The Caribbean coast of Costa Rica has a completely different look and feel as compared to the Pacific and so do the hotels. The hotels range from eco lodges for those that love nature, to B&B’s and more basic places such as tent refuges that sit on stilts.
There are thatched lodges in the rain forest, cabanas and even places to stay that are in trees for those that are passionate about wildlife. On the flip side there also boutique hotels and hip retreats.
So lets take a look at what I think are the 5 best hotels on the Caribbean Coast.
5 Best Costa Rica Hotels on The Caribbean Coast
Pretty much every type of accommodation is available, depending on your budget and your style of travel so lets look at the 5 best places.
1. Le Cameleon
This Le Cameleon hotel tends to cater to upscale travelers. Its a modern hotel in a great location in the area of Cocles, which is about 1km out of Puerto Viejo. From here you can cycle into town or take a taxi. Its also close to a supermarket if you want to grab some food and drink before heading out.
The hotel is located just a little back from the road with trees surrounding the rooms and the pool and over the road to the beach club where breakfast lunch and dinner is served.
Breakfast has a good choice of fruit, breads and pastries along with a selection of the main menu, the gallo pinto ( my personal favorite Costa Rica Breakfast), eggs benedict and American hashbrowns.
The beach club also leads onto the beach where you can sit & have morning coffee or late evening drink. Rooms are large, bright and airy with views into the trees that lets you have a good shot to see sloths, monkeys and birds. T If your into Yoga, they can help you out with that as well.
2. Shawnadha Lodge
The Shawandha Lodge has a private route to get to the beach. The atmosphere is great as the grounds of the hotel are beautiful and a pleasure to walk around. While walking around you stand a good chance of seeing wildlife like agouti and the famous poison dart frogs.
The also have this really big Ceiba Tree which is really something to see. The food at the place is a mixture of French and Caribbean and they have a great chef. The only downside, if your into this sort of thing, is there isn’t a bar during the day nor any music.
3. Coco Loco Lodge
The Coco Loco lodge is close to town and the gardens are full of birds. You will love the hammock on the front porch where you get a chance to listen to the jungle noises in the morning, if it doesn’t wake you up beforehand. The cabana come with a refrigerator, coffee maker, safe, mosquito netting and a couple big fans
Pro Tip – when reserving ask for a room with AC as not all rooms have it
Wi fi is free, but the further you are away from the main house, in the distant bungalows, for instance, the weaker the signal. Nice peaceful atmosphere if that’s what you are looking for.
4. Blue Conga Hotel
The Blue Conga Hotel is a charming little hotel, located walking distance from Puerto Viejo. It is located in a peaceful area, surrounded by trees, nature and lots of birds. and you are just one block from the beach.
The rooms are basic but well done and comes with all of stuff you will need and the breakfast is all is good and filling.
They also have a wonderful small swimming pool with a well kept tropical garden just in case you are tired and don’t want go to the beach.
5. El Encanto Hotel
The El Encanto Hotel is a fantastic place to stay. Its Located at the edge of Cahuita, towards Playa Negra, but only a short walking distance into town. The hotel offers very comfortable and clean rooms and the grounds are wonderfully maintained.
It has beautiful gardens in which you will see lots of animals like frogs, birds and lizards while you’re having a good breakfast( fresh fruits, juices, breads, and made to order eggs and pancakes). In addition there’s free coffee, tea and purified water always available.
Oh and did I forget? There is also a sweet and a salt water pool as well as small area where you can enjoy a jacquzzi or a massage.
Pro Tip: Try to request the triple room as it has a private outside seating area with a little waterfall!
Map of Caribbean Coast of Costa Rica
The road from Limon to Manzanillo is lined with gorgeous and uncrowded beaches and the area extends from the main port city of Limon and goes all the way south to the Panamanian border.
Along the way you will pass by the towns of Playa Negra, Punta Cocles and Puerto Viejo among others.
In this post I did not get into those places to the North of Limon. The reason for this is that there are no roads that go up the coast and therefore the only the way you can get there is to hop on a boat in places like Moin, or by flying on one of the domestic flights into Tortuguero .
Most people that travel north of here will stay in the Tortuguero area as that is where most of the hotels or lodges are located, and due the remote locations they are almost all all-inclusive. If you are looking to go there, I have given my recommendations for those hotels in another post.
If you are driving or taking a bus to the Caribbean coast, most visitors will stay in or near the towns of Cahuita and Puerto Viejo and that is where I have listed my recommendations.
These two popular towns, Cahuita and Puerto Viejo as well as the area itself share a Creole culture that is unique to Costa Rica.
Locals in this region typically speak Spanish or an africanized-creole English and you will notice that the radio will play variations of both salsa and reggae.
In this area you will be able to enjoy traditional Costa Rica cuisine like gallo pinto (rice and beans) as well as Caribbean favorites like spicy jerk chicken.
In between your time at the beach, you may also want to check out the Jaguar Animal Rescue Center, go to the BriBri Indigenous Reserve or Chocoart which is a family run organic Cacao Farm.
Getting To The Caribbean Coast
While its every changing, there are not, currently, domestic flights to the Caribbean Coast and the quickest way to get to Cahuita is about 4 hour drive by car from San Jose.
The advantage of having a car is you also are able to more easily go between Cahuita and Puerto Viejo plus venture even further south, if want to be little more adventurous.
While you probably can make it in a regular car, I strongly recommend a renting four wheel drive car as its simply just a more pleasant and comfortable way of getting around Costa Rica and the price difference between a basic 4×4 and a sedan is normally not that great.
Make sure you download the route on how to get there before you arrive with Google Maps, if your phone is locked or if you don’t want to get a SIM card.
If you really want to fly there you can check with NatureAir or Sansa to see if they have any flights going at the time of your travel.
For those who do not want to drive I would recommend a package tours (by tour bus) from San Jose or arrange a private transfer.