The Top 5 Resort Hotels in Central America in 2019

Best Resorts in Central America, according to Travel + Leisure's World's Best Survey (pictured: Lapa Rios)
Photo: Courtesy of Lapa Rios

Arrive in Costa Rica and within a few minutes you’re sure to hear the phrase pura vida. Literally, it means “pure life,” but locals use it as a greeting, as if to say, “this is living.” With such a positive sentiment as a national philosophy, it’s no wonder that our top five Central American resorts are all located in the country, which is currently the safest and most stable in the region.

Every year for our World’s Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. Hotels were rated on their facilities, location, service, food, and overall value. Properties were classified as city or resort based on their locations and amenities.

Related: The World's Best Awards 2019

Costa Rica’s lush rain-forest topography means that these properties often give you a front-row seat to the best that nature has to offer. Of Nayara Springs (No. 5) in Arenal Volcano National Park, one reader wrote, “You are literally in the middle of the jungle, with incredible flora and fauna all around you.” Casa Chameleon at Las Catalinas (No. 4), on Costa Rica’s western coast, earned a reader’s praises for its distinct embrace of the landscape. “The architecture is brilliant, with your room carved out of a hillside. And the views are truly spectacular, with the best sunset I have ever seen in my life. It’s obvious this place is made with a lot of passion.”

Below, find the full list of this year's best resort hotels in Central America.

5. Nayara Springs, Arenal Volcano National Park, Costa Rica

Nayara Springs
William Hereford

Score: 94.32

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4. Casa Chameleon at Las Catalinas, Guanacaste, Costa Rica

Casa Chameleon at Las Catalinas
Courtesy of Casa Chameleon at Las Catalinas

Score: 95.36

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3. Nayara Gardens, Arenal Volcano National Park, Costa Rica

Balcony at Nayara Resort, Spa, and Gardens
Courtesy of Nayara

Score: 95.51

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2. Hacienda AltaGracia, Auberge Resorts Collection, Santa Teresa de Cajón de Pérez Zeledón, Costa Rica

Hacienda Altagracia
Courtesy of Hacienda AltaGracia, Auberge Resorts Collection

Score: 95.62

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1. Lapa Rios Lodge, Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica

Lapa Rios Ecolodge
Courtesy of Lapa Rios

Score: 97.87

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“Extraordinary and memorable, with abundant nature, fine food, and exceptional service,” wrote one reader of this sustainability-focused resort, which is situated at the tip of a rainforest-covered spit of land that juts out into the Pacific. The property’s wide range of experiences include surfing, waterfall tours, self-guided photography walks, and visits to nearby Corcovado National Park. After so much activity, the screened-in bungalows, with their ocean views, offer a welcome respite.

See all of our readers' favorite hotels, cities, airlines, cruise lines, and more in the World's Best Awards for 2019.

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