ELOPE IN COSTA RICA
Are you thinking about eloping in Costa Rica? But maybe you’re wondering if it’s the right fit for you.
I have been privileged to photograph a whole bunch of elopements in Costa Rica over the past 15 years. I can tell you that I can’t think of a single couple who wasn’t over the moon about their wedding here. Even when it rains, it’s a magical experience.
The atmosphere in Costa Rica is enchanting, the people are warm and welcoming, and the natural beauty is captivating. There’s a reason that hundreds of couples come here to get married each year— it’s a slice of paradise on earth.
IS A DESTINATION MICRO WEDDING FOR YOU?
Have you always loved the idea of gallivanting off to a far-off place to get married? Maybe the idea of eloping and doing away with all the family drama of who has to sit next to who during the reception is appealing. Or maybe, COVID-19 has thrown a wrench in your plans and a tiny wedding in the tropics is just what you need. Regardless, there are many reasons why people choose to elope abroad. One of the best parts is that you can perfectly customize your wedding. I’ve seen all sorts of elopement ceremonies from an intimate wedding on the beach with a handful of guests to an all-day adventure hiking to a waterfall to say ‘I do.’ Do you want to make the arduous hike to get married at the top of Chirripó, the highest point in Costa Rica? An elopement is a way to go.
WHY ELOPE IN MANUEL ANTONIO
The Manuel Antonio area, on the Central Pacific, is an ideal place to get married. An exotic elopement turns into a wedding and honeymoon all at the same time. For this reason, you’ll definitely want to choose a location where you can relax and explore. Manuel Antonio is the perfect spot for several reasons. Check out my favorites here!
1. World-Class Beach
Manuel Antonio is one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Seriously, in 2019 it was voted one of the top 25 beaches in the world by TripAdvisor’s Travelers’ Choice Award!
Whether it has always been your dream to profess your love over the sound of crashing waves or you just love the idea of stunning photos with the sunset, Manuel Antonio is the place to do it.
Trust me, once you see it, you won’t be disappointed.
2. Plenty of Adventure Activities and Ways to Play Outdoors
Manuel Antonio is a bustling area with plenty of excitement. Manuel Antonio National Park is, of course, a huge draw and you should definitely take some time to walk around and explore it. Hire a guide and they will point out flora and fauna and teach you interesting tidbits about the wildlife and the jungle in which they live.
Aside from that, you can go on all sorts of adventures like horseback riding, ATV riding, ziplining, waterfall rappelling, sportfishing, or take a cruise on a catamaran and watch the dolphins play in the wake of the boat.
If all that adventure sounds too exhausting for you, no worries! There are plenty of ways to relax in Manuel Antonio as well. Chill on the beach or by the pool, enjoy a couple’s massage in a soothing spa (or right on the beach!), and don’t forget to grab a front-row seat with your sweetie for an epic sunset in the evening.
There is a myriad of comfortable hotels and rental villas to choose from, many of which have access to the main beach or even their own private beach. Small boutique hotels offer an intimate experience while larger hotels have more amenities that you can enjoy. Many hotels offer gorgeous views of the ocean, beach, and jungle. You might even enjoy a visit from a mischievous troop of squirrel monkeys!
The great thing is that there are many options and you can find whatever fits your preference and budget.
4. World-Class Dining
After all your adventures you’re bound to work up an appetite. The good news is there is a plethora of great restaurants to choose from. You can even hire your own private cook! Some of the villas come with a cook included.
Regardless, there are a tantalizing array of seafood, local and international flavors, and other delights to choose from.
Now you know why Manuel Antonio is a great spot to visit, what can your elopement ceremony look like here? Check out some of these great ideas!
The most elegant way to elope in Costa Rica is by choosing a venue. We’ll talk more about specific venues in a minute, but for now, just know that there is a variety. From private villas to posh hotels, to restaurants, to a fancy Airbnb, there are plenty of options for gorgeous venues for your ceremony and reception. Many have breathtaking views of the ocean, sunset, jungles, and local wildlife.
Hands down, one of the reasons people flock to Costa Rica to get married is to take advantage of the beach. The backdrop couldn’t be more gorgeous and it’s a simple and magical way to enjoy your ceremony. Most couples choose to have the ceremony on the beach and host the reception (if they’re having one) at a venue.
If Costa Rica had a middle name it would be “adventure”. There is so much to see and do in this incredible little country. There are many hidden gems tucked into the rainforest that only the intrepid will ever seek out.
This isn’t for everyone, but I’ve had some adventurous couples who wanted to hike to a waterfall or get married on a mountaintop overlooking the green rolling hills of Costa Rica.
For those looking for a walk on the wild side but with all the comforts of a 5-star resort, Costa Rica even offers glamping! Yep, glamorous camping in the jungle — one of the most unique places to elope. It’s the perfect way to have a nature wedding without the sweat and effort of hiking.
Looking for a luxurious villa large enough to accommodate all your favorite people while offering gorgeous ceremony spots and plenty of space for eating and dancing? Head on over to Villa Punto de Vista.
Would you rather stay at a hotel with a private beach? You and your beloved are sure to have a lovely time at Arenas del Mar in Costa Rica. This hotel is luxury lodging while also being fully sustainable and surrounded by gorgeous natural surroundings.
To learn more about the incredible venue options in Costa Rica click the button below
What Does Eloping In Costa Rica Look Like?
What can you expect from an elopement in Costa Rica? While each one is unique, I’ve been honored to witness quite a few so I can give you an idea of what to expect.
Most days in Costa Rica (even during the rainy season) dawn sunny and clear, so let’s start our hypothetical day off like that. You wake up and take a fresh cup of coffee out onto the balcony to enjoy the view and watch the monkeys play in the trees.
Soon, the makeup artist will arrive to help the bride prepare and things will get rolling!
Once everyone is ready, it’s time to head to the beach for the ceremony. This couple had their wedding at Makanda, an adults only boutique hotel and got married on the main beach. This other couple had their wedding at Arenas del Mar, a very fancy eco-hotel with their own private beach that is perfect for eloping.
This couple had their wedding at Villa Caletas during the rainy season and a rainbow photobombed their pictures!
Elopement ceremonies are typically short and sweet. There isn’t a lot of fanfare and some couples choose to write their own vows. It’s a lot easier to speak from the heart when there isn’t a whole crowd of people watching!
Afterward, we typically do the portrait session and now that you’re married you go on to enjoy the rest of your day — or evening if the wedding was timed with sunset.
Eloping With Guests
Eloping traditionally has the connotation of running away and getting married in secret, but this isn’t always the case. The number of micro weddings is on the rise as people are interested in small, simple weddings (or are concerned about social distancing). These weddings are so small they’re basically elopements, just with a handful of guests.
Elopements with guests often have a small reception after the ceremony. In that case, I’ll stick around and get some fun photos of the couple and their guests dancing the night away in paradise.
Receptions usually happen in a restaurant or an event space at a hotel or private house. Not always, though. This couple had their wedding on the beach!
The rest of your time here can be spent relaxing, enjoying nature, or going on exciting adventures — it’s up to you!
THE RIGHT PHOTOGRAPHER FOR YOUR MICRO WEDDING
Regardless of how you choose to spend your day, hiring the right photographer is perhaps one of the most important decisions you’ll make. The photos are the tangible part of your special day that you get to take with you for the rest of your life. You can share them with future generations or just reminisce about the day together. Genuine images give you the chance to do that more fully. No doubt, you’ll love the photos of the two of you posing in front of a magnificent sunset, but the unscripted images are the ones you’ll treasure the most. When you’re not worried about smiling for the camera, your love and connection shine through in a beautiful way. The important thing is to have a photographer who knows how to capture that in an unobtrusive way. Whether you want to traipse through the rainforest or celebrate your day in a luxurious resort, I will document your experience in an honest and artful way. With me on the job you’ll get genuine, heartfelt photos that capture the precious moments you don’t want to forget. Check out my wedding packages here!