All about the Andaz Costa Rica Resort at Peninsula Papagayo
We stayed the Andaz Costa Rica Resort at Peninsula Papagayo on our recent trip to Costa Rica and I could not recommend it more! I have already posted about how we booked it for free, but I wanted to give more details about the hotel itself. This property is only about 4 years old.
The Andaz is a brand that is part of the Hyatt family. Andaz hotels are upscale boutique-style hotels that focus on local cuisine and culture. We have had the pleasure of staying at a few different Andaz properties and they never disappoint.
Andaz Costa Rica Resort Location
The Andaz Costa Rica Resort is located on the Papagayo Peninsula and it is next to the Four Seasons Resort. Papagayo is in the Guanacaste region of Costa Rica which is on the pacific side of the country. It takes about 30 minutes to get from the Liberia airport to the Andaz.
Many people choose to split a Costa Rica trip between the Guanacaste region and the Arenal Volcano region. The Andaz Costa Rica is about 3-3.5 hours from the Arenal area.
Getting to the Andaz Costa Rica from Liberia Airport
If you’re looking for information on flights from the US to Liberia, Costa Rica, click here.
There is really no need to rent a car because any tours you do will most likely provide transportation from the hotel lobby. If you choose to rent a car, parking is free at the Andaz Costa Rica.
If you’re not renting a car, the best way to get to the hotel is to book a shuttle. The Andaz Costa Rica offers private roundtrip transportation for $140 each way for up to 4 passengers. Considering it’s only about a 30-40 minute drive, I thought that seemed high.
So I searched for other companies and found Maleku Tours on TripAdvisor. The price was $65 each way total (not per person) for private transportation for a group of 1-6 people. I booked it online and within an hour I had a confirmation email from the company with all of the information needed. They asked for our arrival and departure flight numbers so that they could pick us up accordingly. After landing at Liberia, our driver was waiting outside of the airport with a sign with my name on it. Couldn’t be easier.
For our departure flight, the driver picked us up at the Andaz about 2.5 hours before our flight time. The price was also $65 total for 1-6 people.
The hotel also offers shared transportation for $45 per person each way between Liberia and the Andaz Costa Rica with a minimum of 2 passengers. But since we had a party of 4, it made more sense to book a private shuttle.
Tip: Stop at the duty free store at the Liberia Airport for alcohol and wine
You can purchase liquor and wine at the duty free shop in the Liberia airport just after immigration, but before baggage claim. Prices were great compared to what we would have paid at the hotel. Our driver was also nice enough to stop at a store (small like a convenience store) on the way so that we could get some sodas to mix. The Andaz also provides juices in the minibar for free.
We also could have bought beer (but not liquor) at the little store where he stopped. There aren’t really any grocery stores on the way to the Andaz Costa Rica but there is a Walmart not far from the airport in the other direction.
Arrival and check-in at the Andaz Costa Rica Resort at Peninsula Papagayo
There are two different security gates that you or your driver will have to pass before arriving at the beautiful open-air Andaz lobby.
Check in time at the Andaz Costa Rica is 3pm which was perfect because it was our arrival time. If your flight arrives earlier and your room isn’t ready, they’ll hold your luggage if you want to walk around and explore the property.
We were greeted with fresh local juice, cold towels that smelled like heaven, and some snacks. The staff was so wonderful*! They handed us our vouchers for our tours, explained a little bit about the activities offered on property, and they gave us an overview off on-site dining options. By the way, the concierge services are great. You can contact them ahead of time to set up any tours you want during your stay. I will make a separate post about our tours because they definitely deserve their own post!
*They assigned upgraded rooms to all of us, but in separate buildings. We wanted to be near our friends, so they offered us rooms in the same building (still upgraded), but explained that one would not be ready for about an hour. So we decided that waiting an hour was worth it because the buildings we were originally assigned were kind of far apart from each other. We sat in our friends’ room and made drinks while we waited for our room. The staff told us they would bring our key to our friends’ room when it’s ready. It took only about 20 minutes, not an hour, but we were happy to chill on that patio with drinks. The rooms are AMAZING!
So after a quick check-in process, we were driven to our building in a golf cart.
The guy that drove us to the building explained that the coffee, snacks, water, and juices in the minibar are free. Alcohol is also available for purchase. He then showed us the free flip flops and hats that the hotel gives to all guests. I guess that helps soften the blow of resort fees if you are a paying guest!
Rooms at the Andaz Costa Rica
We were upgraded to ocean view rooms and I was very impressed with the room design. The rooms are simple, modern, and beautifully designed. The floor in this photo below kind of looks like carpet but it is concrete. There is also a desk and a closet that I don’t really have good photos of, sorry!
While these rooms are perfect for couples, I could see it being a little awkward for a family. Not much privacy. The shower was probably my favorite part of the room. The shower was connected to the patio and you could open the door if you really want to feel like you’re showering in the jungle! Don’t worry, there is also a shade if you want privacy.
I still miss this shower
It’s hard to tell in this photo because it looks like the trees are obstructing the views, but we actually had a great view of the bay.
Our rooms, and I believe all rooms at the Andaz Costa Rica have a nice patio or balcony.
I don’t think we turned the TV on one time during our stay!
Getting around the Andaz Costa Rica
The property is a little spread out and it’s on a hill, so be prepared for some uphill walking. We don’t mind walking, but the staff will transport you around the resort in golf carts upon request as needed. This is especially nice during brief afternoon/evening rain showers.
Food at the Andaz Costa Rica
Like all Andaz properties, the Andaz Costa Rica offers free local snacks (such as plantain chips) and non-alcoholic drinks in all rooms. For meals, there are 3 restaurants on the property.
The food was not cheap, but I wouldn’t expect cheap food at any high-end hotel. It wasn’t outrageously priced either though, and we enjoyed everything we ate. I thought dinner prices were pretty reasonable. The problem is that the restaurant that serves lunch doesn’t have a lunch menu. So you are paying dinner prices at lunch.
Note that many of the tours offered in Costa Rica provide lunch which is included in the price of the tour.
During rainy season (“green season”), everywhere in Costa Rica is a little less busy than normal. As a result, the hotel closes one of the 3 restaurants every night simply because there is not enough demand to keep all of them open every night. The front desk will provide the schedule at check-in, so be sure to plan accordingly.
Chao Pescao is a tapas style restaurant. Like the other two restaurants on property, views and atmosphere are great. On Saturdays (and maybe other nights) there is a live band and dancing. They have a mixology expert so the cocktail menu is huge!
Ostra is the fanciest of the property restaurants. The chef is from Peru and specializes in ceviche. I’ve never seen so many ceviche options on a menu. We tried several different kinds and loved everything. For the main course I ordered seared tuna and it may have been the best seared tuna dish I’ve ever had! I highly recommend this place for at least one night. Reservations are required, so ask the front desk to book it for you!
Rio Bhongo Restaurant
The other restaurant is Rio Bhongo. This restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. At breakfast, there are a few different options. You can choose from the continental breakfast($19), the American breakfast ($32), or order items a la carte. The a la carte items are also included for anyone who chooses the American breakfast.
We ate breakfast here most mornings as it is pretty much the only option. While pricey, it is a very good breakfast! Bonus: sometimes monkeys hang out (literally) in the trees surrounding the restaurant! Breakfast is free for top-tier (Globalist) World of Hyatt members.
Off-property dining options near the Andaz Costa Rica
If you want to venture outside of the hotel for dinner, there are two easy options. There is a shuttle that runs every 30 minutes from 6pm to 10pm. It leaves from the Andaz lobby and it will take you to these other options.
First, you can go over to the Four Seasons which is also on the Peninsula. We did not eat at the Four Seasons but we went one night after dinner and had drinks and dessert. It was more lively than the Andaz so it was fun to go for a night. In terms of price, it’s definitely not any cheaper than eating at the Andaz.
If you want a good meal with excellent prices, the Dive Bar is the best place! It is located in the marina. If you like ceviche, they have delicious ceviche. Food and drinks will be much less than at the Andaz or the Four Seasons. You can walk to the Dive Bar, but since light rain in the evening is common, it’s not recommended. The shuttle will drive you to the Dive Bar, which is what the front desk staff suggested since it was rainy season. The Dive Bar has a happy hour until 7pm (subject to change) which makes food and drinks even more reasonable! Our bill for dinner and drinks for 4 people was less than $100.
We were told the shuttle runs every 30 minutes, but we had our waiter call the Andaz when we were ready to head back, and the shuttle would show up a few minutes later. It seems that they will come on demand if they are not busy. So that’s another reason to go during rainy season!
Pools at the Andaz Costa Rica
There are two pool areas. One is for everyone and one for adults only. Both serve food and drinks. The pools are open 24 hours, so we went for a night swim after dinner on our first night. It was really nice because we had the pool all to ourselves!
Beaches at the Andaz Costa Rica
There are two beaches that you can walk to from your room. One is more of a quiet beach and one has several water activities and lounge chairs. Both beaches provide towels and water for guests. At the activity beach there are stand up paddle boards, snorkel gear, and water bikes that are free to rent. Other activities such as jet skiing and fishing are available but for a fee.
None of the beaches are stellar, but I don’t really think of Costa Rica as a relax-on-the-beach-all-day kind of place.
The other beach option is to take the complimentary shuttle to the new Beach House for Andaz guests. It is a 10 minute shuttle ride from the lobby and open from 10am-5pm. Lunch, snacks, and drinks are available for purchase. There are water activities available at the Andaz Beach House such as snorkeling, kayaking, and paddle-boarding.
Free kid’s club at Andaz Costa Rica
There is a complimentary kids club for children ages 4-12. The hours of operation are 8-12 and 1-5, but subject to change. Also, you can book babysitters (for a fee). This is great since some activities in Costa Rica may not be suitable for younger kids.
A few more things worth mentioning about the Andaz Costa Rica:
Bug spray and suncreen are available for free throughout the resort
I would still bring your own bottles of bug spray and sunscreen, but you really only need small bottles.
Tours in Costa Rica
I emailed the concierge prior to arrival for a list of tours. There were tons to choose from, and there were two different lists. One was for group tours and one was for private tours. Generally in Costa Rica when you book a tour the transportation from your hotel is also provided. Many of the tours are an hour or more away from hotels in the Guanacaste region, which means many take up a whole day. Lunch is provided on a majority of the all-day tours.
I will do another post about our tours!
Rainy season in Costa Rica
The months of May-October are commonly referred to as rainy season in Costa Rica. But don’t let that that deter you. Rainy season in the Guanacaste region usually only consists of afternoon showers that do not last long. The locals prefer to call it green season because the rain brings lush greenery!
Final thoughts about the Andaz Costa Rica
If you are planning a trip to Costa Rica, this hotel should be at the top of your list! The rates can be high but you might be able to book a free stay like we did. Read this post for all of the details about booking on points!