Take a look at the best kid-friendly hotels in Province of Guanacaste.
With just six rooms, Rancho Armadillo Estate is a tiny mid-range hotel that feels like an intimate bed-and-breakfast. The hands-on owner, Rick, makes guests’ experiences memorable by recommending local restaurants, suggesting tours and activities, and offering helpful hints about the area. Though it’s not on the beach, and not within easy walking distance of downtown Playas del Coco, Rancho Armadillo has a quiet, secluded feel that can’t be found anywhere else in town. Amenities include a small pool, a communal kitchen and dining area, a covered terrace with hammocks, and free Wi-Fi. For those who find the hotel’s rooms to be a bit dated, nearby Villa Buena Onda has a similar atmosphere and more luxurious accommodations, but rates are significantly higher.
The only upper-middle-range surf lodge in Nosara, Olas Verdes Hotel is an excellent option for travelers who want to learn how to surf while enjoying the area’s laid-back lifestyle. The hotel’s 17 spacious rooms are beautifully decorated with local woods and tropical accents. All have separate living and sleeping spaces and are equipped with kitchenettes. Though guests should note that only the bedrooms are air-conditioned -- one of the hotel’s many eco-friendly practices. Olas Verdes has a beautiful pool, an outdoor yoga deck, and an open-air restaurant, but its biggest draw is the on-site Safari Surf School, one of the best and longest-running in Nosara. Travelers looking for a yoga-focused vacation might prefer The Bodhi Tree Yoga Resort, which tends to be pricier but has more on-site amenities.
This 13-room, mid-range boutique hotel has beachy contemporary style, a crescent-shaped pool, and an intimate restaurant known for its daily specials and homemade ice cream. The rooms are spacious and bright, outfitted with traditional furnishings and private terraces. While not located on the beach, Playa Samara and its calm waves are just a quick walk down a gravel road. The nearby Hotel Villas Playa Samara is right on the sand, but accordingly has higher rates.
Travelers seeking minimalist jungle luxury will find it at the Andaz Peninsula Papagayo — an architectural stunner that appears to be built into the side of a cliff. Hyatt’s hip boutique line, Andaz, is known for its high style and creative approach to hotel design, and the chain’s luxurious Papagayo’s outpost is no exception. Spread across 28 hilly acres, the Andaz’s 153 minimalist rooms, three restaurants, 11,000-square-foot spa, and 24-hour fitness center, are housed in dozens of tree house like buildings. But the hotel’s high design isn’t always functional, or convenient, as seen by the hordes of guests who continually wait for golf carts to shuttle them around the property. The neighboring Four Seasons is even more luxurious, while El Mangroove by Enjoy Hotels is cheaper but still chic, and has a more convenient location.
Hotel Luamey is a three-and-a-half-pearl property located in the bustling surf town of Tamarindo. The hotel’s eight guest rooms are stylish yet cozy, and all have furnished balconies or terraces. The hotel's serene pool and intimate restaurant feel secluded from Tamarindo’s lively nightlife scene, yet the town’s bars, shops, and beach, can all be reached in less than a 10-minute walk from the hotel. The property also offers a limited gym and free parking and Wi-Fi. Travelers would do well to compare rates and amenities at the equally beautiful Tamarindo Bay Boutique Hotel nearby.
Easily among the most luxurious resorts in Central America, The Four Seasons is as close to perfection as it gets. With two beautiful beaches, ocean views from each one of the sumptuous rooms -- decorated in materials including wood, bamboo, and stone -- and an 18-hole golf course, the resort makes it possible for guests to spend their whole vacation on-site. Those who do choose to explore beyond Peninsula Papagayo should note that the roads in Guanacaste are in poor condition.
Quinta Esencia B&B is a quaint two-and-a-half-pearl hotel located a short walk from Playa Brasilito beach. The bed-and-breakfast’s four guest rooms are delightful and down-to-earth, decorated with eye-catching colors and charming curios. The tiny property’s amenities include a small hot tub and a comfy, thatched-roof common area where guests can help themselves to free coffee or use the communal microwave. Ample dining options can be found in the town of Brasilito, and there are two decent beaches located within walking distance. Travelers who prefer to stay right on the beach might also consider Sueno del Mar Beachfront Bed & Breakfast in Tamarindo, although rates tend to be pricier.
Hotel Sugar Beach is a three-pearl property located on Playa Pan de Azúcar, a 15-minute drive north of Playa Flamingo. The hotel’s 27 guest rooms are tasteful and simple, with some including kitchenettes and separate living areas. There’s a decent restaurant on-site as well as a yoga pavilion, both of which are set in distinctive wooden rotundas. With a peaceful stretch of beachfront and a large forested property that attracts diverse wildlife, the hotel is a good choice for guests who want to relax and connect with nature. There’s nothing within walking distance, however, making the location too remote for some. Costa Rica Yoga Spa in Nosara gives an excellent alternative for yoga-focused travelers, although it doesn’t offer beach access.
Chic retro decor and a happening atmosphere make upscale The Harmony Hotel one of Nosara’s most sought after spots. The hotel’s juice bar and open-air yoga shalas attract health conscious guests during the day, while its trendy restaurant, sushi lounge, juice bar, and cocktail bar are popular nighttime hangouts. Harmony’s 24 rooms are scattered across its lush property, and feature Midcentury inspired decor with vaulted wood ceilings and private patios with hammocks and outdoor showers. Amenities include a beautiful pool and small spa, plus great freebies like Wi-Fi, breakfast, daily yoga classes, beach bikes, and loaner iPads -- but nightly rates are among the highest in Nosara. Travelers looking for something a bit more affordable might prefer the nearby Living Hotel -- which still offers free breakfast, yoga, and bikes.
Bahia Pez Vela Resort is a three-pearl hotel located a short walk from Playa Ocotal. There are 40 individually decorated three- and four-bedroom villas -- some more stylish than others -- all of which have dining and living areas, washer/dryers, and full kitchens. On-site amenities include two infinity pools, a wonderful restaurant, and access to a small private beach. The low-key atmosphere and quiet location are best for families and those focused on relaxing rather than partying. Travelers who want to be closer to more entertainment and nightlife options should compare rates and amenities with Sunrise Condos of Tamarindo.
Casa Conde Beach-Front Hotel is a laid-back all-inclusive property with an outstanding beachfront location. The upper-middle-range hotel has 50 rooms split between older and newer sides -- newer rooms are worth the upgrade, considering they’re larger, brighter, and have more modern amenities, while older rooms have paper-thin walls and lack natural light. Casa Conde's best features are its two large pools and direct access to the humongous Playa Panama. While there is only one restaurant, food at the hotel is surprisingly tasty for an all-inclusive. Additional amenities include free Wi-Fi, a small fitness center, and a kids' club, but most of the guests here are adults. Families may prefer the more lively Flamingo Beach Resort & Spa in Playa Flamingo.
The 32-room Bosque del Mar is an upper-middle-range, contemporary boutique hotel set on the shores of Playa Hermosa. The hotel offers spacious suites with separate living and bedrooms as well as glass walls that open to private wood-deck terraces, some facing the ocean. A soaring, modern tree house-like structure encompasses three stories of property features, which include an open-air restaurant and a breezy second-floor lounge, both which overlook the ocean through a gorgeous canopy of old trees.
This 28-room upper-middle-range resort is set on the shores of Playa Potrero, an uncrowded, black-sand, crescent-shaped beach that’s ideal for swimming, not surfing. The resort caters to active travelers with free fitness and yoga classes as well as to those who crave a more sedentary vacation. Rows of lounge chairs are arranged by the pool, on the lawn, and along the beach, allowing guests to enjoy the ocean views. Rooms, ranging from cozy Standard Rooms sleeping four to Suites with kitchens, appeal to both couples and families, and have colorful fabrics and plenty of Costa Rican flair.
The Westin Golf Resort & Spa, Playa Conchal is a four-pearl all-inclusive resort located in the northeastern part of Guanacaste. The resort’s 326 guest rooms are understated and contemporary, with many featuring a smart split-level design to separate the bedroom and living area. With 11 restaurants, two enormous pools, access to an idyllic beach, and a nonstop entertainment line-up, there's plenty to keep guests busy. The property’s forested grounds attract wildlife, giving guests a glimpse of the “real” Costa Rica, but ocean views are few and far between. For those who are fans of big, all-inclusive properties, the Westin is a top-notch choice, but it might be worth comparing rates and amenities with the Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica on Playa Matapalo.
Hotel RipJack Inn is a three-pearl hotel located a short walk from striking Playa Grande beach. The hotel’s 21 guest rooms are tidy and charming, and some have separate living areas and kitchenettes. The hotel’s small, green grounds offer two fine outdoor pools, an excellent restaurant, and a serene yoga shala. There are a few other dining options within walking distance, with this quiet town mainly appealing to guests interested in surfing or watching turtle nesting on the beach. Travelers may want to compare amenities and rates with nearby Hotel Cantarana.