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Riu Guancaste Costa Rica

Check in: We took a red-eye to Atlanta and arrived shortly after noon after flying all night at the Liberia Airport. This was a CIA base to fight the Contra’s in Nicaragua. This was better that flying all day, as we have done to get to the Caribbean. It was great to get somewhere in the middle of the day. The clerk gave us a wristband and told us to come back after lunch for the key when the room was ready. So we had lunch and found one of several watering holes.

Room: Very nice but small as we just had a standard room. We had an outside view to the property to the north. It was a very quiet spot and a long walk from the ice machine and lobby. We were at the end of the line. For being a three years old resort, it still had a bath tub to climb over for the shower. There were howler monkeys outside in the trees by our room.

Orientation: The TV had the usual introductory ads playing for other Riu Resorts. There was no book or and orientation materials in the room. There were glass displays on the property telling of evening entertainment. There were booths set up in lobby for tours. We make dinner reservations as they take them from 0900 til early afternoon. You are able to book today, if available, and the next day. We took advantage and locked in Asian and Italian.

Food: We were not expecting much since it was buffet style. We were expecting Golden Corral. We were pleasantly surprised as it was very nice with many fresh tasty choices. Very clean dining area, no food spilled all over the buffet area as in the Golden Corral. They rotated many of the choices, so it was not always the same. There were three specialty restaurants on the property. We tried them all. The Italian- had the shrimp in a very light Alfredo sauce. Very tasty. The steakhouse was really nice, complete with the baked Alaska. The Asian was so-so. I ate a plate full of ribs from the appetizer rack. The main dishes at the Asian Bistro were picked over and out the buffet table to long for my tastes.

Liquor. The drinks use low alcohol liquor and were mostly the foo foo variety. They mix and shake with the best bartenders out there. They did have name brand liquor out one night for shots or cocktails. I took the JB Scotch to my room, added ice and water.

Atmosphere: Three generation families with children everywhere. (We were there in July) It was better on the weekend because the Costa Rican’s control their children. It was the American children that were rowdy. The crowd was mostly younger. I suggest taking a trip on the river or an adrenaline adventure on the weekends as many from San Jose fill up the place.

Pool: Was very nice but very warm and soupy in the afternoons. We were there in July. They were kids ordering kiddie cocktails at the bar. They need to shade more of the pool our put a chiller on it.

Beach: The beach was nice with hot volcanic sand and small waves. There were 5 mini vendor stores at the end of the beach and only a couple of vendors selling vases, cigars and tours. There were jet skis available for hire way down the beach as they are not allowed near the resort. You may take a taxi to the next beach if you want more noise. They also had tents set up on the beach for massages.

Side trips: We booked trips to Palo Verde River and the Mega Adrenaline Combo- horseback riding, water slide, zip lines, hot springs and mud baths. Both tours were very nice and worth the money. You may pre-book these with Tropical Sails. We suggest doing so for two reasons: The nearby days are often full and it is better to be away from the resort on Saturday and Sunday as the place tends to fill up with Costa Rican’s and wedding parties.

Over all it was a very nice trip. The place is geared for families. For the room charge, this place is still a great value, even with its quirks. But then, I remind myself- it is a Spanish outfit.

Room Tip: I heard complaints about the elevators, so I guess our long first floor walk was not so bad. Also, some people with inner courtyard rooms were mumbling because the entertainments lasts until midnight most nights.

From Tropical Sails, you can book the resort, air, transfers and prebook your side tours for great value.

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By Daniel Oppliger


RIU 24 Hr All Inclusive program includes:

Unlimited meals, snacks, specialty restaurants, unlimited non alcoholic and alcoholic beverages, unlimited use of in-room mini bar and liquor dispenser, various water and land sports, daily activities, live entertainment, taxes and service charges included.



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