Dec 04 2012

A Costa Rica Honeymoon, 2.5 Years in the Making

So my big secret was that we FINALLY went on our honeymoon.

I haven’t mentioned it, because frankly, I didn’t want to jinx myself. Last year, I was THRILLED when I booked the flights, only to have to cancel a month later.

This is the girl who loves to travel, the girl who babysat countless Saturday nights throughout college to visit friends in Australia. But a honeymoon was just NOT in our cards for various reasons–like paying off debt, saving up, moving out of a shack…you know, the usual newlywed stuff.

I honestly have NO idea how other couples do it. Eric and I were flat broke when we got married. How do you all set up house, pay for a wedding and afford a honeymoon? Someone please tell me the secret, because I want to KNOW.

Anyway, without further adieu…our Costa Rican honeymoon…in pictures.

(I love this picture…pure terror!)

Taking cooking lessons in our hotel kitchen!

We had an absolute blast and it was EVERYTHING I could have ever asked for.

This was our itinerary:

Day 1: Spend all day traveling, arrive to our hotel at midnight!

Day 2-4: Stayed at Hotel Los Lagos in Arenal area. I cannot say enough good things about this hotel! It was a resort!! The service was amazing, they had hard-core slides at the pools, they even had their own farm on the premises, we got to see crocodiles, a butterfly garden, a frog garden, fish, an ant colony. They had their own hot springs which are amazing!The swim up bar..the horses…the private volcano observatory…seriously, uh-maz-ing! And totally within budget!

We also booked all our tours (river rafting, waterfall repelling, ziplining) through Desafio. Again, cannot say enough good things about this company. All their tours come with food, and it is DELICIOUS. Eric and I became huge fans of the Costa Rican lunch (black beans, rice, chicken and yuca) that we’ve actually made the meal twice since we’ve been home! The tour guides are all phenomenal.

Day 5-6: Monteverde Cloud Forest. We took the taxi-boat-taxi option from La Fortuna to Monteverde, which took about three or four hours. Monteverde is the famed cloud forest, but it’s located in this mountain town with no paved roads. The roads are so bad they call it the “Costa Rican massage,” because it leaves you all bumped and bruised. I wasn’t a huge fan of Monteverde, but Eric liked it. We stayed at the Monteverde Villa Lodge which was a steal. The owner is super nice and makes a wonderful breakfast!

Day 7-10: We spent the last portion of our trip at the luxurious five-star Gaia Hotel and Reserve. What can I say? This place was AMAZING, and definitely the “honeymoon” portion of our trip. We had massages, room service, the views were stunning, the service impeccable, the prices shocking. The only way we could afford this place was through a Travelzoo voucher I scored. We spent most of our days here eating, lounging at the four-level infinity pool, and drinking at the bar.

All in all, the trip went beyond what I could have hoped for. It felt SO great to finally be on vacation, and Eric and I had a wonderful time. It was definitely worth the wait.







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    Wow, superb blog layout! How long have you been blogging for? you made blogging look easy. The overall look of your website is magnificent, as well as the content!. Thanks For Your article about A blog about newlyweds managing money in relationships. | Newlyweds on a Budget .

  4. B. (Below Her Means)

    Forgive my delayed reply: this looks like so much fun!!

  5. shannon

    I’m so behind on reading but YAY for you two!! That looks amazing!! So happy you finally got your honeymoon!

  6. Aloysa @ My Broken Coin

    Pictures are amazing! We are going to CR in a month! I honestly cannot wait. We are staying for six days just in Manuel Antonio. There are six of us that going and hopefully it won’t be too expensive as we are renting a small house and a car and splitting our cost. So happy for you! Finally you made it to your honeymoon!!!

  7. Emily

    That’s so great you got to go! congrats!

  8. Lisa

    Congrats on your honeymoon! It looks like you guys had a blast and that it was worth the wait!

  9. Elizabeth @ Broke Professionals

    Wow, that looks amazing!!!! I’m kind of shocked you were allowed to take cooking classes in the actual hotel kitchen – I guess I would have thought they’d have a special kitchen just for that purpose!

  10. amandalynn

    OMIGOSH! I am so excited for you! :) It looks like it was an AWESOME trip and most importantly: well worth the wait! :) XOXO Amandalynn

  11. Patrick

    Awesome pictures! Just came across your blog, and look forward to reading more and picking up some tips along the way!

  12. Canadian Budget Binder

    Looks like you had a lovely time on your honeymoon congrats! Mrs.CBB and I travelled around the UK as she had not been to many places and some neither had I. We knew that once I moved to Canada that opportunity might not present itself. As for the marriage, house, honeymoon, we could have easily have done it with our savings but it really boils down to personal situations. Some people are given money, some inherit money, some honeymoons are gifts, houses or downpayments are gifts, loans from family with no interest, you name it. So everyone situation is different. For us, we earned every penny we’ve ever made and were never given a cent from our families after we left home. SO for us… being frugal from a young age would have allowed us to do all of the above as Newlyweds. We are now mortgage and debt free under 40 because of our budgeting. Never give up, enjoy life but take care of your money like a business! Congrats again! Mr.CBB

  13. Budget & the Beach

    I LOVE costa rica. I’ve been there 3 times. Looks like you had a blast!

  14. Daisy

    WOW! Looks like you had a ton of fun! I have been reading your blog for SO LONG and you’ve always wanted to go on your honeymoon, so awesome that you’ve been able to!

  15. Stevie

    So fun! We haven’t gone on our honeymoon yet, but we did a honeymoon registry for Costa Rica! We were thinking about going sometime this winter, but just not sure if we can swing it. We got a decent amount of cash from the registry, but not enough to cover the whole thing. So we’re hoping to go sometime next year…but we’ll see.

    If we do end up going, I’ll definitely be picking your brain for tips and suggestions! :-)

    Looks like a wonderful trip. So glad you finally got your honeymoon!

  16. A Super Girl

    Oh yay! I’ve heard you talk about this for so long, I’m so glad you finally got to go! And the places you stayed all look fabulous!

  17. Cat Alford (@BudgetBlonde)

    I’m so happy for you guys that you finally got your dream honeymoon!! Well deserved for two hard working people. :)

  18. Kelly

    Congrats!! I am so happy for you! We went to Costa Rica on our honeymoon 3 weeks after the wedding. The only way we were able to afford it was because we registered with honeyfund and most of our guests knew we valued experiences over items. It also helped that we lived together 3 years before we were married and our home was already set. Congratulations on the trip! We went to arenal as well and enjoyed the hot springs and la fortuna waterfall, such an amazing honeymoon spot!

  19. Lea

    Yay! Congrats on the honeymoon! You guys definitely deserve a break.

  20. Jolene

    Yay! Yout trip looks amazing!! Funny, M and I were discussing a honeymoon and also don’t know how people do it back to back. Something kind of cool about waiting till you can do it up right:)

  21. Army Amy*

    Looks like y’all had an amazing time! I don’t know if you’d say it was worth the wait (since you waited so long for the honeymoon), but I’m glad y’all were able to go all out!

    For our honeymoon, we went to Cancun for a week. We lived in Texas at the time, so flights were cheap. Other reasons it was affordable: our wedding was microscopically small with immediate family only, a reception held in a private room of a restaurant, and my big brother actually contributed to our wedding. My father ended up gifting us a few hundred dollars at the reception (really unexpected!) so that went toward some of our excursions.*

  22. Lynne

    Everything looks wonderful and the pictures show that both of you really enjoyed the trip. It doesn’t matter how long will it takes to bring your dream honeymoon into reality, what important is you have each other. :)

  23. CeCe@Frugalista Married

    Looks amazing! Another place I’d like to visit some day. I’m sure it was worth the wait. It’s better to take your honeymoon 2.5 years later then to still be paying for it 2 1/2 years later! We bought a house, got married 2 months later and then did our honeymoon 2 months after that. It was an expensive year and it was stressful BUT we didn’t go into debt for any of it…well except for the house of course! We saved up for the wedding and did it on a budget Our honeymoon in Hawaii was a timeshare and our airfare was paid for with credit card points so we really lucked out there.

  24. Emily

    So happy it finally happened!!!! I visited several of the places you mentioned 8 years ago. From your description & photos it doesn’t look like much has changed. Pura Vida!!!

  25. Ana

    How fun! We haven’t going on a honeymoon yet either. And it’s been almost two years….

    We are also pretty broke, but a lot of people get help or get the trip as wedding presents. Other people go in debt for a honeymoon, which I think is sort of insane. And some people already have a house together set up, which I believe it may help a lot haha :)

  26. Kathleen, FrugalPortland

    I love the picture of you with a machete! Looks like a really fun trip — glad you got to go!

  27. Yvonne

    My husband and I had to balance the costs of a wedding, house and honeymoon. We chose a house over a big wedding, so we got married in Las Vegas with just our most immediate family there. We had purchased a home 2 weeks prior to our wedding and didn’t get a proper honeymoon until we had been married for almost 6 years. No regrets at all, in fact the “honeymoon” was probably more fun because we weren’t worried about how we were going to pay for it.

    I’m glad you got to do something special! It really feels good to finally get what you want!

  28. Michelle

    Looks like so much fun! I am so jealous of your pictures.

  29. Jessica @ Budget For Health

    I wondered if you were preggers too buuuut you sounded too excited haha I’m glad you finally got to go and had an awesome time!

  30. Teacher Girl

    YAY!! I am so happy that you two got to take your honeymoon! You totally deserve it, especially given how hard you’ve worked at saving.

    I think that some people who are able to take a honeymoon right away have parents and/or family help them. Some also don’t care and go ahead and take it on credit. Either way, you shouldn’t feel bad about waiting and doing things on your own without creating more debt. You guys are awesome!

  31. The Happy Homeowner

    Wow, looks like you had such a great time! I think you’re very smart to have prioritized the financial stuff and not be swayed by the “typical” timeline of events. Kudos and great pics!

  32. Mrs. Pop @ Planting Our Pennies

    Love it – though I was seriously wondering if you were preggers! My BF went to Costa Rica for their honeymoon this year, too =)

    As for affording everything, I think you’re spot-on that you’ve got to choose. We didn’t pay for a wedding, which made buying a house right away way more do-able than if we had dropped a load of cash on a wedding.

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