Whenever you’ve dreamed about your perfect honeymoon, you imagine an all-inclusive tropical beach resort. You can’t think of anything better than sitting on the beach with a fruity drink in your hand and not a care in the world. You don’t want to think about any logistics at all, not even where you’ll go for dinner that night. Blissed out nothingness. That’s what you want. That’s what you deserve after spend the last year planning a wedding for 500 guests.
But where will you find this oasis of calm? Where can you soak up the rays of a tropical sun without sacrificing an ounce of luxury? Well, Jamaica has been a tried and true all-inclusive resort destination for years. Costa Rica, on the other hand, is becoming the next big tropical honeymoon spot. So which to choose – the established or the up-and-coming?
The Pros and Cons of a Jamaica Honeymoon
After decades of hosting package tourists in search of a relaxing tropical getaway, Jamaican resorts have learned how to make vacations as easy and carefree as possible. Their massive compounds are painted in calming pastel shades, their pools are always kept at the perfect temperature, and meals are prepared by first-class chefs. There are always activities at night to keep guests happy and entertained. During the day, all excursions out into the surrounding area are designed to show only the best parts of the country. You are sure to leave Jamaica tanned and relaxed.
Of course, you will have spent your entire Jamaica honeymoon in a resort compound, an air conditioned bus, or a crowded tourist attraction. You will never meet any Jamaicans besides those hired to serve you, and the only parts of the country that you will see are the most manicured places deemed “tourist-worthy.” Although the resorts would have visitors think otherwise, there is a massive amount of poverty and inequality in Jamaica. The small, lighter-skinned upper class lives in luxurious wealth, while the darker-skinned majority lives in squalor. Such blatant and widespread wealth disparity has led to violence, making it largely unsafe for tourists to wander around certain areas by themselves. The resorts build walls around their compounds so that the violence and extreme poverty never contaminate the lush, peaceful worlds that they have created for foreign tourists. Although an all-inclusive Jamaican honeymoon may be luxurious and carefree, you will leave without learning a thing about the country or its people.
The Pros and Cons of a Costa Rica Honeymoon
One of the wonderful things about Costa Rica is that it offers all-inclusive resort honeymoons that are luxurious, relaxing, and uniquely Costa Rican. There are no big walls protecting tourists from the country’s ugliness because there isn’t any. In fact, Costa Rica was recently named the happiest country in the world. Unlike in Jamaica, it is safe for tourists to wander around town by themselves. In fact, it is highly rewarding to get to know the ticos.
Costa Rica’s lush landscape provides everything from impressive volcanoes to gorgeous beaches to otherworldly rainforests. What it doesn’t have are slums. While there are some parts of San Jose to avoid and walking on the beach alone at night isn’t recommended in many places, the beauty of the country is not marred by extreme poverty and violence.
While there are places in Costa Rica that are more touristy than others, it is easy to find towns like Santa Teresa on the Nicoya Peninsula that have as of yet escaped the massive tourist buses. The all-inclusive resorts in the smaller towns arrange personalized, small-group or private tours to local attractions. Honeymooners can enjoy activities like walks through the rainforest, canopy tours, surf lessons, snorkel excursions, and horseback riding to jungle waterfalls without being mobbed by touts or surrounded by crowds of sunburned tourists. Costa Rican resorts may not operate as seamlessly as the well-oiled machines found in some of the other resort destinations, but a Costa Rica honeymoon will be a highly-personalized and luxurious experience that does not sacrifice authenticity.