San José & the Central Valley
We specialize in customizing bespoke itineraries, tailored to your personal preferences and interests, as self-drives, or as individualized packages composed of hotels, activities, and transfers. To this end, we work with many different hotels, but give preference to those that are certified under Costa Rica’s eco-label certification scheme, or another, similar scheme. The hotels listed below are of differing standards, some quite luxuries, others in the mid-range. Clicking on the photographs opens up a mini-gallery for each property. Please use the menu links in the top menu to navigate between the hotel listings for the different regions of Costa Rica.
San José and the Central Valley
The Central Valley of Costa Rica is its agricultural heartland, with San Jose as its central focal point. Due to the high altitude at about 1000m, the region enjoys a pleasant climate of everlasting spring. The fertility of the land is provided by the surrounding volcanoes, which frame the valley. So, while the valley itself is full of agricultural activity, the surrounding cloud-forest clad hills are a sanctuary of peace and amazingly lush tropical nature, contrasted by the furnace of the still active Poas and Irazu volcanos, which occasionally rumble into activity. While there are numerous hotels in San Jose and the Central Valley, some truly stand out for their excellence in ecological standards, their location and/or their services.
Grano de Oro
Despite the fact that Grano de Oro is centrally located, just off Paseo Colon, San Jose’s main thoroughfare, it is a true oasis, a sanctuary in the heart of the city. The former Victorian mansion has been converted into a tastefully furnished 40-room hotel that retains the warm and comfortable atmosphere of a private home. The historic photographs and original art decorate the hallways of this meandering mansion. Flushes of luxurious flower arrangements and lush, tropical plants, and little fountains set in intimate atriums accentuate the stylish ambiance at every turn.
Buena Vista Hotel
Buena Vista Hotel is located in Alajuela, about 30min from the International Airport, near the slopes of the Poas Volcano. Built in colonial style, it is a beautifully kept hotel and the perfect place to ‘land’ on the first night, or stopover before catching your flight back home if you don’t want to immerse yourself in the hustle and bustle of San José. It is a very comfortable boutique style hotel that offers all comforts, amazing views of all three volcanoes in the vicinity (Poás, Irazú, and Barva), a restaurant, a bar/lounge, and even a pool. It is set amidst beautiful gardens and even has its own coffee trail. The hotel offers 30 rooms in 4 categories, Deluxe Standard, Superior Balcony, Junior Suites, and Luxury Villas (scroll through the images on the left)
Cozy, elegant and artistic in design, Xandari Resort is a splendid place to stay in the Central Valley if you want to avoid the noise and traffic of San José. Set high up in the hills at 1200m above sea level, on the site of a former plantation it offers beautiful panoramic views of the valley below. Today it sits in its own botanical garden and trails through the private forest reserve with five natural waterfalls, making it an excellent location for birders. The hotel also has its own organic garden to supply its on-site restaurant, three pools, a yoga studio and a spa complex, of five private, palm-roofed jalapas, each with its own individual hot-tub. A fantastic way to relax, de-stress and enjoy one of the many wellness treatments on offer. Your holiday starts right here, as soon as you arrive.
Dine inside, or out on the terrace. Following a ‘farm-to-table’ concept, many of the ingredients are grown right on site in the organic garden and greenhouse. Continental Breakfast is complimentary. Other selections may be made from the menu at an additional cost.
Xandari is dedicated to sustainable operations. To learn more about this, guests can take a complimentary Sustainability Tour, and participate in their efforts by helping to plant a tree. This tree will eventually provide seeds and nesting areas for birds, shade for other plant species, and will help restore the land to its original biodiversity.
Less than an hour away from the International Airport, this Lodge is a true sanctuary. Located in the lush cloud-forest-draped hills near Poas volcano, Peace Lodge shares the same serene setting as the La Paz Waterfall Gardens, its next door neighbor. Guests here are welcome to enjoy the gardens free of charge before they open and after they close to the general public. This makes Peace Lodge a superb place for birdwatching. This is far more than just a hotel – it is a destination. The private nature reserve has a butterfly house and an aviary as well as a 2.2km trail network through the 70 acres reserve. The forest reserve is being rehabilitated in order to re-establish a thriving forest ecp-system. To fully enjoy this beautiful place consider it as more than a stopover, consider it home for a few days from which to explore this gorgeous part of Costa Rica.
El Silencio Lodge
A special place in the midst of nature, El Silencio Lodge & Spa is an eco-luxury lodge truly deserves its name. A green oasis near the Juan Castro Blanco National Park in the Central Valley located in the tropical cloud forest of the central volcanic valley. The nearest ‘civilization’ is Los Bajos del Toro, a small rural town, 90 minutes from the San Jose Juan Santamaria Airport. The Lodge is set in its own 500-acre private reserve and the assembly of what man has created and nature provides is a beautifully harmonious setting to de-stress and connect with nature. The main building faces a tree-lined ravine and houses the restaurant, coffee lounge, media room, reception office, gift shop, and a large outdoor deck area.
The Esencia Spa as a place to let go of the worries of the world. Enjoy relaxing massages, facials and body-wraps to the sound of the flowing water, the whispering breeze and the flicker of candles. There is also a spacious yoga deck (This is also a great property if you are looking for a venue to host a yoga retreat).
There are two restaurants at the lodge, Las Ventanas and Hierbabuena Restaurant, both of which source their ingredients from the hotel’s on-site organic farm garden, ensuring the freshest, most wholesome farm-to -table experience.
Finca Rosa Blanca
Finca Rosa Blanca Boutique Hotel is another little gem, located in the foothills just to the north of San José, in Santa Barbara de Heredia, about 30min from the Juan Santamaria International Airport. A former coffee Finca, the property has been turned into a beautiful and unique sustainably managed Boutique Hotel, with many artistic touches. The coffee plantation now grows organic coffee and their commitment to reducing their carbon footprint is laudable. Over the last 25 years, they have planted more than 7000 trees, rendering their operation carbon neutral. Much of the food served at their restaurant comes from their own organic garden. This hotel is great if you have a rental car. It is not served as a pick-up location for day tours in the surrounding area. However, they offer their own selection of activities and guided tours.