This blog may contain affiliate links. Read our disclosure policy for more info.
In recent years, the demand for sustainable travel has increased as travelers look to reduce their impact on the environment and still see some amazing places around the world. Because of this, the popularity of staying in ecolodges is on the rise too!
When deciding where to stay in Costa Rica, we love the ecolodges here. They put you right in the middle of all the things Costa Rica is famous for. It’s that escape into nature we all crave, but with the added bonus of knowing you’re also helping protect the environment.
Costa Rica has quite a few choices for eco-friendly lodges, which we’ve found offer a unique experience for travelers while also keeping environmentally-friendly practices top of mind. Often these lodges will prioritize energy efficiency, feature natural cleaning products, and even have solar power. Plus, there are a variety to choose from whether you’re traveling on a budget or looking for a bit of luxury.
So, if Costa Rica is your next holiday or honeymoon destination, and you see yourself as an eco-conscious traveler, this blog is perfect for you! To help you decide what ecolodge to choose, we’ve narrowed it down to the very best.
Don’t have time to read the full article? One of our top ecolodge recommendations is Tabacon Thermal Resort and Spa near La Fortuna. We love the location–it’s right at the base of Arenal Volcano. It’s a fun luxury getaway complete with hot springs, saunas, and even five swimming pools. You can check availability and book Tabacon Thermal Resort and Spa online here.
- What is an Ecolodge?
- The BEST Luxury Ecolodges in Costa Rica
- Affordable Ecolodges in Costa Rica
- Thanks for reading!
- The BEST Things to do in Costa Rica
- Getting Around Costa Rica
- Invest in Travel Insurance
What is an Ecolodge?
An ecolodge is a type of accommodation that is usually located in a remote area in nature. This means it’s not extremely affected by noise, pollution, traffic, or urban development. This makes it one of our favorite ways to have that nature-based experience in Costa Rica. I really like all the different birds and other animals that you can sometimes even see right from your balcony!
Generally, ecolodges provide a more personal experience with fewer than 30 rooms. They also have a wide range of “green” features for more sustainable, environment-friendly spaces for guests. A few examples of the basics are eco-friendly toiletries, natural cleaning supplies, and energy-efficient lighting.
There are also ecolodges that include solar panels and support local suppliers and workers.
In other words, an ecolodge puts an emphasis on environmental preservation along with tourism, which is why it’s an excellent option as a holiday accommodation.
The BEST Luxury Ecolodges in Costa Rica
1. Origins Lodge
- Location: 40-minute drive from the town center of Bijagua, 2-hour drive from Guanacaste Airport in Liberia
- Amenities: Outdoor pool, restaurant, spa, free parking, complimentary WiFi
- Price range: Rates start at $804 USD per night for luxury lodges and $9,872 USD for 3-bedroom villas
Origins Lodge is situated in the heart of northern Costa Rica’s mountainous rainforest. With its location right on a mountainside overlooking a valley, the views here are incredible. If you’re looking to spend a week in Costa Rica, this would be an amazing place to do it!
Sustainability is their core value and sustainable practices here include maintaining critical ecological processes and safeguarding natural heritage and biodiversity. Plus, they look to create successful, long-term economic operations in the area.
Furthermore, Origins has eliminated single-use plastics and makes use of ingredients freshly picked from their organic garden for the dishes they serve at their on-site restaurant.
Regarding the accommodations at Origins, they have luxury lodges and villas that can sleep three guests and six guests respectively. The common in-room amenities include free WiFi, a coffee maker, a hairdryer, a safe, and binoculars. I have to give a special mention to the fire-heated jacuzzi – this is a nice little luxury to enjoy after a busy day exploring!
Each room also offers a 180-degree view of the property, volcanoes, and Nicaragua Lake. Additionally, villas have fully-equipped kitchens with top-of-the-line appliances. Rates for staying in one luxury lodge start at $804 USD per night, while it’s $3,872 USD per night for 3-bedroom villas.
The restaurant at Origins specializes in luxurious cuisine and also features an array of cocktails, wines, and alcoholic beverages. Everything tastes so fresh thanks to all the ingredients grown in the nearby garden! While it’s a great place to grab a meal on your own, it’s also a nice setting for events like weddings or conferences.
The ecolodge also houses an outdoor pool, a terrace, a garden, and laundry facilities. If you’re up for a bit of pampering (who isn’t?!), they also have a spa where you can treat yourself to their signature massage services, or holistic therapies such as yoga, meditation, energy healing, and more.
Related Read: For another unique place to stay, book in at one of the best treehouse hotels in Costa Rica!
2. Hacienda AltaGracia
- Location: An hour from Uvita, about 4 hours from the airport in San Jose
- Amenities: 5 restaurants, 2 pools, wellness center, heated jet pool, free parking
- Price range: Rates range from $2,488 to $5,340 USD per night
Located in one of the best places to visit in Costa Rica, the retreat of Hacienda AltaGracia has been called one of the top 50 resorts in the entire world by Condé Nast Traveler. This all-inclusive ecolodge is perched on rolling hills and offers sweeping views of the San Isidro Valley and Talamanca Mountains.
Being one of the all-inclusive properties in Costa Rica makes Hacienda AltaGracia a top ecolodge to choose for your stay. It’s perfect for those of us who want to just show up and enjoy a vacation without any hassle! A stay here includes all meals and non-alcoholic beverages, Mindful Movement classes, access to exclusive resort amenities, and custom-made itineraries featuring adventure, wellness, and cultural activities.
The property has been recognized as eco-friendly for taking significant steps to ensure that guests staying here will not have a negative impact on the environment. Some of those initiatives include recycling bins throughout the eco-lodge, discontinuing the use of plastic items (like straws, water bottles, and cups/plates/cutlery), incorporating water-efficient showers and toilets, and offering activities and tours that local guides and businesses organize.
Other than that, Hacienda AltaGracia uses local ingredients for the dishes they serve and even has its own organic garden. We also loved the decorations around the lodge that were done with eco-friendly ornaments.
The ecolodge offers one-bedroom and two-bedroom casitas. A one-night stay costs $2,488 to $5,340 USD.
The casitas feature common amenities such as air-conditioning, ceiling fans, lounges, en-suite bathrooms, and a terrace with stunning views over the lush landscape of rolling hills and coffee plantations. Complimentary amenities are also available in the rooms, like non-alcoholic beverages and house-made snacks.
There are also some accommodations at Hacienda AltaGracia with a sun deck, private plunge pools, and/or a dressing area with makeup vanity, powder rooms, and a wet bar. Selected units have a large living room with a kitchenette or a separate living room and dining area if you’re looking for a bigger space.
There are five restaurants offering menus influenced by cuisines throughout Central America, a sun lounge, two resort pools, a natural river bath, a heated jet pool, and a wellness center.
While you’re staying here, plan to rent a car to take in some of the best activities in Costa Rica nearby like an escape to the local beach town of Uvita for surf lessons, an incredible whale-watching tour (this is one of the best spots in Costa Rica to see whales!) or a nature walk in Marino Ballena National Park.
Related Read: If you’re looking for more activity ideas from a central location, these are the top day trips from San Jose!
3. Pacuare Lodge
- Location: Close to the towns of Bajo Tigre and Guayacán, a 3-hour drive from the closest airport in San Jose
- Amenities: Restaurant, bar, spa, free WiFi, free parking
- Price range: Rates start at $1,391 USD per night and go up to $1,871 USD (minimum stay of 2 nights)
Pacuare Lodge is an eco-friendly accommodation situated in the town of Bajo Tigre. I love this location right on the banks of the Pacuare River. Because of its remote location along the water, you get to arrive here in a unique way too!
That’s one of the things that makes this among the best eco-lodges in Costa Rica – rather than driving, here, you go on an exciting rafting trip. What a way to start your vacation! The boat ride takes you past rainforest-clad river banks and gives you this amazing introduction to the area you’ll be calling home for a few days.
As a property that supports sustainable travel, Pacuare Lodge has various initiatives including a one-time conservation fee, natural ventilation and illumination in suites, spa, and main buildings, prohibiting plastic bottles, and installing hydroelectric turbines and 120 solar panels to produce clean energy for electricity.
The property also produces many of the fruits, vegetables, and herbs they use in cooking and raises free-range chickens and goats. The lodge also engages with various projects to study and conserve the wildlife in the area, in partnership with Costa Rican universities and nonprofit organizations. They’ve also teamed up with local communities to aid in improving their basic services and livelihoods.
At Pacuare Lodge, only 20 suites are on offer, book online early if your heart is set on staying here! The Jaguar and Linda Vista Villas, and Canopy Villa, are more secluded and spacious, coming with luxurious bathrooms, private spring-fed pools, a private bridge and tree platform with river or jungle views (except Canopy Villa), and a living room with one or two daybeds.
Aside from villas, there are also River View Suites and Garden View Suites. All accommodations are provided with naturally sourced luxurious bathroom amenities (body cream, shampoo, and conditioner), large terraces with hammocks and lounges, outdoor showers, eco-fans, hardwood floors and furniture, and complimentary WiFi.
Several amenities can also be found within the property, including a bar, free parking, a terrace, a garden, and a spa. You’re also free to use electric vehicles (golf carts) to explore the property.
They also house a restaurant that serves farm-to-table exquisite cuisine, with their menu changing with the seasons depending on what time of year you visit Costa Rica. Interestingly, their kitchen staff is made up of young people from nearby communities; they don’t have a chef.
4. Tabacon Thermal Resort and Spa
- Location: 8 km (5 miles) from the town center of La Fortuna, 3 hours from the airport in San Jose
- Amenities: 5 swimming pools, hot spring baths, saunas, 2 restaurants, 4 bars, luxury spa, fitness center, free WiFi
- Price range: Rates start at $375 USD per night
First off, Tabacon Thermal Resort and Spa has location going for it! It’s right at the base of the majestic Arenal Volcano – one of the must-see volcanoes in Costa Rica. It’s also super close to the adventure-filled town of La Fortuna, Arenal Volcano National Park, and the stunning La Fortuna Waterfall. With so much to do around here, I think this ecolodge is a perfect base to explore the area!
But its incredible, natural location isn’t the only reason the property became eco-friendly; it also has a sustainability plan. The plan includes the protection of the environment and sustainable use of resources, community outreach, and cultural management.
What’s more, this ecolodge in Costa Rica is steadily seeking ways to improve the lives of its neighbors and all inhabitants of La Fortuna, providing employment and promoting environmental conservation.
The accommodations offered here vary from rooms to suites. Each unit is equipped with air conditioning, in-room coffee and tea, flat-screen cable TV, a minibar, free WiFi, and an outdoor terrace with views of the garden or rainforest. Private bathrooms are complete with bathrobes, slippers, and free toiletries.
Some suites have an in-room jacuzzi and separate dining and living rooms, while others have a private plunge pool fed with thermal water. Room rates start at $375 USD per night.
Of course, Tabacon Thermal Resort and Spa has several amenities as well. You can find hot springs (some of the best hot springs in Costa Rica), saunas, massage services, luxury spa treatments, five swimming pools, and a fitness center.
They also house two restaurants: Los Tucanes and Ave del Paraiso serve local dishes and international gourmet cuisine. The menu at Los Tucanes includes salads, soups, and pasta, while the menu at Ave includes ceviches, burgers, and grilled meat. If you do get hungry while in town, we have lots of restaurant recommendations in La Fortuna too.
For drinks, head to one of the four bars at the ecolodge. Grab some snacks or tapas paired with refreshing drinks, cocktails, rum specialty drinks, or drinks personally created for you by their mixologist. Sounds like the perfect way to end a night!
Related Read: For another nearby adventure, out our guide comparing the top hanging bridges in La Fortuna!
5. Si Como No Resort and Wildlife Refuge
- Location: A few minutes from Manuel Antonio, 2.5 hours from the airport in San Jose
- Amenities: Cinema, spa, hot tub, 2 outdoor swimming pools, 2 restaurants, bar, butterfly garden, complimentary WiFi, free parking
- Price range: Rates range from $290 to $409 USD per night
Si Como No Resort and Wildlife Refuge is another eco-lodge in Costa Rica set in a jungle, this time close to Manuel Antonio. This hotel is tucked away in the wilderness that’s only 10 minutes away from Manuel Antonio National Park and a five-minute drive to the beach.
Thanks to this epic location, the resort is well-loved for its spectacular panoramic jungle and ocean views along with a front-row seat (literally from your balcony!) to some of the best wildlife in Costa Rica!
Over the years, Si Como No Resort has been recognized as a leader in sustainable hospitality, which is why they are one of the best eco-lodges in Costa Rica. Their practices include hiring employees locally, recycling glass, plastic, paper, and aluminum cans, and recycling fruit and vegetable waste for compost to fertilize onsite gardens.
Additionally, the resort has eliminated plastic shampoo bottles and has limited soap bars, and its housekeeping teams only use certified biodegradable cleaning and laundry products. To involve guests in sustainability, each room has cards with suggestions to reduce environmental impact.
Meanwhile, the types of rooms available at the property are Superior, Deluxe, Deluxe Plus, and Honeymoon Suite. Each one comes with a sofa, a coffee maker with complimentary Costa Rican coffee, free WiFi, a private balcony with ocean and jungle views, energy saving air-conditioner, luxury linens, and ceiling fans.
Some units come with a sitting area and/or sofa bed, while others have a jacuzzi. During the low season, room prices range from $290 to $409 USD per night.
During your stay at Si Como No Resort, you can watch movies in their cinema every night, or enjoy a bit of pampering with their various types of massages or other treatments at the spa. You may also swim in one of the two outdoor pools, take a dip in a hot tub, or visit the butterfly garden.
For drinks and food, the resort has two restaurants, a swim-up bar, and a snack bar with live music. Fresh seafood and national and international dishes using tropical ingredients are served at the restaurants, while fresh tropical beverages are offered at the bar beside the adults-only pool.
6. Kintiri Glamping
- Location: An hour and 20 minutes from Nosara, four hours away from the airport in San Jose
- Amenities: Restaurant, bar, sauna, free WiFi, complimentary parking, swimming pool
- Price range: Ranges from $340 to $640 USD per night
Sitting in the rolling hills of the Nicoya Peninsula, Kintiri Glamping offers a camping experience with a modern twist. Their 5-star accommodations are complete with amenities that you’ll find in a luxury hotel, so you won’t feel like you’re roughing it out here!
Their accommodations vary in style, with some featuring a private sauna, while most accommodations include a jacuzzi. Common features in each suite are air conditioning, hot water, and free WiFi. All of them also offer breathtaking mountain views. I love the sunsets you can watch from here too! Rates range from $340 to $640 USD per night.
With luxury comforts and serene surroundings, Kintiri Glamping is the perfect escape in the popular Guanacaste region of Costa Rica. You’ll get away from the crowds as you relax and connect with nature. Enjoy the warm evenings here in the garden or on the terrace with a sky full of stars above you.
Another plus is that when you’re choosing when to visit Costa Rica, there isn’t really a bad time of year to come. The Guanacaste region doesn’t have a traditional rainy season – it’s actually the driest part of the country. So you’re pretty much guaranteed good weather for glamping!
For additional convenience, Kintiri Glamping was designed with several amenities such as a swimming pool and a sauna. There’s a bar and a restaurant onsite as well. For daily breakfast, there are a la carte, vegetarian and vegan options.
While Kintiri Glamping provides all of those, the property responsibly protects the environment. They are making an effort to reduce their food wastage and discontinue the use of single-use plastic shampoo, conditioner, body wash bottles, and other plastic items.
They also opt for energy-efficient LED bulbs, use local ingredients for the dishes on offer, install water-efficient toilets and showers, and many more.
7. Ecolirios Boutique Hotel and Spa
- Location: 30 minutes from Guácimo, 2.5 hours from San Jose
- Amenities: Restaurant, bar, free private parking, complimentary WiFi, organic-inspired spa, sauna, natural pool
- Price range: Rates per night range from $365 to $480 USD
Ecolirios Boutique Hotel and Spa is another hidden paradise in Costa Rica. It’s enclosed in the jungle with lush trees, vegetation, and flowers surrounding it. Situated near Guácimo, this 5-star accommodation has fantastic mountain views too.
With nature all around you, the hotel is perfect for recharging, or for a romantic escape and even a honeymoon in Costa Rica. From one look at this property, I know couples and families would absolutely love it here.
Accommodations offered include suites and villas. All of them are equipped with a desk, bed linens, a safety deposit box, coffee and artesian coffee maker, a closet, a free Wi-Fi connection, and a private bathroom with a shower and free toiletries.
Selected units boast a kitchen fitted with an oven and/or terrace, hammock, and spring water. Moreover, some suites have mountain views, while villas include a private entrance, a sitting area, a living room, and a patio. Room prices range from $365 to $480 USD per night.
Every morning, hotel guests are offered a la carte, continental, and American options for breakfast at the onsite restaurant. The property also has a bar serving an array of drinks. To unwind, you have choices galore with the organic-inspired spa, sauna, natural pool, and garden.
If you wish to explore the area, you can make use of the onsite bicycles without having to pay an extra charge. And, for airport transportation, the hotel can provide you with a shuttle at a surcharge. Once you’re here, I recommend doing a bit of driving around Costa Rica so you have the freedom to explore a little further around the area.
While Ecolirios Boutique Hotel and Spa ensures you have a wonderful stay, they are helping preserve the raw beauty of the environment they are in at the same time. The property is 100% eco-friendly, as it uses solar energy, has its own organic garden where they produce fresh and chemical-free food, and has created its own recycling collection center.
The hotel also has also opted to not use single-use plastic items, and it has been investing a percentage of its revenue back into community and sustainability projects.
8. Pacific Edge Ecolodge
- Location: Less than 10 minutes from the center of the beach town of Dominical, 3 hours from San Jose
- Amenities: Restaurant, bar, outdoor pool, sun terrace, free WiFi, free private parking, art gallery
- Price range: Rates for cabins start at $199 USD per night, bungalows cost $300 USD nightly, villas are $500 per two nights
Pacific Edge Ecolodge is an environment-friendly bed and breakfast in the town of Dominical. I fell in love with this small beach town because of its laidback lifestyle with gorgeous beaches, and lush jungles surrounding it.
This ecolodge gives you a great view of it all as it’s set 600 feet (183 meters) above the incredible coast and is surrounded by rainforest and one of the top wildlife rescue centers in Costa Rica on the other side.
This property has taken sustainable measures to protect the environment including removing the use of plastic items like straws, water bottles, cups, etc., giving guests the option to reuse towels and opt out of daily room cleaning, serving meals made from local ingredients, and having green space on the property.
At the property, you have the choice of cabins, bungalows, and villas. Almost all of them have a coffee maker, a cooktop, free WiFi, an in-room safe, a fully equipped private bathroom with shower and hairdryer, a kitchen with refrigerator, and a porch with a view (ocean, jungle, or mountains).
Selected accommodations feature air-conditioning and/or a private balcony. The rates per night are $199 USD for cabins and $300 USD for bungalows. Meanwhile, staying at the villa for two nights costs $500 USD.
Outside the rooms, you can find more amenities including an art gallery with local artwork and gifts. There’s also a swimming pool, a sun terrace, and a massage and yoga deck where you can de-stress. Meanwhile, I like the shared lounge and garden are they’re good for hanging out with family or friends.
You can also expect a bar and a restaurant serving a la carte breakfast, as well as services such as car rental and paid airport shuttle. Because it’s so close to town, we like popping into the restaurants in Dominical for a bite to eat too.
9. Gaia Hotel and Reserve
- Location: A few minutes away from the centers of Manuel Antonio and Quepos, 2.5 hours from San Jose
- Amenities: Adults-only property, spa, gym, swimming pool, restaurant, free parking, complimentary WiFi, sky lounge
- Price range: Rates range from $315 to $1,065 USD per night
Situated within the Gaia Nature Reserve, Gaia Hotel and Reserve is surrounded by rainforest and wildlife. This 5-star property is for adults only and offers an ideal blend of natural scenery and modern amenities, which is why it’s also among the best eco-lodges in Costa Rica.
There are TONS of beautiful beaches less than 10 minutes from the hotel. One of my favs is Espadilla Beach (aka North Espadilla Beach). It’s a vibrant place to hang out with lots of vendors walking the beach with local coconuts and other food and drinks!
The Gaia Hotel and Reserve is focused on sustainability and supporting the local community. You’ll find local suppliers selling products in the hotel gift shop, local people working here and the promotion of the local culture and art through dance, music, and theater workshops.
In addition to that, this ecolodge has programs focused on reducing power and water consumption, reusing water, producing fertilizer from waste, and supporting the regeneration of forests and the protection of Costa Rica’s National Parks.
When it comes to accommodating travelers, the hotel offers 18 suites with exclusive access to an infinity pool. Pets are allowed to stay in the rooms too if you’re traveling with your dog. A one-night stay is $315 to $1,065 USD per suite.
Each accommodation comes with conveniences such as a sitting area, a bathroom with a stone shower and toiletries, a LED smart TV with cable and Netflix access, a mini-bar, a coffee maker, a safety box, free WiFi connection, and air-conditioning.
Selected suites have a jet bathtub or a private balcony with a view of the tropical rainforest and a partial view of the ocean, while others have a shared patio with a table and chairs overlooking the rainforest.
Loft Suites are even a bit more luxurious with an upper level that offers views of the tropical rainforest, while the lower level offers direct access to the semi-private splash pools. Whereas Deluxe Suites have a private rooftop terrace overlooking the rainforest and the Pacific Ocean and free room service (for breakfast only).
Two Bedroom Villas, on the other hand, have two bathrooms (one with a jacuzzi), two bedrooms, a balcony, and a rooftop terrace.
This luxury eco-lodge in Costa Rica is also packed with amenities for added comfort. There’s a spa with a steam room and sauna where you can rejuvenate your mind and body. You can also join yoga classes, visit the gym to work out, or go for a swim in the pool. If you want to venture out, it’s also convenient to join one of the many tours of Manuel Antonio.
If you want to get closer to nature, you may visit the center of the hotel known as Gaia Garden, to enjoy beautiful sights and sounds. You also have the option to visit Gaia SkyLounge, which offers a 360-degree panoramic view of the central Pacific and stunning sunsets, house-crafted cocktails, an array of wines, and mouth-water tapas.
In case you get hungry, you don’t need to go too far because the hotel has its own restaurant, which offers 24-hour room service and both international and local cuisine. It welcomes guests for breakfast, lunch, happy hour, and dinner. Apart from the usual menu for each meal, they also have a kids’ menu.
The property provides transportation to the beach and the national park or you can easily rent a car to explore.
Related Read: Staying here means you’re close to Manuel Antonio National Park, one of the best places to see sloths in Costa Rica!
Affordable Ecolodges in Costa Rica
10. Amazonita Ecolodge
- Location: A short drive from the towns of Dos Brazos and Puerto Jimenez, 5.5 hours from San Jose
- Amenities: Restaurant, private parking space, wellness center
- Price range: Rates range from $83 to $125 USD per night (minimum stay of two nights)
For affordable ecolodges in Costa Rica, one of my top picks is Amazonita Ecolodge. This small family-friendly property is hidden in the heart of a jungle in the Reserva Forestal Golfo Dulce. Set high on a hill, it is an excellent place to escape and reconnect with nature.
With a focus on protecting the environment, Amazonita has made efforts in various ways. Recycling bins are on the property and single-use plastics are not in use anymore. Additionally, the lodge serves food that is locally sourced, has partnerships with local businesses, and provides guests with information regarding local ecosystems, heritage, and culture.
For as low as $83 USD per night, you can stay at Amazonita Ecolodge, making it super affordable whether you’re traveling as a couple or a family. The highest price during the low season is $125 USD, and travelers are required to stay for a minimum of two nights.
There are three adorable cabins: Casa Zenon, Casa Philae, and Casa Zephyr, which can sleep 4 to 6 people. All cabins feature a seating area, a private bathroom with free toiletries and towels, a terrace with a view of the rainforest, a kitchenette or kitchen with a fridge, and spring water. Some cabins have a dining area, while Casa Zephyr has two rooms and two bathrooms.
For your meals, you can head to the onsite restaurant that serves breakfast options (continental and vegetarian), lunch (Casado, salad), and dinner. There are also international wines to complement your meals.
To take your relaxation to the next level, you can treat yourself to a soothing massage in their wellness center. Manicure or pedicure services are available as well for some extra pampering.
If you’re looking for something exciting to do, I highly recommend a visit to the nearby Corcovado National Park. This park is one of the last remaining patches of lowland tropical rainforest in Central America. It’s home to an incredible amount of wildlife, much of which is very rare or endangered. To really explore the park, you can try this day tour or I highly recommend a night tour like this one to see all the creatures that only come out after dark!
11. Arenal Oasis Eco Lodge & Wildlife Refuge
- Location: Less than 10 minutes from La Fortuna, 2.5 hours from San Jose
- Amenities: Restaurant, garden, free parking, complimentary Wi-Fi,
- Price range: Rates for bungalows start at $83 USD, villas start at $97 USD
Arenal Oasis Eco Lodge & Wildlife Refuge is another budget-friendly eco-lodge in Costa Rica. Owned and managed by the Rojas-Bonilla family, it is a great place to discover the beautiful scenery the country is famous for.
Speaking of scenery, Arenal Oasis is only a few minutes away from the spectacular Arenal Volcano (which is an active volcano!) and the fantastic hot springs in La Fortuna. You can even hike to the volcano (just not up the volcano as that’s illegal) and relax in the hot springs after – a perfect outing while staying at this ecolodge.
For many years, the property has adhered to strict practices in sustainable development together with conservation policies. They take part in Natural Resources Conservation Efforts such as recycling programs, use of biodegradable products, organic foods, wildlife protection, energy savings, and environmental education for the local community.
Just 3 km (1.8 miles) from the property is the town center of La Fortuna. This means that you’re super close to all the restaurants and bars in town, and plenty of shops to pick up a few souvenirs.
There are a total of 14 rustic-looking, elegant and spacious accommodations. Twelve out of the 14 cabins are bungalows, while two are villas.
The amenities that both bungalows and villas share include a bathtub, a private bathroom, a hairdryer, and a ceiling fan. All cabins also offer views of the garden and the forest. Moreover, bungalows come with a minifridge while villas feature a kitchenette with a fridge, a mini stove, and a coffee maker.
Alongside the accommodations, there are a few amenities at the ecolodge including a garden, private parking, and complimentary WiFi throughout the property. A restaurant serving traditional Costa Rican dishes made from organic ingredients is at Arenal Oasis as well. Meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner are available every day.
Related read: Travel around this area on a budget by checking out all the free and cheap things to do in La Fortuna!
12. Cecropia Ecolodge
- Location: Short drive from the town of La Tigra, 1 hour from La Fortuna, 2 hours from San Jose
- Amenities: Free private parking, complimentary WiFi in public areas, garden, terrace
- Price range: Rates start at $55 USD per night
Cecropia Ecolodge is situated in the Northern Highlands of Costa Rica near La Fortuna. It’s set in a relaxing environment with lush trees and plants surrounding the property. Lots of animals and birds are around here, and there are 3 km of trails around the ecolodge.
The lodge has multiple simple cottages and I liked how spacious the rooms feel inside. Each cottage has a private bathroom with a shower and free toiletries.
Accommodation options range from double beds to king beds. All rooms have a standing fan and select rooms include a wine cooler.
Cecropia Ecolodge is dedicated to preserving the natural state of the environment while catering to the needs of travelers. Among the efforts they have made include incorporating green spaces like gardens on the property and not putting wild animals on display.
Additionally, the eco-lodge uses local guides and businesses, teaches the importance of conservation to guests, uses local ingredients for the meals, supplies job opportunities for the community, and carries out reforestation projects.
Additional amenities are available here including a WiFi connection in common areas and a private parking space that are both free of charge. There’s also laundry service available for an additional charge.
For meals, the restaurant has continental, American, and vegetarian options available for breakfast. The dishes they serve are created with ingredients that are either purchased from local farmers or grown right on the property.
You can check availability and book Cecropia Ecolodge online here.
13. San Rafael Ecolodge
- Location: 2 minutes from the center of La Tigra, 30 minutes from La Fortuna, or 2 hours from San Jose
- Amenities: Restaurant, free WiFi connection, shared lounge, terrace, free parking, shared kitchen, garden, spa
- Price range: Rates typically range from $60 to $135 USD per night
There are multiple villas on the property with different room configurations (so book now if you want a specific one!) and they are priced at $60 to $135 USD per night. Each includes cable TV, seating and dining areas, plus a private bathroom with a shower.
A perk I really liked is the free access to the garden and furnished terraces as well as an outdoor pool. The private parking space is also free of charge, as well as the WiFi connection which is available throughout the property.
The food menu prepared in the kitchen is varied and delicious. A continental breakfast is provided for guests every morning.
If you’re in need of spa services, San Rafael Ecolodge can also provide them for you for an additional charge. They offer a variety of massages, body scrubs, waxing services, facial treatments, and beauty services.
The property also makes sure to take care of the environment, and some of the environmentally-friendly practices here include no longer using single-use plastic items, water-efficient toilets and showers in accommodations, and lighting that uses energy-efficient LED bulbs.
Also, they continue to minimize food wastage, spend a percentage of revenue for projects that will benefit the community, provide guests with information concerning local ecosystems, heritage and culture, and use local ingredients or products for the food they serve.
14. Palmetto Lodge
- Location: 5 minutes from Playa San Miguel, Guanacaste Airport in Liberia is 2.5 hours away
- Amenities: Outdoor swimming pool, restaurant, garden, terrace, bar, free parking, business center, complimentary WiFi
- Price Range: Rates per night range from $125 to $160 USD
Palmetto Lodge is a luxury bed and breakfast nestled in the jungles of the Nicoya Peninsula. It offers spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean and you’ll see a wide range of animals nearby such as monkeys, iguanas, armadillos, coatis, and parrots.
The B&B is just a five-minute car ride from San Miguel Beach, which is renowned for surfing. If you’re not an expert, don’t worry – surfing lessons are offered right on the beach!
Should you need to eat breakfast, lunch, or dinner, some of the best restaurants in the area are just a few kilometers away. Palmetto Lodge also houses a restaurant, which serves a la carte, continental, and American breakfasts made from local products. They even offer homemade food like bread, jams, yogurt, cakes, ice cream, and pasta. Yum! Vegetarian and vegan options are available upon request.
For drinks, you will find plenty of options at the onsite bar including cocktails and a selection of Chilean, Argentinian, and Italian wines, smoothies, and Costa Rica’s batidos.
Besides the bar and restaurant, this budget-friendly ecolodge in Costa Rica features an outdoor swimming pool, a garden, a shared lounge, and a sun deck that juts out into the jungle. There’s also a business center if you’re looking to do more of a working holiday as well as a WiFi connection.
With regard to the accommodations at Palmetto Lodge, they offer three types: Deluxe Double Room, Luxury Accommodation, and Casita. Rates per night start at $125 USD.
All accommodations have views of the ocean, a terrace with lounge furniture and a hammock, and a private bathroom with free toiletries and a hairdryer. Each also is equipped with air-conditioning, a minibar, a ceiling fan, and a laptop safe. Luxury accommodations also have unique features including an additional outdoor shower and a relaxation corner with views of the Pacific Ocean.
Meanwhile, Palmetto Lodge is a sustainable property that strives to serve travelers in the best possible way without harming natural and cultural environments. Some of the actions they have done or continue to carry out are making recycling bins available to guests, finding ways to lessen their food wastage, refraining from utilizing single-use plastic items, and offering bicycle rental service.
The lodge also finances community and sustainability projects and purchases ingredients and other products from local producers.
Related Read: Keep exploring this part of Costa Rica by booking a stay in Santa Teresa – about an hour away from this ecolodge!
15. La Cusinga Lodge
- Location: Less than 10 minutes from Uvita, 3 hours from the San Jose airport
- Amenities: Restaurant, complimentary WiFi, garden, free private parking site, wellness center
- Price range: Rates for a one-night stay start at $260 USD
Tucked away in a private reserve in the small mountain town of Uvita is La Cusinga Lodge. This budget-friendly eco-lodge in Costa Rica overlooks Marino Ballena National Park, one of the only two nationally-protected marine zones in the country and known for its “Whale Tail” sandbar. This is one of the top places in Costa Rica to go whale watching, so make sure you take in a whale watching tour like this one while you’re here!
Playa Arco Beach is just a 10-minute walk from the property, meaning a beach day is only steps away! Aside from swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, and kayaking, hiking is another exciting activity to do nearby. The eco-lodge features over 600 acres of property with hiking trails leading to secluded beaches. The birdwatching is great around here too.
If you seek relaxation, you can attend yoga classes at the lodge. Their yoga room offers a unique view of the Marino Ballena National Park. You also have the option to be pampered at the onsite spa that offers various treatments. While they serve you, staff share the Costa Rican cultural roots.
Other amenities you can expect at La Cusinga Lodge are complimentary WiFi in public areas, free private parking, and a garden. They also house a restaurant where typical regional breakfast is served, alongside locally produced cuisine. You also get to enjoy lunch and dinner in their open-air dining area while the beautiful scenery and sounds of wildlife surround you.
The food they serve includes vegan and vegetarian options, sandwiches, hearty pasta, steak, and specialty seafood dishes. For other food options, you can find other restaurants in Uvita to choose from.
In terms of accommodations, La Cusinga Lodge offers 10 rustic cabins with views of the ocean and the jungle. Built with local wood and other materials, the cabins are categorized into four types: Superior Room, Deluxe Suite, Deluxe Room, and Family or Group Room. Prices start at $260 USD per night and include breakfast and access to the trails on the private reserve.
Each accommodation overlooks the national park and comes with in-room amenities such as a wardrobe, a ceiling fan, a safety box, and a private bathroom with solar-heated water. Deluxe Suites is also complete with a living room.
Now, regarding the sustainable practices that La Cusinga Lodge performs, they do more than just share their Costa Rican cultural roots. They frequently purchase ingredients for their food from local farmers or harvest them from their own garden.
Moreover, handcrafted wood was used to construct the lodge and the cabins were designed with sustainable wood and local materials to maximize comfort and minimize a negative impact on the environment.
The BEST Things to do in Costa Rica
While there are so many fun things to do in Costa Rica, a couple of specific attractions and activities stand out amongst the rest. They are:
There are some impressive (and beautiful!) volcanoes that you’ll want to check out while you’re here.
Poas Volcano is known for its bright blue crater lake. Poas Volcano is most commonly visited on a day trip from San Jose. This Poas Volcano tour from San Jose is one of the best you can do since it also includes a visit to the La Paz Waterfall Gardens as well as a coffee farm.
Arenal Volcano is also one of Costa Rica’s top attractions. Arenal Volcano is located closest to the town of La Fortuna. You can book this full-day tour from La Fortuna that takes you to the volcano to hike, the famous La Fortuna Waterfall and even a hanging bridge – it’s a full day of adventure!
La Fortuna Waterfall is one of our favorite waterfalls in all of Costa Rica. You can easily visit it on this full-day tour in La Fortuna that also visits hot springs.
Rio Celeste is another beautiful waterfall that is famous for its bright blue water. Rio Celeste is a popular attraction to visit from Guanacaste Province and this particular tour includes transport from there. Alternatively, you can book this tour from La Fortuna or this tour from San Jose.
See the wildlife
Costa Rica is the place for wildlife lovers! One of the best places to see lots of animals in their wild habitat is at Manuel Antonio National Park. With the help of a guide you will see plenty of birds, monkeys, and even sloths! This particular tour is super popular and also has amazing reviews, so you really can;t go wrong.
There are also lots of wildlife rescue centers around the country that are worth visiting. The Jaguar Rescue Center in Puerto Viejo is one of our favorites as well as Rescate Wildlife Rescue Center in San Jose where you can book this private tour.
Getting Around Costa Rica
How you choose to get around Costa Rica is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make when planning your holiday here! How you do it depends on your budget, travel style, and comfort level.
Renting a Car
Without a doubt, the number one way to explore Costa Rica is in a rental car. We book rental cars on the Discover Cars website as we have had good experiences with them in the past.
One of the things you need to watch for when renting a car in Costa Rica is the mandatory insurance that the government requires you to have. There are a lot of very cheap rentals that don’t include this mandatory insurance (TPL) in the original booking price, but there are also ones that do. To avoid additional surprise charges when you pick up your rental car, be sure to rent a car that includes the mandatory insurance when you book.
Thankfully, on Discover Cars it’s easy to tell apart the companies that include the mandatory insurance and those that don’t. The trick is you can’t pick any car on their website. In the picture below, you can see this rental car, with pick up in Jaco, includes the TPL. That means the mandatory insurance is included in the price. Any cover you get above that is extra.
Of course, I still suggest getting the full coverage offered by Discover Cars, which covers you even more.
You can browse cars on Discover Cars here.
Adobe Rental Rent A Car is another rental company that we most often use in Costa Rica. We love them because Adobe has 15 offices around Costa Rica and delivers door-to-door around their offices at no extra cost. We also are pleased that all of their cars are new. In fact, they are never older than 2 years to the date. They are also the only company to include mandatory insurance and promise no hidden fees. You can get a free quote for a rental car from their website here.
If renting a car isn’t in your budget, you don’t feel comfortable driving in Costa Rica, or you just don’t like driving, shuttles are the next best option. There are hundreds of shuttle routes available all over the country, and they are very affordable.
Shuttles in Costa Rica are specifically for tourists and often include pick up and drop off at your selected hotels and airports. The drivers also speak some English, and the vehicles have air conditioning. You’ll also be guaranteed a seat when you book a shuttle (which isn’t the case with the public bus system.)
To get the best price, use the website Bookaway. They compare all the offers and prices of shuttle companies in Costa Rica so you get the best price! Honestly, we have saved so much money using Bookaway!
You can search for shuttles online on Bookaway here.
Lastly, you can use the public bus system. On short journeys, such as from San Jose to La Fortuna or Uvita to Manuel Antonio, this system is great. However, the longer the journey the more hassle and time spent on a bus. It’s undoubtedly best to save the public bus in Costa Rica for short and straightforward trips!
The public buses are definitely the cheapest way to get around Costa Rica, but they are not always very reliable and schedules often change without notice and delays are to be expected. The buses can also be very crowded and hot – so just be prepared!
It’s also good to speak some Spanish if you plan on riding the public bus since most drivers and ticket booth operators don’t speak English.
Invest in Travel Insurance
Paying out of pocket for trip interruptions or medical treatment will add to what might already be a stressful situation. We always travel with SafetyWing travel medical insurance.
The best part is that it costs only a fraction of what most insurance policies charge, which makes it perfect for digital nomads, long-term travelers (like us), and budget travelers. It only costs $45 USD per 4 weeks!
To start coverage, you must purchase it after leaving your home country. We usually purchase it as soon as we land at the airport.
Since using SafetyWing we’ve been reimbursed thousands of dollars when we’ve gotten sick. During the pandemic, they’ve even gone as far as to pay for our last-minute flights back to Canada from Colombia before the border closed!
Thanks for reading!
There you have it, the 15 best ecolodges in Costa Rica! I hope this blog was helpful as you look for the right accommodations for your vacation. I love ecolodges here because they often have some of the prettiest natural settings and they’re also focused on preserving the incredible beauty of this country.
While you’re planning a holiday in Costa Rica, have a look around our other in-depth guides to traveling here. We’ve lived here and come back to visit often, so we have lots of tips to share to help you enjoy your time in Costa Rica.