Why go: Costa Rica’s ideal for eco-friendly, outdoorsy honeymooners looking for a nature-inspired escape — there’s lush jungle foliage teeming with exotic wildlife, not to mention it’s home to rugged beaches and not one, but six active volcanoes.
Best ideas: Adventurous types can zip line or horseback ride through the jungle, hike to waterfalls and volcanoes, surf giant swells, and go whitewater rafting down rushing rivers. Couples up for a more relaxing break can lounge on blissful beaches. It’s La Pura Vida at its finest.
Good to know: Although the official language of Costa Rica is Spanish, many ‘Ticos’ (Costa Rican locals) in tourist-friendly areas also speak English. Consider which time of year you want to visit (rainy season is May to November) and remember, Costa Rica is tropical, so bring bug repellent!
Costa Rica is one of the most beautiful destinations in Central America. An ideal eco-tourism destination, the country is dedicated to keeping its wild landscapes thriving and intact. While best for those who love adventure, nature, and the outdoors, there are also plenty of luxurious resorts far from the jungle — and the mosquitos! — where you can leisurely lounge on a beach, cocktail in hand, especially in the Guanacaste region. The best honeymoons in Costa Rica include a little bit of everything, from off-the-beaten-path escapades and plenty of beach relaxation to spa treatments and world-class gastronomy. Here’s our ultimate guide to the best places to stay, play, and eat in Costa Rica.
In This Article
Traveling & Getting Around Costa Rica
Airports: Costa Rica is a relatively short flight from the United States, depending on where you’re coming from. You’ll likely end up in Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO) in San José — a good hub if you’re heading to Manuel Antonio National Park, Arenal Volcano, or Uvita — or Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport (LIR) in Liberia if you’re heading to the Guanacaste region. Fly from cities like Miami, Fort Lauderdale, New York, Newark, Dallas, Atlanta, Washington D.C., and Los Angeles on carriers like Delta, United, American, JetBlue, and Spirit Airlines.
Cars & Taxis: If you really want to explore Costa Rica, plan to rent a car, as relying on trains and buses isn’t your best bet in this country. If, however, you plan to park yourselves poolside and rarely leave the resort, ask your hotel about airport transfers to and from the property as an alternative. You can always count on taxis to take you out to dinner.
Roads are generally safe to drive on in Costa Rica, but make sure you rent a 4×4 vehicle if you plan to go off-the-beaten-path. Speak to the rental company about what kind of insurance is best for your trip — it’s not a bad idea to get some extra coverage if you’re planning to head through rough jungle terrain. Most hotels, especially in the Puntarenas region, will let you know if having a 4×4 is best so if you’re unsure, just ask ahead of time. And listen to their advice — your new bride will not be impressed if you roll down a mountain in your Toyota Corolla rental.
Rainy season: Although no hurricane has ever made landfall on Costa Rica, the rainy (low) season does officially run from May to November, with some of the worst weather hitting in September and October. Although an actual hurricane is unlikely, there’s still a big risk you’ll encounter heavy rain or tropical storms, which can cause landslides and flooding. Avoid issues and excessive rain by visiting during the dry season (December to April) or shoulder seasons (May and November).
While US dollars are accepted at many establishments throughout the country, it’s still a good idea to change some money into the local currency — colones — just in case.
Honeymooning in Costa Rica: Pros & Cons
- You can fly nonstop to Costa Rica from many U.S. airports.
- It’s one of the most sustainable destinations in the world.
- Beautiful beaches, cloud forests, jungles, active volcanoes, and lots of wildlife.
- It’s one of the most expensive countries in Central America.
- Certain parts of the country can be very touristy and are quite popular with your fellow Americans.
- If you want to get off-the-beaten-path, you’ll need a 4×4 vehicle since many roads are unpaved.
- This is not a good destination for folks who don’t like mosquitos and other jungle critters.
Costa Rica Regions
San JoséSan José Province, San José, Costa Rica
(Photo by Wikipedro)
Although you may be flying into San José, the best parts of Costa Rica can be found outside the city limits, so make sure you head out to (literally) greener pastures. If you find yourself in the Costa Rican capital for a day or two at the beginning or end of your trip, stop by the Central Market, National Theatre, or the Jade Museum.
QueposPuntarenas Province, Quepos, Costa Rica
(Photo by Zdeněk Macháček/Unsplash)
Anyone hoping to spot toucans, sloths, or white-faced capuchin monkeys should head to Manuel Antonio National Park, a busy tourist hub for wildlife lovers. The Quepos area is home to beautiful white-sand beaches in addition to the rainforest, and there are plenty of amenities for active honeymooners to enjoy, including a variety of hotels and international dining options as well as shopping and tour companies to help you plan excursions.
Arenal and La FortunaArenal Volcano, Alajuela Province, San Carlos, Costa Rica
(Photo by Costa Rica Tourism)
Hiking enthusiasts should head to Arenal Volcano, La Fortuna, and Alajuela Province. The area is ideal for those seeking a rural honeymoon escape in nature, as it’s home to Monteverde Cloud Forest and Lake Arenal, Costa Rica’s largest lake, as well as many hot springs and waterfalls.
UvitaPuntarenas Province, Uvita, Costa Rica
(Photo of Ballena Beach by Oxygen Jungle Villas)
Get off-the-beaten-path on a romantic stay in Uvita, where luxury boutique hotels are scattered atop hills deep in the jungle. Discover a number of beautiful waterfalls, gorgeous sprawling beaches — Ballena Beach, pictured here, is famous for being shaped like a whale’s tale — and plenty of rainforest wilderness areas.
Santa Teresa BeachSanta Teresa Beach, Puntarenas Province, Costa Rica
(Photo by Costa Rica Tourism)
Perfect for surfer and yogi newlyweds, this laid-back beach town is a super-chill spot for a Costa Rica honeymoon. Don’t expect to find luxury digs here — its rich supply of home rentals and bed & breakfasts with amenities like pools and hammocks may be the area’s secret to La Pura Vida.
Oso PeninsulaOsa Peninsula, Puntarenas Province, Costa Rica
(Photo by José R / Wikimedia Commons)
One of Costa Rica’s remote southern regions, the Oso Peninsula is difficult to reach but perfect for honeymooners who want to stay far from the typical tourist trail. Home to scenic Corcovado National Park, the area is a short ferry ride from Isla del Cano, one of the best diving spots in the country.
TortugueroTortuguero, Limón Province, Pococí, Costa Rica
(Photo by Mawamba Lodge)
As its name — “land of turtles” in Spanish — suggests, Tortuguero, situated on the Caribbean coast in the Limón region, is one of the best places in Costa Rica to see nesting turtles. Don’t miss Tortuguero National Park, often referred to as the ‘Amazon’ of Costa Rica.
GuanacasteGuanacaste, Costa Rica
Best for travelers who wish to cash in their hotel points at larger brand resorts, the Guanacaste region offers luxury lodging and amenities in a beautiful, natural setting. Highlights of the area also include the beaches of Tamarindo and Rincón de la Vieja National Park, home to an impressive active volcano. For better or worse, this particular part of Costa Rica is quite popular among American visitors.
Best Attractions & Activities in Costa Rica
The best things to do in Costa Rica are mainly outdoors, which is why it’s best to visit during the dry or shoulder seasons — in other words, not May through November, when you risk having to deal with the effects of the rainy season. Note that there are endless options for adventure activities like zip lining, kayaking, and horseback riding in any region you choose to visit, while private tours are a possibility for a more romantic and intimate experience with your loved one.
Manuel Antonio National ParkManuel Antonio National Park, Puntarenas Province, Quepos, Costa Rica
(Photo by Costa Rica Tourism)
This beautiful national park offers a combination of jungle trails and pristine beaches where you can spot wildlife such as sloths and toucans in their natural habitat. Note that bringing food into Manuel Antonio National Park carries many restrictions — water, soda, non-alcoholic drinks, pre-made sandwiches and pre-cut fruit are fine, but anything else could be detrimental to the ecosystem within the park — and the monkeys here can be extremely mischievous, especially on the beach, so make sure you guard your belongings. Entrance fees start at $16 per person, and it’s worth paying extra for a tour to help you spot the wildlife. Guided tours in a group are available from $51 per person, while private tours will run you $71 per person. All provide round-trip transportation from Manuel Antonio or Quepos, national park entrance fees, and the services of a professional bilingual guide.
Horseback Ride to La Fortuna WaterfallLa Fortuna Waterfall, Alajuela Province, La Fortuna, Costa Rica
(Photo by Fortuna Welcome)
Although you can always hike to this nearly-250-foot waterfall, horseback riding is a fun way to interact with both animals and your natural surroundings. Tours with Fortuna Welcome start at $65 per person, run about three hours, and include round-trip transportation from your hotel in La Fortuna.
Zipline on Arenal VolcanoArenal Volcano, Alajuela Province, San Carlos, Costa Rica
(Photo by Sky Adventures)
Zip line over a colorful rainforest canopy while taking in impressive views of one of Costa Rica’s most magnificent volcanoes, Arenal. Sky Adventures offers zip lining, sky gondola rides, walks across its Sky Walk bridges, river rafting, kayaking, and mountain biking, among other outdoor activities. Zip lining starts at $84 per person for unforgettable rides along seven different cables.
Ballena BeachVilla Leonor at Ballena Beach Club, Puntarenas Province, Ballena, Osa, Puntarenas, Costa Rica
(Photo by johnnaproductions)
Costa Rica is full of incredible beaches, some with all the luxury amenities you could dream of, others windswept and hidden behind jungle foliage. Ballena Beach is one of the most unique and Instagrammable in the country, as its sands, which are only accessible during certain tides, are shaped like a whale’s tail. What better place to snap some swoon-worthy photos for all the folks back home?
Canyoning in Monteverde Cloud ForestMonteverde Cloud Forest Biological Preserve, Carretera a Reserva de Monteverde, Puntarenas Province, Monteverde, Costa Rica
(Photo by Monteverde Travel Guide)
Atmospheric conditions and a year-round tropical climate ensure the Monteverde treetops remain under consistent cloud cover. As you might imagine, many rare birds and other animal species live in this special, dreamlike forest. For an unforgettable closer look, you can rappel down six different waterfalls in the forest on a three-hour canyoning tour with Monteverde Travel Guide, from $79 per person.
Go On a Safari in Corcovado National ParkCorcovado National Park, Los Patos Sirena Trail, Puntarenas Province, Costa Rica
(Photo by Osa Safari)
Located in southern Costa Rica, you’ll spot wildlife like white-lipped peccaries, as well as scarlet macaws, eagles, tapirs, and jaguars among Corcovado National Park’s many habitats including beaches, rainforests, and mangrove forests. To make sure you don’t miss a thing, try a guided full-day safari tour with Osa Safari, which starts at $110 per person and includes a bilingual guide, 4WD transportation, and park tickets.
Dive or Snorkel by Cano IslandCano Island, Costa Rica
(Photo by Cano Divers Costa Rica)
Some of Costa Rica’s best diving and snorkeling spots (especially for beginners) can be found near Cano Island, a small piece of land located off the Oso Peninsula. The entire island is surrounded by a marine reserve where stingrays, manta rays, barracudas, and sharks are routinely spotted. Full-day dives and snorkel trips with Cano Divers Costa Rica leave from Drake Bay daily and start at $140 per person for two dives or $195 per person for three dives.
Kayak in TortugueroTortuguero, Limón Province, Pococí, Costa Rica
(Photo by Tuanis Tour)
Known and named for its population of turtles, Tortuguero National Park is located along Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast. One way to explore this beautiful part of the country is by kayak, and you’ll likely spot turtles and other wildlife up close from this vantage point. Tuanis Tour offers a three-hour experience that takes you through hidden canals and mangroves, from $55 per person including a three-hour guided trip with a local naturalist, refreshments, and park entrance fees.
Whitewater Rafting in Rincon de la Vieja National ParkRincon de la Vieja National Park, Guanacaste Province, Costa Rica
(Photo by Pacific Trade Winds)
If you’re looking to escape the monotony of your all-inclusive resort in Guanacaste for something more exciting, consider whitewater rafting in nearby Rincon de la Vieja National Park, home to two volcanoes and more than 30 rivers. Pacific Trade Winds’ whitewater rafting tours start at $45 per person and will take you on a wild ride down the Colorado River.
Best Hotels, Resorts & Airbnbs in Costa Rica
From luxe sea view villas to laid-back bed & breakfasts and sustainable eco-glamping experiences, Costa Rica has it all when it comes to accommodation options.
Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula PapagayoBest "Go Big or Go Home" Splurge Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo, CR-G, Peninsula Papagayo, Costa Rica
(Photo by Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo)
Vibe: Offering jungle and ocean view suites and several suite packages perfect for a romantic getaway, the Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo is the ultimate in luxury. With romantic activities like stargazing and private sailings, and amenities like yoga, personal chefs, and personal trainers, a honeymoon here is all about the two of you being healthy, relaxed, and pampered.
Price: Plan to fork over $1,200 per night during high season. Low season prices are closer to $925 a night.
Hotel Costa VerdeBest for Aviation Enthusiasts Hotel Costa Verde, Puntarenas Province, Quepos, Costa Rica
(Photo by Hotel Costa Verde)
Vibe: Hotel Costa Verde’s quiet jungle cabins are just a few minutes from Manuel Antonio National Park, and honeymooning aviation lovers will love staying in its 1965 vintage Boeing 727 aircraft-turned-hotel-suite. The former plane is divided into a bedroom, kitchen, and two bedrooms, with the cockpit hosting the master bath, pilot seats next to the shower, and beautiful views of the ocean.
Price: Room rates for regular rooms start around $150 per night, but plan to pay at least $300 per night for the 727 Fuselage Suite.
Oxygen Jungle VillasBest for Nature Lovers Oxygen Jungle Villas, Puntarenas Province, Costa Rica
(Photo by Oxygen Jungle Villas)
Vibe: Once you make it up the massive hill in your 4×4, relax by the gorgeous infinity pool or in a rainforest cabin with glass walls, designed so you can see all the wildlife around you. Expect some serious jungle immersion and peaceful privacy at Oxygen Jungle Villas, located in Uvita.
Price: Rates start at $300 per night.
Nayara Tented CampBest Glamping Experience Nayara Tented Camp, Arenal Volcano National Park, Alajuela Province, San Carlos, Costa Rica
(Photo by Nayara Tented Camp)
Vibe: Nayara Tented Camp, located at the base of Arenal Volcano, is reminiscent of a luxury African safari camp. Each of the 29 luxury tents features air conditioning, outdoor showers, and a private plunge pool with natural water from nearby mineral hot springs.
Price: Rates start at $700 per night for this luxury glamping experience.
Mawamba LodgeBest If You Want to Get Away From It All Mawamba Lodge Tortuguero, Tortuguero Canals, Limón Province, Pococí, Costa Rica
(Photo by Mawamba Lodge)
Vibe: Located on a small strip of land between the sea and one of Tortuguero’s canals, Mawamba Lodge is a sustainable hotel with a floating restaurant, a pool, and access to a number of nature tours with local guides. Although the eco-hotel lacks some traditional comforts like air conditioning, total seclusion is yours if you want to get back to nature on your honeymoon, especially since you can only reach the lodge by boat or air.
Price: Rates from $254 per night. Due to the hotel’s remote location, one, two, and three-night packages including transportation from San José are also an option.
Drake Bay Getaway ResortMost Eco-Friendly Drake Bay Getaway Resort, Costa Rica
(Photo by Drake Bay Getaway)
Vibe: This boutique eco-lodge has five hilltop cabins featuring incredible views of the mountains and ocean. The hotel is dedicated to helping the environment, with 90 percent of the cabin’s materials being recyclable. Honeymooners should choose the Heliconia Cabin, which offers stunning ocean views and is the most private.
Price: Rates start at $700 per night.
Andaz Costa Rica Resort at Peninsula PapagayoBest for Couples With Hyatt Points Andaz Costa Rica Resort At Peninsula Papagayo - a concept by Hyatt, Guanacaste Province, Papagayo Peninsula, Costa Rica
(Photo by Andaz Costa Rica Resort at Peninsula Papagayo)
Vibe: Couples with World of Hyatt points to burn should stay at the Andaz Costa Rica Resort at Peninsula Papagayo in Guanacaste. The 1,400-acre resort has three beaches and a golf course, while its guest rooms feature floor-to-ceiling windows and a number of its suites come with private plunge pools.
Price: Rates from $250 or 20,000 World of Hyatt points per night.
Airbnb: Private Paradise in Santa TeresaBest Private Villa Santa Teresa Beach, Puntarenas Province, Costa Rica
(Photo by Airbnb)
Vibe: If you want to get away from it all, consider renting this private villa in Santa Teresa, which comes with a stunning infinity pool, private outdoor patio complete with a hammock for two, fully equipped kitchen, and a spacious bathroom. Its best feature, though, is the view you’ll get over the ocean at sunset.
Price: Rates start at $185 per night.
Airbnb: Dreamwater Villa in San Gerardo de DotaBest for Birdwatching San José Province, San Gerardo de Dota, Costa Rica
(Photo by Airbnb)
Vibe: At Dreamwater Villa, nature lovers can enjoy views of a lovely waterfall from their private deck. Birding enthusiasts will want to keep an eye out for the Resplendent Quetzal, a bird species that frequently flies over the property. The villa, located in Quetzals National Park, also comes with amenities like a rainfall shower, king-sized bed, spacious loft area, and a fully equipped kitchen.
Price: Rates start at $119 per night.
Airbnb: Casa NoaWorth the Splurge Playa Santa Teresa, Puntarenas Province, Costa Rica
(Photo by Airbnb)
Vibe: This stylish three-bedroom villa gives you access to a charming outdoor terrace overlooking the ocean, infinity pool, alfresco shower, bocce ball court, and hammock to relax in with your loved one as you enjoy all those beautiful sunsets. Plus, its proximity to nearby restaurants, bars, shops, and beaches in Santa Teresa Beach means you’re never too far from the action. Private chef, butler, and bartending services are also available for an additional fee.
Price: Rates from $348 a night.
Best Restaurants & Bars in Costa Rica
El AviónBest Bar for #AvGeeks El Avion, Puntarenas Province, Aguirre, Costa Rica
(Photo by El Avión)
Another airplane-themed spot in Manuel Antonio, El Avión has an outdoor deck so you can enjoy amazing views of the ocean while you eat. There’s also a small bar located inside the vintage Fairchild C-123 aircraft. For a perfect night out, enjoy the house specialty — coconut shrimp, $15 — out on the deck before grabbing a cocktail inside the plane.
Kua KuaBest Upscale Seafood Hotel Three Sixty, Calle Perezoso, Puntarenas Province, Puntarenas, Costa Rica
(Photo by Hotel Three Sixty)
Kua Kua, located inside Hotel Three Sixty just a short drive from Uvita, features a fresh seasonal menu of seafood and locally sourced cuisine in a chic setting. For a real treat, try the roasted octopus ceviche ($17) and the catch of the day mixed with chorizo ($27).
Sentido NorteBest For a Romantic Dinner Out Sentido Norte, Guanacaste Province, Las Catalinas, Costa Rica
(Photo by Sentido Norte)
One of the most romantic restaurants in Guanacaste, Sentido Norte features Meso-American cuisine from Chef José Lopez. The intimate ambiance, sea views, and slow-cooked seafood and meats make this the perfect place for a fancy honeymoon evening out. Vegan options are also available. Plan to spend at least $60 per person on a three-course dinner with drinks.
Café y MacadamiaBest Breakfast and Lunch Menu Café Y Macadamia, Puntarenas Province, Pitahaya, Costa Rica
(Photo by Café y Macadamia)
For an easy, relaxed breakfast, lunch, or smoothie near Arenal Volcano, visit Café y Macadamia, home of healthy, delicious food and gorgeous ocean views. Sandwiches and salads range from about $5 to $8, and the menu has a special vegetarian section.
San Lucas Treetop Dining ExperienceBest Views San Lucas Treetop Dining Experience, Chira Glamping hotel, Puntarenas Province, Monteverde, Costa Rica
(Photo by San Lucas Dining Experience)
For a unique twist on private dining, try the San Lucas Dining Experience near Monteverde Cloud Forest, a restaurant with private dining boxes and transparent walls suspended high in the treetops. A special seven-course gastronomy adventure starts at $88 per person and vegetarian options are available.
Budda CaféBest Vegan and Vegetarian Food Budda Cafe, Limón Province, Pococí, Costa Rica
(Photo by Budda Café)
Buddha Café and restaurant overlooks the river in Tortuguero and has lots of tasty vegan and vegetarian options like veggie burgers and Greek Salads. Grab lunch for two for under $35.
Nature lovers, eco-travelers, and adventure lovers should definitely consider a honeymoon in Costa Rica. Just make sure you pack plenty of mosquito repellent and prepare for possible privacy invasion, as monkeys and toucans may pop in you when you least expect it.