I travelled with 5 family members (3 mid-20's and parents) from 6/22-6/29, first time in Costa Rica for all of us and it is a beautiful country. Definitely if you do some exploring you will see a lot more beautiful plant and animal life than in you will see in Caribbean spots, so be sure to get out and get to know the real Costa Rica.
The Riu was a beautiful place. The rooms are very comfortable, grounds are beautiful. Food is OK, I will agree with some of the other reviewers and try the Filet Mignon which was excellent. Other than that I recommend to eat at Liberia buffet and don't bother with the specialty restaurants.
We took a tour with Alex from costaricaamazingtours.com and for MegaCombo Miravalles tour which included the Llanos de Cortez waterfall tour, ziplining through the jungle, horseback riding through the rainforest, amazing rainforest tour with Alex, an "authentic" Costa Rican lunch (best meal of the trip) and Miravalles volcano hot springs and natural mud bath. Alex took pictures of us with our cameras all day! Another day we did the Palo Verde boat tour with the same company and it was another good choice.
The beach at the Riu is a lovely, soft black sand. There is also a white sand beach with the most amazing variety of marine life I have ever seen - walk to the left of the beach, past the rocks (wear water shoes or sneakers and go at low-tide around 3:30pm) and you will find it. It is a trek but it is truly an amazing experience.
Also amazing on the beach: $35 massage from Alex and Ivania, mother-son team to your right as you approach the beach :)
One important caveat about the Riu Guanacaste is to be very, very careful with all of your valuables. On our first day at the resort my brother had $200 stolen out of his wallet. The hotel managers were informed and said they would look into it but we knew there was nothing that could be done. We had read reviews on tripadviser warning to keep all valuables locked in the safe at all times, but here are some oversights that you can avoid: we did let our luggage out of our sight when it was brought up to the room; upon seeing that the rooms were already made-up, we assumed that no one might enter as housekeeping; we were not aware that staff come every 2 days to refill the minibar.
I would still stay at the Riu again as I realize that theft is common in underdeveloped countries, but the hotel should increase their efforts to minimize theft.
Overall: we had a great time in Costa Rica and at the Riu, with just one important caveat.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Opening winter 2009/10. Situated in northern Costa Rica, in Guanacaste. Located on Playa de Matapalo beach. Complimentary sun loungers on the beach. 6-storey main building. Surrounded by 35,000 m2 / 41,86 sq. yards of lush gardens. Closest village: Nuevo Colon. 13 km / 8.1 miles from various shops. 33 km / 20.5 miles from Liberia airport. Credit cards accepted: MasterCard, Amex, Visa ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Hotel Riu Guanacaste Costa Rica