Updated June 3, 2020
Weddings are downright stressful. Just picking out a venue, choosing a band, falling in love with a dress, setting up the seating chart, deciding on a cake flavor, and fulfilling the rest of your list that is a million miles long is exhausting. Not to mention that you are about to make a huge life transition.
That’s enough to overwhelm just about anyone.
On top of all that, there is a lot of pressure these days to have the perfect event. Your wedding needs to be unique, fun, memorable, and, unfortunately, expensive.
That’s why many couples are saying goodbye to a traditional wedding in their town and eloping in Costa Rica instead. No guest list, no seating charts, and, best of all, no unwanted input from well-meaning relatives.
Are you wondering about the best places to elope in Costa Rica? Check out these ideas for a great place to do it.
Costa Verde is a lovely hotel nestled in the jungle close to Manuel Antonio National Park. The hotel boasts views of the park, a helipad with a spectacular view of the Pacific Ocean, three cliff-side pools, and four delicious restaurants to choose from.
If you love interesting accommodations, Costa Verde does not disappoint. They have a repurposed Boeing 727 that has been completely decked out in Costa Rican teak and comfortable furnishings.
That’s right, you can stay in a luxurious plane perched high in the jungle canopy. They also have a cockpit cottage with a spectacular ocean view right from the king-sized bed. Access is across a suspension bridge hanging in the jungle.
For your ceremony spot, you can choose from a grassy knoll overlooking the ocean, the wedding helipad with the jaw-dropping view, or head right down to the beach. There’s nothing quite like saying your vows to the crash of the surf with sand between your toes.
Costa Verde has an in-house wedding planner so setting up your wedding is a breeze. They’ll make all the arrangements for you. Simply show up with your significant other ready to say your “I do’s”.
Arenas del Mar
If you want the beach to be a big part of your Costa Rican vacation, you can’t go wrong with Arenas del Mar. It has the distinction of being the only luxury resort in Manuel Antonio that is right on the beach. And it’s their own private beach that will often be empty because you only have to share it with other hotel guests.
They also have an in-house wedding planner that makes planning super simple. Arenas del Mar is perfect for a beach wedding. Get ready in your room and all you have to do is take a few steps down to the beach for a magical, intimate ceremony with your love.
The hotel also offers luxurious honeymoon packages that are perfect for eloping couples. Some rooms come with a private jacuzzi and they’ll set up something special (flowers, bottle service, etc.) to make your evening extra special.
Enjoy romantic dinners at the beachside restaurant. There’s nothing quite like sharing a meal with your new spouse by candlelight with the roll of the waves in the background.
Here is some video and drone footage from Arenas del Mar:
Tulemar is a delightful location for those who really want to feel like they are “in the jungle”. The resort is spacious and there are plenty of trails that you can stroll with your special someone and enjoy the sights and sounds of nature.
The resort also has its own private beach complete with a Bar and Grill. To wind down after the ceremony, enjoy a cool drink with your new spouse to the music of the waves. Don’t forget to sign up for a couple’s massage. After all, what better time to pamper yourselves than when you’re on your honeymoon?
With four pools at the resort, you can always find a quiet spot to enjoy a refreshing swim. You can even opt for one of the private villas with its own pool.
The wedding planners from Tropical Occasions make planning easy. All you have to do is come and enjoy your intimate wedding/honeymoon in Costa Rica!
Makanda is a delightful adults-only boutique hotel nestled in the jungles of Manuel Antonio, yet overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The hotel doesn’t have a strictly “private beach” but it does share beach access to a semi-private one, giving you the opportunity to enjoy a lovely spot away from the crowds. The beach is near and the hotel offers complimentary rides in a golf cart to the entrance.
With 27 rooms, this little hotel makes a perfect romantic spot for an elopement wedding. The on-site wedding planner will help you handle all the details of your special day — no muss, no fuss! They pride themselves on avoiding “cookie-cutter” weddings, so you can be assured that your day will be uniquely yours!
The gorgeous grounds offer plenty of quiet nooks where you can cuddle up with your sweetie and soak up the special moments of your wedding/honeymoon. Grab a drink from the poolside bar and go for a swim in the infinity pool. From the right angle, it looks like the pool just drops off into the ocean!
Manuel Antonio Beach
We talked about many venues in Manuel Antonio that had their own private beaches. But you don’t have to stay in one of those resorts to enjoy a beach elopement.
There are tons of little boutique hotels tucked in the jungles around Manuel Antonio that might be more your style. At times, it’s nice to get away to a tiny hotel with only a few other guests. A wedding elopement is definitely one of those times when it’s nice to enjoy a quiet spot.
Feel free to stay at any hotel in Manuel Antonio that catches your eye. If a beach ceremony is your desire, it’s easy to head down to the main beach and find a beautiful spot to say your vows.
To make it more intimate, simply head down the beach to an area that the locals call “Playitas”. There’s a back road that takes you directly to this portion of the beach. Call for a 4X4 taxi or get directions from the concierge (or your friendly photographer!) to access it.
It’s not far from the main area but there will be far fewer sunburned tourists dotted around on the sand. At most you’ll see a few local families hanging out or some surfers taking advantage of the excellent surf.
The best part is that adventurous couples can scale up a large rock that sits at the entrance to the beach for some downright epic photos!
So far we’ve talked about resorts that are located to Manuel Antonio National Park. This is largely because the beauty of the area attracts many visitors and the area is filled with excellent venues.
However, obviously this is not the only amazing place in Costa Rica.
Let’s travel a little bit north to a divine resort just outside of Jacó. Villa Caletas is a luxury boutique hotel perched 1,150 feet above the Pacific Ocean. As you can imagine, the views from this property are beyond breathtaking.
It’s hard to pick a venue in Costa Rica that isn’t breathtaking, but this is definitely one of those places where the photography will be paramount. When else will you have the chance to take photos with your love in front of an epic vista? Be sure to make the most of it!
The in-house coordinators will take care of all the details. The hardest decision you’ll have to make is choosing a ceremony spot, mainly because there are so many fantastic ones to choose from. This is only one reason why this resort is one of the best places to elope in Costa Rica!
About an hour south of Manuel Antonio, there is a tiny town called Uvita. There isn’t much there, but it is one of the best places to elope in Costa Rica if you want something more rustic than resortish.
As an area that is far less developed, there is no shortage of gorgeous nature areas where you can have a dreamy elopement ceremony.
One such spot is the beach in Marino Ballena National Park. This spacious beach offers many private spots to tie the knot. And the scenery is unparalleled. If you visit this beach at low tide, you’ll get to see the famous “Whale’s Tail” that gives the park its name. It is a giant sandbar that stretches out from the beach perfectly shaped like the tail of a whale.
The beaches in Manuel Antonio and Uvita are gorgeous but there is one downside. They are popular tourist destinations and thus you’ll share the beach with other vacationers. The private hotel beaches are less populated but still will probably have other guests enjoying the beach during your ceremony.
That’s not a bad thing by any means. But what if you want an extra special, private ceremony on the beach?
Then you head to Playa Fantasia.
Playa Fantasia is about 40 minutes north of Jacó on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. It is a quiet, secluded beach that is only accessible by boat. This ensures that there won’t be loads of other tourists peppered around the beach enjoying the last rays of the sun while you say your vows.
The folks at Playa Fantasia make everything easy. Simply choose one of their wedding packages and they handle the rest. It’s easy to see why this gorgeous spot makes my list of the best places to elope.
You’ll cruise out to the beach on their 50 ft. catamaran. While at the beach you can take part in several activities, including banana boating, snorkeling, surfing, and boogie boarding. You can have your ceremony and get started on the honeymoon festivities all at the same time!
Punto de Vista
I’ve saved the best for last. Let’s head back to Manuel Antonio to check out my all-time favorite venue as a wedding photographer, Punto de Vista. On a list of best places to elope this one wins, in my opinion.
As a private villa on 2.5 acres of rainforest reserve, you don’t have to worry about bumping into other guests. It’s also a short ride in their beach buggy to Playitas beach, the local’s beach in Manuel Antonio that I mentioned earlier.
The interesting architecture gives me a terrific canvas for taking unique photos. Plus, you can’t beat the view from the top floor. The villa is already perched on top of a bluff and then rises another 5 stories into the air. Needless to say, the view of the ocean and rainforest from the rooftop deck is beyond breathtaking.
The full staff at the villa take all the work out of planning your wedding and even being on vacation! While the wedding planner takes care of your big day, the concierge and butler will handle everything else.
You can even have a private chef prepare all your meals. In fact, you don’t have to leave the villa for your entire stay if you don’t want to. Although, of course, I recommend getting out and enjoying as much of the beauty of Costa Rica that you can.
Best Places to Elope in Costa Rica
Costa Rica is an incredible country bursting with natural beauty and life. Though the tiny country only makes up 0.03% of the landmass in the world, it is home to almost 6% of the world’s biodiversity.
People, with their incredible creativity and ingenuity, have built some spectacular venues that are luxurious and harmonious with nature at the same time. This makes it hard to choose a list of the best places to elope in Costa Rica.
Here I’ve given you a taste of my favorite spots. The truth is, though, that regardless of where you choose to get married in this gorgeous country, it will be magical.
To see an overview of the different areas, check out this broad look at where to get married in Costa Rica.