The seven countries that make up Central America (Costa Rica, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Panama, Belize, and Guatemala) offer everything from beaches to volcanoes to archaeological sites -- and there's even more variety when it comes to lodging options. To help you plan your trip, we’re presenting hotels in every country in Central America that offer value and style. Up first, Costa Rica...
Best Budget Option:
While you won’t be spending the bulk of your time in Costa Rica's capital, San Jose, the city is worth a day or two of sightseeing and you may need to overnight there before or after a flight. The Hotel Aranjuez is not the least expensive place to crash, but it offers the best value for your money. From $28 per night for a single person, or $38 for a double with a spotless shared bath, you get a clean and comfortable room, WiFi, a tranquil neighborhood within easy walking distance of the city center, helpful staff, and the city’s best hotel breakfast buffet with breads, salads, fruits, juices, and hot dishes on offer.
Best Mid-Range Option:
At Bali Rica Casitas, on the Costa Ballena along the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica in the town of Ojochal, guests can book one of three casitas set within a tranquil garden. Each casita has its own kitchen and offers a real sense of home. Casa Sendero ($79 double occupancy) has an outdoor shower and Casa Bambu ($89 double occupancy) has a lovely sitting area. But it's the Casa Rica ($115 double occupancy) that's the real stunner. This spacious casita is built with a traditional Balinese design and was built using materials shipped from Bali to Costa Rica and re-assembled on site. It has its own private plunge pool and is the most romantic of the bunch (pictured above).
The San Gerardo de Dota cloud forest, about 50 miles from San Jose, offers more pristine forest and far fewer people than the more famous Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. Here, you have a real chance of seeing the resplendent quetzal bird. San Gerardo do Dota is also home to Dantica Cloud Forest Lodge where 10 minimalist rooms hug a hillside in a private nature preserve. Each room, from $144 double occupancy, includes a fantastic a la carte breakfast using home grown ingredients, and features a jetted tub, a heater, hot water bottles at night (it’s chilly at 8,000 feet), and a wall of floor-to-ceiling windows, which make you feel like you’re in the forest from the comfort of your room (pictured above).