The Gulf of Papagayo is becoming one of Costa Rica's prime beach destinations. Home to the ultra-luxurious Four Season Resort, Hilton Papagayo and all-inclusive resorts, such as Occidental Grand and Allegro Papagayo, the Papagayo - Ocotal region is popular among beach and sun seekers. Quietly becoming a magnet for high-end resorts and luxury hotels, Papagayo - Ocotal is earmarked as the future home to recognized luxury chains such as One & Only, Miraval Spa, Mandarin Oriental, and Ritz Carlton.
Papagayo Bay's vast dark and white sand beaches offer the ideal combination of big waves with calm waters. The region is also covered with dry tropical forest and mangrove vegetation, the signature of Guanacaste's Pacific coast beaches.
Many visitors opt to make this region their home base for theri Costa Rica vacation, arriving and departing from Liberia International Airport, located less than 30 minutes away. Average stays range from five to seven nights. Day tours to other regions of the country, including Arenal and Monteverde, are available. The nearest town is Playas del Coco, about 35 minutes away, and the nearest city (50,000 residents) is Liberia, about 45 minutes away.
A vacation in the Papagayo region of Costa Rica is also the ideal end to a multi-region itinerary that starts in the rain or cloud forest regions of Osa, Monteverde, Arenal, or Manuel Antonio. The Papagayo resorts offer the sun & beach portion of a well-rounded Costa Rica vacation for couples on a honeymoon or romantic escape or families with children of all ages.
While in Papagayo-Ocotal:
Enjoy a leisurely boat ride through the dry tropical forest on a tour to the Palo Verde National Park, a favorite for bird watchers and wildlife lovers in general.
Explore the beaches south of the Gulf - Panama, Hermosa and Playas del Coco.
Visit Rincon de la Vieja National Park which offers a wide range of activities, including challenging hikes, relaxing mud baths and hot springs, exciting horseback riding tours, and one of Costa Rica's top canopy adventures.
Shop for souvenirs in Liberia.
Play golf at the Arnold Palmer Signature Championship course at the Four Seasons Resort.
Embark on a romantic sunset cruise in the Gulf of Papagayo. View spectacular sunsets on Costa Rica's Pacific coast as your Catamaran traverses the tranquil waters off one of Guanacaste's most popular sailing spots. Cross your fingers, you may get to see dolphins and even humpback whales.
Experience the thrills of the Witches Rock Canopy Tour, one of the country's top-rated adventures.
Spend a couple hours in a snorkeling or diving expedition off the Catalina Islands near Flamingo. Enjoy the unique marine life off the Pacific shores of Guanacaste. If you're lucky, you may get to see dolphins and even humpback whales.
Go Fishing! Stay in-shore for a half-day outing in search of snapper, wahoo, mahi-mahi, and mackerel, or spend the full day offshore fishing for sailfish and marlin with an expert crew professionally equipped and guided by late model electronics.
Watch the giant leatherback turtles nesting during a special night tour (only available from mid-November to late February). This miracle of nature can only be seen in select places around the globe during a few months of the year.
Go horseback riding at the Buena Vista Lodge. Adjacent to the Tenorio Volcano, Buena Vista also features hot springs.
Head north to Nicaragua and visit another Central American country while you are in the region. This day-long tour will take you across the border to southern Nicaragua. Visit Lake of Nicaragua and the picturesque town of Masaya, home to many artisans. The highlight of the trip is a visit to one of Latin America's oldest cities, the colonial Granada, full of interesting architecture.