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 $46 per night for a private room with a double bed and bathroom, or $39 for a private room with two single beds and a spotless shared bath, you get complimentary 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, (which is located on the Costa Ballena along the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica in the town of Ojochal), guests can book one of four casitas set within a tranquil garden. The casitas range in price $60 per night for the Tree House casita, to $130 per night for Casa Rica, which was built in Bali and shipped to Costa Rica. 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 is about 50 miles from San Jose and 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 two-person bungalow, from $159 per night, 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 of floor-to-ceiling windows, which make you feel like you’re in the forest from the comfort of your room (pictured above). If you're traveling in a group, consider a four-person bungalow (rates from $259 per night for four people).