From sweeping coastal views to eco-friendly luxury stays, Costa Rica’s Papagayo Peninsula is Central America’s new up-and-coming vacation destination. The small peninsula located in Costa Rica’s north-east Guanacaste region is replete with water activities, rainforest adventures, ziplining excursions and plenty of charmingly slow sloths. As the region continues to grow, Papagayo remains committed to sustainable excellence and its new low-cost luxury experiences. Here are just a handful of the many reasons to visit the sustainably-committed Papagayo Peninsula.
The 11-mile stretch that curls around the Papagayo Peninsula is a well-maintained and highly secure slice of sustainable opulence. Although the resort-driven hub of Papagayo is home to resorts so luxurious that guests never want to leave, the private peninsula’s newest owner is committed to sustainable development, vowing to “celebrate the native landscape” and “bring more travelers from around the world to discover the peninsula’s 1,400 acres of incredible biodiversity and eco-rich land.” Among the newest developments is the more affordable Planet Hollywood Resort, which provides the same all-inclusive attraction seen in its neighboring resorts at more accessible rates.
A short detour from the Papagayo coast is a dreamy beach with everything from snorkeling to fishing. At Playas del Coco, stationed in the largest Guanacaste village, visitors can tour the Gulf of Papagayo through a variety of activities, like surfing, scuba diving, horseback riding and hiking.
Meanwhile, for thrill seekers looking to explore the Gulf of Papagayo on land, ATV tours through the Gulf offer visitors a chance to experience a natural and protected region. Over 70% of the area is land-protected, but ATV riders can still travel to small villages and plantations.
At the Diamante Eco Adventure Park, a zipline, aptly called the Superman, spans nearly 1.6 kilometers (a mile) of full ocean views. This reputable zipline is the longest in all of Costa Rica, requiring visitors to take off from a face-down superman-style stance. As you quickly soar, you’ll be greeted by sweeping views of the entire Gulf’s coast. The adventure park also boasts a variety of other ziplines, complete with a short (but very controlled) death drop for the ultimate thrill seekers. For nervous zipliners, riding parallel with friends is a great option—the 2-hour adventure course is complete with side-by-side lines throughout the park’s course, over trees and through the Papagayo Gulf.
Costa Rica is home to over 500,000 animal and plant species—some who like to crawl, others who like to climb and many who can swim. At the Diamante Eco Adventure Park, a certified animal sanctuary, visitors can interact with all the native creatures in the Guanacaste region. From jaguars and pumas to toucans and a glorious butterfly sanctuary, the animal sanctuary is more interactive than an average museum. Their prize possession is Lucy, the park’s resident sloth and unofficial fury mascot. Lucy is often found napping in the trees of the park, though she is among many native sloths seen around the peninsula. Though the sanctuary provides more of a complete introduction to Costa Rica’s many crawling creatures, many are seen roaming the streets and can even emerge poolside at resorts. Look for the white-faced capuchin monkey, often found in trees near beaches, and the rhinoceros beetle, which sizes larger than an average adult hand, and is often surrounded by curious tourists who immediately flee as it scuttles away.
The Papagayo Peninsula’s curated selection of hotels are certainly self-sustaining. While each hotel offers a variety of unparalleled resort activities, the new Planet Hollywood has created an illustrious pool party, replete with foaming bubbles. Over the course of the week, the hotel hosts multiple bubble-filled and swan-float-clattered pool parties for its guests and non-guests. The event is open to all ages and is accompanied by a series of poolside games (like barefoot basketball and water contests) as well as a variety of nosh all day.