Thursday, December 17, 2015

Andaz Peninsula Papagayo - Part 3

One of the best parts about the Andaz Peninsula Papagayo was the abundance of activities (both free and paid) that you could engage in.

When we arrived, we were given the schedule of activities that week. My family definitely took advantage of several that really made our trip more memorable.

We obviously didn't get to try all the activities, but I wanted to highlight a few of them that we did elect to do.

1. Paddle Boarding (Free)
Paddle Boarding was one of the activities my parents did while I was having a blast in the Cambi Kid's Club. Neither of them had ever attempted to paddle board, so this was a fun learning experience for both of them. Down by the Andaz beach (which isn't really as amazing as you'd hope), they had an outsourced staff who would get you set up with free non-motorized activities (kayaks and paddle boards) but would also set you up with jet skis (for a charge).

My mother went first so my father could snap a few photos. She suited up in her life jacket and went into the water.

After a quick intro lesson from the guide (~2 minutes), she was ready to head out.

Before you knew it, my mother was about 100 feet out and drifting into the beautiful Culebra Bay. She was a natural, keeping her balance the entire time, though there were some near falls when the jet skis went by. Unfortunately, my father's short stature low center of gravity didn't help him as much as he hoped. He went down a few times, which made my mother pretty happy.

2. Happy Hour at Chao Pescao
From 4:30PM-5:30PM on most (but not all nights), the Andaz had Happy Hour at their tapas bar, Chao Pescao. All drinks were half price ($6-7) and their mixologist was pretty amazing. As you can see, I came to play hard. I just discovered a drink called the Shirley Temple and I was ready to have a good time, so I wore my party dress.

The bar was an open air structure, with plenty of indoor seating, but there was also a balcony area with couches and high tables as well. The indoor seats had the benefit of the ceiling fans circulating the air. Unfortunately, the outdoor seats (at least that night) didn't have any breeze so we were pretty sweaty from the humid, hot weather.

We shared our big couch seating area with another family and ordered a delicious round of drinks

As you can see, the drinks were as pretty to look at as they were tasty to drink.

This is a photo of me when asked how many drinks my father had.

3. Mojito Mixology Class ($15/person)
For a modest fee of $15/person, you could learn how to make fun mixed drinks. The price is actually well worth the experience, because you're also drinking as you're learning, so it's kind of like a private happy hour.  When we RSVP'ed, there were only 2 spots left. However, my parents were the only two that showed up among the class of 6. So my aunt decided to join them as well.

We met at 4PM at the Ostra Restaurant where we used the restaurant's bar before they opened for dinner at 6PM.

As you can see, they had already prepared many of the ingredients we'd need to make our masterpieces.

Our teacher was great at explaining the basic tools we'd need to use, plus some techniques on how to muddle, mix and strain.

 My father went first and tried to make a strawberry mojito.

Then my mother gave it a shot as well and came up with a pretty tasty drink with a nice blackberry garnish.

I wasn't there to sample their drinks, but they came back pretty tipsy and smiling, so I have to imagine these drinks they made hit the spot.


4. Forest Walk
At 8AM Thursday morning, my family dropped me off at Cambi Kid's Club after breakfast and head over to the Lobby to meet the rest of the group that we'd be doing the 1 hour Forest Walk with. We were introduced to our guide Manfred and entered into the woods behind the resort.

Some of the guests were well prepared (i.e. had applied bug spray) and then there was my mother. For some reason, she didn't want to put on bug spray. Big mistake! Nevertheless, she borrowed some Off! from the guide and continued onward.

Manfred explained about the different types of plants in the area, what animals were local to the peninsula and how the ancient local inhabitants lived in these very woods before the resort companies leased the land from the Costa Rican government to build the Four Seasons and the Andaz.

We even saw some pottery from the native people that inhabited the area years ago.

The best part was backward repelling down the steep part of the mountain using a rope. It wasn't anything that Bear Grylls would be proud of, but it was good fun for my family.

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