Why Go? A stunningly diverse ecological paradise that defines everything from tropical eden to Caribbean beach vacation to Pacific surf bonanza to volcano adventure tour, Costa Rica really has it all.
Best Ideas: Learn to surf on the Pacific, zipline through the rainforest in the interior, or party with your feet in the sand till the wee hours on the Caribbean side. Then slow it down at a jaguar rescue, a steep in a hot spring under a sleeping volcano, or surf and turf where the surf actually meets the turf.
Good to Know: Spanish is the official language, but tour guides and most tourism workers speak English. Colones are the currency, but credit cards are accepted at midrange establishments and above.
To the west is Pacific surf and to the east, Caribbean paradise. In between is a whole lot of jungle and volcano adventures. The original eco-tourism destination for Americans, Costa Rica is now a fully developed tourism hotspot with options for everyone from families to adrenaline junkies to, yes, even the debaucherous. Surf towns that line the Pacific Coast now pack clubs at night. Rainforests are now connected with ziplines and mountain bike trails, while nearby towns pour drinks to toast your survival.
If your bachelor party is looking for something other than drinking with the boys — but you’d still like to drink with the boys afterwards — a Costa Rican adventure is what you need. This guide will show you how to take advantage of nature to make your bachelor party uniquely Costa Rican, but to not sacrifice any indulgences you’d find elsewhere.
In This Article
Travel & Essentials for a Costa Rica Bachelor Party
Most beach and jungle towns are easy enough to walk around, or you can usually rent or borrow bikes from your hotel. Getting from one town to another, though, isn’t as convenient. Private van transfers could make sense depending on your group size. Car rentals also work. Buses and taxis are the most common options to connect towns, but with the shoddy roads, most transfers take a couple hours. There are enough backpackers traversing Costa Rica that shuttles and minibuses connect most places you’d want to visit, usually picking you up and dropping you off at your hotel. Some transfers are a bit of an adventure. For example, getting from the Monteverde cloud forest to the Arenal volcano town La Fortuna would take four hours by car. However, a jeep-boat-jeep transfer saves an hour in transit, and the smooth boat ride across Lake Arenal with volcano views is much preferred over the nauseatingly bumpy roads. To travel between San Jose, Arenal, and Puerto Viejo, check out the Pacuare River White Water Rafting transfers below.
Costa Rica has two seasons: dry season, which runs from December through April, and rainy season, which happens from May through November. Most tourists visit during the dry season, which also coincides with American winter, meaning Christmas and New Year’s are especially busy.
Two main international airports service Costa Rica: Liberia (LIB) and San Jose (SJO). Most flights operate out of San Jose International, but if you are headed anywhere near Guanacaste or the Nicoya Peninsula, pay the slight premium to fly into Liberia instead.
Pros and Cons of a Bachelor Party in Costa Rica
- It’s cheaper than a bachelor party in the U.S.
- Lots of adrenaline-pumping activities.
- The Pacific Coast is loaded with beach towns and surf spots.
- It’s naturally a beautiful country.
- Costa Ricans (ticos) are generally among the world’s happiest people.
- Lots of crime in San Jose and petty crime in tourist areas.
- Rainy season can get very wet, and dry season can be very dry.
- Bad roads and inconvenient connections between towns.
- An excess of American tourists.
Costa Rica Regions
A quarter of Costa Rica is protected land and parks, attracting (mostly American) visitors for decades and making tourism the country’s No. 1 industry. With its laid-back coasts and jungly core, Costa Rica has a little something for everyone.
I’ll focus only on the spots that work best for a bachelor party and leave out the others. For example, the Cano Negro National Wildlife Refuge is a premier birdwatching destination, but if you tell the boys you want to go birdwatching on your bachelor party, you may not get invited.
GuanacasteGuanacaste Province, Costa Rica
This region in the northwest sees the majority of Costa Rica’s beach and surf activity. If the town of Tamarindo is your base, you’ll have nightlife options after a day in the ocean or hiking volcanoes or waterfalls. (Photo courtesy of Guanacaste Traveler)
Nicoya PeninsulaNicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica
South of Guanacaste, tourism has been gradually waking up the formerly sleepy peninsula. There are lots of great surf beaches along this stretch, and Nosara, with its many retreat resorts, is becoming the next Tulum. (Photo courtesy of s9-4pr)
MonteverdeCarretera a Reserva de Monteverde, Provincia de Puntarenas, Monteverde, Costa Rica
The cloud forests of north central Costa Rica will feed your adrenaline with hiking, canyoning, ziplining, and bungee jumping. Monteverde has a backpacker vibe with good bar options to throw a few back while you badger your buddy who chickened out of the bungee jump. (Photo courtesy of HectorLo)
ArenalArenal Volcano, Alajuela Province, San Carlos, Costa Rica
The mighty Arenal Volcano is the centerpiece of the area. While the national park has decent hiking options, summiting the volcano is illegal. The highlight of the region is the hot springs, which have been channeled into a handful of spas and waterparks. Lake Arenal is also home to world-class kitesurfing and windsurfing, as well as nearby mountain bike trails. (Photo courtesy of Travel Local)
Puerto Viejo de TalamancaLimón Province, Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, Costa Rica
This laid-back beach town on the southeast coast has some Afro-Caribbean flavor. While most tourists head to the Pacific side, Puerto Viejo sees enough action to keep beach huts open into the night so you can party with your feet in the sand. (Photo courtesy of Wilma Compton)
Jaco BeachJaco Beach, Puntarenas Province, Costa Rica
San JoséSan José Province, San José, Costa Rica
Like many capital cities in Central America, San José is not a lovely, inviting place. You may have to fly in or out of here, but it’s dirty, high in crime, and doesn’t give your crew much reason to stick around. If you tried hard enough, you could probably find some redeeming qualities, but your time is best spent elsewhere. Move right along. (Photo courtesy of DConvertini)
Best Attractions and Activities in Costa Rica
Monteverde Extremo ParkGuanacaste Province, Costa Rica
A must-visit and perhaps the main reason to stop in Monteverde. The zipline course at Monteverde Extremo Park puts every other zipline course to shame. The two-and-a-half-hour canopy tour crisscrosses a massive valley and includes a Tarzan swing. The final zipline lets you fly in a Superman pose for half a mile back across the valley. This park also operates the only bungee jump in Costa Rica. Your best play here is to tell the boys about the ziplining and not mention the bungee jump. Then, when you arrive and the staff starts pushing the bungee jump add-on, let machismo peer pressure run its course. (Photo courtesy of Brian Biros)
Arenal Hot Springs142, Provincia de Alajuela, San Carlos, Costa Rica
While Arenal Volcano is a sight to see looming over the town of La Fortuna, the volcano’s best gift lies at its base. A handful of resorts were constructed around Arenal’s natural hot springs, offering everything from high-end spa treatments to waterslides. While the resorts charge many hundreds of dollars per night and cater mostly to couples, some of them offer day passes. The two most impressive are Baldi Hot Springs ($40 for a day pass) and The Springs ($65 for a two-day pass). Both have roughly 20 pools of various temperatures, waterfalls, waterslides, swim-up bars, and stay open until 10 p.m. If you want a day for the guys to relax — or maybe recover from a bender — there is no better place to do it. (Photo courtesy of Brian Biros)
Pacuare River White Water RaftingPacuare River, Limón Province, Costa Rica
A rafting ride down the Class III rapids of the Pacuare River takes you between jungled cliffs and waterfalls. Admittedly, the rapids aren’t death-defying, but you will get your adrenaline rush and end up plenty wet. Ask your guide for a good time to paddle up to your buddies’ raft and pull one of them into the river. The best part about this rafting trip, though, is the convenience of it. The rafting company will pick you up from your lodging in San Jose, Arenal or Puerto Viejo, then drop you off at your lodging at any of those three cities — it doesn’t have to be the same city. Use this for transit days. If you are in Puerto Viejo and need to fly out of San Jose, turn an annoying transit into an awesome whitewater rafting adventure. (Photo courtesy of frankvdhuevel)
ATV Tours TamarindoAvenida, Calle Central, Provincia de Guanacaste, Tamarindo, Costa Rica
Cruise the backroads, jungle paths, and remote beaches of Tamarindo on an all-terrain vehicle or utility vehicle with ATV Tours Tamarindo. If it’s rainy season, expect to get wet and muddy. The guides make the tour (from $65) as fast and wild as your crew can handle. Slowest man buys the first round. (Photo courtesy of ATV Tamarindo)
Green Iguana Surf CampPuntarenas Province, Jaco, Costa Rica
What better time to take up a new hobby where you’ll likely make a fool of yourself than when your best buddies are there to heckle you? Green Iguana is a longstanding surf school in Playa Dominical on Costa Rica’s southern Pacific coast. Accommodations are basic, and the website resembles something from the late ‘90s, but an undeveloped feel is the idea here. Camp includes full board, two daily lessons, and extra excursions from $100 per person per day. When you’ve graduated with your first waves under your belt, head 90 minutes up the road to celebrate in Jaco Beach. (Photo courtesy of Green Iguana Surf Camp)
Jaguar Rescue CenterIn front of Villas del Caribe, Limón, Punta Cocles, Costa Rica
You have to be skeptical with most animal rehabilitation centers in Latin America, but the Jaguar Rescue Center is certifiably on the up and up. Just outside of Puerto Viejo, you’ll see sloths, monkeys, snakes, tropical birds, a crocodile, and macay (small wild spotted cat). It’s not a zoo, and the fact they don’t have jaguars on display is a testament to their mission to rehab and release rather than keeping animals to attract tourists. It’s well worth an afternoon and the $20 entry — you might even learn something. (Photo courtesy of the Jaguar Rescue Center)
Jaco VIPOffice Located at the Crocs Casino and Resort, Pastor Diaz Ave 61011, Barrio Los Faroles, Puntarenas Province, Jaco, Costa Rica
If you’re looking for someone else to do the legwork, Jaco VIP will put together the ultimate, upscale bachelor party. Rent one of their mansions with a private chef and let them arrange your party bus transfers, ATV rides, and sport fishing tours. You’ll obviously pay a premium, but they are well-versed in how to take care of a group of young men. You don’t find many tour operators in Costa Rica, where quality, punctuality, reliability, and attentiveness can be assumed. This is one of them. (Photo courtesy of Jaco VIP)
The Best Hotels, Resorts & Airbnbs in Costa Rica
Be sure there is ample security where you are staying. Break-ins and theft at less secure accommodations are far too common.
Hotel Pasatiempo350 Av Central, Provincia de Guanacaste, Tamarindo, Costa Rica
This unassuming boutique hotel offers reasonable accommodation with jungle pool vibes and an inviting tiki bar. It’s close enough to walk to the beach or any party in Tamarindo, but chill enough to let you and the fellas have your own party on the premises. Rooms start at $120 in dry season and $100 in rainy season, including a stellar breakfast highlighted by their breakfast burrito. With only 22 rooms, your bachelor party can set the tempo here. (Photo courtesy of Hotel Pasatiempo)
Arenal Backpackers ResortCalle 480, Provincia de Alajuela, La Fortuna, 21007, Costa Rica
Pay more attention to “resort” than “backpackers” in the name. If you didn’t look at the price tag and other patrons, you’d think you were in a resort. The self-proclaimed “five-star hostel” features a large pool with swim-up bar, hammocks, volcano views, and a restaurant right in the middle of town. Their transfers, tours, food, and drinks are all very reasonable (remember, it’s technically a hostel), but the best deal around is the day pass to the Baldi Hot Springs. You can book a two-bed private room from $65, a private “safari tent” from $29, or slum it in an eight-bed dorm for as low as $10 per night! The best part about staying in a hostel? Backpackers like to party. (Photo courtesy of Arenal Backpackers Resort)
The Westin Golf Resort & Spa, Playa ConchalPlaya Conchal, Guanacaste Province, Cabo Velas District, 50308, Costa Rica
If you’re looking for golf, pool, beach, drinks and food — and that’s all you’re looking for — you’ll never have to leave this five-star all-inclusive resort. Start your day at the breakfast buffet, then hit the links for 18. Grab seafood lunch at the poolside restaurant, then do some hard afternoon lounging on the beach. At night, pick one of the Italian, Asian, Mediterranean, French, or Latin-themed restaurants, then continue to one of the four resort bars. Through it all, tico staff will be nearby to happily serve you endless drinks. Tomorrow, rinse, and repeat. From under $185 per person per night, you can house two guys in each roomy junior suite. If you have a bank of Marriott Bonvoy points, rates start at 70,000 points per night. (Photo courtesy of The Westin Golf Resort & Spa, Playa Conchal)
Chira Glamping MonteverdeCerro Plano Sapo Dorado road, Provincia de Puntarenas, Monteverde, 60109, Costa Rica
You may wonder why a glamping spot costs twice as much as any hotel in town, but when you see the six luxury domes here, you’ll understand. For a truly unique experience, spend your bachelor party in a windowed treehouse dome with terraces holding hot tubs and hammocks. The most impressive feature may be the glass-bottom “infinite shower” — though passersby will be disappointed to see your buddies in it instead of the usual influencers working for the perfect shot that passes Instagram decency standards. The names of the domes indicate they are catered to couples and families, but if you book out all six, you fellas can have your way with the place. Prices start from $80 to $160 per person per night, depending on the tent. Don’t make them regret ever hosting a bachelor party. But if they do, let it be yours. (Photo courtesy of Chira Glamping Monteverde)
Residencia KeniaLimón Province, Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, Costa Rica
This luxury thatched roof villa, Residencia Kenia, holds up to six adults for $375 per night. It has three en suite bedrooms, a private pool, an open air rec room with a pool table, and hammocks for everyone. You won’t be able to hear your neighbors, and — more importantly — they won’t be able to hear you. Even with the isolation, you’ll be a 10-minute walk to Puerto Viejo’s main strip and beach. (Photo courtesy of Airbnb)
Jaco MansionJaco Beach, Puntarenas Province, Costa Rica
If you can round up the entire gang for your sendoff, Jaco Mansion has a private pool, outdoor bar, maid service, security, and 18 beds. They openly cater to bachelor parties and offer add-ons like airport limo transfers, a personal chauffeur, barbecue pool parties, and boat parties. At $1,350 per night, a packed house frees up plenty of budget for those extras. (Photo courtesy of Airbnb)
Best Restaurants in Costa Rica
La Esquina de Buenos AiresCalle 11, Soledad, San José, Costa Rica
If you have to spend a night in San José, make the most of it with dinner at Costa Rica’s best steakhouse. The Malbec and lomito steak will make you think you’re in Argentina, or get enough parrillada mixed-grill platters to sample the entire farm. Make a reservation and ask for Walter’s section if you want to be entertained. (Photo courtesy of La Esquina de Buenos Aires)
KOKi Beach Restaurant Bar LoungeOcean front on main street towncenter Frente el mar en la calle principal Av71 y calle 219 caribe sur, Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, 70403, Costa Rica
A refreshing, upscale break from all the budget grub in Puerto Viejo, but with it comes with (relative) upscale prices. However, KOKi Beach does deliver. Tell the crew to shower up for a classy dinner with creative, fresh seafood dishes, and craft cocktails. The octopus, sea bass and surf ‘n’ turf are reliable favorites. Reservations are recommended, and be prepared to drop $50 a man. But a daily sunset happy hour gets you twice as many cocktails for your colones. (Photo courtesy of KOKi Beach Restaurant Bar Lounge)
Choco Cafe Restaurant and Coffee Shop75 mts de Serpentario Monteverde, carretera nacional Frente al Centro Comercial Monteverde, Costa Rica, 620, Provincia de Puntarenas, Monteverde, Costa Rica
Many coffee drinkers are disappointed when they show up in Costa Rica, which is known for producing high-quality coffee, and see Nescafé packets everywhere. In most cases, the good coffee is exported, and ticos are left to drink the cheap stuff. If you have been missing proper barista-made coffee, particularly after a night of too many Imperials, the Choco Cafe in Monteverde will remind you of your favorite coffeehouse back home. Come back for lunch, dinner, or dessert, too. The friendly owners have filled out the menu, making it the all-around best cafe in Monteverde. (Photo courtesy of Choco Cafe Restaurant and Coffee Shop)
Kappa Sushi FortunaCalle 468, Provincia de Alajuela, La Fortuna, Costa Rica
It’s understandable that you’d be skeptical of a midrange sushi restaurant in Costa Rica, particularly when it’s inland. You can believe the local hype though about Kappa Sushi in La Fortuna. The 40-piece sushi boat for $28 means it’s only a question of how many boats you get for the group. Another great endorsement — vegans love the vegan sushi as much as sushi lovers love the sushi. The only issue you may have is seating your entire group together in this popular, humble establishment. (Photo courtesy of Kappa Sushi Fortuna)
Best Bars and Clubs in Costa Rica
Most bars and beach clubs are open-air, making security a challenge, not that anyone seems to be trying too hard to provide it. Watch for pickpockets and don’t leave drinks unattended. While you may think women are the normal target for roofies, plenty of guys have ended up drugged and robbed at bars across Costa Rica. You’ve seen “The Hangover,” right?
Crazy Monkey BarGuanacaste Province, Tamarindo, Costa Rica
Inside the Best Western Tamarindo Vista Villas, this is the spot to be in Tamarindo on Friday nights. Free drinks for ladies means the ratios are in your favor. Don’t worry, beers for the guys cost less than $2, so you’ll be able to keep up. Join the packed outdoor dance floor once everyone’s inhibitions have disappeared, or one-up the dance floor and jump in the barside pool. (Photo courtesy of Crazy Monkey Bar)
Bar AmigosPuntarenas Province, Monteverde, Costa Rica
Almost the entirety of Monteverde nightlife happens here, which is an efficient model in a small town. You’ll find locals, tourists, and seemingly-too-young patrons on the dance floor every night. Head back tomorrow and you’ll see the same faces again. (Photo courtesy of Bar Amigos)
Hotel Cocal and CasinoJaco Beach, Calle Cocal, Provincia de Puntarenas, Jacó, Costa Rica
In case you didn’t get the memo, prostitution is legal in Costa Rica. So instead of prostitutes working shady streets and back alleys, they frequent unofficially designated bars. With no need to hide their profession, they mingle and negotiate rates for the evening with “sex-pats.” The most famous of these bars is Hotel Cocal and Casino in Jaco Beach. For the first five seconds, this may appear to be a normal bar, but the dress of the women and dynamic of the patrons will quickly clue you in. If you haven’t seen legal sex tourism at work, it’s on display every night here. Expect to get plenty of attention from the ladies with dollar signs in their eyes when a large group of men walks in. (Photo courtesy of Bill Clanton)
Centerfolds Gentlemen’s ClubUnnamed Road, Provincia de Puntarenas, Jacó, Costa Rica
Amongst a collection of hooker bars in Costa Rica’s biggest party town, Centerfolds is a proper strip club. Solid, black entry doors, pole dancers, lap dances, large bouncers, and expensive drinks will make Jaco Beach feel like home … if home for your crew includes many strip clubs. Be sure you keep your own tally of drinks and double-check the bill. Looking to go next-level though? Inquire about the naked sushi special ($65 per person). Presentation is an important part of the sushi experience, and I bet you’ve never had sushi presented like this. (Photo courtesy of Centerfolds Gentlemen’s Club)
Every guide ever written about Costa Rica has recited the national motto, “Pura Vida!” But that literally translates to “pure life,” which seems slightly inaccurate for your bachelor party plans. In Costa Rica, the phrase means much more. It’s an appreciation for life, reminding us to enjoy the simple pleasures. If those simple pleasures can include booze and strippers, then OK. Pura Vida!