This trip was great for my GF and I (we are 25 years old) because of the country and the excursions; we had mixed feelings about the hotel but it was good. Not sure we'd stay at it again, but it is a safe and well maintained place.
FYI, it did not rain for most of the week that we were there (May 26 - June 2nd), but it had started raining more frequently on our last 2 days. Rainy season warning!
- The Asian restaurant. The food sucks and it got me sick (diarrehea) so I may be biased.
- Our room had bugs on the wall on the first and last day of our trip. We had to get them to bug spray the room (which they were very prompt about)
- FRUIT FLIES EVERYWHERE. The food is rarely covered since it is buffet style, so get ready for an enormous amount of fruit flies if you decide to get some fruit.
- BEES IN THE POOL BAR. So. Many. Bees. I avoided drinking there as every time I got a drink, a bee would be dead inside it within 5-10 minutes unless I clutched on to it for dear life.
- When it rains, the resort is excruciatingly boring
- The gym sucks (unless you just want to do cardio)
- If you arrive at the hotel in the morning (like we did), you are screwed because you can't check in till 3. That leaves you with 3-4 hours to kill with a carry on when you just want to shower and feel fresh after your plane ride. So if you're coming in the morning, I highly recommend packing some beach/swim wear.
- The beach here isn't that great. Extremely hot sand, random guy named Victor trying to sell you stuff, pissed off looking kayak operators. Head to Coco Beach using the shuttle instead.
- No one is kidding when they say this place is in the middle of nowhere. The roads getting to it are narrow and bumpy (as is most roads in the Guanacaste province, even in the highways)
- DO NOT do any hiking excursions (esp. the one of Rincon to see the volcano). It isn't as cool as it sounds. Its an exhausting hike and you see 2 small volcano crators while trying to avoid being bitten by a snake the entire time. Ditto for the Rainforest hike...spend your money on cooler excursions like whitewater rafting.
- The country is amazing and extremely green. It is a sight to see.
- The staff response is prompt and they are very friendly.
- Attractive women (esp. when you see the locals)
- The resort nightclub ("Pacha") is cool because a lot of locals come by and partake in salsa dancing. If you are looking for a "North American" clubbing experience, you won't get it here.
- Wi-fi is slow and only available for 90 minutes in the lobby. To be honest, I loved this because you're not sitting around on the internet for too long.
- Excursion leaders are extremely smart, knowledgeable, and well-spoken.
- Tip your room maid; it makes a huge difference. We tipped her $3 USD one night and it looked like a totally different room when we came back.
- Book excursions AT THE HOTEL (I would recommend Swiss Travel but I'm sure the others are good too....compare prices). I say this because a lot of times other people will recommend excursions that you had no idea about that are a steal.
- Avoid the pool bar unless you want dead bees in your drink.
- our favourite excursions were the Sunset Catamaran ($85 through Swiss Travels), which takes you on a boat through the pacific and allows you to go snorkeling. They also provide an open bar and a lunch. This was probably the highlight of the trip for us.
- Another excursion that you should definitely do is the megacombo tour. Well worth it.
- Take the shuttle to Coco beach and check out the local scenery. BUY YOUR SOUVENIRS AT COCO as you will get it at cheaper prices than the hotel. Highly recommend eating at Coco Beach as well as you can eat at local prices.
- If you want to buy Costa Rican coffee, get the "1820" brand (local favourite) and buy it at the duty free ON YOUR WAY OUT OF THE COUNTRY. You can get about 500g for $8 (no tax), which is cheaper than anything you can get from the hotel or even locally.
- Check out the Michael Jackson show put on by the hotel. Its amazing. In fact, almost all of their shows are.
- If you are a younger couple that loves adventure, I'd reccomend booking excursisons pretty much every other day. There is too much to see and do in Costa Rica to spend it sitting around a pool bar with bees.
- 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