Experience “Pura Vida,” the pure or simple life, at the Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo. This luxurious resort rests high on a hillside overlooking an entire spectrum of variegated blues beginning with the Pacific Ocean’s light turquoise, blending into sparkling sapphire, and finally ending in the distance in a deep royal blue that connects with the azure sky. Guests can participate in a wide variety of water and land activities, indulge in delicious cuisine and tasty libations, or pamper themselves with assorted treatments at the opulent spa. The Four Seasons, the last stop on my Costa Rican Road trip with my friend Connie, was a delightful place to conclude our adventure.
We checked into our expansive room boasting two queen beds, a gorgeous marble bathroom, and a well-appointed screened-in balcony with a commanding view of Blanco Beach on the Bay. After settling in we headed downstairs to Bahia, the all-day restaurant with indoor and outdoor dining.
Shaded by one of the unique trees on the patio, I savored a scrumptious fish sandwich and a refreshing mojito. The sandwich was accompanied by flawlessly cooked French fries, crispy on the outside and soft and delicate inside. As Connie and I critiqued the fries, we concluded that Costa Ricans somehow perfected the art of French fry making; they were sublime everywhere we traveled in the country.
After lunch, we toured the resort property and a few resident estates available for rent. These enormous villas are excellent choices for a large family or a few couples. The estates range from one to five bedrooms sleeping up to 14 people with a mix of adults and children. These spacious units overlook either the Bay or the Pacific Ocean, boast luxurious marble bathrooms, and many offer terraces and refreshing plunge pools.
The resort is in a tropical paradise, so the weather can get quite warm. We cooled off in our air-conditioned room before jumping aboard one of the staff-driven go-carts that transported us to Nemare Steakhouse located onsite at the golf clubhouse.
This open-air restaurant is stately and sophisticated with massive arched windows, leather-covered wooden chairs and booths, and a dignified yet relaxed atmosphere. I launched the evening of decadent dining with a sweet-tart lemon drop cocktail followed by several tasty dishes created by Chef Miguel Cañón.
Connie and I started with an appetizer. The small portobello mushroom with tangy goat cheese and fresh baby greens made a tantalizing start. I ordered the salad with heirloom tomatoes, blue cheese crumbles, balsamic vinegar, raisins, and raisin puree, and Connie had a wedge Caesar salad. Both were terrific. For an entrée, I had a scrumptious ribeye with sauteed mushrooms and a twice-baked potato with parmesan and bacon. The steak came with a selection of six salts and four delicious sauces: sundried tomato, herb and oil, the house sauce, and one that was both sweet and tangy. My glass of Cline Family Cellars’ zinfandel paired nicely with the steak.
Chef Cañón suggested his Baileys’ panna cotta with beet cake and berries for dessert. The dessert came with a story. Chef shared that his father often came home at night in a bad mood, so his mother would serve him a glass of Baileys mixed with warm milk. He explained that this concoction calmed his father and made him a pleasure to be around. Chef Cañón also told us that his mother often made a cleansing beet juice drink in the morning when he was growing up. These combined flavors in the Baileys panna cotta are a tribute to his mother.
One of my favorite things to do when traveling is reveling in the ambiance of an excellent perch. Each morning we took pleasure in sipping coffee on the screened-in veranda, listened to the waves crash onto the sand, and watched people meander the beach.
We decided to spend some time in the water. The Bay was warm and serene, and we floated about for a while. We considered snorkeling or renting a kayak but decided to relax instead. Soon we made our way to one of the two pools on the property and set our towels on two of the comfortable lounges under the flowing canopies. We spent the morning reading, and then in the early afternoon, we were shuttled over to the golf course where we met a lovely couple from New York. A staff member joined our group, and we boarded golf carts and took a tour. Connie and I had a blast buzzing up and down the paths in and around the golf course. The sixth hole is the signature hole featuring spectacular views of the bay from the tee. Connie navigated the pathways while I took photos. The resort grounds are home to numerous varieties of wildlife, including a group of howler monkeys.
The spa, salon, and fitness center overlook Virador Beach. There are indoor and outdoor facilities and well-trained instructors and therapists. The spa area is the ideal place to unwind. Connie and I enjoyed an invigorating yoga class, and I finished my spa time with a relaxing massage.
We returned from our thrilling ride and took a break before heading to the rum and chocolate class. The resort offers tastings of fine Costa Rican exports. We sampled four Costa Rican rums aged from 12 to 25 years. The 20-year-old rum was good, but the 25-year-old rum was incredible. The rums were all improved with a tasty piece of Costa Rican chocolate.
After the sampling class, we went down to the beach on the ocean side of the resort for a cocktail. The sunset was incredible, and one of the delightful couples from our class came down to enjoy the evening on one of the cabanas.
Pesce is just a short walk from the beach. Dinner began with focaccia bread topped with smoked paprika tomato foam followed by the scallop appetizer with fried prosciutto, cauliflower, and cauliflower cream. Both dishes were amazing. We decided to indulge in the restaurant’s version of tiramisu; it was spectacular. There were no ladyfingers, but the traditional flavors were intact, and it was served smoked under a glass.
If you are planning to visit Costa Rica, be sure to book a stay at the Four Seasons on Peninsula Papagayo, which is growing and is a tropical paradise to be experienced. While staying at this fantastic resort, I learned about another great property coming to the area in 2024, Nekajui, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve. This future reserve will offer 107 ultra-luxury guest rooms and suites.