Carrie (Skeen) Reynolds and William Reynolds were married at a destination wedding on December 12 on St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands. A year later, they took off on a wild getaway adventure.
Since so many of their family and friends traveled so far to witness their island nuptials, Carrie and Will made a wedding week of the festivities and therefore chose to postpone their honeymoon to a more convenient date. One year from the day they were married, they embarked on a nearly three-week excursion to Costa Rica.
Why They Chose It
“We wanted to honeymoon at an exotic place we’ve never been to before,” says Carrie. The warm, tropical climate and an abundance of wildlife and adventure were Costa Rica’s biggest draws. Plus, adds Will, “they have the best fishing.”
After flying to San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica, Carrie and Will hopped in a car for what they remember as a “very hairy drive” to the Pacific coast. “Costa Ricans are insane drivers,” Carrie says. “And the drive was in the dark, on windy roads through little towns and rain forests. Many roads are simply dirt, with the occasional small river running through, so many times you cannot go faster than 15 mph. While we thought it would be a leisurely drive to the Nicoya Peninsula, it was actually a hair-raising, white-knuckled, long trip. But it was so fun!”
Where They Stayed
The newlyweds’ first stop was the Tambor Tropical Resort for six nights. “Tambor was a tiny, nontouristy town right on the water,” says Carrie. Their hotel, which was made of many little two-story bungalows overlooking the water, was the ultimate spot for a relaxing getaway. Adds Carrie, “It was one of the only [hotels] directly in the one-road town, so we met lots of locals who were so friendly and inviting.”
Next they took a drive to Jaco, which they describe as a ” touristy town.” They left as soon as they could and headed to the Hotel La Mariposa in Quepos. Here, they stayed eight nights from the highest point in the area in a wonderful suite overlooking Manuel Antonio National Park. “They have a gorgeous pool where everyone goes to drink fruity cocktails and watch an amazing sunset,” says Carrie.
Their favorite place in all of Costa Rica: Bosque del Cabo Rainforest Lodge. Close to the Panama border on the Osa Peninsula, the resort features cliff-top private bungalows overlooking the Golfo Dulce and the Pacific Ocean. “It’s amazing,” says Carrie, “and so romantic. It has its own protected rain forest where you’re likely to see more wildlife there than anywhere else!”
What They Did
While in Tambor, the newlyweds’ first activity was a romantic horseback-riding trip through the forest and rivers on a trail that leads to a hidden waterfall. On the way, they saw hundreds of indigenous plants and trees, some with spikes so big that extra care was a must when riding through the thickest parts of the terrain. The most surprising sight was the crazy howler monkeys. When the two reached their destination, it was total paradise: “Will and I were the only ones there — well, along with our guide,” says Carrie. “It was very romantic.”
Boating and fishing trips were a hit with the couple. On Christmas day, Carrie and Will went out with a local — who everyone calls Abuelo — to go fishing on his boat. “We caught tons of fish, many of which Abuelo took back for his family and the townspeople,” says Carrie. “But the most exciting part was catching a four-foot wahoo that Tambor Tropical grilled for us — it was the most incredible and unusual Christmas dinner to date!” On another special water adventure, teenage helpers dove into the ocean to gather oysters and scallops, which were immediately shucked, cleaned, and served to the newlyweds with freshly squeezed tangerine-lime juice for, says Carrie, “the freshest ceviche you can ever imagine.” Days later, in Quepos, the newlyweds embarked on one of their favorite adventures: deep-sea fishing. “We also saw hundreds of dolphins, huge sea turtles, and a gazillion flying fish,” says Carrie.
Another great experience took place in the sky: After a long hike up the mountains in the rain forest and a traditional local breakfast of fried eggs, rice and beans, and fresh fruit, Carrie and Will strapped on harnesses to experience zip lines in the rain-forest canopy. Within seconds they were flying high atop magnificent sky-high trees. “Some people call it ‘The Flight of the Toucan’,” says Carrie, “because you’re incredibly high and are flying through the forest just like the birds. After getting over the initial fear, it’s truly the most exciting feeling.”
The Best Part
“I loved driving our faux Suzuki Samurai on rough dirt roads when traveling from town to town,” says Carrie, who can’t say enough about Costa Rica being an ideal place for adventure-seekers.
The Biggest Regret
Going to Jaco. “It is an awful town,” says Carrie. “Jaco is a ‘surfer’s town’, which we thought would be cool and laid-back. Though you can certainly learn to surf there, the town itself was just a strip of tchotchke and T-shirt shops on the water, with no local culture. We stayed there two nights and would never go back.”