During our two months in Costa Rica, we stayed in luxury villas, Airbnb condos, hotels and even, a co-working hostel! We wanted our experience to be a healthy balance of mingling with locals to Instagram-worthy, ‘I’m on vacation’ mode!
So here are the 10 family-friendly places we checked into ranging from $100 to $500 CAD a night. Keep in mind, we were here February & March which is high season.
(This is not a sponsored post. We funded this trip entirely on our own and specifically curated these places based on our needs.)
Villa Michelina / Manuel Antonio — This is one of the first places we checked into and it pretty much ruined me! Nothing screams 3000 sqft of ‘luxury’ than soaring 20 ft ceilings, over-the-top headboards and a pool on the edge of a cliff! This 3 bedroom Bali-inspired home is so baller, I basically holed myself up in here for a week — even refusing to go out for dinner and opted to make my own meals in the gourmet kitchen! We also had many critters visit us during our stay… monkeys, iguanas, exotic birds and bull frogs mated on our patio! Downside is the house is secluded on top of a steep hill and you have to drive into town so that’s when a 4×4 SUV comes in handy. ($500/night) *****
Selina Hotel / Manuel Antonio — This is the perfect hub for digital nomads with both an open air and air-conditioned co-working space ($10 USD per day), a restaurant, 3 pools, a yoga lounge and accommodations. It’s mostly hostel style but we stayed in a deluxe cottage room with a private bathroom and balcony. Social and networking events happen weekly (free and some costs $10-15 USD). It’s centrally located and across the street from El Avion, my favourite restaurant in Costa Rica. There are multiple locations around the world. $200/night. (Bunk beds in a shared room starts at $26/night.) ***
Titi Condos / Quepos — After we decided to extend our trip, we found this place on short notice. It’s a basic 500 sqft two bedroom condo in a gated complex and the price point is ideal for longer term stays. Neighbours are friendly locals and retired expats whom you share a small pool and laundry with. Comes with a housekeeper who checks in every other day. Kinda reminds me of the Melrose Place concept minus the love triangles and drama! ($125/night) ***
Volcano Villa / La Fortuna — It’s all about minimalistic and modern features at this 2 bedroom home. The show stopper is the gorgeous volcano view and a rooster that will wake you up in the morning! The hosts are a friendly young couple who lives next door and runs this Airbnb like pros. She’s Canadian and he’s Costa Rican and that’s how the love story goes. You will need a car to transport you to the local attractions (Arenal Volcanos, Hanging Bridges and Hot Springs) as this place is set back on a rural dirt road. ($350/night) ****
Sonidos Del Mar Villa / Jaco Beach — We stayed here with my parents for a week and had such a lovely time! It’s a cute colourful cottage with the beach just steps away and the town is a 5 mins drive. There are two homes on the property and the pool is shared. The garden is filled with lush tropical plants and there is a spacious deck for relaxing. The owners and property manager are also such gracious hosts! No wonder it’s scored #1 ratings on Lonely Planet! ($450/night) ****
Condo / Jaco — We stayed here for two nights as we were transitioning between towns. It’s your typical gated condo (think timeshare style) with a large pool and playground. This unit has two beds + 2 baths but it’s still pretty small. Located at the edge of town, it’s a 25 mins trot to the main area and Jaco Walk Shopping Center or a 7 mins drive. The Airbnb host is a helpful gentleman who offered us lots of useful tips! *** ($160/night)
The Apartment / Escazu — This upscale condo (decked with crown moulding) is a great option if you want to steer clear of the bustle of downtown San Jose but still be about a 20 mins drive away. It’s suburban so not much to do but it’s walkable to several restaurants, grocery stores and shops. Escazu Village is a hip plaza that is nearby. The concierge is attentive, it has a nice pool, gym, kid’s playground and even a stylish bar that hosts happy hours! We had to rejigger our trip so we arrived one week earlier and ended up staying in this spacious 2 bedroom condo (with 4 washrooms!) during that time. **** ($180/night)
Radisson Hotel / San Jose — We checked into here for 5 nights when we arrived because it’s considered a resort style hotel and centrally located to attractions. The service is mediocre but there is nice landscaping, a pool, 2 restaurants and an amazingly delicious (and healthy) breakfast buffet that is included with your stay. The walk to downtown and the Central Market is about 20 mins with minimal (and very rugged) sidewalks so better to hop into an Uber for $4. ($125/night) ***
El Rodeo Hotel / SJO Airport — I don’t have high expectations for airport hotels because I only use them for resting when I have to catch early flights. This one however, impressed me! The spacious rooms have hardwood floors and the gated grounds is quite large, complete with a swimming pool. A free breakfast is included starting at 6:30am. ($100/night) ***
Need a personal driver while in San Jose or a lift to/from the airport? Juan was our driver for a week. He has a super laid back friendly personality, speaks both English/Spanish and was always on time. Send us a msg and we can connect you!
Prices quoted in Canadian dollars unless specified. Pro-tip: we often booked for 7+ days and received a weekly discount of 10-15%. It never hurts to reach out in advance to ask for a better rate or an upgrade!