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What's New at the Andaz Costa Rica and Tips for Families

March 28, 2019
9 min read
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I spent the last month very much looking forward to a return trip to one of my favorite hotels in the world: Andaz Papagayo in Costa Rica. I had visited in 2016 with my wife and vowed to return when my twins were a little older. Now that they are 5 years old and could partake in many of the resort activities, it was time for them to experience "pura vida" at Andaz Costa Rica.

(Photo by Juan Ruiz)

How to Spend 2–3 Nights at Andaz Papagayo for 'Free'

The World Of Hyatt Credit Card is currently offering a welcome bonus of 25,000 points if you spend $3,000 on the card in the first three months after opening the account. You can earn a second 25,000 points after you spend a total of $6,000 within the first six months. If you earn the maximum welcome bonus, that's 50,000 World of Hyatt points plus at least 6,000 points earned on the purchases. That's enough for two nights at the Andaz Costa Rica, which is now 20,000 points per night.

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But remember that the card also offers 2x points per dollar spent on restaurants, airline tickets (when purchased directly from the airline), local transit/commuting costs and fitness club memberships. If you make it a point to use the card for purchases in those categories, you can bump your earned points from 6,000 to 12,000 ... giving you enough points to redeem for three nights at this awesome property, with 2,000 points left over for your next redemption.

You can also transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Hyatt at a 1:1 ratio, so there are many pathways to an award stay at this resort.

What Do Families Love About Andaz Costa Rica?

TPG Family's Mommy Points has already outlined some fun things to do with kids at the Andaz Costa Rica. During my recent stay, I picked up a few other tips to help plan a family trip.

Nacascolo Beach, nestled at the Andaz Beach House. (Photo by Juan Ruiz)

Beach House Boat Ride

I had read Mommy Points' review of the resort's new Beach House before arriving, so I was excited to check it out for myself. When Mommy Points visited last summer, the only way to arrive at the Beach House was via a van shuttle service from the hotel, followed by a golf cart to take you the final few hundred yards. Now, transportation to the Andaz-run Beach House has gotten a lot more exciting with the addition of a complimentary boat ride that takes guests directly from the property to the Beach House on Nacascolo Beach. It's only a 10 minute trip by boat.

The shuttle boat to the Andaz Beach House runs every 30 minutes from the hotel. (Photo by Juan Ruiz)

The shuttle boat service runs in each direction every 30 minutes beginning at 9am from Sombrero Claro Beach at the bottom of the hotel (weather permitting). If you depart early enough, you can beat the crowds and hopefully have the place to yourself for a little while.

Leave before 9:30am and you might get a boat to the Beach House all for yourself. (Photo by Juan Ruiz)

The morning we arrived, our only beach companions were capuchin monkeys and a few Andaz staff members.

Watch for the cute but mischievous capuchin monkeys that like to steal food. (Photo by Juan Ruiz)

(Young) Kids Eat Free

One of the best perks for families with young children visiting the Andaz Costa Rica resort is that children 5 and younger eat for free. With food costs on the higher side throughout the hotel, this perk offers a bit of relief for families. There is not a lot written about this policy and I was curious how it would pan out at the resort since my twins are at the "sweet spot" age of exactly 5 years old.

(Photo by Summer Hull / The Points Guy)

There is a children's menu at each restaurant with common kid favorites such as fish tenders, chicken tenders, pizza, burgers and pasta. One night we dined at Chao Pescao, an on-site tapas bar with live music.

(Photo by Summer Hull / The Points Guy)

The girls were in the mood for tacos instead of what was on their menu.

Kids under 5 eat free. You can ignore the prices listed on the kids menu. (Photo courtesy of Andaz Papagayo)

I asked our server if they could accommodate a special request of child's chicken tacos. Without hesitation, he said "Of course" -- and within 15 minutes the girls had their free chicken tacos, just as their picky taste buds desired.

This was a theme throughout our stay. If the girls wanted to tweak something on the kids' menu, I'd politely ask if it was possible and every single server not only accommodated our request but also did it with a smile. In addition to the free snow cone stand by the pool, kids can order a refreshing natural fruit juice from a pool server free of charge. These were a hit with my girls.

(Photo by Summer Hull / The Points Guy)

Golf Cart Service

Anyone who has stayed at the Andaz Costa Rica knows that if you walk enough on the grounds of the property, you'll start to feel you can skip leg day at the gym when you return home. That's because the hotel was built on a magnificent, and rather steep, hillside with seven buildings housing a sprawling 153 hotel rooms, restaurants and amenities. Thankfully, the hotel offers complimentary golf cart service and this feature is commonly used by all patrons, not just families, to get around the resort.

(Photo by Summer Hull / The Points Guy)

The golf cart service came in handy several times throughout our stay and was a lifesaver when dealing with tired or sleepy kids, so don't hesitate to ask for a ride. One night, for example, we walked to dinner at Chao Pescao (at the bottom right of the below map) from our room in building four. During dinner, one of my daughters fell asleep and we asked our server if he could help us get a golf cart to take us back to the room. Within minutes, a friendly hotel staffer was at Chao Pescao ready to whisk us home to our room.

The golf cart service is a great touch for getting around the cliff-side resort. (Photo courtesy of Andaz Papagayo)

On-Site Doctor

I hope you never have to use this tip but if you, your child or someone in your party gets sick or injured on property, call for the on-site doctor. That's right, the hotel has its own in-house doctor and, best of all, the consultation is free.

My wife was having agonizing ear pain and couldn't withstand the discomfort any longer. I called the front desk and within 20 minutes the doctor arrived at our room.

The Andaz Papagayo has an on-site doctor every day except Sundays. (Photo by Juan Ruiz)

We discovered she had a middle ear infection and needed antibiotics. The doctor called the closest pharmacy, which was located 30 minutes away near the Liberia International Airport (LIR), and within the hour the antibiotics had been delivered. My wife felt almost immediate relief.

What an incredibly thoughtful perk to have on-site in a time of need, especially for families.

Bottom Line

The Andaz Costa Rica is one of those special hotels that displays top-notch service at every turn. Even with the recent increase to a Hyatt Category 5 property (boy will we miss being able to use those Category 4 free night certificates at this property!), it remains one of the best resort stays my family has ever experienced. We plan to return annually for that special "pura vida" hospitality.

Here's some more intel about Andaz Costa Rica Papagayo and Costa Rica:

Featured image by Summer Hull / The Points Guy

Featured image by Andaz Costa Rica (Summer Hull / The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.
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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
3 / 5
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Rewards Rate

6X6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
4X4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
2X2x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Intro Offer
    Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.

    Earn 100,000 points
    75,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $125
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

The Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex is a stacked card with a rewards rate that will help you earn bonus points on everyday and business-related purchases. You'll earn 15 elite night credits each calendar year, and receive automatic Gold elite status. Finally, the free night award certificate with a redemption level of 35,000 points or less can get you hundreds of dollars in potential value each year.

Pros

  • 6x points on eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program
  • 4x points at restaurants worldwide, U.S. gas stations, wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and U.S. shipping
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases
  • Earn a free-night award each card renewal month (up to 35,000 points)
  • Receive 15 elite night credits to jump-start status
  • Transfer Marriott points to 40+ airlines

Cons

  • Airline points transfer ratios are poor
  • Must spend $60,000 in a year for second free-night award
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.
  • 6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
  • 4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a 7% discount off standard rates for reservations of standard guest rooms at hotels that participate in the Marriott Bonvoy program when you book directly. Terms and Conditions Apply.
  • Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card renewal month. Plus, earn an additional Free Night Award after you spend $60K in purchases on your Card in a calendar year. Awards can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy® points) at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®. Certain hotels have resort fees.
  • Enjoy Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status with your Card.
  • Terms apply.
  • See Rates & Fees