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“Trip of a lifetime!!”

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Blue River Resort & Hot Springs
Certificate of Excellence
Vancouver, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Trip of a lifetime!!”
Reviewed January 18, 2012

We normally vacation in the Hawaiian Islands or Mexico but were fortune to find this tropical paradise.

This was a new destination for us but we were thrilled with our Eco Adventue! The resort facilities were outstanding. (we have now told all of our friends and family and posted the amazing pictures to Face book)! There were many thrilling & unprecedented adventure tours. Our favorite was the spectacular waterfalls (and the walk by the Blue river up to it) The quality of the food was only exceeded by the staff-very friendly and accommodating. The various nature spots are quite stunning. You MUST go to the top of the Volcano, its takes your breath away!

I do not normally write reviews but I wanted to share this particular experience with anyone considering a similar type trip.

  • Stayed November 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank Danny Y
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Los Angeles
Level Contributor
32 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
Reviewed January 17, 2012

Blue River Resort is a new resort (opened about a year ago) in Guanacaste. While it is lovely in many ways, it has some serious issues, one being that it is really in the middle of nowhere. It's a good one hour drive on unpaved road to this place from the main highway, and about an hour and a half drive to Liberia or Rincon de la Vieja's main entrance. Once you're here, there's really nowhere else to go unless you feel like driving an hour and half each way to eat or do some non-resort activities.
So since you're stuck here, what's the food like in the restaurant? Okay. Not great, not horrible. Breakfast was very standard fare and there were a fair amount of options for lunch and dinner, but the service is very spotty. You could tell that some of the staff hasn't been doing this for very long (no utensils, no napkins, no water, forget things, etc). Other times, it was just plain difficult to flag someone down. For a place surrounded by streams, I never understood why there's still-standing water around the restaurant. It's a breeding ground for mosquitos (which there isn't a shortage of in this area).
The rooms and grounds though were really wonderful. The rooms are huge and in great condition (to be expected for such a new place). There's a huge TV with cable, fridge, and coffee maker provided as well. You only share one wall with a neighbor, and though I believe they advertised them as soundproof, they are definitely not. I could hear my neighbors watching TV, talking, and snoring. We had plenty of hot water and they provided us with soap, hair wash, and pool towels. Only hiccup was a power outage one day, but it happened while we were heading in for a nap, so it didn't affect us too much.
We enjoyed exploring the grounds (hummingbird and butterfly galleries) and using the five pools on site (1 cold, 4 "hot"). However, we noticed that the pools were not always the same temperature (not sure why), so we'd go around testing the pools to see which one was the warmest at that time. Some weren't also lit at night, which made them unusable basically after sunset. The "mud" pool is a bit remote and to be honest, I'm not quite sure how it works. We didn't utilize the fitness facility (and it appears that no one else did), and while we hoped to try the wet and dry sauna, both were not working when we were there (one of their kinks they need to work out obviously - maintenance).

So on to my biggest gripe. This place is very much still a work in progress, but nowhere is it more apparent than at reception. The front desk is very nondescript and upon our arrival, we drove by it because we weren't sure if we had arrived at the resort. It's a tiny odd looking building and the gate was locked. The guy at reception saw us, but made no gesture or motion toward us, so we thought we hadn't reached the resort yet. Because we continued on the road, our poor little Yaris ended up crossing two mini rivers and got stuck in the mud when we tried to turn back (fortunately two very kind Ticos helped us out).
When we came back around to reception, the guy knew who we were and was expecting us, but just let us continue to drive to nowhere when he first saw us. On top of that, whenever we had questions about things, they never really seemed to know anything and weren't particularly helpful. While I wish this was my only complaint about reception, unfortunately it's not. We booked two tours through here, the first a hike to the waterfall with Joaquin (who is really wonderful by the way, really knowledgable and great to have as a guide).
The second was a total disaster though. We booked the volcano summit hike ($65 a head) which is a complete nightmare and should not be sold as a tour as it is unsafe and dangerous. Our guide book mentioned that the hike to Rincon's summit is rough, and when I asked the front desk about it, they said it was fine and shouldn't be a problem, completely doable. It's not. It was unsafe and not for the casual tourist. You spend at least 3-4 hours hiking each way through muddy, virgin terrain and very slippery rocks. My husband and I slipped a few times on the rocks, as did our guide (who was nowhere near as good as Joaquin was - nice guy, just not a good guide). We saw nothing we were hoping to (as advertised on their posted flyers). It was definitely the worst thing in our 2 week trip to Costa Rica. The front desk should be aware of how rough and unsafe this hike is, but again, they weren't particularly knowledgable about most things it seemed (or helpful for that matter).
So while BRR has a lot going for it, it really needs to work on a few things (like training it's staff). Otherwise, we wouldn't return if we ever find ourselves in Costa Rica again, mainly due to it's remote location.
PS - Wifi available only at reception, which is a 7-10 minute hike from the restaurant (unlit path at night as well). The wifi at the restaurant did not work.

Room Tip: All rooms are about the same. But if you want to walk less, ask for a room closer to the restaurant...
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  • Stayed January 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank lilbruingirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Westchester, New York
Level Contributor
182 reviews
126 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 319 helpful votes
Reviewed January 14, 2012

This review is limited since we only stayed overnight and did not partake of any of the excursions which may be worthwhile adventures. The gym looked ambitious. Didn't try the spa.
The chalet style rooms are quite large and the beds are OK. With cathedral ceilings that have windows high up and curtains that do not block out the light eye masks are a good idea if you want to sleep past dawn. "Egyptian cotton" sheets? I don't think so!
The pools. To my disappointment they were not all opened. The largest wasn't even filled. It is a natural environment so I guess a film on the water, likely from pollen, etc, is no big deal, but since most of the pools had no circulating water it was visibly unattractive. Turns out the waterfall features are not on all the time for energy conservation, and it took a bit to find someone to turn them on. When busy (?day trippers....they sell passes) and it's all up and running it may be a bit more attractive.
The grounds are beautifully landscaped and the "botanical garden" was interesting as was the butterfly reserve.
Food was good. Local stuff is the better choice. A tad pricey but there are no options.
I regret I did not notice that immediately across the road, in front of the entrance are stairs descending down to the blue river, an excursion you can do alone, which I missed out on. Be aware that the road becomes predominantly gravel and dirt soon after leaving the Pan American Highway and it is a slow and long drive. In rain it may be downright dangerous. There is work going on but it looks like it's going to be a long time.

Attracted by the high rating and being well traveled and a Trip Advisor devotee I am suspect of an establishment that gives out cards suggesting you review them on line. Additionally there are a lot of raves here from one time reviewers. I think the project, now just open for one full year, is ambitious and has potential. I was a bit disappointed but wish them well.

Room Tip: They are all identical, large, wih new ones being constructed while I was there
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  • Stayed December 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank jwsmd3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Atlanta, Georgia
1 review
Reviewed January 10, 2012

Costa Rica offers a lot of nature and eco-fun but Blue River Resort really has a package of activities that is incredible. That is why we decided to extend our stay from two nights to six. We took in three thrilling adventure tours (and there are more). The cloud rainforest here extra special and everything is was close by. Before we got here, too much of our time was spent driving from place to place and in transit on tours. The restaurant menu is varied and served large portions. The prices are quite reasonable for what you get, the rooms are spacious and well appointed and we really were made to feel that they were catering to our needs. I just loved the atmosphere which is casual and relaxed. If we make it back to Costa Rica, I’d love to come back and do the rest of the tours.

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank dalia a
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, California
1 review
Reviewed January 9, 2012

We spent part of our honeymoon at Blue River. Highly recommended for anyone who wants a laid back atmosphere and with lots of activates in and outside the resort. It felt like I was in one of those movies with the rainforest, volcano views and the sound of water flowing everywhere as our backdrop. One part of the day we taking dips in each of the hot pools with green water or sliding down the waterslide in a blue fresh water pool . Then we go look at amazing tropical flowers and wandering from the humming birds and to the tropical fish. Next were are walking among tropical butterflies in the butterfly garden. My husband surprised me with a relaxing massage by Rosie, who came to our room while he worked out in the gym. The zipline tour was a thrill. However that is all we had time for and want to come back

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Service
Helpful?
Thank alice m
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed January 8, 2012

Having stayed at three resorts in our week in Costa Rica Blue River provided the best value of the three. Dec 13-15 .Yes it rained every day but with the hot mineral pools and lovely grounds it made it very bearable. The property owned by the resort is spectacular and it was so nice not to be herded around with other tourists like what you get in Arenal. The resort is in the "country" for sure and does not feel like Tamarindo and other more populated beach destinations. The rooms are very large and new and give you a feeling of expanse and comfort. I would guess the rates on this resort will double in a couple years as more people become aware of the unique ameneties. I am returning again at the end of the month for another respite from Washington DC and it's congestion. Bring an air freshener for the bathroom toilet area as the product they use to keep it smelling acceptable may not be everyones favorite but is tolerable. The staff is eager to please and the resort feels very safe. When you arrive the entrance is more an outbuilding type looking structure an you are like whoa! but once in the resort the grounds are beautiful. You can tell it is new and they still building it out. I would suggest they might use the spa/fitness center as the reception area as the front desk offices at the front office was small and was so much more rugged than the spa's reception area which was elegant. Would also be nice to have a small microwave in the room for leftovers and other snacks as there is really no other place to get hot food besides the resort. The horseback riding trip to the blue river and water falls provided a good value and the guides were excellent. The person who created ths resort put a lot of thought into crafting an experience to be enjoyed by all. Many thanks to the management and owner. An ice machine made available to the guests would also be a nice amenity. I assume they would gave us some if we asked, but we did not ask.

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank craigsgross
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
West Chester, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed January 8, 2012

We traveled to Blue River Resort with our two boys 7 & 4. We absolutely adored our time at Blue River. We loved the butterfly garden, hot spring pools, mud treatments (yep the boys got in it too), and the horseback ride to the zip lines. My oldest son got sick on the way to the zips and the staff could not have been nicer. One even sent his doctor girlfriend to buy us medicine. At least 6 staff members stopped by later that day to check on our boy. It is a lovely place. Perfect for adventuous families. Safe for the kids too! Two or three nights is enough then head to the coast!

Room Tip: Ask for a villa near the pools...
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  • Stayed December 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank lrkprk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Blue River Resort & Hot Springs

Property: Blue River Resort & Hot Springs
Address: | 600 m West of la Puente and Rio Azul, Rincon de La Vieja 21306, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Guanacaste > Rincon de La Vieja
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 7 Hotels in Rincon de La Vieja
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Blue River Resort & Hot Springs 3.5*
Number of rooms: 20
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Blue River Resort and Hot Springs is an authentic Costa Rica experience in the rainforests of Rincon de la Vieja. Our jewel is the spectacular natural mineral "green" hot spring pools – but that’s just the beginning. There is a large fresh water pool & bullet slide, the spa, botanical gardens, butterfly farm, iguana and frog pond and much more. Set out on several authentic eco Costa Rica adventure tours, all nearby. Eco-tours include visits to gorgeous blue volcanic rivers and waterfalls by horseback, nature walks, volcano hike, zip-lining across waterfalls and much more. The breadth of eco-nature tours will amaze you. Blue River Resort & Hot Springs offers luxury accommodation in new, spacious 720 square foot cabanas. Book your dream Costa Rica vacation! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Blue River Resort And Hot Springs
Blue River Resort & Hot Springs Hotel Rincon De La Vieja
Blue River Resort & Hot Springs Costa Rica/Rincon De La Vieja

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