18 Best Costa Rica Resorts – Caribbean Side (2023)

July 14, 2023

Costa Rica Caribbean Side Resort Beach

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Looking for something completely different in Costa Rica? Get to know the best Costa Rice resorts - Caribbean side.

Let me start with a confession – I was so excited to write this blog post about the best Costa Rica resorts on the Caribbean side of the country. 

It’s rare to discover the unspoiled, undeveloped side of a destination with a huge tourism industry. Costa Rica has been on the well-trodden tourist path for quite some time. But most first-time visitors head to the Pacific Coast, or to visit the jungle interior. The Costa Rica hotels on the Caribbean side remain largely off most radars.

Here, on this lesser explored coast, the wild and rugged Costa Rican jungle gives way to classic Caribbean beach vibes. Lounge in the sand, but then be lulled to sleep by the natural sounds of the rainforest.

The luxury offerings on this unrefined coast are small and few and far between – that’s part of the charm. For every boutique resort on the Costa Rica Caribbean coast, you’ll find at least three eco-lodges or rustic cabins.

In this article, I’ll briefly walk you through the best places to stay on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica  – both south near Puerto Viejo de Tamalanca, and in the north near Tortuguero.

Then, I’ll share the best Costa Rica Caribbean resorts, boutique hotels, eco-lodges and more.  You’ll find the best picks for all luxury levels and budgets, and for families, couples, or groups of friends.

So without further ado, let’s start exploring!

My Top 3 Picks -
Costa Rica Resorts -
Caribbean Side (South Coast)

  • Kids 8+ only 
  • Top luxury choice 
  • Beach and pool 
  • Kids welcome 
  • Modern, clean rooms 
  • Lovely pool area 
  • Two bedroom suites 
  • Great pool 
  • Playground

My Top Pick -
Costa Rica Resorts -
Caribbean Side (North Coast)

  • Magical lodge
  • Incredible wildlife 
  • Great staff and food
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The Best Costa Rica Caribbean Side Resorts For Every Traveler

Best 5-Star Hotel on Costa Rica’s Caribbean Coast: Hotel Aguas Claras (Kids 8+)

Best 4-Star Hotel with Kids of All Ages: Le Cameleon Boutique Hotel 

Best Choice for Young Kids: Bungalows Punta Uva Inn 

Best Adults-Only Resort:  Hotel Banana Azul 

Best Thatched-Roof, Rustic Choice: Caribe Town Bungalows 

Most Unique Self-Catering Stay for Families: Tree House Lodge

Best Tortuguero Lodge: Tortuga Lodge and Gardens

Where To Stay on Costa Rica’s Southern Caribbean Coast

The bottom line: First-time families heading to the Caribbean side of Costa Rica should fly to Limon and head south, and pick a Costa Rica beach resort near between Puerto Viejo and Punta Uva.

The Costa Rica Caribbean coast is so unfamiliar.  Before I jump into hotels, let’s first get the lay of the land, so you can decide where to stay.  Here’s a quick overview of the possible destinations in this region.

If you’re looking for classic Caribbean beach vibes in Costa Rica, head to the south. That’s where you’ll find the best Caribbean beaches in Costa Rica, small towns to explore, and also access to jungles and wildlife refuges.

The most popular area of Costa Rica’s southern Caribbean coast is bordered by Cahuita National Park to the north end, and the Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge on the south.  Two main towns, and some smaller villages, sit between the two national parks: Puerto Viejo de Talamanca and Punta Uva. 

Getting to the region takes a little work.  It’s about a 4-5 hour drive from the San Jose Airport (SJO).  Your best bet is to take a domestic flight from San Jose to Limon on Sansa Airlines. From there, you’ll have less than an hour to drive to paradise.

You can see the region on this map, and its proximity to San Jose and Limon –

Once you’ve hit the southern coastal region, it only takes about 45-60 minutes by car to drive from Cahuita down to Manzanillo. So pick the homebase that suits you best, and explore the whole area by car, bike, or through organized excursions. 

A word of warning: If you’re looking for the best all-inclusive resorts in Costa Rica – Caribbean Side, you may be disappointed with the offerings. There are no big all-inclusive resorts to be found here, but rather small boutique hotels and rustic ecolodges.

Cahuita 

If Cahuita National Park is your priority, you can stay right next to it in the small town of Cahuita.  There are a handful of simple, clean hotels here that offer a good home base. You’ll have good access to the park for hiking and a top notch reef for – but not much else. 

Better for couples or groups in friends, we recommend staying in Cahuita if you want adventurous days, and quiet evenings with a book.

Puerto Viejo de Talamanca 

About 20 minutes south of Cahuita is Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, the region’s main access point.

This seaside town on the southeastern Caribbean coast of Costa Rica is a must. The town exude classic Caribbean vibes, and the surrounding area is known for its stunning beaches, lush rainforests, and vibrant Afro-Caribbean culture.

Some say Puerto Viejo is a bit touristy – but in a good way when traveling with kids. You won’t feel too far off the beaten path here, it’s easy to get around, and you can find familiar foods and snacks in a pinch. 

Punta Uva 

Keep driving 15 minutes further south, and you’ll find Punta Uva, a tiny village with the region’s best beach. Development on this Caribbean beach is prohibited by Costa Rican law, so don’t come here in search of all-inclusive beachfront resorts. 

With kids, we recommend staying at one of the great hotels between Puerto Viejo and Punta Uva, near Playa Cocles, for easy access to a beach town and a great beach.  But if you want more of a remote, jungle experience, stay near Punta Uva.

Manzanillo 

Last but not least is Manzanillo.  Only 20 minutes south of Puerto Viejo, it feels like a different world – fewer crowds and a more local experience.  It’s also in the jungle, sitting right next to the Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge.

Manzanillo has the region’s best reef right offshore, making it a good choice for families with older kids interested in snorkeling or scuba diving, and who want to really experience the Costa Rican rainforest.

Best Costa Rica Resorts on the Caribbean Side (Southern Coast)

Hotel Aguas Claras Costa Rica Resorts - Caribbean Side
Photo Credit: Hotel Aguas Claras

Rating: 8.9 / 10 

Location: Playa Chiquita, Puerto Viejo

Best For: Couples and families with kids 8+ looking for a small, luxury boutique hotel

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If you tend towards luxury boutique hotels, then Aguas Claras – the only 5-star hotel on Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast – is an easy choice.  The website describes the hotel as “eclectic and handcrafted with that bold touch of luxury” . . . “because your first time on the Caribbean side should be easy.”

The owners have set out to create the top luxury gem on the Caribbean coast, with 6 bungalows, 6-themed suites, and one 2-story home.  Aguas Claras has a beach club, a pool, and concierge services to make your Caribbean Costa Rica vacation as seamless as possible.  It’s a short walk to Playa Chiquita, a relaxed calm beach protected by a reef.

“Beautiful grounds, very well maintained, best service, great privacy, right with beach club on the beach, good food both breakfast and beach club”

– Christoph from Germany (Read more reviews)

We love this hotel’s origin story.  An artist, Elizabeth Steinvorth, fell in love with the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica, which she visited with her newborn daughter.  Now, mom and daughter run the hotel together, with Elizabeth’s artwork brightening up the property, and Elena’s style shining through as well.

Aguas Claras welcomes families with children age 8 and older, and has detailed recommendations on its website for families, including which room to book, and how to best approach a family trip to Costa Rica’s Caribbean side. That’s a mission we can get behind.  

This is our favorite among the Costa Rica beach resorts, so if it appeals to you, you’ve found the one!  Reach out to Mango Tree and we’d love to help you plan your unique Caribbean Costa Rica side trip to Hotel Aguas Claras. 

Le Cameleon - one of the best Costa Rica Resorts - Caribbean Side
Photo Credit: Le Cameleon Boutique Hotel

Rating: 9.2 / 10 

Location: Puerto Viejo –  Costa Rica

Best For: Discerning travelers who prefer to explore the jungle from a modern rather than rustic hotel

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La Cameleon Boutique Hotel makes every list of the best hotels on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica – and for good reason.  It has a top location that offers both a jungle setting and beach in a single stay, a stunning pool, and uniquely modern rooms.  In short, it stands out.  

La Cameleon is less than 10 minutes outside of Puerto Viejo de Talamanca.  You can bike or taxi into town easily, but the hotel also helps to arrange tours that can pick you off right at the door.  You’ll also be a 2 minute walk from Cocles Beach.  

“Our stay was perfectly organised from start to end. The hospitality from the hotel manager is remarkable and the service from the whole team top-end…”

– Samuel from Colombia (Read more reviews)

The target audience for La Cameleon Boutique Hotel is any discerning traveler – whether it be couples, families, or solo travelers — who appreciates a blend of elegance, nature, and personalized service.  

While many Costa Rica resorts on the Caribbean side are rustic and rough around the edges, Le Cameleon strives to make you comfortable. This Costa Rica Caribbean hotel makes a design statement by casting aside the traditional eco-lodge style so commonly found in Costa Rica in favor of sleek, monochromatic white rooms accented with dramatic pops of color.

Bungalows Punta Uva Inn.
Photo Credit: Bungalows Punta Uva Inn

Rating: 8.9 / 10 

Location: Punta Uva –  Costa Rica

Best For: Families looking for upscale accommodations, two bedrooms, and a great pool

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Punta Uva Inn has a fantastic pool for young kids, a playground, and two bedroom villas with full kitchens.  For many families, those amenities check all the boxes.  Guests also highlight the friendliness of the staff, the cleanliness of the rooms, and the safe environment.  

The small hotel is just a short walk from Punta Uva beach – arguably the best beach for kids on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica – and a bike ride from town. It’s tucked into gardens that attract the sloths, monkeys, and other inhabitants of the surrounding Costa Rica jungle.

“Great staff, the entire team took excellent care of us and fulfilled all our wishes. Perfect location, right on the beach.”

– Stefan from Germany (Read more reviews)

Bungalows Punta Uva Inn is an upscale but not luxury choice, with basic furnishings in the room. But it offers one of the more comfortable and spacious home-away-from-homes, and is one of our favorite Costa Rica Caribbean side hotels.

Caribe Town Bungalows Costa Rica
Photo Credit: Caribe Town Bungalows

Rating: 8.9 / 10 

Location: Punta Uva –  Costa Rica

Best For: Anyone who wants a rustic but warm family-owned property

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Right next door to Le Cameleon is another gem of a hotel with a more classic Costa Rican jungle vibe. Family-owned Caribe Town is a tiny hotel on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica with just a handful of thatched-roof bungalows, and also a family suite.

Not many hotels on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica get 5-star ratings from travelers on TripAdvisor – which is understandable, given that a lot of the top places are rustic and a bit rough around the edges. Caribe Town breaks the mold with 750 review that are nearly all five-stars!  

“Great staff, the entire team took excellent care of us and fulfilled all our wishes. Perfect location, right on the beach.”

– Stefan from Germany (Read more reviews)

Guests rave about the warm and welcoming staff, the location, the delicious breakfast, and the calm but relaxed jungle property.  As you wander about the property in the morning, you may see the resident sloths, monkeys, toucans, geckos, and more. Throw in a salt water pool with swim-up bar and what else do you need?

Caribe Town, like Le Cameleon, is about halfway between Puerto Viejo and Punta Uva, so near the best Costa Rica Caribbean beaches.  But even while being outside of both main towns, it’s walking distance to bars and restaurants.

Almonds and Coral Lodge Puerto Rico
Photo Credit: Almonds and Coral Lodge

Rating: 8.9 / 10 

Location: Puerto Viejo –  Costa Rica

Best For: Families and couples who want full rainforest immersion in an eco-lodge

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Almonds and Coral Lodge is so seamless integrated into the Costa Rican jungle that you can hardly spot it through the trees.  Somehow, this little gem of a hotel sits right on the beach, yet is nearly invisible.  If you’re looking for a classic, thatched eco-lodge in Costa Rica, but with a Caribbean beachfront location, you can find it at Almonds and Coral Lodge.

Almonds and Coral Lodge brands itself as part Costa Rica beach resort, part safari camp, and part eco-conscious boutique hotel. It sits in the Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge at the south end of this Caribbean coast region.    

“The true face and beauty of Costa Rica presented to you at this place! We absolutely loved it…”

– Ross from Cyprus (Read more reviews)

Almonds and Coral Lodge can accommodate couples in their king rooms, and families in their double bed rooms.  It’s also the perfect place for scuba diving enthusiasts, with Punta Uva Dive Center just down the way.

Do not forget that, while this hotel may resemble a Caribbean resort, it’s still an eco-lodge at the very edge of the rainforest, and the open concept rooms truly make you feel like you’re engulfed by the jungle. That means some rain is likely, as is crossing paths with frogs, lizards, monkeys, mosquitos and more.  

Nevertheless, for those wanting a classic Caribbean jungle experience and a mix of Caribbean Sea, Almonds and Coral Lodge is one of the best Costa Rica Caribbean side resorts.

Geckoes lodge Costa Rica
Photo Credit: Geckoes Lodge

Rating: 9.4 /10

Location: Cocles – Costa Rica

Best For: Groups or couples who prefer a private home in a rainforest setting

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Geckoes Lodge is really a collection of homes in a rainforest setting, just minutes from some of the region’s best snorkeling, beaches, and rainforest activities.  It’s one of the only resorts on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica that’s set far off the beach – more in the rainforest – with a focus on privacy and natural immersion.

Couples looking for romance should book Casa del Bosque, a romantic bungalow with a private pool and outdoor kitchen.  Casa Bromelia, on the other hand, is great for families of 4-5, with a master bedroom and three single bids for the kids.

“We stayed three nights at Geckoes Lodge and it was a great experience! We stayed with our two young children at Casa Bromelia and had a great and enjoyable time…”

– Katrin from Germany (Read more reviews)

The homes are built of sustainable wood, with elevated ceilings and open floor plans to let the natural breeze flow through.  Throw open the wood windows in the morning to greet the rainforest.

Although you’ll have the privacy of your own bungalow or home, you’ll be greeted with the service of a boutique hotel. Guests consistently rave not only about the natural setting and beautiful design, but also about the hosts, which is the best sign of a great stay.

Villas Del Caribe Costa Rica
Photo Credit: Villas Del Caribe

Rating: 9.5 / 10 

Location: Puerto Viejo – Costa Rica

Best For: Families and couples who want to be right on the beach

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“Beautiful location, right on the beach, wonderful landscaping. Very relaxing, lots of coral and we were able to snorkel right outside our hotel.”

– Rebecca from United States (Read more reviews)

Villas del Caribe is one of the few Costa Rica resorts on the Caribbean side that’s right on the beach, a huge plus. It’s also centrally located near restaurants, shops, and walking trails through beach and garden.

The 26 rooms at Villas del Caribe are very basic, but clean and offer ocean views.  Travelers love being lulled to sleep by a mix of ocean waves and birds.  If the Costa Rica Caribbean beaches are what you’re out to see, and you’re on a budget, this Costa Rica Caribbean beach resort may be a good choice.  

Designed with parents in mind, Villas del Caribe offers two-story family villas with kitchens and A/C, giving everyone space to spread out and breathe.  There are smaller rooms available for couples and solo travelers as well.

A small pool with a gradual slope entry is great for kids to splash around at the end of the day. Villas del Caribe may be as close as it gets to an all-inclusive resort on Costa Rica’s Caribbean side.

Hotel Banana Azul Costa Rica
Photo Credit: Hotel Banana Azul

8. Hotel Banana Azul (Adults Only)

Rating: 9.1/ 10 

Location: Puerto Viejo –  Costa Rica

Best For: Couples renting a car who want a quiet, comfortable retreat at the end of the day

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Hotel Banana Azul – an adults-only property — has some of the nicest rooms of any of the hotels on Costa Rica’s Caribbean side.  The beachfront setting on shady Playa Negra is wonderful, and the garden property calming and well-maintained.  

There’s lots to do at Banana Azul! The hotel provides bikes, boogie boards, and board games.  Guests appreciate the covered loungers at the beach, and shaded jogging trails. Note, however, that the water at this particular beach can be too rough for swimming.  

“This was one of our favorite hotels during our Costa Rica trip. The rooms were very nice with a balcony that overlooks the property and all the tropical wildlife surrounding.”

– Kimberly from United States (Read more reviews)

Banana Azul is on a quiet stretch of beach to the north of Puerto Viejo.  It’s in a great location if you want to explore Cahuita (only 20 minutes away) but still stay a little closer to the action.  Because it’s a long walk to town, though, we recommend this Costa Rica hotel for couples and groups of friends renting  car.  If you’re looking for a Costa Rica resort on the Caribbean side where you can mostly stay put and relax, Hotel Banana Azul could be a great choice.

Tree House Lodge Costa Rica
Photo Credit: Tree House Lodge

Rating: 8.9 / 10 

Location: Puerto Viejo –  Costa Rica

Best For: Families or groups who loved a theme and want a colorful, playful beach house

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Have you always wanted to stay in a tree house?  At Tree House Lodge, you can do so right next to the Gandoca-Manzanillo wildlife refuge, while also being steps from one of the most beautiful beaches on Costa Rica’s Caribbean side.

This unique ecolodge is south of Puerto Viejo, an option for families looking to go a little further off-grid.  The property has six open-air houses with delightful, playful design.  Imagine if your vacation house had a putting green in the interior courtyard, and a flame-headed hot tub in the yard?

“We took the school-bus which was surprisingly spacious and comfortable. Private entry to the deserted beach. Safe and surrounded by garden.”

– Jan from Czech Republic (Read more reviews)

Or, you could actually sleep in an up-cycled School Bus somehow transformed into a cozy, comfortable space? The rooms will simply delight your children – and the staff will ensure they have what they need.

The Tree House is best for independent travelers looking for a unique experience – not a luxury stay. The vibe is more like elevated camping in a cabin than boutique hotel.

Umami Hotel Garden Spa Costa Rica
Photo Credit: Umami Hotel Garden Spa

10. Umami Hotel Garden Spa (Adults Only)

Rating: 8.6 /10

Location: Puerto Viejo-  Costa Rica

Best For: Couples who want a brand new, modern hotel with a lively pool

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Umami Hotel is the region’s newest adult-only boutique hotel, a modern property just minutes from Negra Beach. Here, you can experience the jungle in a comfortable, air-conditioned setting, with modern amenities rather than rustic touches.

Umami is one of the more expensive properties on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica, and is best for those who like a small hotel (only 15 rooms), modern furnishings, and a pool with music and fun vibes.

“Hotel was AMAZING! Tony on reception was lovely and really helpful.. Comfortable beds, great air con, fresh towels and toiletries everyday. Great location short walk to restaurants, bars and beach!”

– Laura from United Kingdom (Read more reviews)

Adults looking for the best all-inclusive resorts in Costa Rica on the Caribbean Side should definitely consider this property, even if it’s not a true all-inclusive.

Azania Bungalows Costa Rica
Photo Credit: Azania Bungalows

Rating: 4.0 / 5

Location: Puerto Viejo –  Costa Rica

Best For: Families who love nature and appreciate a simple but comfortable bungalow

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Azania Bungalows really embodies what the Caribbean side of Costa Rica offers:  a place where rustic, thatched-roof jungle cottages meet the Caribbean sea, without fanfare.  The 2-star property sits in the rainforest, surrounding you with lush gardens, and yet you’re just 50 meters from Cocles Beach.

“We loved this place. The bungalows were really cool, really nicely designed and very edgy. Comfortable beds and REALLY appreciated the mosquito nets.”

– Vimtohana from United Kingdom (Read more reviews)

The 10 bungalow at Azania were clearly designed with families in mind, as each one has a queen size bed and two twin beds (one placed in the mezzanine area for separation).  The free form pool is great for kids too.

As with many other Costa Rica hotels on this list, Azania is not a luxury choice. There’s no AC, but ceiling fans and mosquito nets will keep you comfortable.  Guests consistently praise the good food at breakfast, and the incredible bird watching at this Costa Rica Caribbean hotel. Rent bikes from the property with older kids to explore.

Cariblue Beach and Jungle Resort
Photo Credit: Cariblue Beach and Jungle Resort

Rating: 9.2 /10

Location: Puerto Viejo –  Costa Rica

Best For: A budget choice in a good location

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Cariblue Beach and Jungle Resort offers rainforest, easy beach access, and a really fun pool with a great shallow end for kids!  Located near Cocles Beach, it’s a solid mid-range choice for a Costa Rica Caribbean hotel in a good location.

“The resort was beautiful, lovely gardens, very spacious, well maintained and clean, great staff and lovely beach across the road yet resort was part of the jungle which meant lots of animal spotting.”

– Trudy from Australia (Read more reviews)

The standard rooms are very basic, but the Jungle House – with two full bedrooms — has some real personality.  If you’re headed to Costa Rica on a budget but want space with the kids to spread out, Cariblue could fit the bill.

Suizo Loco Lodge Costa Rica
Photo Credit: Suizo Loco Lodge

Rating: 9.0 / 10 

Location: Cahuita –  Costa Rica

Best For: Travelers who want to be near Cahuita National Park and have A/C in the rooms

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If you want to stay near Cahuita Park,  and air conditioning is a must-have, Suizo Loco Lodge Hotel and Resort is the best bet for your Costa Rica Caribbean hotel.

“Wonderful and relaxing stay at this beautiful property”

– Tracey from United States (Read more reviews)

The accommodations are basic but clean, and guests love the wildlife at the pool area (and the Caipirinhas served at the pool bar).   The staff at Suizo Loco Lodge go above and beyond for a mid-range option, happy to arrange tours, excursions, taxis and more.  

Atlantida Lodge Cahuita
Photo Credit: Atlantida Lodge Cahuita

Rating: 8.9 / 10 

Location: Cahuita –  Costa Rica

Best For: Young travelers who want a livelier vibe near Cahuita National Park

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If Cahuita National Park is your priority but you’re on a tight budget and traveling with kids, consider Atlantida Lodge.  The 31 rooms are quite basic but the pool is great, has a bit of a party vibe, and the hotel is right across the street from Cahuita’s best beach, Playa Negra.   

“The hotel was simple yet elegant! Very nice staff! Beautiful beach”

– Anonymous from United States (Read more reviews)

Kids will love swimming so close to the wildlife. You’re likely to see iguanas, frogs, and other jungle friends.  The food is local and the friendly staff available to help book tours, shuttles, and anything else you need.

Best Costa Rica Resorts on the Caribbean Side (North Coast - Tortuguero)

The North Caribbean coast of Costa Rica  offers a completely different experience.  This part of the country is more Amazonian riverway than Caribbean beach, where you’ll stay at an all-inclusive lodge that includes boat trips and hikes into Tortuguero National Park.  

Tortuguero National Park is a completely unique place where fresh water – canals, lagoons, and wetlands – meet the Caribbean Sea.  The main tourist draw to the area is the Green Sea Turtles, who nest in Tortuguero National Park each year between July and October.

Beyond the turtles, the area is also full of opportunity for kayaking, canoeing, fishing, hiking, and just taking in the wildlife.

Even confident, DIY travelers should consider working with an expert to plan a Tortuguero vacation.  Tortuguero is often describes as Costa Rica’s ‘Amazon,’ an area of complete wilderness.  Tours to see the Sea Turtles are limited, so you want to make sure you secure your spot.

Plus, the starting point for your adventure will be the village of Tortuguero – where there are literally no roads. You fly in on a local airline from San Jose to Tortuguero, and then let a boat take you from there.  A good tour operator will help you arrange all the details to ensure your transfer goes smoothly.

If a trip to Tortuguero to watch the green sea turtles hatch is on your bucket list, these are the best all-inclusive lodge experiences on the North Caribbean coast of Costa Rica

Tortuga Lodge Costa Rica
Photo Credit: Manatus Hotel

Rating: 8.4 / 10 

Location: Pococi –  Costa Rica

Best For: A unique lodge experience in Tortuguero National Park

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Tortuga Lodge and Gardens has its own expanse of private land – 146 acres to be precise – right next to the Tortuguero National Park.  A 4-star Costa Rica hotel, it’s the most luxurious of the lodge choices in this region.

Guest reviews describe Tortuga Lodge as “magical,” “vibrant,” and an “aquatic paradise,” with exceptional staff to not only make guests comfortable, but to guide walks and boat tours through the park.  This is a top choice for families, as the lodge prioritizes safety and cleanliness even in a quite wild setting.

“Everything was fantastic, from pickup in San Jose by Monika through to the hotel, room, food and tours! All was exceptional & the staff were all very welcoming & friendly… “

– Anonymous from United Kingdom (Read more reviews)

As with many of the jungle lodges in Costa Rica, expect to see sloths, monkeys, snakes, crocodiles, and more!  And, if you time it right, you can experience the once-in-a-lifetime green sea turtle hatch.  

Tortuga Lodge has 27 rooms, all with river views and private bathrooms.  We recommend the upstairs rooms for better airflow, though note that the family rooms are downstairs.

The food is a major selling point, consistently earning high praise from travelers. As a bonus, we love that meals are taken family-style on a riverside deck, creating a community feel during your exploration.  Tortuga Lodge offers the feeling of a true expedition.

This is our favorite among the Costa Rica Tortuguero hotels. If it appeals to you, we’d love to help you plan your trip to ensure you have a smooth journey to this undiscovered part of the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica. 

Manatus Hotel Costa Rica
Photo Credit: Manatus Hotel

Rating: 8.4 / 10 

Location: Pococi –  Costa Rica

Best For: A small lodge experience in Tortuguero

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Manatus is even smaller than Tortuga Lodge and Gardens, with just 12 rooms.  The size of this family-run Costa Rica hotel makes your experience at Manatus Hotel feel exclusive and personal.   

“Everything was fantastic, from pickup in San Jose by Monika through to the hotel, room, food and tours! All was exceptional & the staff were all very welcoming & friendly… “

– Anonymous from United Kingdom (Read more reviews)

Each room has two queen-size beds, with simple but comfortable design, and air conditioning. (We’ve heard the beds can be a little hard and the bathrooms a bit outdated, though, compared to Tortuga Lodge.) The food and drinks are solid and reasonably priced, and guests generally have a great experience overall, especially with the nature tours. 

Mawamba Lodge
Photo Credit: Mawamba Lodge

Rating: 9.2 /10

Location: Tortuguero –  Costa Rica

Best For: Families  and couples headed to Tortuguero on a budget

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Like Tortuga Lodge and Manatus, Mawamba Lodge sits on the narrow strip of land between the ocean and the Tortuguero canals. Fly on Sansa Airlines from San Jose to Tortuguero, and then Mawamba Lodge will arrange your transfer by boat.

“Beautiful lodge. Food was amazing and the staff were super friendly. Loved the pool area and especially the relaxing hammock area.”

– Jeanice from Gibraltar (Read more reviews)

Mawamba Lodge is a 3-star property that has an excellent location close to Tortugero village.  Guests consistently rave about the guides – including how good they are with kids.  There is a pool on property.

But this is a budget choice, and guests report that the staff are hit or miss. Plus, beware, there’s no air conditioning! For the price point, you’ll give up some of the little touches that you might fine at Tortuga Lodge or Manatus.

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