Favorite Things to Do at the Andaz Papagayo Costa Rica

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Our much anticipated “no kids” trip to the Andaz Papagayo in Costa Rica couldn’t have come at a better time, and frankly, between the secluded but not-too-remote location, the points-friendly slotting on the Hyatt award chart, and the reality that Costa Rica still gives a pretty good return for your dollar even at resorts, it offered us a superb value. I not only want to return to the Andaz Costa Rica at some point but I actually already have some award nights booked for the whole family next year.

I didn’t pack our days at the Andaz Papagayo with activities in advance because we really needed some downtime and I didn’t want to make our few days away feel like anything other than a true vacation. I would have loved to experience some of the exciting rainforest and jungle excursions available in the area, but this just wasn’t the trip for that. This was a trip for swimming in the pool, enjoying leisurely meals, resting, chatting with friends, and dabbling in some of the on-site activities the resort had to offer. All that to say, I am not your go-to for information on Costa Rica excursions, but I did log a fair amount of time taking in what the Andaz Papagayo had to offer, and that’s what I’m happy to share.

Here are some of my favorite things to do at the Andaz Papagayo in Costa Rica.

Chilling by the Pools

The Andaz Papagayo has several pools, including both family pools and an adults-only pool. Now, none of these pools are huge pool complexes with slides and such as the resort is built into the mountain making everything longer and more narrow than a traditional large resort activity pool complex.

Andaz Papagayo Pool

This isn’t a bad thing, just something to be aware of because while there are several pools, none of them are huge, though the zero entry “family pool” shown below is the largest of the bunch. This is also where some pool toys were stored for the kiddos. All of the pools had plenty of umbrella covered seats and there was never a problem getting a place to sit.

During our mid-May visit the resort was not at all busy as that is considered shoulder season when they transition into the rainy/green season, so that meant we could easily had at least one of the pools to ourselves during large portions of the day.

Relax, Kayak, Snorkel, or Jet Ski on the Beach

The on-property beach is the weak spot for the Andaz Costa Rica, but they do still have one, and you can borrow a kayak, snorkeling equipment, or a paddle board to head out into the bay for no additional fee. They also rent jet skis starting in 30 minute increments, though that does cost extra. This is not an oceanside beach, so the water is generally very, very calm. If you need a little help getting going with your ocean gear, they have classes and groups each day that you can also join in for no additional fee.

Frankly, I was relived when the snorkeling class we planned to take one morning was canceled due to it being too overcast as there were more than a couple dead fish in the water, and I didn’t feel totally right about sticking my face in the bay. Based on my conversations with staff, this abundance of dead and dying fish was not normal, and might have been related to the transition to the rainy season. Either way, it just sort of creeped me out though it may have been totally fine. Our Plan B for the morning was a kayak that we borrowed for free, and it was fun to row around the bay for a while and get a little exercise without going under.

The beach at the Andaz Papagayo was a bit too jungley for me (wear bug spray!), but the one at the complimentary private beach club was more similar to the type of beaches I am used to enjoying.

Enjoy the Private Prieta Beach Club

The Andaz Papagayo may not have the world’s best beach, but you can take the included shuttle about 20 minutes away to the included Prieta Private Beach Club and be on the ocean and explore some additional pools.

I highly recommend spending at least an afternoon over at this beach club where you can mix it up a bit and get in some actual waves. They do have basic ocean gear available for rent at this club, but it isn’t included the way it is at the Andaz.

If the shuttle driver is nice, maybe they will also make a quick stop for you on the way to the beach club at this nearby overlook that was well worth the extra five minutes!

Take a Coffee, Ceviche, or Mixology Class

While we didn’t do any off-site excursions, we did enjoy the heck out of some on-site classes offered by the resort. They have a full daily line-up of activities and while some are complimentary, the barista, ceviche, and mixology classes we enjoyed do come with a very reasonable fee. The popular classes do tend to fill up, so sign-up as soon as you know your schedule.

The $15 per person barista class was led by the charismatic and very knowledgeable Luis Carlos who loves coffee as much as he seems to enjoy teaching others about it. We learned so many very cool ways to make coffee, the benefits of the different methods, and of course, we did an extensive tasting of each way of enjoying some Costa Rican beans.

I recommend taking the class on one of your first days at the Andaz so that you can then order your coffee the subsequent mornings the way you liked it the best.

My husband in particular had a tremendous time in this class, and ordered some of the gear needed to make coffee via a few of these methods via Amazon before we even left the resort. We now use the Chemex method most mornings, and just need to find some Costa Rican beans we love to go with it!

The $16 per person ceviche class was another big hit with our group, though for different reasons. In this class we learned a bit about what goes into ceviche and tasted some different variations, but then the best part was when you got to go wild with making your own big bowl of ceviche using a ton of pre-prepped ingredients.

This was the perfect way to not only have fun with friends before dinner, but make a nice appetizer of ceviche the way you like it!

We didn’t make it to mixology class, but our friends took the $40 per person class and all said it was a ton of fun. The videos I saw of them making and enjoying drinks looked like a blast. They said you end up with about 3 – 4 drinks in this class, so prepare accordingly!

The Andaz Papagayo also offers guided hikes, tortilla making class, pottery painting, Spanish lessons, Latin Dance Class, and so much more as part of their activity line-up. The on-site activities here are not an afterthought, but a really cool way to easily do as much or as little as you want.

Volunteer in the Local Community

If you have the time and inclination, the Andaz Papagayo has a program on certain days where you can volunteer in the local community alongside some staff members. While we were there they were painting part of a local school and had invited guests to join in. I would love to do something like that on a future longer visit, so factor that in if you are also so inclined.

Sit Back and Enjoy the View

There are a million ways to be active at the Andaz Papagayo, but if you miss the chance to just be still for a bit, I think you have missed a big part of what the resort has to offer. They have the perfect ‘perch’ up in the spa area that you can head up to and just enjoy the silence and natural beauty.

If you bring your kids, make use of the included Kid’s Club at some point and take some time to enjoy the other adults you came with, or just take in the natural beauty by yourself. While I do plan to explore more of Costa Rica on our next trip, I also look forward to just watching the monkeys while I drink my morning coffee one leisurely sip at a time.

My favorite things to do at the Andaz Papagayo in Costa Rica may not have all been of the super exciting variety, but they were truly enjoyable and memorable. I am so glad we made the trip, and I can’t wait to return next year. I have linked my other posts on the resort below, but if you have any other questions let me know and I’ll do my best to help you also make use of this fantastic Hyatt award chart sweet spot!

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    • There is no financial relationship with Hyatt. The stay was booked with points and cash. It wasn’t sponsored, it wasn’t comped, it wasn’t discounted. I just loved the resort and am happy to share that info with others. I always disclose very clearly when there are relationships….which is a very small minority of my travel. Let me know if you have any questions on the resort and I’ll do my best to help!

    • Passive aggressive assumptions are a bad look, James.

      As a non-blogging frequent family traveler who also recently returned from this resort, I can verify that Summer’s analyses of the Andaz have been spot-on. It’s a wonderful place, and a bargain using points.

  1. I am going on the 4th with my wife, 2kids (3&8), would love your opinion on the rooms. Using points and was told I was upgraded to Partial bay or offered full bay for a little extra $ per night. Also suggestions on food outside the hotel. Thank you in advance…

    • Links at bottom of post should help as one is on rooms and one on food. I wouldn’t personally pay more for full vs partial view. The 1/2 price nightly specials at Dive Bar at the marina are cheaper option outside hotel, but that’s about it nearby. Enjoy that free kid’s club!

    • I linked a post at the end that gives tons of food details that may help, but two people who don’t have included breakfast and don’t really drink could do it for $100 day if they wanted to. Less is possible, but will take real creativity.

    • Thanks! We were there three nights and that was an okay amount, though I think four is the sweet spot and that’s how many we are going for next time.

  2. Thanks to your review, I booked this Andaz in Feb without the kids! $81 air tax each is our total cost. One free night for the annual Hyatt CC, one night with husband’s 15k Hyatt points, 3 more nights by transferring 45k Chase Ultimate Rewards to Hyatt. We’re flying Alaska/American miles + $24each to fly down on Alaska metal, using American miles+$57 each to fly back on American.
    You are the blogger who started me some years back when I asked you how to get more Alaska miles. Your fabulous suggestion was to use British Air Avios on Alaska Airlines to go to Hawaii from the west coast. As we’re a family of 5, we wouldn’t have been able to do it without your advice. Now we’ve gone to Hawaii 4x, Italy, Manuel Antonio Costa Rica, D.C, Seattle, San Francisco, Denver, Barcelona, Paris, Santa Cruz, and Quebec using mostly (and sometimes ONLY points/miles+tax). Sometimes we’ve even flown business class. ¡Muchas gracias, Summer!

    • So awesome – very well done and enjoy! Be sure to take the coffee class (if you like coffee) and the ceviche class. Both top notch!

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