Social Media Icons

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

My Trip to Secrets Papagayo Costa Rica

This is not a sponsored post, all opinions are my own.

Until this trip I hadn't been on a vacation in 13 years! Can you believe it? It was a well over-due trip that I'm so glad I got to make with my mom. She had been wanting a beach vacation and I wanted to try some place new and exotic, so we landed on Costa Rica. And I could haven been happier with that decision.

I used Apple Vacations online to book the vacation. I'd used them before (13 years ago) and knew they were reputable. Using their site and Trip Advisor I looked at lots of reviews and finally decided on Secrets Papagayo. I liked that it was an adults only, all-inclusive resort that had high reviews... sold! We booked 4 nights in June.  

I will say flying there from Denver is no picnic, as direct flights were hard to come by and much more expensive. So it was about 12 hours each way of flights and layovers... not fun. But so worth it! When the day finally came to leave I was so nervous that my mom wouldn't like it or the resort would live up to the hype. I couldn't have been more wrong. 

Landing in Costa Rica was shock as the heat and humidity hit you in the face on the jetway (hey I'm from Colorado, 20% humidity is too much) but the airport is nice and they move you through customs quickly. Unfortunately my mom's bag was lost in our layover in Miami, so it took a while for us to file the claim, find the luggage, and setup a delivery to our hotel the next day. I was concerned about transportation, but I shouldn't have been. The van had waited for us and were ready when we got there.

The resort is only about 30 minutes from the airport so the ride wasn't long and the driver gave us a mini tour and lesson on Costa Rica for the trip. Pulling up to the resort was lovely as their check-in/lobby is beautiful and tropical. The bellhops were extremely friendly welcoming you and getting your bags organized.

Check-in also went smoothly, and of course there's a littel sales pitch about their rewards program, but you get a drink and it only lasted about 15 minutes (pretty good I thought). Then off to the room! 

To get around the resort they have shuttles, which are just larger golf carts. And man are they zippy! The driver asked our names and room number and didn't forget us the entire time we were there. Then it was up some stairs (there are a lot of stairs at this place, not for the faint of heart...or knees) to our lovely bungalow. 

To describe the rest of our stay I've divded my post into a few sections to make it easier; Facilities, Food, Activities, Nature and Weather, Staff.


The room was beautiful and breezy with great air conditioning and a huge king sized bed (shared with my mom). The bathroom was also lovely, but these rooms are meant for couples as there isn't much privacy from the bathroom area to the room.

The entire complex is beautiful. It's set into a hill on the bay off the Pacific Ocean. So there are many hills, and as I mentioned, stairs in the resort, but that's what the shuttles were for. They were really easy to access, we never waited more than 5 minutes to be picked up.

All the bathrooms, pool areas, restaurants, and rooms were clean and well maintained. Everything seemed very tropical and gorgeous and there were all types of plants and flowers to see, didn't chairs to sit in, swings, and nooks, and anything else you might need in a resort setting.


I've got to say I wasn't expecting much in regards to food. I thought it'd be pretty standard hotel fair but would get us through. And as it was an all-inclusive resort it was "free" so I wouldn't complain. But let me tel you, MIND BLOWN! The food was amazing! Whod've thought?

There is a buffet, 3 a la carte restaurants, a coffee shop, and room service provided. Along with a number of bars that may serve food as well. 

Market Cafe (buffet) - We ate here for every breakfast and lunch and were never disappointed. They had a Costa Rican station for more of a local flavor, and then everything else you could want. The food was delicous, different each day, and new and surprising. I especially loved the arepas and seafood salad (with the largest muscles I've ever seen). And their coffee was really good, this is important and I was pleasantly surprised.

Hitmitsu (asian fusion) - This is an a la carte restaurant with asian food and sushi. To be honest we ate there twice and only had sushi both times, so I can't comment on their other dishes. The sushi wasn't the best, but it was good with some interesting flavors I hadn't tried before. They included guajillo chile and mango in some of there rolls to blend the cultures' flavors... pretty tasty.

Seaside Grill - By far my favorite meal of the trip! I'm not usually a big steak person but my mom is, so I gave in and we went for dinner one night. Oh man, I'm so glad I did it was so good. The steak was tender and cooked medium-rare per my request. My meal included a potato, truffle puree which was delicious! And I got a fried calamari appetizer as well and it was the best calamari of my life! No tough chewiness here, just yummy-ness.


The hotel offers many activities from pool volleyball, hikes, and water aerobics, to wine tasting and fruit carving, to kayaking and paddle boarding. Some were free and some were an extra charge, but nothing was very exspensive. Unfortunately, because we were only there for 3 full days, we didn't participate much, but if I ever went back I'd definitely want to do more as it looked so fun.

There were a good amount of excursions available as well and again they were affordable (as far as excursions go) and they come in half-day or full-day options. We chose a half-day option as we'd just got off a long travel day and did the Jungle Boat Cruise. 

The morning of the excursion we're picked up by the tour bus with a friendly tour guide. He spoke about Costa Rica, the towns, produce, and animals. He continued as our guide through the boat tour as well which was nice.

The boat took us up and down a murky brown river with lush forest on either side. We saw many birds, lizards, and dragonflies. But we also saw some baby and fully-grown crocodiles (no thank you!), bats, and howler monkeys. It was a beautiful ride with lots of information about the local animals and plants. The guide and driver truly want you to see animals, so they try really hard to find them for you.

Nature and Weather

First off, I knew we were going in the wet season (About May-October) so I should've expected all the rain, but I didn't. Most mornings were nice and warm, but cloudy. Then in the afternoons the rains would come in... you could actually see it off the bay. It would rain usually from about 2pm to 5 or 6pm and then would clear up, until it rained again overnight. All the rain did make the grounds and forests so beautiful and green, but it did limit what we could do in a day.

But as I said all the drives, hikes, and boat rides were so amazingly green because of the rain I couldn't hate on it too badly. As you've noticed I'm sure, I was obsessed with the green landscape. Where we were (Guanacaste) is considered a dry forest so during the dry season apparently there's a lot of brown. About 2-3 hours away from the hotel are the rain and cloud forests, which I will definitely be going back to see!

The beach at the resort was also really nice. It is a black sand beach with the trees and greenery coming down pretty far. The water was clear and also a lot warmer than I was expecting.


The staff at the hotel was outstanding! When we arrived we were greeted with "Welcome Home" and I feel the staff truly wanted you to feel at home and enjoy every aspect of your stay. The shuttle drivers often remembered our room number and names, the bartenders were willing to help me with my Spanish and created all kinds of drinks, the waiters and waitresses were always very kind and helpful. 

It was often explained to us that "Pura Vida" is the national saying of Costa Rica. Literally it means a life that is pure, but colloquially it is used for everything (like OK in English). I heard it used for thank you, I'm fine, and good-bye. Besides being a cool idea I'll be incorporating into my life, it was fun to see the staff use and live it!

Just an FYI... I new that this hotel had couples and romantically things, but I wasn't aware that that's what they cater to. My mom and I were the only non-couple I saw at the hotel. So be warned if you are looking to hand with other singles this may not be the place for you.

Overall, as you can probably tell, I had an amazing time in Costa Rica. I would recommend it, especially Secrets Papagayo to everyone and I can't wait to go back!

Follow me on social for this & more adventures  @ Twitter | Instagram | Bloglovin'

No comments

Leave a Comment