27 Affordable Beach Resorts
Bahari Beach Bungalows
WHAT IT'S LIKE: On an isolated six miles of dark-sand Pacific beach, the Bahari Beach Bungalows attract outdoorsy travelers who don't necessarily want to rough it. There are two bright rooms in the main building; at the very edge of the water, the lodge's hosts and owners, Ludwig and Andrea Zirkelbach, have pitched four oversize safari tents that sleep two people. Here, the mesh walls give the sensation of sleeping outdoors, with the added comforts of tiled floors, freshly cut flowers, and spacious bathrooms. In the thatched-roof, open-air dining room overlooking the grounds, the owners serve octopus salad in vinaigrette and tender grilled mahimahi. The Zirkelbachs also make delicious cocktails that you can carry onto the beach to watch the sun set.
WHAT TO DO: Nine miles away is the Hacienda Barú National Wildlife Refuge (011-506/787-0003; haciendabaru.com), which protects 815 acres of coastal rain forest. Look for capuchin monkeys, toucans, and three-toed sloths along the reserve's well-groomed trails. —Carolina A. Miranda