There’s always been a healthy vacation rental market in Costa Rica, but the pandemic has made them ever more popular. Post-pandemic, it seems that popularity isn’t going anywhere. Here, we look at some of our favorite luxury vacation rentals in Costa Rica.
Travelers to Costa Rica most often come for the ecotourism credentials, the adventure activities, and the nature. Most Costa Rican vacation itineraries will include a split between the rainforest and the beach. You’ll stay in the smaller ecolodges and boutique hotels this Central American hotspot is famous for.
And if you’re not staying in a boutique beach hotel, you might well splash out on an all-inclusive for some total relaxation. Why on earth not?
But one legacy of the pandemic looks like it might well last in Costa Rica. As the rules, restrictions, and travel nightmares finally fade into the rear view mirror, the rising trend of the vacation rental home sees no signs of abating.
Vacation rentals are nothing new in Costa Rica – they were popular before the pandemic for larger groups of travelers looking for a tropical getaway together.
But the past two years made a lot of people hesitant of hotels full of strangers, and the rental market rocketed. There was (is) also the rise in remote working, which gave people a reason to rent a home with private space to log in for a day or so while on vacation.
And now that most restrictions in Costa Rica are over and the hotels are full again, that mindset of renting a private space still remains.
People have seen the importance of the family gathering, or of finding time to celebrate with groups of friends after two years of staying in. Whatever the reasons, vacation rentals in Costa Rica have never been in more demand.
Here, in the first article of an occasional series about vacation rentals around Central America, we look at the cream of the crop in Costa Rica. We’ve identified six luxury vacation homes in Costa Rica that stand out far ahead of anything else in the country right now.
If you’re looking for the best, check the homes below and add them to your wish list for your next trip to Costa Rica.
After two grueling years, most Covid restrictions in Costa Rica are now over. Here’s a quick rundown of what that means for people on the ground and for travelers entering the country.https://t.co/DzOFzMRX0o
— Central America Living (@VidaAmerica) April 1, 2022
Casa Alang Alang, Tamarindo
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again – we love the beach town of Tamarindo in Guanacaste. It’s a perfect destination for surfers, beach lovers, and anyone seeking a lively (or not) spot to enjoy a week of pura vida. Tamarindo has everything, including two of our favorite luxury home rentals in Costa Rica.
Casa Alang Alang sits in a perfect Tamarindo location – close enough for a short walk (five minutes) or drive (two minutes) to the beach and the town center. Although close to everything, Casa Alang Alang’s location on a hillside above the Best Western Villas in the northern part of town. This gives Alang Alang the advantages of true peace and quiet plus killer views of both Tamarindo beach and Playa Grande to the north.
With seven guest rooms plus an apartment, Casa Alang Alang fits up to 19 people.
Guests will enjoy the use of two pools and can take advantage of complimentary concierge services, grocery shopping, housekeeping, and breakfast preparation.
According to Karina Fletcher from Elite Beach Villas, who owns and manages Casa Alang Alang, what separates this home from the rest of the pack is the view, the architecture, and the location. “In that order,” she says.
Casa Alang Alang has a minimum nightly stay of five nights during low season and seven nights during high season and peak season, with 2023 daily rates ranging from $2,790 to $4,690 depending on the time of year. With a 70% annual occupancy rate, it’s worth getting in early to secure your preferred dates at this home.
For more info on Casa Alang Alang, contact Karina Fletcher at email@example.com.
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Punto de Vista, Manuel Antonio
There’s a school of thought that says Punto de Vista in Manuel Antonio on Costa Rica’s Central Pacific coast is the absolute best place in the country. And who’s to say that school of thought is wrong? This magnificent home certainly makes it onto our shortlist.
In the words of David Konwiser, Punto de Vista’s architect (and co-owner), the inspiration behind Punta de Vista lies within an idea and an image of a luxury private super yacht on land. And it’s not only the design that brings to mind an oligarch’s floating palace, although Punta de Vista’s clean lines, modern design, and glass balcony walls can feel a little yacht-like.
The special sauce behind that super yacht vibe is the service at Punto de Vista. Unlike other homes, Punto de Vista has a staff-to-guest ratio more like a resort than a rental home.
If you’re staying here, you’re staying in something akin to a private hotel with your group and no one else as guests. This is far more than a rental home with someone to clean and someone else to look after the pool.
At Punto de Vista, you’re looked after all the way, from the breakfast prepared and served to you each morning to the poolside cocktails mixed for you at sunset.
With a full time staff looking after its guests, the 18-bedroom Punto de Vista specializes in events. With a host of oversized social areas, it’s perfect for weddings, family reunions, corporate retreats, or any other reason you want to get a group of up to 48 guests together for the best time of their lives.
Punto de Vista comprises two villas, Villa La Isla with eight bedrooms and Villa Punto de Vista with ten, each one available separately or combined for those large group occasions.
When villas are booked separately, guests keep their privacy from the other villa – no shared pools or social areas. But booked together, guests have all 2.5 acres of tropical reserve overlooking the Pacific Ocean to themselves.
There’s no luxury vacation rental in Costa Rica quite like Punto de Vista – it blends the best of a private home and a luxury resort – like that yacht in the mind’s eye of its architect.
Punta de Vista has an occupancy rate of 90% each year and recommends guests book at least a year in advance. Most bookings are for special events here, although anyone is welcome.
Rates for the whole estate (both villas combined) start at $7,635 per night. Smaller groups can book individual villas for less (starting at $4,550 per night for Villa Punto de Vista and $3,400 per night for Villa La Isla).
Contact Punto de Vista at firstname.lastname@example.org for more info on this home.
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Pasha Beachfront Estate, Santa Teresa
The Pasha Beachfront Estate in Santa Teresa is operated by the best hotel management company in Costa Rica, the Cayuga Collection. This home is Cayuga’s first real foray into running a rental home alongside their exclusive stable of luxury, boutique hotels.
The estate comes with a four-bedroom main home and three two-bedroom villas which combined have ten bedrooms for a maximum of 20 guests. It sits on nine acres of land with 700 feet (200 meters) of Santa Teresa’s Playa Hermosa beachfront.
Felipe Fernandez from the Cayuga Collection says it’s all about location with Pasha.
“It’s a true beachfront home in Playa Hermosa, which almost feels like a private beach, with tide pools up front and world class surfing at walking distance.”
In true Cayuga fashion, it’s also the staff here that make a difference. “We have double digits full time staff to pamper and cater our guests at any time,” says Fernandez. “The experience is 101% personalized.”
Pasha is another home where it pays to inquire in advance. Cayuga foresee an occupancy rate in 2023 of way over 70%, even though they say they’re selective of the clientele they want to receive to avoid Pasha getting the reputation of a party house. Average nightly rates start from $6,500 per night plus taxes.
Contact Cayuga at email@example.com for more info.
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Villa Buena Onda, Playas del Coco
Villa Buena Onda started life as the most luxurious rental home Playas del Coco, then transitioned into Coco’s best boutique hotel.
The pandemic transferred it back into a rental home, only this time with all the experience of being a hotel behind it to give guests the best of both worlds.
Today, this eight-bedroom home operates like a private hotel with, according to MJ Perez, the manager of Villa Buena Onda, amenities including a concierge to book tours, a private driver/transportation service, on-site spa, spa treatments on the on-site spa, and a kitchen mom to cook local meals.
As far as meals go, the home offers a meal plan or an all-inclusive service for guests seeking not to cook for themselves or find a restaurant.
Guests can also book a basic rental option and cook for themselves or eat out if they prefer.
Villa Buena Onda can accommodate groups of up to 20 people and its secluded location – although still within easy reach of bustling Playas del Coco, only 20 minutes from the Guanacaste International Airport in Liberia – makes it perfect for family gatherings and weddings.
It’s another home seeing an estimated occupancy percentage of over 70% for this year, and rates start at $1,700 plus taxes per night.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
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Casa Bali, Tamarindo
Casa Bali is the other home on this list located in Tamarindo. It sits in the gated Tamarindo Heights community with suburb ocean views and easy access the restaurants, stores, and nightlife of Tamarindo.
It’s an eight-bedroom home, decorated in a gorgeous Balinese style, accommodating up to 20 guests, who can take advantage of two fantastic infinity pools among a myriad of other luxurious amenities, including, says owner Brian Bratton of Tamarindo Luxury Villas, “A fresh breakfast prepared each morning plus the absolute best pre-trip planning and in-country service from our in-house concierge team.”
“The estate has multiple swimming pools plus an amazing waterfall cascading into the lower pool, huge views of Tamarindo Bay and over 18,000sf of under roof living. Exquisite woodwork and finishes are at every turn.”
Rates at Casa Bali vary from $3,000-$6,000 per night depending on the season.
The home is booked some 75% to 80% of the December to April high season, sliding down to 65% to 70% of the low season months. It’s another home where we recommend booking in advance to secure your ideal dates.
Guests interested in staying in style in Tamarindo can contact Brian and his team through the website or by email at email@example.com.
Cielo Mar, Papagayo Peninsula
The final home on our list – although as mentioned, we’re listing these rentals in no particular order – is Cielo Mar on the exclusive Papagayo Peninsula in Guanacaste, overlooking Playa Prieta.
This modern home has a unique, semi-circle design. Cielo Mar’s owner, Robert Brown, says they conceived the shape as a “bow and arrow”. Take one look at the place and you see what he means.
“The semi-circle design matches the curvature of the Prieta Beach,” says Brown. “The 100-foot-long bridge (arrow) is suspended sixteen feet above the pool and acts as a viewing platform. Standing on the bridge gives the effect of soaring through the jungle and above the ocean. The bridge also provides protection form the elements while swimming or outside dining.”
The pool at Cielo Mar has a 90-foot-long infinity edge which gives the impression of swimming through air 300 feet above the ocean. This is a house with a phenomenal design, all about site lines and encompassing indoor/outdoor living.
With six bedrooms, Cielo Mar accommodates groups of up to 12 people. It’s perfect for family reunions or groups of friends seeking a tropical vacation. Cielo Mar comes with a movie room, gym, and includes access to golf and tennis at the nearby Four Seasons Resort plus the facilities of the Prieta Beach Club on the beach below the home.
Rates at Cielo Mar are on a weekly rather than a nightly basis, and start at $50,000 per week plus taxes for all the bedrooms. Prices drop for smaller groups seeking fewer bedrooms, though. Occupancy rates throughout the year are similar to the other homes outlined above, and the home advises early booking.
For more info on Cielo Mar, get in touch with the home through its contact page.
The homes listed above represent the absolute cream of luxury vacation rentals in Costa Rica.
Each one has its own unique attributes, but all come with a perfect blend of elegance, style, and excellent service. As Costa Rica moves into a post pandemic tourism climate, one focused more on quality and attracting upscale travelers from their usual haunts, we can expect to see more of these types of homes springing up around the country.
The map below shows the location of all the luxury homes mentioned here. If you zoom in for more details, you’ll see each home is on the Pacific coast of the country, which is still the most developed side of Costa Rica. We do expect to see, however, more luxury rental homes on the Caribbean side in the coming years.
Anyone seeking a luxury vacation rental for a group vacation or an event will find these homes still come in priced lower than more traditional high-end locations. Investors and entrepreneurs seeking to build this type of home might well take a look at Costa Rica.
James Dyde is the editor of centralamerica.com. He lives in Escazu, Costa Rica.