Top 5 Free (or nearly free) Activities at Peninsula Papagayo for Kids Under 5
We have been coming out to Peninsula Papagayo with our family since 2004, first as visitors and then as home owners. Our young children have grown up with Peninsula Papagayo as their vacation home destination, so we have a lot of personal experience in using the area and amenities as our guests would. Here are our favorite things to do as a family at Peninsula Papagayo with our young children:
Prieta Beach Club
Nacascolo Beach is a gorgeous, long, light sand beach, perfect for new swimmers, hesitant kids, or those that aren’t fans of waves. Nacascolo Beach is on the bay side of Peninsula Papagayo, so it is pretty flat surf. Bring goggles or a child-size snorkeling mask so that the kids can see the small fish underwater or dive for shells or rocks. This beach also has more shells than Prieta Beach with fun beach combing. Our favorite stake-out is at the dead looking tree half buried in the sand near the entrance off the boardwalk. It provides shade and will be a bit wet in high tide and around 50 ft from the water at low tide. We hang our bags and towels on the tree branches to keep them sand free. Be aware that this tree has thorns, but they seem to have largely worn away from the lower areas. And be vigilant so that no one steps on fallen branches! At low tide the beach will be huge, and at high tide, it will be considerably narrower. This translates to a very shallow entry. There is no steep drop off, simply a very gradual slope to deeper waters.
We tend to arrive earlier in the morning when the Prieta Beach Club is not yet open or on days that the Beach Club is closed. Remember, sunrise is around 6am in Costa Rica, so even with black-out shades, the day may start a bit earlier than you expect, as monkeys and birds start their loud morning chatter (see Howler monkeys post to hear what it sounds like)!
The pool is wonderful! While vacationing at Peninsula Papagayo, we use the pool at Vista Hermosa daily. Sometimes for a morning swim, and more often for afternoon and evening play times. This beautiful infinity edge pool overlooks the driving range, with the 10th and 11th holes peeking through the forest to the right, and the 9th and 7th holes visible to the left. And, of course the bay views are lovely, with views to the marina and its boats.
The pool has a small cone shaped ledge with steps at the entry way, with space to sit and play in the water. For non-walkers, the floaty baby toys are great (they are available at the Pulperia store
near the tennis courts). The entire pool is the same depth, around 4 ft. The infinity edge gives a great “grasp and hang” area for the kids. They can scoot along the side to get from one side of the pool to the other.
The villas with private pools also have amazing ocean view infinity edge pools, with the added bonus of a private hot tub (see Casa Estrella and Puma Estate). On multiple occasions, I have spotted monkeys in the trees near their pools, so clearly there is some prime vegetation to entice the monkeys.
Monkey and animal searches
Costa Rica is all about adventure, natural beauty, and wildlife. We adore the wildlife and the divine mix of rugged raw beauty with luxury at Peninsula Papagayo. Every outing is an animal search, and we usually will go on morning and evening “monkey searches.” We liken it to an Africa safari, searching for wild animals in order to best photograph them. We have seen white-faced monkeys, howler monkeys, coatamundi (pizotes), coyotes, peccary (wild pigs), foxes, deer, raccoon, iguanas, lizards, snakes, and all sorts of birds and bugs. Friends and acquaintances claim to have seen some of the wild cats in the area including jaguarundi, ocelot, and jaguar. We have not been so lucky, and these are extremely rare sightings.
For a change of pace, we love to go down to the marina both for the destination and for the 12 minute drive each way. There is a great open air restaurant called the Dive Bar and Restaurant. They have daily food and beverage “Happy Hour” specials from 5-7 pm and nice menu options for children . You can see the boats and occasional mega yacht docked onsite and stroll by the water. Our favorite end of day treat is their brownie with ice cream. It is very generous (so shareable… unless you really love chocolate!) and delicious. It’s $3 for the brownie and under $5 with the ice cream and taxes, so not free, but certainly within reason!
For our return to our villa, we get out a big flashlight, and scour the roadside for wildlife the whole ride back. At night on this exact route, we frequently spot deer, and have also found coyote, raccoon, foxes, frogs, and mice.
We like this excursion since it is a great change of pace at the Marina, it is an early and fun dinner, this is a further animal “hunt” than our daily monkey searches with different animals at night, and the kids are frequently lulled to sleep en route to bedtime at the villa.
Even though younger children may be a bit too young to go on some of the land tours, there is a lot for them to enjoy onsite! We hope you have an amazing adventure!
– Story and Photos by Jane Moore, Papagayo Luxury –