My Lady & I stayed here back in March 2012. We loved it!
I guess I will break out everything Good & Bad mixed together by feature
LOCATION & GROUNDS
Built along a steep hill right on the ocean. Absolutely beautiful, even in the dry season where the trees are not as lush and jurassic park looking. Our room was the Ocean Suite at the bottom of the hill and just about 100' from the water. The grounds are very pretty and the steep hill gives you a very brief hike up to the top to earn your breakfast. They do send a van down to drive you up if you request it... we got lazy one morning.
On top of the hill where the reception, the infinity pool, and the resturant are at the view is really really nice! we watched the sunset at the infinity pool one night and I'll remember that forever.
The beach is all black sand, we did not swim because unfotunately a red tide rolled in... The beach was still really pretty, minus all the dead puffer fish... and even a few days before it rolled in it was never crowded. I think the beach is some sort of semi-private place.
Only a short cab ride form Coco where if you walk toward the beach you find the touristy places, vendors, merchants, and all to foodstuffs you can or cant afford. Walk on the main drag AWAY from the beach and you find the supermarket (where it is cheap to buy your own food) and some nice resturants, and the banco de national.
One more thing! In the dry season there are always little fires in the brush (no danger from what i heard and saw) but they look really pretty at night way off in the distance from the top of the hill.
I will start off with a thankyou to Wilmur! Wilmur was our bartender one night, server another, and we just saw him around alot. Very helpful and makes VERY good drinks! Next the un-named cleaning lady! unnamed because we never got it, she always did her job but we never saw her in our room! Which is the point I guess! Service was always good. Room was turned down or over or whatever it is called... (bed made, trash out, TP, & towles.) The front desk always answered and helped call cabs for us. They helped us print our boarding passes when we were leaving. Everyone spoke english at least everyone we talked to. No arguments, no complaints, just smiles!
Lizards everywhere! We nicknamed the large iguana that bums around the dining area "Edguardo The Melon Snatcher"...Name tells the story... Lots of beautiful birds around, green and yellow and blue! (The blue ones also will make attempts at your food, but they are the prettiest thieves around) We also shared space with the resident troop of Howler Monkies. They would drop things on the roof of our room sometimes around 0300 but hey... we were woken up by mokies! We also didn't really have any problem with bugs. Some ants came for a piece of mango on the counter but that was our fault.
The ocean suite was nice. First things first, we have stayed at the Riu (I will post a review there too) which is all new clean fresh construction. Ocotal is a little older. Air conditioning worked good and we never were uncomfortable. The bathroom in the suite is somewhat of an afterthought/addition. If I could change it I would do something to deaden the sound (echos) and put different lights in there. The open shower was nice, the whirlpool tub was nice, no problems or complaints about sink/mirror. The room and the living area were really nice. Good colors Huge windows, clean, had a fridge... everything i could have asked for. The only remaining thing would be the plugs in the room. They were older and did not have the Ground slot (that 3rd round hole on the bottom centered between the two flat parts... Just look at a plug and find the round one, you'll know) so we had to unplug either the tv or the mini fridge to plug in our phones/computers/all those things. Overall, there were no dealbreakers in this room. OH YES the bed ws clean and I found it good and comfortable but my lady is spoiled with the tempurpedic back home so she deemed it sleepable.
We only ate breakfast here but we looked foreward to it every day. On a buffet - Eggs, pinto gallo (black beans and rice), sausage, french toast, and fruit to die for! coffee is good and so was the juice!
STUFFS & THINGS
Wireless internet could not be found in our room, we had to either go out to one pool with the bar or the reception area to access it. There were two computers in the lobby and we just went up and got on those to check email for tours and other stuff.
Having stayed at another venue in Costa Rica I can also say that not having pushy tour vendors all over the grounds is nice also. We already had booked our tours with a guy my firend suggested.
If you want good cheap local food, find a place called a "soda" and order Cassado. Its a really good simple meal. and ask for lizano (lee-zan-oh) sauce very good.
If we were to go again we would probably try to stay in one of the rooms on the top of the hill (they looked newer and shinier)
Ocotal is not a crazy insane 5 star ultra resort, it is however a very nice place to stay when in the Guanacaste Region. If you are like me, you probably saved up for a trip to Costa Rica. It is nice to wake up somewhere you feel good, go out for the day, and come back to a place where you feel clean, happy, and relaxed. Ocotal did this for me.
Within range of everything you could want to do, price seemed pretty good, food was always great, service was great, room was a place I enjoyed to be, grounds made me want to leave the room to explore. I would go here again, just please install some routers for the internet around the place, install new sockets in the walls.
I hope this helps somebody!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.