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Papagayo Costa Rica Vacation 

Papagayo, Costa Rica–a very different and luxuriant landscape

The Papagayo Peninsula lies on the western Pacific coastline of Costa Rica, with the Golfo de Papagayo (Gulf of Papagayo) on one side, and Bahia Culebra (Bay of Culebra) on the other. For an exceptional luxury vacation in Costa Rica, the Papagayo Peninsula is becoming the ultimate destination, and for a very good reason.

The peninsula is the first location in the whole of South America where environmentally friendly gated resorts and luxury real estate projects are being developed. While other Costa Rica vacation destinations concentrate more on ecotourism, exploring the country’s rainforests and cloud forests, and immersing you in a jungle environment, here on the Papagayo Peninsula, the emphasis is predominantly on high-class leisure pursuits, while keeping a very close eye on sustainability.

If you don’t have your own superyacht to moor in the harbor then don’t worry, Liberia International Airport is only 9 miles (15 kilometers) away as the blue-crowned motmot flies, where you can land your private jet! However, on a more serious note, one of the great advantages of the location of this resort development is its ease of accessibility, either by international charter flight, road or boat – there is a big difference between being tucked away and being remote.

With the established Arnold Palmer-designed 18-hole golf course,purpose-built marina in the safe haven of Bahia Culebra, beach cluband ultra-luxury resort complexes, the Papagayo Peninsula has already become the welcome recipient of numerous global awards and has received worldwide recognition as one of the very best places for a vacation.

Hotels and Resorts, Papagayo, Costa Rica

The moment you arrive at any of the resorts on the Papagayo Peninsula you will realise you have come to somewhere very special. In many ways, the word‘resort’ fails to do these vacation retreats justice, and from our perspective, perhaps ‘ultimate tropical sanctuaries’ is a more appropriate description. Papagayo Peninsula is a little bit of paradise tucked away in the corner of one of the most fascinating countries on this planet, and from here you can indulge yourself in five-star luxury from beginning to end, never needing to go further than the beaches, golf course or marina.

Four Seasons Resort– the ultimate in high-end luxury with 182 rooms and suites. Phenomenal location with breathtaking sea views, the hotel provides a wealth of amenities and facilities including:

  • Five different restaurants
  • Massage, sauna, jacuzzi and steam room
  • 18-hole Arnold Palmer-designed golf course
  • Tennis courts
  • Adults-only outdoor pool
  • Fitness center
  • Diving center
  • Private beach

ElMangroove Hotela boutique hotel offering the highest quality of service and amenities in a truly wonderful beachside location. Enjoy the peace and tranquility of the remarkable setting where “chilling is mandatory”.

  • Two restaurants offering fresh local produce and the very best in fine-dining experiences
  • Bearth spa to help rejuvenate you while soothing your spirit on an outdoor terrace or massage deck
  • Ultra-long outdoor swimming pool

Andaz Costa Rica Resort at Peninsula Papagayo –a stunning location for an outstanding high-end luxury hotel with 153 deluxe guestrooms and suites with balconies overlooking Culebra Bay.Perfectly suited for families with child-specific entertainment and safe swimming. Facilities to meet almost every need include:

  • Three different themed restaurants specializing in the best of Latin American cuisine
  • Nine separate spa treatment rooms to relax and invigorate you
  • Two multi-tier cascading outdoor swimming pools
  • Access to two pristine beaches
  • Four suites with plunge pools
  • 24-hour fitness center

Secrets, Papagayo Costa Rica described as tranquil, intimate and unforgettable, it is difficult not to agree. Stay here and enjoy the ultimate in sensory experiences in a one-of-a-kind luxury resort set amidst lush tropical gardens, enjoying uninterrupted sea and coastal views. When you enter Secrets, you leave the rest of the world behind you, thanks to the exceptional 24-hour concierge service and first-class facilities, such as:

  • World-class spa by Pervonia
  • Magnificent outdoor pool with waiting service
  • Oceanfront bars
  • Beach waiting service
  • Theme nights, beach parties, karaoke and live shows
  • Water aerobics
  • Beach volleyball
  • Golf

It can be difficult to decide, from a distance, which hotel will best meet your requirements, which is why, at Costa Rica Rios, we are here to help you. We want your vacation to be stress-free from the moment you book it, not just when you arrive, so get in touch and let us help you create the perfect vacation in one of many, many stunning locations in Costa Rica.

Restaurants on the Papagao Peninsula, Costa Rica

With a gated community and resort-style hotels, there is only one other restaurant locally, save for those within existing complexes. Many vacationers who come to the Papago Peninsula have accommodation provided on an ‘all inclusive’ basis, and with usually more than one restaurant to choose from on a chosen resort, there is no great need to ‘eat out’.

However, you are in Costa Rica, and it is always good to get out and explore, sample local culture, and within five miles of the Papago Peninsula are two small towns, Playa Hermosa and Coco, where you will find a good number of sodas and small restaurants serving traditional Latin-American food.

Below we have created a short list of a number of these authentic eateries that we feel you will enjoy eating at:

  • PoroPoro Restaurant – located adjacent to the Four Seasons Resort. Reservations are required for this exceptional restaurant which serves Latin, Central American, Costa Rican and fresh seafood to the very highest standards
  • Abbocado– Playa Panama – one of the best eateries outside the Papagayo complex
  • Aqua Sport – Playa Hermosa – superb and authentic South American and Costa Rican food
  • La Casita del Marisco– fresh Costa Rican food served on the beach front
  • Ginger – Playa Hermosa – the only genuine Asian restaurant for miles around
  • Citron Restaurante– Playas del Coco – fusion seafood dishes about as fresh as they come
  • Soda Mediterranea– Playas del Coco – freshly cooked seafood – Mediterranean style.

Further details of these and other restaurants in the area can be found here.

Beaches on the Papagayo Peninsula

The Papagayo Peninsula is dotted with numerous sandy beaches, with those on the south-eastern side facing onto Bahia Culebra being more sheltered and having slightly calmer waters. All beaches in Costa Rica are public, though some hotels and resorts have their own private access to beaches, often those which are not easily accessible to the public.

Of course, you could be missing a trick, as while a number of beaches are harder to reach on dry land, they are all accessible from the sea! The main beaches we like on the Papagayo Peninsula include Playa Manzanillo, Playa Nacascolo, Playa Blanca, Playa Virador, and Playa Cabuyal, and we have chosen three to write a little more about:

Playa Nacascolo– probably the best beach on the peninsula, the sea is usually very calm, making this an ideal beach if you like swimming and snorkeling. The sand is mesmerizing and the water crystal clear.

Playa Manzanillo –further up the south-eastern coast from Playa Nacascolo, this beach has a blacker sand intermingled with pretty seashells. Enjoy the view across the calm waters to Panama, Penca and Hermosa.

Playa Cabyal, Guanacaste – located on the western side of the Papagayo peninsula, this is a surfer’s beach and is not recommended for swimming owing to the powerful waves and strong riptides.

Things to do on the Papagayo Peninsula

Many of the resort hotels on the peninsula have excellent facilities, and aside from swimming in the hotel pool or down at the beach, or enjoying a spa, there is always the 18-hole Arnold Palmer-designed golf course which must have some of the best views of any golf course in the world. With water on three sides of you, watersports also feature very heavily on the ‘things to do’ list.

However, Costa Rica has a reputation for being the home to some of nature’s most unspoiled rainforests and cloud forests and, of course, there are the volcanoes. Depending on how long you have booked your vacation for, it would be a shame not to sample some of the more unusual activities associated with exploring and enjoying Costa Rica’s luxuriant interior.

As a result, we have divided our list of things to do into two parts – adventure sports and watersports, as follows:

Adventure Sports

  • National park tours
  • Rainforest canopy tours
  • Ziplining
  • Treetop hanging bridge tours
  • Waterfall rappelling and canyoning
  • Trekking
  • Mountain bike tours
  • 4×4 and ATV tours
  • Horseback Riding
  • Volcano tours
  • Canoeing
  • Whitewater rafting
  • Small zoos and animal rescue centers

Watersports in and around the Papagayo Peninsula

  • Swimming
  • Surfing
  • Paddleboarding
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Sailing
  • Sportfishing
  • Snorkeling
  • Scuba Diving

If you want to ask any questions about any of the activities we have listed, or if you want to know if any other specific activities are available, please don’t hesitate to ask. At Costa Rica Rios, we are here to help you in any way we can.

Nightlife on the Papagayo Peninsula

By now you may have worked out that the Papagayo Peninsula is a peaceful and tranquil haven, so it should come as little surprise to learn that the nightlife here exists within the resort hotels, though many do provide excellent evening entertainment, including live shows.

If you want to immerse yourself a little deeper into Costa Rican culture and wish to escape the peninsula’s gated interior, then your best bet will be to take a 30-40-minute drive to the nearest large town, Liberia, but it is not a Mecca for nightlife beyond bars and restaurants.

  • Kuru Kuru– a typical meringue disco with a massive dance floor. Open Thursday to Sunday
  • Baulas– named after the leatherback sea turtles, this establishment serves great-value chicken burritos and ice-cold beer, but seldom comes alive before 11pm. Impromptu karaoke can break out at any time
  • Lib – the only place for live music in Liberia, on a Friday,and always busy at weekends.

While we are discussing Liberia, there is one little place we’d like to point out, and that is La Mesa de Monique y Andre (Monique and Andre’s table). If a group of you are on vacation, then book a table here as soon as you arrive as they do not accept passing trade. This unique restaurant caters for only one group of people per evening.

Here you will get to enjoy white port served in shot glasses while you sit by the pool. The whole evening will include four varieties of wine, four appetizers, a soup and a salad, the main course, and finally a delicious dessert.

Papagayo Costa Rica Vacation

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