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Riu Guanacaste Reviews

Central America | Costa Rica-Guanacaste Beach Region Our Rating rating Details
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Customer Rating 118 Reviews
Value
 
4.4
Service
 
4.5
Beaches & Pools
 
4.4
Dining Options
 
3.8
Room Comfort
 
4.1
4.3 out of 5
"Everything was fine at resort but very unorganized. Also paid for private round trip to airport but didn't get that on the way back to airport." – Tenjj
125 out of 136 (92%) customers would recommend this product to a friend.
Looking back at the resort The Beach! out at night A waterfall that our tour guide went out of his way to take us to that was not part of our paid excursion. GREAT EXPERIENCE! Fun excursions Night view from the Hallway Balcony Endless palapas/chairs at the pool Street party The beach at the resort sun set on the black sand beach white water rafting tour with Tenorio River the lobby zip line canopy tour

All Riu Guanacaste Customer Reviews

1-10 of 118 reviews. Sort by
February 26, 2015
Awesome trip!

My husband and I traveled to the Hotel Riu for our honeymoon. I contacted the hotel ahead of time to let them know and they had a bottle of wine and a fruit basket waiting in our room for us. Some other guests told us that their housekeeper made cute little towel animals for them however ours did not (no biggie). Upon arrival to the resort after the flight (which is only about a 40 min ride) we checked in quickly and did not have to wait in line. The front desk staff speaks English well and we did not experience any language barriers. They were polite and efficient at getting us into our room. I'll try and be as detailed as possible for the rest of my review since I really depended on others' views when we booked our vacation. 1) Room- We knew we wanted oceanview, so we booked that room. From reading other reviews, I knew to request a 3rd or 4th floor room (some of the 5th floor rooms have a solid balcony which obstructs views). We also requested a king bed. I emailed the hotel several months in advance to request these specifics and they said they would try their best as these rooms were in demand. We were pleasantly surprised to have our request met. The view was the best! Our room was 3077 and was on the side that was closest to the entertainment area. I did not notice any noise during the day (which we were hardly in the room for) and at night it was not bad. We did stay up to watch the shows and went to bed shortly after and did not have a problem with the noise level. I am a light sleeper and always turn my white noise app on on my phone, so that may have helped drown out some noise. I would definitely stay in this room again! 2) Hotel Grounds- Such a beautiful landscape! The grass was super green and all the mature palms were gorgeous. The hotel itself is super clean. I always saw staff cleaning and picking up. We couldn't get over how clean everything was. One of the best parts of hotel, in my opinion, is that it is mostly non-smoking. There is an out of the way smoking area with tables available, however no smoking was allowed in the restaurants or in the pool area. Some people did smoke on the beach, but it wasn't too bad. 3) Pool- Loved the pool! Super spacious and was glad to see areas that are separate from the pool bar (who knows how much urine is in that part of the pool!?). Loved the lounge chairs in the water. In order to get a chair in the shade, you do need to wake up and get a chair before 7-8am. The pool towels were like sandpaper and cost $20 if you lose one. 4) Beach- I'm glad I live near a beach on the Atlantic and have nice sand. The beach directly in front of the hotel is kind of rocky. The sand is volcanic sand and is a dark color which makes it like walking on hot lava during the hottest part of the day! A short walk past the other Riu leads to a nice, sandy beach. The current is strong so I felt nervous going too deep in the water but it was nice to look at. There wasn't a beach bar, so if you wanted any drinks (including water) you had to go up to the pool bar. Luckily the hotel gives you 2L bottles of water, so we just brought those down to the beach with us. I'm glad I read the reviews and brought our water shoes. We used them several times on the beach. We went for a lot of walks and used them on the rocky portions. 5) Entertainment- The nighttime entertainment was a little cheesy, but it was entertaining. Honestly, we were exhausted at the end of the day and didn't really care too much about what was going on. The entertainment at the pool was good. We liked watching the water aerobics. They have photographers at the pool area taking pictures which you can purchase. The pictures that were taken of us turned out AWESOME. Gaston and Joy were the best. They cost an arm and a leg to purchase, but figured it was worth it to get a few :) 6) Excursions- After reading the reviews we decided to wait to book an excursion until we were at the resort. They always tell you it isn't safe, etc but we had an awesome experience. We booked with Daniel from Lifetime Tours (orange shirt) and had a blast! Our group had only 9 people vs the 40+ that would leave from the lobby. We did the mega tour which includes horseback riding, waterfall, volcanic mud bath/hot springs, waterslide, and ziplining. It was a long day but would recommend it. We also did the snorkeling that was provided (for a fee) through the hotel water service. We saw a ton of fish! We tried borrowing the fins/snorkel for free and going in front of the hotel but the water was too rough. 7) Weather/wildlife- We didn't realize that Costa Rica has 2 seasons, a wet season and dry. We traveled from Feb 14-21 and had the absolute best weather! Hardly a cloud in the sky for the entire week we were there. It was a dry heat, not humid at all. I was surprised to see a lot of brown when we landed at the airport because when I thought of CR I pictured green. It was so fun to see all of the wildlife at the resort! We saw baby sea turtles coming out of their nest and heading to the ocean, a blowfish on shore, beautiful green parakeets, and monkeys. The monkeys are all over on the jungle side of the hotel! 8) Food- This is our second all inclusive resort we've been to and the food was better at the Riu than the other place we went. There were plenty of choices. We didn't go to the steakhouse or the Italian (the line was always long). We had a reservation at the Toucan (fish) and it was good. The Asian restaurant was delicious...we went twice. We both love sushi and they had a lot of variety. The buffet was amazing. Had a huge salad bar, fruit bar, and entrees. There truly was something for everyone. The only complaint that I had was the wine. I could hardly even choke it down and have no idea what it was. My first clue that it would be bad is that it came out of a dispenser ;) We were glad to have the bottle of cab that was given to us as a honeymoon present and we saved it for our last night. Honestly you cannot expect a 5 star restaurant at a resort that feeds thousands of people. I think that considering the amount of people they feed and the amount of prep needed that they do a fantastic job. 9)) Necessities to bring- -Any sort of toiletries. I'm glad I usually travel with my own, because all that was provided was bar soap and a shampoo dispenser in the shower. -Sunscreen. They were selling it for $25 in the gift shop! Glad I packed plenty -Meds. I'm glad I packed some Pepto, Advil, Benadryl itch cream (had a few bug bites on excursion), band aids and triple antibiotic cream (husband cut foot on rocks on the beach) - Water shoes. - Travel mug for drinks from the bars. The cups they give you are small and require frequent refills Usually I do not like to go back to the same place twice, however my husband and I are counting down the days until we can go back. Next time we will do more excursions to see more of the country but we wanted a relaxing honeymoon. Costa Rica and the Riu were Pura Vida!


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Overall Rating: 5
Value
 
5.0
Service
 
5.0
Beaches & Pools
 
5.0
Dining Options
 
4.0
Room Comfort
 
5.0
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From: Murrells Inlet, SC
Age: 25-34
Travel: 1-2 trips/year

September 22, 2014
Average

This hotel offered plenty of food options and food was of good quality however the liquor was very cheap and the wine was not drinkable. The bed was very uncomfortable however the room was clean and stocked when we arrived. The activities offered by the resort are of average as well. I'd recommend leaving the resort for at least a day to explore given that it is tucked away on its own private beach. We moved to the RIU Palace halfway through our trip and this was well worth it for more comfort, better quality food and drinks. You pay for what you get at the RIU and for someone on a budget its accommodating


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Overall Rating: 3
Value
 
3.0
Service
 
3.0
Beaches & Pools
 
4.0
Dining Options
 
4.0
Room Comfort
 
2.0
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From: Washington
Age: 25-34
Travel: 1-2 trips/year

September 19, 2014
Great resort

The resort was very pretty. Lots of activities to do. There was no reason to leave the resort because it has shopping, casino, and disco right out the front door. Walking at night even felt safe. I spent a day at the spa which was absolutely great. The only down fall of this resort is the beds. They are very hard and where not very comfortable to me. I am already planning a trip next year to Costa Rica and will be staying here again.


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Overall Rating: 4
Value
 
5.0
Service
 
5.0
Beaches & Pools
 
5.0
Dining Options
 
5.0
Room Comfort
 
2.0
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From: Dallas, TX
Age: 45-54
Travel: 1-2 trips/year

August 18, 2014
Beautiful Resort

We had a great stay at the Riu Guanacaste. The service was wonderful and the food was very good. Some of the evening shows were a bit campy, exaggerated and a bit too loud. Lots of wildlife to see around the resort: iguanas, monkeys, birds and butterflies. My only complaint would be the beach. The beach directly in front of the resort was very rocky and a steep climb to the water and back. To the left, in front of the Riu Castle, the beach was more level and free of rocks. To the right, there was a rock formation that allowed little pools to collect that were full of fish and hermit crabs, which was pretty cool. The pool was nice, would have liked it to be a bit cooler, but what can you expect near the equator in August. We had heard raves about the Monkey Bar, but for us it was a big disappointment. The service was great, but the atmosphere was lacking, as were the monkeys.


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Overall Rating: 4
Value
 
4.0
Service
 
5.0
Beaches & Pools
 
3.0
Dining Options
 
4.0
Room Comfort
 
4.0
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From: NoVA
Age: 45-54
Travel: 1-2 trips/year

August 12, 2014
Great family vacation

We recently returned from a week at Riu Guanacaste. We went with two other families. We had a great week. The food was good and the service was great. Everyone was very friendly. We highly recommend the day trip to Bueno Vista which we booked through one of the sales people sitting at the front of the hotel. Recommend asking for more pillows and a pillow top for the bed but other than that the room was great. The nightly shows are ok and tend to run a little long. The beach is particularly beautiful. You can actually see monkeys in the trees when you walk the path from the beach back up to the hotel. Don't waste your time going to the Monkey Bar which is a short walk up the beach from the hotel. We went up there and did not see one monkey. Enjoy! Pura Vida!!


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Overall Rating: 4
Value
 
5.0
Service
 
5.0
Beaches & Pools
 
4.0
Dining Options
 
4.0
Room Comfort
 
4.0
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From: fredericksburg, va
Age: 35-44
Travel: 1-2 trips/year

August 12, 2014
Wonderful Vacation!

We loved Riu Guanacaste! The staff was friendly, the room was comfortable, the pool and beach were fabulous, except for the bees at the pool. It was a great location in Costa Rica! You could see monkeys at the hotel and down on the beach near the Monky Bar. The Monky Bar was a fun local experience! Our Sunset snorkel cruise was awesome, especially when we saw many dolphin jumping in the ocean. The "Mega Combo" canopy tour was a fun filled day! We had beautiful weather, it only rained a little our very first day!


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Overall Rating: 5
Value
 
5.0
Service
 
5.0
Beaches & Pools
 
5.0
Dining Options
 
5.0
Room Comfort
 
5.0
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From: Madison, CT
Age: 45-54
Travel: 1-2 trips/year

August 6, 2014
I love Costa Rica

Overall..I loved Costa Rica, The people, the food, The country was very clean and safe. All of the excursion packages and tours were professional, safe and fun. My only complaints were the rooms were a little small at the Riu Guanacaste, the beds were hard and the only food options after 9:30pm is pop corn, nachos, hamburger and hot dogs in the sports bar. All of which were not that good.


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Overall Rating: 5
Value
 
4.0
Service
 
5.0
Beaches & Pools
 
4.0
Dining Options
 
3.0
Room Comfort
 
3.0
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From: San Leandro, CA
Age: 35-44
Travel: 1-2 trips/year

August 6, 2014
Great trip!

They had local food and more traditional American food as well as food from all over. Great place to go if you have any picky eaters in your group. 2 restaurants required reservations and they're both well worth getting the reservation. Right next to the beach. We even saw a few monkeys not far from the hotel. Nice rooms with a balcony. We left things to dry on the balcony and it would just take 2 or 3 hours. One caution, though don't leave items on the balcony overnight. We left some items overnight and 1 item was gone in the morning. It was probably a monkey that took it since it was bright red. Only thing we didn't like was all the bees attracted to the sweet and alcoholic drinks near the pool. That's only because they're so close to the rain forest.


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Overall Rating: 5
Value
 
5.0
Service
 
5.0
Beaches & Pools
 
5.0
Dining Options
 
5.0
Room Comfort
 
5.0
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From: Houston, TX
Age: 45-54
Travel: 1-2 trips/year

August 4, 2014
Nice place but more night options are needed

Let me start by saying Costa Rica is a beautiful country. My boyfriend and I just got back from staying at the Riu Guanacaste. The hotel was just like it looks in the pictures although the rooms are a little dated. I think the hotel would be a lot more fun if it offered more activities at night. The do have a club and casino but for the most part they didn't have a lot to do at night. Since the hotel is in the middle of no where you can't really leave the hotel to find some night fun.


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Overall Rating: 4
Value
 
4.0
Service
 
4.0
Beaches & Pools
 
4.0
Dining Options
 
3.0
Room Comfort
 
3.0
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From: New York, NY
Age: 35-44
Travel: 3-6 trips/year

July 21, 2014
Great Value; Great Fun!

I stayed at the Riu Guanacaste in 2013 and enjoyed it so much I brought my family back in 2014. The facility is beautifully landscaped and the pool is fabulous. The pool is very large and is broken into several sections. Even when it's crowded you can find space to hang out somewhere. There are fun activities too. I participated in the water aerobics (it's harder than you think!) and my young adult children enjoyed the beer pong. The swim up bar is great...just wish there wasn't so many bees. The facility is kept very clean and the service is excellent. We had a couple of minor issues with our room that were taken care of quickly and courteously including the elimination of a wasp nest on the balcony. My husband and I used the gym, which was decent sized, clean and offered towels and water. We didn't use the spa so can't comment on that. The beach is gorgeous and is so long that there can be many people on it and it doesn't feel crowded. You can pull up a chaise lounge right next to the water and still have your own space. Can't get that where I live! There was a wide variety of food offered between the buffet and the specialty restaurants. We (adults) enjoyed it. My 10-year-old didn't want to eat anything besides fruit, muffins and nachos, but that's because he's a bit picky. He loved the serve-yourself nachos bar in the Sports Bar and also enjoyed playing ping pong and billiards. I do wish the Riu would purchase some additional ping pong tables and billiards tables for the sports bar. There is only one of each, plus the air hockey and foosball. They get very crowded with all the people wanting to play and we gave up waiting several times. That was a bit frustrating. There is plenty of space in the sports bar for the additional tables. Take plenty of mosquito repellent as there are lots of those little buggers around.


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Overall Rating: 5
Value
 
5.0
Service
 
5.0
Beaches & Pools
 
5.0
Dining Options
 
4.0
Room Comfort
 
4.0
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From: California
Age: 45-54
Travel: 1-2 trips/year