Destination guide

Live the "pura vida" in Costa Rica's vacation rentals

If you don't know what "Pura vida" means, don't worry – you'll learn soon enough on your Costa Rican holiday. There, "pura vida" is more than just a catchphrase to attract tourists; it's a way of life. It's pretty much the local "hakuna matata" – laid-back, no-worries, anything goes. It means surfing in the morning, yoga in the afternoon, partying at night, and chillaxing in between. Throw in a few outdoor adventures with the kids, a couple of romantic sunset strolls along the beach – pura vida! Enjoy it to the fullest from Costa Rica's vacation rentals.


Get your comfy shoes on if you plan on travelling back in time in Costa Rica. The places you'll go to will get you walking a lot. There's Cartago, the old centre of Spanish colonial power. Cartago is the home of the Santiago Apostol Parish Ruins, an unfinished church damaged by earthquake, and the Basilica de Nuestra Senora de los Angeles, a major Catholic pilgrimage site since the 17th century. In Diquis Valley, you'll find mysterious pre-Columbian stone spheres. And, of course, you have the museums of San Jose, which chronicle the different eras of Costa Rican history.

Outdoor activities

Volcanoes and rainforests from your Costa Rica vacation rental

An essential part of Costa Rica's "pura vida" is about getting up, close and personal with the country's great natural wonders. From the mighty volcanoes that run through the country's interior to its dense rainforest and stunning beaches, Costa Rica offers something for outdoor enthusiasts of every flavour. Where else can you zip line above the canopy in the morning, take a wildlife-spotting river trip in the afternoon, and then see turtles hatching before the end of the day?

How to get around

Getting around Costa Rica from vacation rentals is a trip

Buses are a reliable way of getting around Costa Rica. From San Jose, the capital city, you can pretty much hop on a bus to your vacation rental or to anywhere in the country. Bus rides in Costa Rica can be trippy, though. Schedules can be erratic, the roads can be bumpy, and the going is often slow. But the awesome scenery makes up for the crazy ride, and it's a great way to make friends with other travellers. The ferry service is a good alternative if your destination is on the country's Caribbean coast.

Food & drink 

Eat well the Costa Rican way from vacation rentals

In Costa Rica, you can fill your belly to your heart's content without much guilt. Traditional Costa Rican cuisine is considered healthy, focusing on fresh fruits, vegetables, and other ingredients. You can start your day with pinto, or stir-fried rice and beans topped with eggs and sour cream. For lunch, you can tuck into casado, which is rice and beans with meat and salad, plus plantains or corn tortillas. For dinner, you can stuff yourself with arroz con pollo, which is rice and chicken with vegetables and spices. Ceviche, raw seafood soaked in lemon juice, is a special treat.

Essential info

Essential facts for your Costa Rica vacation rentals stay

Costa Rica is in Central America, sandwiched by the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Caribbean Sea to the east. To the north lies Nicaragua, while Panama is to the southeast and Ecuador to the south. Costa Rica has a total area of 51,100 sq km and a population of 4.9 million. Around 83% of the population is made up of Caucasians and mestizos, while the rest are half-black, half-white, Native Americans, and Afro-Caribbean people. Spanish is the country's official language, but many Costa Ricans can talk comfortably in English. The official currency is the Costa Rican colon.

Where to stay near Costa Rica?

Our 2019 vacation rental listings offer a large selection of 6,553 house rentals near Costa Rica. From 2,614 Houses to 1,099 Villas, find unique vacation rental for you to enjoy a memorable stay with your family and friends. The best place to stay near Costa Rica for a long holiday or a weekend break is on HomeAway.

What are the most popular destinations to visit in Costa Rica?

There are many lovely places to stay for a holiday trip or just for a weekend in Costa Rica. From HomeAway travelers, the most popular destinations to visit are:

  • Tamarindo: 1,359 vacation rentals
  • Playas del Coco: 626 vacation rentals
  • Jaco: 1,107 vacation rentals
  • Sámara: 201 vacation rentals
  • Guanacaste: 2,689 vacation rentals

And HomeAway offers you the chance to discover many other popular destinations in Costa Rica! Please use our search bar to access the selection of vacation rentals available in other popular destinations.

What are the main cities to discover in Costa Rica?

Whether you're travelling with family or friends, here are the cities with the largest selection of vacation rentals for a holiday trip or just for a weekend in Costa Rica:

  • Tamarindo: 1,359 rentals
  • Jaco: 1,107 rentals
  • Sámara: 201 rentals
  • Playa Hermosa: 768 rentals
  • Liberia: 1,934 rentals

For other cities, please use our search bar to access the selection of vacation rentals available.

Can I find easy-access vacation rentals when travelling by plane to Costa Rica?

Yes of course. Our owners offer a large selection of vacation rentals near airports. The airports with a large selection of lodging choices in Costa Rica are:

  • Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO): 480 home rentals
  • Daniel Oduber Quiros International Airport (LIR): 877 home rentals
  • Puntarenas (JAP-Chacarita): 114 home rentals

For other airports, please use our search bar to access the selection of vacation rentals available.

Near which points of interest can I spend my holiday in Costa Rica?

HomeAway offers a large selection of lodging choices near lovely places in Costa Rica. From HomeAway travelers, the most popular points of interest to stay for a holiday trip or just for a weekend are:

  • Playa Conchal: 1,351 vacation homes
  • Manuel Antonio Beach: 409 vacation homes
  • Manuel Antonio National Park: 379 vacation homes
  • Nosara Beach: 505 vacation homes
  • Costa Rica National Stadium (Estadio Nacional de Costa Rica): 445 vacation homes

But there are many other points of interest around Costa Rica listed on HomeAway where you can find your place to stay. Just write your wanted destination in our search bar and have a look at our selection.

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