honeymoon destination: costa rica

a few years ago my husband and i traveled to costa rica for an april get-a-way. we wanted to stay somewhere private (a.k.a. quiet) but with close proximity to a town. we chose el pequeno gecko verde in samara on the guanacaste peninsula and were not disappointed. this "hotel" is a cluster of bungalows tucked into a tropical valley. it's owners, pierre and nathalie, are french ex-pats who take great pride in their little slice of heaven. they were just wonderful and helped us plan activities, order pizza, and make dinner reservations. speaking of food there's a dynamite french restaurant just down the street from the hotel called the samara pacific lodge, if you go, it's a MUST.

the awesome lightly-salted pool at gecko verde

samara it's a cool little surfer town with a moratorium on building (due to water issues). there are no highrise hotels or massive beach-front retreats. there IS an amazing, wide beach with placid water during the low tide and rockin' surf at high tide. for a small town there are many great dining options as well as beach-front bars, where as long as you're drinking you can stay as long as you like, nice! really, it's got everything you need including a couple surf schools. yes, we took lessons, and no, i'm not ever doing it again.

we loved our trip and we highly recommend samara. it just may be the perfect place for your honeymoon, and with winter approaching, it's a good time to research warm-weather locations.

one caveat about samara: you'll need a rental car to get just about anywhere, but there are cool places to go up and down the coast.