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“Hit and Miss” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Sol Papagayo-Nakuti Resort

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Sol Papagayo-Nakuti Resort
3.0 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   Playa Panama, Playa Panama, Costa Rica   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #2 of 3 Hotels in Playa Panama
Mississauga
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
“Hit and Miss”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 27, 2012

This resort was full of potential!

The spot was beautiful. The beach was pretty, and full of local colour. The tide pools and the sunset were fabulous. The walk to the next beach, Playa Buena, was short and painless -- and it was an even nicer beach. The pool is nice -- yes there were a couple of crabs in it, but the kids enjoyed it. If you have a small child, bring a lifejacket.

The Howlers on site were great to watch. Mom and baby got close enough for pictures. The 12 or so monkeys circulated around the resort every day. People at other, larger resorts said they didn't have that.

Juan Carlos is the one to see for tours. Isabel and Swiss Tours are fine, but Juan Carlos is the guy. He will take good care of you.

One of the parts that was a miss was the food. It was definately authentic -- Juan Carlos told us that rice and beans and salad were part of most Costa Rican lunches and suppers. You'll see that, and some beef with attitude, at most meals. Bring some hot sauce, snacks for the kids, and low expectations and you'll be fine. The price was low enough that we could have eaten out in Coco Beach for a couple of nights. They ran out of Vino Tino every night and several juices ran out most nights. The bar closed at 10 on the dot every night.

The nights were quiet. There was one night with entertainment -- a pair of Costa Rican singers. What a great night! Everyone sat around the "stage" area, drinking whatever was left in the bar, and having a great time. It was intimitate and thoroughly enjoyable. That night we saw what this place could be -- with a little love.

The "Pure Adrenaline" tour at Rincon de la Vieja was beyond amazing. Horseback riding, tubing, a great lunch, ziplining, rapelling, climbing, and hot springs -- all in one day! Book that with Juan Carlos -- about $125. For a family experience, Congo Trail 1/2 day ziplining was great. Our five year old and their grandparents enjoyed the experience.

In the end, should you go? If it's a deal, you can't beat the location. Plan on bad food, great tours nearby, and a couple of nights out for dinner.

ps - Bring some school supplies (new -- not your old stuff!) for the kids in Panama -- they could use the help. Nice 5-subject spiral notebooks are needed by all new high school students but are actually more expensive there than here. Pencil crayons and sharpeners are always great too. Enjoy Costa Rica!

  • Stayed January 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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155 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (10)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Toronto
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 27, 2012

My wife and I travelled to Sol Papagayo Jan 7-14, 2012. We are very low maintenance travelers and I'm always looking for a deal which is why I booked this resort. We knew going in that everything wouldn't be perfect but as long as it was clean, quiet and friendly we'd be happy.

Check-In: Check-in was a breeze for us and we were given a room right away. The same can't be said for some of the other vacationers who arrived on the same transfer as us. Some waited many hours for their room to be ready. In the resorts defence, we did arrive many hours before the "official" check-in time.

Room: We were given room 406 which was at the far end of the resort - about 1-2 minute walk to the pool and buffet. It was a nice big room with a firm yet comfortable king size bed and a jacuzzi tub (unfortunately after filling the tub and turning the jets on we realized it just made a lot of noise and the jets didn't actually work.) It was cleaned every day and we always had fresh towels. No problems with the air conditioning or hot water at all but we heard different stories from others who didn't have any at all. There are no screens or handles on the terrace doors so you have to keep them closed at all times so bugs don't get in. We had no chairs on the terrace which would have been nice - others did but it was obvious the resort didn't have enough to go around. There was a safe in the room that you had to pay extra for (we didn't use it). There was a bar fridge in the room as well but we ended up unplugging it because of the noise it made at night. We had a working phone and the couple of times we called the front desk for extra towels and they arrived promptly.

The Food/Buffet: I must start by saying we are picky eaters so you can put this into context. This was by far the worst part of our trip and I agree with all other reviews on this point. We never went hungry but they would serve the same food over and over again. Sometimes I even thought we were getting leftovers from the buffet of their nicer sister resort a short distance away (more on that later). Some items were just inedible like the cut up hot dogs and the tough undercooked beef. Some items were tolerable like the super el dente pasta and the different "sauces" for it. Some items were really good like the fresh fruit and the hashbrowns. We even found that the rice they were serving was sometimes undercooked and hard. This was really upsetting since one of the Costa Rica main staples is rice and beans. How could they screw that up? Overall they get a failing grade for the food.

The Bar: We found the bar staff to be very nice. When the ladies were working they knew how to make the drinks. When the guys were working they had to look at the menu all the time to see how to make it (I think they were new to bartending). They ran out of rhum and the good scotch close to the end of our stay and they were never replenished. Around the same time they ran out of draft beer but it wasn't a problem as they substituted for bottled beer. The bar closed at 10pm which we thought was early for a resort but after a day out in the sun we were more than happy to go back to our room. This also contributed to the quiet atmosphere which is something we were really looking for. If you're looking for a party stay somewhere else.

The Pool: I thought the pool was very nice. I wouldn't say it was too hot or too cold....just refreshing after sitting out in the sun. Some people on here were complaining about the pool being dirty but we didn't feel like that at all. We actually spent a lot of time around the pool and there was almost always someone skimming it or sweeping up around or testing the chemical balance. You have to keep in mind that the pool is surrounded by trees and there are constantly leaves and such falling or blowing into it. Not a big deal and you'll thank the heavens for the shade in the afternoon.

The Beach: It is a beautiful black sand beach and as such it is very difficult to see in the water. My suggestion would be to go down to the beach when the tide is out so you can get the lay of the land. It will be obvious where the rocky section is and where it's sandy. Then, when the tide is in you'll know exactly where to swim. I brought water shoes for this purpose and they worked wonderfully. After reading other reviews I was worried about jellyfish and stingrays but I didn't see any sign of either. One girl at the resort did say she got stung by a jellyfish one day but it wasn't that bad. There are other nicer beaches close by...some within walking distance. Go exploring during low tide - just make sure you know what time the tide will come back in so you don't get stuck anywhere.

The Grouds: The grouds were well maintained and we had no issue with this. It would have been nice for the fountain to have water in it though.

The Bugs: In all honesty the bugs weren't too bad. People need to remember this is Central America and there are bugs there - wherever you go. During the day we barely saw any. Even at night they were tough to spot. However, one night we were sitting by the bar in our shorts and our legs got bitten a lot. These aren't like the North American mosquitoes that you can hear buzzing around and certainly feel it when they bite you. These guys didn't make a noise and you didn't feel the bite until well after they were gone and the bite started to itch. So bring your bug spray and wear it if you're sitting out at night with your arms or legs exposed. Most of the other guests felt the same as us about the bugs.

Wildlife: There are howler monkeys that live in the trees on the resort. We would literally sit around the pool all day and just watch them. Some people pay extra to see things like this on tours/excursions but it's just part of staying at this resort. We also saw a lot of birds, lizards and crabs on the beach. There is life EVERYWHERE if you just stop and look.

Timeshares: The timeshare pitches were pretty annoying. They diguise the pitch as a "tour" of the sister resort with special gifts/discounts. After listening to the pitch 2-3 days in a row we politely declined and asked that he stop pitching us because we just wanted to relax at our resort. That was the last we heard of him. Other guests attended the timeshare pitch and returned with mixed reviews of the resort and the bonus things being offered. Perhaps if we were there for more than a week we would have indulged to gain access to the "nicer" resort for a day but a one week trip is too short to waste a half day on a sales pitch.

Tours/Expeditions: We booked ours with Juan-Carlo of Costa Rica Friendly. They have a desk set up beside the check-in counter. We did the Mega Combo and Nicaragua tours which were AMAZING. Plus, when you book two tours with them they give you a free transfer to Coco Beach (normally a $20 cab ride each way). Both tours were with small groups which we liked a lot.

Overall we are pretty happy with this resort. As I said, we knew it wouldn't be perfect but going in with lowered expectations probably contributed to us enjoying ourselves more than others. Putting a little money into this place could spruce it up a bit but what they really need to focus on is the quality of the food. If the food got better I'd consider returning here for the right price.

Room Tip: The rooms in the 400's looked to be the best.
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  • Stayed January 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
Central Ontario, Canada
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed January 24, 2012

This is our fourth trip to this resort (previous review Jan. 2010) and are sorry to report that our earlier glowing reccommendations are drastically altered and mainly because of the food. Guest complaints managed to get such breakfast staples as toast (with one 2-slice toaster for what seemed 100 or more people), cereal, fruit, and yogourt added to the menu in a sporadic fashion. The meals in general showed little imagination and were presented buffet style at too low a temperature to be safe. Does anyone actually eat cut-up weiners in sauce three times a day?

The internet computer ($$) in the lobby was out of order the entire two weeks we were there so unless you lugged your own system to the lobby wi-fi you had to beg time on the hotel desk computer. The desk staff was accomodating about this but it was inconvenient.
The staff was friendly and helpful but some of the bar staff obviously had no training on how to mix drinks.

Costa Rica, thanks in part to tourism is no longer considered a third-world country and third world standards are no longer acceptable in food.

Despite our liking for this quiet, rural location it is unlikely that we will return here unless there is a major improvement.

Room Tip: If you want to look at the local wildlife the 600 series rooms back onto bush and small lagoon.
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  • Stayed January 2012, traveled with friends
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
Bluevale, Ontario, Canada
1 review
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed January 18, 2012

Having read someone else's review from December, we should not have bothered going here, but I've always found the real bad reviews are usually just one persons bad experiences, and not always reflective of the resort. HOWEVER they were absolutely right. I'm not sure when the closing day will be, but its not far away!

The food, or lack of, would be the single biggest reason to boycott this place. There is a single 2 slice toaster for making toast in the mornings, and 2 mornings there was no bread, or they ran out part way through breakfast (like at 7:30). Butter was an option one morning, as was jam on a few occasions. Bananas were either unavailable ???, or beaten blackened things that may have already been in a dumpster. Yogurt dish usually empty, or unavailable. The girl making eggs in the morning had to use this wacky propane burner, that if she did not hang onto her frying pan it would tip over because it was meant for a large kettle, not a smaller diameter frying pan. Other meals were OK, but after day 1, you didn't need to ask whats on the buffet, because it was very close to the day before, and boring at best, and sometimes cold. Dessert was in very short supply of anything good, and very little of anything else. Even watermelon chunks were hard to find anywhere near the buffet most of the meals. You definitely need to enjoy chicken, the main meat for the buffet. Now on to the a'lecarte. What a joke. Most people were not even offered it, we were, and upon our arrival for this meal, the room was in darkness, and made it up as we went. Ice was added to the wine bucket, not chilled previously, so first drink of white wine was warm. There seemed to be no preparation at all. Then there was the large red ants crawling all OVER the place, dropping from under our table crawling all around us. We were told they don't bite ?? I got up and killed around 50 or so. My better half finally got up and left. Then there was the crabs crawling across the floor with a shell, because it had been 100 degrees in there upon our arrival for supper, and the outside door needed to be opened, allowing a real strong breeze flying through, and creatures too. And this wall is shared with the kitchen, wonder if there were ants in there ? Oh yes, don't forget the snack bar....or maybe do, cold greasy fries, with hotdog slices mixed throughout, chicken wings and legs, wet nachos, and sandwiches with sliced coldcuts. (Maybe the bread shortage ?) Anyways, 2 of these at a time for each morning or afternoon.

The pool was ice cold, and did not usually have anybody in it for any length of time. The ocean was far warmer. Lawn beds were limited, but suffient given the low volume at the resort. Pool towels were hard to come by also at times.

Funds seemed to be very tight, could not splurge and leave an extra roll of toilet paper, unless your roll was only 10% left. Had to go to front desk to ask for it, and wait till housekeeping brought them a roll for you.

Alcohol seemed to be the same running out of different things all the time. Tomato juice was brought in maybe every other day, and 2 small 1 litre boxes when it was. One of the times they had tomato juice for a bloody mary, they were out of vodka ? Ran out of whisky, liquiors, and for several days beer was being brought in by the bottle, because the draft was run dry. The staff were continually washing plastic glasses to make drinks, because they were out. There was only 1 bar, so that was it.

On the plus side, the rooms were spacious, very clean. However our beds were rock hard, which made for bad sleeping.

All the staff were very friendly and helpful (if they could given their limited supplies). Unless something drastic occurs at this resort, they will all be looking for new employment soon ! This place definitely rated the bottom of the bucket.

This was our 6th trip to Costa Rica, and will travel there again soon. Lots to offer, a beautiful country with lots to see, full of helpful friendly people everywhere you go. Pass over this resort, and enjoy your stay elsewhere in Costa Rica, its a very short week.

  • Stayed January 2012, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
Toronto, Canada
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed January 17, 2012

The worst thing was a food. Terrible .It's a 1.5 star hotel when it comes to food. I'm not a picky guy,but the food was real crap. Three type of rice three times a day. At the last three days of my stay at that hotel I couldn't even look at that food . The owner of the hotel spent $100 per meal to feed a hundred people .
I was more or less Ok with other services .
Please guys stay away from this hotel . Don't ruin your well deserved vocation .
Stayed at the hotel with my family .

  • Stayed January 2012, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pittsford, NY
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 8, 2012

One got the impression that this place was well past its peak and the owner doesn't want to invest in it anymore. Positives: the room and bath are spacious. The dining room staff are attentive. Were generous with pool towels. Negatives: there are big tarps protecting the large, conical roof over the dining room; no water in decorative pool nor waterfall; we had to ask three times, over two days, for hot water service to our room; door to room's patio had a hole for a handle; our patios had no chairs (others did); the buffet selections were sparse - no pineapple one day, same pieces of beef (now tough) served next day; young bartender was very slow and had to refer to limited menu for ingredients, substituted Sprite for tonic in my gin & tonic; concierge pushed a tour of a nearby resort, with rewards, but, on arrival, found that the resort's story was not as generous; pool was not well maintained; beach is unattractive; we all got bites around our ankles while walking to it; lots of bugs near door to room, some came inside.

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Calgary
1 review
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 6, 2012

If you're visiting Costa Rica for a vacation in natural surroundings - this is a fantastic location. The grounds of the Sol Papagayo are beautiful; neat, but not overly manicured, where you can see howler monkies in the trees, iguanas and lizards on the grounds , parrots flying overhead, herons, egrets and sandpipers on the beaches and lots of life in the tide pools. There are terrific walks along the 5 km long beach (volcanic sand), to other beaches - Playa Buena is a short walk away up the hill, and if you climb the hill to the cell phone tower you'll see fabulous vistas of Playa Hermosa and Playa Panama. We loved the ambiance of the Sol Papagayo - it was a calm and quiet place to relax after all of our adventure tours zip lining, white water rafting and horseback riding. Because the resort was small, we got to know many of the other clients and the resort staff. The staff was friendly, the food was delicious and plentiful, and we loved the fact that the resort was quiet after 10:00 pm. (except New Year's when they threw a great party!) We were there as a family, with our university-aged sons - and all of us loved the resort. One thing that I'd like to see at the resort is the availability of kayaks to explore the beautiful bay. I think that this would be a good location to bring young children because the bay is so calm and safe - there are no waves and at low tide you can walk a long way out into the bay.

Room Tip: You can choose suites or individual rooms. Our rooms had a sitting area as well as two double beds.
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  • Stayed December 2011, traveled with family
    • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Sol Papagayo-Nakuti Resort

Address: Playa Panama, Playa Panama, Costa Rica
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Guanacaste > Gulf of Papagayo > Playa Panama
Amenities:
Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Spa Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 3 Hotels in Playa Panama
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — Sol Papagayo-Nakuti Resort 3*
Number of rooms: 97
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Sol Papagayo-Nakuti Hotel Playa Panama
Sol Papagayo Playa Panama
Sol Papagayo-Nakuti Resort Costa Rica/Playa Panama, Guanacaste

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