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Just back from Reserva Conchal

Roanoke, Virginia
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46 posts
5 reviews
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Just back from Reserva Conchal

Hi everyone,

We are just back from a week with extended family, staying in the condos at Reserva Conchal. I'm happy to answer any questions about that property, the beach area at Conchal, Mar y Sol restaurant, Lazy Lizard snorkel/sunset cruise, Cartagena canopy tour, and the Buena Vista Mega combo tour.

Angie

San Jose, Costa Rica
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47,518 posts
35 reviews
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1. Re: Just back from Reserva Conchal

Thank you Angie...I hope you enjoy the resort as much as we do sometimes!

roadadvisor

Roanoke, Virginia
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46 posts
5 reviews
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2. Re: Just back from Reserva Conchal

You're welcome. It was a really lovely place. Just wrote a lengthy review and TA ate it instead of posting it. (Grrrr!)

Kansas City...
3 posts
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3. Re: Just back from Reserva Conchal

Hi Angie,

I would love to hear about your experience at Reserva Conchal and the surrounding areas. My husband and I will be staying at a friend's condo there in mid-April. This will be my first trip to CR, and my husband's first time to the Guanacaste area. Can you recommend any fun activities and good restaurants? How are the national parks in the area?

Thanks,

Tina

Princeton, New...
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69 posts
9 reviews
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4. Re: Just back from Reserva Conchal

Hi Angie,

We are renting a condo in Reserva Conchal in April. I was wondering if there were any supermarkets nearby as we will cook in a couple of nights. and also will we need reservations at the restaurants during Easter week. Can you recommend any? We are renting a van and driving from the Liberia airport, how did you find the roads/

Thanks for any info, we are excited for our first trip to Costa Rica

Rosiey

playa conchal
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36 posts
1 review
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5. Re: Just back from Reserva Conchal

try Camaron dorado is real nice and good service

Roanoke, Virginia
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46 posts
5 reviews
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6. Re: Just back from Reserva Conchal

We didn't drive but my SIL had a rental car and found the area easy to drive and navigate. (We actually tried to get a car once we saw how easy the area was, but none were available.) I was somewhat amazed by how well marked the roads were in English. Even as a first timer, I don't think navigating from the Liberia airport to Reserva would be hard at all. We'd reserve a car ahead of time if we went again.

Yes, there are some groceries within a reasonable drive. Not many places to get gas nearby though, so be sure you know where the gas stations are.

We ate at Mar y Sol to celebrate my MIL's 60th birthday and it was a fabulous meal. Highly, highly, highly recommend. Try to get reservations about 5ish so you can enjoy the amazing sunset view. I can't remember the name of the restaurant, but we also had a wonderful meal at a little restaurant right on the beach in Brasilito (it's open air under a blue canopy on the beach).

Roanoke, Virginia
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46 posts
5 reviews
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7. Re: Just back from Reserva Conchal

Tina - we didn't get to the National Parks themselves. We thought we were going to the Rincon del Viega national park when we did the Buena Vista Mega Combo tour but turned out to be a private property near the park instead (which was fine as scenery was likely similar and we had a fun day).

Roanoke, Virginia
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46 posts
5 reviews
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8. Re: Just back from Reserva Conchal

(Sorry for the string of messages - trying to hit all the questions and have to keep referring back!)

As far as activities:

I can't stress enough how wonderful Swiss Travel was to work with. Their office was actually on the property of the Paradisius next door to the beach club, but we had no trouble walking over there to the shops except one day when they first stopped us, though eventually let us when they figured out we only wanted to go shop. The people there were very knowledgable and I found their prices to be a little better than the Three Monkeys tours (to the same places) that were being sold by the Reserva conceige. (Though he was very nice too and did a great job arranging our meal at Mar y Sol, who picked up our group of 15 for dinner.) What I liked about Swiss was that both people in their office were very knowledgable, but when they didn't know, they picked up the phone and got an answer. I had my 4 year old with me and knowing if he could or could not do things was critical to our planning. Swiss did a better job finding out. In the end, he was able to tandem zip line (his favorite part of the trip by far) and we only went because Swiss was able to assure me he could and knew where would be best with little kids. Swiss also arranged our full day Buena Vista tour as a private tour instead of regular since we had a large group (for the same price as regular - and even gave us one free kid per family unit, which was great.) Our driver and guide for the day were both exceptional and really made the experience.

If you have small children or are nervous about trying zip lining, I cannot highly enough recommend the Cartagena Canopy Tour. Do the early morning time (you'll have to be at the Paradisius lobby - Reserva shuttle will take you there - at 7:30). It's early but we went then on the Swiss travel's rec and we had the place to ourselves. Two guides and the four of us. Our guides were amazing with our boys (7 and 4). They were teaching them Spanish phrases in the van and joking around with them while on the lines. They made us feel safe at all times and made the whole thing tons of fun. To say these guys clearly love their job is a MASSIVE understatement.

The forest at Cartagena isn't anything exciting and we saw very little wildlife while ziplining, but the activity itself was great fun. Personally, I'd have preferred ziplining over rainforest instead, but with the small kids, driving so far for a single day wasn't doable. If it was just adults, we would have gone up to Arenal for a day for sure. (And if we were to go back, we'd do 3 days in the Arenal area first before finishing with 4-5 days in Guanacaste... but my in-laws planned this trip, so we didn't have the choice!)

We also did the Buena Vista Mega Combo, which is a full day tour to near Rincon. The area is interesting to see. We found we were unimpressed with the zip line experience there. It was crowded and we felt like they were rushing people through. The platforms were often crowded and you waited on the platforms as they sent more and more down to the already crammed platform. After the very personal experience at Cartagena, it was a bit of a let down.

The zip lines themselves were higher and longer here though, as well as several that were faster. The guides were just less personable and we felt a bit like cattle being shuffled through.

After the zip lines, you change into a bathing suit to do the forest water slide. This is one wild ride. If you like thrills, you'll love this. I'm glad I did it once. I don't think I'd do it again! ha!

Then you get dried off and change into clothes for the buffet lunch. It is very good. Lots of food and all delicious.

After lunch, there's the choice of horseback or tractor ride to the wellness spa. I rode and it's a nice ride down the trail on very well trained horses. I don't ride and felt very comfortable. My 7 year old did great too and it was his first time on a horse.

At the spa, you change again into a suit (I recommend bringing two so you don't have to put on a wet one). They say the mud can stain a suit, so bring an old one. Ours didn't stain, but they do warn it can. You go in the steam room for 5 minutes to open your pores. Then, go to the mud vats to dip your hands in the very hot mud and rub it on your body. You let it dry in the sunshine, then scrub it off in the cold showers. After that, it's off to soak in the hot sulphur springs. They don't smell of rotten eggs, like one tends to think of sulphur. It is a heavenly experience to soak. The water feels wonderful and afterward, your skin is so very soft. The entire spa area is so serene and gorgeous. One of my favorite parts of the trip.

After your soak, you change back into clothes (there are changing rooms and lockers with provided locks at all needed spots) and can ride the horses or tractor back. We chose tractor for the variety. Very dusty!

The property provides towels at all spots where you get wet, so no need to bring them with you.

Chicago, Illinois
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1 post
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9. Re: Just back from Reserva Conchal

We are going the last week in March of 2012. My husband likes to dive and snorkel. How is the beach at the property? Thank you.

Roanoke, Virginia
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46 posts
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10. Re: Just back from Reserva Conchal

The beach at the property is ok. The crushed shell was an interesting difference from the soft sand we are used to at the North Carolina beaches. I don't think you can dive from the beach... snorkel maybe. Can't remember if they had equipment for rent for that. You'll probably want to book one of the sail cruises. We took one (can't remember name of company) that included dinner, snorkeling, and whale watching (we did see some) as you cruise along the coast. I'm not sure where you go to do actual diving... try looking at the Swiss Travel website. Enjoy! It's a lovely place and very relaxing vacation.