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“Nice But Needs Updating” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Occidental Grand Papagayo

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Occidental Grand Papagayo
4.0 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   Playa Buena, 485000, Costa Rica   |  
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Ranked #7 of 15 Hotels in Gulf of Papagayo
Vancouver, BC
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Nice But Needs Updating”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 1, 2007

Great staff, friendly and accommodating
Good food, many choices
Nice grounds, lush, green and well maintained
Lots of activity around pool in late afternoons
Mornings at the pool are quiet and great for relaxing or reading
Good drinks and service around pool is good.
You can drink the water so don't have to worry about the drinks with ice or the washing of the food.
Felt safe in the resort.
Pretty good fitness facility with airconditioning.

Nothing within walking distance
Closest town is not worth visiting
Didn't feel safe outside the resort.
Pool not very clean and too small for size of resort
Not enough lounges around the pool
Beach is VERY small - not good for walking
Jellyfish in water so not good for snorkling, swimming, etc.
Rooms badly in need of upgrading (bathroom fixtures, etc.)
Crabs and worms on floor in room if you are on ground floor

  • Liked — Food and drinks
  • Disliked — Small beach
  • Stayed November 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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2,091 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (556)
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English first
Chicago, IL
Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 29, 2007

We spent the last week of our honeymoon at the Grand Papayago. We had a wonderful time. Our room was so cute upon arrival as the maids had "built" a heart with two swans made out of towels. There were also flowers scattered on the bed and in the bathroom. Our bracelets identified us as honeymooners so it was fun to have people congratulating us all week.

The room was great...our view was amazing. We had an ocean view and every morning we woke up (to the birds and monkeys) and the view of the ocean. So amazing and beautiful.

Each day the maids did some other cute animal made out of towels or some design with our bed covers. It was always fun to return to our room.

The food was quite good. The Oriental restaurant is excellent. THe Italian is ok but not as good. The first night we ate there and weren't impressed so we tried again later in the week and had a better experience but still not great. The buffet is quite good and almost hit or miss. The breakfast was great every day and you always have the option of an omelette. Lunch was also fine although we missed it most days due to day long tours. Dinner was great on a few occasions and mediocre on some days. Sunday night was the worst...I think the resort had cleared out for the most part so it seemed they were serving the leftovers from earlier in the week. I wised at some points that there was a place to buy a meal just to avoid the buffet. The best part of the buffet was the girl who took your name down to get in...she was so friendly and happy.

The snack bar by the pool was great. The bartenders were so friendly and knew what drinks we would order by the second day we were there. The food was also kept warm and quite fresh there.

The beach was nice and quick walk from the pool.

The entire staff was incredibly accomodating and helpful. One day our tour was late and the front desk called to make sure we hadn't been forgotten.

Both bars (Lobby and Disco) was great and we had a lot of fun playing pool in the Disco.

Swiss Travel was great for all our tours. We did the canopy which was a blast and a few tours of rain forest hiking. The white water rafting was the best though. If you're up for it, I definitely suggest it. THe rapids are class 3 and 4 and one of the rapids is a 12 foot drop but it's totally worth it. Especially if you get the cd of pictures...such a blast to relive it.

Costa Rica is a beautiful country. We were surpised at how undisturbed everything is even though they have so many tourists. Many of the tours didn't even appear to be a "tourist" area like we think of in the US. Even white water rafting...you got dropped off to a 4 wheel drive vehicle where you drove 4 miles up and around into the middle of the forest and then hiked down the river.

It was also great to be able to use American money as they take it everywhere. We didn't have any language barriers either as everyone in Costa Rica speaks English.

  • Stayed November 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
9 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 29, 2007

I just got back from a 4 night stay (Nov 23-27th) at the Occidental Grand ... The hotel was very clean and pretty, and the staff were very helpful and accomodating. I read a few negative reviews on here prior to my trip in regards to the staff, food, and stairs....basically here is what I have to say...For myself as a health-conscious person and my boyfriend who is a big eater..we both thought the food was great...there was always a variety to choose from, and for an all inclusive the alcholic drinks were tasty and had plenty of alcohol in them. As far as the amount of stairs at the resort...i didnt mind it at all....but again I'm a very active person and I'm not suffering from any medical conditions..if you are someone who has difficulty climbing stairs and hills, than I suggest you consider other options. The beaches are decent. much more rustic than what some may be used to, but again, Costa Rica is not known for their beaches; its a destination in which is very unique and adventurous.

As far as acitivites..the pool area was always active during the morning and afternoon..unfortunately we never had time to lounge by the pool due to the tours we signed up for. We booked through Swiss Travels, which has an office at the hotel...We did the Arenal Volcano/Cotere Rainforest/Hotsprings tour...it was well worth the $110 a person....but be advised its a long day 730 am -10pm.... We also did horseback riding with Charlies Tours, and the half-day canopy tour....all activities were excellent!!!!

Costa Rica is home to plenty of wildlife which was great to see. Monkeys were easy to spot high up in trees, there were plenty of colorful birds and butterflies around, and lizards too. There are a lot of stray animals in CR and some cats and a dog on the hotel property. Do not be alarmed though...the stray dog is very cute and friendly, but if your an animal lover (like myself) you'll feel bad for her *yes its a girl*!

Other info: Taxi's are everywhere outside of the airport and at the hotel...so we didnt feel the need to rent a car...bring conditioner in 3oz containers when you pack, because the hotel does not give you conditioner in the room, and at the gift shop they only sell the 2 in 1 packets.

My boyfriend and I agreed that this resort was very nice...the only gripe we really had was that after 10:30 pm, there was no chance of getting anything to eat anywhere...and after we spent 13 hours on a tour, and ate at 5pm we were a little hungry...so my advice would be to pack some snacks just in case of situations like that. Oh and yes the mosquito's are awful..but thats how it is in the caribbean too!

  • Liked — service & privacy
  • Disliked — wish they had 24 hr room service
  • Stayed November 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
16 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 27, 2007

First of all we didn't get a very good introduction to Costa Rica in that we travelled with First Choice (excellent) we landed at the given time only to take off again as there had been wide spread flooding in the area and they could not get us to our resort. We went to Riviera Maya in Mexico. Which was great as we have never been.

We arrived at the Grand two days late, in the pouring rain and dark. We had a Royal Club Junior Suite which was very nice, we changed our room the next day to one in a more quiet area, both great rooms. We had a bath, walk in shower, lounge area and bedroom with a patio, wine and fruit arrived the following day. The maid had been everyday before we got back from breakfast and did a great job of cleaning.

We had heavy rain for the first few days and quite a few external repairs were required to the roof, we had a family of racoons living in ours who were none too happy with having their entrance repaired. These guys were cute and came every night for fruit along with a skunk and coati. We saw massive Iguanas, squirrels, howler monkeys, toads and a wonderful display of parakeets every evening in their hundreds.

The wildlife on this resort was fantastic we saw 29 species of bird including a Motmot which is a lovely bird, humming birds, woodpeckers and oriel. Butterflies were everywhere.

The weather did pick up and we had some lovely sunny days, I can't comment on the pool area as there was so much to do we didn't spend anytime at the pool, there always seemed to be loads going on down there.

We couldn't fault the food and we are really fussy, we ate breakfast, lunch and dinner in the buffet when we were on site, we did try the Italian but the tuna starter was raw not my thing.
The pool buffet was also great loads of choice.

We spent a lot of time in the Royal Club bar with Gerardo who was fantastic and great company, food order from here was good too.

We had contacted Amy from Avispas Tours before hand and called twice when we got to our hotel but had no contact from her at all, so can't say anything good. Would have thought a return call would have been less rude than just ignoring us.

Having said that because of all the rain it was almost towards the end of the first week before we went on any tours, we used hotel beds, Carlos took us to Monteverde, which was a bit scary on the way back as it had started to rain again and the roads were being washed away. 100% commitment on concentration when driving. We went on the river tour with Sergio, this was great saw loads of wildlife including crocodiles (massive), we also went on a bird tour with Sergio which was great we would not have spotted everything we saw had it not been for him. Top tour guide.

For those who were wondering the kittens and parents are still there and doing fine being fed by everyone. The dog Ross has been adopted by the hotel security and another stray had started appearing everyday, he must have heard how good it was.

Only two negatives but they were not a problem, the turndown service was a bit hit and miss, and we had to ring twice in two weeks to get our mini bar restocked. Neither of which would spoil anyones holiday. Beware of people who moan, I don't know what they expect.

The Customer Service desk were absolutely excellent and very helpful.

Go to Costa Rica this place is one of my best holidays for relaxation and wildlife. However I came home with lots of bites which break out into an itch every now and again. I tried everything but to no avail, prepare to be eaten.

  • Liked — The Royal Club and accommodation.
  • Disliked — Loud music at the pool area
  • Stayed October 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bronx, New York
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 26, 2007

Stayed here Thanksgiving week 2007. This is a nice hotel in COSTA RICA- remember, it's not in America, so you may run out of hot water or find no soap or shampoo in the room. The staff is extremely friendly. I took my two kids (11, 13) and my 70 year old parents- all had an enjoyable experience. Never-ending food and booze. A simple 1000 Colones tip (around $2) gets you noticed pretty quickly. Alamo rents cars directly out of the lobby- use it to check out the nearby volcanoes (Ricon Vieja) or surfing beaches. No street signs in CR so prepare to get lost, but have fun. Monkeys can be seen in the trees while sitting around the pool. BRING INSECT REPELLANT and afterbite!!! You will be in a jungle. This is not the Four Seasons, but definitely a great place for the price. If you are a complainer the Four Seasons may be best suited for you, but you'll pay to live "American" in CR. Happy people- don't think twice, book a room here. Nice pool and beach, plenty of activities.

  • Liked — Kids loved it.
  • Disliked — No hot water 2 out of 7 nights
  • Stayed November 2007, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 20, 2007

My boyfriend and I are in our late 20’s and are frequent travelers. We stayed at the Occidental Grand Papagayo Nov 3-10 2007 and had an AMASING time. This was classified as their rainy season but we had beautiful hot weather with only a few showers. I would highly recommend this resort.

Resort – Small (160 rooms) with 1 pool. The entire resort was very clean and well maintained. We went in off season so never had any trouble feeling overcrowded. The entertainment staff were excellent – always had a game or activity going on. The night life is very low-key; there is 1 small disco and a lounge bar. Most nights there were musicians playing in the lobby lounge area. If you are looking for a wild party this is probably not the place to go. There is a small beach area (which varies in size depending on the tide). Snorkeling and kayaking were included for free. The beach and ocean area are nice but not crystal clear water with white sand – don’t go to Costa Rica for the beaches. Note: this resort is not for those who have trouble with stairs. It’s built on a hill and there are 76 stairs from the pool to the lobby (yes, we counted)!

Staff – All the employees were excellent. They spoke good English and always went out of their way to help you. They make approx. $1/hr so if you decide to tip, it is extremely appreciated!

Food – this resort has 1 buffet, 1 pool-side snack bar, and 2 a la carte (oriental and Italian) restaurants. The food was good but is more of what I would call traditional “Costa Rican” style. Lots of beans, rice chicken and fish - you will never go hungry though!! I would highly recommend the Italian restaurant A++

Tours –

Avispa’s Tours - we read about Amy at Avispa Tours before we left Canada and booked the Miravalles Volcano Adventure and Arenal Volcano Adventure and had a FANSATIC TIME! I would highly recommend booking with them– you won’t be disappointed!!! Her tours are smaller groups (2-4ppl) so this way you get a more laid-back adventure as it’s up to you how long you want to stay at each site. Miravalles is a must do tour which includes zip-lining, horseback riding (or tracker ride), nature hike with water falls, sulfur springs, hot springs, and mud baths. Arenal includes a nature hike, the volcano, hot springs and we added ATV’ing. We did not see the volcano the day we went it because it was cloudy – still worth the trip! This tour is a long day 13+ hours so if you want something closer to the resort go with Miravalles, its only 1 hour away. All food, snacks, beverages are included in the price (which is comparative to what the hotel is going to try and sell you). The van is safe and secure so don’t worry you wont lose your personal belongings. I recommend you bring rain gear and a change of clothing just in case. I won’t go into much more detail but if you want more info check out her website or email me! TOUR WITH AMY – AVISPA’S IS THE BEST!

Mario Tours – there are a few people on the beach operating tours. They are usually much cheaper then the ones offered through the resort. We did a 2 hour boating trip with Mario which included snorkeling (2 different sites) caves, and whale/dolphin watching for $25. It was safe, and we had a great time.

Sunset Walk – This is arranged by the entertainment staff and is worth doing!

Wildlife – My big concern before I booked this trip was scorpions. I heard stories of people finding them in their suitcases, in their rooms etc. I didn’t see one my entire trip. If you get up early (animals feed in the am) you can see all kinds of wildlife on the property. If you are not into the wildlife, don’t worry, unless you are out looking for it you probably wont come across much on the resort

Please email me if you have any further questions tracybug@hotmail.com

  • Liked — Resort was beautiful - well maintained and clean
  • Disliked — lots of stairs!
  • Stayed November 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cork, Ireland
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 11, 2007

I don't generally care to stay in the same place twice, but the Grand Papagayo is an exception.

Our travel agent inadvertently reserved for us (a family of 3, which included a teen) an ocean-view "Grand Romance Room" in this all-inclusive resort. A quick call to the front desk and the problem was happily rectified when a comfortable cot was delivered to our door, along with extra pillows. The room was simply, but tastefully decorated, and we felt that we were the only people on that end of the property.

Buena Beach, located on the grounds, was very clean and discreetly patrolled by security. It featured Howler monkeys in the trees, which were fun to go down and watch in the afternoon as they took their naps.

The food and service, in both the buffet and the restaurant, were very good; I'm a bit ashamed to say that the only time we ate away from the property was when we were away on the day-tours.

I especially enjoyed the beautifully landscaped grounds, with the mango trees ripe with fruit and the vibrant petunias gracing the walkways.

The pool was wonderful, though if you didn't reserve a seat very early in the day, you'd be out of luck for finding a lounger. Towels were in abundant supply, and we spent most of our hours while at the resort lazing by the water with our books, soaking up the sun.

I'd like to return to Costa Rica one day; if I do I'll stay at the Grand Papagayo again.

  • Stayed February 2004, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Occidental Grand Papagayo

Address: Playa Buena, 485000, 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 High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Best Value Hotel in Gulf of Papagayo
#4 Top resorts Hotel in Gulf of Papagayo
#6 Luxury Hotel in Gulf of Papagayo
#7 On the Beach Hotel in Gulf of Papagayo
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Occidental Grand Papagayo 4*
Number of rooms: 169
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
On the unspoiled northern Pacific coast of Costa Rica(home to wild parrots and endagered sea turtles), striking volcanic cliffs dramatically descend to powdery sand beaches and crystalline coves. Elegant and respectfully situaded within this breathtaking haven in the five-star Occidental Grand papagayo. Reverently aligned with its majestic surroundings, the resort offers a new kind of luxury all inclusive vacation. It is nothing short of extraordinary.Couples, families and friends who visit experience premiun service, discover gourmand dining and select from an impressive gamut of activities and sports. The resor´s natural setting and luxury amenities also make it the ideal locale for an incomparable wedding or honeymoon. In short, the Occidental Grand Papagayo is a perfect vacation spot for anyone and any reason. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Occidental Grand Papagayo Hotel Gulf Of Papagayo
Occidental Grand Papagayo Gulf Of
Occidental Grand Papagayo Costa Rica
Grande Papagayo Costa Rica
Grand Papagayo Liberia

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