With the Caribbean on one side, the Pacific on the other and stretches of protected rainforest in between, Costa Rica romantic getaways are up there with the best. Given the range of rainforest lodges, five-star designer hotels and oceanfront resorts, stays can be as active or as downright do-nothing as you wish. The Tico welcome is genuine, the coffee legendary and repeat visits are a common occurrence. Spend your first few weeks of wedded bliss at one of these resorts, villas or hotels at the crossroads of the Americas.
Bright birds of paradise and an active volcano surround Nayara Springs, whose location and philosophy help it merge with the landscape. It’s a tropical idyll and this luxury lodging intends to keep it that way, planting thousands of trees in the sloth sanctuary. Local producers supply its “zero kilometers” restaurant, while private guides show guests the toucans and howler monkeys who share this protected natural environment. Bookend a day of zip-lining over the rainforest with a signature massage and a soak in your own private plunge pool.
Hotel Bosque del Mar
Lapped by the Pacific, the family-run, all-suite “Sea Forest” Hotel provides the perfect ocean getaway, sat in the half-moon Bahía Hermosa lined with sandy beaches, each within a panoramic walk of each other. Scale the observation deck above Playa Penca for a bird’s eye view of the bay and the string of islands trailing off to the horizon. The hotel can lay on sunset sailing tours, diving and sport fishing, as well as whitewater rafting and zip-lining over the forest canopy inland.
Makanda by the Sea
Honeymoons and weddings are the speciality of this adults-only oceanfront mecca of relaxation. Bespoke facials, seaweed wraps and massages for two are among the treatments offered at the adjoining Shanti Spa. Built from ocean stones, shells and bamboo, its private terrace and whirlpool bask in the same Pacific views as the exclusive lodgings. Choose between the Luxury Villa Private Pool, Pacific Jacuzzi Suite or Honeymoon Grand Pool Villa – to name but three. Nature inspires the look of the funky Arbol restaurant, its menu awash with prime seafood and sushi.
Looking directly onto the most active volcano in Costa Rica, the higher elevation of the Arenal slopes affords cool mountain breezes. This unique lodging of luxury cabins is immersed in the virgin rainforest that supplied the tropical hardwood from which it was built. Canyon views of pure green embellish each key feature: the floating yoga and meditation platforms, the plunge pool, the full-service spa and the high-end gym. It’s not all essential oils, though – music, dancing and craft drinks allow guests to let loose in the bar, La Jaranita.
Oxygen Jungle Villas
The Pacific and the rainforest may beckon but, cascading waterfalls aside, there seems little reason to leave your lodging at the five-star, adults-only Oxygen Jungle Villas. Each Oceanview or Jungle View Villa brings these natural wonders up close and personal, thanks to the floor-to-ceiling wall of windows and the private terrace. Whale-watching, for which this stretch of coastline is best known, was never more luxurious. Alternatively, opt for a Spa Villa to indulge in bath balms and native remedies. Its signature attraction, the infinity pool made of green stone, defies superlatives.
Rainforest treehouse, modern suite or luxury villa? Ocean views come with all three at this adults-only resort, conceived by Mario and Mark Leaman, yoga instructor and solar-energy expert respectively. It sits between the Marino Ballena and Corcovado National Parks – one the domain of whales and dolphins, the other jaguars and bull sharks. Active recreation includes waterfall rappelling, surfing and sea kayaking, while complete relaxation is provided at the Spa Tranquila. There’s more ocean views from your table at the hotel restaurant, where fresh ceviche (marinated seafood) is a specialty.
Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Farm & Inn
The Finca Rosa puts sustainability first, having pioneered this form of ecotourism back in the 1980s. Trading high-grade organic coffee allowed the family here to expand and reforest the land, creating this lovely lodge of 14 suites – each a riot of color, original artwork and artisanal furniture. Every morning, expert guides take guests out to the edge of the Barva Volcano crater, which has views to the Pacific and Caribbean on clear days. There’s pure relaxation, too, in the shape of a spring-fed infinity pool set amid tropical gardens.
Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo
Award-winning New York designer Meyer Davis came up with the nature-inspired individual look of each room and suite at this 1,400-acre (570ha) hilltop retreat – and Arnold Palmer designed the 18-hole, 72-par golf course. The Pacific Clarifying Scrub with honey and ground shells stands out among the spa treatments, as do the facials for over-12s – this being a family-friendly getaway for those whose honeymoon involves more than two. Star-gazing should dazzle all ages, though maybe not the sophisticated global cuisine at Anejo, where fine dining and DJ beats combine.
Hotel Capitán Suizo
Beachfront and boutique, the Capitán Suizo has been accommodating visitors since 1992, after a Swiss couple brought their two young children and dog to this idyllic spot overlooking Capitán Island. From the 35 spacious, sleek rooms, six bungalows, suites and surrounding tropical gardens, it’s a few paces to Tamarindo Beach – where sea kayaking, scuba diving and surfing for all levels take place. Inland, you can take a boat tour of the Tamarindo Estuary, go horseback riding or loll in hot-spring baths.
Lapa Rios Lodge
This 17-bungalow lodge sits on 1,000 acres of primary and secondary rainforest in the Osa Peninsula, most of it part of the Corcovado National Park jutting out towards Panama. The concept of sustainable tourism here was established back in 1993 – lapa is the local name for the bright red macaws you’re sure to see during your stay, or on a hike or bird-watching walk. The friendly team offer a stay specially designed for honeymooners, called “a newlywed adventure” – a combination of exploration and seclusion.
Still looking for your perfect stay? Check out our guide to the best all-inclusive resorts in Costa Rica, which you can now book on Culture Trip. Alternately, check into one of the top beach hotels around the country.
This is an updated rewrite of an article originally by Jenn Parker.
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