I'm planning to visit Costa Rica, potentially during August or September, I need advice/ideas on what parts of the country to visit.
Any ideas on where to start for a romantic/adventure based visit? Other suggestions on activities / locations appreciated!
I'd like to spend part of the trip visiting the rainforest/volcanos and the other part at the beach, preferably at a less touristy location (small town). I'd like to stay off the beaten path and have been looking at airbnb for private houses/apartments for rent that are authentic to the area (not big chain hotel)
During the trip we'd like to
* zip line
* see rainforest/nature/waterfalls
Trip Plan Details
recommended Restaurante La MariposaThe spellbinding view of the ocean accompanying your dinner will enrich every bite...you will feel as though you are imbibing the sunset and drinking the sea. The entire experience is intoxicating ... read morebecause you cannot help but relax, savor every bite, and find any excuse to stay as long as possible. Even if you only make it for a drink, this view is not to be missed!Recommended for:Margaret Seelie
This is one of the most romantic places to have dinner in Costa Rica!
recommended Jacointeresting place... more of the party spot. just watch out for all the prostitutes at the beetle bar!Recommended for:
recommended Manuel Antoniogo to the national park, beautiful views and tons of monkeys everywhere!Recommended for:recommended Manuel AntonioRainforest, picture perfect beach, wildlife everywhere, amazing restaurants, 5 star resorts to quaint b&b type spots to backpacker hostels... If you only have a limited time in Costa Rica and want to ... read moreget the whole package I definitely recommend Manuel Antonio!Recommended for:kyra bramble
Manuel Antonio = romance + adventure
recommended La Fortunaawesome active volcano.. zip lining and white water rafting!Recommended for:recommended La FortunaAlthought the village is a bit bigger, has a few more stores than Montezuma, I did enjoy La fortuna as well. We stayed at the backpackers on the outskirts a bit. Very nice grounds and the staff was ... read moregreat. You have a choice of staying in tents or rooms. The best part of La Fortuna would be the Cerra Chato hike, an inactive volcano that has filled up with rain water that you get to climb down into the actual crater. The Trek was steep in spots, so good shoes is a must and poles ideally. then after the day of hiking, stop off at the Natural Hot springs where the Locals go. Free of charge and absolutely great! it is just beside the Tabacon hot springs. The only thing people do advise you not to go as it is an ivitation to have something stolen while you are in the springs. We never left anything in the car, locked the doors and never had any problems what so ever anywhere in Costa Rica. Don't look for trouble and it won't findyou. We also went to the other hot springs. Bali hot springs I believe. Very nice as well, but very commericalised and for tourists. For 35$ we got buffet dinner, and access to the baths all evening, including water slides. 45km/hr one of them!!Recommended for:
- Montana de Fuego Hotel & SpaLa Fortuna de San Carlos, Arenal Volcano National Park 824417, Costa Ricarecommended Montana de Fuego Hotel & SpaI loved staying at this hotel for its convenience to the volcano (right across the road), welcoming service, private and large suites, and number of activities offered by the resort. My suite included ... read morea large living room, dining room, wall to wall windowed bedroom, beautiful bathroom with jacuzzi tub, landscaped lawn at my door, and spectacular views of the Arenal volcano right across the road. I arrived to be greeted with a wonderful fruity cocktail, and a tour of the premises before escorted to my suite on a buggy. The land is private and you feel very safe. It offers you quick access to downtown's main street and a variety of activities. I was grateful to partake in the horseback riding around the base of the volcano and further hiking up its side with a guide for a modest price. At night, I relaxed in their pool. It may be one of the larger towns, and certainly a tourist attraction with the volcano, but I always felt away from a crowd in quiet and relaxation with nature at this resort. They provided a great breakfast with many exotic fruits and a bevy of foods to choose from while eating in direct view of the volcano in front of the hotel. It's an excellent location with spa services to make you feel even more relaxed and at home. I would recommend this spa and resort to any traveler visiting the La Fortuna area.Recommended for:Dominique
I loved staying at Montana de Fuego Hotel and Spa for its convenienve to the Arenal volcano (right across the road), its welcoming service, large suites, and number of activities offered by teh resort. My suite included a large living room, dining room, wall to wall windowed bedroom, beautiful bathroom with jacuzzi tub, landscaped lawn at my door, and spectacular views of the Arenal volcano across the road at a steal of a price in the at $60. They usually offer deals in advance. I arrived to be greeted with a wonderful fruity cocktail, and a tour of the premises before being escorted along its lush property by buggy. The land is private and you feel very safe. Its location offers you quick access to downtown's main street and a variety of activities. I greatly enjoyed the horseback riding around the base of the volcano followed by further hiking up its base with a guide. All for a modest price. At night, I relaxed by their pool, and enjoyed the quiet La Fortuna's less touristy location offers. It may be one of the larger towns, and certainly a tourist attraction with the Arenal volcano, but I always felt away from the crowd in a quiet and relaxing naturalistic atmosphere at this resort. They provided a great breakfast with many exotic fruits and a bevy of foods to choose from while eating in direct view of the volcano in front of the hotel. It's an excellent location with spa services to make you feel even more relaxed and at home. I would recommend this spa and resort to any traveler visiting the La Fortuna area.
- Pachamama House & BungalowsPunta Uva, Puerto Viejo 7304, Costa Ricarecommended Pachamama House & BungalowsPachamama is truly a jungle paradise, nestled just a couple miles from Puerto Viejo's city center. The quaint bungalow B&B is run by a friendly American, Bill, and his lovely family. Go to sleep in a ... read moretropical hideaway, wake up to a home cooked Costa Rican breakfast on your porch (courtesy of Bill) and then explore the area. You can even borrow Bill's kayaks and cruise through the jungle rivers that wind through the property and into the nearby Caribbean.Ramona Flume
If you're heading to the Caribbean coast, don't miss out on Puerto Viejo. Pachamama was one of the most romantic, au natural B&Bs I've ever visited!
recommended MonteverdeCosta Rica's beaches might be world famous, but some of the country's most amazing natural wonders are found deep inland. Ecotourists and nature lovers should head to Monteverde--a tiny mountain town ... read morein the midst of Costa Rica's renowned cloud forests. Visitors can zipline through the tropical canopies, take a guided night tour of the jungle to inspect the fragile ecosystem's biodiversity or just curl up in a cozy eco-lodge with a cup of Monteverde's famed coffee.Ramona Flume
Hi Jared! The cloud forests of Monteverde are very romantic, with several luxury hotels, but there's also the option to make your visit adventurous. There are exciting canopy suspension bridge and zipline tours that will take you through the dizzying heights of the rainforest.
- Hotel Capitan SuizoPlaya Tamarindo | 2 miles from the local Airport in Tamarindo, Tamarindo 5159, Costa Ricarecommended Hotel Capitan SuizoI would also recommend Tabacón; it's definitely romantic and there are plenty of opportunities for hiking, ziplining, rafting, etc. in the area, all with the Arenal Volcano in view. Try to get a room ... read morewith a view of the volcano; the lava flow at night is especially gorgeous. When I visited, we also stayed in Tamarindo, a beach town known for surfing. It was a bit more touristy, but Hotel Capitán Suizo was located outside of the town and was very intimate. The hotel is right on the beach and features luxurious bungalows in addition to regular rooms. Just sitting by the pool you're sure to see monkeys in the trees right above you, so you still get the feeling that you're secluded in nature. There is also an outdoor restaurant and bar and because of its location, the beaches are very private as well.Recommended for:Luxury Travelers
- Termales del BosqueSan Carlos, Costa Ricarecommended Termales del BosqueFor natural hot springs, Termales del Bosque is your best, and most affordable, option. Nestled in the middle of the rainforest, right next to a rushing river, you can soak in peace and feel (for a ... read moremoment, at least) that you are the only person on earth. My friend and I were there on a rainy day, which turned out to be perfect because we had the springs to ourselves (not to mention the beautiful fog rolling off of the pools). A memorable perk was the poolside bar where you can sip a fruity cocktail while soaking.Alison Kjeldgaard
To start off the trip with a romantic activity, stop by Termales del Bosque hot springs. It's affordable, beautiful, and secluded.
- Jaco Beach Village| Jaco Beach, Jaco, Costa Ricarecommended Jaco Beach VillageJaco is a strip of beach along the coast. Although I didn't really visit the beach, I was only passing through, I did stop above the beach where I was able to see 3 Makaws Absolutely beautiful in ... read morecolor. Vibrant Reds, Yellow and Blue. The was a bird sanctuary somewhere in the area that we didn't visit, but have been told that the Makaws often hang, if you want, in that area. You just pull off the road onto an area that is a lookout point, and you see the Makaws in the trees.Recommended for:
- Manuel Antonio National ParkManuel Antoniorecommended Manuel Antonio National ParkBeautiful beaches, wild life ...how many places can you sit on one side of the street, sip a martini and watch the sun go down over the ocean across the street? Absolutely magnificient! The National ... read morepark is great, but beware of the monkeys! They actually stole my friends shoe and we had to go back to see if Rangers found it the next day! :) it was quite comical.Recommended for:
recommended MontezumaA bit of a hike from the village, but worth it. Montezuma waterfalls has 3 different falls. like a 3 tier. You can take a bus or an excursion, but the fun is going on your own and taking in all that ... read morenature has to offer. you arrive at the base of the waterfall and it is spectacular. sit on the rocks have a picnic, lay in the sun swim, although the water was rather cold. then for the more adventurous type, climb the moutain in front of the waterfalls, climbing by holding on to vines, trees, branches anything as it is a steep climb. Hard to find the path at times even, but a thrill all the same! Once at the top, you'll follow another path that leads to the second and 3rd level where you can jump 70 feet into the next basin from the second waterfall, or use the tarzan rope and jump into the 3rd basin. All absolutely beautiful! It is a bit dangerous so good shoes are necessary. Montezuma is also a quaint little town alongside the ocean, very quiet, yet has a bit of nightlife and can be very romantic couple of days before you head over to Mal Pais, the surfer town! When I was there the waves weren't but it is highly know for sufing in the are. If you go, Stay at Surf Camp. Beautiful cabins at cheap price, pool, bar, lounge area..everything that you could want.Recommended for:
- Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort13 Kms West of La Fortuna, La Fortuna -, Costa Ricarecommended Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal ResortWhile the hotel was above our budget, my husband and I enjoyed luxuriating in Tabacon's hotsprings. Several scenic and well-groomed pools of different tempatures kept us occupied for hours. The swim ... read moreup bar didn't hurt either :)Recommended for:
- Samara Tree House InnPlaya Samara, Costa Ricarecommended Samara Tree House InnMy husband and I stayed here in 2004. The little bungalos on stilts have a gorgeous view out onto the water. Down below there are great hammocks and a grill. There is a small but nice pool. ... read morehttp://www.samaratreehouse.com/Samara_Tree_House_Inn/Recommended for:Megan
My husband and I LOVED our trip to Costa Rica. We did the Mount Arenal area which included the adventure portion of the trip. Samara was a cute town where we enjoyed the beach, quaint restaurants, and horsebackriding.
- Hotel Banana AzulPlaya Negra, Puerto Viejo, Costa Ricarecommended Hotel Banana AzulHotel Banana Azul is a great little resort located on a black sand beach just north of the popular surfer/backpacker town of Puerto Viejo. The hotel is a laid back place with lush grounds, a new pool, ... read moreand a large cool-water Jacuzzi. There's a good range of reasonably priced rooms--from basic garden level to a two-bedroom apartment--that feature rich local hardwoods and artful decor; a full breakfast was included in the rate the last time I checked. The only bummer, which is kind of random, are the bamboo beds frames, which creak at the slightest movement (the owners definitely are aware of the situation, though, and are dealing with it). It's also located next to Cahuita National Park, which in combination with Puerto Viejo, has tons of outdoor options beyond snorkeling and diving: hiking, animal-spotting, zip lines, river rafting, kayaking, fishing, and of course, surfing. It's easy to plan your own excursions but if you prefer to let someone else do the work (it's your vacation afterall!), there is a recommended tour operator on-site, Gecko Trail Adventures.
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- Arenal VolcanoArenal Volcano National Park, Costa Rica