After booking our trip but before we went to Costa Rica I looked at the tripadvisor reviews but didn't see much to sway my opinion.
We came from Toronto, Canada and I personally really enjoyed the Barcelo Langosta hotel. It is definitely not a 5-star hotel, but it was not horrible either. The first day we arrived at our "superior" room, one of the lights was out. We pointed this out to the person who delivered our bags and it was promptly changed. The room smelled a bit mildew-y, but this was a smell that we go used to - a smell that seemed to go along with the heat and the closeness of the beach.
The food at this resort was ok, it was fresh and there was enough of a variety to eat something different every day. The fruit was very fresh, the omelette bar and the sushi were very nice. The snack bar (open from 10 am to 6 pm) had hamburgers, wings, french fries, onion rings and was all very good if you needed something to munch on in between breakfast and lunch or before dinner.
The pool was nice, there was someone cleaning it every day. The beach was nice to wade in, but we did not want to risk swimming farther out because at often times the waves were very big. Also, you are not supposed to take any shells from the beach. They will take them from you at the airport if you have them in your carry-on luggage.
The tv was mostly in Spanish, but we did not watch it much, as the sun rose at 5:30 am and set at 5:30 pm so we rose and slept with the sun and were outdoors most of the time. Also, you have to pay for wi-fi.
Tamarindo, the closest city, is a 20 minute walk (30 mins if you walk along the beach). I found it very touristy. A lot of souvenir shops and not a lot of authentic Costa Rican experiences. There are however a lot of opportunities to take a surfing lesson in Tamarindo, which we didn't end up doing, but looked like fun.
One of the days we booked a car and drove to Arenal, which took about 4 hours each way, but was a fun journey. One thing I would mention is that it is a difficult drive back in the dark because there are not always streetlights and people walk along the side of the road and you cannot always see them coming.
One of the days we booked a trip with the Swiss Travel representative (the Mega Combo). The mega combo consisted of horseback riding, hot springs, zip lining and a 300 ft water slide. IT WAS AWESOME! and totally worth the 150 (approx per person). It was about a 1 hr drive from the hotel to the drop off point and about 1 hr 20 mins from there, but it was SO MUCH FUN. The horse back riding was about 45 mins, then we went to the hot springs, which was really nice and refreshing, then onto the waterslide which was crazy fast and then the zip-lining. The zip-lining was a lot of fun and very safe. The zip-lines weren't super high but it was fun enough for a first-timer.
I really enjoyed speaking to native Costa Ricans and just being on the beach and in the ocean. I have no real complaints about the Barcelo Langosta. Especially if you make a real effort to speak Spanish and interact with the people. A lot of other visitors talked about seeing monkeys but we didn't see any. We saw a couple of iguanas and some birds and a raccoon and a squirrel. We weren't looking very hard though...
All in all, a really great vacation! I would recommend it!
We were in the 4000 series, which was ok as long as you weren't too close to the amphitheatre.
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.