Costa Rica, Hacienda Style
From luxury beachfront resorts to signature properties surrounded by their own coffee plantations, these are the best hacienda-style locations for a unique getaway in Costa Rica.
Hacienda style homes have been part of Costa Rica’s culture and heritage since the 1800s, when Spanish colonial settlers built their homesteads at coffee plantations or at cattle farms. This unique and romantic architecture has remained throughout the years, and up until now in the minds of prestigious local architects and interior designers who have applied the hacienda-style distinguished look to luxury hotels and resorts, rental villas and private homes, or to make renovations and enhancements to existing 19th century colonial properties.
The new luxury traveler is constantly looking for unique and sensorial experiences, which include contact with local cultures and traditions. We will take a look at the best colonial-style haciendas in Costa Rica to either stay or visit during your trip. But first, let’s remember some of the authentic characteristics which define these beautiful masterpieces.
A colonial hacienda will mostly welcome you with a magnificent central courtyard and a harmonious water fountain. Red clay roof tiles will always be a must. Exterior big archways and open terraces will all be part of hacienda-style architecture, providing a sense of warmth and belonging to owners and visitors alike. Thick walls with bright stucco textures and finishes will combine perfectly with the exposed heavy wood beams on ceilings and pillars. Carefully crafted Juliet balconies on windows will create the ideal setting for a romantic serenata. And, the gardens! Haciendas will mostly be surrounded by beautiful and exuberant gardens, tall shadow trees, colored flowerbeds, and cobblestone pathways.
WHERE TO STAY
Costa Rica Marriott Hotel Hacienda Belén
Located in the picturesque district of Belén, Heredia province, just minutes from the capital city of San José and the Juan Santamaría International Airport, the splendid Costa Rica Marriott Hotel Hacienda Belén rises in the middle of a 12-acre coffee plantation, originally owned and harvested by the Zamora family. Newly built in 1996, the property perfectly captures the elegance and look of a 19th century colonial homestead. From the moment you turn into the hotel’s main entrance, bordered with coffee plants on each side of the road, you will feel taken back to a different age and time. However, once you step into the lobby, high-tech services, modern chic décor and newly renovated accommodations will make of your stay a very comfortable and seamless one, not to mention the relaxing moments you can enjoy at Küo Spa with its carefully curated treatments, or at the outdoor pool and the mountain-view golf driving range. Let yourself be spoiled by renowned chefs who will delight you with local and international cuisine at one of the hotel’s unique restaurants and bars, or just sit back with a book or tablet at one of the many comfy lounges. While at the Costa Rica Marriott Hotel Hacienda Belén, please also take some time to explore nearby attractions such as museums, cultural shows, coffee tasting and volcano tours, ziplining adventures, or souvenir shopping.
Hacienda AltaGracia, Auberge Resorts Collection
Above the mountains in Cajón de Perez Zeledón, on the southwestern part of Costa Rica, rests the magnificent Hacienda AltaGracia, an Auberge Resorts Collection property, offering 50 private luxury casitas with state-of-the-art amenities and surrounded by an exuberant 180-acre tropical forest. Originally owned by the Esquivel family, the estate includes a coffee farm, fine equine stables, organic food gardens and a magnificent spa and wellness center operated by The Well, one of the world’s leading holistic and wellbeing service suppliers. Elegant and yet rustic elements carefully combine to create an inviting ambiance for the discerning luxury traveler, from warming fire pits and vine-covered pergolas, to open in-room terraces overlooking the lowlands and magnificent sunsets. Guests staying at Hacienda AltaGracia are entitled to all meals and non-alcoholic beverages, daily adventure and wellness programs, land transfers between Pérez Zeledón local airport and the resort, and a personal concierge to arrange tours, dining, wellness appointments and other last-minute requirements. While staying at this extraordinary property, feel free to explore the surrounding attractions such as the remote Boruca tribal village, the Marino Ballena National Park, or any of the many adventure tours available.
JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort & Spa at Hacienda Pinilla
Hacienda Pinilla is a 4,500-acre luxury gated community on Costa Rica's North Pacific coast, and this is where the breathtaking JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort & Spa rises facing the white sands and blue waters of Playa Mansita. This paradisaical land was once a cattle ranch with vast pasture lands and tropical dry forests which met the Pacific Ocean. Guests arriving at the JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort & Spa can immediately feel the authentic Costa Rican countryside vibe, from the bellmen and front desk staff dressed as hacienda workers to the inviting white hammocks hanging along the open lobby corridors. As soon as you pass the check-in area and step into the open courtyard, your eyes will experience the most amazing view of the resort, the vast swimming pool surrounded by palm trees and curated landscapes, and the marvelous beach with a select number of chaise lounges and blue umbrellas. Luxury rooms and beachfront suites offer superb comfort and lavish amenities. The perfect combination of magnificent colonial architectural details, fresh cuisine at one of the on-site restaurants, as well as its spa, fitness center and 18-hole golf course, make this resort a favorite among luxury travelers. Watching the sunset from the infinity-edge pool or sitting next to a bonfire at the beach while drinking a delicious cocktail is a must while staying at the JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort & Spa.
Los Sueños Marriott Ocean & Golf Resort
Located on a 1,100-acre rainforest and overlooking Playa Herradura, the Los Sueños Marriott Ocean & Golf Resort provides a delightful view to its visitors with a colorful contrast of its hacienda-style terracotta exterior walls and the green landscape surrounding it. This oceanfront luxury resort is only a 90-minute drive from the Juan Santamaría International Airport and its premium location allows visitors to enjoy an array of eco-adventure activities and tours, local souvenir shopping, nightlife at the Jacó beachside town or just walking along the lively Los Sueños Marina. Picturesque ceramic floor tiles and decorative archways welcome guests as they enter the property to the sound of a falling cascade. One of the latest additions to this already marvelous property, is the adults-only pool exclusively available at its new swim-up rooms. Golf lovers will enjoy stopping at La Iguana Golf Club, nestled among tropical landscapes and home to iguanas and monkeys, to play a round or two at its 18-hole championship golf course. If relaxation and wellness is something not to be missed on your perfect vacation, do not forget to book an appointment at Sibö Spa, which name was inspired by the creator of all living things in the ancient and indigenous culture of Cabecar and Bri Bri tribes.
Located just outside of the rural Turrialba town in the Cartago province and minutes away from the majestic Turrialba volcano, the charming Casa Turire luxury colonial-style boutique hotel offers its visitors a sensorial experience within lush rainforest surroundings and pristine rivers. Each of the property’s sixteen elegant and colorful rooms are uniquely decorated and inspired on the sugarcane homesteads from the past century. The farmland, once owned by the Rojas Cortés family, was one of the most important sugarcane and coffee plantations during the first half of the 20th century. Guests can also visit the property’s working sustainable farm, with its own herb and vegetable garden from which chefs pick fresh produce to create farm-to-table delicious local and international menu options. Free-range hens lay the eggs for breakfast and all bakery is homemade. Besides relaxing at the pool or just reading a book at one of the warmly appointed living rooms or terraces, guests can also go hiking along picturesque trails, horseback riding or birdwatching in the hacienda’s beautiful surrounding gardens. Alfresco dining and an outdoor deck provide a countryside sensorial experience to the fortunate Casa Turire visitors. While staying at this graceful boutique hacienda, the more adventurous guests can also enjoy going out on a nearby coffee tour, tubbing at the Pejibaye River or white-water rafting at the Pacuare River.
Hotel Hacienda Guachipelín
Who said we could not enjoy full adrenaline eco adventures, an invigorating swim at pristine turquoise natural waterfalls, volcanic mud treatments, hot springs, relaxing spa experiences, horseback riding, trekking, mountain biking, river tubing and great Costa Rican food at a cattle ranch in Guanacaste? Dating back to the 1880s, the land where Hotel Hacienda Guachipelín is located reflects the country’s cattle ranching traditions, in a breathtaking setting on the country’s tropical dry forest, and overlooking the magnificent Rincón de la Vieja Volcano, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Since 1975, the Batalla family who owns this piece of paradise, has preserved its natural surroundings, and opened its doors to visitors looking for an authentic sensorial experience. The hacienda’s 79 comfortable and air-conditioned ranch-style rooms are spread throughout the curated tropical gardens with centennial trees providing a must-needed shadow from the warm lowlands sun. Its farm-to-table cuisine and fresh fruit cocktails become a well-deserved treat after a day full of activities. The ranch is home to horses, cattle, pigs, chickens, and turkeys, as well to its own vegetable and herbs greenhouse. Located just 21 miles north from the Daniel Oduber International Airport in Liberia, Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin is the ideal spot to enjoy Costa Rica’s extraordinary northern plains natural attractions.
WHERE TO GO
One-day tours and unique experiences at Costa Rica long-time haciendas.
Hacienda El Viejo
The impressive Hacienda El Viejo mansion, built in the 1870’s on an 18,000-acre sugar cane plantation in Guanacaste province, was once owned by former Costa Rican presidents Bernardo Soto and Próspero Fernández, as well as by former Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza. Nowadays, this privately-owned family farm allocated 5,000 acres of its land to create the Hacienda El Viejo National Wildlife Refuge, within the private refuge category which protects the habitat of hundreds of bird species, reptiles, amphibians, and mammals. Besides enjoying an exquisite typical Costa Rican lunch at the perfectly kept hacienda house, visitors can enjoy boat tours along the Tempisque River with amazing views of the Palo Verde National Park’s flora and fauna. Be sure not to miss the on-site Rum Experience where you can learn about the production process of high-quality rum from Costa Rican sugar cane. The optional rum tasting at the end of the activity could be the icing on the cake for rum lovers and amateurs alike!
Hacienda Orosi Mineral Hot Springs
Located in the Orosi Valley at Costa Rica’s Cartago province, and just 38 kilometers southeast of San José, this hidden gem surrounded by tropical forests and exuberant vegetation provides its visitors with a sensorial and immersive wellness experience. Unwinding at one of the seven pools with thermal mineral water oscillating between 93°F and 102°F is a must and represents the highlight of Hacienda Orosi. Besides participating in the scenic mandatory coffee tour, filled with creative photo spots along the way for your Instagram stories, and trekking through mountain trails, visitors can stop by La Granja to share some time with its local dwellers - cows, bulls, oxen, horses, donkeys, mules, peacocks, pheasants, chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys, sheep, goats, pigs, and rabbits, as well as by the hacienda’s three lakes with wild species of ducks and white herons.
Hacienda Casona de Santa Rosa
Hacienda Casona Santa Rosa is one of the largest and oldest haciendas in Costa Rica, originally built in 1663. The house was transformed and expanded in 1895, and then again in 1919. Currently, the Costa Rica Ministry of Culture and the Costa Rica National Parks Service are the ones responsible for carrying out the necessary restorations and site management to keep the historic place as it is now. Home of the historical battle of March 20th, 1856, the Santa Rosa National Park is the only wilderness protected area that has a museum within its territory. The Casona de Santa Rosa Historical Museum consists of different ambiance rooms inside the house that will allow visitors to learn about the history and battles that took place at the hacienda. Rightfully declared a World Heritage Site, the park represents the only patch of preserved dry tropical forest in Central America.
Hacienda-style hotels in Costa Rica offer a unique and immersive cultural experience, beautiful surroundings, and a range of activities and amenities for luxury travelers of all ages.
Original content by Costa Rica Luxury Travel Magazine.