One Location, Two Ways: Costa Rica Is The Perfect Eco-Friendly Adventure Or Luxe Beach Getaway

Costa Rica has been a Black girl hotspot travel destination for quite some time, and the reasons why are rather simple: there’s something for every type of traveler. 

Not only is it a culturally rich and vibrant country, Costa Rica has incredible biodiversity, volcanoes, beautiful beaches, tropical rainforests and wildlife. Located in Central America, close to the equator, Costa Rica is a tropical oasis. Did I mention it’s also an Instagram lover’s dream? And it’s only natural with living your “pura vida” life, to also discover some of Costa Rica’s 12 different life zones. Costa Rica keeps over 20% of its land in protected zones and national parks, so you are sure to find some undeveloped gems too.

While it’s a small country — geographically speaking — the level of bucket list worthy experiences certainly packs a punch, which is why you can visit different regions (or even the same) and have completely unique experiences.

If you’re not sure where to start when planning your Costa Rica escape, here’s how to do the destination, in two different ways.

Punta Islita

A perfect destination for those who desire luxury and tranquility, Punta Islita is a serene escape from those seeking a break from noisy city life. Especially for the Black girls who are out here prioritizing rest. Located in the province of Guanacaste on the Pacific Coast, as part of the Nicoya Peninsula, it consists of two small, pristine, and untouched connecting beaches, a charming church in the village’s small plaza and gorgeous small bays separated by 80 million-year-old towers of volcanic rocks.

Nicoya was voted one of the best Blue Zones of the world, and with some of the best hotels in the area, this beach is very popular with couples planning their next baecation. Renowned among the best eco-luxury beach hotels in the area, is Hotel Punta Islita, which offers the most authentic luxury rooms and villas in Costa Rica. Reached via a 30-minute domestic flight to Punta Islita airport, or a 2.5 hour drive if you flight into Liberia Airport, this intimate retreat is nestled in dense tropical forests on a protected Pacific cove featuring two pools, a private beach, two restaurants, a spa and 54 individually designed rooms and villas with private terraces and hammocks, some with private decks, outdoor pools, and more. You’ll feel at home away from home with the resort’s family-like style, but also if you want privacy and seclusion, this is the perfect place to escape from the grip.

Perched above the rustic Guanacaste coastline, the hotel offers some of the most picturesque views in Costa Rica. The vibrant local culture and rich landscape are some of the contributors which make this a 300-acre property a secluded eco-friendly escape. 

Activities available from Hotel Punta Islita include hiking, surfing, horseback riding, bird watching, kayaking and village tours, so the day’s will never go idle. The resort’s Agro-Marine gastronomic experience features Zero Km menus showcasing seasonal, ingredients from the region and from the on-property organic garden, as well local seafood. Regional flavors inspire at Alma Restaurant, where gorgeously prepared dishes reflect Costa Rica’s ethnic diversity against expansive ocean views. The Aura Beach Club serves up familiar favorites in a laid-back tropical garden by the free-form pool and beach.

Punta Islita’s Outdoor Contemporary Art Museum combines the social concept of art and creative thinking as a generator of sustainable development. At the Museum House, artists teach various workshops and develop activities for San Jose in coordination with the Costa Rican Art Museum.

But, if secluded escape is not what you’re seeking, there always…

Gulf Of Papagayo

If you want something more centrally located, Papagayo is located in Guanacaste, close to the Liberia International Airport. Rest and relaxation always go hand in hand in the Gulf of Papagayo, with mesmerizing ocean views and intimate settings and activities, as well as lush tropical greenery at every turn. If you enjoy lazy beach days, catamaran cruising and relaxation by the pool, this is your spot.

It is this unique blend of tourism and nature that makes Papagayo such an excellent destination for many types of travelers — from solo, to families, to couples alike. The region’s favored location, balanced between the pristine ocean and protected forests, lays out a plethora of daily options making it a no-brainer when trying to decide what to do each day.

The ocean is perhaps the area’s biggest draw, offering everything from rigorous sea kayaking to some of the region’s best scuba diving. Papagayo is also a popular choice for honeymooners, thanks to its secluded setting and romantic activities, like couple’s spas and evening sunset sails.

The area is named for the stunning gulf that borders the beach, but there is no official town. For shops, sightseeing and other services, head south to Hermosa and Coco beaches.

Fun and family-friendly, El Mangroove in the Gulf of Papagayo is perfectly placed for a coastal Costa Rican adventure. Take to the seas to spot stingrays, dolphins and turtles (and humpback whales if you’ve timed your visit right), or settle in for sunset with sand underfoot at the beachfront restaurant Matiss. Massages are performed out in the mangroves, under cover of a cabana, but with Mother Nature all around.

85 suites featuring sumptuous beds, spa-like bathrooms, balconies or terraces with hammocks complement local artwork and natural wood accents. The authentic Costa Rican culinary experience on offer uses local, seasonal produce and ingredients in the restaurant’s menus set against stunning vistas of the Gulf of Papagayo. Makoko’s menu ranges from contemporary Costa Rican to international, with plenty of local seafood. The more casual Matiss is the spot for burgers, pizza and poolside cocktails like the Mon-key, made with Costa Rican cold-brew coffee, Jim Beam bourbon, and homemade cinnamon syrup.

The resort’s sustainability efforts can be seen in the eco-conscious design by Costa Rica’s most prominent architect, Ronald Zurcher and the support of the surrounding community offering authentic local experiences. Guests can discover the culture of the Chorotegas, one of Costa Rica’s main indigenous groups, renowned for their farming excellence and handcrafted ceramics following the tools and techniques of their ancestors.

And there you have it — Costa Rica done two ways. Though, whichever you choose is sure to be the time of your life!

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