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Allegro Papagayo
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Reviewed August 16, 2013

Love the place, so clean, friendly staff. Activities and shows are awesome. I will come back for sure! One of the best things are the activities and shows , these people really work hard and keep you busy and make you feel welcome. Bar at pool maybe a little slow.

  • Stayed: April 2013
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2  Thank LauraMoraM
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 15, 2013

We stayed here in the "rainy season", Aug 2 - 9, 2013.
I read ALL of the reviews prior to booking to avoid disappointment. I thought I would add my two cents.

The Good:

- The beach
Contrary to what some thought, I loved it! I felt completely alone some mornings/evenings. The wildlife: Cranes, manta rays, stingrays, puffer fish, angel fish (and other tropical kinds), snapper fish, sea urchins, white-faced capuchins, howler monkeys, some kind of dog-like cutie, some weird snouted raccoons, and more! I brought my mask, fins, and snorkel, got free sea kayaks from the resort, and paddled out to the pier and wow! What a great dive :)
At night, the stars were gorgeous, and the lighting off in the distance was magnificent.

- The food
Lots to choose from - quality and quantity. Jeez people, it's not like you have to cook or clean, enjoy it! The Mexican resto was fabulous and accommodating - we didn't have a booking, it was our last night, but they found us space. Gracias! The kitchen manager Jimmy brought us a plate of dinner after ten - our day trip to Nicaragua came in late, and he was so kind to us.

The ok:

- The Room:
I was angry at first about not having coffee, an ironing board, or fresh soap, but hey, it is a 3rd world country. It didn't upset me too much in the end. Imagine what they don't have say in Nicaragua?
We never used the t.v., and literally only slept there. Who cares? I came to Costa Rica to explore, not to lounge around indoors.

- The climb:
Seriously, if anyone ever complains about the "hike" again, I don't know what I will do.
There were so many shuttles, the steep hill was NICE to climb after a big meal or a few too many drinks.

The bad:

- Yes, the water tasted like crap. No, there weren't bottles stocked in the fridges EVER. We had to walk 2 minutes to the Crystal cooler. Again, 3rd world country. Most people should be so lucky to have a 2 minute walk to nice tasting water. Honestly, it was the least of my concerns.

The ugly:

- Definitely too remote. While that adds to the beauty and tranquility, be prepared to spend a lot of coin on a car rental (VERY OVERPRICED AVIS) or activities that cost over $100 a pop. After two days, we were ready to go do stuff, and the 40 ish minute drive to Liberia was long. For a week, it was certainly not sooo bad - we ended up driving to Arenal and La Fortuna and spending the night to make it worthwhile (and it was!).

I hope my review has been helpful. If you are frugal, and not too picky, def stay there, especially if you love animals, exploring, and nature!
Pura Vida!

Room Tip: We paid for the room upgrade to see the bay. It got us nearer to the lobby but further from the food (and noise).
  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled as a couple
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11  Thank Age778
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 13, 2013

The location of this resort is very remote, you need a taxi every time, we paid $50.00 to take us to a white sand beach, travel time was over an hour. The place it self is not too bad but the black sand beach, the isolated location makes this resort very unattractive.

Room Tip: bathrooms are moldy and very small, very cheap shampoo, no conditioner
  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank I_J2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ItzeSocialMedia_Ctor, Social Media Coordinator at Allegro Papagayo, responded to this reviewResponded August 19, 2013

Dear I_J2013,

We are located at Gulf of Guanacaste, in one of the country's most beautiful coastal regions. Surrounded by countless natural attractions, like pristine beaches, rain forests and active volcanoes, this is a place which will appeal both to those seeking a place to relax in a unique setting as well as those who are looking for fun and exciting activities.

We regret you haven't enjoyed the beauty of our location.

Thank you for send us your review.

Sincerely,

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 9, 2013

This was our first time to Costa Rica, and we were trying to go a little more budget-friendly since we just did the big one for Spring Break. You definitely get what you pay for. We're not extremely picky people; pretty easy to please. It wasn't bad, per se, just could have been much better.

First, the good: the resort is Very close to Liberia airport. Took less than 30 minutes with the private transfer we booked through TAM. The driver, Eduardo, was waiting for us and was very friendly, helpful, and knowledgeable. We had the pleasure of having him as a guide on a tour later, and he's great! Also, the people are very friendly. Costa Ricans are known as the happiest people in the world. We can see why, since the country may very well be the prettiest we've ever seen. The bartenders were great, quick, and didn't care if they didn't get a tip every time. The room was small and simple, but it was clean and had a wonderful view of Bahia Culebra. Speaking of which, I've seen quite a few complaints on here about "only getting to see the bay, not really the ocean" or something to that effect. Get over yourselves. It's still the ocean, and it's a gorgeous bay. Mornings were particularly beautiful. For any outside excursions, I highly recommend see Aurora with TAM up in the lobby. She was very friendly, helpful, and TAM ran some really good tours!

For the rest: while the room was clean and adequate, the a/c wasn't working when we arrived, and we had absolutely no towels. A call to the front desk got the a/c working in about two minutes, but we had to call 3 or 4 times to finally get some towels. After that, every time housekeeping cleaned, they replaced our three sets of towels with only two, and we had to call to get the third almost every day. The room had a hair dryer but no iron or ironing board. Decent TV, but the coffee maker had no coffee! The room had a refrigerator, but had nothing in it. I was informed that it would be another $15 per night for sodas, water, beer, etc.

The food was, for the most part, deplorable. My wife joked that she'd lose quite a bit of weight (not that she needs to) on vacation because of not eating. The buffet was the worst, be it breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Lots of leftovers from the night before at the other restaurants, the same things over and over, and almost NO seasoning (the lack of seasoning part seems to be the norm in Costa Rica...). It was edible, but just. Sustenance, not a meal. The Italian was a little better. Decent atmosphere and good service. The food wasn't great, but certainly worth making the reservation to get you out of the buffet. The Mexican was actually quite good. We ate there twice and were always pleased. One night was my 44th birthday, and they made me a wonderful cake and sang to me. I think there were two things that bothered me the most about the buffet. One, everything is self-serve, including beverages. We've never seen that at an all-inclusive before and were a little disappointed. Two, a lot of Costa Ricans vacation here. That isn't bad at all. What is bad is that if you're Costa Rican, the waitstaff in the buffet will seat you, pull your chair out for you, and get your drinks. But only for the Costa Ricans.

The beach was a first for us: black volcanic sand. Very beautiful and very easy to spot the Millions of shells that were everywhere! It isn't dirt/mud as some have claimed; that's up underneath the trees. It's the ground; what do you expect?? Be very careful walking the beach and wading, however. Numerous porcupine fish wash up occasionally and lots of urchins in the water. I'd recommend always wearing water shoes or dive boots if you go past about knee depth, especially at low tide. Monkeys, monkeys everywhere! Lots of the adorable capuchins. Inconsistent little cusses, though. One day, you'll never see them. The next day, about 15 of them, some carrying babies, running through the trees begging for bananas. Grab some fruit from breakfast (which is actually the best part of breakfast) and take them a bite.

We didn't do any of the resort's activities outside of one dive trip through the onsite Charlie's Adventure Tours, and I wasn't too pleased with that. That will be a separate review. We did take the half-day tour to the Beach Club down the bay a bit. It wasn't spectacular, to say the least, but we were at least able to see a lot more while snorkeling than we could at the resort. Stick to the rocky areas at the far ends of the beach for the best fish finding. One trip we declined, and would recommend against, is traveling across Snake Bay to the Occidental Grand for "lunch and to get to see our sister resort." It is a sales gimmick that includes a 90 minute presentation about their vacation club. Now, if this is your thing, be my guest....

One activity we couldn't get away from, and would have liked to, was the disco. It goes until somewhere between 11 p.m. and 2 a.m. every night and is quite loud. Pick your room, if possible, accordingly. We were in building 10. Maybe the best views and the closest to food, pool, and ocean, but also closest to the disco. Live and learn. Speaking of rooms and buildings, this resort is on the side of a Mountain. People with handicaps or serious mobility issues should look elsewhere. They have shuttle vans that run pretty regularly to take people up to the higher buildings and lobby, but if you can't wait for them, it's a pretty dang serious hike up and down this place.

FYI: don't know if this is an every-year thing, but if you're planning to go next July, be warned that it's the end of the Canadian school year. Our first two days were saturated with about 600 of the most obnoxious, drunken 18-year-olds we've ever seen. Even had to tell a couple of them to quit smoking at the pool (it's only allowed at the beach). Thank goodness they were gone shortly. According to some, they even tore up a couple of the buildings. Geez....

All in all, it's not a bad place for the money. I know it's in transition, and some things are changing. That's a good thing. There's room for improvement. But Costa Rica as a whole? Pura Vida!

Room Tip: Room choice is a catch-22 here. The disco is quite loud until late at night, so if you're not night owls, you might want a room in one of the higher buildings. Only problem there is the distance from the rest of the resort. You can either roll downhill or wait for the shuttle. It's usually not too long a wait. All buildings face the ocean, so view should never be a problem!
  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with family
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7  Thank Mark-Rachel M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 9, 2013

I stayed at this resort with a small group of friends from July 26th to August 2nd, and can honestly say that I, nor they, would ever consider doing so again. Here's why:
The Bad:
-The houskeeping staff simply does not care. The day our group arrived, there was no water (separate issue) in the refrigerator, no coffee for the complimentary coffee maker, one bath towel, and no iron or ironing board. My friends' room was also not supplied with water and they could not enter their room because the locking mechanism was defective. Every day was a new adventure when returning back to the room to see what houskeeping had done. One day they left us with no bath mats. Another day no wash cloths. One day they even left us one less pillow for no particular reason.
-The front desk staff is ill-informed and not helpful. They advised us that we would not be able to make reservations for Thursday at one particular specialty restaurant until Wednesday. When we tried to make the reservation on Wednesday, we were informed that the restaurant didn't open on Thursdays. In another instance of general lack of concern, our friends who called about the lock on their door on the first day, were locked out once again. The front staff did nothing to have the lock repaired, and just issued them new key-cards, which stopped working and left them locked out again. These are just a few of the issues there.
-The water situation was inexcusable. The tap water at the resort is potable, but by no means palatable. The water is extremely bitter, probably due to a high mineral content. I am not being picky on this. I live in New York City and find the tap water to be just fine, but this stuff was undrinkable. Most other countries that have issues with the water supply make accomodations. There were a few water coolers scattered about the resort, but one would need to walk to one of them and fill up a pitcher from their room. We requested a few bottles of water one day at the main buffet and were charged $2 per bottle. The water that was served at the various bars/restaurants was bottled about a quarter of the time and tap the rest.
-The bartenders/buffet staff do not care. Whenever we were seated for the main buffet, the table was only half-set with utensiles. Once seated, we would generally not see another staff member to take drink orders for the remainder of the meal. They were more interested in chatting with each other than earning tips, which I was all-too happy to give to Jimmy, who was the one buffet staff member who seemed to be interested in doing his job.
-As an Occidental Vacation Club member since 2000, I was expecting to meet with a representative from the club at some point earlier in the trip so I could voice some of these concerns. The rep actually showed up on our last day, at which point I had already decided to save my comments for Trip Advisor.
The Good:
-Despite some of the criticism in many other reviews, the food was excellent. I won't say that there was a ton of variety, but once you got past the deplorable service, the food was very good. Lunch and dinner usually included a beef, chicken, and fish option, as well as several carbohydrates to choose from. All were prepared very nicely. There were plenty of veggie-options for our vegetarian companion, and the desserts were amazing. My party unanimously agreed that the coffee was the best we've ever had, and that included the non-coffee drinker in the group.
-Swiss Travel was the company with which we booked our day-long excursion, and they were excellent. Our tour guide, Abel, was very attentive, accomodating and knowledgable. You don't have to book your trips with them, though you may feel compelled to because they provide complimentary airport transportation. Just be prepared to pay full price, as there is no budging them on their rates.
-The grounds were quite nice and well-manicured. The rooms were also very nice, despite the issues with the staff.
-The beach, though unlike most other tropical beaches, was very nice and rather interesting. The sand is black and powdery as a result of the volcanic nature of the region. The natural tide cycles create drastic changes to its appearance at different times of the day, so have your camera ready.

This review may sound a bit nit-picky to some, but i can assure the reader that the cumulative effect of these seemingly small issues can very quickly add up to ruined vacation. The great company and unrivaled natural beauty of the locale prevailed, and the trip was a success, but these shortcoming should be addressed.

-Mike T.
NYC

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Michael T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ItzeSocialMedia_Ctor, Social Media Coordinator at Allegro Papagayo, responded to this reviewResponded August 19, 2013

Dear Mike T,

Thank you for the time you took to send us your review. We are glad to read you enjoyed the variety of food that we offer in our restaurants. Also we are happy to know you experienced the beauty of Costa Rica, the gulf of Papagayo is well-known for the variety and fauna and flora that surrounds the area, we are also happy to read that you enjoyed the hotel grounds and location. Our main priority is creating unforgettable guest experiences and it is flattering to read that it was your case.

The comfort and satisfaction of our guests is of utmost importance to us and we are taking your comments seriously. We really sorry for the lack of service you encounter during your stay. Our Staff are well trained and usually receive great feedback. We discussed this situation with our Management to avoid any annoyance between the staff and guests. Please apologize us.

Please accept our apologies for your overall accommodation experience, our front desk housekeeping and maintenance works hard to keep the room fresh and in top condition. We shared your comments with our Rooms Division Manager who always appreciates guest feedback; we are looking into new ways to improve the service.

We assure you the water we use in the property are 100% potable, we works with an international company which certified our hygiene standards. We usually don’t drink because we are located in a coast zone; the water taste is different as a result of lots of minerals and a salt. Please regard we don’t use bottles. Occidental is an ecological company and strive to protect the environment.

Once more thank you for your comments. We do apologize for the inconveniences you experienced and hope you will give us another chance to host you.

Sincerely,

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