San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Where to wine and dine your valentine in Costa Rica

Whether it’s the first Valentine’s Day we are celebrating with someone or the 20th, most of us want to make the day special. Here are a few ideas to help you plan a romantic outing or surprise for your special someone.

Go French for Valentine’s Day dinner at the highly recommended L’Ile de France in the western San José suburb of Escazú. Try the salmon fillet filled with shrimp mousse, topped with a saffron mousseline (₡16,800/$34). For dessert, choose from the Chocolate Temptation or the mousse au chocolat à l’orange (₡4,300/$8.60). Ask for the kitchen-view suite, where French chef Jean Claude Fromont will drop in to explain what’s on the menu and make suggestions. L’Ile de France is in Avenida Escazú, on the ground floor of the Marriott Residence Inn. For reservations, call 2282-5441 or 2289-7533. Check out the menu at

The Beacon Escazú hotel’s elegant The Muse restaurant is planning a Valentine’s Day feast including glazed duck salad with apples and goat cheese, steak, salmon in chile pesto, apple and mushroom tartlet and chicken in passion fruit sauce, as well as an open dessert bar. The cost is $50 per person including tax. A children’s menu of chicken schnitzel and dessert costs $25. Babysitting service will be offered for $10 per child. The Beacon is in Escazú Centro, 150 meters west of the Central Park. For reservations, call 2228-3110. 

Share a special meal for two at the long-standing Villa Bonita Chinese restaurant in Pavas. The 7 Estrellas de la Luna dish of seafood and vegetables in oyster sauce, served with toasted rice, costs ₡28,000 ($56) for two. A refreshing strawberry and peach drink makes the perfect complement. Villa Bonita is 100 m south and 175 m west of the U.S. Embassy. For reservations, call 2296-0909. See the full menu at www.villa

Valentines Dining

A couple’s massage at Las Brisas Spa in Manuel Antonio’s Arenas Del Mar resort makes a romantic indulgence for Valentine’s Day.

Ajita Chowhan

In downtown San José, the Hotel Balmoral, overlooking the pedestrian boulevard on Avenida Central, is offering a Valentine’s Day package that includes dinner for two at El Patio restaurant, a night’s accommodations with special Valentine’s Day decorations and a buffet breakfast, all for $120 per couple. The offer is valid through Feb. 20. For reservations, call 2222-5022 or 2010-7200, email or visit

For couples feeling lucky on Valentine’s Day, the Casino Club Colonial at the Sleep Inn in downtown San José (Av. 1, Ca. 9/11) will be offering a buffet, live music, cash prizes and free parking Feb. 14 after 8 p.m. To make reservations, call 2258-2807, extension 4519.

For bird’s-eye views of the city, the Aurola Holiday Inn off Parque Morazán in downtown San José will celebrate the day of lovers with a special menu in its 17th-floor El Mirador restaurant. For more information and reservations, call 2523-1000.

The Barceló San José Palacio hotel, northwest of downtown San José on the highway to the airport, will be offering various Valentine’s Day specials, including dinner at Restaurante Ánfora for $40 per person, including a glass of wine and taxes. Live music will be offered Feb. 11 and 14 in the Bosque Bar, as well as a mariachi show, welcome cocktail and a rose, for ₡7,000 ($14) per person. And in the hotel spa, couple’s therapies include a massage for $110 with a free body exfoliation, and a choco-therapy treatment for $180 per couple including free mini-facials. For information and reservations, call 2220-2034.

The colonial-style Marriott Costa Rica hotel by the airport in San Antonio de Belén, northwest of San José, will be offering a Valentine’s dinner buffet on Feb. 14 from 6-11 p.m. in its Antigua restaurant, including a glass of champagne, roses, live music and valet parking, for $55 per person including tax. For reservations, call 2298-0206 or 2298-0207. The Los Sueños Marriott in Playa Herradura on the central Pacific coast will also offer a special dinner; for more information, call 2630-9000.

In the hills of Santa Bárbara de Heredia, north of the capital, Finca Rosa Blanca’s El Tigre Vestido restaurant will be offering a romantic Valentine’s Day dinner with live music starting at 6 p.m., for $55 per person. The inn also offers beautiful accommodations ranging $295-$450 including breakfast, as well as coffee plantation tours, complete with coffee cupping and tasting, for $35 per person. For more information, call 2269-9392 or see

For a romantic beach getaway, head to Manuel Antonio on the central Pacific coast, where Arenas Del Mar luxury resort awaits above Espadilla Beach and its white sands. Get pampered at Las Brisas Spa with a Valentine’s Day special package for two that includes a side-by-side body peel with revitalizing exfoliation and a couple’s massage ($200). Just a few steps from the beach, have a romantic lunch in the shade of the palms. If you wish to stay the night, room rates range from $330 for an Ocean Breeze Superior Room to $650 for an Ocean View Premium Suite, including full breakfast. Arenas Del Mar is at the far west end of Playa Espadilla, down the El Parador road in Manuel Antonio. For reservations, call 2777-2777, email or go to

Grupo Islita’s two luxury hotels will be celebrating Valentine’s Day throughout February with special packages for nationals and residents. On the northern Pacific coast, the famous Hotel Punta Islita is offering a night’s stay in a deluxe room, “Tropical Romance” dinner for two with a bottle of wine, and breakfast for $157.50 per person, double occupancy. Additional nights cost $119 per person. In the cloud forest northwest of San José, El Silencio Lodge & Spa’s package includes a night’s stay in a suite, dinner with a glass of wine, breakfast and hiking access to private trails for $120.75 per person, double occupancy. Additional nights cost $85 per person. Both offers are subject to availability. For reservations, call 2231-6122 or email

Ajita Chowhan contributed to this story.

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