Marrying in Costa Rica
The ecological gem called Costa Rica features a number of hotels where panoramic views, rainforests, volcanoes, and tropical beaches can form the backdrop for a romantic wedding, as well as a honeymoon.
If you’re considering whether to have a stateside wedding or one abroad, first familiarize yourselves with the documents required to get married in Costa Rica.
Some couples may decide it will be simpler to marry at home and then honeymoon in Costa Rica. However, weddings and receptions are more economical here due to several factors, including the relatively reasonable rates at many hotels and the lower cost of tropical flowers to decorate a reception space.
If the idea of an occasional healthy-sized cockroach running past your path frightens you, perhaps a night in a rainforest hotel isn’t a good fit. Yet, if you enjoy the outdoors and the romance of lush greenery dotted with colorful orchids and heliconias, seriously consider Costa Rica.
What follows is a sampling of hotels, primarily in the highlands of the Pacific coast, where you and your love can experience all that Costa Rica has to offer.
Zephyr Palace in Costa Rica
This hilltop mansion features seven suites plus a ballroom to hold a wedding reception. Couples interested in renting the entire mansion should inquire about special wedding and honeymoon rates.
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Each suite is themed. The 996-square-foot African Suite features a mural of Kilimanjaro, with lions and apes roaming in the distance. The upscale space also features gleaming mirrors, photos of wildlife and expansive windows that showcase the rainforest and Nicoya Gulf below.
The 791-square-foot Oriental Suite features antiques from Morocco, Tunisia and India, with Middle Eastern woodwork adorning the two bedrooms.
A free shuttle takes guests to the private beach and a concierge can arrange day trips.
Guests at Zephyr Palace have access to amenities at its sister property in the mountains, Villa Caleta. It boasts a spa, infinity pool, and amphitheater where a wedding can take place against a backdrop of imposing pillars with the lush panorama below. Restaurants include Mirador, featuring seafood items such as grilled jumbo shrimps, sea bass filet and Caletas’ surf and turf.
Hotel Alta Las Palomas in Costa Rica
This boutique hotel is a good choice for couples who want to spend a few nights in the mountains above San Jose, where Costa Rica’s international airport is located, before embarking on an exploration of other parts of the country.
Alta can host smaller wedding receptions for up to 60 people. Its Luz restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, all with panoramic views. Start your day with a delicious, Tico (Costa Rican) breakfast of gallo pinto (rice and black beans), eggs, avocado and fried plantains, and fresh pineapple juice.
At lunch and dinner, try the local pejibaye (say “peh-hee-BAH-jay”) soup, made from a starchy, tasty vegetable. Seafood abounds and exotic fresh fruits, such as mangosteen, papaya and rambutan, are a great conclusion to your meal.
Hotel Arenal Kioro Suites and Spa in Costa Rica
This luxurious all-suite property offers stunning views of Arenal Volcano, the most active in Costa Rica. Rest on a king-sized bed, enjoy the hydro-massage Jacuzzi in the privacy of your suite, or luxuriate in a private thermal pool outside in the gardens where iridescent butterflies flit among multicolored flowers.
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Wedding ceremonies can be performed in the gazebo, with Arenal forming the backdrop for 27 acres of lush greenery. Receptions of up to 100 people can be held in the Heliconias restaurant, where fragrant tropical flowers from the garden adorn the tables and tall windows afford views of the volcano. The cuisine features international and Tico (Costa Rican) meat and seafood dishes. The resort is smoke-free, and each suite has a private balcony.
Si Como No Resort and Wildlife Refuge in Costa Rica
The 58 rooms of this sustainable resort run on solar energy and stretch across the jungle hillside on 10 acres near Manuel Antonio National Park, although the beach is a short drive away. Note that there are no TVs in this hotel, but panoramic views of the beach below and the private, 24-acre wildlife refuge provide plenty of eye appeal.
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Suites are large (ranging from 400 to 700 square feet) and feature basic, rustic furniture that reflect the theme of sustainability. Some bathrooms feature a Jacuzzi for two.
Weddings are held in their nature reserve’s butterfly atrium, where up to 70 guests can sip cocktails surrounded by flitting Lepidoptera and lush foliage. Another appealing option is to exchange vows on a nearby beach where the greenery of the jungle meets the sand.
Dine at the hotel’s Claro Que Si Seafood & Grill for tapas, tasty nachos, Caribbean-spiced ceviche, calamari, and even vegetarian options. Try their signature plate, fish filet with caramelized onions, olives, tomato sauce and spices.