Costa Rica Honeymoon Suggestions

Old Jan 30th, 2019, 01:04 PM
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Costa Rica Honeymoon Suggestions

We have given our son and daughter-in-law a gift of a trip for their honeymoon. They are interested in Costa Rica. While I've traveled a good bit internationally, I've never been to CR. They are not big on swimming in the ocean, but want to snorkel, hike, ride ATVs, and do zip lines. I know there have been resorts on the Pacific side for years, but it looks like the Caribbean side is developed now too? They want all inclusive or a place with a meal plan (not my style, but they are not experienced travelers and are a little intimidated by the idea of striking out for meals). They'll be flying out of Atlanta, so airport options would be nice too so they might not have to deal with figuring out transportation to resorts. They need not be in one resort the whole time, so if they'd get a better experience by spending part of the time in a non-beach area, that would be fine. I personally hate all inclusives, my style is to venture out into the local culture, but I want them to have a low stress experience and the honeymoon of THEIR dreams. Thanks to you all for any help you can give me!
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Old Jan 30th, 2019, 01:47 PM
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You might take a look at the Arenal area, and then pair it with a beach location. It has great hiking at the waterfall, the Mistico Hanging Bridges, and the Arenal Observatory Lodge. Also really love the Bogarin Trail for seeing wildlife like sloths, red-eyed tree frogs, poison dart frogs, and nice birds. The Penas Blancas safari float and Cano Negro boat tour are great too. Desafio is a good company for tours. You can also do ATV tours there and go ziplining at Sky Trek. There are beautiful natural hot springs like Tabacon you can enjoy in the evening. Nayara is a really nice spot for a honeymoon. Not sure what your budget is. There are no AIs in that area. They aren't all that common in Costa Rica since most people like to go out and explore. You can find a few in the northern beaches. We like Manuel Antonio for beach time, specifically Tulemar Bungalows; there are no AIs in that area either. Just about everyone you'll meet speaks English, and there are lots of good open air restaurants in walking distance. The national park has a beautiful beach and lots of wildlife around like sloths and monkeys. That combo is the most popular trip for first timers. For the most part snorkeling isn't very good in Costa Rica, usually poor visibility in the water due to sediment. The Pacific side has much better infrastructure and creature comforts than the Carib. side; the Caribbean side tends to have more crime as well.
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Old Jan 30th, 2019, 01:48 PM
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For the spots that I mentioned you would want to fly in and out of San Jose. If you decide to go AI, you'd be looking at flying into Liberia.
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Old Jan 31st, 2019, 07:19 AM
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I just got back from my second trip to Costa Rica which included two nights at Peace Lodge (La Paz Waterfall Gardens). I think that would make a great place to start a honeymoon trip--even the standard rooms have outdoor jacuzzi's and are quite comfortable. It would pair well with their affiliated hotel at Arenal (the Springs, I think) for a couple nights, then on to a coastal location. I didn't stay at an All Inclusive, so can't comment on that. Peace Lodge arranged our transfer to the Papagayo area, so I'm sure they could do transfers between their hotels and on to the last beach location. As stated above, we flew into San Jose and out of Liberia for our trip.

Good luck to your son.
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Old Jan 31st, 2019, 08:07 AM
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volcanogirl, these are great guidelines. I'll see if the lack of all-inclusives or meal plans is a non-starter for them in the Arenal area. Sure sounds like it would be a shame to miss that area!
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Old Jan 31st, 2019, 08:16 AM
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Nayara that I mentioned has a good restaurant on site, just not a meal plan per se. I think they'd love it. That area has the volcano, not currently active, but it towers over everything and is cool to see. The Springs Resort and Spa is the other upscale hotel in the area. We stayed there on a Groupon deal; it's pretty expensive but very nice. They have several restaurants on site as well and a river that runs through the property called Club Rio where you can go tubing and kayaking, etc.
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Old Jan 31st, 2019, 09:00 AM
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As far as AI, someone on the board recently stayed at Secrets Papagayo and enjoyed it. I think it was Racandee; he may be able to offer more info. on that if you're interested. The northern area tends to be more arid and can get dusty during certain times of year, and the southern part can be rainier during certain times of year. Do you know when they would travel?
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Old Jan 31st, 2019, 09:10 AM
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Our daughter, her boyfriend, and his family are headed to Playa Conchal in June, staying at an all inclusive. Westin Playa Conchal.

https://www.marriott.com/hotels/trav...all-inclusive/

Tabacon, and probably other higher end resorts at Arenal, offers packages that include some meals.

Peace Lodge would be a great place to start a honeymoon. We loved it!
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Old Jan 31st, 2019, 10:41 AM
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I wouldn't let the lack of AI or meal plans at hotels be a deterrent. Many places have restaurants on site, so you can eat there, you just pay for what you eat and drink rather than having it be part of a package. You can still eat all your meals at the hotel if you like, but you have the option to go out. In CR, people are often out doing things during the day rather than hanging around their lodging, so a meal plan or AI approach would have limited appeal. A lot of places do include breakfast as part of your rate though.
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Old Jan 31st, 2019, 12:28 PM
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You can go to the Westin Playa Conchal for all the things you mention. They are near one of the only places you can snorkel in Costa Rica and they can arrange the zip lines and the ATV for you. The property is very nice and it is an all inclusive. If they do decide to go there, make sure they make reservations at the restaurants for dinner!! The buffet is pretty awful but the restaurants are uniformly good and it's all included. You can make the reservations in advance by emailing the concierge.
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Old Jan 31st, 2019, 12:31 PM
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Oh to be clear about the Westin Playa Conchal the snorkeling is on the beach of the resort, there's a reef to the right and the guys at the exit to the beach will provide you snorkel gear (included as are kayaks if they want to do that). I am more of an adventure traveler usually but the Westin sure makes it easy to lay back and enjoy.
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Old Jan 31st, 2019, 01:48 PM
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We also liked the Peace Lodge mentioned up above; it's good for about two nights - very over the top rooms with a fireplace, jacuzzi, and lots of hummingbirds flitting around. It's on the grounds of the La Paz Waterfall Gardens; there's a hike with five gorgeous waterfalls, and you can hand feed the hummingbirds in the garden at certain times of day. Not for someone who wants a super authentic spot, but great for those that want to feel pampered. Poas Volcano and Doka Coffee Estate aren't too far from there; we did them as day trips. I've read that you have to pre book/reserve Poas online now due to new regulations. When we went you could just show up although mornings are recommended for best viewing.
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Old Jan 31st, 2019, 01:57 PM
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Monica, how was the wildlife around Playa Conchal? Are there many monkeys, sloths, etc. in that area?
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Old Feb 1st, 2019, 06:51 AM
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Secrets Papagayo would make a great honeymoon destination, it's an adults-only place.

They could use it as a base to explore the area if they wanted--it's about as close as a beach place can be to the natural sites to explore.

Here's our trip report:

Honking at iguanas, threatened by monkeys--Guanacaste Costa Rica

Another place to consider, it's not on the beach but Rio Perdido could knock it out of the park for them--there is hiking, ziplines, tubing, even dirt biking there. And it's got great food, modern architecture, and is situated on top of a geothermal river--the river is a hot spring in places, and they also have hot spring pools at the main building.

I wouldn't recommend the Caribbean side for a couple looking to just dip their toes in the water of traveling in Central America.

That being said, I would probably recommend Riviera Maya over either Costa Rica or Belize for your son and his to-be wife based on their expressed interests.

Last edited by RAC; Feb 1st, 2019 at 06:54 AM.
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Old Feb 1st, 2019, 07:42 AM
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volcanogirl, nope not a lot of wildlife around Playa Conchal (or guanacaste in general really), except for days of iguanas and black iguanas and coatis that are very conditioned to people so they're easy to photograph. Oh and howler monkeys too on the grounds. We combine it with Bosque del Cabo and Puerto Jimenez in the Osa Peninsula where you see all the wildlife so it's a good balance.
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Old Feb 1st, 2019, 08:44 AM
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Thanks, Monica! We're fans of Bosque del Cabo too.
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