We are home and settling into our new little apartment but I wanted to hop on and recap our honeymoon! We went to Costa Rica, specifically Tamarindo in the Guanacaste Province on the Pacific Coast.
We chose to go here because Blake wanted to go somewhere with surf and I wanted to go somewhere with piña coladas tropical. Remember that Blake went surfing in Norway in the Arctic Ocean so somewhere with SURF doesn’t always mean TROPICAL, I had to specify lol. We also wanted to go somewhere neither of us has been before, soo Costa Rica checked all our boxes!
WE. LOVED. COSTA. RICA.
I don’t even know where to start! We were there for 10 days, which I think was the perfect amount of time for exploring Tamarindo and the surrounding area. We flew into the Liberia airport and while getting to Costa Rica was an absolute nightmare (thanks to flight delays, switching airlines, and delayed luggage) we had zero complaints once we actually landed in this beautiful country.
WHERE WE STAYED • We stayed at the Tamarindo Diria Beach Resort and when we go back, I plan to stay here again. They have a section of hotel rooms that are more like condos with kitchens. We didn’t stay in these condos for our honeymoon, but I think these would be perfect accommodations when we come back with friends/family. Tamarindo in general is the place to be, but the Diria was the best hotel because it is directly on the beach. You can walk through their front garden right onto the sand. Blake and I ate breakfast every morning just steps away from the beach with an amazing view. During our excursions, our driver would pick up other people from their hotels who were also going on the excursion and all those hotels were really far away from the beach even though they were still in Tamarindo. So that’s definitely something to keep in mind when you’re looking to stay in the area, not all “beach resorts” are created equal. Here are a few pictures from around the hotel! It was b-e-a-utilful.
I could go on for days about the Tamarindo Diria because it had everything we could need! There are 3 different pools (2 of them have swim up bars heyyyoo), there are 2 hotel restaurants with amazing food, the room was great and the A/C was always flowin’, and the staff went above and beyond — super nice and attentive. They have security guards that stop traffic to walk you across the street (the resort is so big and takes up both sides of the street) and they’re very serious about the safety and security of their guests which can be a concern for tourists traveling around Central America. I felt very safe, welcome, and truly content at and around the Diria.
EXCURSIONS & ACTIVITIES • I was super adventurous during this trip which is pretty unlike me. “New name, new me” I guess! Adventures are always more fun when you do them with your significant other! Especially when he basically forces you to take a surfing lesson 😅. We booked most of our excursions with our travel agent before we got to Costa Rica; she used a site called pleasantactivities.com which had tons of excursion options. You can type in virtually any location in the world and find fun activities! During our 10 days in Costa Rica we: rode ATV’s to quiet little beaches, zip-lined, sailed a catamaran to a secluded beach and snorkeled in the open ocean, went inter tubing down the “Blue River”, visited an animal sanctuary in the rain forest, and hiked to a gorgeous waterfall in a National Park. We also rented a car and drove to different beaches, most of which could only be reached by dirt roads. The rainforest was a 3 hour drive away (we had a driver take us there as part of an excursion). You MUST GO to the rainforest when you’re in Costa Rica. It was so beautiful and unlike anything I’ve seen before, I felt like I was in Jurassic Park. When we go back, I want to spend a few days in the rainforest and a few days at the beach.
One of my favorite excursions was the catamaran boat ride/snorkeling/secluded beach outing which happened to take place on my birthday! And if you remember my last birthday, you know that Blake really outdid himself. This year was equally as awesome and Blake also scheduled a couple’s massage at the hotel as my bday present. I’m not exaggerating, it was the best massage of my life! It was in this cute little open air cabana with sheer curtains, just steps away from the sand. I really needed that massage after all the wedding planning stress. The cool thing about Costa Rica is that once you get there, excursions and activities are pretty cheap so for the best massage of my life is was like $80 for a 90 minute massage.
BEACHES • Tamarindo is great and had beautiful sunsets, but it’s definitely a popular beach. Like I said, we rented a car and drove to a bunch of different beaches. Here are some of the ones we drove to:
• LANGOSTA: This beach is closest to Tamarindo and its my favorite. The river flows right into the beach and creates the coolest sandbar. The surfing is really good here too apparently if you’re into that 🤷🏻♀️
• PLAYA AVELLANAS: This beach isn’t too far from Tamarindo either and its home to Lola’s, a very well known restaurant. Lola’s is named after their huge pig that you can see at the restaurant! Not only is their food really good (get the mahe mahe tacos and thank me later) but they are really environmentally conscious and do a lot of good for their community. Blake and I actually went here 2 days in a row and the owner of the restaurant recognized us on the second day and gave us free drinks! Overall, just really great vibes at this place.
• PLAYA PIRATAS: This was one of the beaches we stopped at on our ATV tour and we liked it so much we went back! Its official name is “Playa Real” but its commonly known as “Playa Piratas” because there’s a rock formation and legend has it that Black Beard (or Captain Morgan?? honestly I don’t remember lol) hid his treasure within the rock formation. There was barely anyone at the beach and the water was gorgeous.
FOOD & DRINK • Tamarindo is known for its seafood and Costa Rica as a whole is known for its coffee; these 2 things did not disappoint! We also drank way too many piña coladas every day but hey, ya only honeymoon once! Luckily, there were so many great food spots walking distance from the hotel! Here are my favorite spots if you ever visit Tamarindo:
• PICO BISTRO: super cute little spot with great coffee and really yummy food. The wall facing the beach is glass so you can look at the beach while you eat! Trendy decor and really nice waiters, plus food was on the healthier side which was nice!
• BAMBOO SUSHI: we went for the 2-for-1 mojitos but stayed for the sushi. We went here twice I think, mostly because the mojitos were really tasty and did I mention 2-for-1?? They were blended which was different but really fun. I was hesitant to eat sushi in a Central American country lol but Tamarindo is a fishing town so any type of sea food we had was delicious — including the sushi at Bamboo Sushi!
• WAFFLE MONKEY: colorful little waffle spot right on the sand! Blake got a sweet waffle and I got a savory one. We ate here on our very last morning and I wish we would’ve stopped here more during our trip! Their coffee is also really good! I bought their coffee beans and brought them home to my family as souvenirs and they are LOVING it!
• TAMARINDO COFFEE ROASTERS: this was a little ways down the road, we stopped here when we had our rental car. It was a really cute coffee shop and they actually roast the beans right there in the space next door! We also bought a lot of coffee here as souvenirs because the packaging was really cute (the whole shop in general really) and the coffee was super strong and delish!
• EL PELICANO: this is one of the restaurants at the Tamarindo Diria Beach Resort. We went here for my birthday dinner and I still dream about this meal. I got hands down the best seafood risotto I’ve ever had and Blake got a burger (shocker). And of course..piña coladas.
• NARI: this is another hotel restaurant, great wood-fired pizza and surprisingly the BEST piña colada I drank the entire trip. But don’t tell that to Richard, our bartender at the swim up pool bar 🤫
I didn’t know what food to expect from Costa Rica but I really enjoyed it! Be prepared to have a lot of white rice, black beans, fresh fruit, and sausage if you eat mostly traditional Costa Rican food. Oh and the sausage just tastes like hot dogs, but I’m not mad about it 🤷🏻♀️
TIPS & ADVICE:
• Leaving the day after our wedding for our honeymoon was exciting and very traditional BUT I could have really used at least 1 day buffer in between the wedding and our departure. I was so focused on the wedding (duh) that packing for the honeymoon was at the very bottom of my to-do list……which resulted in me forgetting like a LOT of stuff. Luckily nothing major, but still, it would’ve been nice to feel super prepared for the trip instead of rushed.
• We learned this the hard way with our luggage being delayed but ALWAYS pack a spare change of clothes in your carry-on and if you’re going somewhere tropical, bring a bathing suit. That would’ve saved us some money in the hotel boutique while we were waiting for our luggage to arrive lol.
• Never wear your engagement ring/wedding band on a vacation where you’ll be super active and in and out of the ocean a lot (we all remember Kim Kardashian losing her diamond earring in the ocean during her Bora Bora trip) and also its just one less thing to worry about getting lost or stolen. I also happened to hurt my ring finger during my surfing lesson (because that would happen to me) and who knows what would have happened if my engagement ring got stuck on my swollen ring finger!
• For big trips like this, we used a travel agent. Its so nice to have a point of contact if something goes wrong and you need someone to help (there’s only so much your mom can do when you call her from the airport at 4am when your flight gets delayed lol). We booked the whole trip through AAA and I’m so glad we did! You can either search for your own hotels and flights through the AAA website or you can work with a AAA travel advisor. At first I was just looking at their options by myself, but I found too many options I liked and wanted to bounce some ideas off a travel agent. She was super sweet, and pointed me towards the Tamarindo Diria Beach Resort — she said it was more catered to adults than the other hotel I was looking at. We also booked most of our excursions through her before we arrived in Costa Rica. Plus, she was also a great point of contact when our flights got delayed, I just emailed her from the airport and she was able to adjust our pick-up from the airport and let the hotel know we would be checking in later than we expected.
• If you can, I highly suggest renting a car! Our hotel had a rental car desk in the lobby and it was super reasonable pricing, around $110 a day for an SUV with roof racks, 4-wheel drive, wifi, and insurance. We didn’t run into any issues on the road and all the locals we encountered were super friendly. As with any unfamiliar country, just be smart, avoid driving at night, have a map that isn’t on your phone, and drive carefully.
• If you’re leaving on your honeymoon right after your wedding and you’re debating whether you should get eyelash extensions for your big day….DO IT! Having my eyelash extensions on the honeymoon was amazing! I didn’t wear any makeup for 10 days straight but I still looked great (if I do say so myself). Plus 10 days of pool water, ocean water, and ATV dust didn’t ruin my eyelashes either, those suckers stayed on for like a month after the wedding lol.
Overall, we loved Costa Rica and can’t wait to go back!
Where did are you going/did you go on your honeymoon? Tell me in the comments below!