I will start by saying that, although my wife and I are fairly well traveled, this was our first time in Costa Rica and our first "all inclusive" experience. That being said, I am a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu culinary schools and have had my fair share of years in the service industry (take that for what you will). I will quote my wife to properly portray our experience at the RIU Palace, Guanacaste....." The only time we every heard the word NO from the staff was when it was followed by the word PROBLEM!!" This is not an exaggeration! We had everything we could possibly want!! The amount of available choices when it came to food and drink was incredible. Though the service wasn't what you might find at say the French Laundry, it was certainly acceptable to say the least, with the staff obviously motivated, cheerful and willing to learn their craft! This was such a relief to see after becoming so used to the work ethic in my industry back home. Some of the restaurants were better than others.....but all in all, very good food and service!! The small Coffee and pastry shop in the lobby area made starbucks look silly!! We do suggest avoiding weekends if possible as it gets rather busy but it should stop you from staying at the RIU!! Just plan your tours on those days. Speaking of..........
....LETS TALK TOURS!! There are literally hundreds of choices and options when it comes to tours. My wife and I were on our Honeymoon (we stayed a monday through the sunday) and really wanted to relax and be on our own schedule. We decided to take one full day tour and waited until we got there to book it. We decided against the hotel sponsored tours simply because the groups going were huge!! We wanted a smaller, more personal group. We only had one chance to get this tour right and were a bit nervous we would pick the wrong guides. After talking to several fellow guests and speaking with many friendly locals offering such tours, we decided to go with a small company called "ALEX ON THE BEACH". AND WE COULDN"T HAVE MADE A BETTER CHOICE!! Do yourselves a favor, any tour you choose to do...go with them!! We picked the "Super Tour" and spent the day visiting amazing waterfalls to swim in, rain forests, volcanoes and mineral springs, an authentic Costa Rican lunch, horse back riding...the works!! All with a personal guide ( Alex) that was FULL of fascinating information about all the places we visited. It was quickly obvious that he loved his job, his country and was very passionate about the rain forest!! WE LOVED THIS!! He even has a tour that takes you to his Grandmothers house for lunch!!! We will be taking that tour next year!! They can be found at the entrance to the beach from either hotel in white pollo shirts that read "ALEX ON THE BEACH" or try this Costa Rica Amazing Tours / Alexonthebeach.com. They are also on facebook!!
The massages on the beach are incredible!! Literally right next to the lapping waves!! We indulged in two while we were there ( at $35 per person or $65 for a couple...who wouldn't?) There is a very friendly guy on the beach named Luis.....(Luis Solutions) who's wife and daughter do very professional massages...we suggest Them!! Fantastic!! and super nice people!! Another woman on the beach doing massages, and forgive me in butchering her name....is Janna...( Pronounces Tayna with no T) She is always out there and gives great massages!!
Playa de Coco is a short boat taxi away and a very cool place to visit!! Tons of friendly people and shops to browse through. Great little bars and restaurants.....but please....avoid "Coconuts". This "sports bar" is run my spoiled, over-indulged Americans that will be drunk at the bar making as#es of themselves!! Trust me and avoid this headache!!
Don't hesitate to visit this awesome resort and remember ALEX ON THE BEACH!!
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- Also Known As:
- Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica Guanacaste