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“great budget resort for nature lovers” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Allegro Papagayo

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Allegro Papagayo
3.0 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   Playa Manzanillo | P.O. Box 48-5000, Costa Rica   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #9 of 15 Hotels in Gulf of Papagayo
Oakville, Canada
Top Contributor
77 reviews 77 reviews
34 hotel reviews
Reviews in 50 cities Reviews in 50 cities
77 helpful votes 77 helpful votes
“great budget resort for nature lovers”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 28, 2012

We read the reviews before making the reservation so we knew what to expect and were not disappointed.
One has to be realistic: Costa Rica is not one of the cheapest countries in the Caribbean - I guess they make it a policy to not be too exploited and they market themselves smartly.
So for the price we paid I think we got very good value at this resort.

Everything was adequate, safe and the service was excellent. We always got a complimentary smile even when we did not tip.
We had a leak with the air conditioner, and after calling the reception it was fixed in 20 minutes!
There is not much entertainment at the resort, we went to bed early and got up early. It is more suitable for those who want to relax and enjoy nature. I think the shallow water at the beach and sheltered bay (nearly as calm as a lake) is nice for small children.

We were aware of the steep hill - we did not mind it: without it I am afraid we would have put on even more weight with the all you can eat buffet! We appreciated the view that the hill afforded us. We did not reserve an ocean view room, had a second floor room in building 12 that allowed us a sideways view of the bay and the hills. All rooms look towards the bay, none to the back, all with balconies: this is a great layout. We were in the second tier of buildings above the pool, a short walk away. The shuttle comes every few minutes, unless you are handicapped or have a heart condition should not complain! (you can not avoid the flight of stairs from the road to the restaurant/pool)

You have to be aware that around the resort there is a kind of nature reserve: so yes it is an isolated place. If you want shopping do not come here. If you like birdwatching however... We enjoyed early morning walks (right after sunrise 5:30am) on the beach at low tide or up the road towards the close by marina: there were lots of birds to see if you got up early! And 2 kinds of monkeys: the howlers (hard to see but easy to hear!) and the whiteface monkeys were regularly on the beach: cute entertainment. The humming birds, iguanas, and raccoons are right on the property, and we even had a gecko in our room!
The pool is nice - it is not dirty: they clean it every morning, but the birds nesting all around it drop twigs and droppings in it. And yes these same birds visit you in the buffet in spite of the nets and fishing lines and fake owls. We had fun watching them. It is just a question of mindset. We stayed at the resort for 2 weeks and did not have any digestive problems.

The black sand on the beach is very fine and soft. The water is clear but dark as a result. As it is very shallow, the water was very warm. The red tide came into the bay during our stay, but was at our beach only for one day - that was unfortunate. However at the other side of the bay at a more expensive resort they could not swim for a whole week!
There was an abundance of free sun beds on the beach as people seemed to prefer the pool. We liked the beach, it was cooler under the trees. Beaches are public so during the week-end some locals came but stayed off the sun beds under the watching eye of the resort security.
We enjoyed the beach club: we took the ride on the rickety boat to the next bay under the Four Seasons resort where the sand was white and the water was deeper, it was very pleasant to swim there. The same sun beds are available to guests there, but the beach is not maintained so under the trees be careful with the acacia thorns and other natural junk from the tide. Beach shoes are a good idea in general. We saw coatis there. The food they take for lunch is really meagre: hot dogs, nachos and fruits and drinks of course. It is all right as far as you know what to expect. Can visit the snack bar after your return.

The food is not gourmet but sufficient. Again: you paid for a 3 star resort. We loved the fresh pineapple and melons, and the biscuits in the morning. Coffee is excellent! I wish there would have been more ice-cream - and properly cooled - as creamy cakes are not so desirable in the heat.
The 2 a la carte restaurants have great service but the food is not too impressive. I preferred the Mexican one. The Italian one is not very Italian tasting. I would have liked a real Costa Rican restaurant instead.

The breakfast is available from 7 am - that is a bit of a problem, as many day trips leave at 7:15 and so more flexibility should be allowed there. We could steal into there to eat before 7 am, but not much food was available. There should be a limited breakfast choice available for guest leaving for tours!

We took the 2 day tour with Jacamar tours to Arenal/Monteverde. It was very nice, well worth it, the overnight stay at Arenal Springs resort was fabulous, the bird watching boat ride on the lake, the Tabacon thermal springs are like a posh garden of Eden. Beware the bus ride is very long and the road is winding... Our guide Sylvia was excellent, with jokes and loads of interesting facts. Monteverde is very pretty. Would have loved to stay longer. Next time we would rent a car and venture out on our own.
We also went for the Rio Celeste+hanging bridges tour, but unfortunately the stairs to the falls were under construction so we did not see much of the river. The lunch and the walk at the hanging bridges was nice, we saw a viper. We did not like the long stops the bus made for brakes and transfers.

We booked through Nolitours and were happy in general but as we were returning with the last flight of the season were disappointed to learn 4 days before departure that our representative was not booking any more day trips! Fortunately there are many other eager tour operators at the resort.
We do not see why it is necessary to be driven to the airport 4 hours before departure when it is just a smooth 40 min. drive and the airport is a tiny one - just a couple of departures a day?!

We took the Aqua combo trip with Charlie's. It was a pleasant day, I would recommend it, but it is not as spectacular as it sounds. The snorkelling is not very good here: yes we saw some fish but it is nothing like the Caribbean. The beach BBQ was delicious, we did see a cave and did try fishing. The best fun was when they threw the fish bits in the air for the birds and they caught it.

They do not explicitly state it, but we figured if you do not put your towel on the floor you do not get a clean one, the maid will just hang it nicely to dry. This must be to be environmental policy. They mop the floors often, but do not use vacuum - so there was some hair left in the corner of the bathroom, otherwise it was clean. They provided 1 soap for our whole stay - that was large enough, but I would have appreciated a second one for the shower - I guess I could have asked for it - though liquid soap and shampoo were provided.

In general we had a very pleasant experience at this resort and in Costa Rica: the "ticos" (locals) are very friendly, funny and courteous people, and many speak English.

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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  • Location
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 stars
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Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed April 28, 2012

It was our first trip to Costa Rica and we stayed at two different resorts, for a week each. We stayed at Allegro Papagayo on the first week and here's our experience.

Plus Side:
- The resort was situated up a hill on a black sand beach bay. Our room was the first row from the top (Building No. 2) which gave us a fantastic view.
- Watching the sunrise and having a cup of coffee in the balcony and listening to the sound of birds, howler monkeys and other animals... Priceless!
- Wildlife was great! Monkeys (Capuchin White Faced & Howler) on the beach, plenty of iguanas, tropical raccoons, dolphins and other creatures were all over the place.
- All natural beach area. Black sand which was different
- Rosa and her family at the beach sell souvenirs all day long. They were nice people and not pushy. Support the locally made souvenirs.
- We enjoyed our walk to the south of the beach, try to get back before the tide comes in.

Minus Side:

- Allegro Papagayo was secluded from everything. A vehicle is a must unless you do not leave the resort or don't mind high taxi fares. For example it cost $70 return taxi fare to Liberia town.
- We got scolded by the front desk agent when we checked in. After she checked us in, we had some questions and also asked if she could check if we have the correct room because we did an upgrade. Without checking the computer or any files, she confirmed that it was the correct room and she answered our questions in a very rude and condescending tone. Ater that incident, we made sure not to approach her for anything. Raquel & Karina are your best bet if you want good hopitality at the front desk.
- We asked for an iron twice and we didn't see it for the week. Lesson learned? Next time don't bring clothes that need to be ironed
- Chairs at the beach were falling apart with rips, stain and dirt. the better ones are by the pool
- Our housekeeper was a hit and miss
- Bathrooms by the buffet restaurant were always dirty if not out of order
- After few days, our A/C stopped working. Had to called twice before it got fixed. Reported it early in the morning and got fixed around 9 pm.
- The entertainment crew had nothing to work with and it showed
- The food and presentation was awful most of the time. They couldn't even cook pizza the right way. We thought the food in Costa Rica was supposed to taste like what they served at the resort....until we left the resort to visit the town of Liberia.
- 1 bar by the pool that offered a poor service and watered down drinks. We're not drinkers but would like to enjoy a drink or two. We stopped going after giving it few chances.
- Not all but many resort employees will either ignore you or talk to you rudely or pass you to the next person.

Tour Tips:
- We visited the small town of Liberia that has a population of 45,000. Good start to know the history of Costa Rica. We recommend the Paso Real restaurant by the plaza
- Trip to Arenal Volcano/Rainforest & Hot Spring was excellent! Edgar of TAM adventure by the lobby was very helpful and explained the tours thoroughly. It was a long day, from 7 am to 11 pm so be ready for it. Don't forget to bring a light raincoat/jacket as you might get persuaded to buy it at the gift shop on the way and end up not using it (it happened to us). If you get Jose Murillo as your tour guide, you might want to take the rainforest walking tour instead of doing the canopy tour. He is very knowledgeable - you will learn much about the flora & fauna of Costa Rica. The icing on the cake were the hot springs at Springs Resort & Spa. Fantastic place and the food that they served us...it wow'ed us.
- Charlie's Adventure by the pool offered different aquatic fun. We chose the Aqua Combo. It was alright if it was your first time doing this kind of adventure. If not, you might be disappointed
- Free 20 minutes boat transfer to white sand beach. It was fine, except the millions of sea lice ( tiny jellyfish) in the water. Their presence depends on the tide. They bit us, and an hour later they're gone but you'll hesitate to go back in the water.

The resort had all the amenities that are required to meet the 3 star category that they claimed, however they were all done poorly and were wrong in so many ways. For us, this is a 1.5 star resort and we're being generous. We always try to see our glass as half full. We made the best of each day and enjoyed our week and got alot out of the resort. We heard many people being dissatisfied and were turned off with everything and at the same time we saw many people who pushed their way to get to the front of the buffet line as soon as they opened. I supposed it depends on what you're used to.

In hindsight, it was a great week! We very much enjoyed the wildlife and the scenery! It's not too often you have a close encounter with these wild animals. Keep an open mind and make everything good and bad as an adventures to remember. Oh yeah! please don't feed the monkeys down on the beach especially the white faced monkeys because human food will make them sick.

Pura Vida!

Room Tip: If you can get a room that will give you the scenery of the bay, take it.
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  • Stayed January 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ottawa, Canada
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed April 27, 2012

It is rate a 4 but it is not more then a 2 1/2 *...Pool very dirty, room very damaged, birds eating from the food in the food area...birds droppings all over the eating area. You need good legs cause they are a lot of climbing to go to the main lobby. Not good for older people. Everybody we talk to told us they would never come back to this resort. Didn't give us a good feeling of Costa Rica for our first time. But we will still go back to Costa Rica but on the Caribbean side. Nobody at the beach cause beach is not will kept. White sand beach is very dirty, branches all over the beach ...could be a nice beach if they clean it! Boat rides are not nice at all, Boat are very old and oily. Nothing to see down there, had to drive at least 2:30 hrs to see nice beaches (Flamingo and Tamarino beaches are very nice and beautiful)...Monteverde is very nice too!

Room Tip: Just don't go there...Go to Tamarino or Flamingo beach they have nice resorts
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  • Stayed March 2012, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 26, 2012

My husband and I went to Casta Rica in early February and stayed at the Allegro Papagayo in the provence of Liberia. We had I great time but I had done quite a bit of research first. It all depends what your looking for in a holiday. These are not the same looking beaches that you would find at most tropical locations (this also is the pacific side). I thought the beaches were amazing but not everyone like black sand. By the late morning you can't lay on the beach because of the heat radiating off of it. Most people spent more time hanging out by the pool. The resort was very clean, the pool was nice and clean. I would recommend taking something to play with in the pool. The food was great and so was all the fruit!! There was plenty of variety. We are beef ranchers in Alberta and we were actually very suprized how good the beef was in Costa Rica! Better than any other place we have traveled!
If your looking for great night life this may not be the right place. If you are going to play beach volley ball I recommend leaving on your sandals because the sea shells are every where and can be sharp.
We went to Costa Rica for the experience, all the tours seemed to have so much more to offer than other places I looked. We booked our tour with a private company called Costa Rica For Everyone. This company is awesome. You pay the same as the tours in your hotel but you don't have to go on a bus with 20 other people and spend your day standing in line. They pick you up just outside the hotel and are very safe and reliable!
Our room at the Allegro Papagayo was fine not amazing but was clean and the maid service was good.
We got a good deal at this resort so we just thought of it as our base. There is so much wildlife and things to experience in Costa Rica we spend a little more money on going and doing things rather than just sitting at the hotel all day.

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed April 25, 2012

If there is one thing I really need in a hotel room it is hot water..despite our twice daily complaints follow by reassurances from everyone, including the general manager, we NEVER had a drop of even tepid water in our room. The wait staff were somewhat rude and unhelpful in the buffet. Our first evening at the ala carte restaurant was retched..after complaint to the manager we were "treated " to a second opportunity with much nicer food and a better service experience...too bad it takes a complaint to get that!. The bar people were great to the skinny women in bikinis...everyone else goes thirsty or "pays" for their drinks! I have written to the management in regards to the terrible experience however as yet there has been no response.

On the bright side we did enjoy some great monkey watching along the waterfront....

Room Tip: Try for a room in building 10 or 11....closer to the pool..not a long climb down from the rooms nea...
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  • Stayed February 2012, traveled with friends
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Waterloo, Canada
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 23, 2012

We had a great time!
Monkeys are on the resort :) howlers and white faced!

I'm a vegetarian and i found a lot of choice. Alcoholic drinks are yummy! Snack bar is great-especially for those late nights.

Beach dance was fun. The nightly entertainment was good for involving kids not so great for adults.

I agree that this resort would not be great for seniors or small children because it is a lot of walking -steep walking. There are shuttles but we walked all week to get our workouts in

The red tide was in when we were there so the beach water was murky but we enjoyed the pool-very nice.

Staff are friendly. I wouldn't upgrade to the ocean view room again- not a great view. But still was nice If we were more apt to sit on our balcony

We did a few days trips which was great. The 2 day arenal/ monteverde trip was great.

I want to come back to this resort again and stay for 2 weeks and rent a car to explore the country more. We fell in love with the country and want to move here one day! I think this hotel is a good value and a great "home base".

Go with an open mind and explore this beautiful country!

  • Stayed March 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
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Chicago, Illinois
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed April 18, 2012

we had pool in a bedroom all the time because AC did not work and water was dripping
outside pool newer get clean ,pumps were off all time,

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Alberto S, General Manager at Allegro Papagayo, responded to this review, April 26, 2012
Dear Bridgewiew7211,

Thank you for taking the time write about your experience at the Allegro Papagayo. We are very sorry that you had trouble with the air conditioner. Please know that we have fixed all air conditioning units in all rooms, since due the high temperature outside, the lines condensate and sometimes water starts dripping, once the Front Desk/Maintenance becomes aware, a technician is immediately sent to correct the situation.

In regards to our pool, during the dry season (when you were here), we experience very high winds and there is a tendency for leaves and other debris to blow in and around the pool throughout the day. We do have a dedicated person who works hard each day just to keep the pool looking clean. (the pumps are always on)

Again we are sorry about your experience and hope you will give us another chance to host you on your next visit to Costa Rica.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Allegro Papagayo

Address: Playa Manzanillo | P.O. Box 48-5000, Costa Rica
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Guanacaste > Gulf of Papagayo
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Spa Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#6 Top resorts Hotel in Gulf of Papagayo
#6 Spa Hotel in Gulf of Papagayo
#9 On the Beach Hotel in Gulf of Papagayo
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — Allegro Papagayo 3*
Number of rooms: 300
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Also Known As:
Allegro Papagayo Hotel Gulf Of Papagayo
Allegro Papagayo Costa Rica
Allegro Papagayo Gulf Of
Allegro Papagayo Occidental
Costa Rica Occidental
Occidental Papagayo
Allegro Papagayo Resort

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