Travel on Point(s)

Travel on Point(s) is an independent, advertising-supported website. This site is part of an affiliate sales network and receives compensation for sending traffic to partner sites like Cardratings.com. This compensation does not impact how or where products appear on this site. Travel on Point(s) has not reviewed all available credit card offers on this site. Reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any partner entities.

Travel on Point(s) is an independent, advertising-supported website. This site is part of an affiliate sales network and receives compensation for sending traffic to partner sites like Cardratings.com. This compensation does not impact how or where products appear on this site. Travel on Point(s) has not reviewed all available credit card offers on this site. Reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone and have not been reviewed, endorsed, or approved by any partner entities.

Andaz Papagayo Review

Culebra Bay in Costa Rica is a playground for water activities, filled with sail boats, speedboats, jetskis, kayaks, etc. From the water, passersby might suspect that a resort sits against one of the hills facing the water. But they don't get to see the several pools, restaurants, and other amenities that the Andaz Papagayo has to offer underneath the lush forest. The resort does a fantastic job blending into the hillside while still offering guests plenty of opportunities to relax and have fun. This Andaz Papagayo Review covers all that this excellent resort has to offer.

We were lucky to have ToP team member Staci visit the resort with her husband a few days after I did with my wife and kid. So for this Andaz Papagayo review, we share two different perspectives of what it's like to visit the Andaz Papagayo.

Location

The resort sits on the Papagayo Peninsula, facing Culebra Bay. With the peninsula insulating the shores of the resort from the open sea, all of the Andaz Papagayo's three beaches are perfectly calm for relaxing or swimming. Liberia Guanacaste airport (LIR) is about a 45 minutes away.

Andaz Papagayo Review: Typical Booking Cost

The Andaz Papagayo is a Category 6 in the World of Hyatt program. Here are the award costs for a standard room:

  • 21,000 points off -peak
  • 25,000 points standard
  • 29,000 points peak

And here are the award costs for a standard suite:

  • 26,000 points off-peak
  • 40,000 points standard
  • 44,000 points peak

This resort has 131 rooms and 21 suites. We booked our stay for 23,000 points per night when this property was still a Category 5, before the March 2023 award chart changes. When the Andaz Papagayo first opened in 2018, it was a Category 4!

Check-In

The outdoor reception area sets the tone by giving guests a glimpse of what they can expect during their stay: beautiful views of the bay framed by the lush forest. The reception is in a large deck overlooking the water. The staff invite guests to relax in comfortable chairs and enjoy some coconut water while the staff handles the check-in process and shares information about the resort.di

Our check-in was smooth and did not take very long. We received helpful information about the resort, including a WhatsApp number that we could use to communicate with the staff in real time. This was very helpful for requesting golf cart rides, making dinner and spa reservations, and making requests relating to housekeeping.

Andaz Papagayo lobby

The staff acknowledged my World of Hyatt Globalist status, but we did not receive an upgrade. The resort was at full capacity for part of our stay, so I did not expect an upgrade.

The one blemish with our check-in was being told that beers from the minifridge were complimentary, when that was not the case. We ended up being charged for the couple of beers we consumed and the staff would not budge on the issue at checkout.

After checking in, a staff member whisked us away in a golf cart along with our luggage to check out our room.

Andaz Papagayo king room
Andaz Papagayo king bedroom

Andaz Papagayo Review: King Bed Forest View

The rooms at the Andaz Papagayo are impressive in every way. Spacious, welcoming, relaxing, and well-designed. Not only was our basic king room quite large, space was used efficiently to create separate ambiences. Having a rollaway in the room for our toddler in no way made the room feel any smaller or tighter. The decor focuses on soft brown tones, consistent with the rest of the resort, evoking a soothing sense of calm.

The bed is flanked by two nightstands with nightshades and light controls on both sides. The alarm clock is also a wireless charger, which was a godsend when my phone's charging port got wet and sandy from a day at the beach and wouldn't charge through a cable. This is a clutch feature for beach resorts.

The room offers a lot of storage space for clothes and luggage. Next to the bed is a set of 4 drawers, the top of which provides a surface on which to rest your luggage.

Andaz Papagayo bathroom
Andaz Papagayo bathroom

A large divider splits the room in two by separating the bed from the bathroom. This divider features sizable closets, one of which includes two drawers. The closets afford guests plenty of space for hanging clothes, with one closet having space for longer dresses and the other providing another surface area for luggage storage. I always appreciate being able to keep my luggage out of sight.

The minifridge is stocked with water, sodas, and local beers, and the cabinet also has a few liquor options. The cabinet also has complimentary savory snacks and a coffee maker. Despite being informed at check-in that everything in the minifridge–including beers–was complimentary, we were charged for beers at check out. The staff would not budge on the charge even when I emphasized that that was what we were informed.

The bathroom has a wide vanity with plenty of counter space and all the amenities one would expect. Charming sconces adorn the full-sized mirror, while ceiling lights are also available.

The partial indoor/outdoor shower is one of the highlights of the room. The shower stall faces the balcony and you can open the dividing glass to relish showering in the open air. A soaking tub would have been a nice touch as well, but that would have been challenging with the space available. The rain shower's water pressure was quite weak, but the removable shower head more than made up for it with its excellent water pressure.

Despite being in a forest view room, we were high enough to have a good view of the water. The balcony graced us with a beautiful sight of the bay, while the nearby trees hosted iguanas, papagayos, and other wildlife.

Forest view rooms on higher floors still get a view of the water

Andaz Papagayo Review: Property & Amenities

All of the resort's buildings were clearly designed to blend in with the forest. None of the buildings stick out, instead allowing the bay, forest, and fauna to capture guests' attention. In this regard, there's no shortage of wild life to see throughout the resort. We spotted howler monkeys, masked monkeys, papagayos, huge iguanas, and even deer during our stay. Howler monkeys were particularly active at Nacascolo beach, where we saw (and heard them) each day we visited the beach.

The Andaz is on the side of a steep hill, making it impossible to avoid steep inclines and stairs. The staff is quick to offer golf cart rides to guests, which you can also request from your room. But even with golf carts, I would not consider this resort to be easy for folks with limited mobility.

Guests have little reason to feel bored at the Andaz Papagayo. In addition to several pools and multiple beaches, the resort offers a number of activities, including a popular barista course and a mixology course.

The entire Andaz Papagayo resort blends in with the forest

Andaz Papagayo Pools

The resort has 4 pools, one of which is adults-only. All 4 pools offer beautiful tree-lined views of the sea. The Andaz Papagayo does an excellent job of providing ample stations with fresh water, sunscreen, and towels (all complimentary). All pools have lounge chairs and umbrellas offering plenty of shade.

Andaz Papagayo adults-only pool

The adults-only pool is secluded away from the other pools, offering guests a more serene environment to bask in the sun. This pool has its own bar, and Ostra (one of the resort's restaurants) is perched just a few steps above.

Andaz Papagayo family pool

The remaining pools were all adjacent to each other. The main and largest pool is a zero-entry infinity pool. This pool stays mostly in the shade throughout the day resulting in the water being much colder (but still tolerable, especially on hot days). This pool is also the closest to the pool bar, which sits in an old repurposed Volkswagen bus.

Above this main pool is a smaller pool geared towards children. This pool receives direct sunlight for the entire morning and well into the afternoon.

Andaz Papagayo family pools, with the pool bar in the background

The last pool is located just below the Rio Bhongo restaurant and enjoys direct sunlight throughout the entire day.

The Andaz Papagayo has three family pools

The three family pools all have access to the pool bar, located at the center of the pool area. Guests can walk up to order or order from severs who periodically walk by to check on guests. The bar has a happy hour from 4-6 pm daily and offers a complimentary sweet treat daily from 3-4 pm, such as snow cones or churros.

The pool bar has daily happy hour

Andaz Papagayo Beaches

The Andaz Papagayo has 3 beaches, each with very distinct characteristics. Sombrero Oscuro and Sombrero Claro are located directly on the resort grounds, while Nascolo beach is farther down the Papagayo Peninsula.

Andaz Papagayo Sombrero Oscuro beach

Sombrero Oscuro is the main beach on the resort property itself, easily accessible by following a set of stairs and a path through the forest down from the main pool area. The aptly-named beach has lots of shade throughout the day. Guests at the beach can still enjoy food and beverage service from the main restaurant with dedicated servers.

Guests have access to complimentary water activities, including kayaks, paddle boards, and snorkeling equipment. The house reef is off this beach. Visibility is rather limited but the snorkeling can still be an enjoyable experience (the water was much calmer in the morning during our stay).

Sombrero Oscuro is also the beach where private boat tours pick up and drop off resort guests.

Andaz Papagayo Sombrero Claro beach

Sombrero Claro is about a 5-minute walk through the forest from Sombrero Oscuro. This rustic and secluded beach resembles a deserted beach with nothing but sand, water, and trees. This beach does not have any lounge chairs, towels, or service.

Nacascolo Beach is about a 5-minute boat ride from the resort. Guests can also access Nacascolo through a complimentary shuttle, which takes about 15 minutes. The complimentary boat shuttle runs from 9:30 am to 4 pm, with an hour break at noon.

Andaz Papagayo Beach House at Nacascolo beach

Nacascolo is fully equipped for guests to enjoy a full day at the beach without having to return to the resort. Guests have access to the same amenities as at Sombrero Oscuro–drink and food service, complimentary water activities, plenty of lounge chairs, and another swimming pool right on the beach. They are currently building a restaurant at the Beach House (the kitchen is finished and fully operational), so we heard some construction noises on occasion. The restrooms at Nacascolo are even nicer than at the resort's main pools.

The beach itself is also much nicer at Nacascolo than either of the other two beaches. The food and drink menu at Nacascolo is slightly different from the pool menu at the resort, and we enjoyed the food and cocktails better at Nacascolo.

Andaz Papagayo Review: Off-Site Activities

Staci ventured off the resort for a couple of different activities, both booked directly at the Andaz. First, she rented a pair of water bikes and went on a guided tour. Staci and her husband visited one beach nearby and then went into a river to explore the mangroves. They saw dozens of blue herons, and many egrets, green parrots, and parakeets, along with a raccoon and a few monkeys. The experience was peaceful, serene, and beautiful. The water bikes were very stable, but the small propellers required quite a bit of effort to move the bikes.

Andaz Papagayo off-site activities
Mangroves near the Andaz Papagayo

Staci's other activity was a guided walk through the dry forest. The tour started with the guide driving quite a distance inside the preserve in her ATV. They then walked up a hanging staircase into a giant ficus tree that was occupied by several howler monkeys, who were mostly napping. To share a tree with so many howler monkeys was a one-of-a-kind experience. They watched a baby nurse, and enjoyed watching all of them shift positions as they lazed in the sun or reached for unripe figs.

Afterwards, they spotted another huge troupe of howler monkeys and spent another 20 minutes watching about 20 monkeys–at first agitated and highly vocal–move among the trees. (Did you know the howler monkey is the 2nd loudest animal on Earth?) The tour involved lots of bird sightings accompanied by education about the defensive nature of the local vegetation (spiky cedar trees, cacti, and other trees with natural defenses). After more than 2 hours with their guide, Staci and her husband felt well acquainted with the local ecosystem and its inhabitants.

Dining at Andaz Papagayo

The Andaz Papagayo has no shortage of dining options with four on-site restaurants. Families will be glad to know that children age 4 and under eat free at establishments that have a children's menu (which is most of them). Still, prices for the kids menus were quite affordable (usually under no more than $10 for a dish). Options for children varied among the restaurants but they all offered a good mix of familiar staples (such as chicken fingers) and healthier local options, such as grilled fish or chicken with rice and beans.

The resort's website offers a dining package that includes all meals and some alcoholic drinks. It is unclear whether guests can add this package at check-in or only at the time of booking. It is also unclear whether guests can add this package to points bookings.

Depending on where your room is, getting to any of the restaurants can be a long walk. Thankfully, golf cart rides are easy to request via WhatsApp or through the staff at the different restaurants.

Rio Bhongo serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner

Rio Bhongo

The resort's main restaurant, Rio Bhongo, is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. For breakfast, guests can enjoy the rich buffet or order a la carte. The buffet consisted of familiar breakfast staples like pastries, scrambled eggs, a variety of fruits and juices, yogurt, cereals, and a rich selection of Costa Rican dishes that rotated daily. Menu options included mostly familiar breakfast staples like omelets and benedicts, but some other varieties as well like açaí bowls. The Costa Rican Breakfast (a menu item) is hearty, generous, and a must-try at least one morning. A variety of smoothies with numerous add-ins were delicious.

As expected in Costa Rica, there is also a coffee menu with multiple offerings, to the delight of coffee lovers. One note is that for Globalists, while breakfast is included, the specialty coffees such as French Press are not. Overall, the breakfast was great. Everything we tried tasted fresh, both from the buffet and a la carte.

Dinner offerings focused on freshly grilled dishes. Entree portions were on the smaller side, making this restaurant expensive for what it offered. Our food tasted fresh but not very flavorful.

Service at Rio Bhongo was inconsistent throughout our stay. On a couple of mornings, our servers were capable and attentive. On other mornings, it took a while to place our drink orders. Service during dinner was rather lackluster; our drinks took quite long to arrive and our appetizer arrived together with our entrees.

Chao Pescao
Tapas from throughout Latin America are available at Chao Pescao

Chao Pescao

Chao Pescao focuses on Latin American tapas (misleading since most of the tapas plates were more like small entrees) and cocktails, with creative twists on dishes and drinks from countries throughout the region. We enjoyed most of the dishes we tried, and the cocktails were quite good too. Overall, service at Chao Pescao was very good and certainly better than at Rio Bhongo.

Chao Pescao Andaz Papagayo
Chao Pescao at Andaz Papagayo

Chao Pescao offers excellent views of the bay from its large balcony. This was definitely the livelier of all the restaurants, and even offered live music on occasion.

This was Staci’s favorite and she and her P2 ate there four out of five nights. Service was attentive and thoughtful, and the food was consistently tasty. My family and I also dined at Chao Pescao multiple times.

Ostra

Ostra is open for dinner but also offers breakfast for Globalist members (starting at 8:30 am). Breakfast at Ostra was fantastic. In addition to a la carte options, the breakfast begins with an assortment of pastries, cold cuts, fresh fruit, and yogurt with granola. Many of the dishes on the menu are quite small, and the severs are quick to point out when that is the case, giving guests the opportunity to order another dish or two.

Ostra Andaz Papagayo
Ostra at Andaz Papagayo

Menu options included many familiar favorites, such as omelets, pancakes, and benedicts, along with some creative dishes, such as waffles made out of o de queijo and seafood choripan. All of the food at breakfast was excellent.

For dinner, Ostra focuses on Costa Rican seafood. All of the dishes we tried were fresh and flavorful, with the tuna tataki and grilled octopus as the standouts.

Andaz Papagayo Ostra
Ostra's bar at Andaz Papagayo

Service was excellent for breakfast and dinner each time we visited. For example, when I mentioned to our server that we planned to return to Ostra for dinner on another night, she sent the host over to our table to make our next reservation. The consistency in the service was quite remarkable, regardless of how busy the restaurant was.

La Piazza Andaz Papagayo
La Piazza at Andaz Papagayo

La Piazza

During our stay, the Andaz was featuring a casual pop-up Italian restaurant, La Piazza, located near the lobby. The restaurant offered Italian classics, including woodfired pizzas. The food was decent, but not particularly remarkable, although the service was excellent.

While recognizing that La Piazza is a pop-up (and thus temporary in nature, one would assume), the ambience here left something to be desired. The remaining restaurants cultivate a lovely resort ambience that La Piazza lacks. The adorable light blue 1971 Fiat 500 parked in the middle of the restaurant was not enough to bring character or warmth to the space, which lacked cohesion.

Andaz Papagayo Review: Gym and Spa

Next in my Andaz Papagayo review are the gym and spa area. They are located in a remote corner of the resort above and behind Ostra restaurant. Aside from a traditional indoor gym, the resort offers an outdoor gym perched among the trees with yet another space to catch views of the bay. The outdoor gym has limited offerings but can still be a fun space to workout. Oddly, this was the only time during my entire stay that mosquitos were a nuisance.

The indoor gym offers a good amount of exercise equipment and a decent amount of space. To access the gym, guests can head down the spiral staircase behind the spa reception.

The spa facilities are elegant and charming. To access the treatment room, guests must follow a path higher up through the forest. My wife booked a massage and found the quality to be excellent. Pricing for spa treatments is in line with that of other higher end resorts.

Service at the Andaz Papagayo

Service at the resort was excellent overall. In particular, the staff operating the golf carts were all friendly and attentive. The staff as a whole was particularly great with children.

Housekeeping was helpful and effective, though I was surprised by the lack of turndown service at a resort of this caliber. Housekeeping did not clean our room one day while we were out at the beach and pools, so I requested them to come by while we went to dinner. We returned from dinner to a clean and tidy room as expected.

Hyatt Elite Perks & Status Recognition

Elite perks at the Andaz Papagayo are limited to complimentary breakfast. As if complimentary breakfast at Rio Bhongo restaurant wasn't good enough, having complimentary breakfast at Ostra was a welcomed surprise. I don't recall ever seeing Globalists having access to breakfast at a completely different restaurant from other guests. Aside from breakfast, however, World of Hyatt elite members do not have access to any other elite perks. Guests receive lots of complimentary bottled water in their guestrooms regardless of status.

Andaz Papagayo review

Andaz Papagayo Review: ToP Thoughts

I enjoyed my stay at the Andaz Papagayo thoroughly. Even as a Category 6 in the World of Hyatt program, the Andaz Papagayo delivers excellent value for your points. The pools and beaches offer plenty of opportunities to both relax and play in the sun. While the resort's dining options vary in quality, having four restaurants ensures guests don't get bored from dining at the same spot too many times. The Andaz Papagayo does a great job of catering to those traveling both with or without children, as neither of the spaces dedicated to either set of guests was conceived as an afterthought. On the contrary, wherever you find yourself at the Andaz Papagayo, you know everything around you was designed to make you enjoy the simple life.

SIGN UP TO RECEIVE
ToP TIPS STRAIGHT TO YOUR INBOX

We promise to keep things short, sweet, and packed with awesome insights!