Eloping and Honeymooning Where the Wild Things Are
Lapa Rios Rainforest Ecolodge
January 2010 - Big budget weddings are out and elopements are in, according to wedding planners across North America. As a destination, Costa Rica has always been on the top of the list for honeymooners, but now Lapa Rios Rainforest Ecolodge is seeing an increase in couples coming to say “I do”, which is why they are offering elopement packages along side honeymoon rates.
What sets Lapa Rios apart is the guest list of howler monkeys, red eye tree frogs, jaguars, two and five toed sloths and over 300 species of wild birds. And family members who are trying to get hold of the happy couple - can’t, as communications is limited with phones and internet only available for emergency purposes.
“We have heard from couples that a dream to come to a private, eco-resort like Lapa Rios for their honeymoon is no longer feasible if they have to spend big on a wedding” say Hans Pfister of Cayuga Sustainable Hospitality, the company which manages Lapa Rios which was recently named the top hotel in Central America. “By eloping to Lapa Rios, they leave behind the stress of big bills, and can start their life together in one of the most romantic, exotic, bio-diverse and eco-friendly destinations in the world.” Plus the cost savings mean that elopers can say “I do” and have their honeymoon for just over US$5,000.00, depending on airfare.
Created in the 1990’s under the philosophy that a rainforest left standing was worth more than cut down, Lapa Rios is set on a private nature reserve spread over 1,000 acres of Central America's last remaining lowland tropical rainforest in Costa Rica. Four night, five day romance and honeymoon packages start at US$2140.00 per couple (including taxes) and recommended times for visiting are, April – June and September – December. All meals, two guided tours, sparkling wine, a private dinner set on a special pool side deck, and the opportunity to completely ‘unplug’ and immerse themselves in the wilderness setting has placed Lapa Rios on the map for socially conscious, nature loving romantics all over the world.
For elopers, Lapa Rios will help arrange for a local minister or justice of the peace to perform the ceremony, which couples can choose to do in front of a private waterfall, deep in the rainforest, or on a secluded platform with spectacular views of the ocean. Costs for the elopement ceremony range from US$1350.00 for a simple exchange of vows to US$5,500.00 which includes a photographer, videographer, flowers for the bride and groom as well as a hair stylist for the bride!
Since opening, the award winning eco-luxury resort has hosted many lovers looking to say or renew their vows in an unforgettable, remote and tropically wild setting. These same couples have come back to celebrate anniversaries and to check on their tree they planted in the surrounding rainforest, part of the honeymoon experience at the eco-luxury resort.
Lapa Rios has gained a reputation as a model ecotourism project for good reason. Eighty-per cent of the lodge is made from renewable materials: all furniture is bamboo, walls are peeled cane and many service items are non-standard, crafted from local vines, bamboo, and cane.
By staying at Lapa Rios, honeymooners and elopers support the conservation of the rainforest and provide direct employment and income to more than 60 families in the area. The ecolodge employs only community members, is committed to environmentally sound practices and has been awarded Costa Rica’s highest sustainable tourism certification (CST).
The surprising amenities that add to the romance of a remote elopement or honeymoon deep in the heart of a rainforest include 16 well appointed private bungalows, each with king size beds and high thread count linens, large private decks, outdoor showers, hammocks built for two and spectacular views of the Golfo Dulce. The lodge’s restaurant Brisa Azul specializes in freshly-cooked international cuisine infused with local ingredients that offer a hint of the tropics and romantic rainforest picnics are encouraged. Background music at Lapa Rios is non existent so that the sounds of the rainforest can be heard and enjoyed any time of the day or night. The team at Lapa Rios has even scooped out special places within the rainforest and set up private areas for memorable dining experiences.
Lapa Rios also offers a variety of multi-faceted activities so that couples create many more new memories together, experiencing the sense of wild place, hands on. Guided tours offer opportunities to hike up and down through virgin rain forest to pristine waterfalls, splash back along the Carbonera River, share the cool early morning air with the 319 bird species that inhabit the reserve, and surf and kayak among a rainbow of tropical fish.
To get to Lapa Rios, most of the international carriers fly into San José Int’l Airport from all major cities of US, Canada, Europe and Latin America where guests will make connections to the Puerto Jimenez airstrip in the Osa Peninsula (less than a one hour flight). Upon arrival, guests will be met by the welcome team for Lapa Rios and taken on a 45 minute scenic trip to the ecolodge. More information may be found at www.laparios.com including a full list of what to bring and what activities should be reserved ahead of time.
Accolades for Lapa Rios include: