Pristine beaches, boutique villas, all-inclusive fine dining, and tailored recreational activities. But this isn’t an ordinary retreat. This is Kasiiya Papagayo: a zero-impact wilderness experience that benefits both the environment and the local community. The property incorporates solar energy, electrically powered vehicles, and locally sourced food and staff; designed to leave no trace on the surrounding biosphere. Each and every one of us can and should strive for responsible tourism; supporting organizations that help rather than damage our fragile planet. In the heart of Guanacaste, Costa Rica, Upscale Living checks in to uncover eco-luxe at its very best.

Kasiiya Papagayo in Costa Rica
The property is located in a stunning 123-acre peninsula with two secluded sandy beaches in the heart of Guanacaste, Costa Rica.

Property Overview

Situated across 123 acres of bio-diverse landscape, Kasaiiya currently consists of just seven stand-alone tented suites, meaning ample space for uninterrupted exploration. Kasiiya is a Swahili term meaning “find your pace”, so the focus is on an all-encompassing sphere of guest wellness. Scheduling isn’t big out here (unless you want it to be – up to you), so most of us can expect a reduction in pace. In fact, it’s easy to lose track of time completely when in-flow; snorkeling by the coral reef, sunbathing at one of the two secluded beaches, or wildlife watching in the dry forest. Unlike most spas, this one is flexible with your sequence of events. With just a handful of guests at the resort (even at full capacity) and a staff to guest ratio of 2:1, you are at blissful leisure. On-site there’s a sunset deck, library, and beach cabanas dotted throughout. Meals and non-alcoholic beverages are included in two restaurants, and so too are all the activities. Seriously, all you have to focus on is wellness. Checks, bookings, and itineraries can wait upon return to the office.

Kasiiya Papagayo in Costa Rica
Suites have king-sized beds, large open-air living rooms with daybeds, indoor and open-air private bathrooms, and porched outdoor areas.

Private Tented Suites to Disconnect In

Right now, Kasiiya Papagayo features seven exclusive eco-friendly suites, but as of November 2021, this will increase to nine. All carry a similar decor and design – it’s more that they vary depending on needs. For example, the Laughing Whale suites perched up on the hilltop, in our option, are more romantic and best for couples seeking privacy. Down by the beach, the larger Floating Bird and Lazy Turtle suites have direct access to the beach, working well for those seeking to be more active or traveling as a family. All suites, regardless, feature spacious, minimalist designed indoor and private outdoor areas, king-sized beds, and rustic-jungle-accented bathrooms. Although you’re sitting on a fully equipped resort, there’s a distinct remote feeling about the suites – like being out alone in the jungle. Maybe it’s the openness of the space, maybe it’s the fact that there’s no key (although there are locks inside, for safe peace of mind), or maybe it’s the choice of furnishing that helps one disconnect. Television, espresso maker, kettle, fridge, iPad…they’re not present here so it doesn’t feel like you’re at a hotel or resort. Instead, staff can quickly bring you hot coffee or if you must, if you really must, you can connect a laptop to the high-speed WiFi if nature’s entertainment doesn’t suffice. In line with the company ethos, the rooms follow community-driven initiatives that invest in local craftsmen. Kasiiya’s carpenter works on 85% of the property’s woodwork and is being invested in by way of woodshop and continuing collaboration in all future endeavors.

Kasiiya Papagayo in Costa Rica
The settings of the two restaurants are magical, even during the wetter green season.

A Nutrition-Driven All-Inclusive

For anyone who’s ever been on a cruise or resort in Egypt, the thought of an all-inclusive could spike the thought of a post-vacation detox, but thankfully here, the vacation and the detox can be combined. Kasiiya’s restaurants serve meals with fresh, organic ingredients wherever possible. Guests are nourished with whole foods, from the homemade almond milk in your cappuccino to the catch of the day unhooked right in front of the property. The menu is designed to keep waste to a minimum (both food waste, and general waste) whilst offering guests choice and variety. Each week, two menus are drawn up, tailored to any dietary restrictions or preferences. Think Mahi-Mahi with garden-grown vegetables, creamy roast pumpkin soup, and chunky mango sorbets. A cooler is also placed in each room, with chilled beverages and treats replenished each day for in-between meal needs. Again, you don’t have to go down the superfood route. Indulgence is perfectly acceptable and possible (Costa Rica does have wonderful chocolate, after all, and alcoholic beverages may be purchased). But for most visitors, the carefully planned nutritious yet flavorful culinary journey is available and highly recommended.

Kasiiya Papagayo in Costa Rica
Spa treatments take place in the jungle with generous use of local volcanic stones, oils, and mud.

Wellness Elevated By Nature

Kasiiya’s on-site healer, Yamuna (along with sous-healer Vanessa), is renowned for his gifts of healing. A session with him can comprise of a combination of treatments such as reiki and traditional massage and uses natural elements from Costa Rica’s thriving ecosystem. Guests will learn to pause and feel the powerful connection with nature, heightened by the fact the treatment takes place amid sights, smells, and sounds of the jungle. The experience is profoundly transformative. In addition to internal transformation, Kasiiya works with Yamuna to transform the local holistic community – they are in the process of setting up healing schools so that local practitioners can learn his craft and wellness techniques.

Kasiiya Papagayo in Costa Rica
Meet with expert resident water and land guides for the activities

Adventure Splashed With Education

123 acres is quite the playground for outdoor adventure. Included in the stay, guests can opt-in for water activities with an on-site ocean expert who devotes time to the conservation of coral reefs and marine life. With him, you can partake in informative snorkeling, stand-up paddling boarding, and kayaking sessions. Back on land, Kasiiya has nature biologists who work with the team on a variety of wildlife programs. Guests can request to join him as he carries out his work day or night. In the day, you’re able to tag along on a hike and discover the monkeys and birds of the forest, and at night (depending on the season), you can come along on a turtle patrolling tour. Note that the sighting of turtles or hatchlings isn’t guaranteed, but you can be sure of an insightful night.  What guests actually find is that all the staff on the property are passionate about the work of Kasiiya and its partners, so you’ll collect nuggets of wisdom from everyone. Soon you’ll be sharing them back home, promoting a more responsible way to travel.

Getting there

Kasiiya is located in Playa Matapalito, four kilometers west of Playa Matapalo, Guanacaste, on the North West coast of Costa Rica, and is just 45 minutes from Liberia international airport. Private transfers are available from Liberia airport.