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“Papagayo Hilton and Papagayo Vargas Tours for our Honeymoon...!!! Extremely happy with both...!!!” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Secrets Papagayo Resort & Spa

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Secrets Papagayo Resort & Spa
4.0 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   Playa Arenilla, Costa Rica (Formerly Hilton Papagayo Costa Rica Resort & Spa)   |  
Hotel amenities
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Papagayo Hilton and Papagayo Vargas Tours for our Honeymoon...!!! Extremely happy with both...!!!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 10, 2010

We just went to Costa Rica for our Honeymoon...

We loved every minute of it and we would do it again in a heartbeat...!!!

The Papagayo Hilton is set up really cool, is really well kept, and the staff is very friendly and helpful (and everyone is bilingual). The hotel has 2 room bungalows spread all over the property, and they also have a few suites with private plunge pools, which is the room we stayed in. The suites were way up on top of a steep hill so the view was amazing and the room was very private and comfortable with really cold air conditioning. They had little shuttles running all over the hotel to take you around the property because of the steep hills and the property was so spread out. I thought the shuttles were always nice to ride in, but also liked to "walk off" some of our vacation feasting and hiked it up the hills quite a bit too... The shuttles seemed to be everywhere and we never waited longer than a couple of minutes for one… We also went to the spa and did a couple's massage... the atmosphere of the spa and the massage was amazing... I wish I was there right now...

The only downside of the hotel I think was that the food for lunch and dinner got boring after the first couple of days and there isn't really anywhere you can easily "go out" for dinner because the hotel is pretty secluded. Breakfast was always a pretty good buffet but also got a little boring after a while. Don't get me wrong... the food was all really good it was just that after a few days we felt like we had had it all... It was also pretty quiet so if your looking to party this isn't your spot...

Now for the tours side of the trip which is why most people go to Costa Rica right...???

We booked all of our tours and airport/hotel transportation through Papagayo Vargas tours and we are so happy we did. We can't say enough good things about this company or all the people working with them... We didn't contact them until a week before we arrived and Josta (I believe an owner) was extremely helpful and fast to reply and even called us by phone… We easily set up the roundtrip transfers for the airport/hotel transfers... Once we arrived to the Hilton we called Josta and set up all the tours for the week because we didn't have time to decide which tours we wanted before we left... She was extremely helpful, patient and friendly as we decided what we wanted to do and we can be pretty indecisive so her patience was much appreciated... All of our tour guides were just as awesome as Josta, and everyone was really passionate and enthusiastic throughout all the tours…!!!

First we did the Extreme Adventure tour and we were the only two on the tour so Manny was our private guide for the day... It was really cool just being me and my bride and not being in a big group... We felt freer to ask whatever we wanted... During the Extreme Adventure we rode horses to the starting point of the 10 zip lines… At the start of the zip lines you soar over a 450 ft canyon to the trees on the other side and there is a huge waterfall off to the left… Really beautiful scene and a pretty good rush too... We then rode ATV's through the forest and saw some Howler monkeys, butterflys and birds... At the end of the day we went to the springs and we applied mud heated by the volcano to our entire bodies adn swam in teh pools... Our guide, Manny, always held our cameras and took pictures of us all day while zip lining, while we rode the ATV's and at the mud pits... Manny is definitely one of the best guides I’ve ever experienced and by the time we left Costa Rica we felt more like friends than associates... He was really knowledgeable about Costa Rica and happily shared all kinds of cool fun facts about Costa Rica and about all kinds of other topics too... We had some really good conversation and it made the long drives from the secluded hotel seem to fly by... He and the other guides were also always on the lookout for animals and spotted quite a few bands of Howler monkeys and two sloths, one of which we saw returning from a tour late at night on a really low telephone line... They stopped on the side of the road and we got out and could see it from about 20ft... The sloth even had a baby on her belly and they said it was the closest he had ever seen a sloth... Really cool…!!!

We also did the Arenal Volcano tour with the hanging bridges… It was a 3 hour drive and we stopped at an animal sanctuary where they rescue injured or confiscated animals and got to see some of the bigger local parrots, monkeys and jaguars up close (2-3 feet behind a fence) which we never would’ve seem them in the wild... The Arenal Volcano tour was good and the rainforest was amazing and wild… It was raining, of course, and we didn’t see to many animals during the hanging bridges walk… After the walk we went to the most amazing resort/spa at the base of the Arenal Volcano and swam in the pools heated by the volcano... it was a really foggy day so we couldn’t see the volcano at all, which was a downer, but it was still a cool experience overall… We had dinner at the resort and the food was really good… The food we had on the tours was by far the best food we had on the trip… Manny was one of our tour guides again, but when we did the hanging bridges another guide took us and he was just as knowledgeable and friendly as Manny… There were a total of 8 of us on this trip, with two guides, so it was still a really personal experience…

I only wish we would’ve had more time to take more tours… If you are into seeing wildlife we heard the river boat trip was totally awesome and everyone who did it saw a ton of wildlife… We would’ve done this tour for sure if we had the time…

The last day we were there we rented a car from the Hilton, which was super easy, and drove 1 ½ hours south to Tamarindo a small trendy and hip surfing town… I rented a surf board and tried my luck as my wife laid out on the beach… It is a good place to learn to surf because it has around 5 ft waves and a sandy bottom so it is pretty safe if you don’t know what you’re doing… Getting there was easy with good roads and lots of signs and the car even had GPS so you have to be a complete idiot to get lost…

So in conclusion Costa Rica is a great vacation destination for the on-the-go and adventurous or wildlife loving… If you want to be totally pampered in a lush hotel, party down, or have lots of extravagant dinner options then this might not be your style…

The Hilton is a perfectly comfortable, clean and safe resort in a good location in Costa Rica (only 45 in. from Liberia Airport)… The only downer is the limited cuisine choices…

Book all your tours through Papagayo Vargas tours and you’ll be happy you did… We booked a snorkeling tour through the hotel and it was the worst spent money on the trip… I think it was $70 per person and we were supposed to go to two locations and have lunch... We went to this one spot that was murky with small fish and only a couple of varieties… The lunch was packaged sandwiches and chips and the guides kind of kept to themselves in a group, 4 guides and about 20 people on the trip… We only ended up going to one spot with no type of refund, and we were pretty put off by it all but oh well… We didn’t let it spoil the trip… Any way, that’s my two cents, but I suggest Vargas…

Oh yea, and when they picked us up to take us to the airport upon leaving Costa Rica, Josta called the driver to speak directly to us and congratulated us again on our wedding asked how our stay is Costa Rica was… It was a really personal touch and you can really tell everyone wants you to enjoy yourselves and they do a great job making sure you do…

Good luck making your decision and you’ll be happy with your choice if it’s Costa Rica, the Papagayo Hilton and Papagayo Vargas Tours…

Pura Vida,

  • Stayed December 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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2,420 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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English first
Level Contributor
29 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 8, 2010

We loved the Hilton Papagayo! The staff is so friendly and helpful. The property is very spread out with a lot of hills. The shuttle service was very prompt! We are vegetarian and found the breakfast buffet to be amazing! Fresh corn tortillas were made each morning with a large variety of breads, fruits and side dishes (including meat). Definitely worth the $20+ we paid each! Kids on the other hand didn't eat enough for the $10 charge. Dinner was always good. We inquired about vegetarian items on the menu and the chef ended up coming out and asked us if he could make us a special dinner. The kids loved Miss Karen at the kids club and were always wanting us to take them there. Three & under requires a parent or other adult to stay with the child at the kids club. I would recommend renting a car in Liberia for at least part of the stay. The resort is very secluded & we like to venture out to local attractions. We drove to several nearby beaches and then did some shopping at one of the local markets. Also went grocery shopping in Liberia. Each room has a mini fridge so we got snacks for the kids. The room was very comfortable but the bathrooms were quite small. There was about a 1 inch gap at the bottom of the doors to the outside which kind of made me nervous since about anything from small reptiles to bugs could fit under, but we never really had a problem with it. We took one sight seeing tour through the hotel to a Hacienda at a sugar cane plantation and boat ride through a National Park. It ended up being one of the highlights of the trip. We would definitely go back and stay there again!

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Renton, Washington
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 6, 2010

The place was amazing. It had three restaurants and a poolside bar. The food was great and there were tons of staffers to help make your stay more enjoyable. Your hotel cabin had a flat screen TV and complimentary coffee.

Two Thumbs up!

Stayed January 2010, traveled with family
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Wilmington, North Carolina
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 4, 2010

The front desk staff went above and beyond for us. We had air conditioning problems and also a little bit of an ant issue. They moved us from one of the smaller bungalows up to a nicer room with an awesome view. They also comped breakfast both mornings we were there. The guy responsible for transportation set everything up for us and was so nice!! You do have to walk a lot but there are shuttles everywhere and they always stopped to pick us up if we were walking. Food was great, gym was great. No complaints!!

  • Stayed December 2009, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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boston, ma
Level Contributor
24 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 1, 2010

Our stay here was very comfortable. Called a fishing guide in Playa Hermosa and he picked us up right on the beach. Reeled in one fish after another. Also really enjoyed renting a house in Playa Hermosa and trying other restaurants. Driving is easy.

  • Stayed November 2009, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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St Louis
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 30, 2009

Just got back from the Hilton Papagayo in Guanacaste, Costa Rica. The hotel was clean, updated and what you would expect from a Hilton resort. Most rooms have a great view and major wildlife creeping around. We had a Iguna guarding our room every morning and afternoon, it was pretty cool.

We had all of our breakfast's comps because of our Hilton Diamond status and I agree with other posters that the food is quite expensive, especially if you would have to pay for the breakfast buffet. We recommend heading into Coco for the local food and nightlife and to Hermosa for the very American friendly restaurant of Ginger.

We used the hotel for the local tours including Zip Lining, mud baths, waterslides and hiking. It was incredible and I would highly recommend all of the above. It was amazing.

I would recommend the Hilton and Guanacaste, I would love to go back asap.

  • Stayed December 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 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.
Orlando Florida
Level Contributor
6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed December 29, 2009

I will make this quick. Beautiful place, worst service in Costa Rica so far

1. Got there early and was told room would be ready at 2:30, no big deal. 2:30, 3:00, and 3:30 came and went and still no room. Spoke with Guest services by the pool at 3;00 and was told they were on their way to my room. Nope, waited by room and no one. Spoke with Andre at 3:30 and he had to personally go all the way to the front desk and get the keys for us.

2. As we were waiting we ordered drinks and some food. Chicken bites were dry and terrible. Nachos were decent though. We get the bill and I had ordered a strawberry dacquiri. There was a glitch in there system and it was charging more for that than any drink on the menu. Easy fix? No, took them forever to figure out what was going on and why instead of $3.50 it was charging close to $7.00 or $8.00. They finally fixed the issue after 20 minutes. Did this stop them from overcharging again by the pool and at the bar again, nope glitch was still there....So frustrating when all you wanna do is relax

3. Taxi - called for a taxi to front desk. Do they book for you? No, they transfer you to the taxi company. I am on vacation I don't wanna talk to taxi company. They didn't answer and then began the fun. Went to guest services and they said there driver Mario was an hour an a half away and we would have to wait. We said you're telling me there is no other taxi services. Finally they called and got a hold of one.

4. When checked in a/c was leaking all over the floor. I'll give them a pass on this one. They fixed it and it is a mechanical problem.

5. They put free water/chocolates with a note thanking you for checking in and being there guest. Right by the tv with no signs attached to it saying $5.00 for water like the Evian had. We get the bill and sure enough they charged for it...Andre had it taken off.

6. Spanish lessons at 1pm - we are waiting by the bar, do you think the guy ever showed up to give the lessons at 1pm. NOPE, we waited and waited and waited and at 1:35 finally gave up.

7. Lunch - we got down to restaurant around 11:30 and was told there was no more breakfast they were serving lunch. Ok, fine no big deal. The guy sits us outside and 10 minutes go by and no one has approached us for service. Finally nice lady comes up and talks to us and says lunch doesn't start until 12, I don't know why he sat you down. You'll have to eat at the bar.

8. Shuttle - call for a shuttle to pick up by the room. Never shows. Had to go to guest services to get shuttle back to top of hotel.

9. Andre (nicest guy there) - this is on first day says he will check with front desk manager about giving us something for our troubles. Never heard back from him and of course nothing got done. However, he was the nicest guy on the property and I know he was looking out for us and just probably forgot. He comes highly recommended.

10. The shuttles need to have a bigger step at the bottom to get off of....Top step is big and bottom step is so small i almost fell off the shuttle and twisted my ankle. Luckily I caught myself before i fell.

11. Upon check in we were told my mom as gold status and we could choose one of three options, free wifi, free breakfast, and one other I can't remember. We chose free wifi. About one minute later the same lady who said she had gold status, said "i'm sorry, you actually don't have gold status and can't offer your free WiFi" Now would it have been a big deal to just give us the internet after you told us specifically we were gold status. Kind of embarrassing with people standing right behind you.

12. Called the front desk several times with no answer. So annoying when you have a question

13. Was told there was a jacuzzi/whirlpool guests can use. Walk all the way down the beach to the other section of the hotel to find out that it only can be used when spa treatment people aren't in it or it's not busy over there at the spa. Why tell me you can use it then? It was 1 in the afternoon and I was told to come back at 5:45.

Ok, I'm sure there is more, but this was in just two nights of staying there. I hope Hilton can do something to make up for this as my mom has now had two bad experiences in a row at Buffalo thunder in new mexico and now hilton in papagayo. We have stayed at three hiltons in last 7 months, one in glasgow scotland, one in new mexico, and the last in costa rica. Two out of three terrible. the one in europe was amazing....

  • Stayed December 2009, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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Additional Information about Secrets Papagayo Resort & Spa

Address: Playa Arenilla, Costa Rica (Formerly Hilton Papagayo Costa Rica Resort & Spa)
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Guanacaste > Gulf of Papagayo
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#3 Family Hotel in
#3 Romantic Hotel in
#7 Luxury Hotel in
#9 Spa Hotel in
#9 Top resorts Hotel in
#12 On the Beach Hotel in
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Secrets Papagayo Resort & Spa 4*
Number of rooms: 202
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Set in the exuberant Arenilla beach, Secrets Papagayo Costa Rica will offer adults a stunning Unlimited-Luxury(R) getaway in Costa Rica's Gulf of Papagayo. The secure community around Secrets Papagayo provides striking views of native flora and fauna and miles of unspoiled Pacific Coast beach. This all-suite resort boasts 202 spacious suites, each with a private balcony or terrace as well as a superb Unlimited-Luxury(R) experience starting with 24-hour room service, a daily refreshed mini-bar and more. The Preferred Club will provide an enhanced level of luxury with 65 ocean view suites and additional privileges including access to a private lounge, upgraded bath amenities and mini-bar, concierge service, pillow menu and much more. Guests will enjoy limitless gourmet cuisine, without reservations, at four restaurants and one café in addition to five bars that will serve unlimited top-shelf spirits. Days and nights are filled with land, beach and water activities and live entertainment. Two pools and a pristine beach await. Rejuvenation reigns supreme at the Secrets Spa by Pevonia(R), offering massage, body and facial treatments in 13 treatment rooms and a full-service beauty salon. Follow up this rejuvenation at the fully equipped fitness center or by taking part in one of many daily and nighttime activities. Just 20 minutes from the Liberia Airport and a mere 15 minutes from the touristic town of Coco Beach, Secrets Papagayo offers guests a privileged location both within the resort and throughout the area for an ideal Unlimited-Luxury(R) getaway on the Pacific Coast. ... 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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