Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Our honeymoon journey

In case anyone wants to know... or can get any good out of our experience.

I learned frugality from my parents, I learned that 'debt is bad' and you want to stay away from it. Kyle learned about not having much early on as well, but the message he took away from it was 'being broke is bad'. It's amazing how subtly different these two statements manifest themselves. I don't enjoy spending money (oh I still do it, but it guilts the crap out of me, I don't even enjoy my purchases, I get angry at them for tempting me), and he hates not having things he wants. We balance each other in that he tries to get me to lighten up about going out there and buying what I really want, and I try to reason him out of buying a truck, another TV, another car, a new engine for his Jeep, etc...

What does this have to do with honeymoon? Well, I am about to tell you:

As I've mentioned, we originally wanted to go to Hawaii because it was like, thee dream honeymoon; stereotypical, but for good reason.
(Shameless Ben Weldon Plug... I love our photographer!)

Then I saw the movie Couples Retreat... bad movie, awesome location:

Well, needless to say, only rich people can afford a honeymoon of any length in Bora Bora... Period. The flight alone can put you back $6,000 a couple! You haven't even seen a hotel room yet!!

The moral of the story is that I was intent upon finding a honeymoon location that felt luxurious and romantic without requiring us to sign over our first born child. Kyle wants the luxury, because he will be very cranky if it's not there, and I want to not go broke... because I will not enjoy myself if I'm constantly thinking about how much everything costs. Of course, we both want both of those things, I was just trying to maintain the style of the story :-)

So, it looked as if my dream in Tahiti was over before it began, unfortunately, what it did to me was make me yearn for my own little cottage/bungalow/hut where I had the option of not being bothered by anyone, ever. Enter, one of the bees posted about her Costa Rican honeymoon to Oxygen Jungle Villas:
Which looked so heavenly and seemed to answer all my prayers at only $180 a night! I also grudgingly discovered a love of all things boutique hotel. This one has glass walls, is adults only, and very modern furnishings! Well, Kyle brought me back down to earth by reminding me that we can't just go somewhere without knowing anything about it.

TripAdvisor to the rescue!! All of a sudden, whoa, wait a second, Costa Rica actually has a hell of a lot of boutique hotels... and almost all of them have separate villas... As a side note, why hasn't the rest of the world caught on to this?!?!

Armed with this new knowledge, I spent who knows how many hours on TripAdvisor and countless blogs and honeymoon sites, trying to find just the right place. Rancho Pacifico seemed perfect, but overpriced, but awesome, but way too expensive. Pranamar appeals to the zen part of me; yoga everyday, green living, but it was family friendly... which I will not be on my honeymoon... no grossness intended. Nayara is on TripAdvisor's list of most romantic hotels in the world (it's #5!) but it's not as new and modern... but it does have a swim up pool bar! Amazingly, if their measurements are to be trusted, they also have the biggest rooms, which was not a priority, but a surprise when you looked at their price. And finally, there was Casa Chameleon, which is younger and therefore isn't on anyone's list just yet, but has 98% positive feedback on TripAdvisor, and, I dunno', have I mentioned yet that you get your own pool!
Yes, that would be all ours! So we were now looking at a larger price tag than we originally anticipated (as compared to Oxygen Jungle Villas) but still not as large as the price tag in Hawaii and nowhere near the price tag in Bora Bora.

All that was left to do was find flights and it seemed that we would be golden! Kyle has over 100,000 miles with US Airways, so we would even be flying for free.........
 Wait wha-?! How is this my best match, US Airways? 16 hours to get there?? 22 hours to get back?! 8 hour layovers? California to Las Vegas to Philadelphia?!?! $2,676?! PER PERSON?! No I do not want to save $50, that's not very helpful right now! Turns out, also, that you can't even use miles unless you leave and return on a Sunday (and it's 80,000 miles per person!)... and you have to get to the airport at 4 AM! What is going on?! I'd expect this out of American Airlines, not out of you, US Airways! I'm very disappointed in you. This isn't working out. Oh hey American Airlines! I didn't realize you were there...

OK, wow, is all I have to say about that... 7 hour flights, a tad early leaving, and maybe a tad late getting home, but compared to US Airways... the price is almost half! I mean two AA tickets cost HALF what one ticket costs from US. And the stops are ridiculously logical and there's normal layover times. I mean, I thought all that hard work was for nothing, ya'll. For serious, I think we would have to start all over again looking for a honeymoon destination closer to home, something in the US Virgin Islands or Jamaica or something... and I was not happy to have to settle with an ordinary hotel. BUT American Airlines came to the rescue! Not only that, but I have AA miles!! I had to go to Australia for work a few years ago and it got me 30,000 miles (by the way, I do not recommend it). Oh, check it out, any day of the week, the flight through AA only costs 35,000 miles! So even though my meagre miles don't compare to Kyle's, I can still pay for one ticket with them!

In short, I am very excited that things are working out so well. After some minor roadblocks, things are falling into place. So once more, and hopefully for the last time, a new price breakdown:
  • Hotel: $3,556
  • Food: $900
  • Airfare: $1,406 (less of course, because one ticket will be paid for) 
  • Flight: 7 hours, one stop. *Note, we would still have to take a small puddle jumper plane to get from the international airport in Costa Rica to the one closer to the resort, but the flights are about $40 each.
  • TOTAL: $5,159
Translation: more expensive than originally supposed, but less expensive than Hawaii still (Thank God, because that was the whole reason I did all this work!). And I can't say enough about the value, I mean, it's worth that money, and while it is a lot, I'll be helping him pay for it where I can, and there are down payments and whatnot that spread the hurt out a little. The point is, we can both swallow this with no trouble, my frugality is intact, and his need for getting what he wants in life; what he and we deserve, is met.

So what does everyone think? Is there anyone out there as anal as me in examining your options? Any other data hoarders out there?! Did anyone else have this much trouble figuring out their honeymoon?


  1. WOW. I can't get over how much US Air was going to charge you, and that AA was technically a quarter of that for two people.. my mind is blown. Thank god you kept looking.. Costa Rica looks awesome!

  2. we really want to go to costa rica, but are worried that it's their rainy season, albeit the end of their rainy season (we'd be going in Oct.)...i'm assuming you're going in Nov? With all your research, what do you think of going in Oct? i've heard it's such an amazing and adventurous place - perfect for a honeymoon!

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