Livin’ La Pura Vida!

We’re back from 8 nights of awesomeness and I can’t wait to tell you all about it. Before I get started, I wanted to welcome all the Mommy Points readers. Thanks for stopping by! I hope at the least I can inspire you to pursue your family travel goals, as small or as lofty as they may seem. If I can help you in anyway, please don’t hesitate to reach out for advice!

So, yes, everything you’ve heard about Costa Rica is true. Yes, it has amazing wildlife, yes, it has large and small adventures alike, and yes it is a great family destination. I originally went to Costa Rica with a friend about ten years ago. We spent some time in the Corcovado National Park and climbed Chirripo (the 38th most prominent peak in the world – I know, impressive!). And I just loved it there. It has been on my “return to” wish list for some time now. And, in our latest travel blitz it fit well given that our dates were one week after the end of the peak season. So, we were hoping to get the still dry weather without the dry weather prices. We succeeded on the pricing, but did encounter some rain. But nothing that stopped us from doing all that we set out to do!

So, after an early morning departure, we arrived in Liberia after what seemed like a 2 hour flight compared to our recent long jaunts. We were greeted by a representative of Service Car Rental and amazing heat and humidity. We completed the paperwork and were off to the Andaz Papagayo in no time. About half way through our 40 minute drive, my husband realized that he had left his credit card with the car rental representative. So, back to the airport we went, drove with the representative to Liberia and got the card. We then traced our drive back towards the Andaz. We must have made 5 wrong turns within a mile of the Andaz. They don’t have any signs so you’re left guessing which exit off of the roundabout is the Andaz. Of course, it was the last one we guessed. Oh well, we were in the pool in no time!

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One thing to note about the Andaz is that it seems that all the staff are still learning their jobs. We booked a simple two night stay on points and the agent couldn’t see our reservation, then told us it was cancelled, and then after “investigating” realized that all was well and we were good to go. They are super friendly and try to be helpful, but there were some unnecessary delays along the way… We travelled this time with extended family and the same thing happened to them when they checked in so it wasn’t an isolated incident.

The rooms at the Andaz are great. There is a partial outdoor shower which was great although it didn’t get as hot as I’d like it to. I also managed to somehow pull the blind cord off it’s track and despite asking for it to be fixed in the morning, it still wasn’t fixed at bedtime so my husband ended up having to fix it. But that wasn’t a big deal. The wild monkeys were great too. The howlers were pretty loud and did wake us up each morning, but it was kind of cool. I’m not sure it would have been that cool after 515am wake ups for a week, but it didn’t bother us the two mornings we were there. The pools are also pretty awesome although they are fairly small. We didn’t check out the adult pool for obvious reasons. The beach was nice for beach activities. It wasn’t a great beach for lounging, but they have lot of fun activities that our family enjoyed.

We were only at the Andaz for two nights and given the relative remoteness of it’s location, we chose to eat both nights at the hotel (read expensive). The first night we ate at the Tapas restaurant which was nice and the food was pretty good, but there were a few issues with the service. They brought out all the food separately and the kids were the last to get theirs. So, those that got their food first were done by the time the kids got theirs. And kids getting food last never goes over well…

The second night we went to Rio Bhongo which was a lot better. Food delivery was still staggered but not as bad and they had choices there that were more appealing to the kids. We were a bit patient with the delivery issues as we were a group of 8 and they probably aren’t used to larger groups. We also heard that a large group had rented out the entire hotel for Passover and the staff was still recovering from that.

Overall, we really enjoyed the Andaz Papagayo. Once the staff has gained some experience, I think it will be a top location in Costa Rica. I do wonder if the pool facilities can support a large number of people during peak season, but we were often the only ones at the pool while we were there.

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I’ll follow up this post with a post about the other three hotels we stayed at while in Costa Rica, along with a post about our activities, and finally one with the vacation totals.

As always, please feel free to ask any questions that you may have!

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