Las Catalinas, a new car-free beach town with an old world feel. This quaint area is quickly becoming a top destination wedding spot and is among one of my favorites in Costa Rica. It’s equally laid-back as it is luxurious, taking pura vida to a whole new level. Beach bum or adventure junkie, Las Catalinas offers a wide range of activities and breathtaking scenery to satisfy everyone. And while I could easily think of a million reasons, I am going to share my top 7 reasons to get married in Las Catalinas, Costa Rica.
Whether you’re planning to elope with your sweetheart, say your nuptials with close friends and family or throw a huge celebration — here are my top 7 reasons to get married in Las Catalinas, Costa Rica:
Las Catalinas’ location is simply unbeatable. Situated in a Blue Zone on the Guanacaste Coast of Costa Rica, just 45 short minutes from the Liberia airport, it easily ranks as one of the most accessible beach towns in the country. Don’t worry—access doesn’t mean crowded. In fact, the only occupants are hotel guests and seasonal residents, creating a very exclusive feel. With car-free streets, many refer to this slice of paradise as a “walkable tropical village.” So, you can get dropped off by transportation or keep your rental parked with valet. You won’t be needing it.
Adapted for outdoor living and recognized as one of the most important and beautiful new towns globally, you absolutely must experience this walkable coastal gem yourself.
Las Catalinas’ weather can be broken up into two seasons; dry and wet. Both are quite stunning. Really. Dry season typically runs from mid-November to mid-May. So, if you or your hunny fear the rain, this would be the best timeframe. It rarely rains at all with averages in high 80s or low 70s. However, I would caution that April and May are the hottest months of the year. And believe it or not, the wet season is equally as gorgeous as dry with milder temperatures and it’s hurricane-free. Being the romantic I am, I love the rain. Especially in the jungle when it becomes ultra lush and lively.
If your special date lands on wet season, you can still plan for a morning ceremony which is predictably sunny. There are also microclimates to take into consideration in-between seasons.
If you’re not taking notes yet, you’re going to want to jot this one down—Casa Chameleon. A secluded paradise in Las Catalinas, Casa Chameleon is one of the world’s top 100 hotels. Suitable for weddings of any size and perfect for honeymoons, it’s a 5-star destination couples love. With private plunge pools attached to each villa and spellbinding sunsets, it’s no wonder why awards are continuously stacking up. I have to say, given the extraordinary comforts and scenery, this choice is priced very reasonably for all the resort offers.
If your guests are on a less flexible budget, there is an absolutely stunning tropical oasis with striking architecture just a short walk or complimentary golf cart ride away; the Santarena Hotel.
This little town serves up some big flavor when it comes to culinary talent. I am convinced there’s no such thing as a bad meal in Las Catalinas. With more than 10 restaurants only a stone throw away from each other, all bases are covered & cravings quenched. From open-air restaurants with panoramic views to casual beach club eateries with local ingredients, there is a long list of possibilities for your welcome party, rehearsal dinner and farewell brunch. The convenience is truly unparalleled. The ease and proximity makes for flawless event execution.
Oh, and if you want to sneak off for some alone time — I highly recommend a reservation during sunset at Sentido Norte—the world’s most romantic restaurant. Chef Jose will be sure to impress.
Picking a destination for your destination wedding can be nerve-wracking. Worries ranging from travel logistics to overall location likability. Will they like it? And I can say with the utmost certainty, YES. They will. Las Catalinas is not just a place to lay in a hammock (although that singular act of leisure is most welcome). It has something for everyone. Start your morning with a private yoga class, tropical mountain biking with unveiled ocean views or hike through jungle flora and fauna. Make the most of your day shopping in the plaza, relaxing at the spa, by the pool, on the black sand beach or charter a private boat. Then, end the evening with horseback riding, a sunset snorkel, standup paddle board, or romantic tandem kayak.
Playa Danta’s protected bay will keep all guests entertained and at ease. For my adventurous couples, Las Catalinas offers Scuba Diving, ATV tours, and over 42 kilometers of dramatic hills and wildlife to explore.
It’s almost like a wedding planner designed this utopia. Perhaps that’s why it has my heart. The layout is thoughtful with houses, shops, restaurants, small hotels and inns, plazas, parks, and recreational facilities interwoven in nature. You will not be limited to a ballroom and grassy lawn here. Instead, you can choose from a classic street-side park, a beachside restaurant under the trees of Playa Danta, a beach club perched on a bluff overlooking the water, or my personal favorite—the top floor of Casa Chameleon—featuring panoramic views of the Guanacaste Coast.
One side of the town has over 1,000 acres of tropical dry forest with hills and valleys. The other has two of the finest beaches in Costa Rica. You can’t go wrong. Every view is picture perfect.
The wedding industry is seeing the “mini moon” continue to rise in popularity following the pandemic. After saying I do, couples are opting for a short extended stay in the same location and planning a longer honeymoon 6-12 months later. In a lot of scenarios, a destination wedding is the couple’s version of paradise anyway. Therefore, staying a few extra days, alone with your lover, is a flawless transition into a honeymoon instead of hopping on a flight.
This is a trend I can get behind. With over 20 years of planning, it’s become clear the sooner newly weds can relax and enjoy, the better the honeymoon.
So, if you want to have your wedding cake & eat it too — Las Catalinas allows you to have it all.
That concludes my 7 Reasons to Get Married in Las Catalinas, Costa Rica! Curated by yours truly, Michelle Norwood, world’s top destination wedding planner.