The 10 Best Resorts in Central America


The best resorts in Central America, according to Travel + Leisure readers marry luxurious accommodations with activities that celebrate adventure and nature.

As it did last year, Costa Rica leads the pack of winners for 2022’s best resorts in Central America with a whopping seven spots. Belize managed to secure two spots on the list, with Nicaragua snagging the last slot this time. It seems, for now, Costa Rica’s hospitality prowess remains unmatched by its neighbors.

Every year for our World’s Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. Hotels (including safari lodges) were rated on their facilities, location, service, food, and overall value. Properties were classified as city hotel, resort, or safari lodge based on their locations and amenities.

Belize continues to represent an incredible value, with a landscape that can go toe-to-toe with Costa Rica, offering lush rain forests, powder-sand beaches, and pristine waters for diving and snorkeling. Eco-lodge Hamanasi Adventure & Dive Resort (No. 6) is a prime example, offering personalized service and friendly staffers who lead “excursions that are excellent due to their top-notch tour guides,” according to one voter, who also gushed, “Hamanasi now has a special place in my heart!”

Rancho Santana, which came in at No. 4, is a dynamic surfing spot in Nicaragua. One person mentioned its “spectacular beaches, fishing, turtle sanctuary, and truly unique birding.” Other highlights include farm-to-table dining and its “excellent private beach” that one reader praised. Another fan summarized: “hidden treasure.”

The best resorts in Central America all elicit similarly enthusiastic comments from readers. So what set this year’s No. 1 apart? Read on for the details — and to see the entire list.

  1. Nayara Tented Camp, Arenal Volcano National Park, Costa Rica

A Nayara property has topped this category for the last three years — and the two sister resorts are never too far behind. This is the second year in a row that the newest Nayara haven has landed in first place. This luxurious property recalls some of the best African safari lodges with its cliff-top canvas glamping tents and superior service. The massive tents boast romantic four-poster beds, large bathrooms with soaking tubs, and decks with private hot-spring-fed pools that overlook the Arenal Volcano. Voters’ comments are appropriately effusive, with statements like “Everything was perfect and service was exceptional,” and “a jewel of a resort, outstanding in every respect.” Several readers also mentioned it was the best hotel they had stayed at. One summarized: “This was the most luxurious vacation we have ever been on.”

Score: 97.55

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  • Hotel Belmar, Monteverde, Costa Rica

Score: 97.50

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  • Nayara Springs, Arenal Volcano National Park, Costa Rica

Score: 96.79

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  • Rancho Santana, Rivas, Nicaragua

Score: 96.75

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  • Rio Celeste Hideaway Hotel, Guanacaste, Costa Rica

                 Score: 96.00

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  • Nayara Gardens, Arenal Volcano National Park, Costa Rica

WBA Hall of Fame honoree. Score: 95.09

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  • Hamanasi Adventure & Dive Resort, Hopkins Village, Belize

Score: 94.31

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  • Victoria House Resort & Spa, Ambergris Caye, Belize

Score: 93.82

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  • Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo, Guanacaste, Costa Rica

Score: 92.13

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  1. Hacienda AltaGracia, Auberge Resorts Collection, Pérez Zeledón, Costa Rica

Score: 91.29

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