The 10 best hotels in Costa Rica for gay travellers

Biodiverse Costa Rica grows green with possibilities, bedded by rainforest reserve and nourished by rushing rivers on journeys towards the Pacific. What’s more is Costa Rica’s harmonious relationship with nature, allowing for eco retreats to compete for the title of most sustainable, all while providing state-of-the-art luxury on a shoestring. Fill your schedule easily by following our Costa Rica 7 day itinerary, living the life of luxury along the way by checking in at any of the top hotels in Costa Rica, outlined below…

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Besides gazing out into the jungle from your private hot tub deck, stay active with daily hikes, spa treatments and yoga sessions

1. El Silencio Lodge & Spa

Your first night in Costa Rica can’t get much more perfect than a stay at El Silencio Lodge & Spa, a lodging set within 500 acres of tropical forest reserve, complete with a lazy river and waterfall-laden mountains surrounding. To champion sustainability, each cabin suite comes clad in eco-friendly bamboo and the on-site Los Ventanas restaurant serves hyper-local food (some of which comes from the hotel’s mini farm). Besides gazing out into the jungle from your private hot tub deck, stay active with daily hikes, spa treatments and yoga sessions, before wrapping up the day with a home-brewed beer at Toro Bohemio Bar.

Photo: El Silencio Lodge & Spa

2. Casa Chameleon Las Catalinas

Equally as enchanting is the Casa Chameleon Las Catalinas, a series of villas based on a hill overlooking the Guanacaste coast. Each chic villa comes kitted out for the most romantic of getaways, fronted by shared saltwater infinity pool, fire pits and impressive sunset views. Like many of the all-inclusive resorts Costa Rica has to offer, Casa Chameleon is big on sustainability, using solar energy to heat the pool and conducting monthly beach clean-ups. Rise early for yoga on the elevated yoga deck or opt for an in-room massage before biking to the laidback village of Las Catalinas and kayaking in the bay. However, you choose to spend the day, return to the resort at the sound of the gong for pre-dinner cocktails at the Moroccan-styled restaurant.

3. Origins Lodge

Off the radar in rural Costa Rica and built on a cliff amidst 120 acres of pristine forest, Origins Lodge is crowned as one of the top luxury hotels Costa Rica. Origins was built in natural materials by French architects to be the most dazzling property in the region. Each upscale bungalow here comes shaped like a Hershey’s Kiss and furnished with elegant interiors, while outside the hot tub and infinity pool provide the perfect angle to gaze out over Lake Nicaragua. Though stylish as it comes, Origins remains down-to-earth with a dedication to preserving the natural environment, sharing the space with grazing horses and an on-site organic garden used by the resort’s kitchen to prepare delectable haute cuisine and breakfast spreads to die for. After a morning of yoga and meditation, stay busy with a naturist tour of the region, stopping in the outpost town of Bijagua or day-tripping to Río Celeste.

Photo: Origins Lodge

Photo: Origins Lodge

4. Hotel Villa Roca

An exclusive offering for gay and lesbian travellers is the progressive Hotel Villa Roca, an idyllic spot just outside Quepos. The fact that the hotel caters to the gay community is just one in a million reasons to stay here. Other reasons include the hillside vistas over the Pacific Ocean and a rainforest backdrop primed for wildlife watching and trekking adventures. Complimentary breakfasts are best enjoyed alongside the villa’s panoramic deck, and while a day spent by the pool and hot tub is surely a must, a number of excursions also await. Wander through Quepos Town or take a 3-kilometre road trip out to Manuel Antonio National Park, a site boasting exotic islands and a nature reserve to rival the Galapagos.

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Blending their respective skills in the fields of both architecture and biology, Kurà’s owners designed the hotel to be both stylish and sustainable

Photo: Kurà Hotel

5. Kurà

The brainchild of a husband and wife team, exclusive retreat Kurà wows in a mountaintop location on the Pacific Coast as the pinnacle of R&R. Blending their respective skills in the fields of both architecture and biology, Kurà’s owners designed the six-suite hotel to be both stylish and sustainable, offering a salt-water infinity pool deck and sleek spa set to a backdrop of rugged jungle and sensual Balinese décor. While the sunset alone is enough to keep you rapt, the hotel’s shuttle can whisk you to the beach in no time for kayaking, surfing and whale watching, with facilities in the small town of Uvita. Staying at Kurà also means getting to know the local native tribe, the Borucan people, as their art and devil masks adorn the common quarters here.

Photo: Kurà Hotel

6. Oxygen Jungle Villas

Oxygen Jungle Villas is one for the adults-only, offering an intimate jungle-side escape in a tranquil Uvita location. Of the 12 Balinese-style suites here, each comes completely sculpted in glass, making guests feel like they’re sharing their canopy bed with the wild. Wake early to the close sound of howler monkeys, seizing the day with a hiking, whale watching or diving exhibition, followed by a spa treatment or relaxing dip in the infinity pool in the company of Javanese gods and goddesses and ocean views. With more time to explore, rent a 4X4 for surfing in Dominical and snorkelling in Marino Ballena National Park before dining in Ojochal one evening. Those who don’t want to leave the hotel however are in luck, thanks to fusion restaurant 02 which serves up fresh local produce over candlelight, to be washed down with their signature hierbabuena cocktail poolside.

7. Finca Rosa Blanca

Another of the best places to stay in Costa Rica is the Finca Rosa Blanca, this time elevated in the highlands above San Jose as a hidden eco-resort among mango trees, coffee bushes and all manner of wildlife. Owned by artists, the Finca takes pride in its playful design, featuring a number of murals, mosaics and sculptures to complement the organic layout that blends seamlessly with nature. Though San Jose is close within reach, walk the grounds on a coffee or birdwatching tour, joining with local families in nearby villages to learn of the Tico culture through music, art and food. Once night falls, go gourmet with a feast at either of the resort’s two restaurants, in view of the glittering lights of Central Valley.

Photo: Finca Rosa Blanca

Photo: Finca Rosa Blanca

8. Pacuare Lodge

Not just another eco-retreat, Pacuare Lodge stands out for its remote rainforest location, accessed most conveniently by raft (!), near Siquirres 100 kilometres east of San Jose. Guests of Pacuare can throw away their gadgets for the week as the rooms here are electricity-free. Instead, focus your soul with shaman-inspired spa treatments and outdoor adventures such as hiking, ziplining and white-water rafting down the Río Pacuare. Back on home turf, enjoy sightings of toucans, oropendolas and monkeys in the canopies overhead, while the fitness centre, organic restaurant and bar come can keep you amused with minimal carbon footprint, thanks to solar heating, natural spring water and organic produce from the family garden.

9. Hotel Makanda by the Sea

With money, no object and creativity in extravagant supply, the Hotel Makanda by the Sea is a boutique resort where every design detail tells a story, from Hollywood glam bathrooms and Balinese swing beds to Chinese tiling and ocean-inspired walls within the Shanti Spa. The hotel’s rural setting is the true draw, however, on a bluff raised above the ocean just 10 minutes from Manuel Antonio National Park. Make the most of the wilderness surroundings with early morning yoga on the deck or wander (steeply) downhill through bamboo forests to find the hotel’s semi-private Biesanz Beach. Otherwise, allow a staff member to ferry you around in a golf buggy, from the infinity pools to the tennis and basketball courts and back perhaps.

Costa Rica | Photo: Etienne Delorieux

Photo: Jakob Owens

10. Colours Oasis Resort

Similar to the gay-exclusive Hotel Villa Roca yet closer to urbanity on the border to San Jose within Boulevard Rohrmoser, Colours Oasis Resort caters to queer travellers who want an easy escape into the wild. Just one of two gay-only resorts in Costa Rica, Colours Oasis combines inclusivity with modest luxury, complete with a private terrace sundeck and solar-heated pool. Guests have access to the fitness centre and spa, eating at the on-site restaurant or at a number of other eateries just 5 minutes down the road. Though in reach of all the city’s wonders, you’ll also be in a perfect position for day-tripping in La Sabana Park, visiting beaches, volcanoes and waterfalls in amongst Costa Rica’s fabulous natural surrounds.

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Photo: Origins Lodge

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