Got kids and are looking for a fabulous getaway to an exotic location? Check out the Four Seasons Costa Rica resort on the Papagayo Peninsula. I just ventured there with my three kids, ages 5, 4 and 2 for a week and we couldn’t have had a better time. We travel a lot and if you are a reader of this blog, you’ll know that I have rarely taken the time to recommend a resort. There are monkeys in the trees, oversized grasshoppers (we had one that was about a foot long land on our son!), huge iguanas and beautifully hued birds in every color of the rainbow.
Pluses for Parents:
-The Kids for All Seasons (KFAS) kids club is unmatched. It’s for kids ages four and up and it runs from 8 to 5 all day. You can drop your little ones in for as little or as much as you’d like. They have a daily schedule that includes all sorts of fun things like arts and crafts, treasure hunts, nature walks, making pizza, baking donuts and more. The club runs until 5 and then again from 6PM to 7:30/8 they do fabulous activities such as “Stories Under the Stars” or “Luau on the Beach” so that the parents can get in a nice dinner. The women working in the center are all fabulous (warm, nurturing and patient) and they don’t miss a beat and will even make sure your kids are lathered in sunscreen before venturing into the 2 foot deep kids pool that is stocked with fun floats.
-Every day there is an incredible lunch buffet for the little ones and the best part is that kids under four dine free at the resort. That includes milk for bottles or even popsicles or kids sized smoothies poolside. The staff seems to cater endlessly to the younger set. We didn’t met a single person at the resort who didn’t have a smile and a story for our kids. As soon as we arrived, greeters descended upon us with a Costa Rican welcome kit for each of our children which included treats for the kids, crayons, coloring books, a stuffed animal for each and games. The restaurants all have kids menus and there are kids pool and beach toys available upon request.
-If you are travelling with a baby let them know and they will have the crib and a basket full of Johnson & Johnson toiletries awaiting you. They take it a step farther than other hotels do and will even have a diaper pail ready and in our case, the staff decorated bath tubs for our kids with their names in colorful letters adorning the tubs. They were thrilled!
-There is a “Tour of the Giants” everyday that departs at 2:30 p.m. but know that they only take 10 people per day, so be sure to reserve your spot. It lasts about an hour and will take you in a golf cart on a behind-the-scenes tour of the golf course area and you’ll have the chance to see some of the native species of animals and trees plus get some great photos along the way. It’s fun with kids, we brought all three, but be sure to bring sunscreen and water. It’s hot out there!
-There are excursions from the hotel into rainforests, etc. in the surrounding areas but they are not for young children and the trip to and from can cost you a day. There is plenty to do at the resort for young kids, so your best bet with little ones six and under is most likely to stay put, explore some trails, swim by the pool and the beach, look for seashells, scope out the monkeys, enjoy some mommy/daddy time while the kids (4 and up) have a ball at the kids club, take a paddle boat or kayack out and most of all, relax!
Play area at the kids club complete with baby pool. I snapped this photo when running down there with my kids.
-Don’t miss the evening beach buffets. They are incredible and kids are welcome! This is us heading there at dusk one evening.
Things to Know About Getting There:
-Fly into Liberia airport. We have known other people who have flown into the wrong airport by accident and then had to drive four to five hours on Costa Rican roads (not good) to try to get to their hotel. Don’t make this mistake!
-If you are flying from the NYC metro area, note that there is a daily direct flight out of Newark Airport. This will save you the aggravation of transferring with kids.
-We flew Continental. Flying from the USA to Costa Rica, the airplane had food…..flying back, that wasn’t the case. Literally, the flight attendants had nothing and they said that they can’t get food for the plane at Liberia airport. Thankfully I had run by the gift shop at the hotel and loaded up on crackers and some snacks, but we had expected a meal on the plane. Don’t count on it and be prepared!
-The trip to and from the Liberia airport to the Papagayo Peninsula is about 45 minutes.
-When it is time to get back to Liberia airport for the return trip home, plan to arrive at Liberia at least two hours before you are scheduled to depart. The Four Seasons had us leave at 10:30 for a 1:30 flight and it just wasn’t enough time. Expect the worst and prepare accordingly. Just to check in our luggage took over an hour and then we still had security, etc. This was not due to the crowds but due to the slow check in of the airport personnel. Just arrive e-a-r-l-y!
-While we had no complaints while there (literally not one) the beach does not have Caribbean clear blue water, so know that before you go! The water is warm and it’s great for swimming in but the snorkeling isn’t as good as at other resort locations. It still has two fabulous beaches plus a beach club that hotel guests can use.
I highly recommend the Four Seasons Costa Rica and this is a completely unpaid endorsement! I would give it 5 Stars or a ten out of ten for accommodating children while providing a fabulous unmatched vacation for the adults!