Three years it’s been since we moved our asses to Costa Rica to embark on this big surf adventure. We had never been to Costa Rica before, had little knowledge about its culture, its people, or how beautiful this country really was. But it surprised us in many ways, and it still does. 

One of the highlights of this country is of course its nature, but also the role nature plays in its approach to tourism. Eco-tourism is thriving in Costa Rica. This also means there are quite a lot of special, unique, hotels that will make your trip through Costa Rica even more of an adventure. While most tourists tend to hang around the North of the country, they are actually missing out on the best part. Southern Costa Rica has the most beautiful national parks, unspoiled beaches, uncrowded waves, and undiscovered gems. We decided to do a little field research on the coolest hotels in Southern Costa Rica in order to elevate your trip to Costa Rica to the next level. 

infinity pool at Oxygen Jungle Villas hotel in Costa Rica

Oxygen Jungle Villas - Uvita

Houses made of glass surrounded by jungle, an infinity pool overlooking the Pacific, and daily tucan visits. Doesn’t that sound like the ideal holiday spot? Oxygen Jungle Villas in Uvita is one of the coolest hotels in Costa Rica. I mean, did you ever sleep in a glass house, to begin with? This adults-only resort is everything if you’d like to get pampered. The food is delicious, the views priceless and the service outstanding. Add all the animal encounters, the waterfall in the garden, and some outstanding spa treatments, and I believe you don’t need any other reason to leave ever again. 

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Congo Bongo Eco Village - Manzanillo

Unique? Definitely! Surrounded by nature? Absolutely! Congo Bongo ticks all the boxes of a one of a kind experience off the beaten path. Enjoy the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica from your jungle home at Congo Bongo Eco Village. White empty beaches, crystal clear blue waters, punchy waves to surf, and wildlife in basically every single tree. The Caribbean coast is a must-visit on your Costa Rica itinerary and staying at Congo Bongo just as much. 

Playa Manzanillo in Costa Rica
Congo Bongo hotel in Costa Rica

Jungle vibes

I felt like stepping into Pippi Longstockings jungle home while entering Congo Bongo Eco Village. The collection of seashells, local art, beach gems, empty perfume bottles, and reused plastic artifacts take me back to my favorite childhood series. There are several houses set around the property, but while sitting on your front porch you have no idea there’s actually any sign of civilization anywhere near. You are surrounded by the jungle and its sounds. While typing this there’s a hummingbird flying (and pausing) just right in front of me. When I look around I see the most colorful butterflies flying around, I hear sounds of birds I’ve never heard before and the howler monkeys are playing in the trees just out front. Basically, the only thing you have to do at Congo Bongo Eco Village is lie in the hammock and look around.

Friends, family, or couple hideout

You can rent one of the bigger houses with a group of friends or your family, or feel like Tarzan and Jane with just the two of you. All houses have a fully equipped kitchen, a big outdoor sitting area, rain showers, and big comfy beds. Craving a jungle hideout only footsteps from a paradise beach? Then Congo Bongo is your way to go.

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Finca Exotica - Carate

When driving towards Finca Exotica it really feels like you’re driving towards the end of the world. The bumpy road through lush jungles, along rugged coastal lines and beautiful lagoons, will bring you to one of my favorite hotels in Costa Rica. Finca Exotica is a sustainable eco-lodge at the gateways of Corcovado National Park.

Finca Exotica hotel in Costa Rica
Red macaws at Finca Exotica hotel Costa Rica

Barefoot luxury

Finca Exotica just breathes barefoot luxury. Everything is well thought through. Their service is incredible, the food is delicious and everything is in line with nature. They first grew the bamboo in order to build the houses, they grow their own fruits and vegetables, they reintroduced many species of trees and plants in the area while nurturing everything that was already there. No wonder Finca Exotica’s garden feels like a mini Corcovado National Park (their neighbor) with such great variety in flora and fauna. Nose bear and anteater encounters are just daily business. And never in my life have I seen so many red macaws in one place. I can’t recommend this place enough if you love nature and feeling special while enjoying it.

Sola Vista Eco Lodge - Punta Banco

This is the ultimate honeymoon spot in Costa Rica. If you like nature and ocean views, this truly is one of the most unique experiences you can have in Costa Rica. The all-bamboo houses have 360-degree nature views and daily visits of basically all animals of the jungle. You feel like you are in the middle of nowhere, while you’re actually two footsteps from the little town of Punta Banco and the beach. Waves roll in just out front, with even more surf spots down the beach and the world-famous Pavones left-hander just 6km away. 

Sola Vista Eco Lodge hotel in Costa Rica
room view at Sola Vista Eco Lodge hotel Costa Rica

Wildlife visits and ocean vistas

The open-air cabinas have everything you need, combined with the best views in town. Wake up with ocean views and monkey sounds in the most comfortable beds you can find in any hotel in Costa Rica. While taking a shower outdoors you might be able to spot some tucans or nose bears sliding down the trees. After a long day of surfing, there’s no better place to enjoy the sunset than your deck. Both houses are equipped with a kitchen, and you can even ask Denise & Renato to stock up your fridge before arrival.

Renato and Denise are the best hosts you can imagine, who would love to help you out with fun activities to explore the beautiful surroundings. Good times guaranteed at one of the most beautiful hotels in Costa Rica. Sola Vista Eco Lodge is calling your name!

Rancho Burica - Punta Banco

Literally, at the end of the road, Rancho Burica might just be the last destination of Costa Rica before the Panamanian border. One of the few places in the whole country that is actually positioned right at the beach, with a wave out front. The accommodation might be basic but accommodates both those on a shoestring with their dorm, as adventurous couples or families with their ocean view private rooms. Every single room is footsteps from the beach, and you will fall asleep with both the sounds of the waves and of the jungle.

Drone image of Rancho Burica Costa Rica
surfer with pelicans on a wave at Rancho Burica Costa Rica

Nature runs the day

There’s a waterfall in the garden, hammocks everywhere, and relaxing decks from where you can spot flying stingrays or jumping humpback whales in the Pacific depending on the season. Rancho Burica is also involved in the local community project to protect the turtles, which means you might be able to witness one of their baby turtle releases. The vibe at Rancho Burica is relaxed with family breakfasts and dinners, which makes it very easy to socialize with the other guests and staff. Careful, you wouldn’t be the first to extend your stay.

Would you like to go here? Check out our surf retreat!

Most beautiful hotels in Costa Rica

All of the places above have stolen our hearts. Maybe it’s the close proximity with nature, the paradise set up, or the best sunset views, that has made us feel so special while staying at each of these hotels in Costa Rica. It for sure is the incredible hospitality, the personal touches, the unique character of all of them, and the “can-I-pinch-myself”-feeling we had while enjoying these hideouts. So, are you planning a trip to Costa Rica? Make sure to put these hotels on your to-do-list!

Love,

Marthe

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Sola Vista Eco Lodge hotel in Costa Rica

Photos by: M. Barends & J. Roeland ©.