If you’re heading to Parador Nature Resort & Spa in Costa Rica with a baby or young children in tow, you’re in the right place! I brought my 9 year old and 8-month old baby to Parador Hotel. Parador is located in the Manuel Antonio region, so it’s perfect if this is a part of Costa Rica you want to see. Here’s our review on Hotel Parador with a baby or kids.
If you’ve seen photos and read tips on Parador, you already know that it’s a high-end resort where the guests are pampered, and that they do have some family-friendly amenities – but is it worth it bringing a baby to Parador Hotel?
We’re going to go through all of the services and amenities below and give you our honest impression of each, as well as how it fits with staying there with a baby. Hopefully, this gives you a realistic picture of what your stay at Parador will look like with babies or kids. If you decide it isn’t for you, we have recommendations on other family-friendly hotels in Costa Rica.
Parador Nature Resort and Spa with a Baby: A Review
Below is our honest take on each of the below amenities offered at Parador, and how they fit with staying there with a baby or young child.
The Location of Parador Nature Resort
Parador resort is surrounded by acres of jungle, so even though you’re not far from the busy town of Quepos, it feels like you’re away from everything, surrounded by nature.
If you want to stay in a luxury resort and be near Manuel Antonio National Park, then Parador is a good, reliable place to stay. Its large and well-known in the area, so any outside provider you’re booking tours with that offers a shuttle service will be able to pick you up at Parador.
The beach closest to Parador has very strong waves and might not be suitable for very small children. Here are some beaches and attractions in the area and the approximate driving distance from Parador:
- Manuel Antonio National Park (12 mins)
- Playa Espadilla (10 mins)
For a complete list of beaches that are safe for babies in children, read my post on family-friendly beaches in Costa Rica.
Availability of baby items and supplies at Parador
Onsite at Parador Resort, there are gift shops and even another shop that sells some necessities, like swim diapers, goggles, and pool toys. We didn’t find that it had everything needed for being there with a baby or toddler, however. There was a small convenience store just down the hill right by the entrance to the small road that leads into the resort area. We were able to purchase diapers and other supplies there.
Good to Know: The restaurants at Parador Hotel have high chairs, and you can also rent a portable crib if you stay at Parador with a baby (although, we chose to bring our own.)
Parador’s Check-in and out Process
When we arrived at Parador, we were greeted with a fruit drink (non-alcoholic) and a warm hand wipe while we waited to check-in. We found the check-in process a bit slow, so it was nice to have the drink.
There’s a lot to look at in the lobby area; our older child was looking at the knight statues while I pushed the stroller and my husband stood in line. We probably waited about 15 minutes to finally be able to check in, but it was our turn, and it didn’t take too long to get everything sorted.
Once we were ready to head to our rooms, there was someone to help with our bags and escort us to our rooms. They drive a small vehicle so you can load all your luggage and they drive it while you walk, which is pretty convenient. He was able to take us as far as the escalator.
The Food at Parador
All our meals at Parador Nature Resort were delicious; the food was one of our favourite things about our stay. What really impressed me was that they had a separate plant-based menu for lunches and dinners! They also have vegetarian and gluten-free options. For drinks, they offer lots of traditional Costa Rican beers, wines and cocktails.
La Gallería is their main dining area; its where you’ll eat breakfasts and lunches. They serve dinner as well, and there are also two other restaurants that serve dinner. La Gallería has a beautiful ambiance, often live music in the evenings, and it overlooks the ocean. La Gallería was well-equipped with a few high chairs.
Breakfast in La Gallería was a buffet. They served beans, egg, rice, lots of different kinds of fresh local fruits, waffles, bread, croissants and muffins, and a design-your-own omelette station. Drinks are brought to your table by a server, such as Costa Rican coffee and freshly squeezed fruit juice.
We appreciated that staff at Parador was always willing to bring a plate of fresh fruit for our baby! She tried locally grown banana, papaya, pineapple and mango.
The only thing we didn’t love regarding the meals at Parador was the length of time it took for dinners. If you’re travelling without kids, this won’t be a problem – but an hour and a half seating time with a baby or toddler at dinnertime can get difficult. For this reason, we opted for the babysitting service for one night, so we could enjoy a relaxing adult-only dinner in the beautiful Gallería.
Having said that, lunches were quicker, and breakfast being a buffet meant it could be as quick or long as we wanted it.
TIP: Prepare to entertain your kids through longer dinner periods, and consider room service or babysitting if you’re finding it tricky.
The Rooms at Parador
I requested an ocean-view room but was a bit disappointed when our view was more jungle than the ocean. Having said that, we ended up enjoying the jungle view. It was on the side of the building that doesn’t get direct sun, so we were shaded in the early evenings. We saw a toucan and many other birds from our room at Parador.
The curtains were perfect for blacking out any light. This was helpful in the mornings and during the baby’s naps.
The beds were comfy, and the whole room was very clean, it had a very luxurious feel to them. The AC worked well as well. The complimentary bath products were Ocean brand; usually, I don’t enjoy free hotel products, but these smelled nice and worked great on my hair.
Our room was on the 3rd floor, which means that we often had to climb a few flights of stairs. There is also a gondola that takes you down to the main floor, but it’s a bit slow, so we usually opted to just walk.
TIP: We found the views from the top 3rd floor to be worth the extra effort carrying a baby down the stairs!
Is Parador stroller-friendly?
We stayed on the 3rd floor and we hardly used our stroller at all, because of the only options were to carry it down several flights of stairs, or take it in the funicular.
The stroller fits in the funicular, but we didn’t end up wanting to use it. If you’re heading to Parador with a baby, we would strongly recommend bringing a baby carrier.
The Pools at Parador
The pool was a big part of what drew me to Parador resort – especially the infinity pool. Who could say no to a pool overlooking the ocean? I can say, it looks just as beautiful in person as in photos you see online. We enjoyed morning and evening swims.
There are three ocean-view infinity pools; two of which are adult-only. However, the one open to children is also their nicest one, and the one featured in most of their ads.
Our 9-year-old loved the pool most of all, and it made Parador her favourite place of all the places we stayed at in Costa Rica. We’re pretty sure our baby enjoyed it too. The main pool is shallow at the beginning but gets fairly deep, so we held our baby in our arms at all times.
At the pool, you can order a drink or ice cream anywhere and it will be brought right to your lawn chair and the tab put on your room # to be paid at check-out.
The Monkey Trail at Parador
There is a trail through the rainforest surrounding Parador for their guests that they call The Monkey Trail. We didn’t see any monkeys, but we may have been unlucky; I know other people talked about seeing them.
Regardless of whether you see monkeys or not, its a nice nature trail. (We’d recommend a baby carrier, not a stroller.) Parador is built on 12 acres of rainforest, so the trail and jungle surrounding are very natural, with lots of wildlife living in it. Along the trail, we saw birds and also stopped at a place with a bench with a beautiful view of the ocean.
We did get lucky at the pool area once when we were at Parador – we saw a baby sloth!
The Children’s Playroom at Parador
I took our 9-year-old to Parador’s children’s playroom while our baby was napping. At 9, she was above the age that the playground is targeted at, so we weren’t in there for very long. Our baby would have been a bit too young to enjoy most of it.
However, Parador’s playroom is perfect for toddlers and young kids under 5. It has a little trampoline, toddler-size slide, carpet with toys, rocking horse, and a little swing. Its a nice break from the heat outside, in a different setting than your room.
The Fitness Centre at Parador
I didn’t use the fitness centre at Parador (kudos to those who do while on vacation, especially with kids!) However, it looks very spacious with tinted windows. So from the outside, you can’t see much detail, but from the inside you have a beautiful garden view while working out. The fitness centre at Parador has treadmills, and strengthening exercise machines.
The Spa at Parador
My husband treated me to a massage in Parador’s spa, called Pacifica Spa.
I was greeted with a glass of fresh orange juice when I arrived and brought to the massage room. After the massage, (which was perfect, very relaxing) I was brought to the water therapies room to use the hot tub and the pool. It was nice to relax there for a little while. I felt guilty staying too long, as I knew my husband was alone with the kids.
I highly recommend trying the spa while you’re staying at Parador!
The Parador Staff, Service and Communication
All staff members at Parador were friendly, and helpful and spoke excellent English. (I wanted to use my Spanish at times too, and they were supportive of that as well.)
Prior to your visit, you can message them anytime with questions. During your visit, you can message them on WhatsApp with any questions, or to make bookings for things, such as the babysitting.
The Babysitting Service at Parador
The cost for babysitting service at Parador is $20/hour per child. So this meant for two children, we paid $40 USD/hour. This can get expensive depending on how many children you have and how many hours you need it for, but we felt that it would be worth it to have a nice relaxing meal out in the restaurant.
When we got back from dinner, our daughter was on the patio with Maria, (the Parador staff member and babysitter.) Maria had taught her how to say her name in Spanish and told her some things about Costa Rica. Miss V was talking about it for the rest of our trip, teaching us a lot of the tidbits and facts about Costa Rica that she learned, such as that the kids wear uniforms to school. We were glad that we used the service, not just for the night out, but for the cultural exchange for our older daughter!
The relaxing meal in the restaurant is worth paying for the babysitting. It’s a very nice restaurant, and I’m glad we had the opportunity to enjoy it child-free.
The babysitting service was charged to our tab that we paid when we checked out.
Is Parador Family-Friendly?
Overall, we found Parador very family-friendly and great place to stay in Costa Rica with kids. Most of the clientele at Parador seemed to be seniors, but we did see other families with babies, toddlers and school-age kids. We didn’t feel like the resort was specifically targeting families with young children, but Parador offers several amenities that children would enjoy, such as the pools, playroom, high chairs, fold up crips which you can rent (we brought our own).
As I mentioned earlier, Parador’s pools are awesome, and a baby or child of any age will love them. Parador was our 9-year old’s favourite place that we stayed on the trip to Costa Rica, because of the pools.
Conclusion: A Review on Baby at Parador Hotel
Although Parador is more popular with seniors and adults as opposed to children, I would still consider it a family-friendly resort. Overall, I was glad that we made it apart of our trip in Costa Rica. If you’re set on Parador resort after reading this through, you can book it here on Booking.com.
Final Thoughts on: Baby at Parador Hotel
Hotel Parador was the only resort we splurged on in Costa Rica, and we were glad we did. Manuel Antonio is a great region to visit in Costa Rica because of the access to beach as well as the rainforest. If you want more rainforest, consider heading to La Fortuna in the Central Valley.
Overall, we would recommend Parador to other families with babies or kids, for a relaxing time on your trip to Costa Rica. We would give it a positive review based on our personal experience. Your kids will probably love the pool as much as ours did.
In other parts of the Costa Rica, we stayed in smaller hotels or Airbnbs near the jungle, so that we could check out the hanging bridges in the rainforest. Click here to see all of our Costa Rica travel guides.