Epitomizing laid-back travel, Costa Rica has hundreds of hotels, but only a few make the list for luxury. With the help of local specialists, kimkim has narrowed down the best to these eight unique options that choose quality over quantity, simplicity over opulence. Pick one or more and make your next trip to the land of "pura vida" extra special.

Belmar Hotel, Monteverde 

(Photo courtesy of Hotel Belmar)

A variety of exquisite room styles at the family-owned Hotel Belmar are made from locally crafted, hand-carved wood and offer outdoor seating areas with views overlooking Costa Rica's infamous cloud forest. This small luxury resort has been awarded an impressive Level 5 certificate of sustainability, and guests will take comfort in a range of eco-friendly practices, right down to the biodegradable toiletries.

If you are seeking air-conditioners (or TVs, for that matter), this isn't the place: temperatures in the Monteverde Reserve stick in the comfortable 60°Fahrenheit range. Instead, head for the brewery, juice bar, or tea room between yoga classes and guided hikes in the rainforest. Make sure to ask for a tour of the organic garden. Learn More

Bosque de Paz Rain and Cloud Forest Lodge, Bajos del Toro

Photo courtesy of Basque de La Paz Rain and Cloud Forest Lodge

Translated to "Forest of Peace," a stay at this rustic-luxe lodge will take all your cares away, if only for the duration of your stay. Located inland, in Alajuela, the jungle paradise is surrounded by magnificent clouds and rain forests in a private 3000-acre biological reserve that connects Poás Volcano National Park with Juan Castro Blanco National Park.

Though it doesn't boast the most stylish interiors on the list, rooms at Bosque de Paz are clean, comfortable, and incorporate harmony with nature. Look for some of the 331 recorded bird species while walking on the private trails and then return to relax on the large terrace offering stunning sunset views. There's also free WiFi, a library, a meditation room, and an orchid garden.

Lapa Rios, Osa Peninsula

(Photo courtesy of Lapa Rios)

Lapas Rios offers 17 luxury bungalows dotted along a ridge within a 1000-acre private rainforest reserve in Central America's last tropical lowland forest. Not for the high-maintenance traveler, this is an immersive all-inclusive experience in the wild and lesser-visited Osa Peninsula. The bungalows are open-air with screens for an incredible indoor-outdoor sensory experience.

Listed as one of National Geographic's Unique Lodges of the World, the place is run by a Minnesota-born couple who say the real luxury is in living and breathing the jungle. This is where you'll encounter wildlife on a constant basis, from dart frogs to endangered monkeys and hundreds of bird species. Rooms feature private decks with outdoor showers but no air conditioners; the open-air architecture and ocean-facing positioning create a natural airflow.

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Le Cameleon, South Caribbean

(Photo courtesy of Le Cameleon)

This hip boutique hotel offers a few dozen rooms adjacent to the beach on Costa Rica's southern Caribbean Coast. Set within a verdant tropical forest in Puerto Viejo, the all-white minimalist rooms are given a splash of bright color—though you'll hardly be in them. Le Cameleon offers a range of tour options from snorkeling and scuba diving, surfing and surfing lessons, kayaking, horseback riding, deep sea fishing, ziplining, cultural visits to Indigenous communities, chocolate tours, and more.

On the property, take advantage of morning yoga classes, spa treatments, dips in the pool and jacuzzi, and—on Cocles Beach—day beds, hammocks, and bar service with live DJs every evening. Don't confuse this for a party hotel: the resort also offers detox programs, yoga retreats, and plenty of secluded beach space far from the tunes. 

Manatus Hotel, Tortuguero

(Photo courtesy of Manatus Hotel)

Located a few miles from Tortuguero—a very remote place in Costa Rican's northern Caribbean coast—you'll find this rare luxe hotel with 12 bungalows, private terraces, and all the comforts needed for a stay in this part of the world, including A/C, hot water, and WiFi. Tortuguero National Park is one of Costa Rica's most extraordinary places, and travelers make the trip for fishing, exotic wildlife, and nesting sea turtles.

Manatus Hotel offers eco-friendly electric boats for touring the area's canals and outstanding guides for unique excursions. Back at the hotel, guests can relax at the pool, hit the fitness center, or dine on a range of cuisines, including Afro-Caribbean fare and sushi.

Senda Monteverde Hotel, Monteverde

Photo courtesy of Senda Monteverde Hotel

A local couple transformed this newish eco-hotel and offers contemporary design, local artwork, and hyper-local cuisine for those who prefer luxe essentials. Though Senda is tucked away in Monteverde's cloud forest, it's only a 15-minute walk to Monteverde for coffee shops and breweries, not to mention a short drive to zipline tours, iconic suspension bridges, and some of the world's rarest wildlife.

Back on property, El Sapo restaurant serves sustainably caught seafood, local produce, and house-made baked goods. Sip cocktails through bamboo straws while watching a sunset from the terrace, and don't forget to shop for souvenirs made by a women's cooperative in Monteverde.

Hacienda AltaGracia an Auberge Resort, San Isidro del General

Photo courtesy of Hacienda AltaGracia an Auberge Resort

For an ultra-luxe romantic stay, this tropical mountain escape is in a class of its own. Hacienda AltaGracia was originally built as a modest country retreat in the foothills of the Talamanca Mountains amid tropical forest trails. That original passion evolved into a sanctuary offering unobstructed views of rolling hills and treetop canopies.

Today, you'll find one of Central America's finest spas, a lovely outdoor pool, three gourmet restaurants, an equestrian club, as well as whitewater rafting, waterfall hikes, and a private airstrip for quick charter plane access to much more. A range of suites and casitas are tailored with leather and wood accents, while private terraces offer sweeping mountain views of the spectacular San Isidro Valley. This hotel oozes bespoke care and luxury (as is the Auberge brand) and appeals to couples, especially on honeymoon.

El Silencio Lodge, Bajos del Toro

Photo courtesy of El Silencio Lodge

Relais & Chateaux's first Central American member is one of the most secluded, tranquil, and relaxing luxury hotels in the Costa Rican jungle. Located on a 500-acre private cloud forest reserve, El Silencio Lodge & Spa's iconic location includes a river that winds through the grounds, cascading waterfalls, and 360-degree panoramic views from the hot tub. There's also an outdoor yoga studio, a hummingbird garden, a number of cloud forest trails, and other unique activities like rappelling, ziplining, and coffee hacienda visits.

Meanwhile, stylish, contemporary accommodations are arranged in a tiered layout to provide unobstructed cloud forest views. Healthy dining is offered in two distinctive restaurants that feature ingredients sourced from the on-site farm—a 5,000-square-foot organic greenhouse for year-round vegetables, herbs, free-range chickens, and trout plucked from the pond. Expect extra perks such as hot chocolate and cookies delivered to your room before bed.