Experience a slice of the “good life” at these gorgeous getaways, where bountiful beaches, biodiversity and ecotourism are elevated to new heights
PENINSULA PAPAGAYO North Pacific Coast
Renowned for its beautiful beaches, lush jungle and biodiversity, Peninsula Papagayo offers a sense of place and a place to kick back, relax and enjoy.
Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo
With its pura vida style and understated chic, there are few better places to relax and chill than Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo. Just in time to celebrate its 10th birthday, this stunning resort and spa has undergone a multimillion dollar renovation that features guest rooms redecorated in natural wood and a palette drawn from the Costa Rican landscape, a new lobby, two new restaurants (featuring local, organic, sustainable ingredients), and a spa expansion that now includes a salon and features locally inspired treatments.
Breezes waft from the bay to the Pacific Ocean and guests can enjoy both, while hiking through the jungle or lounging on the beach. fourseasons.com/costarica/ —Rona Berg
The peaceful Villa Manzu—with just eight suites—is a recent and welcome addition to Costa Rica’s famed Peninsula Papagayo.
The 30,000-square-foot sanctuary sits perched on five lush acres with incredible ocean views.
Throughout the resort, tropical surroundings are dotted with hammocks intended to entice you to stop and pamper the soul in this harmonious setting of butterflies, hummingbirds, colorful birds and monkeys.
Not many spas can boast waterfalls for walls, but the intimate Manzu Spa is designed on a platform beneath two 30-foot waterfalls that cascade down from the infinity swimming pool above. Villa manager Jenifer Cowles—with a background as a certified natural healing therapist, trainer, and yoga and meditation instructor—ensures that nutritionally dense organic ingredients from the local tropical forests are used at Manzu Spa. This is a dream destination that will long stay with the 14 to 22 fortunate souls who call it their personal villa. VillaManzu.com —Janet Thomas
THE CENTRAL VALLEY Central Coast
The Central Valley is growing in popularity, boosted in large part by the growth of ecotourism in the region, and the proximity to Arenal Volcano means easy access to a number of hot springs.
El Silencio Lodge & Spa
Tucked inside Costa Rica’s tropical cloud forest, El Silencio Lodge & Spa, a sprawling resort that blends luxury and sustainability, is surrounded by mountains, which gives travelers the sense that they’re very, very far away—a feeling boosted by the fog that hangs in the sky each morning and the lack of Internet service inside the rooms.
Guests can enjoy a number of activities here, from yoga and hiking by waterfalls to horseback riding and more, but the gem of this lodge and spa is the Esencia Spa, which uses the sound of flowing water throughout treatment areas to channel the natural landscape just outside its doors. elsilenciolodge.com
Tabacon Grand Spa and Thermal Resort
It’s hard to find better access to thermal pools in Costa Rica than Tabacon Grand Spa and Thermal Resort, located at the base of the Arenal Volcano. Guests see elements from the surrounding rainforest in every aspect of the hotel, including the open-air bungalows that are set among lush, green gardens, and especially at the spa. All treatments begin with natural hydrotherapy provided by nearby hot springs and waterfalls, which are heated by the volcano and full of minerals renowned for their healing and relaxation properties. Each open-air bungalow has an outdoor Jacuzzi that features water from the thermal mineral springs. tabacon.com
A pioneer in the eco-tourism industry, Rancho Margot was founded by Juan Sostheim, a former Burger King executive who’s spearheading a plan, along with government officials, to make Costa Rica the world’s first certifiable carbon neutral country by 2021. If they succeed, they’ll owe much of their success to the initiatives first tested at Rancho Margot. Located near Arenal Volcano, the eco-lodge generates its own electricity through two hydroelectric turbines and is 100 percent carbon neutral. Chemical-free agriculture means a bounty of organic meals, and there’s plenty to do on the 400-acre property, from yoga class in a treehouse to horseback riding and kayaking. ranchomargot.com —Feifei Sun