Costa Rica’s unique landscape of verdant rainforests, pristine beaches and misty mountains continue to draw travelers looking to experience a natural wonderland. The country’s impressive commitment to protecting this unspoiled paradise allows visitors the adventure of a lifetime, with accommodations to match.
Find your gateway to heart-pumping activities, secluded serenity and pura vida with our Forbes Travel Guide Star-Rated hotels list.
Every Star Rating was earned through our objective, independent process. Our incognito inspectors posed as ordinary guests and checked in for a three-day, two-night stay at each property. The inspectors tested hundreds of exacting standards, with an emphasis on exceptional service, which accounts for 70 percent of a property’s rating. The remaining 30 percent comes from the quality and condition of the facilities.
Five-Star Hotels in Costa Rica
There aren’t many tropical resorts where you can balance downward dog atop a stand-up paddleboard, grind cacao in a traditional chocolate-making class, get wrapped in therapeutic volcanic mud and top it all off with dinner at a Latin-inspired fish house. But at Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo, all that (and a whole lot more) is on the daily agenda.
This hilltop hideaway melds posh amenities and accommodations with an exotic tropical backdrop and warm, professional service. The open-air entryway of the contemporary, relaxed lobby provides a heightened sensory fusion — ocean breezes, chirping parrots and bellowing howler monkeys bring the jungle spirit to life. Read more.
Four-Star Hotels in Costa Rica
As you arrive at the open-air reception area overlooking the crystal-clear waters of Culebra Bay, the resort’s intention becomes clear: to blend in with the surrounding natural environment with style. Rooms built on the quiet, 28-acre stretch of forest on the Pacific coast are decorated with driftwood and shells collected from the hotel’s private beaches.
Service at the hilltop resort is friendly and accommodating — one staff member will check you in, escort you via golf cart to your room and serve as the point person for the duration of your stay. You’ll feel right at home with gifts of fresh fruit like granadilla and hand-woven beach totes. Read more.
The luxurious jungle hideaway of Casa Chameleon at Las Catalinas lies in the secluded northwest corner of Costa Rica. This adults-only boutique hotel combines eclectic luxuries with endless adventure.
The cliffside resort boasts 21 villas, each with a private saltwater plunge pool and breathtaking Pacific Ocean views. Though, if you can pry yourself from your own pool, the infinity-edge public pool stuns with vistas of the pristine Guanacaste coast. Linger here with a cocktail as the sun sets and the pool lights up with in-water fire pits.
You’ll leave recharged from the Zen of the jungle and the scenic property’s sumptuous amenities, from in-villa massages and facials to activities like ziplining and horseback riding. Read more.
Perched on a hillside overlooking the Pacific Ocean, Drake Bay Getaway Resort resides in the fabled Osa Peninsula wilderness of Costa Rica, filled with sandy beaches, coral reefs and jungle.
The boutique hotel was designed to set an eco-resort standard for Central America, and its efforts, from steel straws to recaptured rainwater for the vibrant gardens, are on full display.
The one-of-a-kind resort prides itself on a customized guest experience — select your choice of views (ocean, rainforest or both) from one of five exclusive stilted cabins and enjoy dinner at the open-air Drake Bay Restaurant on your schedule. Read more.
Located on Costa Rica’s prime Papagayo Bay on the country’s Pacific coast, El Mangroove is a hip boutique hotel on 17 acres of beachfront forest surrounded by preserved mangroves.
Tucked in the province of Guanacaste — known for its pristine shoreline, beautiful mountain ranges and stunning golden sunsets — the luxury resort gives off a vibe that’s private, serene and undeniably stylish.
Guests, including families, couples and friends on holiday, are catered to here by an attentive staff while they relax by the pool, dine at one of two restaurants, unwind at the spa or get adventurous participating in Costa Rica’s many outdoor exploits. Read more.
In Arenal Volcano National Park, Nayara Springs is a getaway teeming with tropical beauty and wildlife. The adults-only resort promises seclusion — this spot is popular with honeymooners or anyone looking to really get away.
The 35 villas offer a range of luxe amenities, from plunge pools to in-suite breakfast. Each villa is designed with indigenous wood and local stones and includes an outdoor shower, a private swimming pool fed by mineral springs and an oversized bathroom.
After a full day of sightseeing, unwind at any of the four onsite restaurants and bars, sway in your villa hammock or get a treatment with volcanic mud at the hotel’s open-air spa. Read more.
Forbes Travel Guide Recommended Hotels
The enchanting El Silencio Lodge & Spa’s cabins and villas are nestled in a stunning cloud forest, allowing you a luxurious escape in the heart of Costa Rica. The hotel’s expansive private trails give nature lovers plenty of opportunities to discover the country’s magnificent wildlife and onsite waterfalls, while nearby rural towns provide authentic cultural immersion.
Esencia Spa sits by the peaceful creek, allowing you to connect with nature while enjoying the massages, body wraps and yoga on offer.
Foodies will appreciate the authentic cuisine at Las Ventanas Restaurant. Organic, fresh produce, much of which is grown onsite, is expertly prepared to highlight the best of Costa Rica. Read more.
A sister property to Nayara Springs, Nayara Gardens is a tranquil, lush hideaway also tucked inside the famous Arenal Volcano National Park and within the vast Costa Rican rainforest. Although, unlike its adults-only neighbor that’s a long footbridge away, Nayara Gardens welcomes all ages. You and the family are met with an expansive and gorgeous garden filled with parrot plants, rosy button gingers, delicate orchids and bright air plants in an array of pinks and purples.
Although many come for the views of the staggering 5,358-foot Arenal Volcano, it’s the luxurious eco-friendly rooms, authentic thatched-roof restaurants and the spa that really captivate. Read more.