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31 Reasons Your Next Trip Should Be to Costa Rica

photo: Paige Owen
Chasing waves and waterfalls sounds like our idea of an amazing Costa Rica vacation, and right now might just be the right time to start planning it into being. Plenty of lush rainforests, beautiful beaches and gorgeous getaways make up the scene. With health and good food at the top of any travel list we come up with, Costa Rica practically sets a whole new bar for our beach getaways.

From where to hang with the sloths to the best villas to rent with a crew to all the smoothie spots in Costa Rica, we’ve got you covered for all your adventure, accommodation and nourishment needs. And hey, maybe we’ll see you out there on the surf.

Reporter: Alyssa Brown
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STAY

Costa Rica
A sloth preserve, luxury villas and plenty of charming stays are dotted across Costa Rica. Whether you're looking for a jungle hideout or an all out resort experience, there's something for you. 
Photo: Paige Owen
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OCiO Villas learn more

Open-air floor plans and big, luxurious swimming pools lavishly complement OCiO’s sweeping views of the Nicoya Peninsula. Mal Pais will be your stomping grounds during your stay, so you can spend your time here surfing, paddleboarding, fishing, snorkeling, nature reserve hiking, bird watching, or touring the local forests and waterfalls. Once you make it back to home base, your private chef can fix you up with a whole fresh fish and farm-to-table meal.
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Villa Punto de Vista learn more

With a setting so green and so lush, you’ll be thinking you’ve landed in a tropical oasis of your very own at Villa Punto de Vista, and you actually have. This 10-bedroom estate has it all: infinity pool, beachfront, a butler, a roof deck and outdoor Jacuzzi. All you need to bring along is a suitcase full of your best resort wear and a select group of your favorite people.
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$403 avg. room rate
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Andaz Costa Rica Resort at Peninsula Papagayo learn more

This luxury Andaz hotel sits on Peninsula Papagayo alongside some of Costa Rica’s most pristine beaches. The cool, tropical suites have spacious balconies that look right out to the tropical forests and Culebra Bay.
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Casa Chameleon Las Catalinas learn more

Found your primo sunset spot! Perched on a ledge of coastline in the Guanacaste region, Casa Chameleon Las Catalinas offers villas with private plunge pools, an awesome restaurant overlooking the ocean and a wrap-around infinity pool you could spend all day soaking in. And it’s all walkable to the charming town of Las Catalinas.
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Casa Chameleon Mal Pais learn more

When simply arriving at your luxury villa requires 4-wheel-drive, you know you’re in for something most people will never get the pleasure of experiencing. Casa Chameleon Mal Pais is tucked away in a quirky little beach town where you’ll find some of the best surf. Each villa opens right out to an infinity pool that drops off to an incredible only-in-Costa-Rica scene of jungles and beach. Hola, paraíso!
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Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo

Peninsula Papagayo, Costa Rica
A couple of golden beaches mark the scenery at The Four Seasons Resort at Peninsula Papagayo. This breathtaking resort offers wellness retreats and continuously receives five-star reviews, and it’s easy to see why guests would want to stick around here for a long-stay of yoga overlooking the ocean and some of the peninsula’s best dining.
Photo: Jeremy Austin
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Kurà Design Villas

Provincia de Puntarenas, Uvita de Osa, Costa Rica
This little collection of eight stunning minimalist style villas sits high in the Uvita rainforest of Costa Rica. If you’re looking for luxury, Kura has an amazing infinity pool, an ocean-view restaurant, a cocktail bar and an open-air jungle spa.
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Villa Wild Indigo learn more

Deep blue seas surround this Cliffside villa on Peninsula Papagayo, with not a neighbor in sight besides the dolphins, monkeys and parrots that frequent the area. Villa Wild Indigo has five bedrooms, including one in a sweet little casita of its own. There are a couple of pools and guests have full access to the nearby spa, private beach and golf course at Prieta Beach Club and Spa.
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$455 avg. room rate
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Hacienda AltaGracia an Auberge Resort learn more

Rolling green hills, lush rainforests and dramatic mountains set the scene for Hacienda Altagracia, where you’ll find a private retreat with a home-like feel. Ride horses through the beautiful terrain, head out on a rafting expedition of the Savegre River, zipline through the rainforests, or go chasing waterfalls in Costa Rica’s beautiful southern region.
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Villa La Escapa learn more

Traveling with a crew? Up to a dozen of your travel buddies can sleep like kings and queens at this gorgeous Peninsula Papagayo villa. Start every day on the terrace overlooking the ocean before heading off to explore the Guanacaste national parks and eating your way through the peninsula’s best dining spots.
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Photo: enjoy_da_ride
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Casa Luna

Provincia de Alajuela, San Carlos, Costa Rica
A modern, private home tucked into the jungles and palm tree canopies of Playa Hermosa, this surfer’s paradise offers a cozy stay for up to four guests. Casa Luna is located just five minutes from some of Costa Rica’s best surf.
Photo: Marilyn Gil
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Villa Manzu learn more

A glamorous escape for the jet-set, Villa Manzu is perched on a cliff at exclusive Peninsula Papagayo. A couple of pools, a personal chef, a wine and cigar cellar and plenty of lovely hangout spots and hammocks make this 15-bed getaway undeniably bucket list worthy.
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Nayara Resort, Spa & Gardens

Provincia de Alajuela, La Fortuna, Costa Rica
There’s a sloth preserve minutes from this hotel! Not that that’s the only reason to go, but how awesome! Nayara is set in the heart of the Arenal Volcano National Park and offers a long list of eco-adventures nearby. Casitas and villas make up the tropical accommodations and there are a handful of dining options on-site as well as a fully tricked-out spa.
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EAT + DRINK

Costa Rica
Clean ingredients, simple meals and healthy menus make up a good portion of the restaurants in Costa Rica. Complimented by minimal, sleek design, you'll feel like you're doing yourself good as soon as you walk in the door. 
Photo: comocomecami
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13'30 Escalante

Ángel Nieto, San José, Costa Rica
This sweet little open-air café is a total charmer. Set in the heart of San José’s Barrio Escalante, 13'30 is as fabulous a stop for a morning espresso as it is for an afternoon glass of vino and bite to eat.
Photo: _justdalal_
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Kula & Cor Cor Cold Press

San José, Costa Rica
Costa Rica really delivers with the healthy food options and Kula is right up there on our list of delicious, fresh and health-centric eateries. Perfectly folded omelets, tasty tacos and hearty grain salads are all to be found on the menu.
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Ostra Restaurant at the Andaz

Guanacaste Province, Papagayo Peninsula, Costa Rica
Just for the record, six types of fish are available in eight different ceviche preps at Ostra. Could you think of anywhere better to settle in with a glass of bubbly and a tasting menu of ceviches? This spot is set inside the Andaz Hotel at Peninsula Papagayo and makes a fabulous stopover for an afternoon nosh.
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The Bakery

Santa Teresa, Costa Rica
Here’s the deal. You can get delicious fish tacos, fluffy Nutella cronuts and a stack of tropical pancakes all in one place. That one place is right next to the beach in Santa Teresa, so you can just roll on over to The Bakery when you’re ready.
Photo: d_ambro
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Simple Clean Eatery

San José Province, San Rafael, Costa Rica
Simple Clean Eatery and Juice Bar in San José’s Escazú makes it super easy to stay on track with your clean diet while you’re traveling in Costa Rica. Check out their delicious salads, grain dishes and fresh juices.
Photo: Raw Co.
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Raw Co.

San José, Costa Rica
When you get that craving for something so fresh and so raw, head to Raw Co. for smoothie bowls, fresh pressed juices and all kinds of plant-centric foods.
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Saúl Bistro Costa Rica

San José, Costa Rica
This little jungle courtyard eatery in San José combines food and lifestyle seamlessly. Part of the Saúl menswear label, you can dine, shop or do a bit of both with this crew at the helm.
Photo: Franco
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Franco

San José, Costa Rica
Barrio Escalante’s go-to for an easy lunch, brunch or weekend dinner, Franco is always a buzzy little spot. Try anything from the house baked goods – scones, galettes, egg filled biscuits – and pair it with a café con leche.
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Earth Café

Mal País, Puntarenas, Costa Rica
This beachy hangout is a total gem for you healthy eaters and vegans out there. Grilled sandwiches, pistachio gelato, acaí bowls and more light up the menu at Earth Café in Santa Teresa.
Photo: Alma de Amón
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Alma de Amón

San José, Costa Rica
In a visit to Alma de Amon in central San José, you might taste your way through dishes from Cuba, The Caribbean, Brazil, or Mexico. There’s a soulful Latin American spin on all the dishes at this spot, and you better believe the beer goes down easy too.
Photo: d_ambro
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Isolina

San José, Costa Rica
The authentic, creative and delicious food served at Isolina offers a peak into the local gastronomy scene of San José. Isolina is the kind of place where you want to start with spritzers and charcuterie before making your way into octopus, grilled radicchio or handmade pasta.
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Pangas Beach Club

Provincia de Guanacaste, Tamarindo, Costa Rica
The best meals on vacation are nearly always the ones spent outdoors on the beach with your close friends, great wine and deliciously fresh food. Pangas Beach Club on Tamarindo beach gets fresh fish delivered from the region’s best fishermen and pairs it with a wonderful list of wines.
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EXPERIENCE

Costa Rica
Get ready to go chasing waterfalls because Costa Rica is full of these beauties accessible by hiking. Also, trek to a volcano, hot springs or a suspension bridge hidden in the jungle.
Photo: Stef Reynaert
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Rincon De La Vieja National Park Hot Springs

Guanacaste, Costa Rica
These natural thermal hot springs sit just along the Rio Negro and are heated by the Rincón De La Viejo volcano. Hike in or ride horseback through the jungle to reach this hidden slice of paradise.
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Bajos Del Toro

Alajuela Province, Costa Rica
Costa Rica’s San Jose Highlands are rich with jungles, waterfalls, streams and stunning scenery. If you’re up for a day trip, Bajos del Toro sits between the Poás and Viejo Volcanoes and has a damp, misty climate that feels like you’re inside a cloud.
Photo: Ben Ostrower
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Monteverde Suspension Bridge

Monteverde, Costa Rica
There’s a series of six suspension bridges in the Monteverde rainforest that seem to float above the tropical scenery. Depending on the weather patterns, you may end up walking through clouds of mist or, on a clearer day, spotting one of 1,400 species of orchids.
Photo: Gaile Juknyte
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Rio Celeste Hike

Volcan Teneorio, Alajuela, Costa Rica
A hike through the Tenorio Volcano National Park takes you along the edge of the clear Rio Celeste to its dropoff where it becomes a waterfall that tumbles into turquoise.
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Rafting with Rios Tropicales

Pacuare River, Costa Rica
The best way to tour off-the-beaten-path scenery in Costa Rica is by ditching the roads and heading to the river. Choose from multi-day rafting trips that take you through turtle nesting grounds, rainforests, gorges and more, or stick to a single day of rafting on the Pacuare River.
Photo: urlaubsguru
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Poás Volcano

Poás Volcano National Park, Costa Rica
Head to Poás Volcano National Park, hike till you’re awestruck and post a photo so we can see it and live it with you. A word to the wise? Check the volcanic activity charts before heading out to this smoky, cloud forest.

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