Hotels in the Palmar Sur Area of Costa Rica

by Joanne Thomas

Thanks to its airport, the small town of Palmar Sur in central Costa Rica serves mainly as a gateway to the country's Pacific Coast and national parks. Accommodations in the wider region are generally one of two hotel styles: eco-friendly lodges set within the rainforests and mountains of the interior; and beachfront resorts in coastal communities such as Drake Bay. Both cater to visitors seeking outdoor adventures, often with packages combining lodging with activities.

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Eco-Lodge Resort and Hotel

Eco-Lodge Resort and Hotel occupies a 600-acre reserve within the Northern Pacific mountains of Costa Rica, offering views of Coter Lake and Arenal Volcano. Guests have a choice of basic, garden-view guest rooms and private wood-paneled cabins with terraces or balconies. In addition to its accommodations, the resort offers a long menu of excursions including a canopy tour, sport fishing, guided hikes and kayaking trips. The main lodge houses a restaurant offering Costa Rican and international dishes, and a full bar with a pool table and chess sets. An unexpected feature of the resort is its two "palenques," communal huts built by the local Maleku Indian community to demonstrate their traditions and culture to visitors, as well as offering arts and crafts for purchase.

Hotel Oleaje Sereno

Hotel Oleaje Sereno near Palmar Sur is scenically situated next to the Sierpe River. The hotel specializes in sport fishing packages and offers excursions to local rivers and lakes with abundant fish species. It also offers nature-watching tours of the mangrove forests, crocodile-watching trips and excursions to nearby Corcovado National Park, which can all be packaged with accommodations. The two-story hotel offers guest rooms that open onto a long balcony furnished with rocking chairs, and some have garden views. Guests enjoy a daily breakfast, which is served in an open-air riverfront pavilion. The on-site restaurant is open for lunch and dinner.

Drake Bay Wilderness Resort

Drake Bay Wilderness Resort consists of 20 rustic cabins with views of the bay, rainforest or mountains, an open-air bar and restaurant, and hammocks strung between palms on a beachfront lawn. Each cabin features wood-paneled walls, a modern tiled bathroom, a porch and a hot shower. Some are adorned with painted tropical frescoes. Economy cabins with a shared bathroom are a budget-friendly alternative. The resort includes an organic farm that supplies the restaurant with fresh tropical fruit for the daily breakfast buffet, which also includes Costa Rican coffee, home-baked cinnamon rolls and gallo pinto, a local breakfast dish made with rice and beans.

Rio Sierpe Lodge

Rio Sierpe Lodge is located in a remote spot between rainforest-covered hills and the Pacific Coast, accessible by boat along the Rio Sierpe from the Palmar Sur airport. The main building houses a dining room and a small library. Hiking trails connect the lodge with the surrounding primary forest. The lodge offers 14 guest rooms, six of which are two-story units each with a loft bedroom. These are available only as part of packages that also include meals, park fees, transfers and a choice of diving, fishing, or nature-based excursions that include whale and dolphin watching, bird-watching, kayaking and horseback riding trips.

About the Author

A writer of diverse interests, Joanne Thomas has penned pieces about road trips for Hyundai, children's craft projects for Disney and wine cocktails for Robert Mondavi. She has lived on three continents and currently resides in Los Angeles, where she is co-owner and editor of a weekly newspaper. Thomas holds a BSc in politics from the University of Bristol, England.