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Reviewed April 12, 2010

We just returned from a week stay at the Riu. My husband and I traveled with our 2 children, 13 and 10. I have to admit that after reading the reviews, I was a little nervous and not sure what to expect. I can honestly say that this was one of our best vacations. We have had experiences with all inclusives in other countries and we were very happy with all the Riu had to offer. The staff was incredibly friendly and willing to help. The food was delicious and we certainly never went hungry. Our room was immaculate when we arrived and stayed that way for the entire week. The beach is not the white fluffy sand and clear water that we have seen on other islands, however, this was no surprise to us as we had read about this before we booked.

Excursions: This was a highlight!!! We used Costa Rica for Everyone (www.costaricaforeveryone). My family of 4 had it's own private van filled with cold drinks. Our tour guide to the Palo Verde Park was Randall and we learned more from him than we could have learned if we read several books on Costa Rica. He was a wealth of information and loved sharing his knowledge of his country. It was a fabulous trip as the crocodiles were fed right off the boat and monkeys climbed aboard looking for food. Our next tour was to Miravalles Volcano and Roy, the owner, was our guide. He set up an unbelievable day for us which inclided ziplining, a delicious lunch, horseback riding to the falls, and finally a tour of the crater with mud baths and hot springs. I would recommend this tour company to anyone who wants a real adventure with a knowledgable, friendly tour guide.

  • Stayed: April 2010, traveled with family
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1  Thank hbjcVirginia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 12, 2010

We are international travelers and quite experienced with all-inclusives throughout central America. Riu has a better class resort type termed the "Palace", and this is NOT a Palace property, so their service is not top notch by design. Pluses: new grounds; rooms clean and well serviced; food always tasty and well refrigerated, avoiding common intestinal complaints; some of the most pleasant, well meaning and educated people in central America; no hassle resort primed for resting, laying back, not taking life too seriously; attentive and patient staff that have to deal with daily, hourly complaints by guests... Some negatives: terrible beach location: murky water, rocky bottom, significant rip tide, very hot sand not walkable without sandals (volcanic ash mixed with construction debris scattered from the construction of the facility), no water sports save for sea kayaks (a challenge at best) and pedal boats (an insult) - yet within 15-minute stride on the same beach at the other end of the large bay, there is spectacular water, sandy beach that is very walkable, less of an incline to water.....the hotel chose the wrong end of the public beach. Significance of public beach cannot be underestimated: the hotel beachfront is still almost 100-feet inland. The hotel is prohibited from building any shade structure on the beach itself - do not expect to see any shade aside from some tree shadows...The walk from the pool/hotel enclosure to the beach is long, arduous and pointless. This resort is still in start-up mode and is expecting a major "palace" resort next door. Until that is built and opens, the government will NOT pave the road leading to this resort (a bone crunching ride of 35 minute accessing the nearest highway), and the cellular monopoly will not provide an antenna to account for cell phone coverage anywhere on the property (there is wi-fi access at the lobby however, and iPhone users can access their cell service that way, but none other)....I had read about cell phone coverage on the beach down towards the swimmable section about 15 minute walk away,and indeed this works but on a VERY intermittent basis. And, amazingly, even though there is a small casino on the property, NO ATM facility anywhere and the hotel will not dispense cash. To get cash (to take advantage of the wonderful massage opportunities provided by the locals on the public beach - well worth it!), you have to ride into Coco Beach - which on the map is actually around the corner on the coast and almost accessible by boat (the launch taxi service was broken down for the week we stayed there)....what appears to be a 35-minute journey each way turns into a half-day adventure (slow, infrequent bus/taxi) to access a sleepy town that suffers from inadequate patronage, no vision and no spark, all for accessing an ATM or buying some of the local coffee or produce. Papagayos restaurant is the only facility worthwhile in town and serves excellent ceviche. Pool sports (volleyball, polo and drinking binges) yield the only entertainment - and there is plenty of shade around the pool. With a little bit of effort (paving the road, providing cell service, providing an ATM on property, and most important installing some shade huts either on the public beach by consent with the government, or at least building some structures close to the beach on the hotel property itself) would go a long way to assuage our concerns. If these things will not bother you and you are looking to relax, go for it. If they do or might, look elsewhere. Riu is not there yet at this facility....

  • Stayed: April 2010, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Try007
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 11, 2010

Excellent vacation! Don't listen to complaints.
First of all, great resort with private beach and no other resorts around so it feels untouched. Its carved out of the mountains with beautiful scenery and you can see monkeys, birds and horses right outside your room. Great spot for those who like adventure and a scenic view. The rooms are spacious and yes they are filled with 4 bottles of booze- gin, vodka, rhum and rye- in addition to a mini-fridge with beers, pop and water. Its all included and filled every other day! I went with my boyfriend and we are a young couple who love to relax, party and embark on adventures into the unknown and this is exactly what we got! The buffet and the food are excellent with lots to choose from! The only downfall was that you had to book the a la carte's one at a time and early in the morning so we only ate at the Italian and it was good. You should go to coco beach and bring cash for local shopping and they have great food- you can get a shuttle from the hotel for $10-15 each for the day. Excursions are also amazing but if you can- go to coco beach on day 1 or 2 and book your trips through a local as i'm sure you can get a good deal. If not, the hotel offers some carriers however, some charge more than others. Shop around for some prices as you can get an amazing canopy tour for $100 which includes horseback riding, volcano tour, hot springs, lunch, bus and ziplining. Also, if you were told there is no departure tax when you leave this is not true- there is a tax of $26 each to leave Guanacaste airport so have cash or credit card for this when you leave. Entertainment at our resort was also great- had a grease and michael jackson show that were top knotch. There is a mix of travellers from young couples to families and older people but everyone was really cool. Again, great vacation with amazing company and a fabulous resort in the middle of the mountains with tons to offer- what more could you ask for!

  • Stayed: April 2010, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank TravelGirl7Toronto
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 11, 2010

If you want white beaches and blue water this resort is not on the Caribbean but on the Pacific and the beaches are volcanic black sand, still very beautiful. We had a wonderful stay. I took tip money and the service was superior. The employees appreciated a $2.00 tip left on the table after lunch or breakfast. We ate dinner at the three restaurants, making reservations was no problem at all, again a small tip left on the table was greatly appreciated. The drinks were made extra special for us once the bar tender knew us and knew that we gave tips. (again it was only $1.00 or $2.00) I spent about $50.00 on tips but it was well worth the special treatment that we received. We took a snorkeling and cave tour with "Louis" from the beach. ($45.00 p/p) He was fantastic. The afternoon exploring caves on a beautiful beach at low tide was an awesome experience. Well worth the money. Louis was a great snorkeling guide too. The resort was very clean and well maintained. The hotel is not located near a town or city,very secluded area. If you are a complainer you will find something to complain about, but if you enjoy time away to relax and have fun, then this is an excellent place. Yes, I would highly recommend this resort.

  • Stayed: April 2010, traveled with friends
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1  Thank relaxingmoma
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 10, 2010

The resort is beautifully constructed: they seem to have thought of all the small details. It is immaculately clean. Rooms are large and we did find the beds to be comfortable. Because of the size it never feels crowded, but you do have to walk .
We found the food to be very good, with a wide variety of different foods. We especially enjoyed the breakfast, with omlets and a huge amounts of fruits, especially tropical ones, like mango, papaya and pineapple.
THE POOL: is very big, with plenty of chairs, but definitely not for your daily swimming exercise, but great for just hanging out . There is a swim-in bar.
THE BEACH: It is not for small children to just sit and enjoy. The waives are quite strong. However, if you’re a fairly good swimmer, I would suggest to pass the waives and after that you can swim really long distances along the beach (which is actually a bay). It gets deep very quickly, so you don’t have to swim very far. The best time for the swimming exercise is early morning (6-7 am, which is no problem if you come from the east coat and are jet-lagged). The hotel provides kayaks and boogie-boards for free. I would suggest to take out the kayaks early in the morning, as passing the waives can be challenging (the staff was very helpful in getting me through the waives-and it took three attempts). They also provide scuba-diving tours nearby($99.00 for two dives if you’re certified or a full certification course), which our daughter found quite enjoyable.
One last comment: I would suggest to tour the country (e.g, Arenal volcano area) prior to the arrival at the resort because it is, in my opinion, a waste of time and money to travel, say, four hours in each direction. The roads are also not that great.

  • Stayed: April 2010, traveled with family
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Thank dagim
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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