Honeymoon Discussions

Punta Cana vs. Costa Rica

mrsbananymrsbanany member
100 Comments 100 Love Its First Anniversary Name Dropper
edited June 2014 in Honeymoon Discussions
My FI and I are in the very early stages of planning a honeymoon and we have narrowed it down to two destinations, Punta Cana and Costa Rica. Based on my general research these are both on the more inexpensive side for a "tropical" honeymoon.  My FI is really not picky and has said as long as there is a beach where we can lounge all day and it is a generally safe location, he is in. I want some excursions, just so we can get out and experience the local area, but I also want a beach where we can hang out all day.  I have heard that Costa Rica has amazing excursion opportunities but lacks on the beach side where Punta Cana has amazing beaches but not so great excursions.  I have never been to either so if you guys could give us any feedback I would much appreciate it.  Also, we are on a tight budget, I would say 5,000 max, so if you could give some insight into the overall pricing differences between the two that would be great also! Thanks in advance. 

ETA: Also, if you know of another place that is relatively in expensive I would love to hear about it. 

Re: Punta Cana vs. Costa Rica

  • We went to Punta Cana for our honeymoon in January.  We were on the Atlantic side, so while the beach was beautiful the surf was rough and they had the red flags out every day we were there (very common).  They don't stop you from going into the water, but you need to be more aware...  We took boogie boards out one day and did some body surfing.

    The resort was beautiful but the surrounding areas weren't so great (just blah, no wow factor).

    We did two excursions and they were okay but nothing to really rave about.

    If you just want to spent the time at the resort and maybe one or two excursions PC will be fine.  Costa Rica is more an adventure location and if you just want a beach and pool I would think it would be a "waste" of time and resources to go there and not be on the go a lot of the time.
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  • My Fiance and I just booked our honeymoon for Excellence, Punta Cana. I read tons of reviews and also got a travel agent in the process (free of charge for you). She gave us great insight on everything. After we booked our room I actually found out that three of my friends had gone to the same resort for their honeymoon and LOVED it. We are also on a budget and ended up getting a "Excellence Club" room with all kinds of amenities for $3,500. Our options were Punta Cana, Jamaica or Cancun but after doing some research Punta Cana definitely took the cake.
  • I have been to Punta Cana twice (once at Excellence) and Costa Rica once and from your post I think you would enjoy either of them but my husband and I both LOVED Costa Rica. April is exactly right that if you are looking for true relaxation Punta Cana is the place to go. You don't have to worry about anything because it's all-inclusive and Excellence is a gorgeous resort, although you have to be careful if you leave the resort. The beaches vary from totally calm water to serious waves but from what I remember Excellence has pretty strong waves and no lifeguard so be careful! There is a giant pool that runs through the resort so we spent a lot of time there. 

    Costa Rica was my favorite vacation ever and it is very affordable. We were there for 9 days and we stayed within your budget without being very budget-conscious at all. We were in Tamarindo for 5 days and Arenal/La Fortuna for 4 days. Tamarindo is a fun, somewhat touristy beach town with good beaches (although not as pristine as Punta Cana) and lots of restaurants, bars and a couple of clubs. Arenal is in the rain forest so you can go zip lining and visit the hot springs. We stayed at an AMAZING resort called Nayara that is the most beautiful hotel I've ever seen. The food is outstanding and the people are super friendly. We can't wait to go back!
  •  My husband and I have both been to Punta Cana, and went to Costa Rica for our HM. Hands down, I 100% recommend Costa Rica over Dominican. The beaches & resorts in Dominican are nice, but that's about it. The excursions aren't anything special, and you're generally harassed by locals throughout the excursions, to buy things. I stayed at a 5star resort, (which was awesome), but they recommended not bringing anything of value off the resort at all, as people do get robbed from time to time. I never ran into that problem, but was harassed quite a bit to buy things, and they don't always take "no" for an answer. It was to the point, that you're pretty much stuck on the resort, for your safety if anything. We travel quite a bit, and this was the first/only country we've encountered this type of problem with, and one place we don't plan to return to.

     On the other hand, Costa Rica was absolutely beautiful! The beaches were amazing, and the rain forest, jungle, and wild life is something else! If you're outdoorsy people, I can't say enough! There were a ton of excursions to choose from, and we were able to venture into the nearest town, to shop around, safely. No one asking us to buy things, or harassing us to go see their stuff. We stayed at the Occidental Grand Papagayo, and although it wasn't what I generally see as a 5star, it was still nice! Food was good, resort was well kept, etc. Costa Rica's beaches are all public, but we had no issues with locals, or overcrowded beaches. The only thing we were warned about, was that sometimes locals will try & sell excursions that aren't legit. I guess they've had problems with people paying, then come the time to go, no one showing up to take them, or something happening, and they have no insurance. So safety wise, etc, we were told to make sure to book with a tour company. We booked through tour companies, and had no problems whatsoever though! It was an amazing trip, and we'd definitely love to go back! :)

  • H& I went to Belize, we split up our time on the beach which was beautiful and the water was warm and in the jungle.  We did several excursions include seeing some Mayan ruins.  We were between Costa Rica and Belize and there were just more exciting excursions in Belize.


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