Costa Rica Travel Guide

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Andaz Peninsula Papagayo Gives You Killer Views of, Erm, Everything

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  Site Where: Peninsula Papagayo, Guanacaste, Costa Rica
April 15, 2015 at 9:30 AM | by | ()

The other week, we were chatting to a friend of ours that we knew was traveling in Costa Rica. She sent us a few snaps of the hotel she was staying at, including the pretty killer view from a room above. Being who we are, we asked the most important question: which hotel?

The response? “It’s this place called Andaz, which I think may be related to Hyatt? But it’s not at all like a Hyatt.” We nearly fell off our chair: we were talking to someone inside Andaz Peninsula Papagayo that very minute, a hotel we duly obsessed over when it opened, based on the renderings and descriptions of native Costa Rican architect Ronald Zurcher having "imagined a gathering of animals and used the shapes of cocoons and shells for the hotel's facilities...to stimulate the senses of guests in new and refreshing way".

Having laughed at us and called us a hotel freak (guilty), she sent us some more photos our way, which we of course had to share. The more we saw, the more we liked it, it was all so good… until it wasn’t, and Andaz broke our heart a little bit. Here’s why.

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Four Seasons Costa Rica Did Not Monkey Around With Their New Look

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  Site Where: 26Km al Norte del Doit Centre Liberia, Peninsula Papagayo, Guanacaste, Costa Rica, 5000
March 23, 2015 at 6:01 PM | by | ()

We love hotel renovations nearly just as much as we love new hotels. But what we really love about hotel renovations is seeing the transformation that happens when an old, tired and lackluster room gets a modern makeover and transforms into new, spiffed-up, stylish guest room. Or put more simply, we love comparing the Before and After.

When contributor JetsetCD toured the Four Seasons Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo in 2011, she was impressed with the pool and beach options, the bi-level spa, a putt-putt course (in addition to an Arnold Palmer 18-hole course), a grass tennis court and the surprise sightings of white-faced monkeys, howler monkeys, Coatis and iguanas.

All this and more made it not surprising that the room rate hovered at nearly $400 a night. But now there's even more to be wowed about at the resort, thanks to a new "property enhancement" aka renovation.

Above is how the resort looked when JetsetCD popped in. Keep reading to see what the resort looks like today!

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This is Where to Find the Resort Zone in Costa Rica

August 1, 2014 at 3:05 PM | by | ()

It's been fun highlighting Costa Rica this week, checking into the country's must-stay properties and digging into what it means for a hotel to be sustainable and how those principles translate into reality.

Most of the latter are located in the foothills and rainforests, but what if you're looking for a good old-fashioned luxurious beachfront resort? The majority are clustered in the northwest corner of the country in an area known as the Bay of Papagayo.

If you love hotels and resorts, this is the place you want to find yourself. It's a little bit of a hike from San Jose - a four hour drive - but home to Costa Rica's flagship properties, including the adults-only Occidental Grand Papagayo Hotel, the all-inclusive Hilton Papgayo Resort, Andaz Peninsula Papagayo, and the Four Seasons Peninsula Papagayo amongst several others.

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This Was The Most Eco-Intense Thing We Found at an Eco-Lodge in Costa Rica

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  Site Where: Costa Rica
July 31, 2014 at 5:26 PM | by | ()

Yesterday, we gave you an inside look at what eco-lodges look like in Costa Rica, highlighting the offerings and operations of several properties throughout the country. One of those, La Quinta de Sarapiqui, has achieved a five-leaf sustainability rating for its efforts.

It was not hard to see why during our visit. Located in an extremely rural area and tucked into the edge of the rainforest, it was easy to drive right by without realizing (which we did). Once inside, it doesn't take long to see how dedicated the property is to the environment. The hotel has a butterfly garden and caiman pond on site, organizes visits to local schools, runs chocolate and pineapple farm tours, and offers cooking classes and tree planting excursions.

But the most intense thing on the property - one that shows just how far eco-activities go in Costa Rica - was the presence of an ant farm, or ant colony. The name is completely deceiving, especially for those who are picturing a small fish tank with some tunnels to view. What the property has facilitated is actually an exterior ant farm, one that brings the ants outside their nest and allows visitors to view their hard-working lifestyle.

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This is What Eco-Lodges Look Like in Costa Rica

Where: Costa Rica
July 30, 2014 at 3:45 PM | by | ()

La Quinta Sarapiqui has 5-leaf rating on its Certification of Sustainable Tourism

We hit you yesterday with a very factual and proper rundown of what it means to be a sustainable hotel in Costa Rica, and now, let's go back down to earth and take a look at how these concepts translate into their design and everyday operations.

I was about four hours into my stay at Finca Rosa Blanca in the Costa Rican foothills outside of San Jose when the light bulb clicked on, when I noticed there was something incredibly awesome happening at the hotel. I don't say that theoretically. I mean it very literally. At dusk, as I was walking through the lobby, I saw the lamp overhead flick on, and realized that it was the first time all day I had seen a light on at the property.

This foyer at Finca Rosa Blanca is lit entirely by natural light during the day

When I met with Teri and Glenn, the owners of Finca Rosa Blanca, and explained to them my revelation regarding the incredible use of natural light around their property, they brought over a cup of coffee, which was grown and roasted on site. They offered me some breakfast. An egg, one that their hens had laid that morning. It was through these incidents that I learned how deep sustainability really goes in Costa Rica.

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What Does It Mean for a Hotel to be 'Eco-Friendly' in Costa Rica?

Where: Costa Rica
July 29, 2014 at 5:30 PM | by | ()

When travel writers begin to talk about what the model for eco-friendly toursim should look like, every conversation starts with Costa Rica. The country turned to tourism in the late 80s to spark its economy, but it did something different than other destinations: It put forth an envious effort to make responsibility within the industry just as important as profitability. LEED certifications are trendy for hotels in North America, but sustainability is a way of life in Costa Rica.

The Certification of Sustainable Tourism is not mandatory or required of any business in the country, yet when you talk to any owner or operator, it seems so second nature that you can only assume it as law. Maybe that's because its message is so common sense that, when presented with the information and evidence, going about it any other way would seem like suicide.

"Unfortunately, in the last decade, tourism has focused its attention on the economic aspects regardless of the negative impact that the activity causes to the environment and the cultural background of the communities directly affected by the industry," the Certification's official site explains. "The tourism industry is particularly based on demand; therefore these changes are influencing the supply... For these reasons, we can say with certainty that 'the tourism of the XXI century either is sustainable tourism or will not be at all.'"

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Andaz Peninsula Papagayo Will Curate the Hotel Experience from Head to Foot

November 5, 2013 at 9:17 AM | by | ()

In case you thought your visit to the new Andaz Peninsula Papagayo would be just a sunny, luxe vacation filled with nothing but gluttonous me time, forget about it. Andaz has painstakingly curated the hotel experience with the help of its team of Cultural Insiders.

Who qualifies as a Cultural Insider? You may ask. Well, the team the hotel has recruited are all people at the top of their industries of art, music and surf. First up there's twin brothers, Alex and Mike Faherty of the Faherty Brand clothing label who will together take the position of Cultural Insider: Surf. The Fahertys will provide guests with their own ‘How to Surf Costa Rica’ guide, created exclusively for the hotel, which will reveal a list of the hottest hidden surf spots in the country. Guests who book the Witches Rock Surf Package, which includes a full day excursion to Witches Rock National Park plus a professional photographer to shoot the ride, will also receive Faherty Brand board shorts or bikini.

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Andaz Peninsula Papagayo Will Open on December 20th

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  Site Where: Peninsula Papagayo, Papagayo, Costa Rica
October 14, 2013 at 11:06 AM | by | ()

Andaz Maui has opened so what's next for Hyatt's Andaz Hotels? Why, Andaz Peninsula Papagayo which will open on December 20th.

Here are a few renderings of the property which sits on the Papagayo Gulf, along the Bay of Culebra. The Andaz will be a part of a 2,223-acre master planned development and will have 153 guest rooms (21 of these will be suites), three themed restaurants, a marina bar (which overlooks the 180-slip Marina Papagayo), ocean activities, two pools, a private beach and a spa and fitness center. Guests will also have access to the resort activities of Peninsula Papagayo, which includes an 18-hole Arnold Palmer golf course and sport fishing.

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Andaz Hotels to Open in Papagayo in December

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  Site Where: Peninsula Papagayo, Guanacaste, Costa Rica
August 16, 2013 at 11:18 AM | by | ()

Andaz Hotels was supposed to open their Maui property yesterday but alas, that's been pushed back to September 1st.

The good news is room rates have dropped a bit from $509 to $409 a night.. We hope this new opening date sticks. But in the meantime, we'll be fantasizing about the next Andaz to open--Andaz Papagayo.

Reservations for this Costa Rican resort will start in December. The property is planning 153 guest rooms along with 21 funky luxury suites and should feature "modern designs with touches of local character." There will also be three restaurants, a bar, two swimming pools, a private beach and an 11,000-sq.ft. spa, along with other amenities. No word on room rates but we should hope think it will be cheaper than Maui.

[Photo: Andaz Papagayo]

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Killer Morning View: Lapa Rios Ecolodge

February 22, 2013 at 10:34 AM | by | ()

Our morning cuppa Joe overlooking the rainforest and Osa Peninsula, at Costa Rica's Lapa Rios Ecolodge (Lapa means "macaw").

Flocks of the lodge's namesake, rainbow-colored parrots greeted us every morning as we sipped our caffeinated bevvies on the porch of our open-air bungalow nestled in the treetops… along with fluttering blue Morpho butterflies, wily coatis, spider monkeys, and enormous lizards. It's a wildlife-lover's paradise. GO.

High season (Jan-April) rates from $380 per person, double occupancy. Includes lodging in a private bungalow, meals, round-trip transfers to local airport, and guided nature tours. (Plus, the morning coffee delivery is complimentary!).

[Photo: Suzanne Steinert for HotelChatter/ Twitter]

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Costa Rica's Best Kept Secret: Corteza Amarilla Art Lodge

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  Site Where: Prospero Fernández Highway, Santa Ana, Costa Rica
February 6, 2013 at 2:05 PM | by | ()

On the same trip that took us to Costa Rica's sexiest new sustainable hotel back in October, we ended up acquiring a nasty bout of food poisoning (no, not from said sexy hotel, mind you!) a couple days before our flight home. When we stumbled upon San Jose's Corteza Amarilla Art Lodge & Spa, we knew we'd found the perfect spot to recoup. Sure, maybe it was all the antibiotics and electrolytes the local farmacia prescribed. But seriously, one night in this place and it was a miracle. We were cured!

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Four Seasons Costa Rica Challenges Guests To Toss Their iPhones

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  Site Where: Peninsula Papagayo, Guanacaste, Costa Rica
December 6, 2012 at 5:54 PM | by | ()

People swear when they go on vacation they are going to “disconnect” from the trappings of technology, jobs, and whatnot. What we’ve found? Many of them are filthy liars.

They lose their ever-loving minds if their room is without a television, nevermind cable, have fits of despair without WiFi, and if there aren't enough outlets to plug in all of the toys they swore they weren't bringing along on their getaway? Best get outta the way because there'll probably be hell to pay.

Well, the Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo has thrown down a gauntlet, a challenge of sorts with its “Disconnect to Reconnect” idea.

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