Our recent trip to Costa Rica was awesome. What a beautiful country with great people, delicious food, and amazing culture. I went with my wife and two children. We arrived during rainy season in August but luckily we had no rain.
We stayed at the Hilton Papagayo Resort. This is an all inclusive hotel. The rooms are "bungalow" style spread all over the property. You feel like you have your own small home. Some rooms are at the top of very steep hills. The hotel has an amazing shuttle system that never had us waiting. If you need a ride dial "0" on any phone and a open air mini shuttle arrives in minutes. The service at the hotel was good. It was their slow month so staffing was lighter than normal. Our waiter by the pool was busy serving beach goers as well as those poolside, so sometimes we only saw him once an hour. The bartenders had their hands full with adults and children ordering banana smoothies. All staff were nice and working hard to keep everyone happy.
Tours and Adventures:
We took two tours. Both were booked through ISSYS Tour Company. We chose ISSYS because they seem to have the best ratings and reviews. Well it turns out the reviews were spot on. We had some great tours. Our guides were Edwin and Diego. Both of them were spectacular. * They were on time * Van was clean and air conditioned * Tour Guides were knowledgable and nice * Didn't feel rushed. * They knew how to avoid crowds and get us the best experience
Essentials and Tips
Bring Powerful Small Flashlight: helped us see at night when walking from our room to the main area. Also great to spot some nighttime wildlife. We saw raccoons, coatimundi's, skunks and bats. During our nighttime walks on the beach we saw many hermit crabs, and other crabs.
Bug Spray: The mosquitos were not bad actually. However at the beach and the pool there were bumble bees that loved to hover around our sweet drinks. They were harmless enough but I found that if I sprayed the chair, table and umbrella area with bug spray they would stay away.
Internet Access \ WIFI: The Hilton is generous with wifi in public areas. You can connect to the WIFI by the pool, and lobby for free and use it for 2 hours. Once the two hours are up you have to login again. Once connected, the wifi will extend to your room for those two hours. When you run out of time in your room and try to connect again it will cost $15 per 24 hours. Be aware that this is $15 per device. So if you plan well you can connect right before going back to your room and have a full two hours available. If you bring more than one device and want a tip on how to share that internet connection [click here]
Leaving the Country: Before leaving the country you need to pay a departure tax of about $28 per person. This is done at the airport. However if you ask the hotel, you can pay it there when you check out. This way you can avoid the long lines at the airport. If you forget to ask the hotel and you are paying in cash you can wait on a shorter line by going to the Banco Lafise window instead of waiting in the normal line.
Food and Restaurants: there were about four restaurants to choose from at the hotel. Be sure to make your reservations as soon as you get there. All served about the same types of food. Two had indoor seating, the others were outdoor seating. The food portions are generally small, but you could ask for more if you're still hungry. My favorite restaurant was Grill Del Fuego. It is an Italian themed restaurant, with outside seating. It is located near the adults only area of the hotel near the spa.