A Dreamy Costa Rica Wedding for Adventure-Seekers and Eco-Friendly Pairs

Start your lives together pura vida style with sustainability-minded accommodations and menus.
Couple on beach in Costa Rica destination wedding.
Photo: CL-Medien/Shutterstock
Jamie Spain - The Knot Contributor.
Jamie Spain
Jamie Spain - The Knot Contributor.
Jamie Spain
The Knot Contributor
  • Jamie contributes wedding content to The Knot on a variety of topics.
  • You can also find her work at Good Housekeeping, BuzzFeed, and People.
  • Jamie holds a master's degree and a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Northwestern University.
Updated Mar 25, 2024
We have included third party products to help you navigate and enjoy life’s biggest moments. Purchases made through links on this page may earn us a commission.

Local laws may restrict service availability to all. See the Equality Index for more information.

For adventurous types and the sustainably-minded, a Costa Rica destination wedding is one without regrets. Your guests will love exploring all that this popular destination wedding location in Central America has to offer.

Eco-friendly tourism, farm-to-table experiences and exciting outdoor activities set a Costa Rica wedding apart. Couples and loved ones can spend their days exploring cloud rainforests and end their evenings by reclining on oceanfront loungers. The country is renowned for its astounding biodiversity, considering where it's based on the planet. The small country has a significantly stunning Caribbean side. Locales like Tortuguero, Puerto Viejo and Cahuita offer views that rival some of the best Caribbean islands.

Planning a destination wedding, however, comes with its own set of challenges, especially if you aren't on the ground in that country. We spoke to wedding planners Susan la Reau of Susan La Reau Events and Ise Chaves of Red Velvet Weddings to get all the background you need to successfully throw a Costa Rica event getaway.

Costa Rica Wedding Planning Tips in this Article:

Why Couples and Guests Love Costa Rica Weddings

A couple make their way horseback riding across the Río Sarapiquí in Costa Rica.
Photo: John Coletti / Getty Images

Costa Rica is on many couple's bucket lists for good reasons—its dedication to eco-tourism and environmentally-conscious travel set it apart from other spots around the world. While the gorgeous jungle and beach backdrops will have you and your wedding party snapping a bunch of pictures, the country is even more than just its beautiful scenery.

There's also so much to do that your guests won't get bored. The country's well-managed and welcoming tourism infrastructure has everything from thrilling zip-line outings to catamaran tours with dolphins. Loved ones can enjoy a vacation and your vows if saying yes to a Costa Rica destination wedding. "Imagine doing all [those activities] with your favorite people and having a wedding in between?" says La Reau. "People will talk about it forever!"

Pro tip: Invite a destination wedding travel expert to join your vendor team. Browse travel agents near you on The Knot Marketplace for Bermuda wedding expertise, group hotel blocks, flight arrangements and more.

The Best Places to Get Married in Costa Rica

A volcano rises majestically into a blue sky in Costa Rica.
Photo: Tanguy de Saint-Cyr / Shutterstock

When Chaves meets with new clients, she often starts with one question: "Do you see yourself in a green forest, white sand beach or a lush jungle near the water? All are possible in Costa Rica!" Whether you're looking for lush wedding photos near a volcano or want the destination backdrop of untainted sand beaches, you'll be able to find the perfect spot.

The planning professional also reminds everyone to keep an eye out for the less exciting part of picking your location: its proximity to international airports. With that being said, here are a few of the most popular locations to get hitched due to its amenities. Every inch of this country is home to gorgeous landscapes perfect for a wedding.


This northern province of Costa Rica is home to beautiful beaches, a coastal jungle and memorable views. Head to the Peninsula Papagayo which is great for couples interested in hosting an all-inclusive wedding at one of their many luxury resorts. Most offer oceanfront views of the soft-blue waters of the Pacific Coast along with wedding packages that remove the stress. It's also close to the Liberia International Airport, so your guests can easily find their way to your ceremony.

The beach town of Tamarindo, though a bit farther away from the airport, is another great option. Couples will enjoy local resorts' intimate private villas surrounded by world-class beaches, surf and epic wildlife.

Crystal clear waters lap at soft sandy beaches in Manuel Antonio Beach and National Park.
Photo: Jeffrey Loveless / EyeEm / Getty Images,Manuel Antonio Beach and National Park.

Manuel Antonio Beach and National Park

There's nothing quite like getting married in a national park. With rainforests, beaches and wildlife, Manuel Antonio is one of the highest-sought destinations in Costa Rica. Couples and guests can spend their days snorkeling in the coral reefs or hiking nature trails. "It's where the jungle meets the ocean, where the sloths and monkeys will be hanging out all day long," says La Reau. These white sand beaches will leave a lasting impression on you and all of your guests.

Alajuela Province

Closer to Nicaragua to the north is a province that serves as home to numerous wellness retreats and eco-friendly boutique lodges. Unspoiled surroundings and lush, biodiverse experiences are just the beginning in Alajuela. The province is also home to multiple volcanoes including Tenorio National Park, a tourism haven. Couples can easily find luxury options that work well for the wedding day; plus, fun alternatives for those in-between events.

Arenal Volcano

Skip the beach wedding and instead enjoy the unique backdrop of the Arenal Volcano and the beautiful waterfalls and rainforests that make this area so alluring. Arenal Volcano is one of the country's most popular natural landmarks. Couples and guests can easily stay in boutique hotels or luxury all-inclusive resorts near this volcano—some even offer hot springs on site.

The skyscrapers of San José, Costa Rica reach towards the heavens.
Photo: Gianfranco Vivi / Shutterstock,San José, Costa Rica

San José

If you're interested in saying your vows in a big city full of culture and nightlife, San José won't disappoint. As the capital of Costa Rica, this city has everything you could ever want: great museums, beautiful parks, exciting nightlife and landmarks you'll want to visit. Although the metropolis doesn't offer the same beachfront or nature views as some other locations, it's great for urban couples who enjoy a city environment.

Pro tip: As you consider Bermuda wedding locations, don't forget about your newlywed vacation. Plan an amazing Bermuda honeymoon, too, with our complete guide.

The Top Costa Rica Wedding Venues and Resorts

If you're past ready to say "I do" the pura vida way, you'll want to find a venue that suits your vision. Costa Rica destination wedding resorts offer numerous perks, from stunning views to white-glove planning services, farm-to-fork menus and sustainably-minded digs. Your guests won't need to travel anywhere after landing in Costa Rica, though many hotels and resorts boast easy access to top attractions should they plan on turning your Big Day into a vacation.

Costa Rica Marriott Hotel Hacienda Belen

Set on a coffee plantation, Costa Rica Marriott Hotel Hacienda Belen is less than 10 miles from Museo de Arte Costarricense and La Sabana Metropolitan Park. But the paradise-perfect five-hectare grounds are a one-of-a-kind place to say "I do." Couples can choose a charming, intimate chapel or outdoor venue with breathtaking mountain vistas. Professional planners ensure your wedding will be a Costa Rican fairytale, complete with dream tablescapes and food that exceeds expectations. A free shuttle to and from the airport makes life easier for couples and guests.

W Costa Rica - Reserva Conchal

Set near the Pacific Ocean and surrounded by lush greenery, W Costa Rica Reserva Conchal is a breathtaking place to say "I do." The couple and their bridal party can turn one of the tucked-away studios into a bridal suite and enjoy plenty of room to enjoy priming and pampering before celebrating. Costa Rica wedding planners within the venue assist couples with all the details (or take care of them for you), including customizing a menu and setting up AV equipment.

Le Cameleon Hotel Puerto Viejo

The jungle meets the sea at Le Cameleon Hotel Puerto Viejo, providing couples with endless natural photo installations — tropical gardens, waterfront surroundings and sunsets that look like paintings are all on the table. Speaking of tables, couples can choose three cake flavors: Caribbean chocolate, banana and lime (all delicious). Lunch, dinner and cocktail receptions are all options. Le Cameleon Hotel Puerto Viejo even has advice on itineraries for couples and their guests looking to make the most of a Costa Rican soiree. To help to-be-weds feel confident in their decision, the hotel even offers a "test drive" option, allowing pairs to stay two nights at a reduced rate.

Arenal Springs Resort & Spa

For a genuinely postcard-perfect affair, look no further than Arenal Springs Resort & Spa. The views of the iconic Arenal Volcano alone will have you falling head over heels. These vistas can provide a natural backdrop to nuptials, which can take place on the lawn in front of the towering volcano. The venue staff works with couples to ensure every detail is executed to perfection. The pool and hot springs are ripe for relaxation (and complete with a swim-up bar). A yoga deck and game room offer other fun itinerary items for guests during their stay.

Pro tip: Once you've decided on your Bermuda wedding venue, send out destination wedding save-the-dates with important info so your guest can book the time off and start thinking about travel plans.

Couple on beach in Costa Rica destination wedding.
Photo: Madison Baltodano Photography
Location: Playa Matapalo in Guanacaste, Costa Rica

Getting married in a foreign country can come with some logistical hurdles of the legal variety. You can avoid them by getting legally married in the US before jetting off your your big day. However, if you have your heart set on making your Costa Rican wedding legal and symbolic, it's possible (with some extra work and fees). This guide will help you determine how to get a marriage license in Costa Rica, costs and required documents.

For those interested in hosting a destination wedding, you can choose to hold a legal or symbolic wedding. Legal weddings will require extra cash for fees. Spending time on the paperwork and understanding the marriage legalities of Costa Rica are musts for couples who want a legal wedding in the country.

Many to-be-weds decide to simply hold a symbolic wedding ceremony and skip most procedures. Instead, they marry in a courthouse near home, and then head to Costa Rica without having to be concerned about red tape. If you're interested in getting married in a church in Costa Rica, some require additional prerequisites like premarital classes.

If you do choose to move forward with a legal wedding in Costa Rica, here's what to do. "You will simply need to provide a copy of your passports, and the officiant here will take care of all the paperwork before the wedding," La Reau explains. The passports must be valid for at least six months.

Additional paperwork may include a sworn and notarized statement that you aren't legally married anywhere else. Couples may also have to share divorce papers from a past marriage. Many work with a lawyer to ensure that everything moves along smoothly.

Once you've tied the knot in front of at least two witnesses who aren't family, your officiant will pass over a copy of the signed marriage statement to be submitted to the Civil Registry of Costa Rica. "Once registered, which normally takes five to eight days, an Official Wedding Certificate is issued," Chaves says. "[It will be] officially translated to English, authenticated with Apostille by the Costa Rican Foreign Affairs Ministry and forwarded to you by registered mail."

Marriages in Costa Rica are recognized in all parts of the world. From there, La Reau notes, "You will get a symbolic certificate right after the ceremony and about six weeks after the wedding, you'll get the legal certificate in the mail so you can take it to town hall and be officially married. Then, you can change your name and take care of insurance needs."

Expect to pay a bit more for a legal wedding than you would for a symbolic wedding. Only priests, judges and lawyers are legally authorized to preside over weddings. These officiants may cost close to $700 to $1000 for a legal ceremony, according to La Reau. However, it's expansive in scope. "That includes all the legal paperwork, the ceremony performance and the shipping of the marriage certificate to the client," says the expert.

Costa Rica Wedding Planning Tips

A wedding arch, rose petals and wood chairs sit ready on the beach to welcome the happy couple and their guests in Costa Rica.
Photo: Maciej Bogusz / Shutterstock

Now that you've got all of the legal details out of the way, it's time to ensure your dream wedding takes place without complications. Couples will want to finesse and finalize any transportation for guests while keeping track of the weather, venue coordination and rentals.

How to Get There

Costa Rica has two international airports, one in San Jose, and one in Liberia. Flights from the US hover around $400 for economy class. Couples can hire private bus shuttles, or loved ones can reserve a taxi to reach their final destination. Public transportation is available in specific regions, which requires extra research from travelers.

Costa Rica Weather

Couples who want the gorgeous sunset wedding should set a date between mid-November and the end of April. "Costa Rica has two seasons: there's summer and then there's rainy season, which is in May to the beginning of November," says La Reau. "Flights and accommodations are more affordable during the rainy season, but you may need to budget for a tent. Aavoid September and October, which are the months where it may rain all day long."

Flowers arranged for a wedding ceremony in Costa Rica
Photo: FARUK BUDAK/Getty Images

Choosing your Costa Rica Wedding Venue and Vendors

When it comes to picking a Costa Rica wedding venue and vendors, there may be some overlap. "Costa Rica is a small country and most of the planners here will offer the same vendors. You may even get the same exact team sometimes," says Chaves.

Couples are encouraged to hire a wedding planner who can recommend the best pro team locally. "Your wedding planner will be the person you see the most on your wedding day, along with the photographer and videographer. Even more than your future spouse," laughs Chaves.

And, of course, La Reau says to start planning early. "Vendors in Costa Rica are great, but sometimes they take the 'pura vida' lifestyle too seriously. Responses can be slower than you expect," La Reau explains. Check The Knot Marketplace to help find Costa Rica destination wedding planners.

Costa Rica Wedding Cost and Budgeting Tips

While weddings in Costa Rica will probably be less than their equivalent in the US, don't expect to be getting luxury without the price tag. The truth is, your destination wedding cost will vary — and it will be something. "There's a misconception about Costa Rica being cheap. You can still have a wedding for about 30% less than possible costs in the US, but it's not the cheapest country in Latin America," La Reau explains.

If you're interested in stretching your budget, La Reau notes that you may have to sacrifice some of the quality for a cheaper price tag. Costa Rica has a wide variety of gorgeous locations and venues. No matter your budget, there are wonderful options available at every price point, especially if you're willing to be flexible with the location and season.

Pro tip: Set up a free destination wedding website on The Knot with all the event details including your Bermuda wedding itinerary, things to do, guest travel information, RSVPs and more.

BethAnn Mayer contributed to this article.

Up Next
  • Bride and groom sitting on boat at destination wedding
    Why Hiring Destination Wedding Planner is Essential