Imagine a morning where you wake up refreshed after sleeping 8 solid hours. Instead of having to get ready for work, you put on a bathing suit, grab a coffee, and immediately head down to the beach to jump into the Pacific Ocean. Then you recline into a lounge chair where you drink your delicious Costa Rican coffee.
This is how I started each morning at Secrets Papagayo, a beautiful tropical resort on the Papagayo Peninsula in Guancaste Province, Costa Rica. Mike and I spent a week at this all-inclusive Costa Rican resort a little while back. I’m not sure why I haven’t posted about it yet because it was such a memorable trip. Here’s a recap and my review of Secrets Papagayo.
First off, a big thank you as always to my friend Heather Cross from Vacations by Heather for suggesting Secrets Papagayo and booking the trip for us. Using a travel agent is no cost to and is a huge help. They take care of the logistics, yes, but they can also suggest destinations you may not have through of. Since we’ve been working with Heather for about three years now, she knows what we like and what we don’t. When I told her we wanted to go to Costa Rica, she sent three suggestions as a jumping off point and Secrets Papagayo was the first one on the list.
Once I read the reviews on Trip Advisor I knew Secrets Papagayo was just what we were looking for. I didn’t even look at the other two resorts she suggested. Thank you Heather! If you’re interested in working with Heather tell her I sent you! (And no, I am not being paid to suggest her, I just think she’s great)
Secrets Papagayo Resort
First of all, Secrets Papgayo is only 15 minutes from the airport in Liberia which made our hotel transfers a breeze. I’ve been to some Caribbean resorts that are a one to two hour drive from the airport. I don’t mind it if the destination is worth the drive, but it was nice to find a resort that seemed so secluded so close to an international airport.
Secrets is a much smaller resort than any other Caribbean resort I’ve stayed in and I really liked it. It has a pool with a swim up bar and another pool for water sports like volleyball. The best feature is that you can see the beach from the pool and vice versa. This is perfect if you’re a pool person traveling with a beach person (or vice versa). I am a beach and pool person, and it was so nice to be able to go back and forth a few times a day. Most resorts are more spread out so it’s harder to change up your scenery.
The food and rooms at Secrets Papagayo were both solid. We didn’t spend much time in the room, but the bed was comfortable and the bathroom was clean.
Like at most resorts, breakfast is served buffet style with ala carte options for lunch dinner. You never have to make a reservation at any of the restaurants, with the exception of the hibachi table. As with most resorts, I always think the Asian restaurants are the best. Mike liked the Italian restaurant called Portofino.
Also, the Secrets Resorts are very romantic, but don’t feel like you have to travel as part of a couple. When we were there we met families and large groups of friends traveling together. Note though, it’ is adults only.
One thing I must mention is that the tap water and the shower water is extremely hard and salty. You do not want to ever, ever open your mouth in the shower and strongly suggest using bottled water to brush your teeth.
Things to Do at Secrets Papagayo
We did one excursion off the resort which is called the Super Combo. Every tour company seemed to offer this options. It combined ziplining, a water slide, horseback riding* and a traditional Costa Rican meal, including coffee. Costa Ricans love their coffee. They love it so much that they drink most of what they produce themselves. You can book this at the tour desk. Several other guests did the Arenal Volcano Adventure. They loved it but it’s a 3-hour ride one way from the resort to the Volcano which makes for a long day.
At the resort, there are the usual pool games like volleyball and water polo, and at the beach you can rent jet skis and tour the area. The day we jet skied, a humpback whale and her calf breached about 50 feet away and I think I held my breath for a full 5 minutes.
The resort also offers a small group kayaking trip during sunset that was pretty spectacular.
We flew American from Bradley, had a quick layover in Charlotte and then flew to Liberia. I booked a hotel transfer via Amstar.
*I’m now solidly committed to avoiding any activity that involves animals on a trip since finding out that the animals are usually abused. Do your research before doing any activity that involves animals.1