Exotic and Beautiful
Costa Rica is a wonderful travel destination for all kinds of travelers. It has beaches, rainforests, national parks, volcanoes and more. It has destinations and hotels to accommodate honeymooners, eco tourists, backpackers, and resort seekers. Costa Rica truly is a destination for all.
Costa Rica is probably the most popular country to visit in Central America. It has a stable government and feels safe, making it appealing as a first time destination to Central America. As such, it has many hotels with all of the comforts of home. There are also some western chains including the Hilton and the Four Seasons. These hotels are almost always more expensive than local chains, but you do get the confidence that the quality is consistent.
Beaches, Rainforests, and More
Costa Rica can be a surprisingly affordable destination. It's a great country to visit and experience tropical beaches without the high costs of the Caribbean. There are some great budget guesthouses spread throughout the country so that you really can travel on a backpacker's budget. As a general rule, beaches are more expensive than inland destinations. The Caribbean side of the country is also more affordable than the Pacific side. Also, remember to stay local. Even if you're looking for a more luxurious resort, avoiding western chains will save you a lot of money and you will generally get a comparable quality.
If you're planning to stay at a more moderate to expensive hotel, it is best to make reservations in advance. For budget accommodation, it really depends on the season. During high season or holidays, hotels may fill up so it is better to have reservations in advance.
Eco-Tourism at its Best
Costa Rica has a wonderful range of hotel types. It truly is an eco-tourism destination, and you will find many hotels that are environmentally friendly. These hotels are usually in some of the most interesting settings, and take full advantage of the rainforest atmosphere. It really is a unique way to experience Costa Rica.
There is also no shortage of resorts in Costa Rica. In addition to being along the coast, there are some great options near Volcano Arenal. These resorts take advantage of the area's hot springs and offer some wonderful spas and pools that are not to be missed.
If you're on a budget, you will find plenty of hostels and budget guesthouses throughout the country as well. They are most common near the tourist destinations like Monteverde, but don't be surprised to find affordable options in some off the beaten path locations as well. Some may be less comfortable than others. They almost always have electric water heaters in the shower, which are not as effective as you might wish. If you don't mind the lukewarm to cold shower, then hostels are a great place to meet fellow travelers.
Most people arrive or depart Costa Rica through San Jose. It has the country's largest airport and receives the most international flights. Many people choose to head straight out of the city and begin exploring the countryside, but some will linger for a day or two to experience the capital city and the many day trips that are available.
You'll find some popular chain hotels out by the airport. These include Doubletree, the Marriott and Hampton Inn. In town there are a good number of hostel options. Many are near restaurants and travel agencies. You can often book day trips from the reception area of your hostel as well. Most of the choices in San Jose range in level from one to three stars. If you're looking for something more luxurious you'll likely have to head outside of the city.
Most visitors head to La Fortuna to catch a glimpse of Arenal Volcano. While this is the initial draw to the area, you'll find many other things to do. There are some impressive hot springs and spas that are a great places to spend a few hours or a full day. They're a splurge but well worth it. Most budget travelers to the area choose to stay in the city of La Fortuna. This is where you'll find the highest concentration of budget accommodation. It also has a high concentration of restaurants and bars. Some people claim the town has become too touristy, but if you're looking for the center of the action, then this is where you'll find it.
Alternatively, you'll find more of the luxurious hotels outside of town. Some offer great views of the volcano. They're often in a peaceful setting and have a restaurant attached where guests can enjoy delicious meals. If you're looking for a place more remote and peaceful then you will do best to look outside of La Fortuna. If you end up staying at a place that is very remote you'll most likely want to have access to a rental car. Taxis in the area can get quite expensive, and trips can be longer than you might expect. While public transportation is frequent and cheap from the town, in the more isolated areas it is almost nonexistent. Some hotels can arrange transportation for you though so do inquire at the reception desk. This might be cheaper than a taxi if it is in the form of a shuttle.