1) Santa Teresa/Montezuma
Santa Teresa is definitely the place I've visited most. One of the reasons it's so great is because you can visit Santa Teresa, Mal Pais, and Montezuma all while you're there. Each part has something completely different to offer. Although all have a pretty hippie vibe, Santa Teresa offers more of a surfer vibe while Montezuma offers a true hippie vibe. I like to go to Santa Teresa for the restaurants, the nightlife, the sunsets, and surfing. I enjoy Montezuma for a less crowded beach trip, the Montezuma waterfall, and the street vendors in downtown Montezuma for shopping. And finally, I always go to Mal Pais for snorkeling and buying local, fresh seafood since this is where all the fishermen come and go fishing.
I've only been to Dominical once and it was easily my favorite trip I've ever taken in Costa Rica. We went during rainy season so it wasn't too crowded and we definitely spent a lot more time just chilling in our Airbnb and at the beach. Our Airbnb made the trip. We got a loft with a jungle view from our bed. Downstairs was a fully stocked kitchen where we cooked dinner on rainy nights. It was raining and lightening most nights which we could see from our bed at night and the sound of rain on the tin roof was really magical. You MUST go to Nauyaca waterfall. It's one of the most famous in Costa Rica. It's a pretty long hike to get there, which we really enjoyed, and so worth it once you get there.
Uvita is really famous for their beach that's shaped like a "whale tail" which we visited while we were there. There's also another national park here which is part of the Osa Conservation Area which was created as a safe area for humpback whale migration. There are tons of beaches to explore here and we ate at the sodas (restaurants with typical Costa Rican food) for the most part. Again, our Airbnb was a huge reason why the trip was so great. The first photo below shows our view from the top floor of our Airbnb. We also had a pool, a huge kitchen for cooking, and an incredible view.
4) Manuel Antiono
Manuel Antiono is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Costa Rica and it's really easy for me to understand why. It's pretty developed so there's a lot of shopping and really good places to eat. Manuel Antiono Falafel Bar being my personal favorite place to eat while I'm there. There's Manuel Antiono National Park where you can see endless species of wildlife that Costa Rica has to offer and inside the park is one of the most beautiful beaches I've been to in Costa Rica with crystal clear and calm water which is perfect for swimming. Outside of the park, it's a great place to surf or to learn how to surf.
5) Puerto Viejo
Puerto Viejo is located in the province of Limon which is on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica. All of the other beaches I have mentioned prior have been on the Pacific Coast. Puerto Viejo is a completely different vibe that other beach towns in Costa Rica. There is a huge Afro-Costa Rican cultural influence. The food is different, the culture is different, the beaches are different, the language is different. Since I've only been once, my main thing I would recommend would be to try the rice and beans which Limon is famous for. We stayed in a tree house Airbnb that was pretty much completely open to the surrounding jungle. There was an outdoor shower and a ladder leading to the upper level where our bed was. For me, the Airbnb is the most important part of every trip and this was the perfect one to stay in in Puerto Viejo!