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Wine on the Wing

Paradise Plus: Come for Business, Stay for Leisure in Captivating Costa Rica

by Jack Guy

May 19, 2023

© Simondannhauer | Dreamstime.com

April/May 2023

Costa Rica proves a hugely popular destination for travelers of every stripe, thanks to its amazing natural wonders, great connectivity and well-developed infrastructure.

Boasting both Pacific and Caribbean coasts as well as unspoiled jungles and mountainous natural parks, Costa Rica offers something for everyone. Check out the beaches at Manuel Antonio National Park on the Pacific side, with its famous Punta Catedral named among the best spots in the country. Or relax in the warm, calm Caribbean waters at Cahuita. Adventur- ous travelers may also enjoy hiking Arenal Volcano
or watching monkeys and sloths at Hacienda Barú National Wildlife Refuge.

Visitors find all of this natural beauty easy to reach, as Costa Rica enjoys excellent air connections through its two main international airports: Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO) outside the capital, San José; and Guanacaste Airport (LIR), near the city of Liberia. Flights from Miami arrive in just under three hours, while the journey from Los Angeles takes about six hours; and Costa Rica’s strategic position in the middle of the Americas makes it easy for colleagues from South America to reach, as well. The country has long proved a popular choice with North American retirees, thanks to a pleasant climate year-round, which means local businesses are well-prepared for the needs of U.S. travelers. Costa Rica also sits conveniently in Central Standard Time, the same as Houston and New Orleans, for example, making it easy to stay in touch with family and colleagues at home.

© Marriott

All of these factors benefit the MICE travel market, which the country’s authorities made huge efforts to develop in recent years. The government invested $35 million in the 168,000-square-foot Costa Rica Convention Center, opened in 2018. Packed with the latest energy-saving technology, the center reflects Costa Rica’s reputation for sustainability and offers three main spaces, the largest accommodating 4,000 people. Located just 5 miles from San José airport and 6 miles from the center of the capital city, CRCC remains the flagship MICE offering in the country. Groups may also consider another San José option, Costa Rica Marriott Hotel Hacienda Belen, voted Costa Rica’s best MICE hotel at the 2021 and 2022 World MICE Awards. The property includes 28 function rooms of varying sizes, with the largest, the Juan Vazquez de Coronado ballroom, able to host up to 1,000 guests.

However, those who want something different for their event will find myriad options around the country. For example, JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort & Spa in Playa Mansita, Guanacaste province, offers four event rooms with a maximum capacity of 600 people. With great spa facilities on site, the hotel offers a distinctive spot to host an event, conveniently located a 1.5-hour drive from LIR airport. Another luxurious option, Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo lies less than an hour from LIR. With a huge selection of event spaces, including two beach areas, you will certainly find one to suit your needs.

Costa Rica continues to improve its already impressive MICE offerings, and the country offers much to entice clients in the sector. It’s well-connected, with great infrastructure and experience in welcom- ing visitors from around the world. Additionally, you can enjoy incredible golf courses, national parks and beaches once your work is done.

© Marriott


Costa Rica boasts MICE hotels with golf courses, including Hotel Los Sueños Marriott Ocean & Golf Resort on Herradura Bay on the Pacific coast, about a 1.5-hour drive from SJO airport. The property includes 13 event rooms as well as the 18-hole La Iguana Golf Club, which winds through the rain forest and offers ocean views. Renowned golf architect Ted Robinson designed the course, which the World Golf Awards named the best course in Costa Rica.

The Westin Reserva Conchal All-Inclusive Golf Resort & Spa also lies on the Pacific coast, about one hour from LIR airport. Choose from nine indoor and outdoor event spaces, with the largest offering space for a maximum of 800 guests. The grand ballroom can be divided into five smaller spaces for smaller meetings, and an 18-hole golf course offers amazing views over nearby beaches. You can bring the family, too, and enjoy plenty of amenities for children such as the Westin Family Kids Club.



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