This Thanksgiving holiday was spent on the Papagayo Peninsula in Costa Rica. We stayed at the Andaz Papagayo Resort, which is situated on a hillside overlooking the bay, a short 25 minute drive from the Liberia Airport. Our luxe lodging intertwined amongst the jungle, made us feel like we were truly apart of nature. Howler monkeys and iguanas were easy to spot roaming the grounds. As the property cascades down the hillside, be prepared to walk a lot of stairs (great for that daily butt workout!). Although, if you are feeling a bit lazy they do offer pick-up and drop-off services in staff golf carts. Here's the breakdown of the Andaz Papagayo:
The Rooms: Our room included spectacular views of the bay + lush green jungle. The room came equipped with complementary wifi, flat screen TV, private balcony, mini-fridge, snacks, robes, flips flops, and hats. Polished concrete floors and controlled lighting added to the sophistication of the room. The best part was the shower which opened to the private balcony. Picture this: returning to your room from being outside in the humid air all day... you step into the shower with natural stones under your feet, a rain shower head above you, and views of the bay+trees. It's magical.
The Food+Drink: There were three restaurants on the property. Ostra is the more relaxed, date night spot. Rio Bhongo is the main family friendly restaurant, and Chao Pescao features a craft cocktail bar with occasional live music. Every morning I would walk over to Rio Bongo for breakfast (which was included) and would feast! They had a breakfast buffet with everything you could imagine: omelette station, waffles, pastries galore, cereal, traditional costa rican fare, fresh fruit, and a juice bar. Some of my favorites were the banana bread, the vegetable juice, and a pastry that was filled with meat and veggies. For those coffee lovers be sure to talk to Luis, the barista. He is extremely sweet, very knowledgable about coffee and will create something special for you. All the restaurants served traditional Costa Rican meals, including fresh fish, rice, beans, chorizo, plantains, and ceviche. At Ostra, they have a ceviche bar in which they can prepare it right in front of you. The drinks were tropical, but head over to Chao Pescao and they can craft something a little more intriguing. We ordered their version of an Old Fashioned, the El Mixo, and a coffee cocktail with coffee vermouth. As the breakfast is substantial, we never needed lunch and sampled each restaurant for our dinners.
The Extras: Andaz included three pools: the family pool, a pool that may have been a little more quiet than the family pool, and the adult pool. Let's just say I spent most of my days at the adult pool, laying on the day beds, being served Sangria, and swimming over to the infinity edge gazing into the jungle. Another amenity was the 24-hour gym. The intimate gym was comprised of several treadmills, an elliptical machine, stationary bike, free weights, yoga mats, and other equipment. The perfect time to go is around 8am or in the afternoon. The gym also offers towels, water, and fresh fruit. The spa is located above the gym, and offers various services. If the natural water is more for you, there is beach access where the resort lets you use the kayaks and paddle boards for free! There are also weekly activities on the property. Check out my Part 2 post for more details.
If you get a chance to head to the Andaz Resort on the Papagayo Peninsula, go! Whether you're an adventurer, prefer to relax by the pool, or make it a family trip, there's something for everyone. Our stay was lovely and we appreciated the effort that went into making this resort a part of it's surroundings.