Costa Rica has, in the last couple of decades, proved itself to be the forefather of tropical ecotourism. With access to both the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean, activities like canopy zip lining combined with the year-round warm weather, it’s perfectly logical the country has become a playground for outdoor enthusiasts. Glamorous camping, aka Glamping, for the resort-going type can seem intimidating, for the hardcore outdoors person it could be seen as inauthentic, but really there are plenty of reasons to put your biases to rest. Because of the country’s booming tourism market, prices aren’t what they used to be, and Costa Rica is now the most expensive country in Central America. Luckily, glamping is often a cheaper alternative. For those seeking adventure, many lodges and glamp sites are perfectly positioned around key locations for activities. Visitors looking to be one with nature but have the option of retreating to a king sized bed, read on!
Faith Glamping Dome
Located on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica, the Faith Glamping Domes are nearly as south as the Panama border. Guests can stay in their own private geodesic dome nestled in a jungle clearing only a few hundred feet from the gentle lapping waves of the sea. Besides views of the ocean peeking through to the domes’ front doors, guests are also treated to WiFi, a private bathroom, air-conditioned rooms, and common areas.
Dreamsea Surf Camp
Complete with the wanderlust-y motto “Collect moments, not things”, the Dreamsea Surf Camp is well equipped to show anyone a good time. Accommodations include glamping tents for various numbers of guests, as well as an array of activity options throughout both the day and night. Conveniently close to Tamarindo, a town with a vivacious nightlife, visitors can get their party on until the wee hours then wake up to enjoy a health-conscious breakfast made by onsite chefs, and later recover via an early yoga or surf session.
Flor y Bambu
Family-owned and operated by expats living the Pura Vida, Flor y Bambu is a collection of minimally invasive tents that surround a tropical garden. The tents come in either two or four-person options and are complete with hotel-level amenities, although the true selling point may be their tropical bathrooms featuring private outdoor showers. Guests swear by the peaceful revitalization provided by a long, warm shower either with the sound of birds chirping or looking up at the stars. The team at Flor y Bambu are happy to provide support when planning any number of activities in the vicinity, like a trip to the popular Playa Grand. Alternatively, visitors can stay put and relax next to the onsite pool.
While these Mongolian-inspired yurts may be a slight strain on the wallet, they are aptly priced based on their location along the Canas River. When visitors aren’t enjoying the tranquility of the property, glampers can splurge on an arranged ride aboard a luxury catamaran or go the opposite way by adventuring on their own to a natural hot spring, 45 minutes away through the gorgeous jungle.
Rafiki Safari Lodge
The Rafiki Safari Lodge is a traditional thatched-roof Costa Rican ranch house with a self-proclaimed African twist. Much of the property overlooks a thickly-forested valley creating a serene environment. Only 18 miles from the famed Manuel Antonio National Park, Rafiki takes full advantage of its location amongst nature, offering river rafting trips down the Savegre River, horseback riding, and a plethora of viewing for the casual ornithologist (bird lovers). The actual rooms at the lodge are luxury safari tents that open up to large porches complete with rocking chairs. If guests need a break from the many exciting adventures offered then perhaps it is time for a massage in your tent or trip down the Rafiki’s waterslide.
Deep in the rainforest of Central Costa Rica lurks one of the most unique glamping experiences available to tourists. The Maquenque Eco-Lodge welcomes guests to accommodations that blend effortlessly with nature. While there are bungalows available, Maquenque also offers unbelievable tree houses that rise 40 feet above the forest floor. The tree houses feature one wall made entirely of glass so each morning lodgers are welcomed to views of the rising sun illuminating the expansive rainforest. When not nestled amongst the trees, people can also enjoy kayak safaris, yoga on a dock on the San Carlos River, and night treks. Maquenque also has a romance package where lovers will be greeted with a room full of tropical flowers and a meal at the lodge’s lagoon-side restaurant, complete with a necessary bottle of wine.
Driftwood Glamping Nosara
A quick drive along the coast from the popular Playa Guiones is Driftwood Glamping Nosara. Although many of their rooms and tents look like they were born for a Pinterest board, guests won’t need to spend much time in them since Driftwood has an unbeatable location and numerous activities. The glamping sanctuary is prepping to launch a number of yoga retreats but in the meantime maintains daily activities like stand-up paddleboarding, waterfall hikes, and surf lessons from local Ticos well versed in finding secluded spots.
Perhaps the strongest hotel vibe on the list, Monte Compana has a number of perks, including the convenience of only being 20 minutes away from Costa Rica’s primary airport in San Jose. With multiple tree house options, guests — many of whom are Costa Rican — are fully immersed in nature and have the opportunity to engage in paintballing, a high ropes course, and a rock climbing wall.