Playa Manzanillo, Gulf of Papagayo, Costa Rica
This all-inclusive resort offers never-ending fun with activities from aerobics to SCUBA lessons in the freeform pool, all at no extra cost. Guests eager to explore Papagayo Bay's can take shuttle boat (extra charge) to the Private Beach Club.
Share your experiences with others. Don't forget to send your review to Debbie by using an easy form.
"The "black" sand beach was more like a mud pit."
Jay on Apr 1, 2009 >
5 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Apr, 2009
314 people found this review helpful
Arrival: April 2009
We arrived at the resort and had to wait two hours to get into our rooms, for they had not been cleaned yet.
The rooms were old. there was mold in my room along with an infestation of small ants.
Restaurants and Bars:
The restaurants served the same food every night, no change. They had a snack bar that served, pizza, fries and chicken wings, and that was it. there was nothing ot eat after 9:00, which is not good when you are at the disco drinking til 2:00.
The "black" sand beach was more like a mud pit. the pool was nothing special and the grounds were also nothing special. there was no where to sit other then right by the pool.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
There were few activities for the guests. we did 2 tours off resort both were disapointing. the first started off nicely however one of the sights we payed to see was a waterfall and the road was closed to it, therefore we had to pay for it and did not get to see it. the other was a small safari. this one was a disaster. we waited for over an hour, the car never came, we said we wanted our money back and was not given it, after fighting the trip was bumped to the afternoon, but we still had to pay full price. Other Comments: The managment of the resort was horrible. You were never able to talk to anyone in charge, they dodged your calls and drop-ins. No one ever had an answer to your questions. this resort was such a disapointment. I would never recommend it to anyone.
"I found the prices somewhat outrageous"
Amy from Oklahoma on Aug 1, 2009 >
1 contribution(s) United States of America
Visited on: Aug, 2009
341 people found this review helpful
Arrival: August 7th- August 31st
I stayed the first 2 days at the Hilton Papagayo, it would have been equal amount to stay for 7 nights as it would have been for Occidental Allegro Papagayo IF it wouldnt of been for a "sale" that the Hilton was having!!! I tell you what- the lady who asked about my stay is NOT going to like what I had to say about her hotel.
It was beautiful. The hotel surroundings was beautiful. I loved the comfortable beds!!! But I did however leave because I found the prices somewhat outrageous. I will always remember paying $60 U.S. dollars for a meal for 3 that left us still feeling very hungry. Even just after we ate we were still very hungry. I decided to pay an extra $575 U.S. dollars and switch hotels to the Occidental Allegro Papagayo. I was extremely stressed at your hotel and felt as if I was going to run out of money very quickly when the prices for food were so expensive for so little food.
My first few days stay in Costa Rica were extremely stressful. I honestly couldn't enjoy my time there at all. I paid $30 U.S. dollars for 3 basic alcoholic drinks.
If you were to get one alcoholic drink a piece (3 drinks) and 3 meals for 3 people each day you would be spending over 200 U.S. dollars a day!!! With your belly still hungry too!! $60.00 U.S. dollars each meal, 3 meals a day= $180.00 U.S. dollars $30.00 U.S. dollars for 3 alcoholic drinks add with the $180.00= $210.00!!!
The gift shop was also a lot more expensive than the Allegro. $8.99 U.S. dollars for a key chain. The exact same key chain at Allegro was $4.99 U.S. dollars- half the price!! Not to mention the phone charges are fairly cheaper at the Allegro. But I didn't spend much time on the phone over there, seeing as though I was happy with my stay at the Allegro and my phone charges at the Hilton were over $50.00 because I was using it solidly to try to switch hotels so I would "enjoy" what was supposed to be a "vacation".
I did however enjoy my stay very much at the Allegro. I was very glad I paid the extra $575.00 U.S. dollars. Most of the staff at Allegro also understands English A LOT better than most staff at the Hilton Papagayo. I came to find that most people that visit Costa Rica speak English with very very little spanish knowledge on words. It is more important for the staff to know how to speak English than the visitors, seeing as how the majority of people who stay in Costa Rica (for tourism) are fluent in English. We are there to get our needs met and this is hard to do when staff doesn't understand you. We are only there for a week, most people are only there for a short amount of time. So it wont do us any harm to not know or learn spanish, however your staff will be dealing with people who speak English on a day- to- day basis for as long as they work with you!!! Which could be years!!!
Overall- I would not recommend this hotel to anyone I know. Unless- they want to run their bank account dry. The only thing worth staying for again at the Hilton Papagayo, would be the extremely comfortable beds.
P.S. The view was the exact same if not more beautiful at the Allegro, but they had tons of wildlife right there on premises!! Monkeys right by the beach guaranteed every day!! :) Crabs and Raccoons also. But it wasn't overflowing or annoying with wildlife- everyone else staying there loved it also!!
The beds were not comfortable at all at the Occidental Allegro Papagayo, but I do agree with the lady almost 100 percent who stayed from May 16-22!! The room did have a whole lot of tiny tiny ants which yes- was annoying considering I was waking up in the middle of the night to one crawling somewhere it shouldnt of been crawling! lol. But they are so small and dont bite, that it didnt bother me. Because as the lady from that review (May 16-22) said- you should use the room more as a place to sleep, you shouldnt be camped in it all day. Also like she said, there was no alarm clock which was kind of annoying to have to call every 20 minutes to the front desk (is how we found out the time, since our phones dont work over there) when you are getting ready to go to dinner at the fancy restaurant that you have 'reservations' for by a certain time, or have to be at the tour by a certain time.
Restaurants and Bars:
The food "was" different every single day !!! I just got back- I am telling you how it 'really' is! -some- of the food was the same every day, such as most of the fruit or the beans and rice. But all the rest of the food (which is alot) switched around on a day to day basis. I stayed for 7 nights and only ate the same things by choice. The bars were pretty nice. I wasnt going with the "all inclusive" so I could get hammered, so I am just telling you from a 1-3 drinks a day perspective. I tried the dirty monkey and it was great!!! However, not ALL the bartenders know how to make it!! :)
I recommend the steak at the mexican restaurant! very good !! Pay attention to the italian menu- it is soooo funny how many things are mispelled! lol
Oh the black sand was very pretty. I dont have any clue how Jay from Canada says its like black mud..... It was actually lighter than sand to me! The pools were great! They clean them at least 3 times a day that I saw!! I wish they had a place for people to rinse off like one of those outside shower things, before you get into the pool though, so the black sand wasnt in the pool as much.
The grounds- omg let me thell ya - monkeys outside the hotel by the beach every single day !!! In the mornings gauranteed and sometimes afternoons. Even though they have signs up not to feed them... they love food from ya like bananas!!! lol. What an experience it is to feed the monkeys!!
That's the last thing my mother did beore we left was see the monkeys right next to the hotel !! :)
I took her and my little brother there for vacation since I could afford it but she couldnt. :)
The monkeys were by far---- the best part of the whole Costa Rica trip!!!!! :)
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
My mother and little brother went kayaking! They said they loved it!!! This was "at" the hotel, that came with it for free. The other "excursions" we did was-
1.($115.00/person US dollars) View the rainforest by the Arenal Volcano, meet the Maleku tribe, eat lunch, go to a hot springs at a beautiful brand new hotel called The Springs with a spectacular view of the Arenal Volcano and dinner at that hotel (The Springs). I did not, repeat- did not, like the rainforest- it had "NO" flowers or color to it, other than green. The Maleku tribe wasnt 'that' friendly of people nor was their little show very interesting. However there is room for improvement. The hotel with the hot springs, OMG this made the day!!!!! It was sooooooo beautiful. I took tons of pictures there and there is a water slide there also- look for it cause they dont tell you about it!!! The lunch and dinner on this excursion were very awsome!!!
2. ($125.00/person US Dollars) Buena Vista Combo tour- OMG, soooooooooooooooo awsome!!!! My favorite overall of the tours!!!! Zipline, Water slide through the rainforest, horseback riding, mud bath with steam room and hot springs, and lunch. Not in that order lol. The Zipline was fun!!! I felt very safe at all times! The water slide was a BLAST, especially for kids (my lil brother is 14 and he loved it!) however there was a man at least 45 who was running 'up' the natural man made (out of dirt from the rainforest) steps ALL the way up to go do the waterslide as many times as he could!!! Very thrilling to see! Lunch was very good!! Not alot to choose from though... The horseback riding was beautiful. succcch a pretty view !!! I couldnt seem to get 'enough' pictures of just 'how pretty' it was!!! The mudbath- wow... such an experience !!! for all ages !! We had a blast!!!! However, there is quite a bit of walking upwards (which is hard for me.. walking down is easy, even at a steep angle, previously shattered foot,ankle and heel) my mother had a hard time also with the walking up to the zipline and waterslide and walking up the steep angle to go back from the hot springs. Overall- I looked past my foot and I made it fun !! It was awsome !! An experience of a lifetime !!!
3. Papagayo floating and zipline- ($45.00/person also includes transportation) oh yeah, now here's something that is soooo much fun for you thrill seekers, but it is quick and fun!!! Most of the excursions are half a day, this one is just a few hours, but sooo worth it !!!!!!! The staff at the place is soooo nice and it was private too, I was able to do just me and my little brother without a huge group like at the Buena Vista!! We were able to zipline upside down and superman style!!!!! I highly recommend this one!!! Plus, they are adding a resteraunt and a gift shop. The best part - It was all hand made!!! They dont even get to use any bulldozers or any large machines!! It's all done with a mashetI!!!!! Restaurant, Zipline landing pads, Gift Shop, all hand made!!!!!! Which is very impressive when you 'see' it.
4. Butterfly Garden- My mom went. ($60.00US cab ride, $10.00US to enter) The one that is closest to the Occidental Allergro Papagayo- the one with the cage of monkeys at the end of the butterfly garden. My mom loves butterflys...... but she said that was nothing to be happy about- however she said she will always remember the monkeys, (as described by my mom) you walk into this large cage and the next thing you know, you have monkeys all over you !!! Wanting you to hold them like babies and holding on to you like your their mother. Feet and arms wrapped around you. My mom said the best part is, they dont want you to leave!! You put them down and they get right back on you and when you finally do leave, they hold on to the cage and look at you as if to say "... but... dont leave me..." picking through your hair for fleas, taking spare change out of your pockets, playful little boogers, but sooo cuddly.
We sent her to the butterfly garden while me and my brother did the Papagayo Zipline! :) Shopping at coco cay was worth it 100 percent!! Souvenirs are so much cheaper !!!
If you have a hard time with someone not understanding English at the Occidental Allegro Papagayo- ask for Pedro at the front desk, he speaks it very very good and understands it also ! and Gilbert/tour guy is from California, so he understands very very well and can speak it, but isn't available that often at all.
"There are better hotels around Costa Rica"
Paul from Edmonton, AB on Jan 1, 2009 >
1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Jan, 2009
67 people found this review helpful
Arrival: Jan 15-29
Having just returned from the Allegro Papagayo in Liberia, Costa Rica, I think I should advise you to the hotel.
First we chose Air Canada Vacations over Signature Vacations (Skyservice) because of the flight times and other reasons.
We took the red eye from Edmonton Alberta to Toronto arriving at the hotel in Liberia at 3:00pm only to find our room not yet made up.
When the room, a Superior room, was ready an hour and half later, It was lacking (missing) a refrigerator and had no telephone (missing) and no spare toilet paper. Also we could not get the wall vault until the next day so we had to carry our money around for 24 hours. Also the room in the #8 building the Lanai faced the back of another building only 20 yards away across a road.
After three days of pressure we got another Superior room in building #15 down by the pool and close to the Buffet. Only to find it had a running toilet. I tried to fix it but somebody beat me to it by tying garbage bag around the shut off, so I did not disturb it.
Air Canada only had a small bus of 15 persons going, when we transferred, but Signature Vacations had 4 big busloads. Therefore they got the better rooms; I visited one of their rooms, same type of room but better position and view.
We noticed that the hotel is isolated from everything and is situated on a bay off the Pacific Ocean.
As we traveled so far we always stay for 2 week in the resorts, which was a mistake. Spoke to others who where there for 2 weeks and they all agreed. Talked to one couple who wanted to move out, but Signature wanted $1,000 to upgrade for a week.
Being isolated it cost a minimum of $25.00 per person to leave the resort. A shopping trip to Coco beach ($25.00 pp) left at 10:30 by the time it left and arrive Coco beach at noon. We were told to be back at 2:30. Another 1/1/2 boat ride back The line up at the bank was Â¾ of an hour, Take your original passport (will not accept a copy), if you wish to cash traveler cheques there is a $5.00 commission.
Pros and Cons:
Hot 23-35 C
The Italian restaurant is excellent and the Mexican is good. Thank goodness we were with a couple that got 2 tickets a week like us. So we where able to eat at the restaurants 8 time out of the 14 night stay. Later why1.
The staff was great people.
They have a medical center on site #1501 The pool was vacuumed every morning but about the water line you could scratch your name in the waxy scum.
Excellent Ice cream when it was available about every other night.
Cons Dec 15 - Feb 15 is summer holidays in Costa Rica, so there were lots of children at the hotel.
Take empty water bottles as there is only a jug and glasses for water, that you pick up outside, at places
Everyone seems to be bitten by a no seeum mosquito. The bites sure itched. Take sting medication. On girl we saw was just cover on the arms and legs.
Do no walk on the beach without shoes and socks, again different no seeum.
The entertainment around the pool is loud and has a motor mouth on the mike. Everybody around the pool has to listen to!!!!
The nightly entertainment was good for 3-4 nights; the rest of the time was guest on stage making fools of them selves. Also to hear the same motor mouth it was better to listen to outside the building for the loudness. But then you have to stand the septic field smells.
The wall safes in an all-inclusive establishment came at an addition charge of $1.00 per day.
There is lots of climbing to the rooms and from the bottom road there are about 40 steps down to the pool and Buffet.
Now the food at the Buffet:
Breakfasts were fairly good. In a tropical country do you expect Orange Juice from concentrate that arrives in plastic bottles? If the attendant was there you could get a pineapple, watermelon, banana smoothies mixed fresh Lots of eggs (no poached) half cooked bacon and Costa Rica sausages (small hotdogs like). Now if you like pineapple jam on your toast,. there was always some, it took a week for strawberry, and others to appear, no orange marmalade every appeared. In 14 days grapefruit showed up sliced. Well it was dry and pulpy.
Lunches were Ok, the snack bar had fries, burgers, chicken wings, pizza, Deserts we repetitious at lunch and dinner. Consisting of Rice pudding, Choclate cake, white cake with lots of icing. Flam and custard. Jell-O showed up near the end of our visit.
We could have eaten at the buffet 14 nights but opted for the restaurants. We had the restaurant tickets and walked through the night buffet to see if it was appealing and not one night did we stop. Except one night they had a roast of pork and Roast Duck. Being a frequent visitor to Cuba and Mexico they always had roast beef, pork, turkey, shrimps.
Seafood night. Well as lovers of seafood all 4 of us that was a disappointment. A few split prawns, some clams and mussels and lots of vegetables smothered in oil. After eating, what we had taken we went to the reliable chicken.
French night the only difference was 4 blocks of good cheese and the napkins folded different
Costa Rica night was the same stuff but the staff had native costumes.
Would not go again to Allegro Papagayo, nor would I recommend them. There are better hotels around Costa Rica after talking with other visitors.
It does not earn the rating it has. If should be a 3.
"Do not go to here to scuba dive or learn to dive"
TRACY on Jun 30, 2010 >
1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Apr, 2010 | Leisure | With Group
368 people found this review helpful
The hotel is nice
Food is good
Rooms are nice
Staf is very friendly and helpful
The PADI dive centre is not well run-poor instructors-not patient and reassuring to beginners
Too much current for new divers
For experienced divers the dives are always combined with new divers as low volume
This is ok for 1 or 2 days but gets tiresome after 3 days
Long trips to diving sites as many detours to pick up other divers and drop off people going on other excursions-ie horse back riding
The white tipped sharks are interesting and there are lots of them
Also say sea horse-first time in 120 plus dives
Resort nice for holiday
Monkey's on beach and excursions very good
But not the place to dive
They never have enough volume for trip to sea manta rays
"We loved it!"
Posted by: Lindy
on Mar 22, 2011 >
1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Mar, 2011 | Leisure | Family and Kids
358 people found this review helpful
Really nice resort! I would recommend it to others. With the good comes the bad, so there may be little things I’d change about the resort, but it is really nice.
There were 8 of us that went, my 2 sisters and their husbands, my brother and his friend and my fiancé & myself. 2 years ago we went to Punta Cana, Dominican (Barceló Punta Cana Resort - 4&1/2 *), we all agree we like Allegro Papagayo, Costa Rica better. My brother has also been to Cuba and liked Costa Rica better. And one of my sisters has been to Mexico and although she did prefer Mexico, she said it was very comparable.
My sister & her husband even said they’d come back to this resort.
We went during the week of March 8th-March 15th 2011. The weather was AMAZING! Between +37C - +42C (but feeling like +52C). Never a drop of rain!
Biggest thing to remember about this resort is yes it’s beautiful and has an amazing layout built into the cliff, but that means all cement pads and walking up a very steep hill! There are little bus-stops throughout the resort that you can wait at and the van shuttles go by every 10 minutes to take you where you want to go. They has have phones at each bus stop so you can call the front desk to order a van if you need to. The only time we took the van was when we were taking our suitcases to the top to go home.
They do not give away water bottles, to get 12 water bottles its $20US. At each bus stop, they have large water hugs that you fill your own water bottles with and they are not plugged in, so the water is warm. But they do have ice machines there. We still had our water bottles from the airport so we kept filling those up. They did serve water at the buffets and restaurants, so you get glasses of water there. You just get used to it; we’d fill up our water bottles on the way down to the pool and on the way back up. In Dominican they gave away water by the handfuls, so this was a little different, but again like I said, you just go with it and its fine.
I had read other reviews before going about how the lobby staff are not friendly, but the workers and everyone by the pools, restaurants, etc are. And this is true. Below I’ll talk about the safe, and they really didn’t seem to care and on one phone call they told me that I had to wait my turn, well after 3-4 days of waiting, no I’m not waiting my turn.
But the other works were really nice and friendly, they’d joke around with you and they would teach you some words of their language too. We took turns tipping at each meal, about $3-$5 and they would remember you and give you really good service.
We flew with Air Transat, and flew from Edmonton to Panama to drop off and pick up people. We had to get off the plane there and had a lay over for about 45 minutes and then we were off to Costa Rica, about an hour flight. Between the flight & the layover, it was 9 hours, so felt very long! But we were on time and never had any difficulties, so can't complain there.
After getting our luggage, etc, we went and found our bus, when in line to board the bus, you gave your luggage and they gave you your hotel info (room key, info, wrist brands, etc), to save you time for checking in. The only people they forgot were myself & my fiancé, but they reassured us as soon as we got to the hotel, we could check in there.
The bus ride was about 30min, but I really enjoyed it because the entire way the Rep was talking and giving you different info; history of Costa Rica, what the exchange is for $$ ($500 colonies is $1 US or Canadian), the different animals, birds, etc, it was interesting. When getting to the resort, we went & checked in, which was quick, because everyone else was already checked in.
We found out we had to pay for our safe in our room, $2US/night (wouldn't accept Canadian cash), but they told us they wouldn't be able to send anyone down tonight to open the safe, we would have to wait until tomorrow.
They have little van shuttles that will take you to your rooms, but we chose to walk to ours.
We were all in building 7, which is nice because it's halfway to the top to the lobby or halfway down to the pool, restaurants, etc. We had rooms 724, 730, 731 & 732. They were clean and looked good to us, pretty standard to other rooms in resorts. Our view from our balconies were AMAZING! The amount of comments we got for the pictures showing our view from our rooms shows how amazing it really was! Because the hotel is built into a cliff, you are able to see overtop of the other room buildings, so we could see all the scenery, ocean, etc, so nice!
They cleaned the rooms every day, except they take turns starting at different ends of the building, so you’re never sure when your room will be cleaned. Only once did they miss cleaning our room, because we were the last room for the day and the workers have to meet the bus at 5:30pm to leave the resort, otherwise it was fine. Our cleaning lady did a really good job, lined everything up from our shoes to the stuff in the bathroom. We left tips and presents on the pillow for her. Nothing ever went missing, although our important stuff was locked up.
For our safe...that was fun. We had gone back up the next day to book our A La Cartes and ask to get our safe opened. They never came down to open it. So we called the front desk to ask again, they never came. The next day I called again to ask, they never came. Later that day I seen a guy working in another room so I asked him to come to ours, he said he would and he never. Maybe I should’ve pushed it more then that, but we just kept our stuff in my sister’s safes, so at leas they were locked up. When we left the resort at the ending of the week, we told the staff at the front desk about it and they said to get a refund we needed the receipt we got for paying for the safe, which we gave to them. It took a while to get our money back, but we did. I know it was only $12, but really, why should I be paying the resort for something they didn’t do and could be using that money towards tipping the workers or something.
They fill your fridge every 3 days with 2 water, 2 beer & 2 juice (not pop). The guys made friends with the workers filling the rooms and would tip them and our fridges would be loaded with beer every 2nd day or so.
Also a reminder, there are no elevators, so you are climbing the stairs to the 2nd or 3rd floors.
Restaurants and Bars:
The food was AMAZING! Breakfast opened at 7am, and they always had a good selection; fruit, yogurt, pancakes, French toast, bacon, sausage, hard boiled eggs, scrambled eggs, rice, breads, croissants, fresh made omelettes (if you wanted to stand in line they made it to however you wanted it), meats, cheese, etc. Lunch opened at 1:00pm and again a very good selection; pasta, fruit, breads, chicken or pork chops (whatever they made for the day), salads, rice, beans, soups, etc. The snack bar was also open before and during lunch until 4:30pm and then opened again that night at 11pm, and there was always homemade pizza, hot dogs, hamburgers, nachos with bean dip & cheese. The pizza was really good! The buffet at dinner was so good too, again having salads, pastas, steak/pork chops or chicken (again, whatever they were making), veggies, rice, beans, bread (homemade bread – very popular), etc. And they always had a really good dessert tray too, with at least 5 different desserts and they were always changing them. My sister is very allergic to strawberries and the first day we noticed everything had strawberries on them, so I asked them if they had anything without because she is allergic and they didn’t that day, but everyday after they made sure at least one dessert didn’t. The fruit there was also very good!
They have 2 A La Carte’s, one was Italian & one was Mexican. We our vacation pkg we were allowed to book 3, so we did 1 Italian & 2 Mexican, both were really good. When we had booked our reservations we were told they couldn’t accommodate 8 people, so we would be split up with 6 at one table & 2 at the other, but both restaurants when we got there volunteered to put tables together, so we always were able to eat together. Our second reservation for the Mexican restaurant was on Sunday, but we had been left a note in our rooms saying the Buffet was having a Mexican theme night that Sunday and because we had already tried the A La Carte, we cancelled there for the Buffet and again were not disappointed.
At the Buffet or the A La Carte’s, our waiter’s/waitresses were really god, always getting us drinks, joking around with us and just having fun.
In Dominican we were very pool people, because the ocean always had huge waves you couldn’t just go in to swim, just jump waves. Here in Costa Rica, we spent more time in the ocean and spent maybe 1 day in the pool. Our ocean was more in a bay, so the water was calmer and we loved to swim in it. When the tide was out, you had to go a long ways to get deep in the water, when the tide was in, not so much. The beach is all black sand, which was different, but nice too. At first it felt like you were walking in dirt, but your feet never got dirty. When the tide was down, you could walk a long way’s down the beach. The beach isn’t all wide open like Dominican or Mexico, it’s got trees and all that, but since we don’t play in the sand, it still worked for us.
The chairs filled up very quickly, so if by 9am you didn’t have your chairs reserved with towels, you were out of luck, even if just looking for a spot for 1 or 2 people. What we did was when we went down for breakfast at about 7 or 7:30am, we brought our towels and laid them on chairs to reserve our spots. Our towels were never moved, wasn’t a problem with that.
The monkey’s are on the beach and jumping from trees to trees, but they left everyone alone and was easy to take pictures of them. There are black & red crabs that run around the beach too, just small ones.
At night, raccoons will come out and come around the resort; sometimes they came into the Buffet restaurant, but would get chased out.
There are also large iguana’s running around the resort, at first they scared the sh*t out of me, but after I realized they aren’t gonna eat me, lol.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
My brother & his friend booked a tour through our Flight Rep, Air Transat and did a full day tour of zip-lining, rock climbing, tubing down a river, mud bath, hot springs, etc, they said it good.
The other tours we did, we went through Charlie’s Adventure’s to book. They are located by the pools, in the same room as you get your towels from. I would definitely recommend booking through them.
One day all 8 of us went to Coco Beach, which is a 45 min boat ride. We left at 8am and it was a very scenic tour and they served water and pineapple along the way. Got to Coco Beach and they tell you about how you can go shopping and to meet them back at the beach at 1:45pm to get back on the boat. We walked down the streets to shop souvenirs, cigars, etc. The guys enjoyed going from bar to bar to drink. You have a choice of going to lunch with the tour guides to a restaurant deeper into Coco Beach, or finding your own to eat at. We went with the guides and the restaurant was amazing, the food was so good. And you got 10% off with going with the tour group. Definitely recommend, if you go to Coco Beach, go to that restaurant (don’t remember the name now)! The food and service was very good!
Another day all 5 guys went Deep Sea Fishing for ½ a day, and it was only the 5 guys on the boat. They had a blast and were back by noon. My fiancé caught a Mahi Mahi and my brother-in-law caught a tuna. They are no longer allowed to bring the fish to the resort to for the chefs to cook, because a couple months ago at some resort (not this one) someone got sick and no one is sure where the blame should lay. So the tour guides took this fish back with them. You are able to take your fish to Coco Beach and someone there would cook it for you, but they didn’t.
While the guys went to Deep Sea Fishing, us girls went to the Spa, and got the Seaweed Paste Wrap. It was good; normally I’m not too much into these things. They did too a good job and my skin felt amazing after.
And the last tour I did was, myself, my fiancé, my brother & his friend al went zip-lining. They had already gone zip-lining, but it was another tour. This was a 20min boat ride over and at first it seemed really sketchy, they drop us off and you are just on this beach with locals and there is nothing around. But eh bus showed up and took everyone, some people went horse back riding and some went ATVing. We were taken to another resort, just the 4 of us. A BEAUTIFUL resort! Again, I don’t remember the name, but it was so nice! Just the 4 of us went zip-lining and the guides were so nice and a lot of fun. It was 8 lines, and we were able to go upside down and they even put myself & my fiancé into a Karma Suta position (as they said), with him in regular position and me upside down with my ankles around his head. They asked to take my camera to take pictures and videos of us, so we never had to pay to get it done. The guides definitely made the tour what it was.
The grounds are clean; you will see workers walking around picking up garbage off the beach and around the resorts. They clean the pool every morning too.
Each night they have entertainment between 9-10pm. We never went to any shows, although I did hear some people complain they were just doing the same kind of thing, dancing over & over.
I never went to the disco, but the guys said it was fun. They also had a beach party one night, again we never went, but they said it was really good.
Pablo’s Bar was a hit. That was where the swim-up bar was, also where the regular bar was and it had 2 pool tables, a foosball table and lots of room to sit down.
Twice during the week a guy came in to sell his freshly rolled cigars.
Also, twice during the week if when they let the locals in to set up tables to sell their stuff. What was really nice is that they are not pushy at all! They stand there and answer your questions or whatever you want (unlike Dominican when they are so pushy they grab your arms or are in your face).
I really enjoyed this resort, absolutely beautiful and I loved Costa Rica, definitely will go back again sometime! I loved the whole luscious jungle feel, rather then just a few palm trees here & there.
The people here were so friendly; maybe because it was a smaller-ish resort, we made a lot of friends.
I wouldn’t recommend this resort if you have a disability of sometime for walking or in a wheelchair, because it’s so steep for walking and going down to the pool and restaurants there are only steps, no ramps there.
Just remember when reading the reviews, you take the good with the bad and really, you make it what you want it to be.
In my tour book it said it was a 4*, other’s said it was a 3&1/2*, but I went to Dominican and stayed in a 4&1/2* and I prefer this resort to the one in Dominican. Each to their own.
Posted by: Melissa
on Feb 9, 2011 >
1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Jan, 2011 | Leisure | Family and Kids
355 people found this review helpful
We traveled from Toronto on Sunwing and were delayed 1 hour 40 minutes leaving. We had prearranged our transport through Avispas Adventures and they were there waiting when we arrived. Customs was no problem and we were through quite quickly.
My only complaint was lack of hot water in my room but had someone within 20 minutes of calling the front desk to fix the problem. They take complaints seriously and do everything they can to make things right. The hotel is built on a hill and we were lucky to be in building 11, which is right in front of the stairs to the pool, restaurant and beach. .
Restaurants and Bars:
We decided not to attend any of the a-la-cartes and just ate at the buffet. The food was a little repetitive but very good. There was plenty of fresh fruit with every meal and the staff was eager to please with drinks arriving promptly. We found line ups about a half hour after the buffet opened for every meal but it was never a long wait.
The heat was intense while we were there (Jan 31-Feb 7, 2011) so beds with a shelter were a must. The pool was well maintained and the pool bar had plenty of shade. The bartenders were generous with the alcohol and the bar was well stocked.
The beach was at low tide for a good part of the day and was very nice to walk on. There were no other resort close so we could walk a long way. The sand is black, due to the volcano's, so you can't really lie on it but close to the ocean it isn't too hot to walk.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
On to Avispas Adventures. I can't say enough good things about this company!! Amy is American born and married to a Costa Rican. They provide private and small tours to places the larger groups (booked through the hotel) can't go to. We did a full day tour which included horseback riding, canopy tour (ie ziplining) and volcanic mud baths. This was the absolute best part of our trip! Amy provided background info as we were driving to the site and made sure we were all able to do everything we wanted to do while we were at the site (including a not planned waterfall walk). It really helped having an English and Spanish speaking tour guide. Her prices are much less and you get so much more with her tours. Highly recommended!!
"All rooms had a view of the ocean"
Melissa from Lindsay, ON on Jan 1, 2009 >
1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Jan, 2009
103 people found this review helpful
Arrival: January 2009
Flight was about 5 1/2 hrs, but went very smooth. Not long before we were on the bus headed for our resort. They gave us all our check in information on the bus which was great (rooms keys, towel cards etc.) Arrived about 12:00, we couldn't get into rooms until 3:00. Headed for lunch and a walk around the hotel, beach and pool. Were able to get into our rooms 1/2 hr early.
Rooms were clean. Our air conditioner was leaking, but only because the person before us had it set down to 16 degrees which froze it up. We call for it to be fixed and they stated they would send someone, put the garbage can under it in the mean time. We got changed and went for a swim. The room smelt a little musty, but i had broughten a little bottle of air freshener which worked great. Got two double beds, wanted a king so just pushed the beds together. Upon returning from our swim the airconditioner was still leaking so we went to lobby and they sent someone immediately. Was fixed and never had any problem again. Had to pay for saftey deposit box $2 per day. There is a sign on the balcony not to hang stuff outside, which is a good idea because there are sprinklers that sometime spray towards the balconies. All rooms had a view of the ocean as i could tell. Restaurants and Bars:
Buffet restaurant had a good variety, no complaints from any of the 8 other people i travelled with. Did 2 a la cartes, Italian and Tex Mex. Liked italian better but both with great service and food. Bars were good, pool bar closed at 5:00 and lobby bar closed at 8:00 which only left one bar open, which closed when the disco opened
Pool was beautiful, kept clean as it could be with some wind blowing flowers etc into it. Beach wasn't a swimming one but great for walks when tide was out and to feed white faced monkeys throughout the morning. Took a boat to the white sand beach which was worth a day trip. Spent most of our time at the pool. Wasn't overly busy, but still got chairs earlier in the morning.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
Activities at the resort were not great, only went to one evening show which was nothing special. Probably the worst at any resort i had been too. But didn't bother me due to being in the heat all day, we were exhausted by the 9:15 showtimes.
Booked tours outside of the resort with Papagayo/Vargas Tours which was the best thing we ever did. Great people who run the tour who have really investigated how to make peoples trips ones to remember. The three owners Ricardo, Micheal and Josta met us at the resort the day following our check in, to go over the 3 tours we booked (Arenal Volcanoe, deep sea fishing, and Palo Verde Tour) The Arenal Volcanoe tour we had our guide Manny, who you could not say enough good things about and driver John who was again just amazing. Did a great job in breaking the 3 1/2 trip to the Volcanoe up. We went to a wildlife sanctuary, had the best lunch ever overlooking the arenal lake, continued to ziplining over the rainforest and overlooking both the arenal volcanoe and lake. From there went to a very secluded hot springs, which our guide Manny explained the big tours companies take you too an amusement type one across the road (which we did end up hearing from other people at our resort and they didn't like it) Had supper on the other side of the volcanoe and returned to see a bit of lava flowing down the volcanoe in the evening. Our trip back was very long, but the whole day made it well worth it. The 5 guys travelling with us did deep sea fishing for the smaller fish, they had fun and caught 4 black fined tuna, which we had the chef at the resort make us for dinner, which was excellent. We ended with our final tour of the Palo Verde Tour, and we had our two favourite men, John and Manny again. We saw birds, bats, monkeys and crocodiles very upclose on our own privated guided boat (other boats we full of about 20 people and we had 9 on ours) We had lunch at a local family run restaurant which was once again great and then headed to shopping in CoCo. I would reccomend booking with Vargas Tours and you will be blown again by their services. We were able to make stops when our driver John would see a sloth up in the tree, or kimates (look like racoons) on the side of the road, or to cut us some sugar cane. Or when Manny wanted to show us the different fruits growing or when they were kind enough to pull over when i was car sick. We had a 15 passenger van to our group of 9 which had water and juice supplied. To sum it up, this tours company made our trip and memorable as it was.
"It is a long way out from anywhere"
Rodney from California on Feb 1, 2009 >
1 contribution(s) United States of America
Visited on: Feb, 2009
326 people found this review helpful
It was 94 degrees when we arrived so to be met with a drink wwas very nice. It was quite a drive from the airport with not much in between. Check-in was easy and quick and we were off to our room.
The room was smaller than I had liked but the air conditioned space was just right for me. The beds were firm and that was a plus.
Restaurants and Bars
I didnt spend any timne in the bars but they always seemd to have quite a few people around. The Italian restaurant was terrible. The look and flavor of the place was not up to code. The Mexican restaurant was the best! I wanted to try all the menu had to offer. Everyone was was right on the ball and the food was not to be forgotten.
The beach was cool with its trees and shade. The pool was very nice. The grounds were so manicured and neat. Very pleasant to the eye.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
We took a couple tours with CAT tours. Edwardo was very helpfull. Whatever they said was on the tour...well, it was. One morning we did not get a wake-up call so missed the bus. They rescheduled for us at a later date. No problem.
I asked for an iron for my shirts for five days in a row speaking to every department and seven people. I finally got ahold of one. I think the reason being that they charge about a dollar an article to press for you. If they give you an iron they loose that dollar. So irons are hard to come by. The airconditioner one day started to pour out water onto the floor. Called maintenance and they came very quickly and remedied the problem. Most of the staff was so friendly and helpfull. The people working the Buffet were extra nice. If I came to Costa Rica again I would not stay here. It is a long way out from anywhere. If you just want to stay at a nice place and not go out except on tours, not on your own then this is the spot. I like to rent a car and drive around a bit. This place added to the mileage.
"Just go, you will love it."
D & K on Mar 1, 2009 >
1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Mar, 2009
345 people found this review helpful
My wife and I were at the Allegro Papagayo from Mar. 5-12. The last hour of our flight was really awful with lots of turbulence. The airport was a real hoot and so welcome after the Toronto experience. We were met on time and took the ride to the resort which was about 1/2 hour. We were immediately impressed with the look of the place. Especially when they met us with a welcome drink. They were upfront with telling us that the rooms would not be ready for about 3 hours which we did not mind at all as it gave us time to check the place out. We were very fortunate to arrive on a week that was not busy at all. There were no line ups for food, drinks and you could always get a great spot at the pool. The beach has black sand and even had trees on it which was great for monkey watching. I got a couple of bites but in general bugs were a non issue. We are used to making our own adventure and this was our first all inclusive and we were both nervous after we read the reviews. I have to say I don't really see what there was to complain about. I guess maybe if you were expecting real opulence you would be disappointed. There were no issues at all with our room except there was only coffee in it one day. This is only an issue if you are taking a trip early in the am and the restaurant is not open. We found all the staff really amazing, very willing to accommodate your every wish and really friendly without being sickening. Special kudos must go to Gilbert (the Signature rep.) who greeted us at the beginning and was an excellent source of information, truly a prince of a fellow. Also Maria, a waitress was amazing. We are not the type of tourists to just lie around by the pool so we rented a car. We rented a small Daihatsu Bego 4x4 to explore the country with. We drove out to Monte Verde which I highly recommend. Don't be afraid to rent a car. the speeds are generally low and the roads once you get off the two lane highway just have to be experienced. Renting a car also allowed us to explore a national park called Rincon de la Viejo. If you are into hiking you really really enjoy this trip. Waterfalls, volcanic activity, lots of wildlife and not crowded.
Things I heard people complain about (but didn't do) were the trip to Coco beach, Arenal was a real hit and miss and it made for a very long day. Another couple were not impressed with the trip to Nicaragua. We did do the zip line (Witch's Rock) which is only a couple of miles out of the resort. I must admit I was glad when it was over. I do have a fear of heights and I try to beat it. My wife on the other hand loved it. In short food and drinks were great. The climate was perfect. Ticas and Ticos so very friendly and my high school Spanish started to come back to me. We really had a blast. Don't forget your wallet though as the trips tended to be quite expensive especially with our Canadian dollar. But we only go around once and you can't take it with you. Just go, you will love it.
"Please take bug spray"
Heather from Ontario on Dec 1, 2008 >
2 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Jan, 2009
108 people found this review helpful
Arrival: Dec 15/08 - Jan 1/09
Great Arrival. Room keys were handed to us on the bus, so we were able to take our luggage directly to our room, and then go to the briefing by our rep.
We had requested 2 adjoining rooms, not on the lower level. We were given 2 adjoining rooms in Block 1, on the main floor. The one room seemed as though it had been gutted...no hangars, drawers for clothes, fridge, chairs. It was bare. Second roon was good but no fridge. A/C worked. But we did not want the main level. We went to reception and were told to come back the next morning and they would find us something. He wrote down the details. Next morning they knew nothing about our room complaints. Luckily we had proof of what we had asked for, otherwise we would not have been moved. We were offered 2 rooms, not adjoining, in #4, on the 2nd floor, and after much haggling,were allowed to look at them first. They were much better, and we moved. One room did not have working A/C, but I love the heat, so 27 was okay. Opened the bathroom window and patio door at night, great breeze...it was fine. Had room for clothes, fridge.
Restaurants and Bars:
Buffet got a bit boring, but was good food. None of us got sick. New Years dinner was wonderful. Tried both the Mexican and Italian restaurants. They were both great, although we liked the Mexican better.
Pool was nice. The volcanic beach was wonderful. Sand is so soft, much nicer than the supposedly white beach you can go to. That is not really worth your time. You have to book your boat ride the day before, and there is not much going on there. The beach at the resort is a lot nicer, unless you don't like to get your toenails dirty. Some stingrays in the water, but they don't bother you.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
They could do more activities. We got some soccer going on the beach before the tide came in a few days. They could do more to get people involved. The Adrenelin Combo tour is awesome. It is ziplining, but you do an upsidedown one, and a bungy drop as well. It is combined with horse back riding to the waterfall, which is cold, but refreshing. Lots of fun. Volcano is cool, but you are on the bus for 3 1/2 hours each way, so it is a very long day.