Costa Rica has long been the stomping grounds for adventure seeking surfers, fishermen and zip liners. When the Peninsula Papagayo opened on the North Pacific Coast over ten years ago, luxurious accommodations followed. Just across the bay from the Four Seasons, is an ultra-lux villa: Villa Manzu.
Looking to marry amongst your closest family and friends, on a cliff over the ocean? Villa Manzu is an eight-bedroom, 32,000 square foot home. When you stay here, you have the entire property. If you pack family and friends in, twenty-four people can sleep in beds – perfect for family and the wedding party. The rest of your guests can overflow at the Four Seasons. Villa Manzu is isolated on five-acres of peninsula jutting into the Pacific Ocean. Guests enjoy two swimming pools, spa, theater room and expansive living room, kitchen and patios. The all-inclusive experience includes a full staff of chefs, butlers, waiters, drivers and adventure specialists.
Entertaining is easy when you stay at Villa Manzu. Yoga classes are held on property at the edge of the point, overlooking the water. (Hint: the point is a scenic place for your ceremony!) An 18-hole Arnold Palmer-designed golf course is minutes away. Guests can enjoy brunch at the marina, head out fishing and enjoy a sunset cruise. It’s a little bit of trek to Costa Rica’s famous zip lines, but worth the twenty-minute drive.
Surfing, stand up paddle boarding and snorkeling are a short walk from the Villa at the residents’ Prieta Beach Club. But why walk? Use of the Range Rover HSE is part of the package; you can drive or be shuttled. There is also a Jeep and an Expedition. The most entertaining route to the beach club is through the golf course on golf carts. Families of raccoon like coatis scurry across the fairways and monkeys swing through the trees. Whichever mode of transportation you choose, the staff will have equipment, towels, water and sunscreen waiting for you.
The villa consists of multiple levels built into a steep hillside. On the main floor, an infinity pool jets out – seemingly into the jungle. The water cascades over the edges and down two-three stories before splashing into pools below. Nestled under the pool, between the walls of falling water, is the open-air spa. Occasional coastal breezes wisp through spraying guests with an exhilarating mist. Yes, you are being massaged inside a waterfall.
The kitchen crew at the villa is top rate. Most meals are enjoyed out on the covered patio with views of sunrise, sunset and occasional playful monkeys. Awake to the smells of muffins or banana bread baking in the oven, fresh squeezed juices and eggs, bacon and sausage frying on the stove. Lunches are light: shrimp, fish, salads or avocado dishes served with black beans, rice and plantains. They are usually packaged as Casado, a traditional Costa Rican “meal of the day.” Seafood in Cost Rica is superb and dinners are typically fresh fish prepared with light sauces. You and your guests will also enjoy interactive cooking experiences with the skillful chef.
Peninsula Papagayo is 40 minutes from the Liberia, Costa Rica International Airport (LIR). Flights are three and a half hours from Dallas and Houston.
Photos: Villa Manzu