Located in the northwest corner of Costa Rica, not far from the Nicaraguan border, is one of Costa Rica’s most spectacular regions: the Papagayo Peninsula. After two years of living in Costa Rica, we finally made our way to this remote area to discover first-hand the beauty of its jagged coastline and emerald waters.
Development in Papagayo is relatively recent, and as such, you won’t find much regarding restaurants, shopping or even local towns for that matter. However, there are a handful of upscale resorts, including the Andaz Resort and the Four Seasons, along with a flashy marina and a few private residences. The seclusion also means you’ll have no trouble finding quiet beaches for lounging, pristine dry forest for trekking, or sparkling clear water for snorkeling.
We opted to stay at the luxurious Andaz Resort, in large part because we had two free annual Hyatt nights to redeem, and we’d heard rumors that the Andaz was one of the best places around the world to take advantage of the hotel credit. We certainly weren’t disappointed.
After a welcome juice, we were ushered to our large room, where the highlight was a spacious porch shaded by towering trees. We might not have been in a tree house, but due to the excellent views and isolated feeling, it certainly felt like it. Every detail is accounted for at the Andaz, from the amenities in the steam rooms to the romantic adults-only pool to the mouthwatering menu at the on-site restaurants. Having just finished a marathon through the Costa Rican jungle (and barely able to walk due to a strained hamstring) we were thoroughly appreciative of these creature comforts—including the golf carts that were always available to shuttle us from one side of the resort to the other.
While we were quite happy to nurse our sore bodies by laying at the pool or soaking in the sun at the private beach, there are numerous eco-adventures nearby the Papagayo Peninsula for active travelers and families. A few of the top activities on and around the Papagayo include:
The Water Sports
The tranquil water off the Papagayo Peninsula provides the perfect conditions for Stand Up Paddleboarding, snorkeling, scuba diving and sailing. If we ever return, we would love to charter a boat for a unique vantage point to enjoy the coast, as well as the opportunity to visit otherwise inaccessible bays and coves.
The Palo Verde National Park
Located about two hours south of Papagayo is the Palo Verde National Park. This wildlife refuge comprises rivers, mangroves and dry forest, and is home to monkey, reptiles, hundreds of bird species and crocodiles.
There are other numerous national parks in Guanacaste, including the Rincon de la Vieja Volcano and the otherworldly caverns and caves at the Barra Honda National Park.
Witch’s Rock Canopy Tour
Just outside of the Andaz and Four Seasons Resort is the Witch’s Rock Canopy Tour. This is the perfect way to experience the feeling of soaring through the Costa Rican rainforest, though don’t expect to spot much wildlife while flying through the treetops.
Visit A Family or School
We love hotels that give back to the local communities, which is what the Andaz is doing in Guanacaste. The resort can arrange for a visit to a school where you can teach or spend time with a local family, depending on the needs of the area.
If you’re looking for an ultra-luxurious way to experience Costa Rica—without having to sacrifice pristine natural beauty and off-the-beaten-track adventures—then you can’t go wrong with the Papagayo Peninsula. We know that while we’re living in Costa Rica, we’ll be back for a similar “staycation” in the future.