First Impressions of the Andaz Papagayo in Costa Rica

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One of the very best values in the World of Hyatt award chart is undeniably the Andaz Papagayo in Costa Rica. This property is a Category 4 Hyatt, which means you can use your Category 1-4 certificates or just 15,000 Hyatt points per night to stay at a resort that otherwise can easily run you $300 – $400 per night during peak seasons. It has been on my ‘must visit’ list of properties since it opened in 2013, but we have now finally made the short flight from Houston to Liberia (and then a quick shuttle ride) on to Papagayo to experience it for ourselves.

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If you use Instagram and want to see some real glimpses of what the Andaz Papagayo is like check out my Instagram Story before it disappears, but I’ll also share some first impressions here.

The Andaz Papagayo is very easy to get to, but feels super remote.

For many in the US it isn’t that hard to fly into Liberia, Costa Rica, as it is served by the major carriers as well as Southwest, Alaska, and JetBlue. From Houston it was roughly a three hour nonstop flight on United to get to Liberia, and as a bonus we even flew over an active volcano! From the airport in Liberia it is about a 30 minute drive to the resort, with many companies offering a shuttle service starting at about $59 one-way.

Since the resort is on a peninsula shared pretty much only by the Four Seasons, once you get here you feel like you are somewhere far, far, away. Not only that but the Andaz has only ~135 rooms and suites, so this is not one of those huge resort factories, but rather your own calm jungle oasis.

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Breakfast at the Andaz Papagayo is an event.

I love to eat on my travels and the Andaz Papagayo does not disappoint with its breakfast offerings. This is somewhere that you will really enjoy your Hyatt Globalist status if you have it, but if you don’t you could still book via something like the Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection program and get breakfast included in that paid rate. No matter how you pay (or don’t pay) for your breakfast, you will not be disappointed.

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Not only do they have everything from sweet plantains to smoked meats to fresh juices, but their barista menu is out of this world good. Speaking of, I highly recommend the barista class as you will learn a ton about coffee and come prepared the next morning to make the most of the Barista Bar menu.

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Bring good hiking shoes.

The Andaz Papagayo is built into a hillside, so you are hiking up and down stairs and trails to get pretty much anywhere. This can be a challenge even on a dry day, but when it rains it also gets slippery, so you certainly want some sturdy shoes at the ready. If you have mobility challenges there may be some portions of the resort you can’t easily access (like the beach), but they do have golf carts available that can take you most places.

The beach isn’t the best, but that’s okay.

Speaking of the beach at the Andaz Papagayo, it isn’t the best in my opinion. It is small, on the bay, and has a fair number of bugs thanks to the jungle-esque setting. However, don’t let this dissuade you from coming here because those staying at the Andaz get free access to a separate private beach club on a larger and nicer beach with full amenities. It is about a 15 – 20 minute free shuttle ride away, but it is worth the effort to get there to enjoy a larger and nicer oceanfront area.

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The Hyatt Globalist suite upgrades are great.

If you have some Hyatt Globalist suite upgrades at your disposal, or you just want to spend some extra Hyatt points to book your family into a suite, you won’t regret it as the suites at the Andaz Papagayo are quite enjoyable. The base level Andaz Suite here rings in at over 1,100 square feet and has a large separate living area, a huge main bathroom, a half bath, and of course an elegant bedroom. I’ll share a much better look at the suite when I put together a full video review of the property in the coming weeks.

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I promise more is coming soon, but know for now that the Andaz Papagayo is living up to our expectations, and really even exceeding them in most areas. If you have been thinking about a trip down to Costa Rica be sure to include the Andaz Papagayo in your travel planning as it is not only a very good value on points, but a very enjoyable destination for those looking for good food and relaxation.

Editorial Note: The opinions expressed here are mine and not provided, reviewed, by any bank, card issuer, or other company unless otherwise stated.

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  1. We’ve been 4 times. Their best weather is in the dead of winter(Jan-march). And you’re right, the Prieta Beach club is wonderful. A bit less pricey too. Using just 15,000 pts/nt is a fabulous value since all-in rates can run $500 in the winter. Enjoy!

  2. Looks amazing!

    Unfortunately it’s not possible to use a DSU if you’re using free night awards, is that right? I know we can finally use them on award stays, but I still think the free nigth awards are excluded.

    Can you comment on mosquitos? Concerned about Zika potentially…

      • But to be clear you can use these on 15,000 point night redemptions, but not the free nights from the Hyatt credit card, from requalifying for 30 and 60 night status, or for hitting 5 and 10 Hyatt brands.

        • Thanks Gary. Yeah, too bad — that’s what I meant about “free night awards” versus “award stays”… not sure what the proper terminology is.

          I am glad we can now use them on normal points redemptions though. I’ve already taken advantage of that!

          • Thanks, Gary! Yeah with this property it didn’t matter too terribly much since they are good about making points + cash awards available, but with so many other properties that aren’t liberal with points + cash, being able to use suite upgrades on points awards is a game changer….and I bet if you had some days on points and then tagged a free night award or two on the front or back end that it would work out 9 times out of 10 to have the suite the whole time. Not that I’ve done that or anything. 😉 Re: mosquitos, yes there are some. I got a few bites, but largely when I didn’t have bug spray on and wasn’t moving for longer periods of time.

  3. Every good review from a travel blogger I see about this place has Hyatt Diamond / Globalist status. I have no doubt that this place is a good value if you are getting breakfast for free and a possible suite upgrade. For the rest of us though it would seem like the price of food makes this place not such a great deal even for 15k points.

    • It depends though I will say good costs are less than you would find at say the Andaz Maui. I think the 15k is still a great deal, but you do have to up the food budget a bit.

    • I was there in August with my son. The only status I have is with my Hyatt cc. The room was still very nice and spacious. I definitely lucked out with my son being able to eat for free based on his age. Other than that, I agree with you, it would get a little pricey for a family of 4. The prices are typical for a tropical resort, so there isn’t much of a premium built in vs. normal dining out.

      The next time we go, I think we would stay 2-3 nights here, then transfer to the all-inclusive SPG property that’s about an hour away for a few more nights.

  4. You gotta love the trolls. Our family is planning on taking a trip to Costa Rica next year so appreciate the review.

  5. Yeah, we loved out 4-night stay w/ DSU redemption there last June. The breakfast spread was indeed as fantastic as you say and the view from the breakfast terrace was also incredible.

    We’d LOVE to go back but now we’re only Explorist so no free breakfast and from what I recall it’s like $40 per person and I’m hestitant to have to drop $80 per day for breakfast when on an award stay.

    Any insight while you’re there on the buffet cost and/or any other breakfast options?

    • Entrees start around $10, continental buffet is $19, full buffet is $32. You could certainly have breakfast for way less than $80 if you just ordered a couple items.

  6. We are going to be there end of this month .How is the weather there right now? Is it raining a lot? I wasn’t sure if we should reserve any activity ( we wanted to do the palos verde river safari) or wait and watch how the weather turns out to be.

    • It just started raining last week they said. Not too bad so far but it weather is an issue. I would hold off on too many form plans that are weather dependent.

  7. Stayed last Thanksgiving and enjoyed it. Breakfast was great but lunch/dinner just okay. The Italian and Steak places at the Four Seasons were great (ask about reservations and timing as the shuttle doesn’t run late). Spa was very good as well (outdoor couples area). I’m sure you’ll film the monkeys around the pool – most unique thing about the hotel.

  8. Oh I was happy to see you review this! Looking forward to your video review. My husband, five year old daughter and I are headed here the end of June. Used a suite upgrade on a points and cash booking. We will be there for five nights. I had read somewhere else about that Barista class so it’s something I want to do while my daughter is enjoying the (free) kids club. Yes I look forward to the free breakfast. I am worried about mosquitos too like a commenter above.

  9. Looks amazing and lovely. On my trip to Costa Rica, I’d love to stay at Andaz Papagayo. I always prefer to stay at calm places. And, the place seems beautiful and relaxing. Pictures are awesome. I’m quite foodie, so excited to taste the delicious food.

    Thanks for sharing your experience 🙂

  10. Are there any activities that babies and toddlers are allowed on (1 yo and 3.5 yo) besides hanging out at the beach? Thanks!

  11. What a coincidence! We arrived at the resort yesterday afternoon.. It is a beautiful place and we are thoroughly enjoying ourselves. We have a five night stay scheduled.

  12. Be sure to head over to the Dive Bar…not too far from Andaz. Great spot for drinks and they offer specials on food during the week. Taco night is really good.

  13. Just curious since i strongly consider Hyatt Papagayo in September, can free club upgrade from Explorist status be used at this property. Summer your stories are awesome and totally reflect our family’s travel habits since we travel with our 3 year old twins all the time.

    • Sadly there is no club lounge here, so a club pass likely wouldn’t do any good. So glad you like our travel stories though! I bet your three year old twins would love it here!

  14. It would be nice if you and other bloggers would be transparent in letting readers know how they funded their stay? Ex: did the hotel invite you to i stay for free for a review, was airfare included as well or did the blogger pay from their own pocket for any of these expenses? Thanks

    • I paid with cash and points like everyone else. 7,500 Hyatt points + $100 per night as a Cat 4. Bought airfare, too. On the rare occasions it is a sponsored type of trip it is clearly disclosed. You are right to be curious, but in the miles and points world most are very good about disclosures.

      • I want to expand on this a bit as I saw a similar comment/question elsewhere, too. I have been doing this blogging gig now for over six years, over five of which it has been my full time job. I’m not perfect and never will be, but I don’t think I have a track record of purposefully hiding things or having financial relationships that aren’t disclosed. That isn’t to say that healthy skepticism isn’t good on the internet, it certainly is, but I do like to hope that I have earned some amount of trust with most of you guys. I don’t have anything against sponsored trips as they allow me and other site like mine to experience more places, bring more content, and give information in a more educated way than if we had to just rely on what I can afford, but taking too many sponsored trips would most likely skew perspective and isn’t something I am interested in. Most importantly, those relationships are clearly disclosed when they exist. This is not a sponsored trip as we paid 100% out of pocket. I just happened to really like it so have been sharing my experiences here and on social media, as I do most of our vacations. It is going to (hopefully) be rare that we go somewhere on vacation and it is a total bust due to the hotel’s fault. We research pretty extensively before committing to somewhere, so most of the time I’m going to have largely good things to say about where we go to have fun. I’ve already penciled in a return trip here with the girls and am looking forward to it. That trip will also be paid for by us. I don’t have any sponsored trips on the schedule right now, but I promise you if/when I do take one in the future, that relationship will be fully disclosed.

  15. What company did you use for the shuttle to the hotel? If you book through the resort, it is $90 one way. Also, did you do any excursions while there? If so, what company did you use if did not use the resort affiliated (higher dollar) companies. Thanks! We are headed their in July to use our points.

    • Full posts answering all that and more coming soon, but I will say I did try two shuttle companies purposefully to see if there was any quality difference. That said, I didn’t do any excursions this time other than kayaking and stuff at the hotel. I fully intend to next time though. Hold tight for the full post this week and then if I leave anything out please let me know!

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