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.
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"All rooms had a view of the ocean"
Melissa from Lindsay, ON on Jan 1, 2009 >
1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Jan, 2009
147 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.
"There are better hotels around Costa Rica"
Paul from Edmonton, AB on Jan 1, 2009 >
1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Jan, 2009
87 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 ¾ 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.
"Please take bug spray"
Heather from Ontario on Dec 1, 2008 >
2 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Jan, 2009
121 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.