When it comes to locations for destination weddings, the world is full of exciting and exotic locations. However, few can match the jewel of a country that is Costa Rica.
Located in Central America with two coastlines, the Pacific and Caribbean, it is a peaceful country and is known for its friendly locals, who refer to themselves as Ticos. The main attractions in Costa Rica are Beach, Nature, and Adventure.
Eco-tourism promotes relishing in the gifts Mother Nature extended, while preserving their purity and integrity. With all of this to offer, plus its close proximity to the US and ease of travel within in the country, Costa Rica has become a hot spot for destination weddings.
Planning a wedding in Costa Rica is a fairly simple process. The legal requirements for a marriage there are no more than the presence of a lawyer and presenting your birth certificates. Fees for a legal ceremony average $700- $900. You may also choose to do a symbolic ceremony and file the legal paperwork in your home country.
It is easiest to break the country up into three main categories for wedding locations: Beach, Jungle, and Volcano. Each offer unique charm and beauty, so choosing one is simply a matter of personal preference.
Both coasts are very unique and distinctive. The Caribbean coastline offers a great alternative during the months of April through November, what Costa Ricans consider the “wet season” (often referred to as the green season), offering a distinctive Afro-Caribbean feel find nowhere else in the country. The Pacific coastline, divides into three types of beach wedding alternatives: the North Pacific with beautiful white shore lines, the Central Pacific with a great combination of nature and adventure, and finally the South Pacific for those who seek the intensity of nature at its best.
With a large portion of the country covered in primary rain forest, jungle options abound. Some of the more popular ones being: Monteverde Cloud Forest, Manuel Antonio National Park, Corcovado National Park and even Tortuguero National Park for an Amazon alternative. Each area has numerous species of flora and fauna to enjoy. You may see animals like monkeys, frogs, sloths, macaws, dolphins, whales, coatis, or sea turtles to name just a few.
Arenal Volcano is a “must see” when traveling to Costa Rica. If you don’t get married overlooking its glowing orange lava, you should at least add a day or two there during your honeymoon to witness its rare beauty. Many of the hotels in the area boast views of the volcano so the range of choices are wide.
Keep in mind that because of the ease of travel within this relatively small country you don’t have to miss any of these locations during your stay there. Pick one for your wedding and then spend your honeymoon exploring the rest.
Once you have chosen the type of location you want for your destination wedding, it’s time to look at the accommodations in that area. Each area of the country offers a wide range of hotels from high-end luxury, like the Four Seasons Papagayo or Punta Islita, to boutique properties, Si Como No or Arenas del Mar, to rustic jungle lodges, Pacuare Lodge or Manatus Lodge.
Having a smaller budget doesn’t mean a less spectacular wedding, but may result in giving up a little luxury for a more “authentic” tropical experience. Something none of your guests will complain about because most people who travel love to experience the raw natural beauty that Costa Rica has to offer. A growing alternative many brides seem to prefer lately is the option of renting a Villa and having all the services catered for from the comfort of a place you can call home for a week.
Your wedding reception can be as elaborate or as effortless as desired. Five star hotels with world class cuisine will cost as much as they do in the US. There are a number of good caterers who bring fantastic food options to the table for you at considerably lower prices, but you will have to rent crockery and tableware. It may be best to work with an event planner to make sure all of the logistics are covered. They can offer vendors who are known as reputable and delivering good quality, which is a huge asset since you probably won’t sit down for a tasting with your caterer prior to booking with them. Many people offer event planner services, and many hotels offer the alternative to coordinate your wedding in situ.
Daily tours in Costa Rica range from adventure like white water rafting, ziplining, canyoning, and rapelling; to more serene tours of butterfly gardens and coffee plantations; and for nature lovers national park tours and whale and dolphin watching. There is an activity for every personal preference and many of your guests will prolong their stay in Costa Rica to take in some of the amazing tours the country has to offer. It also offers you a little variety for your honeymoon should you choose to take it directly after the wedding and stay in Costa Rica.