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Costa Rica Honeymoon Guide

A Guide to Honeymooning in Costa Rica

by Susan Benton

Whether honeymooners seek high adventure, heavenly spa treatments or ways to feel at one with nature; Costa Rica has it all.  This lush, tropical paradise offers a variety of honeymoon options, depending on your style.  

Thanks to efficient and somewhat-reliable domestic travel options, newlyweds can visit one or several different regions to get a taste of this diverse and fascinating country.  Whether you choose the dry tropical forest in Guanacaste, the cloud forest in Alajuela or the rain forest of the Osa Peninsula - each destination offers a unique, incredibly romantic and original experience for couples who want to feel miles away after the big day.

Getting There:
For U.S. travelers, Costa Rica is accessible.  Most airlines offer direct, non-stop flights from many major U.S. airports including Los Angeles, New York, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta and Miami.  From the U.S., the average non-stop flight to San Jose, Costa Rica is five hours or less.  Once there, domestic carriers, Nature Air and Sansa Airlines, offer frequent flights throughout the country.

Hotel Punta Islita nestled among the hillside

Hotel Punta Islita
nestled among the hillside.
Photo credit: Stock (courtesy HPI)

The Tropical Dry Forest:
Hotel Punta Islita
Throughout Costa Rica, there is arguably no resort situated in a more spectacular setting than Hotel Punta Islita (HPI).  Located just south of Samara in a secluded cove on the Nicoya Peninsula, HPI’s strategic hillside position affords stunning, unobstructed 180 degree views from every guest room.  Opt for the honeymoon suite or casita for a bit more space, including a living room, a plunge pool and a very private terrace. (Rates run from $360-575 per night, respectively.)

Honeymooners can relax in their hammock (standard-issue with each room) while enjoying a bottle of wine as the sun sinks into the Pacific, giving rise to a myriad of stars overhead.

Choose from any number of out-of-this-world treatments at the full-service Casa Spa, including the Lover’s Package, which involves a couples’ massage, salt scrub and warm aromatic bath - complete with rose petals, champagne and grapes.  

For adventurous types, there are activities a-plenty, including river kayaking, sport fishing and horseback riding.  Explore the many hiking trails throughout the area, swim in either of the resort’s two pools or relax on the private beach.  The hotel offers surf lessons, and more experienced surfers can make the 10-minute drive to Camaronal Beach surf break, a protected reserve for sea turtles. 

HPI’s kitchen serves up organic, creative Costa Rican cuisine using local meat, seafood and produce in its two restaurants – 1492 and Borrancho Beach Club. For dessert, order the banana tempura – a fried banana served over vanilla ice cream in a dark chocolate bowl.  Also, be sure to inquire about the private dinner for two, arranged in a romantic setting near the beach.

The epitome of relaxed elegance, there’s something about HPI that makes visitors feel warm, welcome and part of the family.  The staff is gracious, knowledgeable, accommodating and attentive.  All guests are treated like royalty, which makes HPI a natural choice for a honeymoon you won’t soon forget. 

The Cloud Forest:
Villa Blanca Cloud Forest Hotel Spa and Nature Reserve
Hidden in the mist, at the end of a long, winding country road in the Los Angeles Cloud Forest, lies Villa Blanca Cloud Forest Hotel Spa and Nature Reserve.

The chapel at Villa Blanca Cloud Forest Hotel Spa and Nature Reserve

The chapel at Villa Blanca Cloud Forest Hotel Spa and Nature Reserve
Photo credit: Susan Benton

Perched high atop a mountain, Villa Blanca holds a commanding view of the verdant expanse of tropical cloud forest and hilly pastures surrounding the resort. The main building, which houses the restaurant, gift shop, lounge and reception area, is the former home of President Carazo.  The guestrooms - 35 individual, newly renovated casitas - were built similar in style to an authentic Costa Rican farm village.  

At $215 per night (plus taxes), book one of the five very romantic, very private Honeymoon Casitas.  You’ll enjoy lots of space, including a cozy living room with an adobe wood-burning fireplace.  Attempt to spot the area’s wildlife from the comfort of your private patio, which edges right up to the forest; or through the glass wall of your bathroom from your sunken tub (with room for two).

If you’re looking for peace and quiet, this is the place.  The one restaurant closes early; there is no pool, no hot tub.  The only real central gathering place is the game room on the second story of the main building, where many a night-owl can be found.

For entertainment, (if you choose to leave your casita) you’ll likely join a guided-nature hike or bird-watching trek to seek the hard-to-find quetzal. Perhaps you’ll opt to unwind with one of the many treatments in the full-service spa, including an assortment of wraps and facials.  On clear days, enjoy a distant view of Volcano Arenal or stroll along the beginners-only self-guided nature trail to spy some hummingbirds feeding.  If there’s enough time, saunter over to the greenhouse to marvel at the many species of orchids.  For the more adventurous spirits, the requisite Costa Rican canopy tour is an option.  Horseback riding is offered, and visitors can also inquire about more challenging hikes.  

A romantic highlight of the Villa Blanca property is the wedding chapel that the President had built for his wife to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. It’s only an hour outside of San Jose, but at Villa Blanca newlyweds will feel transported to a simpler, quieter time in this magical, mist-covered land.

Hotel Punta Islita nestled among the hillside

Bungalows atLapa Rios.
Photo credit: Susan Benton

The Rain Forest:
Lapa Rios Ecolodge
Miles away from what would loosely be described as “civilization,” where the Golfo Dulce meets the Pacific Ocean, lies Lapa Rios Ecolodge.  Nestled unobtrusively among the hillside of the Osa Peninsula, it’s highly unlikely you will ever experience another place quite like this.

The sixteen bungalows are arranged to afford each guest absolute privacy and spectacular ocean views. All rooms have private wooden decks, gardens and outdoor showers (cold water only).

With plenty of activities to choose from, you can be as involved – or antisocial - as you like at this eco-luxurious hideaway.  With thousands of miles of unspoiled rainforest and challenging terrain surrounding the resort, honeymooners can choose from high-adventure excursions – like strenuous day hikes through nearby Corcovado National Park – or a mellow respite, such as yoga on the wooden sundeck overlooking the ocean, or a massage in the privacy of your bungalow.  Take a romantic boat ride and, if you’re timing’s right, you may even be able to swim with dolphins.

Guests are encouraged to sign up for a morning “wake-up knock” and coffee delivery the evening before.  Don’t be surprised if your suggestion of “sleeping in” is met with a courteous nod and bemused grin from front desk staff.  One morning at Lapa Rios and you’ll understand: if the knock doesn’t wake you, the wildlife will.

In a region National Geographic deemed the most “biodiverse area in the world,” newlyweds will delight in the overabundance of hard-to-spot wildlife sightings: including four species of monkeys, sloths, marine animals, reptiles and a dizzying array of birds, including the elusive white hawk and toucans.

Lapa Rios’ location is remote, so you’re at the mercy of the limited food choices available in these parts.  Lucky for you, your one choice is Briza Azul. The resort’s only restaurant serves up some of the finest fusion cuisine anywhere in the world.  (It’s so good it has its own cookbook.)  Visitors enjoy truly succulent, creative combinations of the freshest fruits, vegetables, meat and seafood. A freshly prepared snack accompanied by the “juice of the day” is available each afternoon.

Lapa Rios is a model for eco-tourism in every regard – lauded as much for its sustainable business practices as it is for its commitment to supporting the community.   As part of the resort’s reforestation effort, honeymooners may choose to plant a tree to commemorate their marriage.

Honeymoon packages at Lapa Rios start at $1956 per couple in the low season and reach $3180 in the high season.  Call ahead to customize the trip of your dreams.

If You Go…

The Tropical Dry Forest:
Hotel Punta Islita
Telephone: 661-4044; 231-6122 in San Jose
Fax: 661-4043; 231-0715 in San Jose

The Cloud Forest:
Villa Blanca Cloud Forest Nature Spa & Hotel
Telephone: (506) 2461-0300
Fax: (506) 2461-0302

The Rain Forest:
Lapa Rios Ecolodge
Telephone: 011- 506 - 2735-5130 or 011 - 506 - 2735-5281
Fax: 011- 506 - 2735-5179

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