Explore the Natural Beauty of Costa Rica on These 7 Luxury Vacations

Ryan Forbes/Courtesy Origins Lodge

Pura vida indeed.

Departures is published by Meredith Corp. and owned by American Express. While American Express Card Member benefits are highlighted in this publication, including through the links indicated below, the content of this article was independently written by the editorial staff at Meredith. Other Departures content paid for by American Express is explicitly marked as such.

As of November 1, 2020, Costa Rica has reopened to American travelers—and hotels and tour operators are now actively taking reservations. When traveling to Costa Rica, tourists do not need to show a negative PCR test for COVID-19, but they must fill out a Health Pass form and have traveler’s medical insurance, which you can purchase in Costa Rica. While travelers will not have to quarantine upon arrival in Costa Rica, the country’s Minister of Tourism Gustavo J. Segura is actively encouraging the tourism industry to follow comprehensive COVID-19 prevention protocol. Segura also implores “national and international tourists to practice tourism responsibly, following all the precautionary measures that have been recommended to avoid contagion.”

Related: A Holistic Oasis in Costa Rica

For those keen on venturing to the jungles, beaches, and volcanic foothills of Costa Rica, a myriad of luxury options await. From idyllic five-star hotels to the most luxurious private adventure itineraries, here are seven Costa Rica vacations you can book now.

VistaJet Safe Havens: Four Ecosystems Costa Rica 

VistaJet Safe Havens was launched as a way to travel privately across the globe, experiencing a destination to its fullest extent while staying within your family travel pod. Their Four Ecosystems Costa Rica package brings to light the varied regions (and, obviously, ecosystems) of this country. The curated itinerary will take you from awe-inspiring sights like the La Marta Wildlife Refuge, which you’ll explore with an “expert naturalist guide” to the Osa Peninsula, where you’ll plunge into rare bioluminescent waters. Travelers will stay at a luxurious eco-lodge, a private residence on four miles of beach, and at five-star hotels set amid unforgettable natural beauty. Enquire with VistaJet Private Office to start planning your exploration of Costa Rica’s waterfalls, crocodile habitats, mountain ranges, and archaeological sites.

Nayara Springs, Arenal Volcano National Park


Brice Ferre/Courtesy Nayara Tented Camp

Under the Nayara Resorts umbrella, Nayara Springs, an American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts property, is an authentically Costa Rican wellness paradise. In Arenal Volcano National Park, arguably the most sought-after Costa Rican destination, Nayara Springs is surrounded by lush rainforests, and their over-the-top Springs Villas are the height of luxury. Guests at Nayara Springs will enjoy private tours (led by expert naturalists) across the rainforest canopy, and tailored adventure experiences, like rappelling down massive waterfalls. While Nayara Springs is a romantic, adults-only haven, Nayara also has two sister properties, Nayara Gardens, which specializes in family travel, and Nayara Tented Camp, a luxury glamping experience for the five-star adventure traveler (think: cliff top infinity pools hovering over the rainforest floor).

Origins Lodge, Alajuela


Ryan Forbes/Courtesy Origins Lodge

The diverse ecosystems of Costa Rica make it such that each region offers an entirely different experience. Origins Lodge is about 60 miles north of Arenal Volcano National Park and 30 miles from the Costa Rica-Nicaragua border. In the high rainforest of Costa Rica, Origins is a holistic wellness retreat with on-site sages and shamans to guide your journey to look inward and quiet the mind while reveling in the majestic wilderness. Guests will stay in luxury lodges spread throughout the Origins campus, take yoga in the Koora open-air studio, and enjoy spa treatments in the upcoming, over-the-top Laka-Tii Spa Suite. As for outdoor activities, when you’re not hiking through the mountain rainforests, you can try your hand at lagoon fishing, ride horses through the wilderness, or even take a night wildlife tour. 

Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo


Christian Horan/Courtesy Four Seasons

For the ultimate secluded Costa Rica retreat, Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo, an American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts property, has teamed up with NetJets to fly guests privately to the property. The resort has recently debuted a Private Retreat collection with 20 estate and villa residences (many with private pools) for guests who want the full vacation home vibe, replete with all the five-star hotel amenities. The majestic Costa Rican property is perfectly equipped for long-term stays, with remote learning programs for the kids, an array of dining options (there are five culinary venues on the property), and most importantly, all the ziplining, hiking, and Pacific Ocean surfing you could want.

Abercrombie & Kent Luxury Family Journeys to Costa Rica


Costa Rica Expeditions/Courtesy Abercrombie & Kent 

Right now, families are hankering for a foray into the great outdoors, and clearly, Costa Rica is just the place. Abercrombie & Kent sets the bar for luxury adventure travel in small groups, and their 2021 Costa Rica vacations highlight the country’s beaches, volcanoes, hot springs, and wildlife. The advantage of touring Costa Rica with a trusted operator like A&K is simple: you’ll visit the bucket-list attractions, but with a private and unconventional approach. Their 2021 Luxury Family Journeys to Costa Rica include an exploration of the rainforests with ziplining and a suspended bridges tour, boating in Tortuguero National Park, swimming in volcano-heated hot springs, and a walking safari, among other experiences.

W Costa Rica - Reserva Conchal, Guanacaste


Courtesy  W Costa Rica, Reserva Conchal

Venture to Guanacaste Province, in the northwestern part of the country, for a laid-back surfer’s escape on the Pacific Ocean. So many Costa Rican attractions are toward the middle of the country—the hot springs, the volcanos, the cloud forest—that the idyllic coast is often overlooked. Guanacaste, and more specifically, W Costa Rica - Reserva Conchal, is the perfect place to experience the true pura vida lifestyle Costa Rica is known for; between the sparkling ocean, ever-flowing cocktails, and activities like snorkeling and jet skiing, it’s the luxe beach vacation you’ve been dreaming of. For a week-long family vacation filled with pristine beaches, an endless stream of activities (you can coordinate with the on-property W Insider to customize your itinerary) and every amenity at your beckon call, book the two-bedroom “WOW” suite, with a terrace hot tub looking out at the ocean. 

El Silencio Lodge & Spa, Bajos del Toro


Courtesy El Silencio Lodge & Spa

If you’ve been wondering when we were going to bring up the iconic Costa Rican cloud forest, fear not, the time has come. El Silencio Lodge & Spa offers easy access to the country’s most famous sights. El Silencio is “tucked among the valleys and waterfalls of picturesque Bajos del Toro, which has been declared a UNESCO cultural heritage site,” and is one of the only luxury hotels on a “500-acre private cloud forest reserve flanked by the Juan Castro Blanco and Poás Volcano National Parks.” It’s easy to get here—San José is just an hour away—and yet, once you arrive, the best of Costa Rica’s natural beauty is at your fingertips. For the couple hoping to retreat to a deluxe suite within the cloud forest, or parents eager to teach their children about eco-conservation and the great outdoors, this luxurious lodge has something for everyone.