This post is in proud partnership with Costco Travel. As always, the opinions stated herein are my own.
As a Costco Partner, I was more than thrilled to be able to whisk my dear friend away for a much-needed “momcation” to Costa Rica. We were treated to the Costco Travel Guanacaste Andaz Peninsula Papagayo Package, a Hyatt property on the Pacific coast, about a 30-minute drive from the Liberia airport. The package included airfare, hotel with daily breakfast, transportation to and from the airport with Destination Services as well as a credit towards a day-trip excursion.
The Andaz embraces the Pura Vida philosophy and makes you feel welcome as soon as you enter through the resort gates. The sprawling property sits right on the 1,400-acre Peninsula Papagayo in its own private oasis. The resort has several buildings, like villas, which are covered in bamboo in the middle of tropical flora, rainforest trees and plants, and wildlife that roams freely. Feeling as though we were staying in nature, we were also greeted by white-faced and howler monkeys daily.
The natural smells of the rainforest are like a subtle perfume you wish you could bottle and take home. I also loved the feeling of space and privacy; you never felt like it was overcrowded even though the resort was almost at full capacity.
Our double bedroom was upgraded from a garden view to a view of Culebra Bay, which was a lovely surprise. The floor-to-ceiling windows and folding glass doors invite the tropical forest right into your room. Those who have a garden room must keep their doors closed, and food off the balcony as monkeys are known to steal food!
The rooms are designed with natural elements such as wood, bamboo, and stone, so you always feel you are one with nature. The bathroom features a beautiful river stone rain shower which opens out into the terrace, offering gorgeous sunset views. The bathroom was generously stocked with toiletries, hair dryer, and cozy bathrobes.
I loved that the resort offered complimentary flip flops and fedora hats to guests. The resort also offers complimentary water, beverages and snacks in the mini-bar (alcohol is for purchase). In no time, I was hooked on Cassava chips and Costa Rican label Britt coffee!
The main features of the Andaz are the infinity pools which are a little piece of heaven. There were several times we had the pool all to ourselves. I was contented to lounge by the pool for the entire afternoon, soaking in the views. One of the pools is situated near trees, and as I was relaxing in the pool, I was entertained by a white-faced monkey feasting on fruit.
Some lovely touches the resort offers are various sunscreens at all pool locations, bug sprays at the lobby as well as restaurants, and fruit-infused water readily available throughout the resort.
Walking around the resort by foot is the best way to explore and enjoy the scenery, but when it’s too hot or you’re too tired, the concierge can arrange complimentary transportation around the resort by golf cart!
The resort’s Onda Spa offers a spa menu of treatments including massages, body scrubs and wraps, facial therapies, manicures, pedicures and more. The spa has three outdoor treatment rooms where you can be pampered and enjoy the natural sound of ocean waves.
My friend and I enjoyed the relaxation pool overlooking the bay, the steam room as well as a fitness centre. Tucked away near the spa and Ostra, the Andaz’s upscale restaurant, there is also an adult-only pool with bar.
My friend and I enjoyed taking a few morning yoga classes for a fee of $20 per person. The first class took place on a terrace perched on a hill, overlooking the bay. What a glorious view! I can’t express the feeling of practicing yoga in Costa Rica – a dream come true. The resort also offers (for a fee) Barista and Mixology classes, pottery painting, dancing lessons, and more.
The resort also offers golf, tennis, and a kids’ program. Andaz can also assist you in making arrangements for day trips including ziplining, horseback riding, and hiking.
The Andaz features three restaurants; Rio Bhongo which serves breakfast, lunch and dinner; Chao Pescao that features tapas and live music, and Ostra which is the resort’s upscale restaurant.
Our package included breakfast at Rio Bhongo which was a wonderful perk because it included a deluxe buffet which stretches the entire span of the restaurant. Indulge in made-to-order omelettes, scrambled eggs, bacon, pastries, and Latin American dishes such as Gallo Pinto, Platanos Maduros and Chorreadas, and homemade corn tortillas. So may gluten-free options too plus a coffee bar, fresh fruit juice and smoothie bar.
We enjoyed lunch from Rio Bhongo poolside. Their pool lunch menu included fresh salads made with Latin American cuisine including yucca fries with pico de gallo and guacamole, plantain, salads with heart of palm. My favourite was the Coralillo salad with roma tomato, grilled pineapple, avocado and Cuajada cheese. For those with food restrictions, you’ll be pleased to know there are gluten-free choices, and also a separate vegan menu.
Our favourite night spot was at Chao Pescao; the cocktails are outstanding. My fave dish was the Gallinita which is Arepas (crispy corn dough) filled with mild spicy chicken served with pico de gallo and guacamole. Yindria and Alfredo at Chao Pescao were so welcoming and attentive, remembering our favourite drinks and tapas. In fact, all the staff we encountered were courteous and friendly – definitely living la Pura Vida!
We visited Ostra on our final night at the Andaz and we wish that we had gone earlier – the restaurant itself is gorgeous. We were told we had to try the Ceviche, a Peruvian dish which combines cured raw fish with vegetables… but I’m not a fan of raw fish, and sadly I wasn’t adventurous enough to try (though I’m kicking myself now). Their vegan menu sounded delicious, and I had a craving for the tomato risotto which was cooked to perfection. I appreciated the added touch of the canape served, and the little chocolate delight after in lieu of us ordering dessert.
The two beaches on the Andaz resort site are small but the Andaz Beach House is a 10-minute boat ride from the main resort. Here you’ll find a larger beach with shady lounge chairs, another restaurant, and complimentary activities for guests including stand-up paddleboarding, kayaks and snorkelling. Families can enjoy playing a life-sized Jenga game, corn hole and mini-soccer nets.
The lunch offered at the Andaz Beach House was equally as delicious as the main resort, featuring fresh salads and local fare. Since the resort sits on the peninsula, the water was refreshing but warmer than one would experience off the Pacific Ocean.
If a vacation to you means fighting crowds, parties and loud music, this isn’t the place for you. If you’re looking for a couple’s or wellness retreat to fully relax, unwind and feel at one with nature, The Andaz Peninsula Papagayo Costa Rica Resort is it. The resort is also suited for families looking for a more tranquil break from their hectic daily routines; parents will love that Andaz offers a kids’ club too.
I can’t express how grateful I felt to be surrounded by such beauty in nature. The heat embraced my sore muscles and achy bones, and the sound of birds and monkeys was music to my ears. The landscape was a feast for the eyes. The atmosphere felt like a warm embrace, the warmth seeping into my body right to the core of my soul. This wasn’t only a trip; this was a mindful journey in a destination that embodies living your best life now.
A million thanks to Costco Travel for this unforgettable experience! What’s more, Costco Travel is offering its members a chance to create their own memories by running this amazing contest!
Costco Travel Contest
Costco Canada Members can now enter to win 1 of 2 Dream Vacation Packages worth $10,000 each!
Yes, you read correctly! TWO grand prizes of CA$10,000 credit for use towards the Total Package Price. So you, too, can enjoy Costco Travel’s Andaz Resort Package, or any other destination Costco Travel offers on its travel website, CostcoTravel.ca. Read more about why you will love your next vacation with Costco Travel and some of my top Costco Travel vacation packages.
Last but not least, please join me and Costco Canada on June for a Twitter chat! There will be prizes to be won including Gold Star Memberships and Costco Cash Cards!
Date: Tuesday, June 11, 2019
Time: 8:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. EST
Hashtags: #CostcoTravel #WinaDreamVacation
Please fill out this form to RSVP! See you on Twitter!