Hotel Insider: Eco Luxury on Costa Rica's Papagayo Peninsula

·Lead Editor

Four Seasons Papagayo Peninsula (Four Seasons)

The Hotel: Four Seasons Papagayo Peninsula

Location: 26 Km al Norte del Doit Centre Liberia Guanaste, Peninsula Papagayo, Costa Rica

Getting there: Both Delta and JetBlue fly into Daniel Oduber Quiros International Airport in Liberia. (With JetBlue, you can use JetBlue Getaways and book the Four Seasons and the flight together to save money and hassle.)   Once you arrive, for $45 you can get a shuttle to the hotel, or for $195 you can transport in real Four Seasons style and get picked up by a driver who will ply you with cool washcloths and bottles of cold water and drive you about 45 minutes from the to the resort on the Papagayo Peninsula. (Helpful hint: The driver can’t accept a tip on the first ask, so if you want to give him something to say thank you, keep trying.)

The vibe: Laidback pura vida, family-friendly luxury, and totally eco-chic. From what I saw on my stay, it’s a great spot for a babymoon. 

(Photo: Four Seasons)

The rooms: You can choose from three different levels of rooms, as well as suites, villas, and private residences. Though the design is sleek and modern, you still feel like you’re in Costa Rica thanks to the decor and the native woods, including Cedro Almendro de Montaña and Caobilla varieties. The balconies are heaven, especially if you have an amazing ocean view. From some of the balconies you can hear the local howler monkeys singing. It’s too bad the balconies have to be screened in, but between the monkeys, lizards, and mosquitos, you’ll be happy they are. Rates vary, with standard rooms running anywhere from $595 to $1200 per night, suites and villas running from $1200 to $5000, and the superswanky estate homes costing between $10,000 to $20,000 per night.

What to do around here: The four seasons offers activities (some for an additional fee) including tennis and golf, a great spa, sea kayaking, catamarans, stand up paddle boarding, deep sea fishing, scuba and diving lessons, and surfing lessons to name a few. (The Four Seasons surfing beach is actually a great place to learn if you’re a beginner, as the waves are small and easy to handle.) There are also excursions galore in the area: think zip lining, fishing, canopy tours, hot springs, and if you’re willing to go for a longer drive, a cloud forest and volcanos. The concierge can help you arrange whatever you need, though day trips can be pricey and some are up to four hours away. You can also check out Liberia to do some shopping and get more authentic taste of the local food and culture. 

Related: Watching Baby Turtles Hatch and Other Natural Attractions Along Costa Rica’s Coast

The scoop: The hotel sits on a hillside on Papagayo Peninsula, which is nestled on the north Pacific coast of the country. The property includes 45 acres in the Peninsula Papagayo and features 154 rooms. There are four restaurants, a lounge, a golf course with ridiculous views and two beaches. The resort is also very family friendly and has programs for kids and teens. The hotel recently renovated it’s lobby and several of the restaurants and lounge.

Don’t miss: Taste the Stars combines gastronomy and astronomy. Dine on a gourmet menu of space-inspired food and cocktails (including creations infused with actual meteorite dust) by executive chef Mario Alcocer, sitting under the stars. (Astronaut and Costa Rica native Franklin Chang Diaz even had input!) Then use a powerful GPS-guided telescope to the southern sky like never before — up close and personal.

What I loved: The golf course is one of the best parts of the place — and I don’t even golf. Not only are the views from the green stunning (real golfers will lose their minds), but Fours Seasons offers fun non-golf activities there. I loved Trail of the Giants — a free afternoon golf-cart tour of the course, during which the guide points out interesting flora and fauna (we saw two kinds of monkeys, birds, and many lizards) and stops for photo ops of the aforementioned crazy beautiful views. Night golf, complete with night vision goggles, was also another highlight. All these special experience require advance notice, so plan ahead.

Chef’s Table at Cena Sociale (Four Seasons)

What to eat: There are several restaurants at the resort. Breakfast at Sol y Sombra is by far the best meal.There’s a buffet, but I ate the huevos rancheros (two eggs sunny side up, chorizo, black beans, corn tortillas, cheese, and molcajete sauce every single day. That’s how much I loved it. CR Burger Shack is good for lunch. The burger and fries were yummy, and some supersweet, slightly artificial-tasting cherry bomb milkshake concoction I drank took me straight back to my childhood. For dinner, steak house Caracol has some respectable options, and at the lounge, Tico’s, the bartender makes some pretty interesting drinks including one with smoked ice cubes.

Related: Eat Like a Local in Costa Rica

What I didn’t love: Other than breakfast, the burger, and the steakhouse, I wasn’t a huge fan of the food at the resort, and the food service was a little careless (by Four Seasons standards) and often slow. Though I’m pretty sure that last part is just at Costa Rica, pura vida thing, sort of like “island time.” 

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