When I look at new countries to visit that are far from home, I want to make sure that I choose a hotel that has everything I want. When I’m closer to home, I feel like it’s less important because I can come back and have a different experience another time. Costa Rica is an 11 hour flight from the UK, though, so this is how to choose a hotel in Costa Rica that will make sure you have the adventure of a lifetime.
Check how many rooms they have; small hotels are more likely to be independent, and in my opinion in Costa Rica they give you a much better level of service.
From what I’ve seen, small hotels in Costa Rica tend to hire everyone they might need as a full time employee, including gardeners and odd-job people to fix tiles and light fittings. This means more of the local community are fully employed, a sustainable bonus to choosing a hotel!
The good thing is that Costa Rica has managed to stave off large complexes so there’s loads of choice for small hotels in all budgets.
Look for gardens
Even if you’re in your hotel, you’re still in the jungle. Gardens around the property expands the area that animals can live in, and means you get the opportunity to see some even if you’re still in your room!
Rio Celeste Hideaway Hotel has fantastic gardens, and a path that takes you down to the incredible bright blue river of its name. The hotel offers a night walk for free, and a lot of what we saw were just in the gardens! Including the famous red eye tree frog that is associated with Costa Rica.
The hotels in Costa Rica share the space with animals. Howler monkeys, capuchins, toucans and perhaps even scarlet macaws are regular visitors to most of the country.
Do you know what their national animal is? Find out that and some other surprising facts about Costa Rica, here.
Look at the satellite view
If you can find the hotel on Google maps, check to see how much of it you can see on the satellite view. If the trees overlap so that you can’t see much of the property, that means that monkeys and iguanas can freely pass through, too. Perfect for the animals and perfect for spotting them without even leaving the hotel!
At Capitan Suizo, a troop of howler monkeys would visit almost every day and eat right above our heads. It was amazing to be able to watch them play.
Hotels shouldn’t feed animals, the jungle does that. But if your hotel replicates the jungle, the animals will come to you. We saw howler monkeys on the hotel property every day in Hotel Capitan Suizo and capuchins were playing on the balconies at La Mansion Inn!
How close do you want to be to the national park? Or do you want to be closer to a town? Happy to mostly eat in the hotel, or do you want lots of options?
Trapp Family Lodge wasn’t the best hotel I’ve stayed in, but the location was great. From there you can walk to Monteverde Cloud Forest national park, which is one of the most incredible places in the country. If you want to be able to visit the park multiple times, then being close to it is ideal. If you’re looking to eat in different places, or more cheaply, stay closer to a town where there are more options for food.
Costa Rica has a certification scheme for sustainability, the CST. This gives out up to five ‘leaves’ for how well the organisation performs according to its criteria regarding the use of natural resources, development of the local community and the preservation of the environment.
Caring for sustainable economic growth seems to be in the Tico blood and many hotels and tour operators have signed up to the CST programme.
I hope this guide helps you choose a hotel in Costa Rica that will help you fall in love with the country. Read about how I fell in love with it, here.This entry was posted in Longer Trips