The Resorts, Volcanos + Cloudforests of Guanacaste + The North

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

Costa Rica has long been known as an eco-travel destination, but El Silencio—a serene retreat on 500 acres opened in 2008 by the owners of the nearby Hotel Punta Islita—presents an unusual level of luxury for the green-oriented adventurer.

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.

The name of this resort translates to "dream of the sea," and its owners do their best to represent the name in property’s snug garden layouts and patios decorated with frescoes, hand-painted tiles, and eclectic artwork.

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).

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.

The Harmony sits a stone’s throw from Playa Guiones in the sleepy Pacific coast surf town of Nosara. Its 24 rooms are stylishly spare, with vaulted wood ceilings and flowing white fabrics.

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.

This glorious arc of Pacific beach has attracted surfers since the 60s, and when you see the ocean from this vantage point, you'll understand why.

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.

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.

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

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.