Costa Rica is richly endowed with mountain and jungle lodges, aerial tree houses, and even working farms (fincas), many of which are true trend-setters, not least for eco-sustainability. Most have naturalist guides and offer or can arrange activities, such as canoeing and hiking. Some offer luxuries fit for a king; others are basic, although no less endearing.
Consider staying at least a few days in one of these unique lodging options.
Xandari : Stunning views across the valley. Divinely designed and decorated villas. A superb spa. Plus hikes through bamboo forests and the hotel’s own coffee estate. What more could you ask for? Food? Yes, even that is gourmet and organic.
Villablanca Cloud Forest Hotel & Spa : Mists drift ethereally around this old hacienda atop the Continental Divide. Converted into a chic hotel, it combines cozy chalets (each with a fireplace), a gourmet restaurant, state-of-the-art movie theater, and fabulous hiking in the lodge’s own cloud-forest reserve.
Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation & Inn : Settle into this boutique hotel in the hills above Heredia and you may never leave. Lovers, in particular, may never want to come up for air from the one-of-a-kind honeymoon suite.
Pacuare Jungle Lodge : This sumptuous ecolodge in the thick of mountain jungle is reached solely by river and offers a jaw-dropping end to a thrilling day of white-water rafting.
Samasati Nature Retreat : This Zen-like yoga retreat high in the hills above the Caribbean offers a sublime setting and rustic elegance.
Almonds & Corals : Imagine a deluxe East African safari lodge dropped into the rainforest beside the shore and you get the picture.
Rancho Margot : Plaudits go to the visionary owners of this sustainable farm and ecolodge on the forest-fringed southeastern shores of Lake Arenal. Choose a budget bunkhouse or a romantic bungalow.
Casa de Tranquilidad : A self-contained villa hewn of hardwoods, it sits over a river canyon with trails down through rainforest teeming with wildlife. The perfect venue for family or friends.
Tree Tops Bed & Breakfast : It’s just you and friendly owners Jack (a former race-car driver and socialite) and Karen (a former airline “hostess”) at this humble bed-and-breakfast suspended over a lovely beach. Gourmet meals and fabulous conversation are part of the bargain.
Anamaya Resort : Wow! With its mountainside coastal setting, inspired aesthetic, and “alternative” events (think fire-dancing and Zumba), this upscale hotel appeals to gregarious travelers who appreciate something quirky.
Oxygen Jungle Villas : Urbane sophisticates are spoiled at this mountainside hotel with ocean vistas, a sublime aesthetic, and a spa for relaxing treatments after hiking in the resort’s own forest reserve.
Lapa’s Nest Costa Rica Tree House : You get to see eye-to-eye with the monkeys and macaws at this one-of-a-kind six-story tree house surrounded by rainforest in the Osa Peninsula.
Casa Mariposa : Budget backpackers intent on hiking Chirripó get sleep amid the massive boulders that support this simple yet endearing mountain retreat.
Monte Azul : The yang to Casa Mariposa’s yin (or is it vice versa), this deluxe boutique lodge at the base of Cerro Chirripó doubles as an artists’ retreat. Set in lush gardens, it also serves gourmet meals alfresco.