Living La Pura Vida

Costa Rica has always been a popular place to visit for US Travelers, but in recent years it has become one of the top destinations for which I receive requests! Daily flights from many US hubs (that are usually fairly short!) coupled with plenty of adventure, nature experiences, and pristine beaches– Costa Rica is definitely worthy of its hype. The icing on the cake is that the “Tico” People are also some of the nicest and most hospitable you will ever meet. If you want to experience the Pura Vida (as they say), look no further than Costa Rica.

Getting There:

There are two major airports in Costa Rica; San Jose (the Capital) and Liberia. San Jose is a great choice to fly into if you would like to visit the rain forest and Arenal Volcano area. Liberia is the right choice if you would like to visit the beaches of the famous Guanacaste region. Pro Tip: Fly into San Jose and out of Liberia if you are wanting to really experience the country.

Planning Your Stay:

As I mentioned previously, I usually recommend visitors split their stay in this gorgeous country. Spending a few nights in the Arenal area and then a few nights near the beach. I would plan to spend a minimum of 7 nights in Costa Rica to get a taste of both locations.

The Arenal Area:

Visitors love the Arenal area which is located about 2 hours from San Jose airport. This area immerses guests in the rain forest and the flora and fauna that Costa Rica is famous for. If you aren’t aware, Costa Rica is the most bio diverse country in the world! Visit coffee plantations, soak in hot springs, go zip-lining, explore “cloud forests”, and scout animals.

Where to Stay in Arenal:

Nayara Springs, Nayara Gardens, and Nayara Tented Camp- this property is great for those staying 3 nights or more as there are lots of restaurants and on property experiences to choose from. Nayara Springs is the adults only side of Nayara Gardens, which allows families. Nayara Tented Camp is their brand new section offering “glamping” in the amazing Costa Rican Rainforest.

  • The Shameless Tourist Perks:
    • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
    • A la Carte breakfast daily for two guests per bedroom
    • $100 USD equivalent Food & Beverage credit to be utilized during stay (not combinable, not valid on room rate, no cash value if not redeemed in full)
    • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability
    • Complimentary Wi-Fi

Tabacon Thermal Resort & Spa- The only property with natural hot springs flowing freely through the property, Tabacon is a hot spring and spa lovers dream!

  • The Shameless Tourist Perks:
    • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
    • Daily Buffet Breakfast for two guests per bedroom, served in the Restaurant
    • $100 USD equivalent Resort Credit to be utilized during stay, applicable to Food & Beverage or Spa services (Not applicable to tours, souvenir store, spa retails products, transfers, minibar. Not combinable, not valid on room rate, no cash value if not redeem in full)
    • Unlimited entrance to the hot springs resort during the stay
    • Exclusive Access to Shangri-La Gardens for hotel guest 18+
    • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability
    • Complimentary Wi-Fi

The Beach:

Costa Rica is lucky to have two large coastlines to choose from– one on the Caribbean Sea side and the other on the Pacific sea side. While the Caribbean side of the country has an amazing culture of its own, I always recommend staying on the Pacific side– the tourism is more developed in this area, the water is warmer, and it is generally a safer area of the country. From Las Mareas all the way down to Tamarindo, there are tons of places to choose from and I would love to help you choose the best beach town for you!

Beach Resorts from North to South:

Dreams Las Mareas: At almost the border of Nicaragua, Dreams Las Mareas is the perfect choice for families looking for an all inclusive resort.

Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo: This resort is hard to beat in terms of amenities, accommodations, area, and more. It is one of the most popular Four Seasons Resorts in the world for a reason– the common spaces are beautiful, restaurants amazing, and this area of Costa Rica has so much to do in a very small area. Pro Tip: Book a Canopy Suite and spend a few nights in a real life adult tree house. These are my most favorite rooms on the property!

  • The Shameless Tourist Perks:
    • Daily full American breakfast for two people per bedroom, served through In-Room Dining or in the hotel restaurant (including buffets)
    • For suite bookings, one complimentary round of golf per guest per stay (including club rentals)
    • Upgrade of one category, based on availability at time of check-in (excluding signature suites, villas, and private residences)
    • Welcome note at check-in
    • Complimentary basic Internet in all guest rooms; complimentary premium Internet in all suites
    • Choice of USD100 Spa credit (not applicable to products) or USD100 golf credit

Andaz Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo: If you want to be in the Papagayo area, but are looking for a more modern vibe or your budget doesn’t quite stretch far enough to stay at the Four Seasons, the Andaz is an amazing choice. With some of the most beautiful entry level rooms in Costa Rica, you will be spoiled at the Andaz! And being only about 5 minutes drive from the Four Seasons, you still have access to the amazing restaurants and bars at both hotels (plus the most amazing golf course!).

  • The Shameless Tourist Perks:
    • Daily full American breakfast for two people per bedroom
    • Upgrade of one category, based on availability at time of booking
    • Welcome amenity
    • Complimentary basic Internet in all guest rooms
    • $100 Resort Credit

Secrets Papagayo Costa Rica: If you are looking for an adults only, all inclusive resort in Costa Rica, Secrets is always a great choice. About a 20 minute drive from the Peninsula Papagayo area where Four Seasons and Andaz are located sits the Secrets Papagayo resort. The Papagayo area is only about a 25 minute drive from the Liberia airport, making it a super easy place to visit, and Secrets always presents an amazing value for its guests.

The Mangroove, an Autograph Collection: Looking for a boutique hotel at a great price near this exclusive Papagayo area? The Mangroove is your place!

The Westin, W Hotel, and Margaritaville: although I did not see this area, these three hotels all share a similar location in Playa Flamingo, about 45 minutes south of the Liberia airport and a popular snorkeling spot on the coast.

Calaluna Hotel & JW Marriott: These two properties are in the Southern part of the Guanacaste region in Tamarindo, one of the oldest and most famous beach towns in Costa Rica. Tamarindo is a lively city with lots of local and international travel, a huge beach with lots of beach vendors, restaurants, bars, and more. Tamarindo is also famous for surfing. I would choose this location for those looking for a lively local beach vibe or those wanting to learn/intermediate surfers. Choose Calaluna for a boutique hotel experience right in the city.

  • The Shameless Tourist Perks- at the Mangroove, Westin, W, and JW Marriott, our clients enjoy perks like:
    • Complimentary Breakfast
    • Room Upgrades
    • Resort Credits
    • and more!

Have you been to Costa Rica recently? Is a trip on your horizon? Let us help you plan!