May 30, 2024

Olympia Travel Tips

Maniac Travel Update

Best all-inclusive resorts in Costa Rica for beach visits or hiking trips

Best all-inclusive resorts in Costa Rica for beach visits or hiking trips

Thanks to its Pacific and Caribbean coastlines, cloud forests, volcanoes and marine reserves, Costa Rica is one of the most biodiverse places on the planet. So, it’s no wonder the country draws more than 1.7 million (mostly American) tourists each year.

A pioneer in sustainable tourism famed for its ecolodges and boutique hotels, the so-called “Switzerland of South America” may not seem like the obvious choice for an all-inclusive vacation.

However, stereotypes have shifted. Hyatt, Marriott, Hilton and other big hotel brands have upped their all-inclusive game in recent years and introduced more luxe amenities, such as craft cocktail bars, haute cuisine and personalized service.

In Costa Rica, all-inclusive resorts are also channeling the country’s nature-loving “pura vida” motto. Many offer immersive experiences that encourage guests to encounter a more authentic side of Costa Rica while still enjoying the benefits of an all-inclusive getaway.

Related: 5 things you should know before booking an all-inclusive resort stay with points

While you may not find the same number of traditional all-inclusive options in Costa Rica as, say, Mexico or the Dominican Republic, an array of properties — including excellent points hotels — dot the country’s Pacific Coast (especially the Papagayo Peninsula). Here, you can enjoy amenity-rich, top-tier resorts without that daily nickel and diming to spoil your serenity.

Additionally, some of the country’s finest ecolodges in the heart of the rainforest offer meal packages and full-board concepts, so you can enjoy a true wilderness escape that also allows for some strategic budgeting.

Here are 10 of our favorite all-inclusive resorts in Costa Rica.

The Westin Reserva Conchal, an All-Inclusive Golf Resort & Spa

Playa Conchal, Guanacaste, Costa Rica

THE WESTIN RESERVA CONCHAL/MARRIOTT

Best for: Active travelers who want to immerse themselves in the natural beauty of Costa Rica.

Why stay here: An inviting beachfront property with upscale amenities, superb service and manicured grounds.

Best way to book: Book directly with Marriott, and either pay cash or redeem points.

A secluded oasis on Costa Rica’s ruggedly beautiful Pacific coastline, this upscale Westin property is within striking distance of pristine beaches, national parks and wildlife refuges.

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Each of the 406 rooms exudes an upbeat, tropical vibe with abundant natural wood, a bright color palette and a balcony or terrace with garden or ocean views. Accommodations range from 538-square-foot Deluxe Jr suites to club-level suites (with the added perks of club lounge access and a private pool). There are also some more spacious family suites.

The property offers a huge lagoon-style pool, an array of on-site amenities, a myriad of dining options and extensive, manicured grounds. So, guests can punctuate Costa Rica’s signature adrenaline-infused adventures with healthy doses of relaxation.

While little ones are entertained at the kids club, adults can book a round on the championship golf course or indulge in a massage treatment at the spa. You can also learn more about local flora and fauna on an early morning rainforest hike or just relax and wait for happy hour by the pool.

The resort’s 12 eateries — each with a distinct culinary theme and vibe — serve everything from hearty Tico dishes and fresh seafood to modern Italian and Asian-fusion fare. There’s also a locally inspired kids menu that skews wholesome, so you don’t have to worry about satiating the little ones’ appetites before and after outdoor adventures.

All-inclusive rates at The Westin Reserva Conchal start at $425 or 73,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night, based on double occupancy.

Related: 7 things to know before booking a stay at The Westin Reserva Conchal

Hacienda AltaGracia

Santa Teresa, San José Province, Costa Rica

ALTAGRACIA/AUBERGE RESORTS

Best for: Couples and families who value exclusivity, personalized service and pampering.

Why stay here: For a luxurious, wellness-oriented retreat in a stunning location, it doesn’t get much better than this.

Best way to book: Book through our partner, Skylark, to enjoy benefits like upgrades and on-property credits.

Tucked away on 864 acres in the foothills of southern Costa Rica’s Talamanca Mountains, Hacienda AltaGracia is one of the country’s most exclusive wellness retreats.

Part of the upscale Auberge brand portfolio, AltaGracia’s 50 luxurious “casitas” are scattered across a gorgeous backdrop of rolling hills, lush forests and rushing rivers. Units harmoniously blend the inside and the outside with polished wood and marble. Each features a terrace with a private plunge pool and views across the almost impossibly green hills of the San Isidro Valley.

Wellness is of the utmost importance at Hacienda AltaGracia: Guests can take part in purification ceremonies, reiki, mindful breakfasts, energy-healing sessions, treatments in infrared cabins, yoga and guided meditation. The property offers an overall at-one-with-nature vibe.

Guests can also indulge in the property’s imaginatively prepared (and abundant) food and cocktails by the pool or relax at the palatial hydrotherapy center. There’s even a health coach to help chart your course.

Amenities include a fitness center, three pools, two Jacuzzis, an on-site organic farm, a coffee plantation and horse stables. With plenty of activities and spacious rooms, the hotel is also highly recommended among families.

All-inclusive rates at AltaGracia start at $1,196 per night, based on double occupancy.

Andaz Costa Rica Resort at Peninsula Papagayo

Peninsula Papagayo, Guanacaste, Costa Rica

ANDAZ COSTA RICA RESORT AT PENINSULA PAPAGAYO/FACEBOOK

Best for: Nature-loving families and couples seeking a polished, contemporary hotel primed for outdoor adventure.

Why stay here: It’s one of the best Hyatt redemption values in the world thanks to high paid rates and affordable points rates.

Best way to book: Book through our partner, Skylark, to earn Hyatt points and status credits while also enjoying elite-like benefits and on-property credits. You can also book directly through Hyatt to redeem points.

One of TPG’s favorite hotels in Central America, the Andaz Costa Rica Resort at Peninsula Papagayo offers much of the luxury, on-point service and thoughtful amenities of the nearby Four Seasons but at a much more palatable price.

Carved into the mountainside amid a riot of vegetation, the Andaz exudes tropical charm. Capuchin monkeys swing from the treetops surrounding the zero-entry family pool and the adults-only pool — both of which are narrow but offer breathtaking views.

There are three exceptional on-site restaurants: Río Bhongo has a casual coastal vibe, the refined Ostra restaurant offers seafood and the fun Chão Pesca provides inventive tapas accompanied by an inspired cocktail list.

While this is not an all-inclusive resort per se, full-board meal packages are available. These packages work out to be much more economical if you anticipate spending your evenings dining on the property — which is definitely no hardship.

The resort’s indoor-outdoor philosophy extends to the guest rooms, which, at more than 560 square feet, provide plenty of space to spread out. Woven textiles, endemic wood, bamboo furnishings and local handicrafts blend chic design with a true Costa Rican aesthetic. Modern bathrooms feature river stone rain showers and large windows that overlook the jungle and ocean scenery.

A meandering pathway leads to a jungle-backed cove where you can make use of complimentary kayaks, snorkeling equipment and paddleboards. Or, hop on the shuttle for a 10-minute ride to the resort’s private Prieta Beach Club, fronted by a more expansive beach.

Rates cover most classes and activities, but additional (small) charges apply to the coffee-making, ceviche-making and mixology classes. The 11,000-square-foot spa offers treatments and therapies, and there are a small fitness center and a kids club.

Rates at the Andaz Costa Rica Resort at Peninsula Papagayo start at $599 or 17,000 World of Hyatt points per night. Keep in mind, though, that you cannot redeem points for the food and beverage packages.

Lapa Rios Lodge

Puerto Jiménez, Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica

LAPA RIOS ECO LODGE/FACEBOOK

Best for: Wild-at-heart travelers, including families with older children, looking for a luxurious rainforest experience.

Why stay here: There’s no better base from which to experience the wonders of Corcovado National Park.

Best way to book: Book directly with the lodge for the best rates. Look out for seasonal packages and discounts.

Lapa Rios is everything a wilderness lodge should be. Set on 1,000 acres of primary and secondary rainforest, the property offers glowing eco-credentials, expert guides and passionate staff.

Guests can fill their days with educationally focused hikes in Corcovado National Park, the crown jewel of the country’s national park system — described by National Geographic as “the most biologically intense place on Earth.” Attentive service is tailored to each guest’s needs, and inspired cuisine showcases local produce and flavors.

Natural woods, fabrics and bamboo abound in the 17 guest bungalows, which provide a close-to-nature experience without sacrificing the modern conveniences of an upscale resort. Accommodations range from luxurious stand-alone villas with private plunge pools to smaller, rustic thatched-roof bungalows (no air-conditioning) with screened-in porches and large decks with outdoor showers.

Daily programming suits nature lovers and adrenaline junkies alike, and all stays cover activities and tours. All-inclusive packages also come with three a la carte meals daily, plus snacks and nonalcoholic drinks.

All-inclusive rates at Lapa Rios Lodge start at $844 per person, per night.

Secrets Papagayo Costa Rica

Papagayo Peninsula, Guanacaste, Costa Rica

SECRETS PAPAGAYO COSTA RICA/FACEBOOK

Best for: Couples looking for a luxe, romantic haven that offers seclusion without compromising accessibility.

Why stay here: This is the best upscale adults-only, all-inclusive hotel for Hyatt loyalists along this breathtaking stretch of coastline.

Best way to book: Pay cash and book directly with Hyatt or redeem points depending on seasonal valuations. You can also transfer or redeem points through Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal.

Tucked into the hillside overlooking black sand Avellano Beach, Secrets Papagayo Costa Rica is, without question, a place where you can easily slip into the castaway dream. This polished, intimately scaled property offers a best-of-both-worlds beach and rainforest setting.

The 202 bright, contemporary rooms start at 398 square feet and channel a tropical theme with blond wood and wicker furnishings in a soothing color palette. Large bathrooms feature double vanities, and furnished terraces have either garden or gulf views.

Four a la carte restaurants, as well as a buffet venue, an alfresco grill and a casual cafe set the scene for romantic date nights and all-day grazing while laying on a sun lounger.

Two gorgeous pools (one with a swim-up bar) inspire long, lazy days with a book and cocktail in hand. Active types can hit the gym or join any number of classes or activities that populate the daily calendar, including beach hikes, yoga classes and theme nights. The resort can also arrange off-site zip lining, snorkeling and rafting excursions.

All-inclusive rates at Secrets Papagayo Costa Rica start at $370 per night, based on double occupancy.

Related: 8 all-inclusive resorts perfect for honeymooners

Dreams Las Mareas Resort & Spa

Playa Jobo, Guanacaste, Costa Rica

DREAMS LAS MAREAS RESORT & SPA/FACEBOOK

Best for: Active families looking to explore beyond the property.

Why stay here: Choose this property for a cost-effective family vacation with Costa Rica’s signature wildlife and attractions within easy reach.

Best way to book: Pay cash and book directly with Hyatt or redeem points depending on seasonal valuations.

In the northwest corner of Guanacaste, near the Nicaragua border, Dreams Las Mareas is the family-friendly counterpart to Secrets Las Mareas. The template is similar in terms of design and amenities, only with more family-focused dining and activities thrown into the mix.

Overlooking the wild and beautiful Playa Jobo, the resort sits within an ecological haven and is surrounded by national parks and wildlife preserves. Active guests can dabble in an array of pursuits, ranging from leisurely wildlife walks on the property to zip lining through the rainforest to snorkeling and scuba diving in the bay’s calm waters.

The 447 junior suites are light and airy, with natural furnishings accented by colorful fabrics and floral arrangements — all intended to reflect the jungle landscape. At a spacious 490 square feet, they feature large, modern bathrooms and furnished balconies or terraces with private hot tubs.

Upgrade to the more posh Preferred Club Level junior suite and you’ll enjoy extra space (527 square feet), club room privileges and luxe amenities. The major draw of the club is that you can swim out to the pool from your private terrace.

There are five a la carte restaurants on the property serving seafood, pan-Asian, Mexican and Italian fare; the resort also features a buffet, a grill, a casual cafe and a swim-up pool bar. There are three pools, including a waterslide pool for kids, and themed adventures for kids ages 3 to 12 at the Explorer’s Club.

All-inclusive rates at Dreams Las Mareas Resort & Spa start at $277 per night, based on double occupancy.

Related: Caffeine on the concourse: TPG flew across the US to find the best airport coffee

Origins Lodge by Mantis

Bijagua, Alajuela, Costa Rica

ORIGINS LODGE BY MANTIS/REINER ALPIZAR/FACEBOOK

Best for: Foodies and eco-travelers looking for a holistic sanctuary.

Why stay here: The main draws of this boutique property are its gourmet cuisine and exquisite rooms surrounded by lakes, volcanoes and a rainforest.

Best way to book: Book directly with the lodge.

Hidden in the mountains in the far northwestern corner of Costa Rica, this elegant ecolodge overlooks active volcanoes, verdant valleys and the waters of Lake Nicaragua. Guests here can feel truly immersed in the sights and sounds of the rainforest while still enjoying all the creature comforts, impeccable service and full-service amenities of a luxurious resort.

From whitewater rafting, volcano hikes (in the company of a resident naturalist) and cooking classes to yoga sessions and relaxation days by the infinity pool, there are plenty of ways to inspire the mind and body.

Nestled among tropical foliage, the sophisticated bungalows and spacious villas (which sleep up to six guests) are anything but generic. They feature hardwood floors, artwork from local artists, handcrafted canopy beds, indoor and outdoor showers, white sofas and large balconies with fire-heated hot tubs from which guests can soak in panoramic views.

Helmed by Michelin-starred chef Jean-Luc L’Hourre, the on-site El Salto restaurant is a magnet for foodies; it offers contemporary French cuisine with produce from the on-site organic garden, complemented by wines from the extensive cellar.

At the Laka-Tii spa, massages and therapies — which draw on ancient traditions and incorporate natural products — can be tailored as part of an all-inclusive wellness package.

All-inclusive rates at Origins Lodge by Mantis start at $1,313 per night, based on double occupancy.

Kura

Uvita de Osa, Puntarenas Province, Costa Rica

KURA/JESPER ANHEDE/FACEBOOK

Best for: Design-conscious adults looking to fill their days with bucket-list moments.

Why stay here: Contemporary style and spectacular whale watching make this adults-only resort a particularly appealing option for luxury seekers who wish to be surrounded by nature.

Best way to book: Book through our partner, Skylark, to enjoy elite-like benefits and on-property credits.

An hour south of Manuel Antonio National Park on the wild and relatively unexplored Osa Peninsula, Kura is one of Costa Rica’s most exclusive adults-only resorts. The one-of-a-kind brainchild of an architect and a biologist, Kura was designed with a “tropical minimalism” concept. It’s a contemporary riff on the national motto of “pura vida” (or pure life).

The resort features eight hilltop villas that look like they were plucked straight from the pages of Architectural Digest. They feature tropical wooden furnishings, dramatic stone showers, polished black-tile floors, floor-to-ceiling windows and expansive furnished terraces — all designed to seamlessly blur the boundary between indoor and outdoor. The Master Suites are huge, at more than 1,500 square feet, and each has a private plunge pool.

Take a dip in the main saltwater infinity pool that provides stunning 360-degree views of Marino Ballena National Park. Then, retreat to a white-cushioned sun lounger and sample inventive cocktails from Diablitos Bar (a signature passion fruit mojito, perhaps?). Throughout the property, there are unexpected touches, including an underwater sound system for swimmers, floating flames in the pool and nightly turndown service.

The artful cuisine is fresh and wholesome (think: ceviche, local catch of the day and bountiful produce grown in the on-site garden). Indulgent spa treatments and daily yoga sessions in the Sky Lounge maintain the theme of rejuvenation found throughout the property.

There are seven pristine beaches to explore, guided hikes to waterfalls and — if you visit from December to April or July to November — the thrilling spectacle of breaching humpback whales offshore.

Rates at Kura start at $745 plus a 13{0b5b04b8d3ad800b67772b3dcc20e35ebfd293e6e83c1a657928cfb52b561f97} room tax per night, based on double occupancy. Full-board meal plans are available for an additional $105 plus 23{0b5b04b8d3ad800b67772b3dcc20e35ebfd293e6e83c1a657928cfb52b561f97} in taxes per night for two people.

La Paloma Lodge

Drake Bay, Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica

LA PALOMA LODGE

Best for: Hikers, snorkelers and nature lovers who want a lodge that’s built around nature rather than over it.

Why stay here: La Paloma Lodge is a tropical paradise that’s ideally located for exploring Corcovado National Park.

Best way to book: Contact the hotel directly for all-inclusive packages and deals.

Found in one of the most biologically rich regions on Earth, La Paloma is a low-key lodge set on 14 acres of tropical rainforest. Seven bungalows and four rooms overlook the Pacific Ocean from their clifftop perch and immerse guests in the flora and fauna of the jungle.

This is definitely a place to leave the technology behind and get off the grid. Expect warm service (locally grown coffee delivered to your room each morning) and adventures galore.

Naturalist guides lead hikes through Corcovado National Park, and there are snorkeling opportunities just a short boat ride away at the Caño Island marine preserve. Equestrians can also fulfill their dreams of galloping along deserted beaches.

Rustic accommodations stay true to the back-to-nature ethos with huge picture windows and wooden furnishings dressed with colorful fabrics.

Between adventures, take time to watch monkeys play in the trees or spot a two-toed sloth as you relax poolside with your favorite book. Note that there is no Wi-Fi in the rooms (only in the clubhouse), and only the Sunset Ranchos and Super Rooms have air conditioning.

All meals are served family style in the main lodge and are prepared with locally sourced produce, meat, fish and seafood.

All-inclusive rates at La Paloma Lodge start at $1,100 per person for a three-night package. Packages are also available for four- and five-night stays.

Related: The best times to visit Costa Rica

Azura Beach Resort

Playa Sámara, Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica

AZURA BEACH RESORT/FACEBOOK

Best for: Couples and solo travelers looking for a culturally immersive property with an intimate feel.

Why stay here: At this modern, boutique property, you’ll find good value and a setting that invites spontaneity.

Best way to book: Book directly on the hotel’s website for the best rates.

On the palm-fringed sands of the Nicoya Peninsula’s Playa Sámara, this intimate, adults-only resort offers a well-rounded all-inclusive experience. With a boho-chic town and cool beach scene close by, this isn’t the type of vacation where you never leave the property.

Surrounding the attractive, lushly landscaped main pool, all 75 rooms are bright and contemporary in style, with a white palette and colorful accents. Modern bathrooms feature double vanities and plush robes, and some have freestanding tubs.

There are 11 room types to choose from, ranging from junior suites (with garden or ocean views) that start at 602 square feet to larger suites with private pools that measure at least 667 square feet.

At the oceanfront Chill ‘n’ Grill — the only on-site bar and restaurant — a varied a la carte menu features local Tico classics, as well as international and fusion cuisine.

Guests can enjoy massages and treatments at the on-site spa. If you’re looking for something more active, the hotel can arrange some classic Costa Rican tours and experiences, including surf lessons, canopy tours, visits to Arenal Volcano or Monteverde, kayaking and deep-sea fishing.

All-inclusive rates at Azura Beach Resort start at $530 per night, based on double occupancy.