With two breathtaking coasts only a short plane ride away from each other — one on the Pacific, the other on the Caribbean — Costa Rica is the perfect destination for couples looking for an adventure-beach mix. The country, slightly smaller than West Virginia, includes amazing mountaintop views and volcanic cones in its interior (there are four major volcanoes in Costa Rica, only two of which are active), and sun-baked stretches of white-sand beaches as well as verdant jungles alive with exotic wildlife on the coasts. Even if you and your partner have opposite honeymoon styles, Costa Rica’s natural beauty and variety make it a very appealing option.
Before You Go: Need-to-know info
Entry Requirements: Valid passport with at least one blank page
Language: Spanish and limited English
Currency: Costa Rican colon
Flight time (to San Jose): 5 1/2 hours from New York City; 6 hours from LA; 4 hours from Houston; 5 hours from Chicago
Getting around: Rental car, taxi and bus
When to Go: Costa Rica at its best
Best weather: December to April is Costa Rica’s dry season, except on the Caribbean coast where it rains throughout the year. The temperature and humidity vary with altitude; both are much higher along the coasts than in San Jose.
What To Do
See the landscape: Though deforestation once threatened the country’s dense rainforests, several nature preserves, biological reserves and national parks have been established to protect Costa Rica’s landscape, which are now many of the country’s best attractions.
Costa Rica is also less commercialized than many other honeymoon locales. Of course, there is a Four Seasons, but ecotourism is very popular in Costa Rica, making less traditional but equally luxurious eco-lodges and rainforest bungalows a desirable (and romantic) alternative. Set amid the country’s lush tropical forests, these accommodations offer travelers the opportunity to truly experience the beauty of their surroundings.
Adventure: Thanks to Costa Rica’s rich and diverse landscape, adventure is always nearby. If you’re ready for something daring, try bungee jumping in San Jose, rappelling in La Fortuna, or zip-lining in Hacienda Baru. Those looking for a more mild rush should try deep-sea fishing in Quepos, horseback riding in Montezuma or windsurfing in Lake Arenal.
Wildlife: Costa Rica’s fertile terrain is also home to a vibrant plant and animal population, making the country a popular lab site for biologists. Nature-loving honeymooners can enjoy turtle watching along the Caribbean coast and in the North Pacific, and whale watching in the South Pacific. Exotic birds abound throughout the country’s rainforests, and spotting a howler monkey or a sloth makes treks into the jungle even more worthwhile.
Coffee: If you relish a good cup of java, then you’ll love Costa Rica. The country is famous for its coffee, which is rich in both quality and caffeine, and noted for its slightly bitter taste. Their brew is so good that most natives enjoy up to six cups a day, and you can find a great cup almost anywhere.
Enjoy the ticos: Costa Ricans, or ticos as they refer to themselves, are known worldwide for their friendly demeanor. Maybe it’s because they live in one of the few countries without a standing army, or simply because of their naturally beautiful environment. Whatever the reason, ticos are always quick and happy to help a traveler in need.