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“Fun in the sun” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Hilton Papagayo Costa Rica Resort & Spa

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Hilton Papagayo Costa Rica Resort & Spa
4.0 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   Playa Arenilla, Costa Rica   |  
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Ranked #5 of 16 Hotels in Gulf of Papagayo
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
“Fun in the sun”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 6, 2012

We did an Apple Vacation with 4 other couples to this resort. We had a very enjoyable flight on Frontier Airlines and when we got to the resort the fun kept happening. Check in took a little over an hour for four couples, but the fifth couple had a little over two hours before getting into their room. The rooms are duplexes on the side of the hill overlooking the gulf of papagayo. The main view is the trees and jungle surrounding the resort, very few rooms see the water. There were rooms at the top of the hill, hotel style, that looked down on the water.

All-inclusive, Food and drink were very good. Buffet available every meal, lunch and supper there were three restaurants that you could order from a menu. We found all three very good.

The only disappointment was the beach, black sand and in the shade early and late in the day. Pool is the main draw and it was nice. Sometimes during the day the wait at the pool for drinks was longer than we liked and we would walk the 75 feet to the bar and order our own. Then you would have the problem of two fisted drinking in about 5-10 minutes.

Scuba, golf, fishing and many tours available. Ziplines through the rain forest, river tour where wild monkeys came on the boat and ate from your hands, deep sea fishing, trips to beach towns and scuba diving were all done by our group.

It was very fun but for me it was not the trip I expected. The scuba was so-so and there were not many others diving so my dive day was only one. Even then there were only 3 of us and on the first dive one of the divers never got underwater. Viz was 30 feet and no coral, but there were an over abundance of puffers. Saw one of the largest green moray eels I have ever seen anywhere. Several Manta Rays and many other fish. Would not reccomend the diving. Better in the Caribbean.

We did a half day deep sea fishing charter and the wind was at 80 kph and the waves were large. The first 3 hours of our excursion we spent drinking down the cost of the day. We did see some dolphins swim in front fo the boat. On the way back to the resort we came upon some black tuna chasing baitfish. In about 40 minutes all five of us boated a fish and that made for a successful trip. January is not the time to go fishing there!!!

The river trip is a must and we booked that through the resort.

Two of the couples took a cab to Tamarindo and the had a great day shopping and laying on a white sand beach. I don't go on vacation to shop so this was my dive day.

Like I said before the beach at the resort was a disapointment. Sand fleas were not too bad but three of the six days jellies on the beach made it impossible to get in the water. The water temp was also a chilly 74 deg. f. My wife likes to snorkel and after the first day there was not much excitement seeing hundreds of puffers.

If you want to sit by the pool and take advantage of the all-inclusive food and drink this is a very quaint resort and not crowded even when full. If you are wanting excitement this is not the place, but it is one of the few all-inclusives in the area. I would go back and stay at a condo or hotel in Tamarindo or near the Volcano in the rain forest before returning here.

Room Tip: If you want to see the water you need to be on top of the hill. If a gulf view is not necessary any...
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  • Stayed January 2012, traveled with friends
    • 3 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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2,213 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
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SouthEast Asia
Top Contributor
132 reviews 132 reviews
29 hotel reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
128 helpful votes 128 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 6, 2012

This was our first all-inclusive, and to be honest, we were initially wary of the possibility of being stuck in a resort filled with lots of children + bad food for 4 days. Fortunately, it was a really wonderful experience that far exceeded our expectations and left us wanting to return with our friends in the near future.

We were lucky enough to get a room near the adults-only "spa" area with a view of the ocean. It was super clean with all the amenities to make us feel right at home (ironing board, coffee maker, excellent toiletries). It was our honeymoon, and we were welcomed with awesome swan towels + a bottle of champagne and chocolates!

The food was excellent, especially at the El Dorado restaurant (where we made reservations 3 of the 4 nights). We were really impressed with most of the dishes- they were not only delicious but really skillfully plated as well. I will say that the desserts were not the greatest, but I heard they get better in the high season. The breakfast buffet was really good as well. They have a good selection of fruits, cheese, bread + local food. The omelette station was really nice too as it had a big selection of fillings.

We really can't say enough good things about the staff.... every single person working there was super friendly, helpful, and remembered our names/daily plans, etc. We rented a car for a day to visit Coco beach and Tamarindo, and got a lot of good advice from the staff. They were really helpful in telling us where to go, eat, and things to avoid.

We really can't say enough good things about this resort, and can't wait to come back with our friends. If you are not sure about the all-inclusive thing, I really recommend trying this one. It's not our typical travel-style, but I can't tell you how nice it was to know everything was already paid for. It really took away a lot of the stress. Though I will mention, it's nice to TIP your waiters/waitresses/shuttle. They don't ask or expect it, but they are seriously hard working, and it doesn't take much and they really deserve it.

Room Tip: We were in room 361 (near spa area). It was on a hill, so we could see both the spa and the ocean. S...
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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11 reviews 11 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
38 helpful votes 38 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 4, 2012

Our family of four (2 kids, 16 & 12) visited the Hilton Papagayo from July 24 to Aug 1, 2012. We had a good time and the kids enjoyed themselves.

This is not the resort you want to go to if you're looking for a party atmosphere. This is a sleepy, relaxing resort where things get really quiet around 10pm, even at the main pool where the action happens during the day. We wanted to have the DJ play later since he was pretty good, but were told that other guests would complain. Apparently the resort used to be quite the party place with action going on down at the beach late into the night. Not anymore.

This resort is not at the level you would expect from a Hilton, but it is still nice. We stayed in room 124, and it was a bit small but we didn't' spend a lot of time there. The room was clean and the beds were very nice. The beds are the one part of this resort that is up to Hilton standards. Nice linens and very comfortable. Staying in the 100 range allowed us to be very close to the main pool, so we didn't use the trams too much.

It's clear that this resort is getting bit on the older side and requires quite a lot of maintenance. There are quite a few details that need repair or replacement, and it appears that Hilton is slowly working on fixing up the property. It's going to take a while and quite a bit of investment.

A lot about this resort is covered in the other reviews. It's a decent place, but I don't think we'll be back. It's very convenient from the airport, but expect at least 1-2 hours of travel time if you plan any excursions. The service here is good, not great, the food is good, but inconsistent, and the drinks are sweet with very little alcohol. The liquor selection is very limited and they only offer one beer option from a local brewery. Forget desserts. I'm convinced that CR doesn't understand the value of a great dessert since we couldn't get one at any of the places we ate (at the resort or not).

For the active crowd, the tennis court is decent and the gym is well equipped with new gear. It's also a serious challenge if you're a runner, since the resort is very, very hilly.

People have reviewed the beach and stated that this isn't a beach resort. They are (mostly) correct. The beach is one of the most unusual I've experienced. The sand is black and powder fine. The beach and water are clean and we enjoyed swimming, kayaking and playing volleyball here. The most interesting part is what happens after dark. The beach literally comes to life with all kinds of crabs… you can actually hear them clicking around as they walk the beach (only at night). It might sound kind of creepy, but we thought it was pretty neat to see the local wildlife. If we had wanted your standard white, sandy beach experience we would have booked a Cancun trip.

Room Tip: Get a room in the 100 or 200 area if you're planning on spending a lot of time at the main pool...
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Suffolk, Virginia
1 review
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 3, 2012

My husband and I just returned from the Hilton on Aug. 1, 2012. We stayed from July 28-Aug. 1, 2012. The grounds were absolutely gorgeous. We got picked up at the lobby by The BEST Shuttle driver they have, Julio, he was WONDERFUL! And so personable. My husband and I loved him from the start. He took us up to our room and would not let us take our own luggage to our room. He said, "NO, NO your on vacation, relax!" He made sure everything was ok with our room before he left. We loved catching rides from him the whole time we were there. The room was very clean and nice, despite a slight moldly smell coming from the bathroom and a little cracks here and there but not enough to really complain about or ruin my trip. I loved how the bungalows were spread out and blended with the hills and cliffs. It seemed so naturally embedded in the scenary. The restaurants were good overall. Just had to wait a long time for our food when we went to El Dorado and El Bocadillo. And yes, you do have to make reservations for these restaurants but it's not a big deal.The food was average to good. The best were the smoothies at the spa at Grill del Fuego. We did our excursions through Issys Tours which I totally recommend! We did the Arenal Tour which was great with the Zipline, which was the highlight of our whole tour. On our last day we got a couples massage in one of the open room cabanas from Spa Vida, my husband couldn't get enough of it!

Overall, this was a wonderful vacation and I will definitely be back!

Room Tip: We got an oceanfront room, we were in room 111. It's close to the main pool which is good, you d...
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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North Carolina
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 2, 2012

Our stay at the HP in Costa Rica was delightful. However, I will say that I was not prepared for the rustic setting, but that soon past. I am more accustom to five star ‘concrete’ jungle hotels where the natural landscape is sacrificed for the sake of a modern vacation. Well I was pleasantly surprised.

Rooms: I really enjoyed the rustic setting because the room itself was five star quality. So while the setting is rustic the lodging accommodations will make you feel as if you are in a modern hotel. Another great point about the rooms is I could not hear any outside noise.
Location: It is an all inclusive resort about 20 minutes from the Liberian airport. While, it is not located next to the volcanic rainforest, it is in close proximity to others. I appreciated this, as I was not looking forward to a 2-3 hour bus ride to one of the large rain forest. I was quite happy with the secluded nature of the hotel.

Beach: Another point I was uncertain about was whether or not the beach would be accessible. It was! The hotel is located on hills and cliffs which would incline one to believe that the shore line would be rocky and difficult to navigate. The beach was sandy, flat, and full of beautiful blue water.

Activities: There are various activities at the resort. We enjoyed the beach activities. We went snorkeling right in front of the hotel and saw a good number of fish. We also kayaked to another inlet next to ours, which was really fun. Both of these activities are offered for free by the hotel.

Food: I will say this is the one area that could be improved upon. The restaurant choices were narrow and the menu selections somewhat limited. So what does this really mean…Well I stayed about another all inclusive resort that had 7 different restaurants and a main dining hall. The menus were not very diverse here nor where they all that local to Costa Rica – example chips with processed cheese on them – yikes! I recall think.

Staff: The staff was great. One day I was not feeling well and did not order lunch. The manager of the restaurant noticed this and came over to our table and asked if I was feeling ok. I said my stomach was a little upset and he said I will have the chef prepare a soup especially for you -( as soup is not on the menu) ! I thought wow this is service! And the soup was great by the way…

Overall: The vacation was great and I enjoyed the hotel. Prior to taking the trip I read the reviews about the bugs. I never had any bugs or saw any in the room – taking a can of bug spray for the beach is a wonderful idea. We would definitely return with family and kids or with a group of friends.

Room Tip: We stay in the 200's ( I think it was 241) or the hotel part of the resort. I know people all w...
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  • Stayed June 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Waco, TX
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 1, 2012

Our family (with 2 boys, 8 and 11) recently stayed at this resort and had a fabulous time. It is a beautiful property with a very welcoming and warm staff. We stayed in a bungalow which gave our room a very private feel. We saw many types of birds and wildlife there and heard some howler monkeys too. The resort has many hills so plan on taking advantage of the shuttles that run from rooms to the lobby and main pool and restaurant areas. There were many people there, but it never felt crowded. We booked several excursions with Costa Rican Tours and Services which we highly reccommend. Megan was very helpful and friendly when booking our trips and patiently answered all of my questions. Alex, our guide, was extremely knowledgable and very easy to talk to. He was great with our boys, teaching them about animals in Costa Rica and snorkling and ziplining with us. It was just our family with Alex on our trips so we were able to go somewhat at our own pace. We did three trips - The Volcano Adventure Day, A Tour of 3 Beaches, and Palo Verde River Cruise. Alex knew we were very interested in wildlife and was excellent about spotting birds and animals along our way and would stop so we could take photos. We learned a lot about the country and culture of Costa Rica on our drives. He was great with the local people and clearly had a good relationship with the people we met at each of our stops. On the Volcano Tour, we started with a horseback ride into the canyon to the start of the zipline. It was just our family riding along with a guide. The zipline crew was excellent especially with our boys and made us feel very safe and comfortable. We visited the volcanic mud bath and hot springs and had lunch. On the beach day, we visited 3 gorgeous beaches for snorkling and surfing/boogie boarding and had lunch from a local vendor on the beach. The Palo Verde cruise was amazing. We saw howler monkeys, white faced capuchin monkeys which came up onto our boat for some bananas, crocodiles, iguanas and many birds. Alex took us to a tiny local restaurant for our most authentic and delicious meal of our trip after the boat ride. Between the beautiful, fun and friendly resort and our tours with Alex our vacation was fantastic and it was hard to leave. We will be back to Costa Rica again! Pura Vida!

Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
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New York City, New York
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 1, 2012

Cons-Our family of 16 just returned from the Hilton Papagayo on 7-31-12. We arrived just in time for a late lunch but when we went to the only open restaurant serving lunch we were told that they were closed and we should try the bar area. On our way to the bar area we ran into a manager who then informed us that the restaurant was open and promptly escorted my entire party back. It appears that the staff did not want to serve us but had to prepare our meals once the manager arrived. After eating our freshly prepare meals we realized that the menu definitely needs to be overhaul. There are five restaurants on the resort and you must make reservations at four of them to eat dinner. We have been to several resorts throughout the Carribean and this resort food was the worst thus far. We dine on burgers, pizza and chicken tenders because the restaurant meals left us hungry. The resort is very quite and it seems that all entertainment ends at 9pm. There is no nightlife at this resort and if your looking for a lively time this definitely not the place for you.
I have visited several pristine beaches and this one left me very disappointed. We went to the beach only once during our 5 day stay and that was for less than an hour.
Pros-Our rooms were big and comfy and the maids did an excellent job keeping the rooms restocked and clean. The managerial staff immediately addressed any issues that we had and we would like to thank them for their assistance. The wait staff was friendly and we didn't mind tipping them extra for their services.
Pool- the majority of our vacation was spent in their beautiful pool. The family had endless fun in the pool and the fact that you could swim up to bar took it over the top. This a lovely property but we will not be returning anytime soon.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
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Additional Information about Hilton Papagayo Costa Rica Resort & Spa

Address: Playa Arenilla, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Guanacaste > Gulf of Papagayo
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#3 Romantic Hotel in Gulf of Papagayo
#3 Family Hotel in Gulf of Papagayo
#3 Top resorts Hotel in Gulf of Papagayo
#4 Spa Hotel in Gulf of Papagayo
#5 On the Beach Hotel in Gulf of Papagayo
#5 Luxury Hotel in Gulf of Papagayo
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Hilton Papagayo Costa Rica Resort & Spa 4*
Number of rooms: 202
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Nestled in a bay surrounded by the Pacific Ocean at the Gulf of Papagayo in Guanacaste, our resort is the perfect place to let your worries drift away. The magnificent view of the tranquil waters, the surrounding lush tropical gardens and abundant wildlife will make you experience the true Costa Rican feel.This magical all-inclusive resort also offers:- Convenient location, only 20 minutes from the Liberia International Airport- Large property but with an intimate atmosphere and feel- New all inclusive concept with boutique-style service without the need of bracelets or towel cards and no limit in à la carte dining. - Private beach feel with calm tides year round- Casita-style bungalows perched hillside overlooking the bay. - World-class Spa offering full range of traditional and exotic treatments in a Costa Rican – inspired natural ambiance- Unforgettable setting for Honeymoons and Weddings - Venues which add a local flair to your meetings, incentives and other social gatherings.- Just minutes away from major local attractions, National Parks and beaches ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Hilton Papagayo Costa Rica Hotel Gulf Of Papagayo
Hilton Papagayo Costa Rica Resort And Spa
Fiesta Premier Costa Rica
Hilton Gulf Of Papagayo
Gulf Of Papagayo Hilton
Fiesta Resort Costa Rica
Fiesta Premier Resort Spa Costa Rica

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