The Nakuti Papagayo
Guanacaste, Costa Rica
Costa Rica is fast becoming one of the most popular Pacific coast resort
destinations for US travelers. One of the reasons for this is the sheer variety
that the country has to offer. Contrary to popular belief, Costa Rica isn’t
exclusively a land of mountains and rainforest. The north-western province,
Guanacaste, is low-lying, and suffers from relatively little rainfall.
Temperatures are high, humidity is low, and the general ‘feel’ of the place –
in terms of weather at least – is more like that of a Caribbean island that a
typical central American state.
Guanacaste is a particularly good place to visit during the
winter months in the US, as the weather is at its most reliably dry and warm
during this time. One of the most popular resorts in the province of Nakuti
Papagayo, which lies on the Pacific Gulf of Papagayo, a little to the west of
Liberia, the provincial capital.
The Nakuti Papagayo is a small resort, and has a pleasantly
homely air that can’t always be found in some of the larger resorts in the
region. Slightly unusually for a small resort, it operates and all-inclusive
pricing strategy. So all during your stay all of your meals and activities, and
most of your drinks, are included in a single fee. Because the Nakuti Papagayo
doesn’t have the size and staff to run as full a range of activities as some
resorts, the pricing structure includes a reciprocal deal with other smaller
resorts in the area – so if the activity you want to take part in isn’t
provided, you can be sure that you can enjoy it somewhere nearby at no extra
The nature of the accommodation reflects the generally relaxed
and informal atmosphere or the resort. This isn’t a high-rise tower block
hotel. All standard rooms are contained within a series of low-rise villas
which are divided up by pleasant gardens and well-kept lawns, all within easy
reach of the central pool. All the rooms are well-equipped with king-size (or
two queen-size) beds, plus air conditioning – which is vital, as the
temperature doesn’t drop very much during the night!
If you want to splash out a little, you can upgrade to one of
the Nakuti Papagayo’s superior rooms or suites. The superior rooms all have
private terraces and a separate dining area, so if you wish to eat in the
privacy and comfort of your own accommodation you may do so. If you’d like to
upgrade further still you can opt for one of the resort’s junior suites, which
are pleasant, airy and spacious, and contain just about everything you could
wish for in a mid-range resort room.
For a relatively small resort the Nakuti Papagayo offers a
surprisingly large range of activities. All the usual resort fun and games are
available, including diving, kayaking, swimming and sailing. But, unusual for a
resort of its size, the Nakuti Papagayo offers a variety of live entertainment,
including some excellent Latin American music played by talented local
musicians. There are also a few activities that you don’t even find at really
large resorts – the Nakuti Papagayo makes a big deal, for example, of the fact
that it offers a fully-featured photography activity. If you’re a keen snapper,
this is a great offer: the resort lies in some of the most beautiful coastal
scenery in the Americas.
Golfers are also well catered for, though it is something of a
round trip to reach your destination. The Rancho Las Colinas is beautiful
18-hole course which lies a forty minute drive from the Nakuti Papagayo –
though you don’t have to get yourself there, as transport is arranged.
After a frenetic day’s activities you’ll probably be in search
of refreshment when you arrive back at the resort. The Nakuti Papagayo features
two restaurants and a bar, which is pretty respectable considering its size.
Don’t expect anything too dramatic: the cuisine is described as ‘contemporary
international’ – resort code for ‘pleasant but safe’. So you can rely on
getting a meal that everyone enjoys, which could be important if you’re
traveling with kids, who, as we all know, can be notoriously picky eaters.
If you’re after a great value vacation, the Nakuti Papagayo is
almost certainly the place for you. Its combination of reliable winter sun,
friendly service and a great range of activities make it very nearly unbeatable
in its class. It also lies within very easy reach of a number of fascinating
areas of Costa Rica, in particular the small-is-beautiful city of Liberia,
which, with a population of only slightly more than 30,000, is the kind of
relaxed and intimate place that makes for a great day trip if you feel in need
of a change of scenery during your vacation.
‘A lot in a little’ might be the national motto of Costa Rica –
it’s certainly a phrase that sums up the Nakuti Papagayo perfectly.