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“Honeymoon Stay” 5 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   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #9 of 16 Hotels in Gulf of Papagayo
Syracuse, New York
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
“Honeymoon Stay”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 days ago NEW

We stayed for a total of 8 days (Monday to Tuesday) for our Honeymoon.

The Weather: The weather takes a little bit to get use to the humidity, but sunny and warm the whole time. It rained maybe one time for less then an hour.

The Food: So many people complained about the food, but we loved the food. We ate at all three restaurants. Our least favorite one was the Italian surprisingly. It was nice to try new food each day and to have options. We def recommend setting up your meals the day you get there because they do fill up. The buffet was great to eat at though; I am still craving the food! The drinks were pretty good, you could go up to the bar at the Snack place, the lobby bar, beer in the room, and drinks at the buffet. We loved the Sweet Iced Tea, the Blue Lagoon, and the Pura Vida.

The Room: We were so happy with our room. We stayed in room 2301 with a great view of the beach. We were far enough away from the pool, but also an easy walk to the pool. A lot of people complained about walking, but we actually enjoyed it. There are these cars that drive around that we took a few times. Our room was great- the bed, the bathroom, and the balcony were all in good shape. The A/C did only turn on when you were in the room and a couple of times we had to re-open the door to reset it. We did leave a couple of dollar tips (about $3) every couple of days and we would get a full fridge (beer/soda/water).

The Excursions: We went on a couple of excursions. The first one was the White Water Rafting (through Swiss Travels). A nice bus took us to the Swiss Travels headquarters then we switched to a nice van/bus. Our tour guide (I am sorry I forget his name) was great! He informed us a lot about Costa Rica. Although it was an hr or so ride there and back it went quickly (especially sleeping on the way back, it’s exhausting!) This was def my favorite excursion. The weather was great and they provided a great lunch.
The second excursion was the Mega Tour (through Swiss Travels again). It was zip lining, a water slide, horse back riding, and a hot springs. It was a long day, but lots of fun activities. They also had good transportation (A/C vans) and a good lunch! Our tour guide actually stopped at (one of the 2) best places to get coffee because I wanted to bring some home.
Lastly we did the ATV tours (on 2 separate days because we loved it so much). This was through Easy Tours. The first time we did this we had one other group. We saw howler monkeys a couple of times. On the second day we went on a private tour through an area they had not taken anyone out in like 3 months (my husband was experienced on ATVs- and you just have to ask). It was def dustier the second day, but we saw more monkeys. Both tour guides were amazing! I wish we could do it again!

The Staff: The staffs were great from our ride from the airport, to checking in at the hotel, to our meals and room service. Everyone was so sweet and appreciative.

Random: We had the honeymoon package. It was great from when we first got to the hotel to our last night. We wore blue bracelets (for honeymoon/or anniversary) so whenever we went to a meal the staff would congratulate us. We had champagne and fresh fruit in our room and chocolate covered strawberries. We had a lovely letter welcoming us. Also with the package we had a romantic dinner (we had at the oriental restaurant). They even gave us a cake (but we were so full from dinner they delivered it to our room). On our last night we received a knock on our door and they had delivered a hand-painted piece of wood with a beautiful painting as a souvenir. The most amazing part of the honeymoon package was the free 30-min massages. I wish we upgraded it to an hour. It was so relaxing!
The gift shop is def expensive. I was craving American food so bad I paid $5 for a $1 bag of Doritos. We also sent out 2 postcards back to the US and it cost around $7 to buy and ship (although they were never reached to the people we sent it to- so I don’t recommend sending them).
The animals were great- the birds, and raccoons and a coatamundi. The bugs thankfully were not bad at all. I only got bit on an excursion.
The hotel itself is beautiful. It is an adult only resort, which was really nice! They were changing the kid’s pool to a Jacuzzi, but honestly it was right by the pool and you couldn’t even hear the construction. I bet it is done by now anyways. There were planned activities you could take part in (pool volleyball, etc). It was fun to watch others, but I only participated in the towel folding, which was fun!
The beach was great. We normally went out later in the morning when the tide was out. They have nice chairs to lay out on, and it was fun to walk the rocks. We never did try out the snorkeling or the kayaks, but they looked fun. The water was so beautiful!

Room Tip: Ask for a room in the single-story buildings.
See more room tips
  • Stayed August 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 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.
Roberto B, Public Relations Manager at Occidental Grand Papagayo, responded to this review, yesterday
Thank you for sharing your holiday experience here at Occidental Hotel Grand Papagayo. You have highlighted some great points. It was our pleasure to attend you on your stay in Costa Rica and we look forward to hosting you againg soon.

Kindest Regards!
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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 (378)
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English first
Montreal, Canada
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
50 helpful votes 50 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed 4 days ago NEW via mobile

We went there 3 times and we wrote all the details on a previous review. We had a lots of toubles with the rooms and the reservation and the custumer service in front desk was a desaster!

We were very disapointed and mad about the bad administration of this Hotel.

The food is just ok, the location and the rooms need some updating but all the staff is amaizing!

Everything is far from there so if you want to visite the next town Playa del coco wich is nice, you have to use their taxi service and it´s a scam!

We recommand to choose an other Hotel.

  • Stayed January 2014
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
Roberto B, Public Relations Manager at Occidental Grand Papagayo, responded to this review, yesterday
Thank you for taking the time to share your experience with others. We are aware of the unfortunate incident that occurred during your stay with us and regret any inconvenience caused.We would like to take the time to ensure you and our future guest that appropriate action has been taken and these situations have been permanently resolved.
We look forward to giving you an excellent holiday experience in the future.

Kindest Regards!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago NEW

Hotel was good. We were a younger couple on our honeymoon. It was a great experience. The hotel was a little boring for our liking but everything was great. The food was good, the drinks were good and the staff was extremely friendly. Steven in the bar was fantastic, great young man.

We stayed for 6 nights and if we had to do our Costa Rica trip again we would do 3-4 nights on the Pacific side and then a few nights at volcano and then try to do a few nights on Atlantic/Caribbean side.

If you are driving around be careful. We were pulled over twice in the same day in the middle of nowhere. First time they searched car for "weed" and threatened to let the dog out to search but after 20 minutes they realized we weren't going to pay them and didn't have anything illegal they let us go. Second time, we got pulled over for "speeding" (in the middle of other cars) and they took all the money we had, luckily it wasn't that much but the Policia wanted $200 USD. This creates a major problem when you get to the tolls, outside of San Jose, because they only accept Colones.

We went fishing one day and used FishingAdventuresCR.com and they were fantastic. We caught a lot of Mahi Mahi, chased dolphins, snorkeled and they cooked us the fish on an amazing beach. Pricing was very, very good.

Overall the trip was amazing and I would highly recommend staying at Grand Papagayo but if you are adventurous I would recommend Arenal Volcano, some of the tours are great and fishing was amazing.

  • Stayed September 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Roberto B, Public Relations Manager at Occidental Grand Papagayo, responded to this review, yesterday
Your feedback is very important for us. We are striving to not only meet but exceed our guest expectations when they visit us. Thank you for taking the time to write your review. We hope to see you here with us at Occidental Hotel Grand Papagayo soon.

Kindest Regards!
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago

Just returned from 2 weeks in paradise- August 29 to Sept 12 2014. After a small hiccup at check in (we had upgraded to the luxury club and the hotel advised they were unaware) we had a fabulous stay. We can't say enough about the staff who go above and beyond to make you feel comfortable and answer any questions u might have. A special shout out to Roberto and Sandy at guest services, Cynthia at the front desk, Maria, Mercedes, Bryan and Antonio who waited on us in the dining room and snack bar like we were royalty and our shuttle driver Luis who always was always there for us.
Our room 806 had a magnificent view of the entire gulf, spectacular actually. The room was clean, comfortable and everything worked well. The air conditioning was a godsend after spending the morning at the beach. Our fridge kept the beverages cold and was restocked daily. We had a small problem with the shower which was resolved in about 15 minutes after advising the front desk. Couldn't ask for more responsive service.

Overall the food was good. We were a little unsure before we got there based on the reviews we had read. The buffet breakfasts were great. As the hotel was far from capacity during our stay the buffet was closed for lunch and many nights for supper. Lunch was available at the snack bar - the selection was good and supper was served at the Oriental or Italian. We got a little tired of the ala carte's and were pleased when the buffet was open for supper. As well, we were luxury club, so room service was made available to us for no charge and was excellent!

The grounds are beautiful and the wild life who call this place their home is pretty cool. I would suggest not feeding them though as they can become a nuisance if u start.

Learn the tide schedule your first day as that will help you plan your activities. At high tide the beach is non existent. Take water shoes as the sand is hot and there are things u don't want to step on when u r in the water. Watch the undertow it can be really strong.

We did many excursions and used a variety of providers. Swiss, Charlie's (both on the resort) and Larry on the beach. Think he represents Costa Rica Unique. All trips are quite pricy but were great. We did fishing thru Larry twice and it was amazing. The hotel even cooked up our catch for lunch--- now that is service. As well, my husband fished from shore daily and the hotel staff had bait brought in from Coca Beach for him to fish with. We had massages on the beach twice and were not disappointed. 1 hour for 45 dollars - the gals are not associated with the hotel and are very professional.

As we booked our stay during the "wet season" we took ponchos and lots of bug spray which we never needed. On the days it did rain, it was for a couple of hours late afternoon. Perfect time to sit on your covered terrace, read a book, enjoy a drink and take in the view.

What we were not prepared for was the heat and humidity. Showered three times a day. We took 60 sunscreen and next time will take 100. Be careful that u don't burn. Take plenty of moisturizer and something to help with the pain of sunburn.

Believe what others say about the walking! Going down is great but the stairs and inclines of the walkways going back up are pretty steep. Doable, just plan your routes.

We did not go to the resort for the nightlife so are unable to comment about the disco or nightly entertainment. The pool closes at 7 pm which is a little disappointing as it would be nice to have the option of swimming after supper.

For smokers be aware that this resort is NON smoking. There is a small outside area off the lobby behind the bar where it is allowed. My husband affectionately named it "the lepers lounge".

There is no ATM on site so if you run out of cash (like we did) we had to take a cab to Coco Beach which apparently is the closest ATM that gives US $$.

Would we go back yes; would we upgrade to luxury club yes;

Stayed September 2014, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Roberto B, Public Relations Manager at Occidental Grand Papagayo, responded to this review, yesterday
We thank you for your honest opinion and the great tips you have mentioned in your review. We appreciate your input in helping our future guest enjoy their experience with us here in the Occidental Hotel Grand Papagayo. It will be our pleasure to attend you on future visits with us.

Kindest Regard!
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wilmington, Delaware
1 review
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago

my vacation was lovely. the hotel and my room was beautiful. beautiful beachs. animals everywhere. the staff was extremely friendly and helpful. food was not so good at buffett however at restaurants it was good. It was very intimate, a couples resort. lots to do. we rented a car and ventured out on our own. it was cheaper then doing hotel excurssions. We really enjoyed ourselves. Denise Perkins from Tropical Travelers really did a great job finding an affordable all inclusive resort for us.

  • Stayed August 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Roberto B, Guest Relations Manager at Occidental Grand Papagayo, responded to this review, 1 week ago
We would like to thank you for having stayed with us. We do really apreciate your good comments and recomendations in regards to our food service.

We wish you the best and look forward to hosting you again.

Kindest Regards!

Roberto Bustos
Guest Services Manager
Occidental Grand Papagayo
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Saskatoon, Canada
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 weeks ago

Had the opportunity to stay at the Occidental Grand Papagayo in Guanacaste Costa Rica recently, and it was a wonderful experience. Despite it being early in the rainy season, we had excellent weather with very little rain fall, which allowed us to explore the property and surrounding area. We flew to the area through Air Canada vacations, and they did a very good job of ushering guests between the nearby airport and the Occidental Grand Papagayo. We were lucky to have been checked in by Juan, who was very friendly, helpful, and was able to communicate very effectively. While there were a couple of front desk clerks who were seemingly less approachable during our stay, Juan was always there to help and was excellent. A consistent issue at times was the availability of the concierge for booking the a’la carte restaurants. They were not always available during published hours, and it was difficult to book all three restaurants simultaneously for the week.

The property is beautiful and well maintained. Being smaller, it had a very welcome feel to it, and it did not take long to get to know where most things were. The various rooms are spread across the resort in smaller blocks, across an undulating landscape of trees, shrubs, and lots of hills ! We had booked one of the deluxe ocean view rooms, and when staff came to get us to take us to our room they use a shuttle. The shuttle is available to guests day and night to transport them between their room block and the main resort building, or one can walk for the exercise. The shuttle was welcome on arrival and departure to assist with luggage, and Jose was a real trooper, hauling a particularly heavy bag between the shuttle, and up a steep hill and several stairs to the second floor room. His smile and friendly assistance built upon our great arrival experience.

The room was quite nice. The size was comfortable but not large, and very functional but certainly not opulent. Everything functioned properly and as expected. Did have a bit of trouble with the room safe initially, however they sent someone over to assist right away, and there were not problems thereafter. We felt that the room was a very good way point between our various activities, and spent a good part of the time on the patio overlooking the resort and ocean in the evening, enjoying a beverage. Some of the outside parts of the block could use some updating and maintenance (e.g., buckled wood under the eaves from moisture), but was by no means run down. The room was clean and it cooled quickly as we unpacked. While we also noticed that the air conditioner does not run when no one is in the room, it did not take very long to cool the room down once we arrived at any given time. We also kept the blinds closed during the day to keep the heat from the sun from increasing the temperature in the room. We found that the bathroom did not have any shampoo or conditioner, so make sure you bring your own. As well, the bar soap they provide had a bit of an off-putting perfume odor to it, but these are minor quibbles. The cleaning staff were excellent about maintaining the room each day, and while the fridge was initially minimally stocked, we left a daily tip and request written in Spanish for extra beer and water, and the maids were excellent about keeping us well stocked beyond the usual minimum, and we always had fresh towels and a spotless room. The first morning they even left us two towel swans ! The beds were very comfortable and getting a good night sleep was not a problem.

The resort itself is built into the side of the hill above the bay, so there is lots of up and down as you walk the pathways between the room block and the main building. We had no problem over the course of the week despite being in the farthest room block (although that last ascent to the room after a large supper and evening at the bar was sometimes a challenge!). For those with physical disability or limitations, calling for the shuttle is always available. We cannot comment on how long it takes to arrive, however it seemed to be minimal. There was wildlife on property, particularly the cute white-nosed coati that roamed the resort, and the White-throated Magpie-Jay’s who can be found on every patio (keep a hand on your cookie!). We also saw iguanas, bats, and a few monkey’s in the trees. The main building contains one of the buffet restaurants, all of the a’la carte (Italian, Asian, Tex-Mex), as well as the lounge and disco. While the Asian a’la carte was a real highlight meal, overall the buffet was really, really good ! The food was excellent, really. While they provide a few “north American “ dishes, the native Costa Rican fare was welcome and delicious. We truly did not have a bad meal in the buffet; breakfast, lunch and supper were all very good. Caesar was a wonderful ambassador of the restaurant and resort. He served us often as well as acting as restaurant manager at times. We found all of the restaurant staff to be friendly and helpful. The snack bar by the pool is more of a restaurant than a snack bar, and it serves both lunch and supper as well. Bryan was a wonderful, genuine and welcoming server at the snack bar. He was a great server and a wonderfully sweet young man. Another ambassador of the resort and Costa Rica.

We enjoyed sitting in the bar/lounge and it’s patio after some of our adventures, and Edwin was an ever present energy as one of the resident bartenders. He always went out of his way to greet us when he saw us, and made some very good drinks, even retrieving ingredients from some of the other bars to make us what we had requested. Edwin was generous with the shots as well as his sense of humour. We looked forward to seeing him each evening (and it wasn’t just for the drinks!). The bar closed early and service was moved next door into a small disco. Many guest gravitated there in the later hours after some of the fun and activities on the main patio in the evening. The smaller size of the resort made the experience more intimate, and it was easier to get to know more of the other guests, often seeing each other for meals and evening activities. It really gave the resort a comfortable, safe, and welcoming feel.

There is a small but accessible pool that always had lounge chairs available, and an activities team that provided opportunities for pool volleyball, soccer on the beach, and water aerobics throughout the day. There is a snack bar/restaurant right by the pool, and there was usually staff available to take drink orders, although this was not always consistent. It would have been nice to have had a swim-up bar, but that is not really a deal breaker for us. Figure if I am too lazy to get a drink myself if I really want one, I probably don’t deserve to be served anyways. It would have been nice if the pool had been open later than the 7:00pm shutdown. However one is on the coast of Costa Rica ! The resort is on Playa Buena, which sits at one end of the Gulf of Papagayo. The beach had coarse, but soft sand and stretched about 500m along the water. There were always chairs available and the beach opened onto a rugged section of rock and corral that made for some wicked snorkeling right off the beach ! This was also a great spot for some very fine sunsets. Souvenir sales people were minimal and never aggressive, and there were some great ladies offering professional massages on the beach. Drink service on the beach was again inconsistent, but also depended somewhat on how high the tide was ! Being on the Gulf, the water was never too rough for swimming or snorkeling.

The resort is not within a town or village, so one has a short distance to travel by taxi or rental vehicle to get to some local restaurants, or if you want to explore some other beaches and towns. A short 10km drive away is Playa del Coco, and it is a must-do if you are in the area. Coco is a happening main street with lots of happening bars and restaurants, as well as local vendors and excursion opportunities. Check out Coconutz to quaff some Imperial’s and watch the street scene, and look for some great seafood at Las Olas. The beach is a major anchoring point for many area boats, and the beach is a very long stretch with soft, dense black sand. A great place to spend a day ! Each beach in the area is a bit different, so also check out Playa Ocotal for more snorkeling. While we did not sign up for any organized excursions, we did rent a vehicle for a few days, and drove in-land to explore some of the areas, including a ½-day trip to the Llano de Cortes waterfall south east of Liberia. Another must-do to enjoy a swim under the cascading water’s and lounge on the small beach. There is a local vendor selling very good fresh mixed ceviche and of course, Imperial’s !

Overall we had a great experience at the Occidental Grand Papagayo,and would certainly go back again.

  • Stayed August 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Roberto B, Public Relations Manager at Occidental Grand Papagayo, responded to this review, yesterday
We thank you for your honest opinion and the great tips you have mentioned in your review. We appreciate your input in helping our future guest enjoy their experience with us here in the Occidental Hotel Grand Papagayo. It will be our pleasure to attend you on future visits with us.

Kindest Regard!
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Irvine, California
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 weeks ago

My girlfriend and I spent 6 nights at this resort. Overall, it was nice to get away to this peaceful place. We spent 3 nights at the resort and 3 nights driving around the city and checking out the beautiful waterfalls around the country. My suggestion, rent a car from the resort and adventure off because activities are expensive if you book it through the hotel or other places. Speak to Carlos from Avis who definitely took care of us. The rental car came with navigation so you didn't have to worry about getting lost. The employees at the resort were very awesome, they work so hard to take care of you. The only reason why I didn't give this a 5 rating is because of the food. All of the food lacked flavor. Lastly, watch out for the time share stuff they try to sell to you. They do it at the Airport when you land and at the Hotel. Tip: When you land, walk past all of the people standing inside the airport and walk directly to your ride/taxi. And, when you leave country there is a $30 fee at the airport (Exit Fee).

  • Stayed August 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 8
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
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Guanacaste > Gulf of Papagayo
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( Wi-Fi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#6 Spa Hotel in Gulf of Papagayo
#6 Top resorts Hotel in Gulf of Papagayo
#7 Luxury Hotel in Gulf of Papagayo
#9 On the Beach Hotel in Gulf of Papagayo
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Occidental Grand Papagayo 4*
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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