My best friend and I try to take a vacation once a year to a new tropical place. This was the first time that we ventured to Central America and really enjoyed ourselves. Beautiful hotel! We had a room on the side of the hotel and were able to see the howler monkeys one of the mornings from our balcony.
The beds are pretty hard and the pillows pretty flat, but it wasn't that hard to adjust to. We would call to have the refrigerator stocked more than every other day and it was never a problem.
The food was surprisingly good. I think that a lot of times, people expect US 5 star food when they go on a vacation like this. For a relatively cheap all-inclusive resort, the food was great. It was really annoying getting your reservations for dinner but most of the all-inclusive's do have an annoying process. The Italian and Asian restaurants do not require a reservation and you can just go up to the host and if there is a wait, they will provide you with a cell phone to call you when your table is ready.
The water was great! We did see a lot of fish and actually a group of us were feeding them ice cream cones. A lot of people in other reviews talked about how rough the water was...I would have to say that I didn't find it rough at all (if you have been to the Outer Banks in NC, you will think this is like a pool!).
I would definitely suggest getting a massage at the tents on the beach as they are super cheap! Carlos and Juanita were great!
There were a lot of kids/babies at the resort. The pool could get a little overcrowded with kids, especially if you were trying to relax on one of the water chairs.
If you ask for Smirnoff vodka or Bacardi rum they will give it to you. They also had a few other "top shelf" liquors that you could just ask for.
If you are a smoker of any kind, I strongly suggest bringing vapor/e-cigs. There is one designated area for smoking on the resort and if you wanted to have a cigar while watching the shows, you can't do that.
I think that the worst part for us was on our last full day, a company retreat came in and took over both the Riu and the Riu Palace, so it was insane with the crowds. If they had been there the entire week that we were and no one from the resort warned us, I would be pretty annoyed, but since it was one day, we figured we could deal with it.
We did the Mega Combo excursion and had SO much fun! If you plan on taking a lot of excursions, I don't know that an all-inclusive is worth your money as you could get a pretty nice hotel that includes breakfast and then just grab dinner after your excursions.
Also a group of us that met at the resort booked a cab and went to Coco Beach one night. It was a lot fun!
A lot of the locals hate the Riu group as they are probably one of the worst mega resorts when it comes to conservation... or so we were told.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Opening winter 2009/10. Situated in northern Costa Rica, in Guanacaste. Located on Playa de Matapalo beach. Complimentary sun loungers on the beach. 6-storey main building. Surrounded by 35,000 m2 / 41,86 sq. yards of lush gardens. Closest village: Nuevo Colon. 13 km / 8.1 miles from various shops. 33 km / 20.5 miles from Liberia airport. Credit cards accepted: MasterCard, Amex, Visa ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Hotel Riu Guanacaste Costa Rica