Secrets Papagayo on Papagayo Peninsula in Costa Rica
All-Inclusive Resorts

The 9 Best All-Inclusive Resorts in Costa Rica

Costa Rica ranks high on our bucket list for hundreds of reasons: the rainforests, prime surfing, active volcanoes, and unspoiled beaches, to name just a few. Plus, the all-inclusive options can go head to head with any in the Caribbean. So put away the wallet, and make your base one of these standout resorts on your next trip down.

P.S. Check out What to Pack for a Beach Vacation before your next seaside getaway!

See recent posts by Kathryn O'Shea-Evans

View from Drake Bay Getaway Resort on the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica
Fresh Ceviche at the Drake Bay Getaway Resort in Costa Rica
Beach on the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica

Drake Bay Getaway Resort, Osa Peninsula

Two Washington expats left Seattle to open this five-cabin hideaway in the remote Drake Bay area on the Osa Peninsula. Today, it’s one of the best—albeit simple—all-inclusive stays in southwestern Costa Rica, with a kitchen serving mostly organic meals (the hotel maintains its own garden), and unspoiled nature for miles. The five stilted cabins all have views of the Pacific Ocean and Corcovado National Park, but the Heliconia is the winner, thanks to its close proximity to the shore (some guest have spotted whales breeching from the private deck).

Poolside cocktails at La Paloma Lodge - Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica
Kayaking at La Paloma Lodge in Costa Rica
Bedroom at La Paloma Lodge - Costa Rica Osa Peninsula

La Paloma Lodge, Osa Peninsula

Every stay at La Paloma includes full-day guided tours of Corcovado National Park and the 740-acre Caño Island, but that’s not why you’re there: the real reason is to sleep high in the rainforest canopy and drift off to the sound of tree frogs while toucans and scarlet macaws fly just outside your window. The perks: meals are all-inclusive and family-style (though drinks will cost you extra), and you get free access to the lodge’s hoard of water gear (boogie boards, snorkels, and the like) for playing at nearby Cocolito Beach.

The dining room at Fiesta Resort All Inclusive Costa Rica
The pool at Fiesta Resort All Inclusive Costa Rica
A guest bedroom at Fiesta Resort All Inclusive Costa Rica
Sunset at Fiesta Resort All Inclusive Costa Rica

Fiesta Resort

Just under an hour from San Jose, this mega resort pulls out all the all-inclusive stops: the buffets are all-you-can-eat, the bars are all-you-can-imbibe, (down to the Johnny Walker Red and Botran Oro rum), and the activities list reads like something you’d find on a luxury cruise. Go kayaking, zip-lining, hiking, paddle-boarding….or even karaoke. Bonus for parents: there’s a Kids Paradise club and Teens Club that includes pool tables and mocktails.

RELATED: The 9 Best Hotels in Costa Rica

Dreams Las Mareas Outdoor Bar - Guanacaste Costa Rica
Dreams Las Mareas suite in Guanacaste, Costa Rica
Ziplining in Guanacaste, Costa Rica
All Inclusive Dreams las Mareas Resort Aerial View

Dreams Las Mareas, Guanacaste

Top-shelf liquor, a fully-stocked en-suite mini bar, and a friendly staff waiting to refill your piña colada before you even have to ask: Las Mareas isn’t just “all-inclusive,” it’s “Unlimited Luxury,” as Dreams calls it. The rooms here have terraces (with hot tubs) that look out onto the ocean and a private beach; there’s a full-service spa and 2 gorgeous swimming pools; the activities include everything from cocktail mixing classes to salsa dancing lessons; and maid service is available twice a day.

Pool at Westin Golf Resort & Spa in Playa Conchal Costa Rica

Westin Golf Resort & Spa, Playa Conchal

Golfers will love this resort paradise on 2,400 beachfront acres with an 18-hole course designed by Robert Trent Jones. Even if you don’t like to hit the greens, there’s tons to keep you entertained: go for a dip in multiple dreamy pools, explore the area on a loaner bike, play beach volleyball, or go on a snorkeling expedition. When you’ve had your fill of activities, head to one of the 11 on-site restaurants including our favorite, the Asian-inspired Bamboo.

RELATED: 15 One-Piece Swimsuits We’re Taking on All Our Warm-Weather Travels

Outdoor Bar at Secrets Papagayo in Costa Rica
Views at Secrets Papagayo in Costa Rica
Secrets Papagayo on Papagayo Peninsula in Costa Rica

Secrets Papagayo, Papagayo Peninsula

This thatch-roofed, adults-only resort is all about the luxe factor, from the 24-hour room service and top-shelf drinks to à la carte dining and romantic plunge pools. The 202 rooms are done up in neutral tones with splashes of turquoise and all have private patios, some which overlook the Gulf of Papagayo. JS Tip: Go for a walk around the property to spot resident Howler monkeys playing in the trees.

Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica, Guanacaste
Pool at Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica, Guanacaste
Bedroom at Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica, Guanacaste

Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica, Guanacaste

Our favorite thing about this waterfront property: no spring breakers-gone-wild allowed. Despite its size—538 guest rooms, four pools (plus Coconut, a swim-up bar), and a casino—the resort still manages to feel both intimate and exclusive. There are hundreds of activities to do in the area—zip-lining excursions, visits to the active volcano Rincon de la Viaje, tours of the nearby town, Liberia—not to mention onsite diversions like paddle-boarding and a scuba diving lesson, both included in your rate.

RELATED: 12 Things to Do in Costa Rica for Every Type of Traveler

Villa Buena Onda, Guanacaste
Villa Buena Onda, Guanacaste - Costa Rica
Pool at Villa Buena Onda, Guanacaste

Villa Buena Onda, Guanacaste

This seven-room, adults-only hideaway has more staffers than guests, which tells you something about the quality of service. Each room includes indulgent touches like gurgling fountains on private patios or balconies overlooking the distant Papagayo Bay, but you’ll spend most of your time at the nearby beach or exploring the property (taking cooking classes, pilates and yoga, or simply relaxing by the pool).

Barcelo Tambor in Costa Rica
Pool at Barcelo Tambor in Costa Rica
Bedroom at Barcelo Tambor in Costa Rica
Tambor Beach at Barcelo Tambor

Barcelo Tambor

Set right on Tambor beach, where cliffs tumble down to a lapping turquoise sea, Barcelo Tambor is a standout for the fun factor: all guests get a comped 18 holes of golf for each night of their stay, on the only course in the world to play host to 170 free-range scarlet macaws. You’ll also find more than 21,000 square feet of pools (plus a waterfall!), a giant chess board, a trampoline, a climbing wall, and an archery range.

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