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Ocotal Beach Resort
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Reviewed August 21, 2009

That this hotel considers itself a resort struck us as odd...it's not. You arrive Ocotal Beach Resort via a winding road and pas through three security checkpoints. The front desk is lacking in any festive atmosphere, quite boring actually. It made me want to turn around and leave. The rooms are scattered by the hillside or down on the beach. Some rooms have plunge pools. Our room was about 1/2 way up the hilltop with a plunge pool (luckily no one was in the adjoining room because otherwise the plunge pool would have to be shared!). The rooms are OLD, shabby...mis-matched. The A/C was loud and cranky. The bedspreads looked as though they had seen much better days. From the plunge pool you can walk down a dilapidated walkway to the beach...be prepared to see armed guards patrolling the beach 24-7. WE asked the guards what was up and were told it was a preventive measure...that there had been "some thefts". Right.

The pool is OK...nothing much. The "swim up" pool bar blasts furious Latino dance music all day and closes at 4PM, no exceptions. The pool-side restaurant opens for a few hours and serves odd assortments of food (okay burgers). Up at the top of the "resort" there is a fine dining restaurant with a HUGE menu (pasta, steak, Chinese, sushi - seeing where this is going?). Too much to choose from, nothing as good as the prices you will pay. Very surly waitstaff who seem to be wanting to be anywhere but at this place.

Beware the wildlife. Lots of big iguanas are harmless, there are raccoons that will swim in your pool and jump on the table and eat your food (and not in a cute way - in a scary way). Monkeys were right on the beach - which was awesome. We also saw a boa snake in a tree on the beach. The beach is black sand, beautiful...lots of locals come to this beach and spend the day. There are cool volcanic rock formations to climb on where the locals fish and dig scallops, etc. So, the location is very, very cool...but this hotel leaves sooooo much to be desired for the exorbitant rates they charge.

Best, best thing about Playa Ocotal is the beachfront restaurant right down from this hotel called Father Rooster. FRESH Mahi Mahi every night...great margaritas, fabulous staff. Seriously, once we found this spot we were there every night and never ate at Ocotal again. Oh, did I mention that Rooster was affordable?

All in all, Playa Ocotal is cool. Very local. Much less crowded than Coco Beach. Great swimming. The armed guards were freakish, but we met some really nice people there (both American and Costa Rican). Visit this great beach but stay somewhere else, you'll be doing yourself a favor.

  • Stayed: August 2009, traveled with family
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4  Thank Moppy101
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 21, 2009

When we arrived, the room we were given was awful but the view was unmatched. We asktd to change rooms and were given 2 choices. One room that was way more updated. And the honeymoon suite for $40/nt more. We picked the honeymoon suite. It was great. However, we hated the beach and we didn't like Coco beach - it was gross with garbage...... We ended up renting a taxi for the day to take us south to the best beaches - Tamarindo, Conchal and Flamingo. Totally worth it. However, on the upside, the restaurant has a gorgeous view, the breakfast was delicious ( I don't know what the other reviewer was talking about), we saw whales and dolphins from our balcony and the sunsets are amazing. However, updating is necessary for sure and food is way overpriced. Town is fun, but you are isolated at this hotel and have to pay for a taxi. They don't offer a shuttle which would have been great. Overall, I'd stay somewhere like Tamarindo or Flamingo which has better beaches. The only thing this hotel has to offer is the most ridiculous view I've ever seen anywhere in the world, except Capri. And the pools were definitely gross. It looked like no one had used them for a while.

  • Stayed: July 2009, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank LLLConnecticut
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 30, 2009

We loved Ocotal. It was a long drive from Monteverde to get there, but well worth it. It know everyone tends to stay in Tamarindo for it's great beach, but we loved the view at Ocotal. Being up on the hill--you could just look at the views all day.

It is a real hike up the hill. My boys called it Mt. Everest. Down is a great view, but the up is a killer. We did it some for exercise, but if you ask they'll get you a shuttle any time. I'd definitely recommend staying up as high as you can. We were in the 400 building and it is the highest. I really enjoyed the view, and the pool by the 400 rooms is by far the best. The pool by the restaurant is good but the one on the beach is the most fun. We played volleyball there a lot. The restaurant is ok. We ate in town a lot just to be in the local environment. The breakfast is ok. The dive shop guys are really great. We snorkeled one day and really enjoyed that. We also did the dive class and the begininer dive. John Paul our instructor was great. He was a great teacher and fun too. We really enjoyed scuba diving and would do it again.

We absolutely loved eating in town ($6 cab ride). There's a good grocery store in town too. I'd suggest buying some drinks and snacks there and you can put them in your room frig and save some money. The best meal of the trip and one of the best we've ever had happened at Papagayo Seafood. it was absolutely great. I got the blackened catfish with a pineapple glaze and wish I could have brought the leftovers home with me for tonight. My husband had the mahi and sons had the sea bass and shrimp and we all thought it was terrific. We also ate at Jalapeno's in town for lunch and got Italian Ice's up the street. Good authentic food at Jalapeno's and cheap too. All in all it was really fun to be in town. Definitely spend some time there.

If you like beautiful views and relaxation, consider the Ocotal. The rooms are a litle small, but the plasma tv with plenty of US channels and the frig is really nice. Security is excellent too. We really loved it here.

  • Stayed: June 2009, traveled with family
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3  Thank pwall
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 2, 2009

Nice private beach, good security hotel area, clean room, but a litlle bit small and you can hear your noise neighbours every night. Restaurant service is good, but not exellent. Breakfast is poor and it is the same every day. If you stay a long time, like I, it is not good. From hotel to Coco Beach for shops, restaurants and bars not far, it is coast 6 USD one way.

  • Stayed: May 2009, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank nikolaeva_maria
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 31, 2009

My impression is mostly negative. When we arrived, the pools we full of leaves and/or crabs. It took 2 days and a pointed conversation to address this. The swim-up bar never had a bartender and the snack bar was permanently closed. Granted, there were not too many people at the hotel at the time but this where some hotel can shine while others can fail.

  • Stayed: May 2009, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Ivan_E_I
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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