When To Travel Costa Rica
The best time to travel Costa Rica is during the dry season: from mid-December to April. This period promises plenty of sunshine and little rain.
We visited in April and we had excellent weather throughout our trip. That said, the dry season is also the most popular time to visit. If you dont mind getting a little wet, visit between May and November when prices are lower and there are less crowds. During June and July, rain showers pause briefly, and Costa Ricas forests burst with green foliage.
Keep in mind that the weather varies by region. In the thick forests of the Caribbean Sea coast and northern regions, expect high humidity and temperatures ranging between the 70s and high 80s year-round.
Where To Stay In Tamarindo
There is an overwhelming 500+ accommodation options in Tamarindo. So, it can be difficult to know which Tamarindo, Costa Rica hotels to choose.
To be honest, we only recommend you stay in the town of Tamarindo if you want to be in the thick of the action and are looking to party in the evenings. Since it can get very crowded and busy in the high season.
In which case we prefer to hang out in a quieter area. For example, Playa Langosta or Playa Avellanas, just south of Tamarindo. Staying on the outskirts of Tamarindo, youll be in a perfect location for the peace and quiet. This is one of the best vacation spots in Costa Rica while still being close to the action of town.
Location: Playa Langonsta, GuanacastePrice: $$$
Capitan Suizo boutique hotel is often considered one of the best Costa Rica hotels on the beach. Located on the outskirts of Tamarindo, it has a strong sustainable ethos and offers beautiful rooms which open out onto the tropical garden.
There are 34 rooms in total, a spa and a restaurant on-site. But if you dont want to dine at Capitan Suizo, youre in close proximity to many restaurants. There are plenty of restaurants to eat in Tamarindo.
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Tourism In San Jos: Overview
In 1738, the Spanish founded San José. It was meant to centralize and concentrate the people of the Aserrí Valley with the construction of a chapel: La Boca del Monte. In 1740, St. Joseph was elected the parish patron and gave the capital its name: San José. It wasnt until 1823 that it was named the capital one of the youngest capital cities in all of Latin America.
The best way to navigate this bustling city is by walking in the day. By walking you are avoiding the heavy traffic on roads and the central Downtown area is small enough to explore on foot. Walking also gives you the ability to ease stress by not renting a car and worrying about finding a parking spot, which can be a challenge in the city.
If you need another option there are public buses however, with the public transportation its best to know exactly where you want to go on the bus route, where and when to get off, because the driver most likely will not speak a language outside of Spanish.
Taxis are also available for the night, but for your safety be sure to only use the citys official taxis. They should have the proper markings: taxis are red and have a yellow triangle on the drivers door. The triangle on the door should give the license, as well as the province. Only take a taxi marked the province that you are currently in. Taxis may only pick up customers within their own province.
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What Are The Best Areas To Stay In Tamarindo Costa Rica
Before deciding where to stay in Tamarindo, you first need to think hard about choosing an area based on the kind of vacation youre hoping to experience.
If youre someone whos looking for a great beachside vacation, you can find the best hotels in Tamarindo near Playa Tamarindo. This beach is an ideal starting point for exploring the area as there is an abundance of tour operators providing a diverse selection of activities here. This is also where most visitors come to stay, though, so expect the crowd.
If youre a laid-back traveler who prefers a more secluded holiday immersed in nature, there are quieter areas to stay in nearby, two of which are Playa Langosta to the South and Playa Grande to the North.
Continue reading for a more in-depth look at Tamarindos three best areas and the best places to stay in.
Travel Costa Rica Independently Or On Guided Tour
Unlike other parts of Central America, Costa Rica is relatively safe and easy to travel around on your own. We traveled independently with our 4-year-old daughter and didnt face any difficulty or challenges. Its incredibly easy to travel Costa Rica with kids and highly recommend it for outdoor-loving family travelers.
What I recommend is traveling on your own and booking day tours especially if youre not renting a car. Naturalist guides are trained to spot animals and will be able to point them out fast. Heres a great wildlife day tour we took in Arenal!
If youre not confident traveling Costa Rica independently, check out this 9-day Costa Rica adventure tour thatll bring you to all the areas I mentioned. This 12-day Hidden Costa Rica trip brings you off the beaten path and on an exciting trek. G Adventures is a Canadian adventure tour operator Ive worked with many times and can highly recommend!
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Hilton Garden Inn San Jose
Okay so this isnt the most exciting hotel choice in the world because you could probably open a map of most major cities, throw a dart and hit a Hilton hotel. But what franchised hotels offer is consistency, and Hilton rooms are always clean, comfortable and affordable.
The Hilton Garden Inn is popular with business travelers, so thats always a sign of quality and comfort. Theres a rooftop pool, its located within walking distance of anything youll need, and has its own restaurant. Rooms start at $140 per night.
Jaco Where To Stay In Costa Rica For Nightlife
As one of the closest beaches to the capital city, Jaco is also the most developed and Americanized. If you are familiar with Southern California beach towns, this is what Jaco Beach feels like in fact, some expats call it Long Beach.
The best and most challenging surf breaks in Central America can be found in Jaco. This is a very large beach where it is almost impossible to find a day where chest-high swells are not rolling.
Surfers from around the world know about the long rights that form in Jaco Beach, but they also know that the currents can be treacherous. There are lifeguards on the beach here, but please be careful in the water.
The Jaco nightlife is legendary enough to have been featured on the Travel Channel numerous times. This is one of the few towns in Costa Rica where you will find high-rise beach resorts and condos complete with casinos and nightclubs.
The area offers a wide range of outdoor activities from kayaking to hiking to fishing to horseback riding to surfing.
Jaco is also a great gateway to national parks, such as the Carrara National Park or the Pura Vida Park.
The all-inclusive resorts are the best bet for families, and there are a couple of hostels, but they are not as affordable as elsewhere along the Pacific coast.
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Best Hotel In Costa Rica Hotel Terraza Del Pacifico Jac
Hotel Terraza del Pacifico is a beachfront hotel in Jacó. Its a beautiful hotel that has two large outdoor pools with plenty of sunbeds. Its a tiny bit outside of the city center of Jacó, but it is indeed located right on the beachfront of Playa Hermosa Beach! And nearly all of the rooms have sea views! From the pools to the gardens to the delectable breakfast overlooking the sea, youre sure to have an incredible stay at this hotel! Plus, there are lots of different sized rooms to choose from, from more affordable standard rooms to private villas!
Arenal Volcano Where To Stay In Costa Rica For Adventure
With a name like Arenal Volcano, it sure does sound the place to stay in Costa Rica for adventure, right?! Arenal Volcano is an active volcano in the northwest of Costa Rica. Sitting just 90 kilometers from San Jose, getting to Arenal Volcano is easy as pie.
Arenal Volcano sits at the heart of the Arenal Volcano National Park and you are free to wander around the park as you like! Of course, you can book a guide, but if youre more interested in grabbing life by the horns go ahead and hike by yourself . Make sure to pack accordingly for your Costa Rica trip, especially when planning such adventures!
After zip-lining through the forest canopy or taking an aerial tram to an incredible observation point, you can also soak in the Arenal Volcano hot springs and enjoy a therapeutic bath in the jungle. Sign me up!
If you need another dose of adventure you can head over to the little farming town of La Fortuna just nearby and hike to La Fortuna Waterfall! You can also go spelunking in the Venando Caves or walk across the Arenal Hanging Bridges. What did I say? This area is packed with adventure activities!
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Manuel Antonio Where To Stay In Costa Rica For Wildlife
If youre looking for where to stay in Costa Rica but you dont want to travel from one area to another, or you have the whole family with you, then Manuel Antonio could be the right choice for you. Manuel Antonio is located on the Central Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, just 2 hours and a half drive from the airport. The area has a rich biodiversity, restaurants, tours and tons of activities perfect for your vacation plus some of the best hotels and villas.
The main attraction is the Manuel Antonio National Park which has beautiful beaches, forest trails and a rainforest full of wild animals. Hey, you might even meet a sloth! Get your camera ready because recently it was named by Forbes one of the worlds most beautiful parks! This place is great if you are in Costa Rica with your family members.
While you can hike the trails within the Manuel Antonio National Park to get some pretty cool views, sometimes too much walking can get boring, especially for families. Dont worry, Ive got you covered! You can choose from easier trails, which are perfect for travelers of all ages, or try something a bit more challenging if youre feeling like going on an adventure.
Where Are The Best Areas To Stay In San Jose Costa Rica
This blog post covers three of the best areas to stay in San José including what to expect from each neighborhood and my personal recommendations for hostels and hotels. These neighborhoods are the most common for travelers and offer the best things to do, restaurants, and shops.
They are also generally the safest places to stay in San Jose and where youll find the most other foreigners.
But before deciding where to stay in San José, Costa Rica, you need to determine what type of holiday youre looking forward to. After all, each area in San José offers different atmospheres and attractions, so be sure to pick the neighborhood that most appeals to you.
If you want to get a taste of city life, downtown San José is a great location. If youre someone who is only traveling through the city for one night, staying near the airport may be the best choice. Meanwhile, people wanting peace and quiet can try staying in the outskirts of San José.
Lets take a closer look at these three neighborhoods to see which one is the right location for you.
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Where To Stay In Arenal
La Fortuna town is the gateway to Arenal National Park. The town is walkable with lots of amenities, gardens, shops and restaurants, and youll find the most affordable options here. However, for the best Costa Rica hotels in Arenal, head outside the city center.
Outside of town, the properties tend to be bigger, in some cases have views of Arenal Volcano and hot springs on site. They are often places youll want to enjoy a little bit longer and are more akin to a destination then just somewhere to lay your head at each night.
You will need a car to stay at a hot springs resort since public transport is sparse. So if you dont its best to stay in La Fortuna town.
Location: La Fortuna, PuntarenasPrice: $$
Located in between La Fortuna and the entrance to the national park, Arenal Springs is among the mid-range luxury hotels in Costa Rica. The hotel has unobstructed views of Arenal Volcano. It offers a gym, yoga deck with classes, a spa, and 3 restaurants on-site.
The rooms are colorful, rustic, and range from Junior Suite to Master Suite. The rooms are scattered throughout the property and often come with views of the volcano.
The highlight of staying at the Arenal Springs Resort & Spa is the four different hot spring pools that guests can enjoy during their stay.
Location: La Fortuna, PuntarenasPrice: $$$
Tabacon is often considered one of the best Costa Rica luxury hotels. If you can afford to spend a few nights at this beautiful resort, its worth it!
Drake Bay Small And Adventurous Vacation Spot On The Southern Pacific Coast
Located to the north of Puerto Jimenez, Drake Bay is a small and adventurous vacation spot on the southern Pacific coast. If you want to stay in Costa Rica for the purpose of experiencing what the locals refer to as Pura Vida, Drake Bay is a smart choice.
Drake Bay is even more remote than Puerto Jimenez you will need to board a ferry to get here unless you want to spend hours driving around confusing roads.
Drake Bay is meant to be enjoyed on foot or on the water the lodging options are not as elaborate as Puerto Jimenez, but staying in a cabin by the beach or in a country lodge at the edge of the rainforest is totally worth it.
This place is one of the best areas to stay in Costa Rica for nature lovers. This area hosts more than 5% of the worlds biodiversity.
Aside from hiking, fishing, surfing, swimming, and enjoying fresh seafood, there is not much else to do here, but your experience is bound to be unforgettable.
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Where To Stay On The Osa Peninsula
Corcovado National Park is the main attraction on the Osa Peninsula, so to accommodate travelers there are a number of hotel options in Puerto Jimenez and Drake Bay. Puerto Jimenez is an interesting place to visit for its history as a former gold mining town. However, it wouldnt be considered the best place to vacation in Costa Rica.
Outside of town, there are a number of sustainable lodges which are much preferable since they bring to the forefront what you have come to see unspoilt nature. Nestled within the jungle, these oases of civilization are frequently visited by scarlet macaws, iguanas, monkeys, and other wildlife.
Location: Puerto Jimenez, PuntarenasPrice: $$$
Lapa Rios Lodgeis THE place to stay if you are wondering where to stay in Costa Rica on the Osa Peninsula. Considered the most sustainable eco-lodge Costa Rica has to offer and set on 1000 acres of pristine beachfront rainforest, Lapa Rios is a real standout.
They are part of the National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World and offer 17 beautiful bungalows and great facilities. All meals are included in a stay at Lapa Rios and they offer an abundance of tours and day trips to explore the area in a sustainable way.
As a 5 Leaf Certified Sustainable lodge, their list of environmental and sustainability initiatives is truly impressive. They even run a sustainability tour for guests interested in learning more about their practices.
The Best Beaches Near San Jose Costa Rica Are Not Too Far Away By Car
The countrys most popular beach resorts are just two hours away by car west of the capital city of San Jose. These are the 1.8 mile-long beaches in the town of Jacó along the central Pacific coastline of Puntarenas province.
The town of Jaco is home to several playas such as Barranca, Esterillos, Hermosa, Herradura, and Doña Ana, some of which have gained the reputation as party beaches that cater mostly to the nightlife. Nevertheless, they all have a large following among the general tourist population that wants to savor a quiet vacation with clean greyish sands and clear Pacific waters without going too far off from the San Jose capital. These family-friendly beaches will not disappoint.
- Jaco Beach Costa Rica
- Playa Herradura
Among Jacos major water fun activities is surfing, with an annual international surfing event held at Playa Hermosa, another of Jacos major beaches attracting a large tourist arrival from around the planet every year.
Playa Jaco is best reached from the San Jose International Airport which is just 1.5 hours away by car. In addition, you can visit the beaches north and south of Jaco, which are among the most picturesque and cleanest sands and water, as well as stunning panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean. Its no wonder why this is such a popular destination close to San Jose.
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