Costa Rica is one of Central America's smallest countries, but it's home to hundreds of habitats -- from lush rainforests to beautiful white-sand beaches. The country's many ecosystems make it possible to go hiking, surfing, zip-lining, horseback riding, waterfall rappelling (you get the idea...) in a single trip. And when each vacation day brings the possibility of an epic excursion, a private in-room pool sure makes a sweet hotel perk. Take a look at our favorite Costa Rica hotels with private plunge pools for post-adventure relaxation.
Casa Chameleon Hotel Mal Pais is an off-the-radar getaway located high up in the hills of the Nicoya Peninsula. The romantic boutique resort built its 10 stylish, standalone villas to blend in with the tropical surroundings and to maximize ocean views, especially from the outdoor spaces with private plunge pools, hammocks, and dining tables. Interiors feature natural elements like teak and tamarindo wood, plus amenities like king-size beds, minibars, and sleek bathrooms with rainfall showers. The three honeymoon suites step up the luxury even more. Villa Estella, for instance, has a larger-than-usual infinity pool, as well as an indoor/outdoor shower.
Sitting atop a 1,100-foot cliff, the secluded Villa Caletas is an upscale boutique hotel with unbeatable views of the rainforest, Gulf of Nicoya, and Jaco‘s crescent beaches. The hotel has an infinity pool and a private pebble beach (bring hiking shoes!), but guests who spring on the Suite, Master Suite, or Honeymoon Suite will have their own pool with truly knockout views of the jungle and Pacific Ocean. Junior Suites and Superior Junior Suites don’t have pools on their terraces, but they do have hot tubs.
Nestled into a wildlife sanctuary 100 feet above the Pacific Ocean, Makanda by the Sea is a sleek, adults-only boutique hotel tailor-made for celebrities and honeymooners. Its 27 designer rooms feature ocean-view balconies, with villas adding kitchenettes and private infinity pools. Outside of the rooms, the small property packs in luxe features — there are two stunning ocean-view infinity pools with hot tubs and drink service; a gourmet, water-view restaurant with room service and free breakfast; and a swim-up pool bar with sushi and stunning sunset views.
Just north of Costa Rica’s famous Arenal volcano, Nayara Springs is a super-luxe hideaway for adults, surrounded by thick rainforest and green fields. Its 16 rustic-luxe, 1,500-square-foot bungalows are nicely secluded thanks to screens of vegetation and an ingenious use of sloped paths. All units have amenities like espresso machines and generous minibars, but perhaps the biggest draw is the massive deck with day beds, outdoor showers, and plunge pools fed by natural hot springs. Most guests prefer their private hot springs pools, but there is also a chic communal infinity-edge pool overlooking the rainforest.
Located at the tip of the exclusive Papagayo Peninsula, Four Seasons Costa Rica is easily one of the most luxurious resorts in Central America. The resort’s isthmus location, sandwiched between two beaches, affords it phenomenal views; all rooms have at least a partial view of the blue ocean or bay. Suites are built into the hill and guarantee full-on water views from their windows and extra-large terraces. With the exception of one suite type (the one-bedroom Canopy Suite), all suites have private infinity pools.
This upscale all-inclusive has a romantic ambience and superb facilities, like a huge spa, a two-tier pool with a swim-up bar, and half a dozen a la carte restaurants (plus one buffet and 24-hour room service included in rates). The 202 rooms are chic and contemporary; all have private balconies and upper-level room categories add plunge pools or hot tubs.
As a smaller boutique hotel catering exclusively to couples (kids under 16 aren’t allowed), Issimo Suites Boutique Hotel and Spa has an overall ambience that’s sophisticated, quiet, and serene. Each of its 13 suites is a little bit different in terms of decor and layout, but all come standard with a king bed, a minibar, and a jetted tub surrounded by natural stone. The Royal Suite is the nicest (and most expensive) option; it comes with a full European kitchen and a private terrace with a pool and hot tub.
Most hotels in the Playa Hermosa area are small, family-run places that cater to backpackers and younger budget travelers. Villas Sol Hotel & Beach Resort is more of a full-blown vacation spot, where families and couples check in for a week and don’t leave until their return trip to the airport. The hotel boasts some of the best real estate in the area: it’s set on a cliff overlooking the ocean, though this means it’s a trek to and from the beach. The two main room categories here are hotel rooms and villas. Villas are individually owned, and therefore individually decorated, but all feature fully equipped kitchens, marble bathrooms, and balconies with killer ocean views. Many have private, partially shaded plunge pools.
Alma del Pacifico Beach Hotel & Spa is an upscale beach retreat with a laid-back vibe and eye-catching design. In the rooms, materials like tile, concrete, and wood are paired with bright, bold pieces of art — anything from tribal-style masks and splatter paintings to geometric tapestries and animal sculptures. Terraces are furnished with patio tables and/or loungers. Some have views of lush gardens, while others overlook the Pacific Ocean across a green lawn. Deluxe Beachfront Villas offer long, blue-tiled plunge pools.
Hotel Mountain Paradise, a short drive out of La Fortuna, is a village-like property with brightly colored adobe cottages scattered along sloping paths surrounded by greenery. Decor in the 46 rooms is simple and charmingly rustic: tile floors, beamed ceilings, and wood furniture that looks like it’s made out of tree branches. Natural light pours through the skylights in the bathrooms, which feature double showers — including one made to look like a waterfall. Larger suites include kitchenettes and private swimming pools, while the others usually have their own backyard hot tubs.
This 68-room resort is located 10 minutes north of La Fortuna on the way to the Arenal Volcano National Park entrance. It’s worth upgrading to a Thermal Superior Room or Junior Suite to take advantage of one of the hotel’s big selling points: the private outdoor hot springs pools, which are surrounded by greenery for added privacy. Those staying in Superior Rooms (the only room type without private pools) still have use of the hotel’s freshwater pool with swim-up bar and a big communal hot springs pool.
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