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Living Abroad in Costa Rica
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Weddings & Romantic Getaways in Costa Rica

It's hard to imagine a better place for romance than Costa Rica. It's a feast for the senses, a true getaway, exotic while still being safe and comfortable. You can’t beat it for natural beauty, great weather, and that laid-back vibe that makes everything a lot more fun. More and more people are getting married here, and Costa Rica has always been popular for romantic getaways, retreats, and honeymoons.

See also: When to go

What you need to get married in Costa Rica

5 best romantic getaways in Costa Rica

While it's an undeniably exotic and romantic destination, Costa Rica has enough tourist infrastructure to let you realize your every wedding whim. Want to get married barefoot on a white sand beach at dusk, torches lighting your way to the altar? Not a problem. I’ve heard of couples marrying at the base of thundering waterfalls, the spray so drenching the wedding party that everyone wound up in their bathing suits. Or people tying the knot in a jungle lodge, near the rim of an active volcano, or hundreds of feet above the treetops, clipped into zip lines on one of the ever-popular canopy tours. I even heard of one couple who married in matching toucan outfits. With those beaks, it must have been hard for the groom to kiss the bride.

Costa Rica is also known as a gay-friendly environment, and some places specialize in gay and lesbian commitment ceremonies.

5 best places in Costa Rica for a romantic getaway

Whether you're looking to get married, have the honeymoon of a lifetime, or just get away for a memorable week of romance, Costa Rica has you covered.

Lake Arenal and Arenal Volcano
Only a few hours drive north of San Jose, the Arenal area is lush and green, thanks to fertile volcanic soil from nearby Arenal Volcano. The volcano woke from a two-century nap in the 1960s, and has been active ever since. Want to hang out where the Bachelor filmed one of its most exotic segments? Try the lovely and luxurious The Springs Resort and Spa. If you want to sit in hot springs while the volcano rumbles above you, try the Tabacon Hot Springs.

Northern coast of the Nicoya Peninsula (Guanacaste)
The northern Pacific coast of Costa Rica has the most sun and the greatest variety of lodging options. You’ll find everything from beachfront Bed-and-Breakfasts—the intimate Sueño del Mar near Tamarindo specializes in weddings—to all-inclusive resorts, like the Paradisus Playa Conchal, right on a beach made up entirely of tiny pink and white shells. For fun, you can take a night tour and see giant Leatherback sea turtles lay their eggs, go on a canopy tour, try your hand at surfing, or just laze on the beach or in your suite. With the airport in nearby Liberia receiving more and more international flights, you can skip the flight to San Jose and the four-hour drive to the coast. Flying into Liberia means you’re less than an hour from the beach.

Southern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula
There are some great alternative-flavored beach towns here, like Montezuma and Mal Pais/Santa Elena, that have an appealing blend of rustic and luxury. You tale the ferry from the mainland, bounce down a rutted dirt road but end up in beachside luxury, like at Red Palm Villas, Pranamar Villas or Flor Blanca, with its excellent restaurant and celebrity-studded guest list.

The Caribbean Coast
If each of Costa Rica’s seven provinces feels like another country, the Caribbean zone qualifies as another universe. Even the weather is different—with dry season in the early fall, when it’s raining in the rest of Costa Rica. Check out the quirky beach towns of Cahuita or Puerto Viejo, or tie the knot at a riverside lodge overlooking one of the country’s best national park (Tortuga National Park). The venerable tour outfit Costa Rica Expeditions runs a lodge (Tortuga Lodge) and offers wedding packages and romatic getaways. Or seal the deal (or just think about) in the trees--at Punta Uva's Tree House Lodge.

The Osa Peninsula
National Geographic calls this fabled land “the most biologically intense place on earth.” It’s Costa Rica’s Amazon, a tropical rain forest where tall trees drip vines, scarlet macaws screech, and the country’s remaining jaguars roam. There are several luxurious lodges on the coast between Puerto Jimenez (which you can fly into from the international airport in San Jose) and Carate, on the border of Corcovado National Park. It takes some time to get here, but once you arrive, you’ll feel like you’re in the middle of a paradisical nowhere. Check out Luna Lodge, La Paloma (on the north side of the pensinula), or Lapa Rios Ecolodge for wedding, romance, and honeymoon packages.

What you need to get married in Costa Rica
Getting married in Costa Rica is easy: bride and groom just need valid passports (which of course you’ll also need to visit the country). Birth certificates are not necessary, and there is no minimum stay required—you can get married the day you arrive if you’re in a hurry.

Many hotels and tour companies offer wedding packages that take care of all the legal details, arranging for the wedding certificate to be sent to you once you get home (it takes a few months to be processed in Costa Rica). But whether you get help or do it yourself, you’ll need two witnesses, who cannot be family up to the third degree. As this excludes the bride’s and groom’s mother, father, sister, brother, grandparents, and most cousins, your best bet for witnesses are either friends you bring along or local strangers you entice into being a part of the wedding party.

No notarized documents are required, because all data will be included in a sworn statement which bride and groom sign the day of the wedding. The statement must include the following information for both bride and groom:

1) Full name

2) Profession/Occupation

3) Current address (home address)

4) Passport number and nationality

5) Date and place of birth - (city, state or province, country).

6) Full name of father and mother and current citizenship - (no initials, and you’ll need to provide your mother’s maiden name).

7) Mailing address —— This is the address where the final documentation will be sent. (It can take up to three months for the Costa Rican civil registry to process the application.)

NOTE: Once the couple receives their marriage document from Costa Rica, they must register it in their own city of residence. It is best to call city hall, town hall, municipality or equivalent to inquire where marriages are registered, and take the document as proof of marriage. Costa Rican marriages are recognized all over the world.

8) Marital status - if divorced, you’ll need to list the date, city and state and the name of Court that decreed the divorce, plus the ex-spouse’s full name. If you have been widowed, you’ll need to list the time and place of your spouse’s death.

NOTE: Costa Rica law used to stipulate that a previously married woman had to wait at least 300 days after her divorce before she could marry again. But as of Valentine's Day, 2008, this archaic law (which never applied to men) was struck down. Apparently, the law was designed to prevent children from a previous marriage being born into the next marriage.

 
 

 

 



For more information, see Living Abroad in Costa Rica.

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