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  • Writer's pictureKristin

Costa Rica | Andaz Pennisula Papagayo Resort

What a beautiful country! Costa Rica hadn't been at the top of our list; however, Alex had some Hyatt free-night vouchers that we had been saving and needed to use up. We of course, wanted to make the most of them, so Alex spent hours researching which resorts we could get the most bang for our buck. We finally narrowed it down to Costa Rica, and specifically the 5-star Andaz Pennisula Papagayo Resort. Plus going in the thick of our Canadian Winter seemed like the perfect getaway. This became Clara's 1st international trip at 13.5 months old; although she had been several places within the U.S. and Hawaii before she was a year old.

Flying with a 13 Month Old

We flew into Liberia, which was only a 35 minute drive from the resort. Clara did alright on the flight, but it definitely wasn't the smoothest experience. When people ask me about flying with toddlers, I always think back to this experience. I would say that the 12-16 month timeframe was one of the more challenging times to take a toddler just for the fact that they are constantly on the move. And they don't have the greatest listening skills yet. (This is my opinion now that my kids are older.) She constantly just wanted to toddle around and go explore, so the airplane was a big tough (although we did try to bring games/shows she could watch); and while in the airport basically one of us would be in charge of just watching and following her around. She did get her first McDonalds Happy Meal and enjoyed riding the tram. We ran into some issues with the airline not recognizing her as a lap infant, but finally got it all sorted out in Miami so we could continue on.

We did decide to rent a car, as this would give us a lot more flexibility what we could do during our week there. We knew that we wouldn't be able to stay at the resort all day, every day; plus excursions off of resorts like this are expensive. We also knew that we didn't want to pay for resort meals all the time and having a vehicle allowed us the ability to go get some basic lunch food to eat in our suite, as well as the ability to drive off the resort to get dinner. Luckily complementary breakfast was included - and it was delicious!

Andaz Pennisula Papagayo Resort

The resort was beautiful and the landscaping was breathtaking. They had a beautiful infinity pool, which we took advantage of as much as possible. There were also some shallow sections which was great for Clara to play around in.

They also had a pathway with direct access down to their beach, which had a great open view of the bay. At the beach, Clara loved watching the pelicans diving for fish and gathering seashells with Mommy; and even swinging a bit in the hammock. We thoroughly enjoyed the Costa Rican heat in February.

There were also golf carts that were used by the resort staff to take guests to and from their rooms at check-in and check-out, as the resort was quite hilly. Clara became friendly with the golf carts during our stay and would wave at them each time they drove by.

We also took advantage of our nice patio in our room, as it was a nice place to relax while Clara napped. We tried to keep Clara somewhat on her nap schedule by coming back for a nap if we were staying at the resort during the day. She was in the process of transitioning from 2 naps to 1 nap per day, so some mornings she would get cat naps and then other days she might only get in 1 nap. If we were out and about, she was pretty good about getting a nap in the car.

Resident Monkeys

There were even families of monkeys that lived at the resort. One afternoon I was working out at the resort gym, when I saw a whole family of white-faced monkeys swing right in front of the window. There was even a baby hanging on the mommy monkey's back. It was such a unique experience! I rushed back to the room to let Alex and Clara know, but when they made it back there, it was just the Howler monkeys hanging out in the trees. Clara loved looking at the monkeys and after seeing them that time, for the rest of the trip when we asked "Do you see any monkeys?," she'd look up in the trees.

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