We stayed at the Grand Papayago from November 24th to December 1st 2007; and what a wonderful time we had. Travelled as a couple, but it quickly turned into a party of ‘8’! Booked a Deluxe Room through Air Canada Vacations, and called prior to departing and upgraded to an Ocean View room, sure glad we did. Upgrade is $10 per day, and is well worth it. We stayed in Building 1 which is strongly recommended. The resort consists of 2 large buildings; 1 and 2 and 24 other smaller bungalows scattered on the hill tops which are scenic but are subject to far walks to and from the main building; restaurants and pool side.
RESORT: The Grand Papayago is situated on a hill top in the Papayago Bay and offers some of the most spectacular views I have ever witnessed. The lobby is well decorated and the hotel offers shuttle service for guests in the bungalows further away from the main building. This resort is strongly NOT recommended for people with disabilities or the elderly with difficulty walking. There is plenty of walking, and stairs to climb, but makes for great viewing and plenty of exercise especially after indulging in the WONDERFUL food at the resort buffet. Wild life can be spotted everywhere through out the resort. Families of moneys to iguanas, birds and walking crabs. The report also offers a small Souvenir shop which is open daily from 6am-9pm and offers a wide selection of products and souvenirs.
ROOMS: Recently renovated and well maintained. Daily maid service with a coffee maker, TV with great channel selection and movies and a mini fridge containing 2 beers, 2 waters and 2 fruit drinks. Re-stocked daily. Towels are X-Large and fluffy. Rooms offer very comfortable king size beds and deep soaker tubs. Ideal to stay in building 1 or 2. Rooms situated on the ground floor (buildings 3-24) or in the smaller bungalows you may encounter problems with running water, electricity and a slight crab infestation.
LOCATION: This resort is not within walking distance of a close town or shops. $30us round trip taxi ride to Coco Beach. Some shops, but nothing too exciting. Santana bar at coco beach offers Latin dancing Sunday evenings and local beer $2 each.
Just down from the hotel driveway you can Rent a car for $50us … but be weary as there are no road maps, road signs, and there also may be a few creeks in which you will have to 4x4 through.
BEACH: The beach although may be small, and not the sandy white beach offered by many Caribbean islands. However it does offer other wonderful perks such as rocky lava formations; scenic caves; and wonderful ocean wild life. When the tide is low it’s worth the walk on the rocks and around the Resorts Mountains and Cliff Sides.
TOURS: The resort also offers many adventure tours. The best tour I must admit was the Gauchpaulin Tour, for $105 pp. Only 1 hour from Papaygao Bay; the tour includes; horseback riding to a river where you go tubing down a marvellous canyon filled with waterfalls and fresh water springs, afterwards zip lining through the rainforest from canyon tops, combined with a Tarzan Swing and rock climbing. Followed by a wonderful delicious lunch buffet, then a spa mud bath and a soothing soak in a natural hot water spring. Booked through Air Canada Representative and CRT tours. This tour only operates 2 days a week, so be sure to check it out quickly. We did not par-take in the Arneal Volcano Tour after many other travellers seemed disappointed. The Arenal tour trip takes 3 hours to the Volcano site, and due to recent weather and cloud cover the Volcano is rarely visible.
Also took a 4 hour snorkelling tour from Louis or Mario at the beach. The tour is safe and at a price of $35pp, well worth it. He takes you to a wonderful reef and dives for the most exotic fish so you can see up close and touch. Then he’ll take you to a private island with white sand and wonderful water where you can snorkel further or enjoy the scenery.
Take advantage of the FREE tours / activities offered at the resort: Sunset walk at 5pm (daily) and Kayaking and Snorkelling (reservations required) (11am & 4pm)
WEATHER: During our week the weather was Fantastic; “Hot and Sunny”. It only rained for a matter of 5 minutes during the entire week even through the weather network reported thunder storms everyday during the week of our vacation. There are many, many mosquitoes, so bring plenty of repellent!!!!
FOOD: The Buffet Restaurant was amazing. The food was very flavourful and offered a different assortment each and every day. Breakfast was also great complete with an omelette station. Breakfast was served daily from 7am until 1030am.
The pool side snack bar was also great with very tasty hamburgers, hot dogs and the best most addicting Nachos ever tasted! Those will be missed.
The Ala-carte Restaurants are booked at the Business Center from 7am-9am, and 1pm-3pm. 4 people or more get earlier sitting times, where parties of 2 can only have reservations after 8pm. The Oriental and Italian Restaurants offer good food, BUT not as great as the Buffet Restaurant!
The friendliest staff
The best food and great selection at the Buffet Restaurant & Pool side snack bar
The best Nachos ever tasted at the pool snack bar
Comfortable beds (not to great pillows)
Great rooms, updated and well maintained (Building 1 & 2)
Wonderful scenic grounds with wild life
Internet available at good speed quality ($10us for 60 minutes)
Pool activities and comfortable loungers' at pool side
PLENTY of towels available from 8am until 6pm
Great drinks and PREMIUM alcohol served (drinks are not diluted)
Great DAY entertainment staff, always pool volleyball at pool side
Wonderful massages in the huts by the beach; Great Spa services
Great tours offered both on the resort at the main building and with Charlie Tours at the towel desk
Take advantage of the Sunset walk, 5pm at the pool side
Take advantage of the free snorkelling and kayaking – WARNING… plenty of jelly fish from November to February, so be aware
Good gym facility…, but you’ll get most of your work-out from climbing the resort stairs.
No nightly entertainment. Solo singer and band which plays for an hour in the lobby. Unfortunately there is inadequate seating for all guests at the resort.
No nightly snack bar. No food to eat at all on the resort after 9pm.
Inadequate pool lounger’s at the pool side. To reserve a lounger you must be down by the pool before 9am. Anytime after that, you’ll be out of luck.
Unfortortuanly I could only rate this hotel a 4 star due to the lack of pool loungers, nightly entertainment and lack of after hour snacks; otherwise its excellent, especially for the value spent!
Keep in mind, the resort is small and contains only 169 rooms. The occidental Allegro which has 420 rooms has a larger pool, and nightly entertainment, but some complained it was too rowdy and labelled it as a “party hotel”. The Occidental Grand was relaxing, comforting and the perfect place for a great vacation!
As for a previous posting by an ungrateful traveler… Air Canada Vacations did pick up travellers at the resort 3 hours prior to departure and did make a 20 minute stop at a souvenir shop. This was welcomed by many people of the bus as the Liberia Airport does not offer a duty free shop. Surprisingly those who complained on the bus were the ones who lasted the longest in the store and made the biggest purchases.
A great vacation is only as good as what you make of it! This one was WONDERFUL!!!!
- 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