There’s something for everyone in Costa Rica. You can experience ecotourism, go hiking or even go bungee jumping. There is a lot to see, and I know I only saw a tiny spot – the Andaz Peninsula Papagayo Resort on the Papagayo Peninsula, in Guanacaste, Costa Rica. Without hesitation, I can say that I was enchanted by the Andaz Papagayo – in fact, I already have a return visit planned for next summer!
I didn’t quite know what to expect of the Andaz Papagayo, only that I had heard consistently great reports and that I wanted to go there. Having now been there, I can state that it is both beautiful and luxurious – but it simultaneously combines the local Costa Rica atmosphere and pura vida spirit into the mix.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the cost factor. Although rooms can go for $500 and (much) higher, the Andaz Papagayo is a category 4 World of Hyatt hotel, and thus is a bargain when booked with a World of Hyatt points or free night rate. As Dave and I each have the Chase Hyatt Visa Card, we each used our one free anniversary night for two of the nights, and points and cash for the remaining nights.
I know that many others have written (and raved) about their stays at the Andaz Papagayo – such as MommyPoints, View from the Wing, Angelina Travels and Frequent Miler. Well, add me to the Andaz Papagayo fan club!
We flew into the airport at Liberia, Costa Rica. We contemplated renting a car for the 30-45 minute drive to the hotel, but ultimately hired a driver from Liberia Airport Shuttle (per Angelina’s suggestion) for $59 each way. Since we planned this as a relaxation trip (and the hotel did offer a complimentary shuttle bus to some nearby hotels and a local beach club), this worked out fine for us.
We checked in, and were driven to our room in a golf cart. Hotel staff at every level was always super friendly and helpful. In the four days of our stay, Dave always wanted to flag down rides in the golf carts, and I always wanted to walk. Nothing new there!
I kind of felt a little like I was back at summer camp. (Speaking of camp, I’m told that the hotel has an excellent Hyatt camp for kids).
Our stay was during the week of Easter and Passover, and the hotel was fully booked. Consequently, we were not upgraded to a suite. Nevertheless, our room was extremely nice and quite spacious.
On the other side of the wall was the Andaz minibar with free snacks and non-alcoholic beverages as well as the bathroom, a large, open shower, and a balcony with a great view.
We had a nice view of the hotel and the water from our balcony.
We saw breathtaking sunsets from here too!
What did we do there? Our typical day, went like this. I’d get up first and go work out. Then I’d meet Dave for breakfast. Then we’d go to the pool. Somehow this filled our day and we were never bored.
Here are some photos of the Ondo Spa and the fitness room.
The gym was down this circular staircase:
The breakfast is amazing at the Andaz Papagayo so we took our time eating our meal. There was an assortment of fresh fruits and juices, as well as hot dishes and omelettes. The coffee barista menu was as long as an average food menu. We liked the fresh mango, so every day they would bring us a bowl of freshly cut mango. As globalists, breakfast was complimentary. For extra entertainment, there were plenty of monkeys – and they liked the hotel breakfast as much as we did.
The hotel doesn’t have much of a beach. However, there were two beautiful pool areas. This one was family friendly.
The second pool area was for adults only. This is where we were most afternoons.
We spent plenty of time just walking around the hotel admiring the grounds and the three restaurants.
We ate dinner once at the hotel’s tapas restaurant, Chao Pescao. It was a little bit on the pricey side, but the meal was good.
We also went to a nearby restaurant called the Dive Bar (which wasn’t really a dive bar). It was walkable down the beach from the hotel or by the hotel free shuttle. During happy hour, the Dive Bar served cheap margaritas and had a different half-priced dinner item each day. It was comfortable and where locals went. We liked adding this into the mix of our visit. And the sunsets from here were spectacular!
Next Time – – -as I mentioned, we liked the hotel so much that we are going back next summer. What would we do different (or the same) next time?
1. When we travel, we usually like to pick up some snack items and beer and wine at a local convenience store. We somehow assumed that would be available near the Andaz, but we were wrong. Next time, if we don’t rent a car, we might consider bringing some extra snacks with us. Also, there was a duty free liquor store at the Liberia airport. We will probably stock up there.
2. We really liked the Dive Bar, and will return there next year.
3. We really did not take advantage of the private beach club that Andaz Papagayo guests may visit. Reading the reviews, in particular the review by MommyPoints, we will make sure to go there next time.
4. Running on the grounds was difficult, as it was very hilly and not large enough to get real miles in. However, if you just go up the road past the hotel entrance (and on the road that goes to the Four Seasons), it is flat and open. Next time!
5. Speaking of the Four Seasons, it is also on the route of the complimentary hotel shuttle. Since we’ll have 7 days next trip, maybe we’ll spend an afternoon there.
6. We won’t wait for the final hour to pay for the bill. I used Hyatt Gift Cards to pay, which I had checked prior to the trip. However, the woman at the front desk said they hadn’t worked. I then got on the phone with the corporate office and we straightened it out. This took time.
7. To rent a car or not, that is the question. I’m still not sure whether next time we will opt to travel to the hotel via the airport shuttle service or rent a car.
8. Last but not least, at a recent event, I was very lucky! I won two round trip tickets to anyplace that JetBlue flies! As soon as JetBlue opens the schedule to include next July, I’m booking it.
Life is grand!