The Resorts, Volcanos + Cloudforests of Guanacaste + The North

Hotels in The Resorts, Volcanos + Cloudforests of Guanacaste + The North

This sprawling 310-room property—open since February 2009—distinguishes itself by straddling the line between major resort and remote wilderness lodge. The colonial-style building features breezy rooms with dark wood accents and capacious balconies with water views (pool and ocean).

With just four bungalows on the premises, a night at Milarepa Hotel, on the southern coast of the Nicoya Peninsula, offers all focused attention to all guests. Each room is equipped with teak furniture and antique four-poster beds with mosquito netting, imported from Indonesia.

Magnificent views of Arenal Volcano can be enjoyed from every room at this luxury resort (one of many that surround the famous peak).

At nearly 15 years old, Hotel Punta Islita is a granddaddy of Costa Rica’s eco-resorts.  This attentively run mainstay shares its crescent-shaped stretch of beach with a neighboring village, Islita, which has been transformed into a thriving outdoor community art project by Costa Rican artists.

Many of the 22 earth-toned rooms are equipped with private balconies that overlook a quiet part of the otherwise crowded Playa Tamarindo.

Take Four Seasons pampering (chilled towels delivered to your pool chaise), cross it with the charm of location (just north of the Nicoya Peninsula, above the placid Gulf of Papagayo), and you'll see why guests return to this hilltop property year after year.

Just 50 yards from the Pacific shoreline, this two-story residence is situated along a near-private, golden-sand beach, and though guests have access to the spa, restaurants, and golf course of the adjoining Tango Mar Resort, tropical foliage shrouds the residence from the other travelers.

Hotel Fonda Vela in Monteverde, open since 1990, is just a 15-minute walk to the Cloud Forest Reserve.

This beachfront resort has everything you’d expect from a Caribbean-style getaway: a huge swim-up bar, candlelit tables under palm trees, thatched palapa roofs, rooms with ceiling fans and pastel-hued walls, and of course a sandy swimming beach.

This rustic eco-lodge in the lush, misty Tilarán Mountains set the standard for environmentally sustainable properties here when it opened in 1990. It’s owned by Costa Rica Expeditions, one of the country’s best adventure-tour operators and an ethical-tourism pioneer since 1978.

An intimate, adults-only hotel with 12 teak-and-mahogany villas. Wraparound windows provide tantalizing views of the Pacific, but the hotel's biggest draw is its long list of activities, from watersports to voluntourism opportunities.

For travelers looking for a few more niceties of home like high-speed wireless, a business center, and multiple televisions showing professional hockey, football, and basketball games, the Hotel El Sueño Tropical on the north Pacific coast is a popular favorite.

One of the 10 most active volcanoes in the world, Arenal produces intense geothermic energy in north central Costa Rica, feeding mineral springs throughout the region.