Thursday, March 1, 2012

How We Planned/Budgeted Our Honeymoon...

Don't worry, this is the final Costa Rica post :)
Destination: Costa Rica
City: Jaco(Hawk-O)
Location: Mid-Pacific Side
Hotel: Villa Caletas
Coupon: Groupon Getaways
Airline: Continental
Rental Car: n/a
My favorite things about Costa Rica: THE PINEAPPLE!! Their pineapple is a ba-jillion times better than it is here in the states, so fresh and so so sweet! Sunsets and zip lining.

For our honeymoon we stayed at the Villa Caletas Hotel in Jaco, Costa Rica. We found this hotel on Groupon Getaways(G.G.). I love checking out all of the deals on G.G., from day to day. They always have places that I've never been to and they're usually a steal of a deal. Our Groupon for Villa Caletas cost us about $900 for the two of us for 7 days. Villa Caletas is a top notch hotel though. It's very lavish and is known for it's award-winning views. It was also perfect because it was just a short taxi-drive into town or to the beach. We would have never known about this place without G.G., that's why I love it. I can go on their[Villa Caletas] site now and the room we stayed in(they did upgrade us for our honeymoon, though) is listed anywhere from $400-$600 PER NIGHT. No joke. That's how good of a deal we got from Groupon. I definitely encourage the use of groupons for trips. Now one thing I'll add is that there are certain getaways that come packaged with airfare. Ours did not come with airfare. I would encourage you to look for packages that include airfare. Airfare can be where you spend a large chunk of your money, so that would help tremendously! Unless you're wanting to stay in the states and road trip, which I think would be awesome! Our airfare was about $500 per person. When booking flights you don't want to book immediately, it's good to watch and see where the prices go. They fluctuate quite a bit. We watched ours for about a month and they dropped a couple hundred bucks(DON'T wait for the last minute though!).
Something to also consider is if the place is all inclusive or not. Ours was not. That resulted in this...
We headed to the local store in Jaco to stock up for the week. We had lots of ham sammies and oreos(random tid-bit, their oreos come in prepackaged 4-packs). We consumed our typical amount of wine as well. Meals at our hotel were anywhere from $40-$100. We already spent a lot on the hotel and airfare so we couldn't afford to cough up that much for our meals too. Do you know how much we like to eat?? We'd spend a fortune! Wine at the hotel was at least $50(even for cheap stuff) we bought 3 bottles at the store for $25! Sold! We bought all of this for the same price that we would at a grocery store here in the states.
We also went into town a lot, for our meals. These big plates of food were $6.00 each. That was much easier on our pockets! Not to mention, this local food, or "Tico," as they call it, blew the hotel food out of the water. These were the meals that we truly enjoyed. Lesson, eat local. Experience the culture and enjoy it.
Another reason to choose all inclusive-booze. These drinks sure look awesome with this background don't they? Until I tell you they were $15 a piece! Not worth it right?? Well it shouldn't have been but they were sooo good and we were honeymooning! So we went ahead and splurged, BUT if they were included that would have been paradise! Just be sure to budget in food when planning a trip like this. Food can be very costly, it's what we spent majority of our money on once we were there.

We didn't rent a car. I go back and forth on whether or not we should have. I can say that there is no way I'd ever want to drive in Costa Rica, it's every man for themselves! Kory would have had to drive if we rented a car, I'm not sure he even would have wanted to drive there. It typically costs about $300 to rent a car. We had to pay $100 each way from the airport to the hotel(the airport is about an hour and a half from Jaco). That's an automatic $200 and then it was $15ish to go into town. It ends up being about the same amount either way, but I really feel like that hassle of renting a car is not worth it. Having to deal with picking it up and dropping it off, the paperwork and the insurance, it all just seems like a mess to me. I think it's all preference, what you feel more comfortable doing.

Now for our 2 adventures; zip lining and Tortuga Island(for the deets on these check out this post). You want to plan and book these ahead of time. We were in contact with our hotel and were able to reserve a spot on each of these tours. They tend to fill up quick, unless you go during the rainy season. Just about every tour that is available is around $100 per person. That's why we liked knowing what we wanted to do ahead of time and why we only chose 2. That way we could pick which days we wanted to go and so we knew how much we would be spending. Two tours, two people, that's $400. That's a lot of money to not know in advance.

I think that about covers it! Altogether our entire honeymoon cost about $2,600. That seems high but for a trip out of the country, at a top-notch hotel, with 2 amazing adventures, food, airfare, and transportation, that's pretty awesome. It was definitely a trip of a lifetime so we don't regret spending one penny! :) I hope this helps someone! If you have any questions, feel free to ask! OH, if you're headed to Costa Rica anytime soon, GO to Manuel Antonio National Park, I regret so much that we didn't!
xx,
-Mel

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