Playa Grande luxury vacation rentals in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is one of the world’s special places: Small and yet vast, convenient and yet remote. No matter how you define “having it all,” you can likely find it here: Epic surf and biodiverse tropical forests, underwater worlds and teeming mangroves, deserted beaches and championship golf, luxurious beach clubs and fine dining restaurants.

All this, paired with exclusive Costa Rica lodging – some of the world’s most incredible, most unique, and most unforgettable vacation homes. Your paradise awaits.

Destination: Santa Teresa & Mal Pais

Mal Pais on the Nicoya Peninsula

Santa Teresa and its sister town of Mal Pais are located on the rugged and gorgeous Nicoya Peninsula, one of Costa Rica’s wildest destinations and tropical surf haven.

This is where you go when you want to be convenient to it all – to airports, to restaurants, to activities – and yet away from the world. Because the Nicoya Peninsula, at large, is still very much the Costa Rica of yesteryear, complete with sandy dirt roads, hand-painted signs, and deserted beaches. And did we mention the epic surf? (We know we did!)

Indeed, surfing is one of the area’s main draws, with destinations including: Playa Santa Teresa, which you can surf at any tide and in any swell direction, although you’ll have the most fun on a southwest swell at low- or mid-tide; Suck Rock, one of the best surf breaks in the area and a truly massive swell that breaks right, especially during peak conditions at low tide; Playa Hermosa, great for confident beginners or intermediate surfers, thanks to left and right swells best enjoyed during mid- to high-tide; Playa Carmen, beginner-friendly despite its rocky outcroppings; and Mar Azul, one of the most treasured surf spots in the area and famed for its left-point break, flat reef bottom, and deep channel in the ocean floor.

Not a surfer? Not to worry: Playa Santa Teresa and Mal Pais are just touristed enough to support a healthy ecosystem of international restaurants, yoga studios, nightlife, and activities, including Cabo Blanca Nature Reserve, nesting sea turtles, and more.

Where to Stay: Villa Nova

Santa Teresa | 7 Beds | 7 Baths | 18 Guests

Villa Nova Santa Teresa Costa Rica lodging

A spectacular new Costa Rica lodging option, Villa Nova is located just steps to white sands – to Santa Teresa’s good waves and untouched natural surrounds.

Its own slice of paradise, Villa Nova is a private oasis of Costa Rican jungle and turquoise pools, lush gardens and private retreats. Here, you’ll find floor-to-ceiling windows and six private suites with ensuite bathrooms – enough room for all, with privacy to spare – and two state-of-the-art kitchens, two living rooms, and a large outdoor rancho with BBQ.

This is a magical place where nature and luxury mix in an alchemy of vacation wonder. What you may love most of all is not just the pool, but the pools: two incredible saltwater pools, equipped with shallow areas (great for kids and lounging!), and their resort-like surrounds, which include verdant gardens and palm-thatched seating, shaded outdoor living and open-air dining.

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Destination: Hacienda Pinilla

Hacienda Pinilla Costa Rica surf spots

There are some places that you have to experience to believe: Hacienda Pinilla is one of them. This incredible private community, located on Costa Rica’s north Pacific Coast, is both luxurious and wild, at once welcoming and elite.

Set onto rolling savannah and against Pacific coastline, this exclusive community is one of the country’s top vacation destinations, home to luxurious Costa Rica lodging and with the amenities to match: A multi-million-dollar Beach Club, equipped with a beachfront infinity pool and restaurant/bar; a 72-par, 7,200-yard golf course and Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary; immaculate tennis courts, surrounded by royal palms and a short walk to the beach; spectacular surf and pristine beaches, including one of the most beautiful in the country; and 25+ miles of hiking and biking trails, which wend and wind through some of Guanacaste province’s most remote landscapes.

All this, just 15-20 minutes to Tamarindo and its established infrastructure and traveler amenities, including restaurants and nightlife, tours and attractions, adventures and activities. (For more, see Destination: Tamarindo, below.)

Stay Here: Casa Bonita Beach

Hacienda Pinilla | 6 Beds | 6 Baths | 19 Guests

Casa Bonita Beach vacation home with waterslide in Costa Rica

When it comes to Costa Rica lodging, there’s special and then there’s your-own-waterslide kind of special. Casa Bonita Beach is both senses of the word.

With the look and feel of an elite beach house, Casa Bonita Beach is exclusivity without the snobbery: Incredibly warm and welcoming, this lovely home is the place you go when you want a resort but don’t want to deal with resort crowds. Here, you’ll spend your days on the incredible outdoor terrace, equipped with shaded dining, a private pool, outdoor dining and a barbecue area (including a wine fridge – priorities!) and, of course, that famous waterslide.

Multigenerational families and travelers with disabilities – brand new at Bonita Beach, we’re happy to share that this home has now added an independent apartment (adjacent to the main home), complete with wheel-chair accessible ramp. Indoors, the apartment offers a king-sized bed, private terrace and seating area, and a wheelchair-accessible bathroom; there’s also a second small bedroom with a full-twin bunkbed.

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Destination: Tamarindo

Tamarindo sunset surfing

Costa Rica’s little Gold Coast mini-metropolis by the sea, tiny Tamarindo is one of Costa Rica’s most beloved destinations – a hotpot that measures just a mile from stem to stern, and is yet packed with incredible restaurants and hopping nightlife, breaching whales and nesting sea turtles, tropical dry forest and underwater worlds, mangrove estuaries and fabled surf spots.

It’s a something-and-everything kind of place, proud of its happy-go-lucky motto of “surf, eat, and have fun.” And we’re happy to oblige because against this sandy curve that stretches between Playa Grande and Playa Langosta, rests a treasure chest of vacation memories: surfing and SUP, snorkeling and scuba diving (check out the Catalina Islands!), catamaran sailing and Las Baulas National Marine Park (a rare leatherback sea turtle nesting site), wildlife and nature tours, canopy ziplines and ocean kayaking, world-class sport fishing and some of the Pacific’s best surfing. And we’ve only just gotten started…

Because Tamarindo is just That Kind of Place – the kind that is incredibly welcoming and wonderfully equipped, with everything you need (and so much more) to enjoy your vacation in paradise. But, lest all this make Tamarindo also sound like a jam-packed, wall-to-wall-tourists kind of place, know that it’s not. Yes, it’s popular and but yes, you can also carve out your own slice of paradise. Because the hills of Tamarindo are dappled with private retreats and houses-on-a-breezy-knoll, offering many an opportunity to retreat to Costa Rica’s most convenient version of seclusion. Case in point…

Stay Here: Puesta del Sol

Tamarindo | 6 Beds | 6 Baths | 16 Guests

Puesta del Sol Tamarindo oceanview Costa Rica homes for rent

In the hierarchy of the World’s Most Wonderful Things, an earth-shattering sunset ranks somewhere near the very top of the list. It’s just one of those moments – those only-made-possible-by-Mother-Nature opportunities to be swept away by our planet’s vast beauty and heart-stopping wonders. And you’ll have a front-row seat at Puesta del Sol, a luxury home named for just this – for its puestas del sol, or sun-downs. Because here, they’re like nowhere else.

Exquisitely perched above Pacific Ocean views, Puesta del Sol sits at the end of an adventure lover’s drive: up a hill and overlooking Tamarindo Bay, creating a panoramic and on-the-edge-of-it-all lookout point that creates the sensation of floating in the sky. The sunset is almost close enough to dip your paintbrush into!

This unique oneness with nature extends into and throughout the home – without a doubt, one of the most privileged Costa Rica lodging options –  a tropical paradise of indoor/outdoor living and total relaxation. Step out onto the sun-splashed terrace and take a dip in your private ocean-view pool. Prepare a feast in the gourmet kitchen our out on the patio grill. (But don’t worry about the first meal of the day; your daily breakfast is prepared by our housekeeper, except on Sundays and holidays.)

But, we warn you: Wherever you are, you’ll be drawn back outside and to this incredible view. Because the sky, the ocean, the horizon – they call you.

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Searching for Other Costa Rica Lodging Options?

For a country smaller than West Virginia, Costa Rica is vast. Its promises are many, its wonders expansive, and its to-do lists long. So really, it begins with you: What do you want to see and do? Where do you want to go?

At Luxury Villas Costa Rica, we have two specialties: homes at and on the best beaches in Guanacaste, and you. Yes, you. Because a great vacation is rooted in heart – in what you hope to get out of your travels. So please, tell us why you’ve chosen Costa Rica. If you don’t know exactly where you want to go, even if you haven’t whittled down your wish list, we can help. We love to help.

So please, peruse our Costa Rica destinations. Dream a little (and a lot). And then, get in touch! We look forward to it.