Walking into an all-inclusive hotel in Costa Rica, you can’t help but marvel at the possibilities and begin to strategize. How many guaro sours could you have before passing out and missing a window of free drinks, free food, and who knows what else? How many stuffed lobsters could you order before it became socially unacceptable? How many filet minion entrees could you fit inside your stomach?
These initially exciting calculations give way to diminishing returns as you ease into your stay and realize you just want one delicious dinner, not five mediocre ones. Another thing to know about the all-inclusives in Costa Rica they come in many shapes and sizes: Some palatial resorts do offer all-you-can-drink Imperial, while smaller venues might skimp on alcohol but provide bottomless organic meals and horseback riding. Whatever it is you can’t get enough of, chances are it’s available at one of Costa Rica’s many top-notch all-inclusives.
Doubletree Resort by Hilton Central Pacific
Guests are welcomed to this shiny seaside resort in Puntarenas with a massive chocolate chip cookie and a coconut drink, and from there it only gets better. No matter the time of day, you can feast and imbibe at one of nine bars and restaurants, and the pool complex is vast and relaxing, with swim-up bars, a hot tub, and plenty of adults-only space.
The Westin Golf Resort & Spa Playa Conchal
On a 2,400-acre Guanacaste compound by a beach covered in seashells, this over-the-top resort feels like a scene from Dirty Dancing—only set in this century and the tropics. Ethnic restaurants abound, as do elaborate buffets, bars, and poolside drinking areas. In the evenings, pseudo pop-stars perform lip-synching and acrobatics routines and later invite the audience to boogie.
For a crunchier all-inclusive seeker, Rancho Margot is a rustic collection of cabinas tucked away from the world but still featuring prime views of Arenal Volcano. No free drinks here, but your stay does come with farm-to-table meals, twice-daily yoga, hiking trails, botanical gardens, dips in hot springs, and “a daily cow-milking opportunity.”
La Paloma Lodge
Drake Bay’s swankiest accommodations don’t come cheap, but they do come in a package deal. Guests stay in spacious bungalows that overlook Costa Rica’s most remote and picturesque bay. They dine family style at communal tables, where hot discussion topics include hiking the biodiverse Corcovado National Park and snorkeling trips to Caño Island—both of which are included with the stay.
La Carolina Lodge
The perfect 4x4 road trip destination, this secluded and romantic getaway specializes in cozy accommodations, wood-fired hot tubs and fresh, organic meals. A stay also comes with hikes to the nearby Rio Celeste, which is the color of blue Gatorade, and a horseback-riding excursion.