Particular Travel Guide: Costa Rica

Costa Rica has truly become one of our top vacation destinations, especially over the past year. With its diverse array of activities ranging from zip-lining and surfing to tranquil guided hikes and boat rides, there's never a dull moment. What truly sets it apart, though, is the warm hospitality of the locals, who make us feel right at home from the moment we arrive.
Particular Travel Guide: Costa Rica - The Particulars

Peninsula Papagayo

Over the past year, my family and I have spent a lot of time in Costa Rica, particularly on the Peninsula Papagayo, a place we've been visiting for over 15 years. The Four Seasons Costa Rica holds a special place in our hearts—it's where I spent my babymoon for my now 14-year-old, and we make it a point to return at least once or twice a year. We adore this resort for its proximity to some of the best surf breaks, just a short boat ride away. Here are some things we love about the Peninsula Papagayo.

Where To Stay

Four Seasons – Nestled between Playa Prieta and Playa Virador, this resort is surrounded by water, offering stunning views and a unique atmosphere. Expect the signature Four Seasons service, cuisine, and decor, all with a distinctive Costa Rican touch. The hotel boasts an incredible spa, a cold plunge pool, and a jacuzzi with breathtaking ocean views. The newest addition, the Outpost, offers mountain biking, flora and fauna education, zip-lining, and an exhilarating ropes course, which my kids adore. This hotel caters to families with various accommodations, from single rooms to five-bedroom houses. One of our favorite experiences is chartering a boat to local surf breaks, especially Witch's Rock, known for its endless rides and serene, untouched beaches. The hotel arranges private surf instructors, and we highly recommend SurfX; their expert team, including JD and Alejandro, provides outstanding guidance and fun, making our surf trips unforgettable.

The Andaz - Situated at the top of the Peninsula Papagayo, the Andaz is a modern resort with newly built residences, which is where we stayed last summer. Our two-bedroom residence featured a full kitchen and a rooftop deck with an oversized jacuzzi, perfect for watching sunsets. The resort offers several dining options, with Rio Bongo being our favorite for casual fare. You can easily launch from the beach to surf by boat or stay and snorkel, though reef booties are a must due to the rocky snorkeling zone. An unforgettable activity at the Andaz is coral reef rehabilitation, where we attached live coral to a metal frame with our name on it, which was then placed in the ocean. We look forward to checking on its growth during our next visit. The newly renovated adult pool is a hidden gem of the resort, an ideal spot to unwind with a cocktail and enjoy a swim, offering a peaceful retreat for some quiet relaxation.

Where To Eat

Pura Vida Juice Bar - If you happen to find yourself in Playa Coco, a quaint beach town, it's just a 15-minute boat ride from the Four Seasons or a 45-minute car ride away. But let me assure you, it's absolutely worth the journey. Their smoothies are made fresh daily and are entirely plant-based. We make sure to load up every time we arrive. Personally, my absolute favorite (although not technically a juice) is their iced coffee.

Father Rooster - Offers casual fare ranging from fresh guacamole to tacos and everything in between. And as a bonus, it's located right on the beach.

Ginger - Located in Playa Hermosa, another charming Costa Rican beach town, this Asian fusion restaurant combines flavors from Southeast Asia and India. Plus, it just celebrated its 20 year anniversary!

Verde Salvia - Yummy homemade pizza and pasta in Playa Coco.

Patagonia del Mar - This restaurant is a local favorite, serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with a menu that includes everything from omelets to poke bowls.

What To See & Do

Surf - We use SurfX for guides and boat rentals, which is owned by local Hanna Storrosten, who absolutely dominates at surfing. Given the early sunrise in Costa Rica (around 5 am), we typically hit the boat no later than 6:30 am. We spend a few hours catching waves at spots like Witch's Rock and Ollie's Point, which are our favorites, before returning to the resort around noon for some lunch and pool time.

Outpost Explorers Club Peninsula Papagyo - A spot where you can feel like a kid again while also bringing your own children along, making it the ultimate destination in my opinion. If you're seeking a break from the sun and beach, this is the place to be. The Outpost offers lots of activities including mountain biking, zip-lining, and ropes courses. Additionally, you can hire a guide to lead you on a nature hike, where you can discover local wildlife and plant species.
Particular Travel Guide: Costa Rica - The Particulars


This Thanksgiving, we opted to join some friends who own a home in Nosara, located in the renowned Nicoya Peninsula of Costa Rica. Nosara has more of a boho vibe and you can really feel like a local within a few days. The town is quaint and easily navigable, making it a breeze to get around (we used golf carts as our mode of transportation). Taxis can be scarce, so biking, walking, or renting a golf cart are the ideal ways to explore the town's restaurants, coffee shops, and markets. 

Where To Stay

Airbnb - We rented Casa Marea, which is a beautiful property located right on Playa Guiones, a three-mile-long white sand beach. Just a five-minute walk to catch some waves, the house featured a pool, several bedrooms, and a fully equipped kitchen, making it the perfect place for our week-long getaway.

Sendaro - This boutique boho hotel is the perfect place to unwind. The casual cafe serves up the freshest food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The hotel features a small pool and, as a bonus, is just steps away from the beach. This modern, sleek hotel is one of the spots to stay. 

The Gilded Iguana - This colorful yet modern boutique hotel is great for families. They have larger rooms with bunk rooms which is perfect for kids. 

Harmony Hotel - Another great boutique hotel option. They have newly built bungalows which are perfect for families.

Where To Eat


Organico - This small grocery store offers a large selection of organic products that will remind you of home. It features a cozy coffee bar and fresh-baked pastries. Be sure to try the cookies and empanadas—they are delicious. You can find everything you need to cook any meal or stock up on post-surf snacks. Lastly, don't miss the Poke bowl stand at Organico.

Breakfast and Lunch Spots

Destiny - This restaurant is located within the La Negra hotel. You can find a super yummy and healthy brunch that caters to both keto and gluten-free diets. Trust me, you'll want to go every day!

Beach Dog - This extensive menu is a great place to take the kiddos and grab avocado toast, salad, and everything in between—all made with fresh and healthy ingredients.

La Luna - Though you have to drive there, it's definitely worth it! This spot has a beach and cool blowholes. While you can walk there from Giones in about 15-20 minutes, be prepared for a trek over a dirt hill. However, the reward is some of the best pizza around! Plus, there's a cute shop where you can stock up on cover-ups or locally made items.

Olo Alaia - We made it a ritual to visit this place almost every day for a post-surf coffee. Their coffee is exceptional, and their surf merchandise is a must-see. In my opinion, it might just be the best coffee in the area.

Harmony Hotel Juice Bar – Best veggie spring rolls and fresh smoothies and juices. 


Olivia’s - Indulge in delicious pizza for dinner, then treat yourself to ice cream at Seekret Spot Gelateria next door.

Beach Dog - Looks similar to a dive bar but don't let that fool you—the food options are both good and healthy. Plus, there's live music, which is actually pretty great, typically on Tuesdays and Fridays (though they may have switched the days since I was last there).

Tierra Magnifica - Breathtaking views and the cocktails are not to be missed.

Coyol - Ask your hotel to arrange a taxi or van to take you and pick you up. Be sure to make a reservation for 5 pm and arrive by 4:30 to catch the sunset. You'll drive along a long dirt road up a mountain for about 20 minutes, leading you to a magical and delicious restaurant at the top!

What To See & Do

Surf - We hired a surf coach to go out with my younger son and I. It's always great to have a local to help you navigate the breaks and it never hurts to get new surf tips. Here are two companies: Aguatibia and Surf Simply. We used Surf Simply.

Header Image Credit: Four Seasons Resort Peninsula Papagayo, Costa Rica