Honeymoon Discussions

Costa Rica

Okay so disregard all my previous post on this board since FI and I have finally found what we think will be the perfect place for us to HM at; Costa Rica. We were looking at some all inclusive resorts but I hear mixed reviews about them. We would love to get out and see the different areas of Costa Rica; in which people say stay a couple nights one place an a  couple more somewhere else. Has anyone been to Costa Rica that could give me some pointers? We are going the end of April to the beginning of May (7 nights 8 days). We would love to be able to do some excursions and tour the area. Our budget is 3000 for everything (flying out from Orlando) .

Re: Costa Rica

  • My FI and booked our HM to Costa Rica and decided to stay at an all inclusive the whole time. I was also thinking about staying at another hotel, but thought about and discussed it with our travel agent, who asked if we really wanted to change hotels during the trip. It came down to that we didn't want to do that because it's more of a hassle and we did not want to have anything planned. We wanted to be totally open for whatever we wanted to do once we got there. 

    We booked the Hotel Riu Guanacaste for the middle of May for 7 nights and 8 days. 
  • I visited last year and it was amazing! We ended up at the JW in Guanacaste which was not all inclusive. I had originally thought to do AI, but am glad we did not. We didnt eat enough that would have made it worth it. I got a lot of my Costa Rica advice from this blog: http://www.adashofluxury.com. It's one of my favorites for travel and I get all my trip ideas and things to do from there! She was also helpful when I emaield her questions. Also visit Arenal if you can!!!  
  • If you do go to multiple places and don't want to go the all-inclusive route, definitely find a nice hotel in the Arenal/La Fortuna area. You can visit an active volcano, go to hot springs, and go on all sorts of excursions like canoe trips to spot local wildlife (I saw lots of monkeys on mine). There are plenty of places to choose from to fit any budget in terms of hotels.

    If you're more an adventurous and outdoorsy couple, try the Monteverde/Santa Elena area (you can easily combine both of these places on one trip - but that probably won't leave you any time for a stay in a beach area). This part of the country is cloud forest territory - there's hiking, phenomenal zip-lining, and quirky little museums, plus the scenery is stunning.
  • Sounds awesome. What is the best way to do transportation? We were thinking of maybe getting a rental car and driving to the pacific ocean to stay a night or so and also visit the gulf of Mexico.  Two nights in each place. Is this realistic? Is there a better way to do this then renting a car? I saw gas is 6 dollars a gallon there. haha.

  • I did Costa Rica & Nicaragua on a girls' trip 2 years ago. IMHO, it is a total waste to do it entirely as AI. The country has so much to offer and so many different climates / areas, it doesn't make sense to me to go there and stay in 1 place.

    We were there 7 nights and did 2 nights Nicaragua, 3 nights at the beach (Playas del Coco on CR Pacific Coast - I do not recommend this town), and 2 nights in the Rincon de la Vieja rainforest at this place which was awesome: http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g321538-d1059692-Reviews-La_Anita_Rainforest_Ranch-Rincon_de_La_Vieja_Province_of_Guanacaste.html

    It is a family-run farm and all the glowing things people say on TripAdvisor is 100% true. I think it would be ideal for a HM. We were not there nearly long enough but we did an excursion to hot springs and a waterfall. They had a lot of other excursions, too (zip line, cooking class, etc.)

    We rented a small car and it worked out fine. There is some rough terrain heading into national parks and also for the place I linked above, but we managed. We got gas just once and I don't remember it being horrifically expensive (unlike the 65 I recently paid for like 3/4 of a tank of gas in a tiny car in Italy... but I digress).

    I have heard Tamarindo is a nice beach town on the Pacific side.
  • Checked out the La Anita Rain-forest Ranch and unfortunately they have nothing available during that time :(.  Has anyone stayed at the Hacienda Guachipelin in Costa Rica?
  • You can definitely rent a car and get around relatively easily, though as PP mentioned terrain can get a bit rough in some areas. Just makes for a fun adventure. Between the two areas I mentioned above (Arenal/La Fortuna and Monteverde/Santa Elena) there's a transportation option they call Jeep Boat Jeep (they're really vans, not Jeeps) that's reasonably priced. If the weather's nice (which it usually is that time of year) the trip on the boat across the lake is stunning - amazing views of the volcano.
  • We did private transfer when we were there. (Airport to Arenal to Guanacaste to Airport)  I think when I priced it out it was about the same or just a little bit more than renting a car for a week.  I am glad we did and would go that route again whenever we go back. Depending on where you go the roads can be narrow and windy. Plus if you head into anywhere that is a cloud forest area, expect rain and cloudy conditions.  The country is so beautiful that it was nice that both of us could enjoy the scenery, plus the driver was able to point out different things that we might not ever have noticed ourselves. 
    We did four nights in Arenal (Nayara Hotel with a package that includes excursions) and three nigths in Guanacaste (JW Marriott to sit by the pool and do nothing). Both were completely different parts of the country.  I definitely recommend going to two, maybe three areas.  Depending on what you want to see and do, I'm not sure two nights is enough at each location.  Also, depending on where you are going, it might take three hours to get from one location to another. I think it was roughly 2.5-3 hours from the San Jose airport to Arenal area and 2.5 from Arenal to Guanacaste (but the Guanacaste are is big). 
    Costa Rica is gorgeous and I'm sure you will love it.
  • I went at the end of April a year and a half ago and it was amazing.  We stayed in Guanacaste at the Westin, which is an all inclusive resort.  I would honestly not recommend it for a honeymoon.  I think that you would do better staying in the rainforest in the Arenal Area.  We ended up spending a day there and it was a 4 hour ride.  If you want to stay in Guanacaste JW marriott was our second choice so I recommend you stay there as you will most likely get better service.
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  • Love love love Costa Rica. You really can't go wrong there. Stayed in four towns and still haven't seen/done everything I wanted. It's easy to get around the country as long as you don't mind small planes. Though that can get expensive and time-consuming, so maybe pick one or two places to completely explore. You asked about hacienda guachepelin (sp?) which is one of a few resorts up near rincon de la vieja and it's def an area worth checking out for a few days. We went to the Buena vista lodge and had a blast. These resorts offer similar amenities--hot springs, zip lining, hikes of the volcano, and other adventure activities--and it's an easy drive for. There down the pacific coast where you can visit towns like playa flamingo, playa conchal, and tamarindo (though the latter has recently become like a bad episode of mtv's spring break). Further is playa negra and further still is nosara--all have their own charm and profiles. For pacific coast, fly into Liberia, which has non-stop and inexpensive flights from NY. Someone mentioned arenal which is also a great trip, and that's accessible via San Jose airport. There are amazing hot springs there, canyoning trips, and great views of the volcano, though I would stay no longer than 2 days unless it's a jumping off point for day trips. From there you could go to Monteverde cloud forest, and drive the central pacific coast (or fly) to quepos and check out the beaches and jungle of Manuel Antonio park. From there you can take a ferry to the nicoya peninsula, which is my fave party of the country but the biggest PITA to get to. Santa Teresa is my fave place so far. So much to do, so little time--enjoy!
  • We stayed at the Hilton Papagayo Resort & Spa and I loved everything about it! The rooms were comfy (big fluffy duvets), the food was to die for and the service was amazing. We rented a jeep for the week (free parking at the hotel) so we could get around - went surfing in Tamarindo, found a waterfall to swim at and lots of random local restaurants. It was a really quiet resort - bars are always open but not a big 'party' place.
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