Wow. Costa Rica is an amazing country. They are very progressive in many ways, I am no expert, but for all intents and purposes it is an Eco Tourism tourists dream: there are recycling bins everywhere (not everywhere, but prevalent), they encourage being mindful of water use (low flow shower heads are fun to use!), there are tons of trees planted (tons may be the wrong word, a lot, it is unknown how many by this guy writing this now, though I'm sure a quick Wikipedia search could answer that for ya), and on and on (clearly I did my research). My point is that it is a wonderful country to visit and tour, especially when you are taken on a tour and get to experience first hand some very wonderful people and venues. I was asked if I'd like to accompany a handful of other Wedding Industry people on a tour of a sliver of what Costa Rica has to offer, I jumped at the chance!
Harmony Walton of jetfeteblog.com asked me to photograph Costa Rica for her for a blog post about Weddings in Costa Rica. Aimee Monihan of Tropical Occasions put together the tour and trip for us. She is an amazing Wedding Planner who does A LOT of weddings in Costa Rica. Ali Phillips of Engaging Events by Ali, and a good friend of Aimee's also joined us and helped Aimee with her wedding while we were there. Susan Moynihan, Editor-in-Chief at Destination Weddings & Honeymoons Magazine and her photographer Zach Stovall, the in house Staff photographer for Destination Weddings & Honeymoon Magazine were also part of our lovely crew.
We all flew into San Jose
and from there took a 3 hour drive to the coast to Manuel Antonio. It
was dark by the time we got into the van and we were all tired,
especially me- my flight from SFO-MIA got cancelled so I spent the night
in the airport (fun times) and luckily made my MIA-SJO connection,
unfortunately my luggage did not :(
Pura Vida! who cares I was in Costa Rica! We arrived at hotel Si Como No to an amazing dinner and drinks. I couldn't have been happier...
The first morning in Costa Rica I woke up early to get some sunrise pictures and took some pictures of the monkeys and birds in the trees right outside my bedroom window. Hotel Si Como No has a Wildlife Refuge with a butterfly aviary, turtles, and crocodiles. We were given a tour of their wonderful spa, and then took a day trip up to Santa Juana. Special thanks to Jim Damalas for his warm hospitality and for the time he took to show us around.
Aimee had a wedding in Costa Rica on Sunday, so we all headed over to Punto de Vista to watch her work her magic and attend a wedding in Costa Rica. Punto de Vista is a unique home built by owner and architect David Jan Konwiser. It is a truly unique and amazing venue to get married. It affords the privacy of a home with unmatched views and accommodations. It was a pleasure to witness a beautiful wedding at such an amazing place!
The next day we checked into Buena Vista Luxury Villas, where as you might imagine the Views were Beautiful! I came down with a 24 hour flu that had me bedridden and I missed out a day in paradise. Fortunately the accommodations were perfect for a day in bed...
Feeling much better the next day and just in time too, we all took a 3 hour drive from the coast to Herradura where we toured Los Suenos and Villa Caletas.Los Suenos is a Marriott hotel in Hurrada, Costa Rica. They arranged a wonderful lunch for us and then took us on a tour of the property, showed us the wedding ceremony sites and reception locations. It was hot and the pool looked awfully inviting...! My favorite was the large tree under which couples can get married...
From there we drove to Villa Caletas a luxury boutique hotel in Costa Rica overlooking the Pacific Ocean. It is quite an impressive property, and the rooms are uniquely appointed and almost thematic in their execution.
Then it was off to the Cloud
Forest! I will say that driving at night with almost zero visibility due
to extreme fog, with no street lights, and no navigation, and with
steep drops on either side of the road is an exhilarating experience
(that's putting a positive spin on it!). We finally made it to Villa Blanca after a pretty harrowing drive.
Villa Blanca is a quaint and rustic hotel in the "Los Angeles Private Biological Nature Reserve & Research Station in the Canton of San Ramon". Jim Damalas met us up there and we had another amazing dinner before going to bed. The next day we woke up and got a tour of the property. He showed us the church where couples can get married. We also milked cows and marveled at the beauty of the Costa Rica countryside...
I wish we could have stayed at every location for a few days more, but alas we were on a whirlwind tour and had to leave the next day to go to hotel Tabacon , a thermal resort with natural hot springs from the Arenal Volcano. What an amazing hotel! After "roughing it" we arrived in the lap of luxury. No low-flow show heads at Tabacon! We got a grand tour of the property and hot springs, an amazing lunch, and then we got to relax and get in the hot springs. Melania Lopez, the marketing director of Tabacon arranged a gala dinner for us that evening where they prepared our food table side, and then the 6 of us all went down to the hot springs.... it was a great way to wrap up such a wonderful trip... alas I had a wedding that weekend that I had to fly home early for, so I missed the Spa day the following day at Tabacon's Grand Spa...