Well, after reading hundreds of reviews on the RIU Guanacaste we were concerned about the
bad reviews. I made the mistake of reading the 10% negative reviews who complained about
bad food, bad drinks, muddy black beach, murky water, bad shows, theft, bedbugs, bad service,
annoying vendors at beach, dirty pool and the resort being overrun by locals on weekends.
We found NONE OF THIS TO BE TRUE. We had the best trip ever.
The Airport was new and we were on the ground and at the RIU in less than 1 hour. Check in
took five minutes and the RIU had honored my email request to be on the first floor. Our room
was facing the pool and steps from the pool and the lobby. The room was spotless and
housekeeping was like clockwork at 2 pm. I was very concerned about the reports of theft but
one day I returned to the room and found that I had left the safe open. Housekeeping was in
the room and scolded me for leaving the safe open. She asked me to check the safe to be
sure that nothing was missing. We were careful about our stuff on the beach and at the pool.
There were complaints about the meal reservation process on the net and at the resort. We
made a reservation at the steak house in 2 minutes. We both had the filet mignon and while it
was not Ruth Chris Steakhouse quality, it was pretty good. We tried the Asian (no reservation
needed) and we were both satisfied. We both agreed that we preferred the buffet because
of all the choices. I enjoyed the salad bar, the choices of local foods and the dessert bar.
The choices of fresh local fruit was delicious. I have become a huge fan of rice and beans,
the staple of Costa Rica. The bartenders were all quick and friendly. The resort did have a
influx of locals on the weekend but we did not have any lack of service and enjoyed the party
atmosphere. On Monday it almost seemed too quiet.
The beach was different. It was a dark sand and it did get hot but it is volcanic and you are
sitting on the equator. The water was clear and the snorkeling on the right of the swim area
was very good. Take some bread from the buffet and you will be surrounded by colorful fish.
There was a fair number of vendors on the beach selling excursions, cigars, massage and
trinkets. They were not pushy and were happy to tell you about anything in Costa Rica. One
vendor told us it was OK to open the fence and hike into the woods next to the resort. We hiked
to the top of the mountain and saw monkees and exotic birds. There was never a problem
with getting a chair or "chair saving"
We arranged a trip with Costa Rica Amazing Tours. First, we stopped at a local grocery store
to get supplies for the day, very interesting and friendly people. Next we explored the ecosystem
of a river on a boat. We enjoyed the monkees, crocs, bats, birds and plantlife. We stopped for
lunch at a very local restaurant and then a spectacular waterfall. We ended the day at a
store that specialized in local wood products and coffee. The owner gave us a detailed tour
of the coffee roasting process. Sergio, Alex and their team did a great job.
We arranged a trip with ATV Adventures in the RIU lobby. We toured the countryside, rivers,
beachs and local towns for 4 hours and had a blast. I asked the guide to stop at a store for
some water but he chopped the top off a pineapple and I drank the sweet water inside.
The high point of the trip was whitewater rafting that we arranged with Swiss Travel in the lobby
of the RIU. We had never done this and it was incredible. The final rapids was a 16 foot drop
and we did not flip the raft, thanks to the experienced guide Juan. Afterwards was a great lunch
and a opportunity to buy pictures of the day.
The evening shows were a mix of semi professional dancing and singing. Mostly good but always fun. Some nights they would pull guests out of the audience for various contests
and it was very funny. If you go, dont give up your shirt!!! The entertainment staff at the
pool got things going around 4 and were good at getting the drunks up to be their fools.
I was impressed with the guy named Sexy Chocolate, that guy can dance.
OK, I guess I must add some bad. At certain times (not always) the bugs bites are bad
outside. By the time I thought about bug spray it was too late. We had taken a tube of
afterbite and it was well used. 2. The room frig was empty upon arrival but a call to the
desk fixed this is 10 minutes. Finally, upon arrival, the room safe was locked and the select
few that could open the safe were all busy. I actually felt good about this even though I
was tired and grouchy after being up at 3am. We ate lunch, explored the resort, had some
drinks and finally found a manager after a couple of hours. No big deal.
The people of Costa Rica were friendly, educated and hard working. I made the effort to
learn as much as possible about the people and the country. I am sad to predict that this
area will become the next Cancun or Punta Cana. We had the best time ever.
Doug and Faith from Massillon OH
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.