More folks experience luxury travel to invest in the self. Travelers crave a different kind of luxury these days, as more hotels offer the five-star experience. They aren’t looking at the number of stars anymore, nor do they desire to frequent the places that celebrities tend to go. Tourist traps are out, and authentic, experiential luxury travel is in.
Luxury travel is no longer about the biggest, most lavish places and amenities anymore. People feel more interested in luxury experience. Among millennials, 78 percent spend on experiences over material possessions, and statistics show the experiential luxury sector continually outperforms other categories of luxury goods.
Today, luxury travel centers more around curated experiences that allow travelers to get away, broaden their horizons and experience a culture authentically without getting swamped by the pretense of globalization. Small is big, and Costa Rica is making a big splash in luxury tourism.
Small is Big — Diverse Personalized Experience in Costa Rica
Hoteliers shouldn’t think of luxury experiences as a trip behind the velvet rope. Luxury tourism isn’t classist — in fact, it opens doors for those with moderate incomes to splurge on experiences where precise details are curated for deeper needs and based on the surrounding area. Luxury, in this case, is about the meaningful details.
A traveler, who is also a foodie, may camp out for the dining experience of having a personal chef on site to prepare true local cuisines. It’s not about piling on over-the-top experiences. It’s placing the extraordinary within the ordinary and getting away to a country like Costa Rica is already out of the ordinary. What seems ordinary to locals will offer comfort and something new to luxury travelers.
Some hoteliers ask clients to fill out questionnaires and get to know them to best curate their travel experiences. What are the true needs of the traveler in the moment?
Not long ago, many came to Costa Rica to backpack or for business, but the country is diverse for nature lovers, foodies and more. It’s safe and one of the oldest democratic nations in the world, earning over 1.7 million from tourism annually — luxury travelers look to make a social impact with their dollar while getting the finest experiences. Costa Rica aims to be carbon-neutral by 2021, so its focus on environmentalism brings tourists in.
Trending Destinations and Experiences in Costa Rica
While Costa Rica is a premier ecotourism destination, roughly a decade ago, the only places visitors found comfort in were a few hotels for those traveling for business and the odd luxury property for rent. Now, luxurious hotels and resorts spring up around trending destinations and experiences in Costa Rica, but there’s much unique and personal to be found in these popular places.
The Gulf of Papagayo
For travelers who want a posh experience, the Gulf of Papagayo is the place to go in Costa Rica. Sparkling beaches line the Guanacaste Province in the northwest. Papagayo Peninsula was once known for its fine horses and sabaneros (cowboys), and travelers can learn about the customs and traditions of the sabaneros in the Museo del Sabanero.
Now, Papagayo Peninsula serves as one of Costa Rica’s most luxurious destinations. The location is accessible from the LIR airport, only minutes away in Liberia — the region’s capital. Guests can personalize their experience through the rental of a lavish property or stay in a premier hotel, such as the Four Seasons Papagayo. The region also offers spas, golf courses and white sand beaches.
Visitors, especially honeymooners, flock to Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica for its untouched beauty. Manuel Antonio National Park is a popular ecotourism destination, along with Central America’s largest marina — Marina Pez Vela. Next to the marina is the luxurious Villa Punto de Vista, which received the 2016 Conde Nast Johansens Award, a distinction among luxurious hotels. Besides offering a full complimentary breakfast, the villa offers chef-prepared snacks by the double-edge infinity pool and on the beach, after being transported there.
Visitors seeking a unique experience wind down the narrow gorge of the Pacuare River to reach the Pacuare Lodge, a restored Spanish Colonial house with 14 suites that also serves as a coffee plantation. The poro and banana trees enrich the volcanic soil — visitors have access to limited hours of electricity on the self-sustaining plantation, but that doesn’t mean missing out on luxury.
An open-air restaurant serves all meals on a beautiful deck overlooking the natural area. Visitors have access to wildlife prowls and discovery hikes, along with trips to nearby villages. Once the trip is over, going back home means a trip again down the Pacuare River.
The Cloud Forests
Travelers escape the humidity and lowland heat with a visit to Costa Rica’s famous Cloud Forests. The landscape unfolds among a series of volcanoes and mountains where misty cloud forests please the eye and rare plants and other species reside. Visitors can dwell in the sky in a luxurious mountain lodge. The most popular forest is Monteverde, but those who shy away from crowds know it’s best to move on to Tenorio, Miravillaes, Braulio Carrillo and Los Quetzales, among others.
From the Gulf of Papagayo to the Cloud Forests, Costa Rica is a flourishing gem for luxury tourism. Modern luxury travel doesn’t come pre-packaged in a chic brochure handed to a traveler by their agent. Today, the industry affords more interconnected cultural experiences outside the anticipated and expected.
About Kacey Bradley
Kacey Bradley is the lifestyle and travel blogger for The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations and cultures, all while portraying her love for the world around her through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing and inspiring posts. Along with writing for her blog, she frequently writes for sites like US Travel News, Thought Catalog, Style Me Pretty, Tripping.com and more!