- Costa Rica with kids: Using Hyatt points on Andaz and Rio Perdido resorts
- Andaz Costa Rica Resort: the good, the bad and the terrifying
In my recent post about our trip to the island of Saba I’ve said that if you only focus on chain-affiliated hotels, you are missing out. But there is a flip side to that coin: I wouldn’t know about many amazing properties if it wasn’t for hotel points. Rio Perdido resort (an hour from Liberia airport) is one such place.
It’s an SLH hotel that recently became bookable via Hyatt points. As a result, I re-arranged my Costa Rica plans and booked our last night here. Absolutely no regrets, except that we couldn’t stay longer. Alas, the kids had to get back to school after already missing a day of classes and tests.
Of course, if we ended up staying all three nights in Andaz, it would have been perfectly fine. More than fine, actually, as we really enjoyed that resort. But Rio Perdido is a totally different type of property that I highly recommend as well.
To me, Costa Rica is unique due to abundant wildlife and hot springs. These two resorts give you the chance to experience the best of both worlds.
My husband and I were lucky to visit Arenal area of Costa Rica last year. While I highly recommend it (and Tabacon resort is still an excellent value via Hyatt points), Rio Perdido can make for a decent substitute. This is especially true if you don’t like a lot driving and prefer to fly to/from Liberia airport.
If you have four nights, I would do a 2/2 split between Rio Perdido and Andaz, in that oder. Keep in mind that Rio Perdido will only accept kids who are at least 8 years old, and I’ve seen info on Trip Advisor indicating that the age cutoff will be 12 in November of this year. I’m not sure if bookings made before that date will be honored, so I recommend you reach out to the property directly.
Rio Perdido is NOT an exceptional value via Hyatt points in low season (but I don’t care)
I booked two cabins for our party of five for 21k Hyatt points each. My husband and I stayed in one and my MIL kept the kids with her.
The best cash rate I found for our dates was through Rio Perdido’s own website, and it was $295 per night for double occupancy and $365 for my MIL’s cabin. The resort did not charge us extra for the third guest, so the latter was a pretty decent value via points.
For our cabin I only got 1.4 CPP, and I honestly couldn’t care less. I do aim for 1.5 cents redemptions per Hyatt point, and that was close enough. We don’t have a lot of spare cash right now, so using points was a no-brainer. More importantly, we got to stay in a place that was very appealing to me personally.
If I only focused on CPP (cents per point), I would have stayed at Andaz where the rooms were running at $650 per night. But that’s not the way I look at travel. I would never in a million years pay $1300 per night for two rooms. So why does it matter?
The beds can be reconfigured into a king-size if you prefer
The futon in my MIL’s cabin was made into a bed in order to accommodate my son. It is a bit shorter that a regular twin bed, so likely won’t fit a very tall teenager. But it was perfectly fine for our 12-year old son.
To be clear, the rooms were exceptionally clean and looked like they were recently remodeled. The mattresses were in great shape, and A/C worked very well.
There were slippers and nice bathrobes, so there is no way I can refer to the lodging experience as rustic. Rustic luxury? Perhaps. Internet connection was excellent.
The bathroom was basic, but toilet flushed and water pressure was good
Each cabin has a porch with hammocks:
The view is of the forest where you can occasionally spot monkeys and various species of birds:
The pathways between cabins were well lit at night, and there are complimentary golf cart rides available at all times for those with mobility issues.
My husband and I were very happy with our cabin, and would stay in it again in a heartbeat. In fact, he requested we go back to Rio Perdido as a couple, and I fully intend to someday fulfill his wish. Liberia airport is easily accessible from Miami, so if I find a deal via Avios program, I’ll try to make it happen.
I should add that my husband is not a travel junkie, and rarely asks to go somewhere.
But you should manage your expectations, and if staying in this type of room is a deal breaker, you may want to look into paying extra to upgrade to their fancier units that have outdoor showers. I think there is a reason there are no photos of entry-level cabins when booking via Hyatt website.
Keep in mind that you may get a complimentary upgrade as part of Hyatt/SLH partnership benefits. But I wouldn’t count on it. On the day of our check-in, fancier units were available, but no upgrade was offered. I didn’t press for it, especially since we were only there for one night. It just seemed obnoxious to me, but I would probably ask politely if we were to come back. If you have a family of four, you will have no choice but to pay for the upgrade to a larger unit that has two queen beds.
We are fairly simple people, and occasionally like to stay in cabins run by Florida State Park service. The tiny homes in Rio Perdido are WAY nicer, though to be fair, also quite a bit more expensive. This is a giant property and there are only 30 cabins total, so we hardly ever saw anyone. That’s actually a big part of the appeal, since my husband is a bit of a hermit.
Unique amenities are what makes this resort truly special
From the moment you walk to the reception area, you know you are in a one-of-a-kind place. It looks like a giant tree house.
This is where you will also find their one and only restaurant.
The dishes at Rio Perdido are about 30% cheaper compared to Andaz, and the quality is better IMO. We paid $105 for our dinner for five before extra tip.
My daughter enjoying her steak
The manager brought us a giant complimentary cheese-and-meat platter as a thank you for booking via Hyatt program:
I would estimate that it saved us at least $20, since we skipped ordering appetizers. Breakfast is complimentary and very, very good.
You get to order one entree per person, a pastry, plus juice and coffee. It’s more than enough, for sure.
Everything was delicious.
My husband and I came here in the evening, and there wasn’t anyone around.
Two pools are very warm, and one is relatively cold. There is a swim-up bar where you can order drinks in the daytime.
I saved the best for last. One of the main reasons this resort caught my eye was the thermal river that runs through the property. I really wanted my kids to experience it, since there are no hot springs near Andaz resort.
You do have to go down a number of steps (can be slippery), so it’s not for someone who is mobility-challenged. Sadly, my MIL had to sit that one out. You are only supposed to access the area from 7AM to 7PM, but I wouldn’t want to go there in the dark anyway.
The thermal river has a number of natural pools where you can soak your entire body.
The water is very warm, so I recommend going in the morning or evening when it’s not too hot outside. My kids and I spent only about 15 minutes in the water, but it was a fun and unique experience. My son was a bit nervous to hear howler monkeys in the trees and kept asking if they were planning to attack us. Umm, no… I think?
The resort offers a lot of paid activities right on-property, including tubing and zip-lining, but we didn’t participate in any of them.
A complimentary guided morning walk is included, but sadly we didn’t get a chance to take advantage of it.
Our one-night stay in Rio Perdido was far too short, but I’m still glad we got to experience it. It’s a very special place, and I look forward to returning someday. You may not get exceptional value via Hyatt points here like you would in Andaz, but I actually liked both resorts equally.
That being said, my kids preferred Andaz to Rio Perdido, so if you are traveling with children and absolutely have to choose only one property, burn your points on the former. Andaz is probably also better for those who have mobility issues. In order to really take advantage of all Rio Perdido has to offer, a decent amount of walking is required. Andaz property, on the other hand, is somewhat more accessible.
Otherwise, I highly recommend both resorts.
A reminder: if you are looking to accumulate Hyatt points, Chase Ink Business Preferred (our affiliate link) still has an increased sign-up bonus of 100k points after spending $8k in three months. That’s 100k Hyatt points via 1:1 transfer right there. Not as good of a deal, but you may also want to read Nancy’s post on elevated bonus on Chase Hyatt Business card.
Leana is the founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.