6 most romantic locations in Costa Rica for every type of couple planning to safely exchange vows and take a honeymoon
Engaged couples throughout North America face ongoing gathering restrictions, so it’s no surprise that happy couples who were due to marry in 2020-21 are dreaming of leaving the stresses of wedding planning behind and tying the knot in paradise.
Small tropical elopements and micro-weddings surrounded by the most essential loved ones allow for a more intimate and personal experience on one’s big day, with the added benefit of one’s honeymoon starting immediately after the ceremony. Below are six of the most romantic locations in Costa Rica for every type of couple planning to safely exchange vows and take a honeymoon.
I Do: La Fortuna
The Arenal Volcano is the quintessential Costa Rica backdrop, towering over the charming town of La Fortuna, which is home to some of the most steamy and relaxing hot springs in Latin America. The geothermal activity beneath the base of this active volcano and the nearby Tabacón River supplies the springs’ natural, heated waters.
The 5,400-foot volcano is visible from most accommodations in La Fortuna. Fearless couples looking for a scenic wedding shot or to catch a glimpse of lava flowing while saying ‘I do’, will enjoy a trip to Arenal. Following an intimate ceremony, the couple can relax in the mineral-rich waters of this area’s hot springs or enjoy any one of the many adventures in the area, such as rafting, kayaking, hanging bridges and more. Arenal Volcano National Park was ranked the #6 best national park in the world, according to TripAdvisor’s Traveler’s Choice Awards 2021.
I Do: Tortuguero
Environmentally-conscious couples looking to go off-the-beaten-path should look to Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast for a truly ‘wild’ experience. Located on the northern Caribbean coast, the town of Tortuguero is home to one of the country’s most unique national parks, set on a labyrinth of canals that can only be accessed by small boats or “cayugos,” canoes or kayaks.
Tours along the canals provide travellers with an enriching biodiverse experience, allowing for an opportunity to spot sloths, alligators, several species of monkeys, birds and more. After a day of wildlife spotting on the water, stroll through the small town admiring local artisans’ work and picking up a few souvenirs. In the evening, enjoy dinner and a sunset overlooking the canals. In the summer season, couples can join the community’s sea turtle conservation efforts. Accommodation options in Tortuguero range from luxury to all-inclusive eco lodges set along the national park’s canals.
I Do: Monteverde
Adventurous couples can soar through the clouds in Monteverde, the birthplace of the world’s first recreational zipline course and home to the most famous cloud forest on Earth. Renowned for its conservation and preservation efforts, the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve boasts four different ecosystems that exist harmoniously, as a result of the area’s varying altitude and climate. Picture perfect backdrops are plentiful, featuring towering trees and Tarzan-like vines and mosses.
Couples can choose from a wide range of accommodation options, including small boutique inns, sustainable luxury lodges and treehouse-like cabins. While on the road, eco-conscious travellers can recharge their electric rental vehicle at a variety of restaurants, hotels, and attractions around town, and help Monteverde become a leading decarbonization community. Test the strength of your love by zipping across the forest canopy, while observing a wealth of wildlife including hundreds of mammals and bird species, and over 2,000 plant species. Be sure to keep an eye out for the majestic, yet elusive Resplendent Quetzal that many consider among the world’s most beautiful birds. Spotting this rare bird species may bring your couple good luck!
I Do: Guanacaste
Guanacaste is home to much of Costa Rica’s cultural and natural heritage. The Guanacaste region boasts a significant number of protected areas including water, land, mountain, and coastal ecosystems that are teaming with life and history. The region’s cowboy culture is a main attraction, with cattle ranches and farms allowing for couples to take long horseback rides through the forests and green pastures. Celebrate your nuptials in a traditional hacienda, clifftop palapa-style villa or small chapel.
Later, head to Playa Hermosa (which literally means beautiful beach) for a romantic stroll along the water, or more active experiences, such as stand up paddle boarding, fishing, snorkelling and diving. Inland, couples can enjoy breathtaking waterfalls and the wetlands of the Tempisque River, which is home to monkeys, crocodiles, and many types of birds. Guanacaste is one of the most visited areas in the country by locals and international travellers alike, so couples should head to the outskirts of the region for smaller family-run and boutique lodging accommodations.
I Do: San Jose
The capital city of San José boasts one of the largest gastronomical scenes in the country. Explore the city’s Central Market where there are over 200 shops, stalls and open-air restaurants (called ‘sodas’) serving traditional Costa Rican food. After an afternoon in San José discovering the history and culture of the city at some of the country’s most important museums, explore the increasingly trendy foodie neighbourhood of Barrio Escalante. The neighbourhood boasts dozens of restaurants, cafes and bars, many lining Calle 33. Restaurants along Calle 33 offer a myriad of dining options, including woodfired pizzas, eateries embracing indigenous recipes, traditional corn tortillas called ‘gallos,’ and innovative cocktails.
Elsewhere in the capital, Barrio Amón is a neighbourhood home to renovated 19th-century mansions now featuring hotels, cafes and bars, and is a popular district for an architectural stroll. San José is also home to the largest airport in Costa Rica, which welcomes travellers from all over the world. The city is perfect for time-pressed couples, with its convenient airport and large chain hotel accommodations, day tour experiences, and more. Approximately two hours east of the city, is Turrialba, a charming town in the Central Valley with lush vistas, exciting adventures and volcano hikes.
I Do: Drake Bay
Situated in southwestern Costa Rica on the Osa Peninsula, Drake Bay appeals to couples looking to disconnect. The small, rural villages and towns along the peninsula are less developed than other parts of the country, however, there are accommodations for every budget: rustic camping options, comfortable eco-lodges and luxury resorts. In the waters around Drake Bay, intricate rock and coral formations allow intrepid divers and snorkelers to see spinner dolphins, moray eels, bull sharks and sea turtles.
Couples can stay on dry land and opt for a boat tour, for a chance at a close encounter with six species of whale and dolphin throughout the year. The main attraction, Corcovado National Park, which National Geographic called the “most biologically intense place on Earth” covers approximately half of the Osa Peninsula and is home to 5% of the world’s animal population. Couples will enjoy an opportunity to spot giant anteater, Baird’s tapir, jaguar and four species of monkeys.
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