For our one year anniversary, my boyfriend and I decided to travel to Costa Rica for an exotic vacation. Having stayed at various RIUs, I suggested we stay at the RIU Guanacaste.
First Impression: The resort is grand and beautiful to look at. Large lobby with sculptures and fountains; lush gardens; ample pools; amazing views of the ocean and mountains.
Our Room: The term “ocean front” was used loosely in the hotel’s description, as our room had only a partial view of the beach. If you book an ocean view room, I’d suggest asking to be on the far left or right corners of the hotel since they have full view of the sea. Otherwise, our room was clean, spacious, fully stocked, air conditioned and comfortable.
Restaurants: Food has never been RIU’s strength and this location was no different. Your best bet would be to go to the buffet for dinner as there’s more variety for picky eaters. If you choose to make a dinner reservation, make sure to get there early since spots fill up QUICKLY.
Pool & Beach: The beach is HOT. Walking on the sand was no joke and the sun is strong, but the water is warm and the view of the mountains made everything worthwhile. You’ll find plenty of local vendors on the beach to buy souvenirs from and for $25 we booked an hour long massage which was EVERYTHING. If you prefer to lounge during the day, the pool is the place to be. With two large pools at the resort, you’ll have plenty of space to swim, drink lay out and relax. The only downside is the pool bar which is overrun by bees. Ordering a drink at the bar was daunting and sadly it’s not something you get used to. You’re better off ordering a drink before entering the pool.
Nightlife: There are only three options for nighttime entertainment – the nightly show, Pacha and the casino. Both the show and disco were mediocre in terms of entertainment value, but since there isn’t much else to do; I’d suggest checking both out.
Excursions: After weighing our options, we chose to use the local beach vendors to purchase our excursions. For $135, we swam in a gorgeous waterfall, went horseback riding, zip-lined through the rainforest, viewed inactive volcanos, and relaxed in a volcanic spa. Also for $135, we traveled to Nicaragua and visited local towns and markets, went on a boat ride, and toured an active volcano. Though the majority of our time was spent in the van driving to the various locations, overall, both excursions, money well spent!
Final Impression: Costa Rica and RIU have a lot to offer. Whether you prefer to relax by the pool all day or go out and explore the country, RIU Guanacaste provides all of the luxuries and conveniences you need to have an enjoyable vacation. Would I go back? Fo’ sho!
- 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