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Try It Tuesday – Travel Tuesday #CostaRica #RIUGuanacaste PART II #TryItTuesday #foodie

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RIU Guanacaste – Costa Rica ♦ ♦ ♦

This is Part II of my Try It Tuesday post about RIU Guanacaste – Costa Rica.
Since I am a foodie, I had already decided to dedicate a special post to the food. I thought I was going to be waxing poetically about the yummy delectable bites that haunt my dreams. That did not happen.

I was bummed how lackluster the food was. Plus, decent hot food was not available 24-7. I know they say that food was available in the Sports Bar, but that was not even worth mentioning.

Here was the breakdown of our meals. Let me say, as someone who likes to plan their meals, I did not like the fact that the “fine dining” restaurants did not accept reservations. It was first come/first serve. We had to show up at 6pm to tell the restaurant we were coming at second seating. Ughh!

Breakfast – was the best meal of the day – bacon, fried eggs, omelet station, platanos maduros, donuts, sweet breads, croissants, smoothies


Lunch – stewed chicken or pork with steamed rice and French fries
There was a stewed gravy with chickpeas that was very tasty.

Night 1 – Buffet – grilled chicken, steamed rice
The chicken from the grill was the best part. Delicious!!! There were different salsas to try and some were super-hot. Muy picante! Whenever they are cooking on the grill outside, the food is going to be delicious. Figure out how to take a plate of that cuisine goodness to your room. You will be hungry later and you will wish you had more. This is a fact.

Night 2 – Buffet Fukoma Asian cuisine – eggrolls, chicken on a stick, stir fry pork, fried rice, fruit
The thing about eggrolls is that they need to be eaten HOT and not after sitting on a buffet for a while. Even though it is very popular, I usually do not eat Chinese food off of a buffet. There are few things worse than lukewarm Chinese food. Picture me being annoyed.

Night 3 – Tuscano Gourmet cuisine – ceviche, quinoa, roasted vegetable, rice pudding reimagined, triple chocolate cake dessert
This dinner was an improvement and closer to what I was used to eating at a RIU resort. I loved the ceviche. The quinoa was okay. The rice pudding reimagined was nothing like rice pudding. It was still tasty. And I wish everything else could have been as delicious as the triple chocolate cake. It was pretty awesome.


Night 4 – Ocatel Steakhouse – buffalo wings, shrimp kabob, grilled fish, potato wedges, roasted vegetables, apple turnover, cheesecake
The shrimp kabob was mouth-watering but the grilled fish was not as well seasoned. The potato wedges were standard like what you might get at a chain restaurant. Everything else was good but not outstanding.


****RIU restaurant hack –> I got to-go containers from the Sports bar and filled them with food from the buffet. Kept that food in the refridge in my room. Then reheated the food in the microwave in the Sports Bar when I was ready to eat. Sounds tacky, but at least I did not go to bed hungry!

TOW Final Word: Overall, I was not impressed with the cuisine. I wish they had more local flavor instead of trying to serve what they think Americans want. I don’t like to wonder if there will be decent food available for my next meal, but that is what I had to do, otherwise I would have been hungry. Their snack food offerings were pitiful. Yet another reason to choose Riu Palace. They have 24-hour room service and better food (from what I was told).

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Try It Tuesday – Travel Tuesday #CostaRica #RIUGuanacaste Part I #TryItTuesday

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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 ♦ ♦ ♦

Room ♦♦♦
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.

Shows/Activities ♦♦♦
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.

Food ♦♦♦
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)

Beach ♦♦♦
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)

Disco ♦♦♦♦
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

Why Riu Palace Las Americas hotel in Cancun should be your next resort stay

If you are going to Cancun Mexico, you need to do yourself a favor and check out Hotel Riu Palace Las Americas. There are several different Riu locations in Cancun, but I think that Las Americas location is the best.

This is a 5-star hotel all inclusive resort. When we arrived, we received a fruity drink to welcome us. Then we went to our oceanfront room, which was fabulous. We quickly changed clothes and went to relax out by the beach.
The scenery and layout of the hotel was so beautiful. Some days I would get up early (and I am not usually an early riser) just to sit by the pool and enjoy the solitude.

When hubby and I wanted to do a little souvenir shopping, there were several shopping areas within walking distance from the hotel. There was a money exchange station and ATM across the street. We also like to go to Wal-mart in different countries which was a 15-minute taxi ride. It was a plus for us that the resort was centrally located.

Here are some of the amenities that I used quite frequently
Beachfront hotel – My tip: Request an oceanfront view room. It is so relaxing to go to sleep listening to the waves
Swimming pools with swim up bar, poolside bar, pool games (i.e. pool volleyball, pool basketball) – one pool has a chill vibe and the other pool has a party vibe. Of course the party vibe pool has the bar and games.
Jacuzzi, Sauna – My tip: You have to go through the Spa to take advantage of this. It is worth it especially after working out in the gym.
Renova Spa – Wonderful services! My tip: Negotiate a deal when you schedule your massage to receive a discount on whatever services you want.
24-hour room service – My tip: Waiting time is usually about 20-30 minutes. Even if you call 3:00 in the morning! Great service for me because when I am hungry in the middle of the night, I want to eat before I go to sleep. The food was good too! Sometimes the room service food can be sketchy. Not here. Some of the best nachos I had were through room service.
In room bar (with Rum, Tequila, Vodka on tap, beer and bottled water in fridge) – I might not drink all the time, but it is nice to know that it is available. My tip: Take a water with you every time you leave the room to make sure you stay hydrated. Request juice from housekeeping to mix with your liquor.

Restaurants (that I visited – another post will be dedicated to the food of Riu Palace )
Sakura – Japanese food (open for dinner only)
Los Arcos – Italian food
El Romero – Grill and Steakhouse
Don Roberto – Breakfast buffet – made-to-order omelets, chorizo, breakfast potatoes, fruit, breads, etc
Poolside Lunch – mouthwatering grilled chicken and ribs

Every time I go to a resort, I want to go canoeing or kayaking. I did not get to go this time because the water was too rough.

There were shows performed nightly. For example, one night there was a Michael Jackson cover songs show. The shows were not too cheesy and were very entertaining.
This location did not have a nightclub but there was one next door at their sister facility.

Overall, this was one of the best resorts I have visited. The quality of the facility was top of the line. We knew how much we paid and felt that we got our money’s worth. They know how to take care of their visitors and create a comfortable, relaxing environment. All the employees had smiling faces and looked like they enjoyed their jobs. That says a lot about the work environment. I am anxiously awaiting the next time I can visit this or another Riu location.

Places like this make me wish I was a travel agent so that I would get a commission for encouraging travelers to book their next vacation here.
Riu Palace Las Americas hotel
Boulevard Kukulkan Km 8.5
Mza 50 Lote 4 – Zona Hotelera
Cancun 77500 – Quintana Roo – Mexico
Tel (52) 998 891 4300