Just returned from the Flamingo Beach Resort yesterday. We were there from May 6th to May 13th. I will try to share some of the things that would have been helpful to know before we left.
I thought the hotel lobby and pool area were very pretty and best of all - the pool was empty (which was awesome). I hate staying at resorts where you have to fight for a chair at the pool. However, when we were talking with a local business owner, she said that it was really slow for May. Maybe the hotel is busier at other times of the year.
The first room we got did not have a nice view at all. We had a view of the parking lot, the road, and a huge dirt hill with a crane at the top and a half constructed building. Although we were dissapointed, we didn't complain because we got a really good deal on the trip and were not expecting the Taj. On the fourth day of our stay the rains came! The area where the Flamingo Beach Resort is located is the dry area of Costa Rica and so they had not had rain in six months. May is the start of their rainy season, but they said it usually only rains for a short time and then the sun is back out. Not that day. . . it rained hard and long. During the months of September, October and I think November, we were told that they get A LOT of rain. Anyway, the day it started raining we had a leak in our room, so we were asked to move to another room down the hallway (which had the same view). We started moving our stuff and when we were half way done realized that there was no safe in the room. We went down to the desk and told them that there was no safe and asked if we could get a room with a better view. They gave us a room with a beautiful view of the the ocean (what you can see through the palm trees) and the pool. The only problem was that the air conditioner dripped, dripped, dripped, on the tile floor (we put a towel down but it still woke us up) on and off all night. We never said anything at the desk because we did not feel like moving again. By the last night, the air conditioner quit totally at about 1 am, but we survived until we checked out in the morning. However, I don't want to give the wrong impression, I thought the rooms were clean and nice.
We took some dressier clothes, but we did not need them. Everything seemed very casual. It was hot, hot, hot. The day we landed it was 97 degrees.
In my opinion, this hotel is great for relaxing by the pool or going to the beach. The beaches in Costa Rica are all public and so the only chairs on the beach across the street from the Flamingo were like porch chairs with straps (you could only sit up) and were very uncomfortable. Basically, you do have to sit or lay on a towel in the sand. We just used the hotel towels and then exchanged them for clean ones on the way past back to the pool. The sunset on the beach was FABULOUS!! We took our snorkeling stuff, but it didn't really seem like there was a good snorkeling spot at the beach across from the hotel. The waves were decent though.
We did eat a couple of breakfasts at the hotel because they were included. I would say they were okay, certainly nothing to write home about. For lunch one day, at the pool bar, we ordered a Hawaiin pizza and honestly it was pretty good. Someone else had a club sandwich which they said was good too. We did not try dinner in the upstairs restaurant because we heard that it was not that great. We ate most of our meals at Marie's across the street and we thought the food was very good. Also, we ate at Mar Y Sol one night (ask at the front desk-they will call them and they will send a car for you). It was a little more expensive, but the food was very good and the view was great too. The prices were still decent prices compared to what we are accustomed to paying for lobster etc. When we got our cheesesteak craving we went to The Flamingo Pizzeria and Sub Shop up around the corner from Marie's on the right- next to the little supermarket. That meal was also excellent.
The night of the heavy rains the hotel phone lines went out and they were out for almost two days. Prior to that, I was using a prepaid AT&T phone card. It is the least expensive way to call the U.S., but FYI - the 120 minute card will give you 10 minutes of call time from Costa Rica and the 500 minute card will give you 45 minutes. Ask at the front desk for the number you have to dial in order to use the card without any additional charges.
Tours - We talked to Alan at the front desk and Alex by the pool bar about things to do. Everything seemed to be at least 1 1/2 hours away unless you want to go fishing or ride ATV's. Arenal Volcano and Tabacon Hot Springs are about 5 hours away, so we decided to do that on our next trip to Costa Rica. Alex does ATV mountain tours (to the Congo Falls canopy tour-included) and beach tours ranging from $50 to $95 pp. Some tours want cash instead of a credit card so you might want to take some extra cash. We also took a day tour to Buena Vista Adventure Center (it takes over 2 hours to get there and you need to have at least 4 people going from the hotel in order to get transportation or you can rent a car for $55.00 per day and drive there yourself). It was $120.00 pp with transportation or $85.00 pp if you drive. If you go in a group from the hotel you do everything as a group the whole time. We rode horses to the hot springs/volcanic mud bath, after that we ate lunch (included in price) and then did the zip line/canopy tour and ended with the water slide. The next day we did a River Boat tour (about 1 1/2 hours away and cost $85.00 pp) where we saw a lot of crocodile's, birds, monkey's etc. That tour was topped off with a delicous home cooked meal in a little place in town. There is a canopy tour semi close to the hotel (maybe 15 minutes away) called Congo Falls. We did not do that one and we did not run into anyone who had done it, so I can't say anything about it one way or the other.
We never officially exchanged any money because when we paid with cash we usually got colones in return and everywhere we went excepted cash or colones. During the time we were there, 500 colones equaled $1.00 dollar.
All in all, I would go back to the Flamingo Beach Resort, but I would plan some time at other places in Costa Rica first and then end up at the Flamingo for some rest and relaxation before heading home.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The only resort located on one of Costa Rica's most famous blue-flag, ecologically protected beaches, this resort location is the perfect beachfront base from which to explore all of Costa Rica’s natural beauty and adventure. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Flamingo Beach Resort And Spa
- Flamingo Beach Hotel Playa Flamingo
- Flamingo Beach Resort Costa Rica
- Flamingo Beach Resort & Spa Costa Rica/Playa Flamingo