Costa Rica is one of the world’s most exotic and unique locations. The Central American country is equal parts sandy beaches, equal parts luscious rainforest, with plenty to see and explore. From the local cuisine to the hustle and bustle of the capital and main city San Jose, a trip to Costa Rica is pretty much as close to paradise as you can get. A former Spanish colony, Costa Rica is famous for its extremely diverse flora and fauna, as well as thousands of miles of unspoiled natural environments.
In among the luxurious white sandy beaches, world-class snorkelling and tasty dishes served with a distinct Spanish flavour, you may surprised to learn that Costa Rica has plenty of great places to gamble. Although the casino is definitely more understated than the likes of Las Vegas and Macau, you can still enjoy your favourite tables games in several great locations – ideal for a night spent sipping cocktails and winning some cash. We’ve put together a few ideas, so you can start planning that once in a lifetime trip to include a big night out!
Casino Fiesta, San Jose
Casino Fiesta is one of the primary casino hotspots in Costa Rica
Located right next to the airport, Casino Fiesta Alajuela is one several Casino Fiestas in Costa Rica, and is also one of the biggest and best. In a tropical environment with over 300 slot machines and 15 gaming tables, the casino is a large entertainment complex with a refined, casual and cosy atmosphere. It’s ideal for everyone from travellers looking for something fun to do in the city to couples out to earn some extra money to pay off the holiday.
Casino Fiesta Alajuela opened in 2005, and has several floors packed with the latest video casino games and slots – as well as more traditional games like baccarat, roulette and blackjack. You can also try out local favourites Tute (Caribbean Stud Poker), Canasta, Pai Gow and much more. There’s a VIP poker room with daily tournaments and open games, so you’ll always be able to get in on the action even if you’re visit takes place during the week. The Casino Fiesta also has a brilliant pirate-themed restaurant, naturally called ‘Pirates’, offering everything from the finest dining to exotic cocktails.
What better place to enjoy some swashbuckling fun than a country that was a famous pirate stop off back in the 1700s?
Hotel del Rey, San Jose
Could you strike it lucky at a luxury downtown hotel in San Jose?
Literally meaning ‘The King’s Hotel’, this luxurious hotel in downtown San Jose is set inside a luxurious art deco palace. Before you’re even entered the casino, you’ll be impressed by the stylish décor and old-school design. Alongside the modern rooms, fantastic Del Mar steak and seafood restaurant and lively 24 hours offering up traditional Costa Rican music and a huge range of drinks around the clock – you’ll also find one of the coolest casinos in San Jose.
Run by local owner “Big John” since 1993, this iconic casino has a classic feel, with blue-felt tables and big comfortable chairs matching well to the art deco interiors that will take visitors back in time. You’ll also find 75 slot machines that are a good options if the rummy, tute and poker tables get too busy, which is common, because there’s only five. With party girls aplenty, the Hotel del Rey casino is the epicentre of San Jose’s nightlife, so we’d recommend getting there a little early to ensure a seat!
If you like the sound of this retro-themed, nostalgia-inducing casino, then you should definitely check out 777 casino. With so many online casinos in the marketplace today, one way it stands out from the rest is through its unique web design and theme, which harks back to the classic days of Las Vegas in the 1950s and 60s. It perfectly captures the look and feel of the time, with Wurlitzer jukebox, chequered flooring and plenty of chrome visuals. So if you can’t afford to get to Costa Rica or don’t feel like waiting until your holiday to enjoy some classic gaming, visit 777 casino.
Grand Casino, Escazu
You won’t be short of a drink on the table at Grand Casino, which offers regular refills
If you’re looking for the typically big-casino feel you’d get at other resorts around the world, then the Grand Casino is the place to go. Owned by the Sheraton Hotel since it opened in 2013, there are 16 slot machines and 11 tables at the Grand Casino, which has everything that even the most enthusiastic gamers could possibly need. As well as the great selection of table games including Pai Gow, Punto Banco and Roulette, you can also get stuck into Texas Hold ‘Em and Jim Rummy at the numerous card tables on the main gaming floor. Visitors also benefit from regular drinks refills and of course a great selection of restaurants, adding to the bustling atmosphere it has throughout the day and night.
The Grand Casino is located in San Jose, so you can spend the day exploring the city before heading across to the Sheraton for a night of entertainment. You’ll also be able to get stuck into the regular live music in the bar on a weekend too, to make your night out even more fun.
Hotel Cocal & Casino, Jaco
There are over 30 slot machines available at Hotel Cocal & Casino
Located on Costa Rica’s breath-taking Pacific coast, Hotel Cocal is a stunning beach-front resort that offers the ideal relaxing break. Expect rooms with a sea view, swaying palm trees, a fully stocked spa, bar, restaurant, pool and of course a great casino. Owned by US businessman James Gray, this luxurious hotel is the ideal getaway for those who want to escape the business of San Jose to enjoy the more chilled-out vibes you get next to the coast, where you won’t have to venture too far to enjoy some gambling.
The gaming floor isn’t as grand as some of the others on this list, but it makes for a much more intimate experience where you can get chatting to the other guests, as well as the professional and friendly dealers. You’ll also be waited on hand and foot, so you don’t have to worry about ordering up another cocktail if you’re on a winning streak. You won’t be overwhelmed by busy, fast-paced tables, but your choice of games isn’t too limited either despite the smaller size of this casino. All in all there are three tables where the games alternate between poker, blackjack and rummy. If you just fancy a quiet night playing slots, then there’s a decent enough selection of machines too, with 30 to choose from.
Hotel Byblos, Manuel Antonio
Hotel Byblos might be small, but it can produce big wins if you play your cards right
One of the most beautiful parts of Costa Rica, if not the world, Manuel Antonio is a green garden packed with incredible wildlife, views and unspoiled beaches just waiting to be explored. Owned by a friendly local couple, Hotel Byblos is the perfect place to stay for all of this, with the huge added bonus of an on-site casino if you’re craving some competition after a day spent spotting monkeys, sloths and tropical birds.
Right next to the on-site pool and restaurant, you’ll find a compact but exciting gaming floor with roulette, poker, blackjack and craps, as well as a good selection of slot machines, plus four pool tables. This is the perfect casino to end a tough day of surfing, hiking, scuba diving or maybe even lying on the beach catching some rays. Oh, and you’ll be served some exceptional locally caught seafood if you take a break from the tables and check out the sports bar, too.
So whether it’s a break in the making or some ideas for your existing trip, make sure you add a visit to a casino onto your adventure list. And who knows, if you’re lucky enough you might even be able to pay for the holiday with a big win!