Honeymoon in Costa Rica

Beach right off the resort.

I just got back from the best honeymoon ever!  Granted, it has been the only honeymoon I have ever been on, but trust me my obsessive need to plan definitely worked in my favor for this vacation.

After considering a few options, I decided that Costa Rica was the perfect destination for our honeymoon.  I wanted a place that would have equal parts relaxation and adventure.  Costa Rica definitely meets both requirements.

If you are considering Costa Rica for your honeymoon or vacation I hope my time spent planning helps you plan your trip.

When to Go

I live in South Dakota.  We only get a few pleasant months out of the year so I certainly didn’t want to go on our honeymoon during summer.  Wait until those horrible winter months so you have a warm trip to look forward to.

Perfect weather at the end of December.
The end of December was sunny and beautiful.

The best times to travel to Costa Rica are mid-December through April.  This time frame is considered the dry season but that also means it is the more expensive time to travel.  My personal opinion is why pay to travel somewhere and be miserable so I would recommend going during the dry season.

At first I thought we would go over Christmas but after researching prices, flights, etc I found that the week before the holiday would save us a lot of money.

Tips

  • Don’t go over a holiday.
    • The resorts are really booked up and the prices are higher.
  • January would be a great time to go if you have flexibility in your schedule. 

 

Where to Stay

Map of Costa Rica
We ended up staying in Playa Conchal, I was very impressed.

After much deliberation and tons of hours reading reviews I decided to book our entire stay at the Westin Golf Resort & Spa, Playa Conchal.

I knew I wanted an all-inclusive resort.  Dealing with money on a vacation always gives me anxiety and with an all-inclusive I can order whatever I want without constantly thinking of the price.

I chose to stay on the west coast of Costa Rica because I definitely wanted a beach honeymoon.  All the information I gathered recommended the northern province of Guanacaste on the Pacific coast if I mostly wanted a beach setting.

A stay in a tree house in the lush Rainforest would have made for some awesome photos but I don’t enjoy feeling damp.

The Westin was wonderful because there were numerous restaurants within the resort.  Each meal could be a different cuisine.  The food was absolutely fabulous.

The spa was certainly a luxury we enjoyed.

There are two pools – one main and one for the adults-only section.

The best part about the Westin is that it is right on the beach.  Although the beach is public, it is so much better than many other popular honeymoon spots.  Vendors on the beach do not hassle you and are extremely polite.  I felt so safe that I even left my purse on my beach chair in full view of everyone while I went swimming in the ocean.

Meal
Just one of the courses at the French restaurant on-site.
Towel-art in our room.
Fun towel-art in our room.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sun, drinks, and great food – we were a happy couple!

Drinks at the adults-only pool.

Tips 

  •  If the resort has an adults-only section book it.
    • Staying at the adults-only section of the resort is so worth the little extra money.  You get your own concierge that books your reservations and takes care of all your miscellaneous needs.
    • Room-service is included!
    • Separate, kid-free pool.  You never have to worry about getting lounge chairs and you certainly don’t have to “check-out” pool towels.  Plus, the drinks are brought straight to you.
    • Exclusive breakfast buffet, no lines.
  • Plan your ride from the airport to your resort before you go.
    • Book your ground transportation before you leave on your vacation.  That way as soon as you get through customs you can go right to the person holding the sign with your name(s) on it, hop in, and start your vacation.

 

What to Do

Ziplining in the Rainforest!

There is so much to do in Costa Rica!

Sunset catamaran cruise.
On the catamaran.

From your resort you can book excursions.  Some people recommend booking through outside vendors located on the beach to save money, but I liked the ease and security of booking through the resort.  In no way did I feel ripped off.

We chose to do a half-day Sunset Catamaran Cruise.  On this excursion we got to enjoy a boat ride (with only three other couples because we went on a Wednesday) with drinks and food included.  The catamaran took us to a private beach where we were given the option to snorkel – so fun!  On the return trip the sunset was stunning.

I had to do ziplining in Costa Rica because it claims to have the best ziplining in the World.  Afterwards, I would have to agree.  We planned a full day trip to the Arenal Volcano National Park.  On the way to ziplining we stopped at a well-known coffee shop, had a good lunch, and then took a boat trip over Lake Arenal.

The ziplining itself was incredible. You get some instructions and a few short practice zips before you take off.  The ziplining in Arenal is no joke, if you unsure of ziplining this is probably not the trip for you.  You go SO FAST!!  The ziplines are incredibly long.  Often you can’t see anything because of the fog and how high you are off the ground, extremely thrilling.

Ziplining
You do not mess around on these ziplines.

After ziplining our excursion included visiting some local hot springs where we could finally get warm and have some alcoholic drinks.  Then we went to dinner at a local resort before heading back.

Lastly, we also chose to spend a couple of hours at the spa at our resort.  On a honeymoon you should definitely book a romantic couples massage, I even talked my husband into a facial.

Other Costa Rican activities to choose from include; golfing, surfing, kayaking, fishing, riding ATVs, white water rafting, scuba diving, rock climbing, horse back riding, and so much more!

Tips 

  •  Take advantage of your location. 
    • If you just want beach and a pool why bother leaving the country, just go to Florida.  Yes the excursions add to the expense of the vacation, but the whole point of visiting another country is to see and experience what that country has to offer.
  • Wait to book your excursions until you’re on vacation. 
    • I certainly looked in to different excursions offered and had an idea of what activities we wanted to do in Costa Rica but I didn’t book them in advance for a number of reasons.  First of all, I like to take a couple of days to relax and unwind at the resort before venturing off the premises.  Also, I really like to hear what other guests are recommending for excursions and what company they booked through.  Furthermore, when booking I like to know if a trip is near to full or if barely anyone has signed up.  The catamaran cruise would have been horrible if it had been fully booked.

 

Other Tips

  • Tan 
    • I tried to save money by talking myself out of tanning before the trip.  BIG MISTAKE.  Being the whitest person ever in winter I burned, not terribly but enough that strangers kept commenting on it.  Spend the money and build a base before you go.
  • What to Pack;
    • many swimsuits
    • a rain jacket and warmer athletic clothes – I was really cold during ziplining because it is the RAINforest (duh!)
    • nicer clothes to wear to dinner
    • casual clothes to throw over swimsuits for breakfast and lunch
    • sunscreen or buy it at a local store before you get to your resort
    • camera – keep it locked in your in-room safe when not with you
    • a medium sized zippered bag to take on adventures or buy one on the beach

Next Time

If I ever go back to Costa Rica, and I certainly plan on it, I would like to see the La Fortuna Waterfall, hike some of the hanging bridges, and visit the Monteverde Cloud Forest.

Sunset

Pura Vida!

(Originally posted Jan. 19th, 2015) 

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