Costa Rica’s mind-blowing biodiversity — the country is smaller than West Virginia but home to 5 per cent of the world’s species — sun-drenched beaches and laid-back lifestyle draw vacationers from around the world. And one of the most intriguing adventure destinations in Costa Rica right now is Peninsula Papagayo.
This stunning 1,400-acre resort community, with 15 miles (24.14 km) of the coast, where monkeys and iguanas roam freely along 31 expansive beaches, allows travellers to experience nature in the lap of luxury. And with quick access to an exclusive beach club, an adventure park, and a world-class golf course.
Here’s everything you need to know to plan the perfect vacation to Costa Rica’s Peninsula Papagayo.
How to get there
Located in the northwestern province of Guanacaste, Peninsula Papagayo is only a 45-minute drive from Liberia’s Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport (LIR). The airport is serviced by American Airlines, United, Alaska Airlines, JetBlue, Southwest, Air Canada, and Delta, in addition to several South American and European airlines. There are nonstop flights from 23 destinations, including New York City, Houston, Miami, Dallas, Atlanta, and Toronto. The airport also sees considerable traffic via private jets.
Another way to get here is sailing. Peninsula Papagayo has a private marina with 180 berths that accommodate up to 250-foot-long yachts.
Where to stay
As the home of the only Four Seasons resorts in Central America, along with Andaz Costa Rica, Peninsula Papagayo has become one of the country’s most luxurious getaways. A Ritz-Carlton Reserve is set to open in late 2024.
Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo
Four Seasons Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo, one of the best hotels in the world according to Travel + Leisure readers, offers its guests easy access to two beaches, three pools, an excellent kids’ club, a spa, and five restaurants. The hotel’s elegant 145 rooms and suites (some with private plunge pools) have large balconies and patios. The resort also manages 53 residences, ranging from three to five bedrooms, with amenities such as private swimming pools, sundecks, large living and dining spaces, and incredible views. Guests staying at the residences also have access to the members-only clubhouse at Prieta Beach, a chic beachfront hideaway at the scenic Playa Prieta with a restaurant, spa, gym, kids’ club, and co-working space.
Andaz Costa Rica resort at Peninsula Papagayo
Andaz Costa Rica Resort at Peninsula Papagayo is nestled on a hill among lush tropical trees, overlooking the peninsula’s marina, treating guests to gorgeous views. The property’s rooms and suites have floor-to-ceiling windows and terraces, and some have plunge pools. With a kids’ club, two pools, a beach, a spa, and a redesigned seafood restaurant with stunning sunset views, the resort is an excellent option for families and couples. In November 2023, Andaz will also open a new beach club, Casa la Playa.
This summer, Andaz will also complete a collection of luxurious two-bedroom villas and two- and three-bedroom penthouses with rooftop terraces and plunge pools, designed by Costa Rican architect Ronald Zürcher.
What to do
Peninsula Papagayo was dreamed up as the ultimate playground for nature lovers. With a wealth of outdoor activities on land and sea, ranging from surfing world-class breaks to hiking the UNESCO-protected reserve adjacent to the peninsula, the area has something to offer guests of all ages.
The Palmares Outpost includes 250 acres of adrenaline-pumping thrills like zip lining, tree climbing, aerial trekking, and thousands of miles of mountain biking trails. The adventure centre is part of a larger sports park set for completion next year that will include bocce ball courts, a wave-surf simulator, a children’s splash park, pickleball and tennis courts, a four-lane 82-foot lap pool, and a yoga and meditation deck overlooking dreamy Bahias Bay.
The peninsula’s activities centre, Papagayo Explorers, also has a long list of eco-adventures that allow guests to have fun and learn about the area’s wildlife from professional naturalists. Night walks, birdwatching, coral planting and coral gardening, monkey spotting, outrigger canoeing, and mangrove tours are all activities that guests can enjoy without leaving the peninsula.
SurfX, the Four Seasons’ in-house surf operator, offers guests of the resort surf classes and boat tours to nearby Witch’s Rock and Ollie’s Point breaks, as well as two-day boot camps with professional instructors.
Scuba divers and megayacht owners might choose to stay at Marina Papagayo on their way to Isla del Coco. Dubbed “Treasures Island,” the small UNESCO-listed sanctuary has more than a dozen dive sites teeming with marine life.
And if you’d like to stay on land and practice your swing, you can do so on the Arnold Palmer Signature Course.
Those interested in learning more about local art should visit the peninsula’s Vision Gallery, which holds regular pop-up exhibitions and events, displaying works by Costa Rican artists with a focus on nature, community, and sustainability.
A weekly farmers market, talks on biodiversity, and various special events and festivals are also part of Peninsula Papagayo’s ever-expanding events calendar.
(Hero and feature image credit: Peninsula Papagayo)
This story first appeared on travelandleisure.com