29 Best Hotels in Manuel Antonio and the Central Pacific Coast, Costa Rica

Alma Del Pacifico Beach Hotel & Spa

$$$$ | 3 km (2 miles) north of Playa Bejuco, next to Encantada Cottages, Esterillos Este, 10-6300, Costa Rica

Combining Costa Rica’s vibrant architecture with modern design, this tranquil property reminiscent of tropical-deco decor, offers spacious rooms and colorful beach bungalows with indoor-outdoor rain showers and private gardens. Tucked behind 8-foot walls, each room was designed with privacy and luxury in mind and includes a collection of books, huge flat-screen TVs, and a minibar. The two mosaic swimming pools are sparkling clean and surrounded by waterfalls and mini-palapas for shade. The open-air restaurant specializes in organic cuisine, serving such dishes as grilled fish, tuna tartare, sashimi, and gazpacho. Many ingredients (for the food and the natural spa products) are grown on-site.

Pros

  • Gorgeous and tranquil property
  • Spacious rooms
  • Creative and colorful design

Cons

  • Wild beach, far from town
  • Hard mattresses
  • Simple breakfast
3 km (2 miles) north of Playa Bejuco, next to Encantada Cottages, Esterillos Este, 10-6300, Costa Rica
2778–7070
hotel Details
20 rooms
Rate Includes: Free Breakfast

Quick Facts

Apartotel Flamboyant

$$ | 100 meters (328 feet) west of Centro Comercial Il Galeone, Jacó, 61101, Costa Rica

Though nothing special, these small beachfront rooms and apartments, many with kitchenettes, are a good deal. You have a pick of accommodations: rooms with air-conditioning and kitchenettes, rooms without kitchenettes, and rooms without air-conditioning. Cement-block beds will certainly keep you from rearranging the furniture, but the rooms are clean and tidy. All units have large terraces overlooking a garden and pool area where there's a grill for your use; second-floor rooms have balconies with partial sea views. Larger apartments can fit five to six people. It's just a few steps from the surf, and Jacó's busy main strip is a block away.

Pros

  • Beachfront
  • Good value
  • All standard and superior rooms have A/C

Cons

  • Very simple rooms
  • No Wi-Fi in rooms
  • Pool crowded with kids
100 meters (328 feet) west of Centro Comercial Il Galeone, Jacó, 61101, Costa Rica
2643–3146
hotel Details
8 rooms, 14 apartments
Rate Includes: Free Breakfast

Quick Facts

  • $$

Arenas del Mar Beachfront and Nature Resort

$$$$ | El Parador road at far west end of Playa Espadilla, Manuel Antonio, 60601, Costa Rica
Arenas del Mar Beach and Nature Resort, Manuel Antonio
Arenas Del Mar Beachfront & Rainforest Resort

On hillsides sloping down to two pristine, almost-deserted beaches, chic and elegant rooms are decorated with gorgeous natural fabrics and local art and have huge private terraces with comfortable outdoor seating. From the base of the hill, guests are transported by electric golf cart up winding pathways to the carbon-neutral property. Rooms have fully stocked "Tico minibars" with complimentary local snacks and beverages. Bathrooms are spacious, with round, glass-brick shower stalls, and suites have mosaic-tiled hot tubs on their terraces. Amenities include two pools and a spa, free yoga and exercise classes, and the surrounding forest is alive with wildlife. It's not uncommon to be visited by a monkey at your breakfast table. The main restaurant is practically in the trees, and the menu is innovative and ambitious, and includes some popular gluten-free dishes. There's also a more casual daytime restaurant at the lower pool nearest the beach. The hotel offers free tortilla-making classes, nature hikes, and sustainability tours that give a behind-the-scenes look at how this five-star resort earned the five-leaves award for its green practices.

Pros

  • Best of both worlds: luxury and eco-consciousness
  • Free shuttle, minibar, and laundry service
  • Wonderful bird-watching and wildlife viewing
  • Beach with surf lessons and lifeguard

Cons

  • Very steep paths and stairs
  • Humidity can leave bathrooms somewhat musty
  • Pricey
El Parador road at far west end of Playa Espadilla, Manuel Antonio, 60601, Costa Rica
888-240–0280-in U.S.
hotel Details
37 rooms
Rate Includes: Free Breakfast

Quick Facts

Recommended Fodor's Video

Club del Mar

$$$ | Costanera, Jacó, 61101, Costa Rica

At the second entrance to Jacó on the beach's southern end, one of the town's better lodgings includes green-and-cream-hue rooms with private teak balconies and spacious one- and two-bedroom condos. Apartments are clustered in two-story buildings amid massive trees and verdant lawns and have abundant windows, modern kitchens, and pleasant furnishings. The nicest are those nearest the sea (Nos. 14 to 16). Bikes and surfboards are available, and a horseshoe-shape bar in the lobby is a welcoming feature, particularly to tired travelers. Las Sandalias restaurant serves some of the area's finest food. 

Pros

  • Beautiful beachfront location
  • Washer and dryer
  • Friendly, helpful staff

Cons

  • Some highway noise reaches back to condos
  • Hard mattresses
  • No bathtubs in standard rooms
Costanera, Jacó, 61101, Costa Rica
866-978–5669-in North America
hotel Details
31 units
Rate Includes: Free Breakfast

Quick Facts

DoceLunas

$$$ | Jacó, 61101, Costa Rica
Chris for Jaco hotel DoceLunas

The spacious, teak-furnished rooms at "Twelve Moons" are a couple of miles from the sea and sand, and noise, set amid 5 acres of lawns shaded by tropical trees and luxuriant gardens with a mountainous green backdrop. Rooms have high ceilings, tile floors, local artwork, and private patios facing the lawn, and the large bathrooms have showers, bathtubs, and double sinks. The full-service spa uses the hotel's own homemade beauty products. An open-air restaurant serves creative seafood, meat, vegetarian, and vegan dishes. This property has one of the nicest swimming pools in Jacó, not to mention an amazing staff.

Pros

  • More secluded than other Jacó lodgings
  • Terrific restaurant
  • Beautiful grounds

Cons

  • 20-minute walk to beach
  • The restaurant closes at 3 pm most days
  • Resident dogs and cats are friendly but not ideal if you aren't into pets
Jacó, 61101, Costa Rica
2643–2211
hotel Details
20 rooms
Rate Includes: Free Breakfast

Quick Facts

Encantada Ocean Cottages

$$ | Next to Alma Del Pacifico Beach Hotel, Esterillos Este, Costa Rica Fodor's Choice

Framing a blue-tiled pool are freestanding cottages with thoughtful and creative touches like luxurious bedding atop artsy bed frames (made from repurposed pallets), colorful throws, polished cement floors, and lofts with twin beds. The oceanfront suite opens onto a private terrace with unobstructed views of the beach. There’s a two-bedroom, two-bath villa with a full kitchen that sleeps five, and an economical room with no view but plenty of character. There are surf lessons and beach toys for kids, and hammocks and margaritas for mom and dad. Yoga sessions take place at 9 am daily ($10). Costa Rican specialties are cooked on an open flame and served in a palapa restaurant. Void of TVs and phones, this is the place to unplug, although there is a high-speed Wi-Fi connection.

Pros

  • Peaceful location with 24-hour security
  • Surf lessons and board rental available along with daily yoga classes
  • Comfy beds

Cons

  • Smaller breakfast
  • Often full
  • Low water pressure
Next to Alma Del Pacifico Beach Hotel, Esterillos Este, Costa Rica
4702–5847-in Costa Rica
hotel Details
7 units
Rate Includes: Free Breakfast

Quick Facts

  • $$

Gaia Hotel & Reserve

$$$$ | Km 2.7 Carretera Quepos, near Plaza Yara, Manuel Antonio, 60601, Costa Rica
Infinity Pool

On 13 acres of private reserve, this boutique hotel is contemporary and very chic, with rooms rendered in slate, hardwood, and rattan with Italian fittings. Elegance abounds with soft hues of cream and white and pampering extras like 500-thread-count Egyptian-cotton bed linens and Turkish robes. Jacuzzi tubs and (shared) rooftop sundecks encourage relaxation, as does the Terra Spa complete with a Vichy rain shower, mud room, sauna, hair salon, and six treatment rooms. Higher room categories include a complimentary mini-spa treatment with direct booking. Three white buildings house the rooms, which are surprisingly spacious—the smallest is 350 square feet. Wildlife tours of the preserve take place daily at 3:30, and beach transportation is offered hourly from 7:30 to 4. The hotel’s La Luna Restaurant has an excellent tapas menu from 4 to 6 and sweeping sunset views, earning it a reputation as one of the best restaurants in Manuel Antonio.

Pros

  • Outstanding service
  • Free shuttle to beach and national park
  • Best spa in Manuel Antonio

Cons

  • Children over 13 only
  • Rooftop pools are shallow and impractical
  • 3 km (2 miles) from the beach
Km 2.7 Carretera Quepos, near Plaza Yara, Manuel Antonio, 60601, Costa Rica
800-226–2515-in U.S.
hotel Details
21 units
Rate Includes: Free Breakfast

Quick Facts

Hotel Costa Verde

$$$ | Road to national park, on south side of hill, on left, Manuel Antonio, 60601, Costa Rica

Their motto, "still more monkeys than people" is not an understatement, as you're likely to see howler and white-faced monkeys on the forest trails surrounding these varied accommodations (including three converted from airplanes). The property feels stuck in the 1980s but has plenty of lodging types to choose from. All units have kitchenettes, room-front parking, and ocean views. The 14 adults-only studios in Costa Verde II are spacious, with large balconies; those in the other buildings are smaller, but all have standard amenities like flat-screen TVs and air-conditioning. Fully equipped apartments are great for families, and the cheaper "efficiencies" near the road are sightly dated but seem to get the most "monkey business," with troops swinging by your patio or jumping on the rooftops. The hotel has four themed restaurants in Manuel Antonio; El Wagon and El Avion are your best options. If you want to skip the hike to the beach, there are three swimming pools where you can cool off closer to "home." Book a room away from the road if you're a light sleeper.

Pros

  • Great ocean views
  • Wildlife
  • Daily yoga

Cons

  • Most efficiencies suffer road noise
  • 1½ km (1 mile) from the beach
  • Service inconsistent
Road to national park, on south side of hill, on left, Manuel Antonio, 60601, Costa Rica
866-854–7958-in North America
hotel Details
75 rooms
Rate Includes: Free Breakfast

Quick Facts

Hotel Mango Moon Villa

$$$ | Between La Mariposa and Makanda, Manuel Antonio, 60601, Costa Rica

The rooms vary in size and amenities, but the intimate atmosphere and hospitable staff make you feel as if you're staying with a friend rather than at a hotel. The comfy, open living-room area extends to a balcony lined with a wooden counter and stools with views of the mango-shape pool below and a tranquil cove framed by the rain forest. More expensive rooms have semiprivate balconies, and those on the top floor can connect for families. Monkey-attracting mango trees surround the building, and a steep 20-minute trail leads to a secluded beach. Every Tuesday there is live music at sunset in the restaurant.

Pros

  • Nice view
  • Tranquil area
  • Friendly staff

Cons

  • Thin curtains and weak a/c
  • Not much privacy
  • Some rooms dark and dated
Between La Mariposa and Makanda, Manuel Antonio, 60601, Costa Rica
2777–5323
hotel Details
10 rooms
Rate Includes: Free Breakfast

Quick Facts

Hotel Mar de Luz

$$ | C. Mar de Luz, behind Subway, east of Avda. Pastor Díaz, Jacó, 61101, Costa Rica

A few blocks from the beach, this family-focused property boasts three swimming pools, equipped kitchens, and comfortable rooms of varying size and style. Bright, pastel-hue standard rooms have two queen-size beds and most have kitchenettes; top-floor rooms have a small living room with checkered sofas and a double bed; the cozy split-level rooms with kitchenettes and stone walls are reminiscent of European bed-and-breakfasts. The Dutch owner is dedicated to cleanliness and provides lots of amenities, such as poolside grills, a kids' game room, a large open-air reading lounge, and inexpensive tours. If you don't mind the climb, request an upstairs room with a balcony overlooking the pool.

Pros

  • Attentive owner
  • Some rooms have kitchenettes
  • Close to the beach

Cons

  • Some rooms are musty with lukewarm water
  • $15 use for the towels
  • Thin walls
C. Mar de Luz, behind Subway, east of Avda. Pastor Díaz, Jacó, 61101, Costa Rica
2643–3000
hotel Details
29 rooms
Rate Includes: Free Breakfast

Quick Facts

  • $$

Hotel Playa Espadilla

$$$ | Manuel Antonio, 60601, Costa Rica

Simple but spacious mint-green and cream rooms are a short walk from the beach and are surrounded by green lawns bordered on two sides by the tall trees of Manuel Antonio National Park. It's worth splurging for Unit 31, the largest room with a Jacuzzi. A small blue-tile pool and patio have a pleasant adjacent bar area. Directly behind are private walking trails, and a large, open-air restaurant specializing in seafood dishes, particularly local tuna.

Pros

  • Surrounded by forest
  • Close to beach and national park
  • Guests can use amenities at sister property Cabinas Espadilla

Cons

  • Service inconsistent
  • Showers often lack hot water
  • Basic rooms
Manuel Antonio, 60601, Costa Rica
2777–0903
hotel Details
16 rooms
Rate Includes: Free Breakfast

Quick Facts

Hotel Pumilio

$$$$ | Jacó, Costa Rica Fodor's Choice

A peaceful retreat just five minutes outside bustling Jacó, this all-suites hotel is surrounded by lush rain forest and has tastefully decorated rooms with fully equipped kitchens and patios overlooking the pool, mountains, and gardens. Named after Costa Rica’s famous poisonous "blue jeans" frog, the solar-powered property has five rooms on a private second floor, and five rooms on the ground floor that open onto a two-tier swimming pool. Spacious rooms sleep five with two queen-size beds and one twin. An additional six suites are separate from the main building and cater to couples. Although there’s no restaurant, the hotel serves a full Costa Rican breakfast and has an arrangement with local eateries for food delivery. Management can organize a variety of tours and activities, and to soothe your tired muscles, there’s an on-site spa offering massages, wraps, facials, and aromatherapy. 

Pros

  • Quiet location
  • Beautiful and clean rooms
  • Excellent staff

Cons

  • Far from beach
  • Restaurant serves breakfast only
  • Very firm beds
Jacó, Costa Rica
2643–5678
hotel Details
16 rooms
Rate Includes: Free Breakfast

Quick Facts

Hotel Villa Lapas Jungle Village

$$ | Off Costanera, 3 km (2 miles) after bridge over Río Tárcoles, turn left on dirt road for 600 meters (1,968 feet), Tárcoles, 61102, Costa Rica

Within a tranquil rain-forest preserve, the stucco rooms here are nothing special, but are a great escape for nature lovers who want lodging, tours, and wildlife all in one location. Rooms have white tile floors, hardwood ceilings, and large baths. The resort is far from other hotels (and the beach) but has on-site entertainment to keep you busy, such as a large-screen television, a swimming pool, and game room. A selection of in-house tours mean you never have to leave the property. You can follow the river flowing through the protected forest for a pleasant hike and cross a suspension bridge to reach a small replica of a Costa Rican colonial village with a restaurant, cantina, church, and gift shop. This place gets a bit chaotic when cruise-ship passengers visit (several times per week) for tours. An all-inclusive meal plan is available, but you're better off eating your lunch and dinner elsewhere. Request one of the quieter rooms in the 200-section, just beyond the hanging bridges.

Pros

  • Surrounded by forest
  • Lots of activities
  • Birds

Cons

  • Rooms sometimes musty
  • Property is a bit tired looking
  • Often busy with tour groups
Off Costanera, 3 km (2 miles) after bridge over Río Tárcoles, turn left on dirt road for 600 meters (1,968 feet), Tárcoles, 61102, Costa Rica
4080–8900
hotel Details
76 rooms
Rate Includes: Free Breakfast

Quick Facts

  • $$

Jacó Laguna Resort

$$$$ | Corner of C. Madrigal and Avda. Pastor Díaz, Jacó, Costa Rica

On the quiet southern end of Jacó beach, this property is clean and comfortable and just far enough from town to offer a peaceful night of sleep. Although it has a beachfront location, the poor layout means most rooms face a hallway or parking lot, with only a few on the second floor catching a glimpse of the water. Fortunately the ocean views from the pool and restaurant compensate for the architectural blunder. Rooms lack character but have everything you need for a pleasant stay, including flat-screen TVs, strong air-conditioning, coffeemakers, Wi-Fi, and nice showers. Simple meals at the tiki bar are served under a thatch roof and range from red snapper and stuffed chicken to pasta and burritos. Surfboards and bikes are available for rent, and waves break right out front. Request Room 23 or 15 for the most space and best location, or if you're on a budget, one of the discounted rooms without a view.

Pros

  • In low season, guests are generously upgraded
  • Great tiki bar
  • Ideal location

Cons

  • Hallway noise
  • Weak Wi-Fi signal in some rooms
  • Mattresses lack support
Corner of C. Madrigal and Avda. Pastor Díaz, Jacó, Costa Rica
215-942–5135-in U.S.
hotel Details
30 rooms
Rate Includes: No Meals

Quick Facts

Jungle Vista Boutique Hotel

$$$ | Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

The name says it all at this new property with artfully crafted studios and apartments tucked on the lush hillside of Manuel Antonio. Natural light floods the vibrant rooms boasting balconies and large windows overlooking the rainforest and tile pool. Each is cheerfully decorated and equipped with modern perks like smart TVs, high-speed Wi-Fi, and even full kitchens in the larger rooms. A complimentary Costa Rican breakfast is served creek-side, or you can hold out for lunch at the Sloth Snack Bar for burgers, wraps, salads, and ceviches. Guests have access to amenities at their sister property, Los Altos, just up the hill.

Pros

  • Access to sister property
  • Central location
  • Lovely pool

Cons

  • Steep hill
  • Some street noise
  • Jungle attracts bugs
Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
2777–0818
hotel Details
22 rooms
Rate Includes: Free Breakfast

Quick Facts

La Mansion Inn

$$$ | 1 km (½ mile) west of La Mariposa, next to Hotel Makanda, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

White silk curtains, black onyx flooring, and classical music welcome you to the reception area of this boutique hotel, where rooms have ocean views, white tile floors, balconies, and a mixed bag of styles. Beyond the reception area, a staircase leads to a long corridor of deluxe rooms. If possible, opt for one of the impressive suites with Jacuzzi tubs. A bridge crosses from the main building, over a small pool to the Sky Lounge with a 360-degree view of the rain forest and ocean. There's also a restaurant specializing in bistro cuisine. The owner is the former CEO of the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., so don’t be surprised to see a few VIPs lounging by the pool.

Pros

  • Excellent views
  • Unique bar
  • Free shuttle to Manuel Antonio National Park

Cons

  • Steep driveway with limited parking
  • Hodgepodge of styles
  • No children under 12
1 km (½ mile) west of La Mariposa, next to Hotel Makanda, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
800-360–2071-in U.S.
hotel Details
24 rooms
Rate Includes: Free Breakfast

Quick Facts

La Mariposa

$$$ | West of main road, right after Barba Roja, across from Mango Moon Hotel, Manuel Antonio, 60601, Costa Rica

The best view in town—a sweeping panorama of verdant hills, the aquamarine ocean, and offshore islands—is the claim to fame for this array of spacious rooms tucked between the jungle and gardens ablaze with colorful flowers. The four-story main building holds the lobby and restaurant, above which are three floors of ocean-view rooms reached by external spiraling stairways or an elevator. Other ocean-view rooms are in buildings clinging to the hillside. The sundeck and wraparound pool are lovely, and there's live acoustic music every Tuesday from 6:30–8 pm. Transportation is provided to and from the beach, four times a day.

Pros

  • Gorgeous views
  • Free shuttle to the beach
  • Infinity pool

Cons

  • 2 km (1 mile) from beach
  • Some ocean-view balconies lack privacy
  • Sections of hotel slightly dated
West of main road, right after Barba Roja, across from Mango Moon Hotel, Manuel Antonio, 60601, Costa Rica
800-572–6440-in U.S.
hotel Details
70 rooms
Rate Includes: Free Breakfast

Quick Facts

La Posada Private Jungle Bungalows

$$ | Manuel Antonio, 60601, Costa Rica

This cluster of distinctive A-frame bungalows, nestled on the edge of the national park and also just a short walk from the beach, is as close as you'll get to sleeping in the park. The palm-thatch terraces face the small pool and lush greenery of the rain forest, which is regularly animated by troops of squirrel monkeys and other animals. The main building holds three spacious apartments and a fully equipped casita on the second floor with two bedrooms and two baths. Complimentary breakfast and thin-crust pizza are served in a small restaurant. If space is available, last-minute discounts are generally offered for spontaneous travelers.

Pros

  • Good value
  • Near beach and park
  • Friendly staff

Cons

  • Chaotic outside the hotel during park hours
  • Small pool
  • Rooms slightly dated
Manuel Antonio, 60601, Costa Rica
2777–1446
hotel Details
12 units
Rate Includes: Free Breakfast

Quick Facts

  • $$

Los Altos Beach Resort & Spa

$$$$ | Km 4 on road to Manuel Antonio National Park, across from Café Milagro, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica Fodor's Choice

These three- and four-bedroom Balinese-inspired luxury condo suites boast 2,500 square feet of living space with industrial kitchens, slate floors, granite counters, rich hardwoods, and rattan furnishings. Interior design is tailored yet cozy, with microsuede couches, white duvets, bowl sinks, and floral paintings illuminated with recessed lighting. Three balconies and 2½ bathrooms mean there’s plenty of space for the whole family. Accessed by private elevator, each suite includes Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, and ocean views from the living room and dining area. They all sleep six, but those on higher levels cost increasingly more for the view. The pool, restaurant, gym, game room, hiking trails, exclusive beach, and room service make it difficult to leave the comfort of the grounds. If you fall in love with the place, you can purchase one of the elegant condos.

Pros

  • Great views
  • Free cooking classes and water aerobics
  • Ideal for families
  • Enormous rooms

Cons

  • Higher-level suites cost more
  • $150 charge per room over two guests
  • Only high-rise in Manuel Antonio (a bit of an eyesore)
Km 4 on road to Manuel Antonio National Park, across from Café Milagro, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
888-803–1332-in U.S.
hotel Details
28 condos
Rate Includes: Free Breakfast

Quick Facts

Los Sueños Marriott Ocean and Golf Resort

$$$$ | Herradura, 61101, Costa Rica

This mammoth multimillion-dollar resort in a palatial colonial-style building has a gorgeous view of Herradura Bay and combines modern amenities with traditional Central American decorative motifs, such as barrel-tile roofing and hand-painted tiles. Rooms here have marble baths, wooden furniture, and tiny balconies. Be sure to get one with an ocean view, or you'll be contemplating condos. An enormous pool with islands and swim-up bars, a Ted Robinson golf course, and various diversions are designed to keep you on-site and entertained. The Sibö Rainforest Spa is one of the best in Central America.

Pros

  • Good base for excursions
  • Kids' club with activities throughout the day
  • Swimming pool the size of a soccer field

Cons

  • Expensive
  • So-so rooms
  • Beach can be dirty
Herradura, 61101, Costa Rica
888-236–2427-in North America
hotel Details
201 rooms
Rate Includes: No Meals

Quick Facts

Makanda by the Sea

$$$$ | 1 km (½ mile) west of La Mariposa, Manuel Antonio, 60601, Costa Rica

These bright, spacious white-and-cream villas are among the area's most tasteful (and expensive) accommodations, and the hypnotic views of the jungle-framed Pacific Ocean make this secluded rain-forest retreat worth every penny. Luring couples seeking privacy and romance, spacious villas have a comfortable seating area and a California king-size bed facing sliding glass doors that lead to large balconies with ocean views. The modern kitchens won't be necessary for breakfast, which is included. Windows behind the bed maximize natural light, and the small Japanese-style garden out back continues the subtle design. It's worth splurging on one of the villas with private plunge pools, or a pampering treatment at the spa. Adventurous guests can trek 10 minutes through the jungle to a tiny private beach. A beach club and pool-side DJ give this place a refined Ibiza feel.

Pros

  • Tranquil
  • Yoga on Wednesday and Friday
  • Ocean views

Cons

  • 10-minute hike to the beach
  • No children under 16
  • Spotty Wi-Fi
  • Slippery steps
1 km (½ mile) west of La Mariposa, Manuel Antonio, 60601, Costa Rica
888-625–2632-in North America
hotel Details
31 units
Rate Includes: Free Breakfast

Quick Facts

Parador Resort & Spa

$$$$ | End of peninsula at Biesanz Beach, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

Terra-cotta floors, steamer trunks, marble statues, bronzed knights, and elaborate antiques create a high-end Spanish colonial style at this beachfront resort perched on the end of a secluded peninsula. The subdued atmosphere attracts retirees and Europeans, although tennis, miniature golf, nature trails, and three swimming pools are ideal for any type of traveler. The restaurants feature Costa Rican, Japanese, and international cuisine; for special occasions request to dine in the wine cellar or La Reina, a private room fit for a queen. A monkey trail leads to the isolated Playa Biesanz, a great beach for snorkeling or exploring tide pools. Book a room with an ocean view and Jacuzzi tub; otherwise you’ll be overlooking the pool. At the end of a winding road, the isolated location means you'll be away from the crowds, but take that into consideration if you plan on dining out—it's a $10 taxi ride into town.

Pros

  • Outstanding service
  • Tranquil location
  • Free shuttle to national park

Cons

  • Pricey food
  • 15-minute drive to Manuel Antonio National Park
  • Pool closes at 7 pm
End of peninsula at Biesanz Beach, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
2777–1414
hotel Details
122 rooms
Rate Includes: Free Breakfast

Quick Facts

Shana By The Beach

$$$ | Manuel Antonio, 60601, Costa Rica

With some of the best service in Manuel Antonio and updated rooms, Shana By the Beach is a lovely option with jungle- or ocean-view balconies in every room. The pool area, with happy hour from 3 to 6, makes up for the fact that it's a 10-minute hike to Playa Biesanz. Everything—walls, furniture, paintwork, staff uniforms—is blindingly white, in striking contrast to the lush greens of the hillside grounds, and the service is some of the best in Manuel Antonio. Bathrooms are spacious and modern with massage shower jets, and rooms have sleek touches like oversize tufted headboards, glass desks, and white flat-screen TVs. All have balconies with jungle or partial ocean views. The restaurant highlights Mediterranean dishes. Families or large groups can request the three attaching rooms. In low season, rates are often half price.

Pros

  • Attentive service
  • Daily food and drink specials
  • Sleek design

Cons

  • Not oceanfront
  • Weak Wi-Fi signal in some rooms
  • Steep driveway
Manuel Antonio, 60601, Costa Rica
2777–7373
hotel Details
74 rooms
Rate Includes: Free Breakfast

Quick Facts

Sí Como No

$$$$ | Road to park, just after Villas Nicolás, right-hand side, Manuel Antonio, 60601, Costa Rica

This sustainable resort sits atop one of the most idyllic hillsides in Manuel Antonio. Scattered through the rain forest in nine buildings, rooms are decorated in earth tones to complement the surrounding nature; spacious deluxe rooms have sea views and private balconies, smaller "superior" rooms have less impressive ocean views, and standard rooms face the jungle. Great lengths have been taken to be eco-friendly, and it's also quite family-friendly, with a separate kids' pool, complete with waterslide, and an in-house movie theater. There is often live music (except September and October) at the dinner-only Claro Que Sí restaurant, which specializes in Caribbean-style seafood, and the Rico Tico grill, which serves lighter fare. A free shuttle makes scheduled trips to the beach, about 3 km (2 miles) away.

Pros

  • Neighboring wildlife refuge
  • Nice views
  • Good restaurants

Cons

  • 3 km (2 miles) from beach
  • Standard rooms overpriced
  • A few suites too close to road
Road to park, just after Villas Nicolás, right-hand side, Manuel Antonio, 60601, Costa Rica
888-742–6667-in North America
hotel Details
54 units
Rate Includes: Free Breakfast

Quick Facts

Surf Inn

$$ | Costanera, Playa Hermosa, 61101, Costa Rica

Right in front of Hermosa's beach break, a mural of tall palms and peeling waves marks the entrance to this well-priced inn, which offers small apartments and studios. Units have mismatched bedding and lack character but come with TVs, Wi-Fi, air-conditioning, granite kitchens, and enough space for two, four, or six guests. Downstairs studios are more affordable but are devoid of natural light and ocean views. For more space, opt for the two-bedroom apartment with a balcony and large windows facing the Pacific. A lawn separates the hotel from the sand, but you're still close enough to watch the surfers from the patio. The tiny pool is a cleansing break from the salt and sand, and there’s a rooftop deck that connects to an open-air kitchen. 

Pros

  • Surfers’ paradise
  • Almost half price in low season
  • Kitchens in rooms

Cons

  • Full payment due at booking, which is nonrefundable
  • Studios are dark
  • Two-night minimum stay on weekends and holidays
Costanera, Playa Hermosa, 61101, Costa Rica
8899–1520
hotel Details
6 units
Rate Includes: No Meals

Quick Facts

  • $$

The Backyard Hotel

$$ | Costanera, southern end of town, Playa Hermosa, 61101, Costa Rica

Surfers are the main clientele in these beachfront rooms with high ceilings, clay-tile floors, and sliding-glass doors that open onto semiprivate balconies and terraces, most of which have good views of Playa Hermosa. Second-floor rooms have better views, as do the two spacious corner suites that sleep six with large balconies and two bedrooms. Request Room 207 or 208, with high ceilings, plenty of space, and unobstructed views. Room 104 opens onto the pool and sand. Creature comforts include minibars, Wi-Fi, coffeemakers, and air-conditioning. You can watch the surfers from a nice little pool surrounded by tropical foliage in back. The consistent waves are great for intermediate-to-advanced surfers, but if you're looking for a beach where you can swim or splash on the shore, this is not the place for you. 

Pros

  • Steps from the surf
  • Gated parking
  • Friendly staff

Cons

  • Back rooms get road noise
  • No breakfast
  • Thin sheets and towels
Costanera, southern end of town, Playa Hermosa, 61101, Costa Rica
2643–7011
hotel Details
8 rooms
Rate Includes: No Meals

Quick Facts

  • $$

Tulemar Resort

$$$$ | Tulemar Gardens, next to Los Altos Beach Resort, Manuel Antonio, 60601, Costa Rica Fodor's Choice
Tucked inside the peaceful 33-acre gated Tulemar Gardens, circular glass villas perched on jungle hillsides are connected by paved trails that meander past four swimming pools and spill onto the beach. Lush grounds are divided into three sections, with two-story units at the top (and closest to the road) having two bedrooms, three bathrooms, open-air showers, modern style, and Jacuzzi tubs where monkeys eat mangoes overhead. Units in the middle section are slightly older, while those closest to the beach have two levels that are rented separately as standard rooms. Each area has its own pool, with additional on-site perks like a spa, restaurant, and protected bay with kayaks and boogie boards. Excluding the standard rooms, all categories have fully equipped kitchens and washers and dryers. Since this property also operates as condominiums, no two units are identical.

Pros

  • Accommodating staff
  • Exceptional design
  • Within private gated reserve surrounded by wildlife

Cons

  • Some units don’t have ocean views
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Condo-hotel means some services are lacking
Tulemar Gardens, next to Los Altos Beach Resort, Manuel Antonio, 60601, Costa Rica
800-518–0831-in North America
hotel Details
35 units
Rate Includes: No Meals

Quick Facts

Villa Caletas

$$$ | Off coastal hwy., 3 km (2 miles) south of Punta Leona, on right, Tárcoles, 61102, Costa Rica Fodor's Choice

Perched 1,200 feet above the sea on a promontory south of Punta Leona, the elegant rooms sequestered in the jungle have jaw-dropping views of the surrounding foliage and sea below. Spectacular sunsets should be enjoyed from the Amphitheater Bar. Freestanding suites and villas are gorgeous, and much better than rooms in the main building; if a villa's beyond your budget, try for a deluxe room with a shared pool. Victorian, French Colonial, and Hellenistic motifs feature throughout, with Ionic columns, varied artwork, and cookie-cutter trims. The regular pool is rather small, but the Zephyr Palace complex — with its 10 themed rooms — has an impressive infinity pool with amazing views. Few suites in the world are as lavish as the Imperial suite at the Zephyr Palace, with its private gym, sauna, walk-in closet, and big-screen TV that ascends from the foot of the bed. The closest beach, Playa Caletas, is attractive but small and rocky; it's reached via a 15-minute shuttle ride or a 1½-hour hiking trail. You'll be rewarded with a beach bar, shaded palapas, lounge beds, and showers. Though great for romance or relaxation, there's little to offer kids or active travelers.

Pros

  • Gorgeous views
  • All rooms have king bed, Jacuzzi, and ocean view
  • Luxury at a reasonable price

Cons

  • Challenging for wheelchairs and elderly
  • Lots of stairs
  • 15-minute drive to rocky beach
Off coastal hwy., 3 km (2 miles) south of Punta Leona, on right, Tárcoles, 61102, Costa Rica
2630–3000
hotel Details
53 units
Rate Includes: Free Breakfast

Quick Facts

Villas Nicolás

$$$ | Road to park, across from Hotel Byblos, Manuel Antonio, 60601, Costa Rica

On a hillside about 3 km (2 miles) from the beach, these terraced, privately owned Mediterranean-style villas have impressive views and offer one and two bedrooms, kitchens, and (in most) large balconies with hammocks. Villas on the upper levels have ocean views, and those on the lower level overlook the jungle, where you may spot monkeys, iguanas, and an array of birds. Avoid Units 1 and 2, which face a wallll, and request No. 6 or 8 for the best views. Narrow walkways wind through this tranquil property's lush grounds to the villas and blue-tile pool. A restaurant by the pool offers breakfast.

Pros

  • Good location
  • Most rooms have great views
  • Grounds are well maintained

Cons

  • Some units need updating
  • Fee to use beach towels
  • A bit of hike to the beach
  • No TVs
Road to park, across from Hotel Byblos, Manuel Antonio, 60601, Costa Rica
2777–0481
hotel Details
21 rooms
Rate Includes: Free Breakfast

Quick Facts