Costa Rica has always been on my travel bucket list, but I’d be lying if I said it was my dream honeymoon location. Although Costa Rica isn’t one of the most popular honeymoon destinations, it was absolutely perfect for our long-awaited getaway. Keenan and I had the best time enjoying two resorts (doing nothing and you’ll see what I mean), the lush landscape, the friendliest people ever, and the culture. I received so many questions from my Instagram and TikTok cousins, so I’m happy to share all the details of our 8-day honeymoon in Guanacaste and Arenal, Costa Rica. Let’s go!
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Why Costa Rica?
We had two goals for our honeymoon: to get actual R&R and pay solely with credit card reward points. I’d racked up a ton of points traveling frequently as a consultant pre-Covid and we put 90% of our wedding on credit cards for the points (We immediately paid those balances. Remind me to write a blog post about credit cards). So, we googled the top honeymoon destinations and researched flights, hotels, etc. that we could book with points. None of our top destinations worked out, but I remembered Costa Rica. We did some more research and found that it was perfect!
When to visit Costa Rica
This depends on your travel goals, but Costa Rica only has two seasons: Dry and Green. The dry season is the high season from December to April. It attracts a lot of people due to the lack of rain. With that, more demand equals higher prices. The green or rainy season is from May to November and is preferred by locals from what we learned. The green season has guaranteed rain every day, but for us, temperatures were in the mid-80s and humid with rain with showers most afternoons and after dinner. The rainy season is cheaper, less crowded, and just so peaceful.
4 DAYS ON THE GUANACASTE COAST
Remember those credit card points I mentioned? We used those and an old Delta flight credit I had to fly first class. We paid about $100 total to cover the taxes and fees for Keenan’s flights. I hate layovers, but with free flights… there was no question. After a quick stop in Atlanta, we hopped on the second flight to Liberia International Airport. That flight was nice. We had plenty of room to be comfortable, drank a lot of champagne, enjoyed breakfast, and relaxed.
We had no desire to put in work of any kind on this trip, so we booked a Go Costa Rica Visión for all travel between the airport and our resorts. The ride from the airport to the Guanacaste coast was about 90 minutes. Our driver was so nice! Took us to stores and taught us a few terms and customary dishes found in Costa Rica.
Where we stayed
It was our honeymoon, so we had to add a little oomph to the trip by doing the most. You only have one honeymoon, right? I mean… we could have another, but you get it. We stayed at two resorts with completely different feels. The first was the W Hotel Costa Rica – Reserva Conchal on the Guanacaste Coast. It was luxe with a vibrant feel that matched the Costa Rican culture. The resort is spread out across different buildings that were walkable (including the beach), but cart service was one call away and very quick. Staff was amazing from beginning to end and our absolute favorite was Alberro. He had such a great spirit! Always in a good mood, gave us a tour of all the grounds, and sang a few songs with Keenan during our stay.
WHAT TO DO AND EAT
Remember when I said we didn’t want to do anything on our honeymoon? We meant that wholeheartedly. Knowing that we literally wanted to do nothing but relax and had no intentions of leaving the resort, we opted for the all-inclusive package. I’m normally not a fan of all-inclusive because the food isn’t always great, and I hate feeling like I must eat at the resort. We were not disappointed with the food or drink at all. Breakfast was amazing, the 7-course dinner with pairings was cool, room service was great, and they may have some of the best cheesecake ever.
Our room was a spacious king suite with a clear view of the tropical landscape and beach. There’s a lot to do in this area of Costa Rica. Many people did sunset boat rides, jet skis, hikes, ziplining, etc., but we opted not to do any of that. Instead… we visited the spa for a couples massage, took a cocktail class with a mixologist, lay by the pool with books, drank lots of tequila drinks from our favorite server, and just floated on our inflatable swan lovingly named Seravitious Suavamente Seahorn.
5 Days in the Rain Forest of La Fortuna
Okay now THIS is what I was waiting for on our honeymoon and when I say it was unreal… but hold on let’s rewind.
After a enjoying a bomb floating breakfast in the pool at the W, we made our way to La Fortuna in a sprinter we booked thru Go Costa Rica Visión and our driver Henry had the best 2000s R&B playlist. The ride was about 3.5 hours. Mostly smooth but that last hour almost took both of us out. It was raining pretty hard and the roads in Costa Rica are rough and very curvy. Highly recommend motion sickness meds to avoid feeling bad.
We finally made it to the next resort around 5pm. It was storming pretty bad and nightfall, but we could already tell the resort was magical. The photos don’t compare, and I can’t really put it into words.
Where We stayed
Y’all… Nayara Resorts is literally unmatched. It’s one large resort split in to 3 mini-resorts: Springs, Gardens and Tented Camps. The last two allow children, while Nayara Springs is adult-only. We obviously chose Nayara springs for our honeymoon but were able to access all 3 as we pleased. Each “room” is a villa tucked away in the rainforest jungle with no neighbors in sight, a private pool fed from the hot springs, outdoor shower and bigger than some apartments. Incredibly beautiful and well-kept.
What do do and eat
You know how people go on vacation and come home tired? It’s nearly impossible to do that at Nayara because it’s vibe is so calming. At some point every day, we went to one of the heated adult pools, sat in the cabana and laid there while it rained. Best naps I’ve ever had in life. Even better than the naps after church on Sundays and y’all know those. When we weren’t napping, we soaked in the natural hot springs that were so much better than any hot tub you’ve ever tried. The infinity pool on the tented camp side has an unobstructed view of the Arenal Volcano and is just… *chefs kiss*!
The resort is immaculate. Pristinely clean, open-air, super lush with exotic flowers, trees, and wildlife everywhere. There are amazing views of the Arenal Volcano from several restaurants and pools (whenever it’s not overcast). We’d never seen anything like that before! We saw a sloth, iguanas, tropical birds and heard monkeys but it was so peaceful at the same time. The staff was on-point, so nice and just went over the top to make our honeymoon special. It’s pricey, but completely worth it. We’d do it again each year if we can!
Took a few more classes to learn more about the culture of Costa Rica. Spent a morning learning everything about coffee, which Costa Rica is known for. Puts my Nespresso pods to shame. Took a private cooking class with a chef that taught us how to make Marlin ceviche (I don’t even eat fish but this was bomb!), traditional Costa Rican pollo con arroz and plátanos asados con queso for dessert. Chef was super sweet, patient and had a lot of laughs with us. If you know Keenan, you know he’s a character and there’s never a dull moment with him! We had plenty of Guaro sours to sip while we cooked. Maybe too many!
Our spa experience there was amazing with hot stone massages, chocolate body wraps that made us smell like chocolate chip cookies and feel like butter, facials and soaking in a private hot tub with rose petals and champagne. 10 out of freakin 10!!!
We had not one bad dish in Costa Rica, but all the food at Nayara Resorts was amazing. There are 6 restaurants across the 3 resorts, complimentary breakfast in-room or at the buffet, pool-side bars and service and the most romantic private dinners in what feels like mini cathedrals. One of the best steaks I’ve ever had in my life, complimentary desserts to celebrate our honeymoon every night and plenty of cocktails!
We also fell in love with Cacique Guaro, the national liquor of Costa Rica. We learned “Guaro” translates to “sugarcane liquor”, making it very similar to a white rum, but sweeter. Keenan has never been a fan of rum but fell in love with it just as much as I did! We may or may not have brought 3 large bottles of Cacique Guaro aka Cuatro Plumas back to America with us because it isn’t sold here. If you’re in Canada, you have a chance at snagging it!
Until we meet again…
So many people were shocked when we told them our honeymoon in Costa Rica was 8 days long, but we think it was the perfect time because we got to experience the higher energy of the coast and totally different vibe of of the rainforest. We were ready to get home, but also hated to leave. I’ll have to do another post with the top items you MUST pack for a trip to Costa Rica soon. Drop any other questions you may have!