- The Best of Costa Rica
- Costa Rica’s Top Spots for WIldlife
- Costa Rica’s Most Beautiful Beaches
- Costa Rica’s Best Beaches for Wildlife
- Best Surfing Beaches in Costa Rica
- Costa Rica’s Unique Retreats & Resorts
- Surf’s Up in Costa Rica
- Off-The-Beaten-Path Eco-Adventures
- Costa Rica Family-Friendly Adventures
- Adrenaline Rush
Birrí to Porrosatí
The Hotel El Portico (tel. 506/2266-1732, www.elporticohotel.com, $50 s/d) is set in a six-hectare farm with forest trails. The atmospheric lodge has 19 rooms plus three exquisite cabins with rough-stone tiled floors and private bathrooms; some have romantic canopied beds perfect for rainy days with your lover. There’s a beautiful and spacious lounge with leather sofas, a large stone fireplace, and vast windows offering views down the mountainside. It also has a sauna and whirlpool tub, plus an atmospheric Swiss-style restaurant with bar. Beautiful artwork abounds. Landscaped grounds contain a small swimming pool and lake. Rates include tax.
Las Ardillas Spa Resort (tel. 506/2266-0015, www.grupoardillas.com, $75 s/d) has eight rustic log-and-brick cabins, each with fireplace, kitchenette, and private bathroom. There’s a game room, bar and restaurant, children’s play area, and simple spa with whirlpool and sauna. Hiking is offered. Meals are prepared on a wood-burning stove using organic, homegrown produce. Rates include breakfast and tax, plus spa treatment on weekends.
Associated with Las Ardillas, and farther uphill, is Cabañas Las Milenas ($75 s/d), a stone and timber lodge with 10 romantic, rustic log cabins in the woods to the rear; each has double and single bed, TV, and fireplace. The main lodge has sumptuous sofas in front of the hearth; upstairs is a Colorado-style bar with live music.
San Rafael to Monte de la Cruz Reserve
The Cerro Dantas Ecological Center (tel. 506/2274-1997, www.cerrodantas.co.cr, $50 pp), seven kilometers beyond Monte de la Cruz Reserve, has simple dorm accommodations and a communal dining area. Rates include meals.
The resort-style Hotel La Condesa Monte de la Cruz (tel. 506/2267-6000, www.hotellacondesa.com, $146 s/d standard, $186 s/d junior suite, $232–872 s/d suite), immediately above El Castillo Country Club at San Rafael de Heredia, is a classy option with 60 spacious, beautifully furnished rooms and 37 suites, the latter with king-size beds. Facilities include two restaurants, a heated indoor pool, children’s pool, sauna, jogging track, squash court, gym, and free shuttles to San José. Rates include breakfast and dinner.
For charm, check into Hotel Chalet Tirol (tel. 506/2267-6222, www.hotelchaleteltirol.com, $85–95 s/d chalet, $100–110 s/d suites year-round), a delightful Tyrolean-style place with a superb restaurant. Ten rustic yet charming twin-level alpine cabins—hand-painted in Swiss fashion—surround a small lawn. There are also 13 modern hotel rooms, each with a TV, fireplace, spacious bathroom, and furnishings from a Hansel-and-Gretel story. One suite has a spiral staircase to a mezzanine bedroom. There’s a pool, sauna, and massage/fitness room, plus two tennis courts, and WiFi in the lodge.
A similar alternative is the Quality Hotel Monte Campaña (tel. 506/2269-8724, www.qualitycostarica.com), at Birrí. The Hotel Cibeles Resort (tel. 506/2260-3176, www.hotelcibelesresort.com), at San Rafael de Heredia, offers spacious if soulless modestly furnished rooms.
© Christopher P. Baker from Moon Costa Rica, 8th Edition