This month’s Try It Tuesday is again Travel Tuesday!
For our annual trip, we decided to go somewhere different for vacation: Costa Rica. We like staying at RIU when we travel in the Caribbean, so we booked our room at RIU Guanacaste.
RIU Guanacaste – Costa Rica ♦ ♦ ♦
The room was okay. We had an ocean view room on the 5th floor . We were in room 5060- close to the main elevator in the lobby. The bed was extra firm. We asked for a pillow top for the mattress but they did not have any available. There was no room service. The bar was restocked every other day. The room was cleaned every other day. When I needed extra towels and washcloths, it took several requests and phone calls to get it (was not a language barrier because I asked in English and Spanish). It took them a long time to do everything.
Bar Service ♦♦♦
Bar service was okay earlier in the day. I found the servers to be friendly. But as it got later in the day, there were less and less friendly servers. They took your order, gave you your drink, and that was it. No smile. No conversation. They were not trying to put on a show at all. I got the impression that a lot of them did not enjoy their job.
Also, I found the drinks were consistently weak unless you asked for double shots. I am not trying to get drunk, but I want something stronger than fruit punch or watered down juice.
For the shows, I give them an “E” for effort. I could tell that the dancers were trying their best but I think they needed better choreographers. For the pool activities, they had several fun events at the pool. However, the fun was overshadowed by the fact that all these children were all over the place, getting in the way.
In the Sports Bar, we enjoyed playing pool. We wanted to play foosball, but it was always occupied. We could not play ping pong because the ball was cracked (I suspect one of the kids did it). There were a lot of children running around, even at midnight. I did not think I was THAT PERSON (you know the one that hates kids) but I was a little frustrated that there were no adult only spaces.
The food was mediocre. I usually love coming to Riu resorts because the food is amazing. We arrived on a Friday at lunch time. We could barely find anything appetizing to eat. I wish they had more of local food instead of trying to cook American food. It seemed that they thought Americans only like hot dogs, hamburgers, and nacho chips. But the hamburgers were overcooked, the hot dog weiners were pitiful, and the nacho chips were a weird texture. Even the cheese dip was watery, like they were trying to make their last case of Velveeta last all month. (more on the food in another post)
The sand on the beach was a darker color, not white like in the Caribbean. This is because of the volcanic ash in the area. If you are not prepared, you might think that the sand was dirty.
There is no bar service on the beach. The locals sell coconuts and mangos but they are not pushy sales people. The one guy I saw with coconuts was standing by a tree like he was waiting for people to approach him.
There were a few RIU personnel that helped drag beach chairs to where you wanted to sit, but there were not enough people to help everyone. Pretty much, if you were a lady, you were helped. If you were a guy, you had to get your own chair.
Tourist TIP: If you want a massage, there are usually locals on the beach offering massages for $39 USD. Their massage tables are a short walk through the woods (not as sketchy as it might seem). I received THE best deep tissue massage from a lady who looked like she was 7 months pregnant. Yea, I was surprised too. I think her name was Jocelyn.
Water Sports ♦♦♦♦
Snorkeling was great! There were plenty of fish to see. My friend also recommends the dive instructor if you want to get your PADI certified SCUBA license. He said it was a great experience.
Excursion Tours ♦♦♦
There are many different excursions to choose from. If you want a short trip, you can pay $15/pp for roundtrip transportation via the water taxi to Coco Beach. What I was not expecting was the fact that to board the boat, you have to walk into the ocean and climb aboard. I thought they should have had a port or something. Good thing I was wearing shorts and flip flops.
Tourist TIP: You can get better rates on the excursion tours ($35 – $200 prices negotiable) from local agencies on the beach than inside the resort. We took the Tour to Miravalles (cost between $90-130pp/depending on how many going)
The best part about resort was the disco. I had so much fun. The best night was Saturday after 11pm. The DJ knew how to keep everyone on the dance floor. The only negative about the disco was that the drinks were not included. That was not too much of an issue for me. After all that dancing, all I wanted was water.
TOW Final Word: RIU Guanacaste was okay. It was not exactly bottom of the barrel when it comes to accommodations, but if you can afford to spend the extra $$, stay at the RIU Palace Guanacaste. The service, food, and accommodations are a lot better. It is worth it. I told our travel agent that we wanted to stay at the RIU Palace and she told me we were booked there (but that’s another story). Once we got there, it was going to be too much of a hassle to change resorts. If I had to do it over, I would have changed at check-in like I thought about doing.
Stay tuned for RUI REVIEW PART II which is all about the FOOD