Papagayo, Costa Rica
The Papagayo Vibe
The Peninsula Papagayo is home to stunning views, white-sand beaches and turquoise waters.
Most of the nicest resorts in the country are located in this area due to its proximity to the Liberia International Airport, great weather, and nice scenery.
Map Of Papagayo
Papagayo is located on Northern Pacific coast of Costa Rica in the Guanacaste Province.
The nearest big city is Liberia, which is about an hour away.
Papagayo at a Glance
Nearest International Airport
Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport in Liberia
Popular Things to Do
snorkel or diving tours, catamaran rides, relaxing on the beach
Best Way to Get Around
Rental car, taxis, shuttles
Best Time of Year to Visit
Dry season is from late December until mid-April
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Getting to Papagayo
Flights to Costa Rica
The easiest way of getting to Papagayo is from Liberia International Airport.
It is less than an hour drive from the airport to Papagayo.
If you haven’t booked your flight yet, we suggest using Skyscanner. We consistently find the best rates through their website.
Transportation From Liberia International Airport
Almost all resorts will offer a private or shared shuttle from the airport. Usually there is a fee for this, but your resort can tell you more about that.
Alternatively, we suggest Adobe Transfers for your transfer needs. You can find out more and get a quote here.
We suggest our favorite Liberia taxi driver family for all your taxi needs. They are a family of registered taxi drivers and I can assure you that they will take great care of you.
You can find out more, book your taxi, and get a discount from them here.
Another option is to rent a car. If you would like a car for the extent of your trip, check out our absolute favorite rental car company in Costa Rica, Adobe.
Adobe has given us a 10% discount plus many other perks to pass on to you.
Our Transportation Suggestion
If we were visiting a resort in Papagyo, this is what we would do…
– Fly in to Liberia International Airport instead of San Jose.
– Spend the first several days soaking up the resort amenities and relaxing.
– Rent a car for a few days to explore on our own. Adobe can deliver your car to you at your resort for a small fee.
– Instead of paying for a shuttle back to the airport, return your rental car to Adobe’s office next to the airport on your last day. They will give you a free shuttle ride to the airport.
Getting Around in Papagayo
To get around in Papagayo you will most likely depend on day tours provided by your resort or pre-booked by you.
If you would like to explore the surrounding areas on your own, renting a car is the best way to do that.
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The Guanacaste region has some of the best weather in the country year-round.
During the dry season (from end of December until end of April) everything turns brown from the lack of rain. It is not unusual to see forest fires in February and March when everything is very dry. It almost feels like Arizona with the dry arid climate.
Personally, we like to visit this area between May and the end of July. At this time of year, everything is green again and the area actually looks really pretty. There is typically a daily afternoon thunderstorm that comes like clockwork every afternoon at about 2pm for about an hour.
Wake up early and enjoy the beautiful morning before the storm rolls in.
Between August and December, the temperatures cool off a bit and there is more rain, as the rainy season is in full swing.
In our opinion, if you are unsure about the weather while you are planning to visit Costa Rica, this is the area to visit. Overall it seems to get far less rain than most of the country.
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If you are looking for a luxury experience, this is the place for it. All accommodations are actually resorts. Some are all-inclusive and for adults only.
Planet Hollywood -This is the perfect super fun family resort destination. It just opened in late 2018 so everything is modern and top-notch.
The property has multiple restaurants, multiple bars, a kids club, pools, beach access, and more!
If you are traveling with kids, this place will be so much fun for the entire family.
El Mangroove – The property has two restaurants, spa, beach access, a beautiful pool, and more! Also, the grounds here are beautiful. You will feel so secluded in luxury.
Secrets Papagayo – An adults-only resort with tons of amenities. Secrets has locations throughout the world and is a popular all-inclusive resort option for honeymoons.
The property has four restaurants, one cafe, five bars, 24-hour dining services, a fitness center, spa, beach access, yoga classes, and so much more!
Occidental Papagayo – Another beautiful adults-only hotel. Keep in mind that the facilities are a bit older than some other places, but the prices are also much more reasonable than other places on this list.
The resort has multiple estaurants, bars, pools, tennis courts, a fitness center, beach access, and more!
Kasiiya Papagayo – A small boutique all-inclusive resort with only five rooms. You can’t get much more luxurious than this spot. The resort has a restaurant, spa, surfing, yoga hiking, and more!
Andaz Papagayo – The Andaz by Hyatt is a luxury hotel at its finest. Everything here feels perfect.
Andaz is great because it offers an upscale experience for couples or families. For example, there is a swimming pool reserved just for adults as well as one for families. Also, it is possible to stay here as an all-inclusive resort or to opt for a lower-cost option in which meals are not included.
The Four Seasons – This is often considered the most luxurious of resorts in Costa Rica. In fact, many famous faces have stayed here in the past including the Kardashians, Beyonce & Jay Z, and Justin Bieber.
The property has four restaurants, four pools, two private beaches, and more!
Papagayo Homes & Villa Rentals
We always love renting a home or villa for our vacation. This gives you more privacy and allows you the flexibility to cook your own meals.
Note: We try to only ever suggest places with good cancellation policies, but always double check before booking.
Casa Armadillo – A seven-bedroom villa that sleeps up to 12 guests. This house is seriously beautiful and boasts an infinity pool with Pacific Ocean views.
Casa Pericos – A five-bedroom villa that can sleep up to 13 guests. The house has amazing views of the peninsula and the Arnold Palmer Signature Gold Course.
Gear Rentals for Papagayo
Are you traveling with young kids and need a stroller, crib, car seat, high chair, etc.?
Are you planning to spend a lot of time relaxing on one of Papagayo’s many amazing beaches and would like a cooler, beach chairs, sun umbrella, etc.?
Rent all your necessary gear and have it delivered directly to your hotel or vacation rental courtesy of our friends at Mango Baby Beach Rentals!
Mango Baby Beach Rentals is a family-run company that we think super highly of. We know they will take great care of you!
Use the coupon code: CRVIBES5 at checkout to save 5% off your order!
Things to Do in Papagayo
All resorts will be happy to organize activities for you. Just note, that if you organize activities through your hotel in this area you may pay a lot more than if you organize them yourself. This isn’t always true, but it is worth comparing prices.
All the tours we included below offer transportation from the Papagayo area.
If you take our suggestion of renting a car for a few days to explore on your own, we have included some ideas for that as well.
Visit the Nearby Beaches
The Papagayo beaches all have white sand and crystal clear, calm turquoise waters.
Relax With a Spa Treatment
I believe that all the resorts I listed in the accommodation section offer spa services. We especially like the option of having an open-air massage with the Gulf of Papagayo behind in front of us.
Take a Catamaran or Sailing Tour
A catamaran or sailing tour is the perfect way to explore this beautiful Pacific coast area. Some tours include snorkeling, sunset views, a meal, and cocktails.
Go Deep Sea Fishing
Are you ready to enjoy some world-class mahi-mahi or marlin fishing on the Pacific ocean?
Most resorts are happy to cook up what you catch as your dinner.
Go Scuba Diving
If you love diving, there are several reefs and tons of marine life in the waters surrounding Papagayo. Go out with an experienced guide and find all the best spots.
Visit Rincon de la Vieja National Park
Rincon de la Vieja is a great spot to visit if you would like to see a volcanic activity up close and personal. There are also tons of adventure activities to do in this area. We have. a complete guide to Rincon de la Vieja for more info.
Take an ATV Tour
ATV tours will get your adrenaline pumping and can be a great way to explore some off-road destinations in the Guanacaste region.
Go Fly Fishing
We highly recommend this fun day trip with Captain Estaban on his 14’ NRS inflatable outboard rafts along the Tempisque and Corobici rivers.
During the trip you will target Rainbow and Striped Bass, Machaca (Mini Tarpon), and Snook.
It’s so fun!
Visit Diamonte Eco Park for a fun-filled day adventure with zip lining, hanging bridges, nature trails, and lunch.
Note, the ticket we included below is for people who can get their own transportation to the park. There is a large parking lot if you will have a rental car.
Go Horseback Riding on the Beach
Take a private horseback riding tour along the beach. This is fun to do in the evening while the sun is setting. Also, the guide Randy is the absolute best.
Visit Llanos de Cortez Waterfall
This is an impressive nearby waterfall that you can swim under. It is the perfect family-friendly day trip.
If you have a car, this is something you can easily do on your own. Check out our Llanos de Cortez guide for more info.
Expand Your Coffee Palette
Take a coffee tasting tour and learn all about Costa Rica coffee beans and tastes.
All restaurants in this area are in the upper price bracket. However, all of these places are excellent and worth the price tag.
Abbocato – Everything here is excellent. This is one of our favorite dinner spots.
The Dive Bar – The Dive Bar is definitely not an actual “dive bar”. It is located next to the marina for a nice dinner with an ocean view. They serve delicious fresh food.
Rio Bhongo – You can not beat the views and atmosphere of this restaurant located in the Andaz Resort.
Nemare – Located next to the gold course at the Four Seasons, here you can enjoy large portions of seafood, fish, steak, and more.
Poro Poro – Located next to the Four Seasons resort, this place serves fresh seafood, fish, and more. I would classify this as extremely elevated Costa Rican food.
Remote Working in Papagayo
If you are staying at a resort you should have no problems with WIFI connections.
Also, most resorts have a business center if you need an alternative place to work outside of your room.
Packing for Pagayo
If you are traveling to Papagayo you are most likely staying at a resort.
Packing for here is a bit different than other places throughout the country.
We suggest a lot of sun protection, bathing suits, beach coverups, and non wrinkle clothes that are suitable for nice resort meals.
Also, keep in mind that it is often incredibly hot here.
Check out our Papagayo Packing List on Amazon for all the essentials.