Let me start by saying I am a regular at the Barceló Resorts. I usually have almost no complaints. I have visited 5-6 Barceló resorts. I love their customer service and the quality of the resorts and the maintenance. I don't want to say this resort was bad but comparing all of the other Barceló resorts we were not too impressed at this resort. I still had an amazing time because I love traveling and experiencing other countries and their cultures. I will make the best of every trip and compromise. We are on vacation and in another country without the same things we would be used to and spoiled with in America.
The trip started with our landing in Costa Rica at about 2:15pm. and being picked up by Odyssey tours & travels. We had pre-booked our land shuttle that would be a 4-1/2- 5 hour trip by land to Barceló Tambor. You get to enjoy the beauty of the country this way and also get to travel on the ferry for approx. 1-1-1/2 hours. We left the ferry at about 4:30 so we enjoyed the sunset on our journey to Tambor.
Our driver Enrique and our tour guide Juan were so friendly and very helpful with explaining the culture and any questions we had about the country. They made the trip to the resort enjoying and pleasant.
We arrived at the resort at about 7:00 pm. or so. Check in was pretty easy and there wasn't anyone else there at that time at the desk. I do have to say they really did not give us as much info about the hotel and such nor any tour etc.. maybe because it was late who knows? We were just given a vague explanation where our room was and eventually we found it. We were very happy to find our room being beach front very close to everything. Our room # 423. great location and we enjoyed the land waking up every day with the lizards coming out of their trees and the squirrels playing in the trees and such. Also the macaws every morning flying above and squawking and making all kinds of noise but gorgeous to watch. The land was beautiful and I just can't really explain the beauty!
So now for the room. I think we just received the trouble room. We had troubles with little baby crabs in our room. Called for help and they really couldn't help us so we fixed the problems ourselves. The maid service was good. We tipped $2.00-3.00 daily. Amazingly it was the same lady every day. They only say they will give you 2 water bottles per day and you have to save them and refill throughout the day. If you tip the water guy you will never have to worry about this. They do not provide any beer in the mini fridge. We thought all of this was not up to standards but what are you to do? So we walked to the town of Tambor along the beach approx. a 45 min walk and you have to go at low tide because you will have to cross the river but is no problem at low tide. We bought beer and wine as the wine they give outside of the al a carte restaurants was no good. There were other problems in the room as well. We could not get hot water in our shower. Every morning we had to run the shower for at least 30-35 min. in order for the water to finally warm up. The coffee maker decided to break on us and take about 25 min to make also. It almost became a joke to us to wake up early in the morning and just start the coffee and the shower and rest for another half hour. Gotta make the best of it!
So onto other things.. The food. I have to say the snack bar-lunch - pool bar was pretty good food. They have really good hamburgers and great nacho bar, salad, fruit etc..
We arrived on a Friday evening and ate at about 8:00 There was a line but not horrible. Oh my the lines continued to get larger. Keep In mind we are in low season and lines should never be long. Not at this resort at least not on the weekend. All of the local people come into town and take over the place. The lines are ridiculous! I don't recall being at any resort ever having to wait for meals in line for 15-20 min and we go in low season always. Food at the buffet was ok, but the a la carte was tasty. My husband did get food poisoning for 24 hours. not sure what that was but he spent the entire day with that. My son and I never had that problem. We had a very great employee/ manager named Edwin. He gave us amazing service and I wish he was always our server as he was amazing caring and friendly. He even offered to make my husband special soup when he was sick.
Service at this resort could use great improvement. Edwin was the best. some nights they were on but as weekends came they lacked. There aren't any premium rooms or premium lounges, I thought that was disappointing since I always upgrade.
The beach is awesome. When it is low tide it is the very best time to enjoy the ocean. I just loved it. In some spots you have to get past the rocky areas. Not all areas are that way. The sand is soft and black. Fun times. My husband and son Kayaked and we all boogie boarded, which was so much fun. The ocean is friendly for the most part but at high tide if you are not a good strong swimmer you really shouldn't go out to far.
At the ending we took the puddle jumper to San Jose which was just great. Awesome views and well worth it. Make sure you plan your travel accordingly, as I did not realize that we had to book all of the separate travels like the puddle jumper and the land travel . This info was not listed on the expedia website, so it came as a surprise and an extra $-500-600 that luckily I had.
I would most definitely return to Costa Rica. Not sure if I would go to the same place but this place would get a better review if the customer service was much improved. What a great and beautiful country!