Want to tie the knot on a tropical beach, a dense tropical rainforest, a mystical cloud forest, at a breathtaking waterfall, or near a picturesque volcano? These are just a few reasons to plan your destination wedding in Costa Rica. Although there are sundry reason to get married in Costa Rica, these are the top 10 reasons why you should.
1. Natural Beauty
To say Costa Rica is beautiful is an understatement. Most of its numerous and varied natural wonders are National Geographic material. Many of its Pacific Coast and Atlantic Coast beaches in Guanacaste and Puntarenas are simply stunning and appear as if never touched by man. Among its breathtaking volcanoes is the Arenal Volcano in La Fortuna, which is the quintessential volcano if one imagines a lava-spewing, cone-shaped mountain jutting from the earth. Then there are its many waterfalls, among which is Catarata del Toro in Bajos del Toro, one of the most majestic and sublime waterfalls in Costa Rica, if not in the world. There’s also the Rio Celeste Waterfall whose cascading water is sky-blue water that flows into a blue river, which is one of many amazing rivers in Costa Rica as well as lakes. Last but not least are the amazing rainforests and cloud forests that cover most of Costa Rica that are home to innumerable exotic species of flora and fauna.
2. Amazing Wedding Venues
There are many great wedding venues all over Costa Rica, ranging from quaint lodges to upscale luxury villas in Manuel Antonio, Herradura, La Fortuna, Vara Blanca, Tamarindo, and many more in Guanacaste Province. It depends on what you are looking for. For beach weddings, look for resorts in Manuel Antonio, Herradura, Jaco, Tamarindo and other areas in Guanacaste. For rainforest-weddings where there’s a fantastic volcano, the La Fortuna and Arenal areas are ideal. For a wedding in a cloud forest with waterfalls, look no further than Peace Lodge & Waterfall Gardens in Vara Blanca.
It also depends on what you are looking for with regards to customer service and ambiance. Most of the resorts in Guanacaste that specialize in destination weddings are corporate-owned, and it shows in the type of customer service they provide. This is even more pronounced with all-inclusive resorts. In areas such as Manuel Antonio, on the other hand, many wedding venues are privately owned and are known for providing a unique brand of customer service that is more personalize and boutique that leave you feeling that you and your wedding day are special.
As for ambiance, some wedding venues are located in very touristy areas, such as Tamarindo Beach and Jaco, while others are located is less-touristy areas, such as Manuel Antonio, La Fortuna, and Vara Blanca, that attract a different type of tourism. Know that some beach wedding venues, despite being secluded, will have beaches that are packed with locals and people panhandling and selling all sorts of trinkets. In Costa Rica, all beaches are public. There are only private access points.
For great places to get married in Costa Rica, see our Luxury & Unique Wedding Venues in Costa Rica page.
3. Pre & Post-Wedding Day Activities
The number and type of activates you can engage in before and after your big day are as numerous and as varied as the beautiful Costa Rican landscape. There’s horseback riding on the beach or country, zip-lining, surfing, hanging bridges, nature walks and boat rides, bird watching, coffee and chocolate plantation tours, arts and craft, cooking, coffee and wine tasting classes, white water rafting, tubing, visiting natural wonders, volcanic mud baths, helicopter tours, canopy tours, river and ocean kayaking, snorkeling, hot springs, rappelling and many other activates.
4. No-Hassle Marriage Requirements
Getting married in Costa Rica is about as easy as it can get for non-citizens. The process is straightforward and is detailed in our Costa Rica Marriage Requirements page. You have to fill out a bit of paperwork, provide a copy of your passport, sign an affidavit swearing you are not married and therefore legally free to marry, and have two witness to sign an affidavit at the wedding ceremony – if you don’t have any witnesses, your wedding planner should be able to provide them.
5. No Visa Required
No visa is required to enter Costa Rica, just a valid passport that has at least three months left before it expires and a return plane ticket if you fly in. That’s it! This makes planning a Costa Rica destination wedding much, much easier. There’s no need to coordinate your travel and wedding dates with the time allotted on a visa, which can be a headache if you have family and friends coming with you, or check in with the local police upon arrival. This is great for elopements too. You can decide to take off at any minute as long as your passport is valid.
6. Frequent & Inexpensive Flights
This depends the origin airport, which airline and seating class you choose, if you get married in the high or low season, and the state of international affairs, especially with oil-producing countries. Unlike other exotic wedding destinations, there are several airlines that offer frequent, non-stop flights to Costa Rica from the United States. If flying from either Ft. Lauderdale or Miami, the flight’s are non-stop and about 2 hours and a half hours. I’ve found round-trip fares from Ft. Lauderdale (FLL) to Juan Santamaria Airport (SJO) for $120.00 that were not promotions. Before booking flights for your Costa Rica destination wedding, check out all the airlines. You never know.
7. English Spoken & Dollars Welcome
One fear couples planning on getting hitched in Costa Rica might have is the language barrier. Fear not. Costa Rica is quite Americanized – most movies are from the U.S., there are Applebee’s, TGIF, Popeye’s Chicken, KFC, Taco Bell, McDonalds, Carl’s Junior, Hooligans, and even Hooters restaurants. Many employees at resorts that cater to destinations weddings speak English and speak it well, especially employees whose position requires them to have direct and frequent contact with guests. The same goes for tour guide operates, people involved in transportation, and even at restaurants and shops that are not part of your resort. To boot, Dollars are accepted everywhere. If you want to change Dollars for Colones, do so at a bank to avoid the high fees charged at the currency exchanges at the airport. Banks are everywhere in Costa Rica. All you need is your passport.
8. LGBT & Minority Friendly
If you are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, Costa Rica is “the” place for your same-sex destination wedding. Wedding venues all over the country will welcome you with open arms, and wedding-day providers – wedding planners, photographers, videographers, officiants, bakers, florists, DJs, . . . – will provide you with the services and products you need to make your wedding day a day to remember. It’s your wedding day!
If you are not white, the same applies. Costa Rica, racially speaking, is a veritable melting pot, so the color of your skin will have no bearing on the service or treatment you receive from your wedding-day providers and resort staff to taxi drivers and people on the street.
9. Great Climate & Weather
Costa Rica is ideal for destination weddings due to its temperate and consistent weather. It does not get too cold and it does not get too hot. It’s just right. In the beach and low-lying areas, it can get a bit warm in the summer, but nothing like Florida in August. When the sun sets, it cools off quickly and stays that way all night. In the higher-elevation areas, it can get a bit cool, especially in the cloud forests, but it’s nothing that requires a parka and layers. One thing to keep in mind is the rain: it rains in the rainy season, more so in the rain and cloud forests. If working with an experienced wedding planner who specializes in Costa Rica destination weddings, they’ll know when and where to get married to avoid the rain, and they will have a Plan B in case it does.
10. First-Rate Customer Service
We’ve shot wedding all over Costa Rica and have been guests at many luxury resorts, and can say without a doubt from the perspective of a wedding provider and a guest, the wedding venues in Costa Rica provide excellent customer service. In our experience, they bend over backward to make your stay and your wedding memorable.