December was unlike any other month this year. We spent the month in Costa Rica, but it wasn’t a fun, adventurous, and beachy escape that one might expect from this part of the world. Our experience in Costa Rica this month was quite the opposite.

There was no travel, no fun adventures, and no new cities. We spent December stressed and exhausted madly preparing for our wedding that took place on New Year’s Eve at Playa Lagartillo in Guanacaste. If you have ever planned a wedding before you might be able to relate to the struggles we went through leading up to our big day.

Playa Lagartillo, Guanacaste. Costa Rica

Playa Lagartillo, Guanacaste

And it didn’t help that we opted against the standard all inclusive wedding package and decided to do a DIY wedding instead. Our days were spent building, decorating, art and crafting, and running around Costa Rica in search for last minute supplies.

Max building a table for our wedding reception. Costa Rica

Max building a table for our wedding reception

December was a test of surviving in Costa Rica the local way and we are happy to report that we passed it! Looking back, we can definitely say that if we managed to pull off a DIY wedding in Costa Rica without killing each other, we can most definitely survive here long term.

So there you have it, it’s been decided. After the ups and downs of December, we have decided to make Costa Rica our temporary home base. We’ll be here when we are not traveling, we’ll come back here when we need a break, or when we need to catch up on work.

Countries Visited

Costa Rica

Cities/Towns Visited

San Jose, San Miguel, Tamarindo, Santa Cruz, Playa Avellanas, and Playa Negra

Playa Avellanas, Gaanacaste

Playa Avellanas, Guanacaste

Distance Traveled

2,296 kms

Modes of Transportation

1 flight down to Costa Rica and car only from there on out

Photos Taken

Under 100

Howler monkey. Costa Rica

Howler monkey one of our few photography subjects this month

Money Spent

When it comes to staying on budget December was a clear winner. Not only were we lucky enough to be able to stay in Max’s Mom’s house here in Costa Rica rent free, but we also saved a ton on eating out by being able to cook our own meals. Yes, we spent a ton of money on our wedding, but that’s a completely different budget and a story for another time.

Our total spend for December (ex. wedding expenses) was under $500.

Travel Highlights

Our most memorable moment of not only this month, but easily the entire year was standing on Lagartillo beach and watching the waves crash against the shore as we said our I Do’s. We had long dreamed of getting married on the beach that Max calls home, but never in a million years could we have pictured a ceremony setting that beautiful. It was rustic, it was laid back, it was absolutely breathtaking and everything we could have ever asked for.

Max and Oksana wedding. Costa Rica

Just married!

…and Low Lights

The lowest point of the month for us was definitely the week leading up to the wedding. Our stress levels were high, things kept going wrong, and we just were not enjoying ourselves.

Favourite Eats

Nothing beats Costa Rican refried rice and beans, known locally as Gallo Pinto, which we were able to enjoy almost every morning. It’s one of our favourite things about Costa Rica!

Gallo Pinto $2 at a Soda, in San Jose.

Gallo Pinto

Next Month

This month we are splitting our time between finally relaxing and enjoying our time in Costa Rica and traveling out to nearby countries. We have just come back from our first trip to Nicaragua and are planning to head to Panama at the end of this week. As always, the best way to follow our adventures in real time is to follow us on Facebook and Instagram. See you there!

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Monthly Recap : December 2015

How did you spend your December? We’d love to hear your travel highlights in the comments below