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“Excellent value for money” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Vista Bahia Beach Resort

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Vista Bahia Beach Resort
3.5 of 5 Resort   |   Papagayo Blvd, Playa Panama, Costa Rica (Formerly Monarch Resort)   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Playa Panama
Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Excellent value for money”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 21, 2013

I'll keep this short and precise!

Pros
- Nice and clean location. I booked a junior suite and the room was spotless clean. No major privacy concerns. However, the walls are thin and you could hear the folks in the other room when they spoke loudly. The general surroundings are spectacular - nice and green. A small hike to the main reception/eating area. However, they provide a free golf-cart service to the apartment.
- The room was equipped with hairdryers, microwave oven, refrigerator, TV (predominantly spanish language channels - but who cares!)
- Friendly and helpful staff. I forgot to bring a power adapter (silly me!) for my camera and the staff bent over backwards to help me out. Really appreciate their help!
- Breakfast was good and delicious. Lunch and dinners were a bit on the expensive side - but thats pretty much the case all over Costa Rica.
- The swimming pool was nice and clean (cleaned everyday).

Cons
- This place is in the middle of nowhere. You would need a taxi to get to the nearest supermarket. I needed a toothbrush and since the resort didnt have one, I was recommended to pay $15 for a trip to the local supermarket to get one! Just in case you need supplies for your room (alcohol/food supplies/spare toothbrushes :)), it would help to stop at a local supermarket on your way from the airport.
- The walls of the bath-tub/bathing area in the room are quite high. Was fine enough for us, but could be a bummer for folks with troubles in their knees/joints.

Side note: We were assisted by a driver - Carlos. He speaks manageable English and doubled up as a good tour-guide! Negotiate big time to get a good deal from him - even for the trip from the airport to the resort. He is good and trustworthy! (carlosduarte_1980@hotmail.com, 506/5006-3339)

Room Tip: - Ask for a sea-facing room - The beach is on a bay. So dont expect full fledged ocean waves. The w...
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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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148 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (21)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Richmond Hill, Georgia
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 2, 2013

Excellent place to stay - a little bit of a hike to get to the reception where the restaurant, bar, and swimming pool were located. However, it allowed you to be in the middle of the trees where the howler monkeys lived! They were amazingly close to our balcony, and even woke us up one morning! The hotel entrance was actually the next road just south of playa panama, it was the next beach road down past, and the other beach names were posted, but not the hotels' since it was actually on the point between the two beaches. Hotel offered free Kayaking which was very nice too!
We were able to hire Gilber Gutierrez, our boat captain and guide for a 2 1/2 hour boat snorkeling tour of the bay for $35.-$40.-he was fantastic, snorkeled with us in the water to help us find a live sea horse, local shellfish, starfish, in addition to all the fish! He provided fruit and water, safe and good condition of his boat, and excellent hospitality - I recommend calling him: his local #: 8579-8634 (the hotel called for me). He was very friendly and spoke fairly good English.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Arvada, Colorado
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 7, 2013

Vista Bahia was exactly what we were looking for while vacationing in Costa Rica. The hotel rooms felt more like an apartment, providing privacy along with great views of Playa Panama and wildlife like monkeys, birds and iguanas. The owner, manager, and staff of Vista Bahia were the best part of the resort. They were incredibly helpful , friendly and personable. We missed our flight and the management accommodated our needs in a very generous manner. One of our favorite memories from our trip was taking the kayak, courtesy of the resort, out on the ocean and watching the most spectacular sunset we have ever seen. We think the Vista Bahia is wonderful as is but the owner has several aspirations for the resort. We are looking forward to going back and seeing the staff as well as all of the added amenities made. Thank you Vista Bahia for making our trip so memorable!

Room Tip: All of the rooms are private suites however I would request a beach view, we spent several hours on...
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
Toronto, Canada
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 1, 2013

We had some difficulty finding this hotel due to the lack of road names and signage. However, it was definitely worth finding! The hotel rooms were like small condos, and even though it was a little rough around the edges, we did not come all the way to Costa Rica to hang out in a hotel room. The wildlife on the grounds of the hotel was exceptional - we had a small pack of howler monkey's hanging out in the tree's right outside our room! The Magpie-Jays at the restaurant were cute, but slightly aggressive. We also saw some mot-mots, several iguanas, and one monitor lizard.

The rooms are a small distance from the front desk, and they have you park your vehicle at the front (no vehicles beyond the front desk area - this makes for very quiet grounds, and subsequently, excellent sleep!). The rooms were nice and clean, however, I noticed that the bathtub/shower combination could pose entry problems for people with limited mobility. The combination shower/bath tub has very high sides that were difficult for even myself to get into.

The open air restaurant was fabulous! We went for happy hour both nights we were there, and the bar/restaurant staff were exceptionally friendly. The meals we ordered were fantastic, and the included breakfasts were also great. The bar/restaurant uses the tab system, so you don't even need to bring your credit card/money with you to dinner. On our last night, we brought a MahiMahi that we caught on our deep sea fishing adventure, and the chef prepared an exceptionally delicious meal for us that evening, consisting of the fish, potatoes and vegetables with garlic sauce.

On our last day, we went down to the private beach area to do some kayaking (all we had to do was ask at the desk to use the kayaks, and they arranged for us to have them in 15 minutes). We kayaked around the bay, and saw plenty of tropical fish. We went swimming afterwards, only encountering one jelly fish while there. Finally, we finished our visit to the Vista Bahia with lunch. My husband had the Peruvian ceviche, and I had the Arroz con Camarones. The portions were quite generous, the food was delicious, and the prices were reasonable.

All in all, I would most likely return if we should ever be in the north-west area of Costa Rica again!

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
Denver, Colorado, United States
1 review
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 1, 2013

I found this hotel through LivingSocial Escapes and booked it for my parents and I for 7 nights because it was such agreat deal. Once we got there we were very pleased with the jungle surroundings and all of the wildlife, birds, igaunas, howler monkeys...right outside our door. There are 2 beaches nearby, Playitas and Playa Panama. We preferred the latter for swimming, as it wasn't as rocky. The room was set up to sleep 4, a queen bed and a fold out sofa bed. The beds were not the most comfortable, but they did the job. The hotel staff was suberb. I am a Flight Attendant and travel for a living and quite a bit for pleasure. I have never had such a great hotel staff in all of my travels, as I did at Vista Bahia. The food was delicious, and if you go, you must try the tuna tartar, shrimp fettuccine and mahi mahi. Breakfast was included in our stay and I especially loved the Tipico, pinto gallo, egg and fried platanes. From the bar, I suggest trying a shot of chile water and a cold Imperial beer. Aside from the wonderful staff, we also got to meet the owner and his son, John and James Fitzgerald. They, like their staff, were extremely helpful in making us feel right at home. Aside from the hospitality, we enjoyed a few tours, which the front desk will book for you through Jacamar Tours. We did Palo Verde, Rafting on the Colorado River and Arenal at Tabacon Hot Springs. The latter is a tour I have done before, and was the reason I wanted my parents to visit Costa Rica. The day we went, we had torrential rain, which cut our visit to the hot springs down to only an hour, but we still enjoyed the day. There's not much you can do about mother nature!
The only reason I did not give Vista Bahia an excellent rating is because one night the power went out in our room, which meant no AC. I called down to the front desk, but no one ever came to flip the breaker for our room, so sleep that night was very uncomforable. Luckily, that was the only night without power or AC. In addition to that, it would have been nice to have a lobby computer for guests to use. So if you go, make sure you bring your laptop or ipad so you can connect to the free wifi.
All in all, our stay at Vista Bahia was great and I would love to go back. I usually fly into San Jose, but the friendliness of the people of the Guanacaste area supercedes that of the big city and it was a very nice change.
This is my first time using Trip Advisor. I hope it helps another family have a wonderful vacation! Enjoy!
P.S. Inquire about the free kayaking. I didn't get to do it this time around, but I look forward to trying it next time!

Room Tip: Inquire about a room with a Bay view. Also, some rooms have stairs, so if you prefer not to climb s...
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 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.
Westminster, Colorado, United States
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 24, 2013

We just got back from Costa Rica yesterday and had a phenomenal time. Vista Bahia is located in a very nice secluded area between Playa Panama and Playa Hermosa. It's in a protected cove that is quiet and great to kayak on. The staff were what made our stay there at Vista Bahia phenomenal. The bartenders and wait staff at the restaurant were incredibly nice and always had a smile for us. We got to know many of them by name and felt very much at home. The food especially the breakfast (get the typical or "typico" breakfast) was incredible. The resort itself is older and needs updating and some repairs, but overall we loved our stay there. We took advantage of the 2 free hours of kayaking and the front desk staff were great at booking a tour to Nicaragua for us. I think that with some time, money and TLC this place could be very very nice. This place is great if you are looking for a economical place to stay in Costa Rica in great locale. It's older and the suites need repair, but it was not enough to detract from our enjoyment. We did the Guachipelin one day combo tour that included tubing through the river (rapids included), zip lining, rappelling, rock wall climbing, horseback riding and a visit to one of the hot springs and mud baths. We totally recommend this tour. We also did a one day tour to Nicaragua and the Palo Verde river tour. All in all we can't wait to go back. We rely on reviews on TripAdvisor so hopefully this will help you out on your trip to Costa Rica. :)

Room Tip: Make sure to ask for a room with a ocean view. Many of the suites overlook the cove, but not all of...
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 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.
New York NY
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 14, 2013

Yet the uber-friendly staff saved the day. (Which is the only reason I gave it 3 stars.)

We arrived on a very hot day and the air-condition didn't work right. They changed us to another room with a slightly better AC but still not enough. The place looks slightly shabby inside, and the bathroom in one of our rooms had a musty smell. We were about to leave, but the staff really tried helping us with what they had and we eventually decided to stick it out. It helped that the raining season was fast approaching and the next few days had cooler weather.

There's ample wildlife on the property and around it. This is the closest we got to howler monkeys (on a little tree not 10ft away) and iguanas (found roaming all over) and the cutely aggressive Magpie-Jay birds that wait around at breakfast to steal some sugar.

Breakfast is delicious, and the server was attentive and nice. We used the free kayak and snorkels on our first day there - there are some dead corals around the bend (the person helping us with the kayaks pointed us to the direction) and we say some fishes (and jelly fish) and enjoyed the beach.

This hotel is located 20 minutes from Playas del Coco where the main attractions are located and you can probably find similar deals at a better location.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
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Additional Information about Vista Bahia Beach Resort

Address: Papagayo Blvd, Playa Panama, Costa Rica (Formerly Monarch Resort)
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Guanacaste > Gulf of Papagayo > Playa Panama
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Playa Panama
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Vista Bahia Beach Resort 3.5*
Number of rooms: 34
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A development surrounded by flora, fauna and wildlife that offers a natural environment in complete harmony with the surroundings. Vista Bahia Beach Resort is the ideal place to rest, relax and enjoy everything Costa Rica has to offer. Animals seen and photographed on property have included; monkeys, squirrels, iguanas, numerous butterflies, mapaches, and pizotes and many different species of birds, We also have numerous trees, cacti, hiking trails and beautiful gardens. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Monarch Hotel Gulf Of Papagayo
Monarch Resort Gulf Of Papagayo
Vista Bahia Beach Resort Costa Rica/Playa Panama, Guanacaste

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