at the El Mangroove either.
The main restaurant at the resort, Makoko, excels at making your dining experience go beyond the great food sitting on your plate. The excellent customer service, eye-catching views, and relaxed ambiance make this restaurant an easy go-to for any meal.
Of course, the experience at the El Mangroove goes even further than delicious dining, yoga, and paddle-boarding.
If you prefer to spend your vacations unwinding, the resort also includes an on-site spa with full-featured amenities. Relax in nature at one of the spa’s outdoor terraces or get rid of tension with a professional massage.
See Related: Best Travel Sandals for Beach Destinations
For all the nature lovers who like to take vacations in tropical paradises to experience peace, quiet, and of course, nature, the Playa Cativo Lodge may just be exactly what you are looking for. Say yes to walking around barefoot and connecting with nature!
The lodge is located on the OSA Peninsula. One thing to love about this location is that you can only get to it by boat. It’s surrounded by nothing but nature, vegetation, and wildlife.
All the food prepared at the Playa Cativo Lodge comes from the surrounding farms prepared straight to your table. Some of the stand-out restaurants at this lodge include the El Gavilan restaurant and the El Gazebo Sunset Bar.
El Gavilan is the main restaurant for the Playa Cativo Lodge, and as a result, you can expect the full dining experience when you grab dinner here.
The restaurant includes a world-class chef whose menu captures some of Costa Rica’s most delicious, authentic cuisine.
And for anyone that may have dietary limitations or specific needs, you can even chat with the chef about creating a meal that’s curated to your dining preferences.
Once you’re done eating some of the lodge’s organic farm-to-table food, you can relax with a cocktail at the El Gazebo Sunset Bar.
Located amongst the lodge’s tropical gardens and palm trees, you can catch one of Costa Rica’s gorgeous sunsets while you’re seated at this bar.
Or if you’re looking for a quick bite after a long day surfing or swimming in the pool, there’s also a menu chock-full of local cuisine as well.
Enjoy taking yoga classes each day and long barefoot walks outside along the sea. And get this, the hotel offers kayaks, paddleboards, and snorkeling gear for free.
Many reviews of this hotel mention visitor sightings of deer and iguanas just walking around during their stay. Others mention bat and raccoon sightings. There is also a whale-watching tour available.
If you are a nature lover that also enjoys city experiences (and perhaps the musings of Jimmy Buffet), the Margaritaville Beach Resort may be a great option for you. It is a great all-inclusive family and couple vacation destination. The resort is located in Guanacaste.
This resort leans into a real beach feel. There’s a huge pool area as well as on-site entertainment. It’s located on the beachfront of Blue Flag Beach, which is right beside the large pool area. There are three on-site restaurants as well as a bar that you can enjoy complimentary of your package.
The hotel is set up for a relaxing atmosphere with activities available when you want them. If movies are your thing, you’ll love that the Margaritaville beach resort has a movie theater.
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 it sound like paradise to enjoy a cocktail and your favorite snacks in the water?
The main restaurant in the hotel is Banana Wind. Enjoy a (Jimmy) buffet-style breakfast each morning while sitting on the terrace overlooking the beach.
This location is a fantastic option for those needing some relaxation, lazy mornings, and incredible views.
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