Romantic sunsets, picturesque beaches, and gorgeous weather are just a few of the things that make Costa Rica a perfect honeymoon destination. Couple that with lush rainforest and plenty of adventure, and you have the makings for a trip that you and your partner will never forget. In this honeymoon itinerary, we’ll help you pick destinations and activities that will turn up the romance all while showing you the best of what Costa Rica has to offer.
One Week Costa Rica Honeymoon Itinerary
Arriving in Costa Rica
For this itinerary, Liberia International (LIR) in northwestern Costa Rica is the most convenient airport. However, if you find that flights are less expensive into Costa Rica’s main airport in San Jose (SJO), that’s fine too. You may just need to plan on spending the night near the airport at the end of your trip since San Jose is quite far from the Guanacaste beach towns we recommend below. Tip: If you need to stay overnight, we recommend Hotel Buena Vista for a romantic night in the city. This boutique hotel is set very privately on a hill so is nice and quiet and enjoys great views of the cityscape at night.
Days 1-4: Head to La Fortuna, home of the country’s most famous hot springs.
What’s more romantic than soaking in natural hot springs surrounded by lush tropical rainforest?
The first stop for post-wedding bliss is definitely La Fortuna in the rolling hills of northern Costa Rica. This quaint town is most famous for having an active volcano called Arenal, which heats the area’s hot springs. These mineral-rich natural pools are relaxing and guaranteed to make you want to get closer to your partner. Several hotels and resorts have elaborate springs on-site, and we highly recommend staying at one of these places to get the most out of the experience. Many have luxurious, landscaped grounds complete with fountains and gardens as well as swim-up bars where you can grab a refreshing cocktail while unwinding in the steamy water. What’s great about staying at a hotel with hot springs on the premises is that you can spend as much time as you want in them, at any time of day, and aren’t limited like you would be if you just got a day pass to one of the resorts.
Tip: If you stay at one of the resorts outside the main area of town, it’s best to rent a car as attractions, activities, and restaurants in the Arenal area are more spread out. Check out our Rental Car Discount page for info on how to save on a car.
Once you’ve had your fill of R&R, grab your partner for some adrenalin-pumping adventure activities. Zip-lining, hanging bridges, hiking, canyoning (waterfall rappelling), whitewater rafting, kayaking, and mountain biking are all possible out of La Fortuna. We also highly recommend spending an hour or two at La Fortuna Waterfall just outside the downtown.
For more information about visiting La Fortuna, including recommendations on where to stay, read our post La Fortuna: What to Expect from Costa Rica’s Most Popular Destination.
Days 5-7: Hit the beach. Spend a few days soaking up the sun in Guanacaste.
Once you’ve explored the verdant hills of La Fortuna, head a few hours west to the coast. Guanacaste Province has some of the most beautiful beaches in Costa Rica and show-stopping sunsets to match. You can spend these last few days of your honeymoon doing something active during the day like catching a surf lesson or snorkel tour, then as the sun sets, strolling along the sand for the start of a romantic evening.
There are many beach towns in Guanacaste, each with a different feel. Here are a couple of our favorites as well as some resorts for those of you looking for an all-inclusive experience.
Tamarindo is the biggest town along this stretch of coast and the ideal destination for those looking for a lively beach escape. It is best known for surfing, but lots of other activities can be arranged out of Tamarindo too, like catamaran tours, wildlife boat tours of the nearby estuary, and sportfishing. The main area of town also has some decent shopping and tons of trendy bars and restaurants to choose from.
For more information about visiting Tamarindo, check out our post Tamarindo: Where Paradise Meets Convenience.
Tip: If you stay near the center of town, everything is within walking distance, including the beach, so you don’t need a rental car. A rental car is nice to have, however, if you want to explore on your own outside of organized tours. Some of the biggest attractions in this area, like Llanos de Cortez Waterfall and Rincon de la Vieja National Park, are quite a distance from Tamarindo. Or you might want one to beach hop to some of the more secluded beaches like Playa Avellanas.
If you’re looking for something more off-the-beaten path, there’s Playa Samara to the south. This cute seaside town is located in a more rural area of Costa Rica, in central Guanacaste Province, about four hours from La Fortuna.
Though many of the surrounding towns are small, Samara offers quite a few amenities for travelers. Along the main area adjacent to the beach, you’ll find a good selection of restaurants and casual bars where you can grab a drink or meal while taking in gorgeous ocean views. Popular activities in Samara include visiting the area’s awesome beaches, stand-up paddleboard, kayaking, diving and snorkeling, or hiking at the Werner Sauter Reserve.
For more information about Playa Samara, read our post Playa Samara: Guanacaste’s Most Overlooked Beach Town.
For those wanting to just relax on the beach, there are several resorts in Guanacaste to choose from. Four Seasons Resort Papagayo as well as Andaz Peninsula Papagayo both offer a luxury experience complete with lofty ocean views, elaborate pools, and tastefully decorated rooms. Keep in mind that these resorts are located more remotely on the Papagayo Peninsula, to the far north, so are farther from other beach towns and attractions. To be closer to the action, we recommend the Westin Playa Conchal to the south or JW Marriott Guanacaste near Tamarindo.
10 or 14 Day Costa Rica Honeymoon Itinerary
If you have more time to spend, you’ll get to see even more of Costa Rica’s romantic side. For a ten or 14 day itinerary, we recommend adding some more beach time and maybe even a stop in Monteverde after La Fortuna to see the cloud forest. Though it might not seem romantic at first blush, the misty cloud forest is mysterious and alluring in its own way, and the cooler temperatures are sure to make you want to snuggle up with your new bride or groom.
Monteverde and neighboring Santa Elena have lots of different accommodations to choose from, many of which are more rustic, ecolodge-style cabins. (Click here for our recommendations on where to stay.) Some activities in Monteverde that you won’t want to miss are zip-lining in the cloud forest, hiking one of the many nature reserves, and visiting a coffee plantation.
For more information about Monteverde, read our separate post Monteverde: A Forest in the Clouds.
We hope this post gives you some inspiration for an unforgettable honeymoon to Costa Rica. The experience of getting married is one of the most special moments in life and your honeymoon will be an extension of that celebration. If you ask us, there’s no better place than Costa Rica to keep the party going for a week or longer!
Have a question about planning your honeymoon to Costa Rica? Ask it below.
Want more customized help?
We love planning honeymoons! We can design you the perfect itinerary based on your budget and unique travel interests. Learn more by visiting our Itinerary Help page.
I came across you blog and it’s awesome! My fiance and I will be getting married in Guanacaste in July 2017. From there, we will have about 7-8 days to explore Costa Rica and would love some pointers on where to allocate our time for our Honeymoon. We will be in Guanacaste for 4 days before leaving! So should we head to La Fortuna? We’d like a mix of romantic hotels but close to all the adventure!
Hi Karissa, Congrats on your upcoming marriage! Guanacaste will be a beautiful place to get married and will be nice and green in July. If you’re looking for a romantic spot but still close to adventure, La Fortuna is a great choice. There are a lot of really romantic hotels outside town, with hot springs, lush gardens, and rainforest all around. La Fortuna has a lot to do too within a short drive. Take a look at our La Fortuna destination guide for hotel ideas.
With a couple of more days left, you could also check out the cloud forests of Monteverde (more info here). This is a really unique area of the country and is romantic in its own way as it’s cooler and is often enveloped in misty clouds. We could also help design something custom for you if you like through our itinerary service. We’ve done several honeymoons and could help you figure out exactly where to go, how to allocate your time, etc. There’s more info here.
Please help!!!! Im taking my family to Costa Rica this November for a family vacation. However I also wanted to reserve one evening sneak away from the rest of the family to celebrate me and my wife’s anniversary. We will be staying in Tamarindo. The challenging part is that we have been to Costa Rica multiple times before and have spend significant time in the area we will be staying. Can you recommend a romantic tour or activity? We have done the Antares sail boat evening on a previous trip, which was fantastic. I was wondering if you have ideas on how to top that? Thanks in advance.
Hi Kevin, Not sure if you’ve been there yet, but Seasons by Shalomy is a really romantic spot for dinner. Another idea is to have one of the restaurants on the beach make you a special dinner during sunset. We can’t think of any particularly romantic activities in that area, but the Beach Chocolate Factory on Potrero offers chocolate-making workshops and the owner will come to your home/hotel. Maybe they could do something custom for you and you could kick the kids out for a bit. Hope that gives you some ideas and that you and your wife have a wonderful anniversary!
Hi! My husband and I are planning a trip to Costa Rica in late January early February. Neither of us have been before and are excited for some adventure, wildlife, and beach relaxation. Thinking we will rent a car and follow your honeymoon itinerary over 10 days, but wondered if you can recommend any really good airbnb places to stay for some variety?? Many thanks
Hi Amoreena, Costa Rica has quite a few rentals on Airbnb. I don’t know any off the top of my head, but we could help you find some nice places through our itinerary service. Through that service, we help you pick where to go and stay and what to do based on your specific interests. We also give local tips and some recommendations for good restaurants.
Renting a car is a great way to see the country. Make sure to check out our discount as you are shopping around. Good luck with the planning!
Hi Jenn and Matt!
Great blog and very informative. We are planning our first trip to Costa Rica for our 15th anniversary. We are planning to spend about 7-9 days. Wondering about how a trip to Tortuguero would fit into a week-long itinerary? We are planning on renting a car and flying into Liberia. Also wondering about the Caribbean coast near Tortuguero.
Other areas we are interested in are Monteverde, Fortuna, and the cloud forest and activities of hot-springs, zip-line, snorkeling along with some time on the beach. Is that all do -able without being go go go? Since it is our anniversary we also want some time to relax as well 🙂 thanks!
Hi Kelly, If you are flying into Liberia, Tortuguero and the rest of the Caribbean side is probably too far away with 7-9 days. You can do it at the beginning or end of a trip if you fly into San Jose but it doesn’t really make sense from Liberia. You should have time though to see Monteverde, La Fortuna, and the beach (go somewhere in Guanacaste to be closer to the airport). 9 days would be better than 7 because then you could do 3-3-3 in each place or cut a night from Monteverde for extra time at the beach to relax. Just keep in mind that those destinations are a bit of a drive from one another so build in travel time. Happy upcoming anniversary! Costa Rica will be an awesome place to celebrate!
Hi Jenn & Matt
So we are honing in on an intinerary. Flying in to Liberia and would like to see Arenal, Monteverde and a little beach time . We have a reservation on our anniversary at the Baldi Hotspring Hotel. I’m just trying to decide which order to see things makes sense travel wise and how much travel time between Liberia and the first and last location if that makes sense? Also Wondering if we need to plan a night in Liberia at the beginning or end of the trip?
Thanks for all of your help:)
Hi Kelly, La Fortuna and Monteverde are about the same drive time so you could do either. I would do one of those first (probably Fortuna) and end with beach so that you’re closer to the airport for the end of your trip. Plus ending at the beach is a nice way to end an anniversary trip.
Whether you need an overnight at the airport on either end depends on your flight times. Allow plenty of time to get through the airport and pick up/drop off your rental and make sure to not drive in the dark, especially to/from La Fortuna or Monteverde. These are not bad drives, but the roads are not well lit and are either rough dirt or very windy. If you do need to overnight near the airport, the Hilton Garden Inn is good choice.
Hello! My husband and I are planning a trip to Costa Rica for our 10 year wedding anniversary. We are thinking la fortuna and a beach town. I was thinking either playa grande, samara or playa flamingo. Which do you reccomend?
Hi Jordan, We love Samara because it’s a great size. It’s small but still has a good amount of restaurants and things to do. It’s also not overly developed and the beach is really nice. Playa Grande is nice too. It’s near Tamarindo but quieter. The beach is more of a surfing beach. Flamingo is more of a resort town, with lots of condos. You can follow the links we just gave to read our detailed destination guides about each town.
Hi there, I’m getting married next April and planning on going to Costa Rica for around 2-2.5 weeks in early May. Considering the following loop: Arenal/Mondeverte/Manuel Antonio/Corcovado. Worried that 1) it will be too hectic and 2) rainy season will mean that we won’t be able to enjoy all the activities on offer. What do you think? Should we cut something out of the plan and do you think early May should be mostly dry in the mornings with odd showers in afternoon? Any advice much appreciated, suggestions on hotels etc welcome too of course.
Hi Sheila, Congrats on your upcoming marriage! That itinerary will involve some driving but shouldn’t be too hectic as long as you’re okay with spending around four days in each place. That’s enough time to get a feel for the different areas and builds in a little extra time in case an activity gets rained out. In all those areas except La Fortuna, it will be the very beginning of rainy season, which usually isn’t too bad. La Fortuna has slightly different weather and I think it’s usually decent in May. For hotel and other recommendations, we have detailed destination guides on each of those towns- just go to our Destinations page to find them. If you’re still not sure if you’re trying to do too much, we can provide more custom help through one of our itinerary services. Hope you have a great honeymoon!
Hi again Jenn & Matt,
We are making progress on the itinerary. Flying into Liberia early and then to an airbnb in Bijagua where we are hiking to the Rio Celestes Falls. Then on to Arenal and La Fortuna. I found a nice place on the lake in Nuevo Arenal but am wondering if that is too far from the activities in La Fortuna (mainly hiking to the falls and maybe a night time walk to see the volcano)? ARE there similar activites in Nuevo Arenal ( except the falls of course ) ? Third night is at Baldi Hotsprings on our anniversary. Next its on to Monteverde and on to the beaches . Still firming up the plan there.
We are renting a car in Liberia and deciding whether to get 4×4 or not but we probably will. I know one is needed to Monteverde but I was wondering about the jeep/boat/jeep option from La Fortuna to Monteverde. This sound like a nice alternative to driving ourselves. What are your thoughts? If we did that what would we do about the car? Seems like we would be backtracking to go back to La Fortuna and then the beach? Also you mention that Monteverde activities are a bit spread out so maybe better to have a car there anyway?
Thanks for helping us plan this trip. We are so excited for it!
Hi again Kelly, This is the kind of help that we provide to our itinerary clients. Let us know if you’re interested in our services and we would be happy to keep working through the issues with you. Sounds like your plans are coming together though, which is great!
My girlfriend and I want to get married in Costa Rica. We are American citizens.
Can we get married there and if so, will it be considered legal in the United States?
Hi Sam, We think so, but you should read this post on another website called Everything You Need to Know About Getting Married in Costa Rica.
I am currently trying to plan a honeymoon in mid July 2017 and am having trouble figuring out the best place to be. I have read that during the veranito, the Pacific coast is dryer which is preferable. We are wanting some romantic beach time but also would love to be close to some of the interior rain forest activities. I would love to plan for a few excursions into the rain forest for a hike or a zipline and spend the rest of the time laid out on a nice beach or beside a pool. We are looking at a 6ish night stay, and our rewards points best work if we stay at a Marriott hotel. Any quick tips?
Hi Flip, Your options for Marriotts are the one near Tamarindo or the one in Playa Herradura. The Tamarindo area has nicer beaches, but is farther from the rainforest. The beach in Herradura is decent and is close to a couple of really beautiful beaches, Playa Blanca and Playa Mantas. From Herradura, you can quickly get to Jaco for adventure activities like zip lining and you could do Manuel Antonio on a day trip if you wanted to. That time of year the forest should be nice and green anyway, but it will be really lush in Manuel Antonio, which has true tropical rainforest (Herradura/Jaco is in a transition zone between tropical and dry). Day trips into the rainforest from Tamarindo are usually to places like La Fortuna and Monteverde, which are several hours away and not really practical to do in one day. If being at a beautiful beach is important to you, Tamarindo will be nice and green that time of year too and has zip lining and other activities nearby, even if it isn’t tropical rainforest. Hope that helps!
Hi Jenn and Matt,
My husband and I arrive in Liberia in a few weeks to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary (leaving the 3 kiddos at home). We’re staying in a condo in Playa del Coco for 6 nights and would like to plan 2 or 3 romantic / adventurous day trips.
Would you recommend car rental or is it fairly easy to find shuttles for day trips?
Is La Fortuna and Monteverde too much for a day trip? It looks like it’s a 3 hour drive, but also a shame to miss if we’re going to be so close. If not, would you recommend a specific shuttle? We’re concerned about driving back in the dark.
Also, do you have a blog post on tours (zip, kayak, hike, etc.) in the Northwest that you could point us to?
Your blog / site is the best, thank you!
Hi Kimberly, Arenal and Monteverde are quite far from Playas del Coco. People do visit them on day trips but we don’t recommend it. We don’t have a post about day trips from Guanacaste yet (though we have been meaning to come out with one 🙂 If Arenal and Monteverde sound appealing, take a look at the Miravalles Volcano area, which also has hot springs (and mud baths, volcanic steam vents), or the Rio Celeste Waterfall. These are a little closer so more doable as day trips. We also have a list of possible activities in our Playa Hermosa post in the Activities section.
If you arrange these trips as tours through a tour operator, the tour usually includes transportation. You can also organize many of them independently, which gives you a little more freedom to do things at your own pace. If you decide to book them as tours, let us know if you would like any help finding a reputable operator. We are also a travel agency so can make bookings for people. Hope you and your husband have a great trip and congrats on your anniversary!
Hi Jenn and Matt,
Thanks for offering such a great resource for those of us who’ve not yet explored/experienced “La Pura Vida”. I am planning to purchase your book, and may seek out your advice for a honeymoon itinerary, but before getting too far into planning, we wanted to know if horseback riding is an activity we could easily have access to (assuming we were to roughly follow the La Fortuna–> Guanacaste itinerary you’ve laid out above)? My wife and I are planning our [delayed] honeymoon for Feb 2018, and we both enjoy everything you’ve mentioned, but we’re both big horseback riders as well… Any insight as to location and availability would be greatly appreciated.
Hi Oliver, Horseback riding is popular all around Costa Rica so you will not have any problems. The one thing you will have to watch out for is making sure to find tour operators that take good care of their horses. Sadly that is not always the case here. In La Fortuna, though, there’s a local guy who does a horseback tour and takes really good care of his horses. A great spot in a Guanacaste for riding is Nosara. The terrain is perfect for it and there’s another really great company. Read our Nosara post for more info. We can help you book either of these tours if you would like; just let us know.
Great website!! We are flying into Liberia and staying at Secrets for 4 nights and then were planning on a day trip over to Utiva to stay at Oxygen Jungle suites and then will fly out of San Jose. Is a one day drive from Liberia to Utiva doable? Thank you!!
Hi Joy, Yes, that drive is a little long but definitely doable in a day. We have done it before. It’s about 6 hrs with traffic. There are some places to stop on Highway 1 (Monteverde Cheese Factory restaurant) or you could stop for a Churchill (traditional ice cream drink) along the beach in Puntarenas. There’s also the Tarcoles River to see the crocodiles. Safe travels!
Hi Jenn and Matt!
First of all, thank you so much for putting together this amazing website with great information. I’m getting married in April and planning a 12/13 day honeymoon in Costa Rica (starting last week of April).
We are pretty much following your Honeymoon Itinerary but were wondering if the Rio Celeste would be a good day trip from the Guanacaste area? Or from Monteverde? Initially we wanted to spend 2 nights in the Bijagua area , but not sure if there’s enough to do?
Thank you so much!
Hi Diana, You can do Rio Celeste as a day trip from Guanacaste as long as you leave early in the morning to avoid driving after dark. It is about a 1.5-2.5 hour drive each way, depending on where you’re coming from in Guanacaste. It’s about 2.5 hours from Monteverde, but again, this is not a drive to do after dark because the road to Monteverde is rough dirt and mountainous. Personally, we would recommend spending a couple of nights in Bijagua so that you can enjoy the Rio Celeste more. There is definitely enough to do to justify 2 nights there and it has a very different feel from the other places you will be visiting. Here’s a link to our Bijagua post. Casitas Tenorio is a really cute option and we get a discount through them. If you’re going to La Fortuna, you could also do Rio Celeste as a day trip from there (it’s about 1.5 hrs if you access it from the town of Guatuso- our Rio Celeste post has driving directions).
Hi! Thanks so much for your reply. We are going to take your advice and stay 2 nights in Bijagua after 3 nights in La Fortuna. Then we’ll make Monteverde our next stop for a couple of nights. Casitas Tenorio looks amazing! Do you mind sharing the discount code? Thanks again!
The discount code is TwoWeeks. It’s on our Costa Rica Discounts page too. Let us know if you have any problems!
Hi Matt & Jen,
I’m so happy that I stumbled upon your blog. My fiance and I are planning our two week honeymoon to Costa Rica. We are coming from Aug 20 – Sept 5. We were wondering if it is typically very rainy during this period? I have been doing lots of research, but really can’t come to a conclusion. I was wondering if your local perspective could please advise us! Thank you so much!
Hi Andrea, It can be very rainy that time of year or not that bad, it just depends on the year. Usually we tell people that end of August isn’t too bad. It depends on exactly where you are looking at, but in many places, you still have quite a bit of sun and then rain in the afternoon or at night for an hour or two. Sometimes there will be more rain and some days a lot of clouds. La Fortuna/Arenal Volcano usually has pretty good weather in late August/early September and the southern Caribbean has its best weather that time of year, so those are two good options. You can read our Weather post for more information.
Hi, I have been reading your blog and submitted to receive your emails. Looking for the best sequence to book our travel. We are flying into Liberia, plan on spending three nights in the Arenal area and also planning on spending a couple nights in Monteverde and the rest of our 10 nights in Tamarindo. We will be flying home from San Jose. For the best travel times where should we head after Arenal?
Do you know of any places near Tamarindo that we could stay and do some of our own cooking? We are not interested in an all inclusive.
Thanks for your help and the links to book. Will use your link for car rental. We are traveling Feb 4-14 2019.
Hi Maureen, If your itinerary has any flexibility, we would recommend starting your trip in Tamarindo and working your way back to San Jose for your flight out. If you start in Tamarindo, you could then go to Monteverde and end in La Fortuna, then you would only has a 2.5 hour or so drive to the airport on the way out. If you end in Tamarindo instead, you’ll be back tracking a lot to get to San Jose. I think we already addressed your Tamarindo cooking question in another comment. There are probably hotels with cooking options in Tamarindo but we don’t know of any offhand. Those options in Playa Hermosa that we gave you do, though. Thanks for renting a car through our site!
Hi there! Thank you for your amazing blog! We are going to Costa Rica for the first time in February and will be there for 17 days, flying in and out of Liberia. We plan to spend the first 5 days in La Fortuna/Arenal and Monteverde area, and the last 5-6 days in Samara area. Would it be doable to go to Manuel Antonio and Uvita area in the middle? Would you break up the drive to Guanacaste and stay somewhere? Or would you suggest spending more time exploring places in Guanacaste instead of going south?
Hi Erika, If you’re okay with doing some driving, I think you could do Manuel Antonio in the middle. I wouldn’t go farther south than that, though, since that would make for a long drive over to Samara after. It would be nice to see Manuel Antonio since it’s true rainforest (Samara is tropical dry forest) and won’t be as hot and dry as Samara. This is probably your best option. You could stay in Guanacaste and explore places like Tamarindo but it’ll be really dry this time of year.