Costa Rica is a magnet for eco-tourism, relaxation, and adventure, so it’s no surprise that it’s home to some of the world’s best eco resorts. Find your perfect eco lodge in Costa Rica for your next trip to paradise and soon you’ll be embracing pura vida just like the locals.
What’s an Eco Lodge, Anyway?
There are tons of ways to contribute to low-impact and sustainable travel, and staying at a reputable eco lodge is one of them. Beware of brands (hotels, cosmetic products, even food) that just add the word ‘eco’ to a product. Always check to see how ‘eco’ that really means!
Eco lodges and eco resorts are places that offer accommodation in remote, natural spaces. They focus on awareness, education, and giving back to the community so that these beautiful spaces and the wildlife in the region can continue to exist for generations to enjoy. And these eco lodges in Costa Rica all fit the bill. Read on and choose your perfect eco-friendly paradise for your next vacation.
Best for: Nature lovers seeking a luxurious tropical eco-escape
Rates from: Thatched bungalows are priced at around C$650/night
Named a National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World, the all-inclusive Lapa Rios Ecolodge is home to some of the oldest stretch of old growth forest in the country. Located on the Osa Peninsula (the southern Pacific side) of Costa Rica, the luxury eco lodge is surrounded by a 1,000-acre reserve. Beyond monkey spottings left, right and centre, guests can expect to catch a glimpse of blue morph butterflies, toucans, or if you’re really lucky, anteaters and sloths! It’s also home to over 400 bird species and a host of living things, big and small.
Imagine waking up surrounded by rainforest on your vacation: in one of the eco resort’s 17 private bungalows, you can. The luxurious bungalows start up at 350 feet above sea level and extend all the way down to the rainforest floor (where a lot of the action occurs). The rooms at this eco lodge are modern and spacious, boasting views of where the Golfo Dulce meets the Pacific Ocean, and meshed-in screens instead of windows let in the sights and sounds of the jungle.
There’s plenty of nature to explore around here in a sustainable way, so take advantage of the many onsite tours available at Lapa Rios. Head out on Pigs and Twigs tour to learn how methane gas collected from pigs powers the kitchen. Other notable guided tours include waterfall or night hikes and medicinal walks to learn about the healing power of harvested local plants.
As one of the best eco lodges in Costa Rica, you’ll also enjoy gourmet cuisine from local ingredients in their stunning open-air restaurant, saltwater swimming pool, as well as wellness services, including Ayurvedic massage and yoga. Paradise? You bet.
Further reading: Plan Your ‘Pura Vida’ Costa Rica Vacation
Best for: A tranquil, stylish stay, with panoramic mountain views
Rates from: Suites are priced at around C$326/night
At El Silencio Lodge & Spa, guests can enjoy the beauty of this country in an elegant and secluded atmosphere in the Costa Rica cloud forest. Located in the central highlands, suites at this affordable eco lodge in Costa Rica feature canopied ceilings and a floor-to-ceiling glass door that lead out to a private deck. Handmade wooden rocking chairs allow you to appreciate the tranquil mountain view. Or just relax in your own heated outdoor spa.
They keep things local here. The Las Ventanas Restaurant offers authentic Costa Rican cuisine, and the ingredients are sourced from the lodge’s organic mini-farm, which includes a 5,000-square-foot greenhouse. There are also free-range chickens and a trout pond onsite.
There’s plenty of activities to enjoy at El Silencio. Do your part for the environment and planting a tree in Costa Rica’s carbon-offsetting forest, and hit the hiking trail through a cloud forest. Catch some epic views on a hike up the nearby Poas Volcano National Park, or soak in a nearby waterfall, which is accessible via a private trail.
The lodge is also located close to Parque Nacional Juan Castro Blanco, which is an ideal day trip where you can observe a variety of bird life and animals, including howler monkeys and more.
Looking to adventure around the rest of Central America? Check out this travel guide.
Best for: Art and nature lovers, haute cuisine coupled with Instagram-worthy views of surrounding volcanoes
Rates from: Uniquely designed suites are priced at around C$274/night
Finca Rosa Blanca takes a more relaxed approach to the Costa Rica eco-tourism scene. After all, this is a place for travellers, not tourists. The boutique resort is a great affordable eco lodge option and offers 14 unique suites set on a sustainable forested coffee plantation. It’s also recognized by National Geographic as one of the top Unique Lodges of the World!
Situated in the hills above the capital of San José, this eco-friendly space is brimming with original artwork, gourmet cuisine and, as you’d expect, lots of excellent coffee. The resort’s farm-to-table restaurant, El Tigre Vestido, is known for its innovative Costa Rican dishes, made from fresh ingredients grown on-site.
A range of adventurous tours outside the city resort are also available and guests can stroll to nearby bustling city markets. But if you’re up for more relaxation on your trip, Finca is the kind of place where you may just want to zen out for a while.
Another relaxing alternative to sitting pool-side is a visit to their El Targuá Spa. Take in a luxurious Pura Vida Coffee Scrub that will leave your skin feeling and smelling blissfully of coffee and dark chocolate. Like Lapa Rios, Finca is committed to leaving behind small environmental footprints. Experience how they do so through touring the onsite lush tree-shaded organic coffee plantation.
You’ll learn about local flora and fauna and Finca’s sustainable methods of the selection and harvesting process of coffee beans. Fun fact: There are 50 species of trees on this organic plantation. Following the 2.5-hour tour, guests can try to discern what beans brew the best flavour during a coffee cupping experience.
If you really want to up your coffee game, the restaurant’s Executive Chef will prepare (upon request) a five-course meal where coffee is used as the featured ingredient across the board. When you’re in the country that produces some of the best coffee in the world, why not indulge!
Best for: Families in search of a fun and unique getaway
Rates from: Open-air houses are priced from around C$234/night
Who doesn’t dream of spending the night in a treehouse? This unique and family-friendly eco lodge in Costa Rica can make your dreams come true. Located in Limon along Playa Punta Uva by the Caribbean, the budget-friendly eco resort features six sustainably built houses, all powered by solar panels!
Each house at Tree House Lodge is completely different. The lodge’s signature Tree House will take you back to your childhood. This whimsical house is built on stilts and entrance is via a wooden suspension bridge. While the Beach House is set close enough to the shoreline that you can wake up in the morning and watch the waves lap upon the shore. An enchanting Crystal House, Garden House, Beach Suite, and The School Bus are also a part of the 10-acre oceanfront property.
While there’s no restaurant on-site, each house has its own kitchen, and groceries are available about a five-minute walk away. Or you can always dine out at one of the nearby local restaurants. When you’re not exploring the nearby Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge you can play a round of mini-golf, take a yoga class, or go on a ziplining adventure.
Eco travel tip: You can go snorkelling at the nearby beach, so make sure to pack reef-friendly sunscreen in your bag! Check the ingredients before you purchase, and some sunscreens are now labelled ‘reef-friendly’. Natural ingredients like zinc oxide also work to protect your skin in an eco-friendly way.
Best for: Seductive, adults-only mountain top retreat
Rates from: Exclusive jungle villas start at around C$780/night
Elegant. Exclusive. Romantic. These are perfect words to describe Kura Design Villas. This contemporary Costa Rica eco lodge is hidden away in Uvita at the top of a mountain. Kura offers decadence galore and is perfect for couples seeking a luxury eco-resort.
The private adults-only resort is home to just eight minimalist jungle villas, which offer extraordinary views of the famed, “Whale’s Tail” and Pacific horizon. Kura’s master suites boast plunge pools and impressive ocean views.
Did we mention the pool? Kura’s stunning saltwater infinity pool overlooks Marino Ballena National Park and the Pacific Ocean. While relaxing in its tranquil waters, don’t be surprised to see hawks soar by at eye level.
Kura supports ethical food suppliers and grows an abundance of microgreens and herbs onsite. The menus feature a smorgasbord of sustainable and responsibly locally caught seafood. Pair a sophisticated yet simple seafood dish like sashimi or tuna tartar with a cocktail from Diablitos Bar and Lounge, and take a seat poolside for the better part of the day.
Kura is the type of resort where leaving to do something else requires serious pondering. However, if you’re up for more outdoor experiences, they also offer numerous offsite tours, from exploring mangroves to whale-watching.
Now that you know some of the top eco-resorts in Costa Rica, all you need to do is find a flight deal and you’re on your way. Set up a price alert with Skyscanner or search by month to find the cheapest time to fly.