Last month, I had the opportunity to head down to Costa Rica to check out the Andaz Peninsula Papagayo Resort, near Libera, Costa Rica. With many of my clients interested in the Central American country, I thought I’d try to familiarize myself with it more, as it had been sixteen years since I last was there.
The Andaz Peninsula Papagayo, Costa Rica
The Andaz is located about 45 minutes away from the Liberia International Airport, which is served nearly every major US airline, including Southwest, American, Alaska, and others. All told, seventeen destinations are served with direct service in the US and Canada, and there’s even directs from London Gatwick on Thomson Airways. Despite the number of flights, there are no taxiways at the airport, so your airplane might have to wait a few minutes after landing for air traffic to make their way back down the runway to the terminal.
I flew down using a ridiculously cheap business class fare ($750!) round trip through Miami and Dallas on American Airlines. I could justify spending a bit more on the flight since I had some spare vouchers from a flight bump last year. I earned 15,982 miles in Alaska Airlines’ program (they still are a distance-based program, and gives a bonus for business class “J” fares).
The cost out of pocket for my one-night stay would have been $550, plus taxes and resort fees (though fees were waived for Globalists). Instead, I used my World of Hyatt points to redeem a free night for 15,000 points. That’s a 3.6 cent per point redemption, which means if you earned those points from your Chase Sapphire Reserve card’s travel/dining bonus, you’d be getting 10.8% back on that spend!
Keep in mind, those of you with the Chase Hyatt credit card can use your annual free Category 1-4 night here at the Andaz. It’s easy to combine free nights, points nights, and out-of-pocket nights for longer trips- contact me for details!
Rather than pay hundreds for a hotel-arranged shuttle, I instead opted to rent an Enterprise car for about $45 all-in. Parking was free as I drove through the gates of Papagayo, which also features the Four Seasons, a golf club, and beach club, among other private homes and timeshares.
I parked my car next to this awesome restored VW van…
and walked down a beautiful fountain-lined bath to the open-air lobby…
…where a welcome fruit beverage and cool towel awaited me as I sat down for check in.
There was also a flavored water jug nearby that was available for any resort guest.
After check-in formalities were taken care of, I was led to my room in one of the resort’s golf carts. The room was an upgraded Andaz Bay View King. I was impressed with the size and layout of the room (560 sq. feet).
It was largely studio style, with a large bathroom area separated from the sleeping quarters by the bureau you see above.
An awesome feature is the rainfall shower, which opens up to the balcony so that you can essentially shower outdoors (rooms are very well designed on the cliff, so it would be difficult for others to see in).
Bath amenities were “Lather” brand, and smelled great.
The Andaz gives its guests a lot of freebies in the room, like these hats…
…this bowl of local fruit (it came with instructions on how to eat, which I needed)…
…some flip flops…
…a beach bag (not to take home, just to use during your stay)…
…and finally the mini bar, which is a brand-staple for Andaz (non-alcoholic drinks and snacks only, though).
The view was incredible of the bay around the Papagayo Peninsula.
Next, I went and explored around the resort. The resort features two beaches- one “sport beach” for families and those that want to kayak or paddle board (included in your resort fee), and a “quiet beach” that is for relaxation. The sport beach has a pop-up bar, the quiet beach does not.
There are also several pools on property. There’s one adult pool, and one family pool, where I stopped in for a dip.
The whole resort is built on a cliff/hill running down to the ocean, so expect to do a lot of walking, or you may rely on the constant golf carts that zip back and forth from place to place. The system worked, in my opinion.
I found the gym and spa area (included in your resort fee), and decided to exercise a bit.
For dinner, you have three choices on property. There’s the casual Rio Bhongo restaurant, the fine-dining Ostra, and the cocktail/tapas bar Chao Pescao. I elected to try Chao Pescao, and was not disappointed. For one, the cocktails were inventive and fun, like my mojito with a cinnamon stick set on fire.
…or this custom rum drink.
I also had some arepas, which were outstanding.
Then, it was off to bed. I woke up early the next morning to take part in a kayaking tour (free!). There are lots of activities going on throughout the day, with many of them complimentary for guests.
The water was very clear for my visit, it was honestly similar to snorkeling. I saw lots of fish, including a family of nurse sharks. This definitely was a highlight of the resort.
Unfortunately, after that, I had to depart for my flight back to the US. Overall, I felt that the Andaz is an incredible resort to stay at in Costa Rica. They did an incredible job of engrossing their guests in the local culture (and many folks staying there seemed to be unfamiliar with Latin American culture in general). I went during high season, so rates drop throughout the year, but your weather may vary. Interested in booking the Andaz Papagayo? Let me know!