Travel Tips

Why We Generally Don’t Recommend Airbnbs in Costa Rica (and Where To Stay Instead)

May 18, 2024

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So, you’re planning your Costa Rica vacation and wondering, ‘Should I stay in a hotel or rent an Airbnb?’ We get this question a lot from our clients! As seasoned travelers and a former Airbnb host, we understand just how crucial the right accommodation is for your trip to Costa Rica.

Here’s the thing…

Based on our extensive on-the-ground experience, we typically don’t recommend Airbnbs in Costa Rica. In this article, we’ll discuss a few of the drawbacks of Airbnbs in Costa Rica and then share our top four hotels across the country that offer amenities similar to home rentals. Let’s dive in.

Two Reasons We Don’t Recommend Airbnbs in Costa Rica:

1. Inconsistency

Our Costa Rica destination specialist, Vanessa, owned an Airbnb in Costa Rica for eight years — she knows the market inside out! One of her biggest takeaways? Inconsistency is rampant. From one location to the next, the quality and management of properties can vary wildly. While some areas like the condo communities in Guanacaste or the central Pacific coast near Jaco may offer decent options, many other parts of Costa Rica see Airbnbs that don’t deliver on their promises.

Airbnb rentals in residential areas are particularly hit-or-miss. They often suffer from water and electricity outages — not the surprises you want on vacation. Safety can also be a concern, adding an unwelcome layer of uncertainty to your stay.

2. Misrepresentation and False Reviews

One of the most significant issues with Airbnbs is the accuracy of listings. Many properties don’t have accurate descriptions, making them seem more appealing than they are. This issue is exacerbated by reviews that may only sometimes be reliable. Some reviews might be overly optimistic, influenced by guests with limited local experience, or worse, they might be falsified. For instance, we’ve seen five-star reviews for frankly lackluster properties simply because the traveler assumed that was the best available in a “developing country.”

Trusted Alternatives To Airbnbs: Hotels With Amenities

Given these issues with Airbnb, we recommend exploring other accommodation options. Luckily, many hotels across Costa Rica offer home-like amenities such as kitchens and multi-room suites, all with the professionalism and reliability that Airbnbs often lack.

1. Las Catalinas:

Las Catalinas

DTA founders enjoying the pool at Santarena in Las Catalinas

Located in a serene beachfront community, Las Catalinas blends luxury with local charm. The area includes vacation homes, small hotels, shops, and restaurants designed to promote a relaxed outdoor lifestyle. The architecture is specially adapted for enjoying the outdoors, with plazas, parks, and recreational facilities encouraging walking and engagement with the surrounding natural beauty.

Las Catalinas offers a range of accommodation options for every need and preference. From cozy flats perfect for couples to charming homes ideal for families, each residence is serviced to ensure a comfortable stay. For those seeking hotel-style lodging, Las Catalinas provides options ranging from stylish rooms in the heart of downtown to romantic beachfront suites.

Learn more.

2. The Palms

The Palms

The Palms is located alongside Playa Flamingo’s pristine beaches. This luxury villa community delivers the benefits of amenities, pampering service, and the conveniences of a resort hotel. 

Adjacent to environmentally protected mangroves, the beach here remains serene even during peak tourist seasons. We love that there are comfortable and inviting seating areas inside and outside the villas, making it easy for families and friends to gather and enjoy the spectacular setting together.

Learn more.

3. Los Altos

Los Altos

Photo credit: Los Altos 

Situated in the vibrant heart of Manuel Antonio, Los Altos Resort offers spacious accommodations and a luxurious gateway to Costa Rica’s natural wonders. Condos offer sweeping views of the ocean and rainforest and feature three bedrooms, two and a half bathrooms, a full kitchen, and a spacious living room. The highlight is the ocean-view balcony, where the beauty of Costa Rica unfolds in panoramic splendor.

Los Altos sets itself apart by combining the comfort of luxury vacation rentals with the amenities of a five-star hotel—making it a prime choice for families and groups. You’ll enjoy the convenience of a 24-hour concierge, an on-site restaurant featuring a complimentary breakfast buffet, a pool, a spa, and access to a quiet beach.

Learn more.

4. Cala Luna

Cala Luna

Photo credit: Cala Luna 

This boutique hotel near Tamarindo is known for its eco-friendly practices and intimate atmosphere. Cala Luna delivers a personal touch with its beautifully crafted rooms and lush gardens, offering a peaceful retreat away from the busier tourist spots.

The two- and three-bedroom villas at Las Catalinas offer private entrances and are connected to the resort’s main areas through quiet pathways. Each villa features a covered terrace with lounge chairs and a private plunge pool, surrounded by well-kept lawns. The villas are equipped with full kitchens and spacious living and dining areas.

While Airbnb might work for some travelers, those looking for a hassle-free stay in Costa Rica should consider these reliable hotel alternatives. Each offers a unique experience that can make your visit memorable, safe, and comfortable.

Need help planning the perfect Costa Rica vacation that’s right for your unique needs? We can help. Get in touch today.

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