Ah, Costa Rica… the small Central American country nestled between the southern most tip of Mexico and the northern part of South America, that is rich in biodiversity, full of volcanoes and rainforests, a scuba diver’s and surfer’s playground, and boasting a beautiful history and legacy is a place that must be visited once in your lifetime. It’s with no surprise that this unique country is one of the most highly valued tourist destinations in the world. Comprised of seven provinces, it’s an adventurer and nature lover’s paradise, filled with activities to keep you mesmerized from sun up to sun down, yet also appeals to those who prefer a slower pace while on vacation, with perfect beaches, peaceful rivers, and majestic mountain views.
When planning your Costa Rican trip, there are a few places that you must consider spending your days and nights at, where you can watch the Caribbean sunrise over a rich cup of organic local coffee, where you can take a refreshing, private dip in a tiny bikini, and where you can rest your tired head after a day of swinging through the trees with monkeys. These three hotels are in three difference provinces of the seven that make up Costa Rica, so take your pick depending on where your travels in the country take you, but rest assured that they are all Daily Mom tested and approved!
1. Finca Rosa Blanca
Located in Heredia, Costa Rica’s smallest province, with a mere population of 75,000, sweetly known as the “City of the Flowers”, lies a coffee plantation and country inn resort that has been graciously hosting guests for the last 20 years, the Finca Rosa Blanca. A convenient 15-20 minute drive from the San Jose International Airport, this sustainable and environmentally friendly hotel is surrounded by the lushest of nature and authentic coffee fields, cozy in the central valley mountain highlands, and is welcoming to both couples wanting a romantic getaway and families who crave adventure.
The Rooms & Amenities
The architecture and uniqueness of each room in the award-winning Finca Rosa Blanca is a feast for the eyes. As diverse as the plants and animals that inhabit this tropical country, so are the rooms at this hotel. You can choose between a Junior Suite, a Master Suite, or a Villa, with each space its own entity and completely eclectic and different from the room next to it.
With intricate murals, handmade tile work, volcanic rock walls, original artwork, free form tubs and Jacuzzis, and breathtaking wood detailing, just to name a few of the many wonders in each room, the Finca Rosa Blanca owners, Teri and Glenn Jampol, pride themselves on their attentiveness to their guests, and keep the feel of this boutique hotel cozy and inviting, made evident by offering only 14 luxurious rooms on the grounds.
Enjoy king size beds, spacious, private bathrooms, locally made and organic toiletries, complimentary coffee straight from the fields outside your window, and a private deck or patio in each room, along with unique and specific amenities depending on which room you are enjoying.
This bed-and-breakfast-like hotel does include a full a la carte breakfast each morning, as to properly and deliciously fuel your body before the day’s events. Your stay also includes a complimentary Sustainability Tour, where you can tour the grounds and learn all about how this resort is one with nature, and of course complimentary coffee and cookies each afternoon are part of the sweet deal.
It’s recommended by past visitors to the Finca Rosa Blanca to spend at least three to four days here, so as to make the most of the beauty and activities offered.
The number one thing to do during your stay here is of course to take The Famous Coffee Tour. Whether you live and breathe by the power of that sweet nectar or can just barely tolerate the smell, this tour is worth experiencing. It takes you through the ground’s coffee farm, hiking through the shaded, lush fields and picking and tasting ripe coffee berries, introducing you to the deep Costa Rican Coffee history, partaking in a “coffee cupping” session, and visiting the processing mill to see how your favorite cup of joe comes to fruition. It’s a great family friendly activity that is peaceful, educational, and just plain yummy!
We fully believe that napping during the afternoon poolside is a worthwhile activity that should be penciled in on every vacation itinerary, and we doubly encourage this while at the Finca Rosa Blanca once you set eyes on their pool. The infinity pool and hot tub Jacuzzi is set upon a hill, surrounded by gardens and intricate landscaping, including over 300 fruit trees across the hotel’s grounds.
Private decks and shaded verandas grace the pool’s surroundings, giving relaxation a whole new name. The chemical free, spring fed pool features a 12 foot cascading waterfall with valley views that will take your breath away and make you cherish this God given beauty.
Another relaxing activity offered at the Finca Rosa Blanca is skipping over to the El Targu Spa. After all the strenuous outdoor activities you may have participated in, a long massage is well deserved and needed, and the intimate, one room spa at the hotel with their full service menu is the perfect choice for being pampered and prepared for the next day ahead.
Other things to do during your stay at the Finca Rosa Blanca include everything from wild adventures on the rapids and volcano exploring to low key relaxing with cultural tours or behind binoculars. Check out this Top 10 Things to Do list while staying at the Finca Rosa Blanca!
Bon appetit at the El Tigre Vestido & Bar Bhoare, where valley views and the freshest of cuisine combine for a dining experience unlike any other. Keeping their sustainability passion alive, this Latin Fusion restaurant boasts organic ingredients straight from the property’s gardens and greenhouse, freshly brewed coffee from the farm, and 20 free-range chickens raised exclusively by the hotel. You truly can’t get any closer to farm-to-table than that!
Serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, you can enjoy dishes such as Costa Rican Pancakes served with mora (a local blackberry), sugarcane and coconut syrups, alongside fresh tropical fruits, a Greenhouse Vegetarian Wrap, or sustainably-sourced Yellow-Fin Tuna served with tropical kimchi, a crispy rice cake, and chive oil.
They are extremely accommodating to their guests, whether that means working around food allergies or restrictions, or simply keeping the littlest of eaters happy and full. There is also a lounge/library area filled with games and a television nearby, so when restless children are ready to stretch their legs and leave the table, they can play backgammon or curl up with a book while the adults finish their glass of wine.
EXPLORE AND CONNECT
2. Pacuare Lodge
Lying near the Costa Rican province of Limon, which borders the Caribbean Sea and the country of Panama, containing both lowlands and mountain ranges, awaits the adventure and experience of a lifetime, where a hotel isn’t simply a “hotel”, and where good things come to those who take life by the reigns. Nestled in the depths of the rainforest, beside one of the world’s top ten scenic rivers, the Pacuare River, is the Pacuare Lodge, one of National Geographic’s “One of the World’s 24 Top Ecolodges”, and deservingly named so.
This lodge, built in 1995, is managed by the long standing Costa Rican premier adventure tour operator, Aventuras Naturales, and prides itself on being a forerunner of sustainable and socially responsible tourism. From their 840 acres of protected forest and jaguar monitoring programs to the solar heated water and minimal electricity – which doesn’t even scratch the surface of their efforts – they fully believe in protecting and preserving the precious nature that surrounds them, as well as bettering the lives of the local people and communities.
The Rooms & Amenities
Typically, you drive to your hotel; you park, unload the bags, drag them to the desk and grumpily check in, then take the elevator to the umpteenth floor, kick off your shoes, and turn on the TV. Right? At Pacuare Lodge, it’s a bit different… Instead of using your car to reach your hotel destination, you take a boat, and we don’t just mean a “boat”, we’re talking about a wild and crazy hour and a half ride in a whitewater raft, complete with helmets, paddles, and Hail Marys. Then, and only then – if you survive, that is – are you rewarded with the sight of the exquisite and completely unique Pacuare Lodge.
Because this is Costa Rica’s most intimate rainforest experience, there are only five suite choices to choose from (with maximum capacity between 38-57 guests), making this a true getaway from it all.
The Jaguar Villa | This 3,767 square foot space is the most luxurious of accommodations at the lodge, boasting a private spring-fed pool with views beyond belief, a spacious master bedroom, living area, and two bathrooms, hardwood floors, teak furniture, and more.
The Canopy Suite | This treehouse bungalow features a 180-degree view of the breathtaking rainforest, a spring-fed stone swimming pool, and a private suspension bridge, giving you complete seclusion and utter relaxation.
Linda Vista Suites | These four suites are bright and spacious, with of course, not a bad view anywhere you turn, featuring private pools, outdoor heated showers, Egyptian cotton sheets, and other luxurious details that one wouldn’t quite expect from a house in the jungle.
River View Deluxe | These four 979 square foot suites each have a private terrace with a hammock, a waterfront deck, an outdoor heated shower, and amazing amenities with views that dreams are made of.
River Suites | There are eight of these 670 square foot palm-thatched suites that offer full rainforest views, as well as outdoor heated showers, private terraces, and plush beds where sleep will be had at its finest.
You might think just getting to the Pacuare Lodge was enough activity in itself, but there’s truly no end to what Costa Rica contains for adventure seekers and relaxation lovers alike. Choose from more whitewater rafting, partake in a thrilling Canopy Adventure, take to the rocks with canyoning, hike until your legs go numb, or bravely explore the river in an inflatable kayak, just to name a few options.
After an active day, be sure to drop by the Pacuare Lodge’s Jawa Ju Spa for a body or massage treatment using the power of the rainforest and natural, local products, as well as basking in the atmosphere of the lush jungle and the lullabies of river water and exotic birdsongs.
We highly recommend the Jungle Experience treatment, which is two blissful hours of a coffee and coconut oil full body scrub, full body seaweed wrap, finished off with a hot stone massage and a glass of freshly squeezed juice. If you’re a spa connoisseur, then we think you may have found the place to beat.
As with everything at the Pacuare Lodge, things are run a bit differently here, including the dining experience. You may be surprised to hear that there is no chef! Don’t worry though, you won’t be subjected to having to scour the jungle for your own berries and greens, or eat freeze dried meals brought in by the rafts. The food that is savored by the guests at the Pacuare Lodge is prepared in the same sustainable way that the lodge lives and breathes by, by being socially responsible and taking care of the local people, by bringing in those who love to cook and create delicious food at home and simply teaching them how to plate a bit better. So the food that you dine on here is an act of love, full of local flavors and the freshest of ingredients from the lodge’s own organic farm, with Costa Rican flair and an always evolving menu.
There are a couple special options to making your food experience even more delightful at the Pacuare Lodge. If you’re visiting with your love, then take one evening to let the romance fly, by enjoying a private, candlelit dinner by the riverbank, complete with a crackling fire, the soothing sounds of nature as background music, and cuisine that is just as beautiful and delicious as the person you’re sharing it with.
If you thought rafting to your hotel was rad, then zip lining to dinner is your kind of dessert! That’s right, enjoy yummy food 60 feet above the ground in a private, human bird’s nest, where being immersed in nature is taken quite literally. Whether it’s breakfast, lunch, or dinner, the nest is open for eating, and gives you an experience you won’t ever forget.
3. El Rodeo Estancia
If you’re traveling to the capital of Costa Rica, then you’re in San Jose, the country’s most highly populated province, home to impressive mountains and coffee plantations, volcanoes and rolling hills, and a historic, bustling metropolis of eclectic architecture, marketplaces, and people. On the outskirts of this area lies a modest, four-star boutique hotel, conveniently located near the Juan Santamara International Airport and Costa Rica’s best shopping stops, eateries, and happy hours, but private enough to feel like you’re in an intimate, off the grid resort. With lush palms and Costa Rican landscaping, smooth, dark wood accenting white stucco walls and pops of bright Caribbean color, a country art deco vibe, and just enough amenities to feel at home, the El Rodeo Estancia offers their visitors a personal, warm hotel experience.
The Rooms & Amenities
Staying with the family connectedness vision and exceptional customer service, there are just 29 rooms in the El Rodeo Estancia, with three different room options, including the Deluxe Room, Junior Suite, and Suite. Brightly decorated, pristinely clean and well kept, and simple, yet charming, each room includes standard hotel amenities, such as TVs, complimentary wifi, air conditioning, private bathrooms, hardwood floors, and toiletries.
The small footprint that the hotel contains makes it easy to get around the grounds, without becoming lost, while still feeling tucked away in an authentic Costa Rican village. Enjoy some exercise during your stay, whether that’s playing a round at the tennis courts or working out in the fully equipped on-site gym, that graciously looks out over the pool.
Take a dip in the refreshing pool or the warm jacuzzi, and rinse off in the outdoor showers. Take a break in the open air game room, where you can enjoy a game of pool or foosball with your family and friends. If the kids are tagging along, let them blow off some steam on the playground.
Costa Rica has its fair share of farm life, and of course amazing cuisine, so when you put two and two together, naturally an amazing steakhouse is formed. El Rodeo Estancia is home to El Rodeo Steak House, titled as Costa Rica’s best steakhouse for 32 years strong. With local, fresh ingredients and top quality cuts of beef, along with an impressive selection of wines, beers, and liquors, you can end the day with a satisfying meal.
Don’t worry, dinner isn’t the only option available at El Rodeo Estancia. Start your breakfast strong at the attached restaurant that overlooks the hotel’s pool, and dine outdoors with a breeze while you enjoy a simple buffet, pancakes, and Costa Rica signature breakfast dishes. The indoor area, along with spacious bar, serves all your meals, and keeps your energy levels full.
Photo Credits: Dani Nicole Photography