More exhilarating sports and recreation facilities are coming soon to Peninsula Papagayo. A state-of-the-art splash park, wave pool, and surf simulator are just the beginning.
By Francesca Poddie | August 5, 2022 | Guanacaste

Nearly 20-acres on Peninsula Papagayo’s east plateau is being transformed into a next generation sports park — the epicenter for a fresh collection of soulful nature-meets-movement activities for all ages from surfing and swimming to yoga and climbing.   

Adjacent to the sports park clubhouse, a landscaped green space the size of a soccer field is designed to bring the community together. Residents and guests will be able to mingle over lawn games, pick-up sporting events, and pop-up food trucks. There are also bocce ball courts, an outdoor amphitheater for festivals and live music performances, and a dog park located alongside the multipurpose lawn.

“The wave pool is a major anchor of the Sports Park,” said Craig Stoner, a principal at EDSA, the award-winning design firm responsible for the project. “It creates a safe and controlled environment where first-time beginners can learn to surf. For highly experienced pros, the size and speed of the wave can be adjusted to match their ability.”

Typically, surfers need to rely on Mother Nature to create the perfect conditions to ride the area’s famed barrels and breaks, but at the 26×40 foot wave pool, conditions are perfect 365 days a year. Hour-long lessons and programs, led by SurfX, will be available everyday where beginners can learn basic fundamentals before progressing to the open water, while longtime surfers can train or master a new trick.

“The surf pavilion will be where all the action is,” said Stoner. “The simulator will also light up for nighttime activity and there are plans to host competitions.”

The thrill doesn’t stop there. A kitted-out waterpark with waterslides and fun fountains will have kids splashing the day away. Further down the hillside families will find the Forest Playground—another jam-packed adventure hub. A 3,000 sf pump track caters to all-wheel adventures including BMX bikes, scooters, and skateboards (available for rent). Other activities include a 12-foot climbing wall, tree nets and slides. Budding naturalists can spend afternoons in Peninsula Papagayo’s newly relocated Nature Center to learn about the area’s staggering biodiversity.

For those who’ve caught the paddle and pickleball fever sweeping the nation, there are four new pickleball courts and one paddle court, as well as five tennis courts, an outdoor basketball court and a four-lane 25-meter lap pool.

With all this activity, refueling is essential. The restaurant serves up five-star eats from nutrient-packed smoothies to gourmet sandwiches and delicious snacks. Located in the heart of the complex, parents can relax with a refreshing beverage as they watch their kids having the time of their lives surfing, sliding and riding. Family cabanas and a teen lounge also offer places to rest and recharge before heading back into the action.

For those whose speed is more of a slow flow, there’s a hidden gem accessed by a footpath at the end of the main lawn. “It requires a little exertion to get to but it’s well worth the effort,” said Stoner. Perched on the hillside overlooking the Pacific is a yoga and meditation deck that is completely zen with out of this world sunset views overlooking Palmares Preserve.  

“Adventure is at the heart of any trip to Costa Rica,” said Stoner, “and now there will be even more of it located right in Peninsula Papagayo’s backyard.”

The new sports park is scheduled to open in early 2024.