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Peninsula Papagayo in Costa Rica
Credit: Peninsula Papagayo
Peninsula Papagayo in Costa Rica
Credit: Peninsula Papagayo

This Secluded Resort Community in Costa Rica is Perfect for Every Type of Traveler

For Eco-Adventures and “Pura Vida” in a Tropical Playground, Head to Peninsula Papagayo

A real off-the-beaten-path treasure, Peninsula Papagayo is an exclusive 1,400-acre gated community-meets-eco-preserve in Costa Rica’s Guanacaste province on the northwestern Pacific coast. Less than an hour’s drive from Liberia International Airport (Angelenos take note: there are direct daily flights with Alaska Airlines from LAX), the peninsula boasts protected coves and beaches canopied by tropical dry forests home to monkeys and other exotic wildlife. Costa Rica has been an eco-tourism leader for decades (around 26% of land across the country is devoted to national parks and wildlife reserves), and outdoor adventures and attractions are major drawing cards here too, thanks to the Papagayo Explorers program alongside more leisurely pursuits like teeing off at the Arnold Palmer Signature golf course.


The Stay: Beachside Bliss at Andaz

Peninsula Papagayo in Costa Rica
Credit: Andaz Costa Rica Resort at Peninsula Papagayo

Currently one of only three resorts on the Peninsula, Andaz Costa Rica Resort at Peninsula Papagayo is a breezy eco-chic hideaway perched above Culebra Bay. Its free-flowing architecture blends seamlessly with the surroundings. Each of the resort’s 153 rooms, including 21 suites and a handful of villas, are all tucked away seemingly in the treetops, so you can enjoy bay or forest views during your stay. Each room also balances modern design details with high-touch natural materials like riverstone rain showers. Swim and sunbathe beside one of four swimming pools on property–for chill vibes, make a beeline for the adults-only pool–or hop on a beach-to-beach boat transfer and stick your toes in the sand at one of the three nearby beaches. Dining options include the Andaz Beach House at Nacascolo Beach (think tacos, tropical drinks and Tico vibes) and new-look casual-meets-fine dining at Ostra. Helmed by Chef Bruno Alves, his menu showcases local, sustainably caught and sourced seafood, such as Nicoya oysters, with global riffs on dishes inspired by Portuguese, Tongan and Cajun cuisines.


For Adrenaline Junkies: Outrigger Canoes, Zip Lines and Mountain Bike Trails

Peninsula Papagayo in Costa Rica
Credit: Peninsula Papagayo

Most travelers associate Costa Rica with outdoor adventures like surfing and river rafting. Descending a zipline through the rainforest, however, is another experience closely associated with the Central American country, and Peninsula Papagayo delivers here too. Opened last November, the aerial trails at Palmares Conservation Area promise a thrilling three-hour circuit—navigate obstacles like Heebie Jeebie on the aerial trekking course, and climb a giant ficus tree after completing the zip line. If that sounds like too much excitement for your liking, follow a suspended cable stairway to the observation platform for views without the adrenaline dump. Beneath are 12 miles of wilderness trails (more on those in a moment) and a dedicated mountain bike trail that winds through the forest and along the coast to Palmares Beach. Riders of all levels can choose between a full-suspension “regular” mountain bike or an electric-assist off-road number for the challenge. 



For Culture Seekers: Chocolate, Coffee and Community

La Anita Rainforest Ranch
Credit: La Anita Rainforest Ranch

Anyone keen to get a cultural taste of Costa Rica should plan to spend at least one day outside of the resort grounds. A great way to do that is on this road trip, organized by Papagayo Explorers, that gets off the beaten path around the Nicoya Peninsula. Additional experiences available via Andaz include a tour of Tío Leo Coffee and Costa Rican-owned cacao plantation La Anita. Back at the resort, activities with a cultural lens range from a “pura vida” cooking class and Spanish lessons to a weekly community project with Creciendo Juntos. The local nonprofit helps children and families in Guanacaste, but guests can make a difference when they travel by bringing a Backpack for School stuffed with supplies like notebooks, paper and pens. You can also visit the nearby town of El Triunfo for a traditional farm-to-table dinner.


For Wellness Devotees: Yoga, Spa Days and Hot Springs

Peninsula Papagayo in Costa Rica
Credit: Andaz Costa Rica Resort at Peninsula Papagayo

Central to the Andaz Resort experience, wellness goes beyond the spa–although anyone who loves to get pampered is in for a treat too. Start the day with a rise and shine morning yoga class and meditation session on the treetop pavilion. Located towards the rear of the resort, the lavish 11,000-square-foot ONDA Spa features nine treatment rooms and an experience menu that spans traditional treatments and beauty services to alternative modalities. Try the Fresh Tropical Relief body scrub and wrap duo or bliss out with some reiki and a suspended sound healing session in an anti-gravity hammock. For those keen to adventure, venture off the property in search of waterfalls and natural thermal springs via the Papagayo Explorers Club’s day trip to private rainforest sanctuary Sensoria on the outskirts of the Rincón de la Vieja volcano.


For Wildlife Lovers: Spot birds, Monkeys and Butterflies

Peninsula Papagayo
Credit: Peninsula Papagayo

Fruit-loving coati (a furry mammal closely related to the raccoon) along with howler and capuchin monkeys are a regular feature around Andaz—guests are advised not to leave belongings unattended on terraces unless they don’t mind them being taken into the forest! Another way to catch a glimpse of Peninsula Papagayo’s diverse flora and fauna is on a guided tour. Over 150 bird species and 15 monkey troops call the peninsula home, and the Papagayo Explorers Club can arrange group excursions led by naturalist guides to see and photograph both within the Palmares Preserve. Two Andaz tours that appeal to animal lovers are the Sloth Adventure (visit Llanos del Cortes waterfall then hike through a sanctuary to look for sloths and butterflies) and a separate itinerary to Las Pumas rescue center to see jaguars and toucans.


Andaz Costa Rica Resort at Peninsula Papagayo
Guanacaste Province
Papagayo Peninsula
50104, Costa Rica

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Keri Bridgwater is a freelance writer covering travel and lifestyle. Her work has been featured in Fodor’s Travel, Marie Claire, Matador Network and InsideHook, among other outlets and publications.



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