logo Old Reviews - Sol Papagayo (Formerly Nakuti Resort)
El Nakuti Resort
Sue 

January 2008
My family enjoyed a wonderful christmas holiday together at El Nakuti resort. My three sons are in their 20's and we also had one girlfriend and 2 other friends join us. Everyone enjoyed the friendly atmosphere and low key aspect of this hotel. The rooms were spacious and clean. Nice and bright with air conditioning. we sat outside on our patio daily. As it is a slow time of year we were served a la carte meals and they were delicious. Lots of fresh fruit. Everyone who worked their was friendly and polite. They surprised me with a beautiful birthday cake as well. It is not near a town, which we knew ,so we rented a vehicle and enjoyed many day trips surfing and exploring. We took one of the full day tours and enjoyed that as well. The zip lines are a blast . Having our own howler monkeys was entertaining too. There was a lot of work and improvements going on while we were there. One of our best family holidays.
El Nakuti Resort
Eddie 

September 2007
Very Disappointed
When we went out no one told us it was the rainy season and when it rains, boy it rains.
They had staff out every afternoon, sweeping water out of the bar and buffet area because the roofs leaked.
Walkways
Very uneven and muddy, also poorly light at night
FOOD
The food was the same thing every day for 2 weeks, (small changes like fried egg instead of scrambled, fish in breadcrumbs, sometimes grilled) do not get me wrong there was a large choice but the same thing for 2 weeks is a bit much and every thing was cold and bland.

First all inclusive hotel I have ever been to where you can NOT get ice-cream.

We attempted to teach Pablo (the chief) how to keep food hot and he was listening but slow to act, but was getting there as we were leaving. (i.e. more water in the units under the food trays so as the water touches the food tray but not too full or they float, more sauces with meat dishes, cover food with lids with easy access all to help keep food hot and keep the fly’s off)

As for theme nights never seen one yet, (not even on Costa Rica’s independence day, which no one told us about and discovered by accident when outside the hotel.)
Entertainment
None existent

There is a need to lay some sort of entertainment on especially at night when it was dark and wet
Rooms
We stayed in the junior suit nice big room, king size bed, coffee facilities, sunken living area, patio doors with no lock, patio looking out on to the river which runs down the side of the hotel, (lots of mud) large walk in shower, wardrobes with built in safe (which is a must as rooms don’t lock)
Pool
When we arrived the pool was full of CRABS, leaves, and mud but was cleaned up the next day and the staff did try to keep it clean, but being the rainy season was almost impossible.

Jacuzzi in the middle never worked from day 1.
Beach
Very dirty, muddy waters, water sports no existent except 2 kayaks,( one 2 man, one 3 man)

Black mud on beach (no sand like Flamingo Bay)
Gift shop
Closed the day we arrived and opened up again the day we left.
Bar
Very small for the size of the hotel and only one person serving so expect to wait (Tiko time)

Closed at 12 sharp every night if it does not run out of stock, this happened twice while we were there,

Bar staff very friendly and always willing to help.(watch out for mozzies)
Internet
There is one computer and the service is like a dialup, although this may have had something to do with the weather, as sometimes it was ok, but not good.
Staff
All the staff are very friendly and are willing to speak to you, attempt there language and they will attempt yours (part of the fun)
Overall
We did enjoy our holiday despite the rain, but had to hire a car to do it, as most of the trips had been cancelled due the heavy rain. We did our own trips to some of the villages and towns that we would never have otherwise see, have some beautiful scenery, and there is a lot of building work going on just now.

If hiring a car, get a 4x4 as some of the roads are a bit rough to put it mildly. (The road to Mounti Verdi is a 4x4 assault course)

We wish the NEW management (who took over the week we got there) all the best as they are trying to clean the place up and sort things out, and I think they will get there but need a bit more time, but would not recommend the rainy season (Sept. / Oct.) Take a strong mozzie spray (the higher the DEET content the better but watch out because the stronger it is it can take the dye out of you shoes and on to your feet.)

Go to you local army navy store or camping shop for this.
El Nakuti Resort
Steve 

September 2007
Absolutely Fabulous!

We just returned from the best holiday we ever had! Do NOT pay any heed to the bad reviews the rooms are clean with HUGE beds and are attended to every day. The tours on offer are fantastic (note: do Arenal overnight and not by day as it is well worth it and you get much more time). We did everything we could pack in and still had time to relax.

The best thing about Nakuti are the staff. We got so much more out of the holiday by introducing ourselves, asking where the best nightspots were and generally hanging out with the people that know the place best. They are the friendliest and best set of people I have ever stayed with and Iv'e been all over.

A few tips, DEET mossy repellent does not work. go to your local indian or african store so they can reccomend something called oudomas (sp?)

The Nakuti beach is great for walks and paddling but walk ten minutes along the sand and it is much more bather friendly. Guys bring plenty of tops, if your a big fella you will sweat through two per day. Do the adrenaline adventure tour! You will not regret it.

T.Cs Review is all true but for the fact that the bar stays open as long as the barman can stay awake, when he is tired it's last call. but like I say they are so friendly they dont mind you buying some drinks from a shop and sitting on the terrace or by the pool until dawn if you want.

This is a place for people who want to relax a little and live a lot, go everywhere you can Liberia (30 min taxi for £30 round trip where the taxi man picks you up wherever you want but its cheapest to get the bus there then taxi back) has excellent restauraunts, El Coco (10 min taxi) is one big party on a saturday night. Take boat trips do the lot!

WARNING: this is not a holiday for little englanders! Please do not come expecting burgers and chips or wanting to moan about everything. The only small shadow were dome moany sunburnt brits who would have been better off in Magaluf. If your wanting a bit of adventure, alot of laughs and some new experiences this is the holiday for you....
El Nakuti Resort
T. C.  

August 2007
OUTSTANDING is the phrase I want to use when I talk about El Nakuti. I would give them a solid 4 stars. We were terrified when we read the reviews from 2006, (after we had booked unfortunately) but either the management has changed or they have read and responded to the reviews, because it sure is not he same as what we read.

This is a great place for your vacation, if you are not looking to spend all your time laying around the pool and being waited on hand and foot. If you are looking for a place to use as a base to go exploring from and enjoying yourself while getting involved with the area, you can't beat it. It is close to Playa Hermosa, Playa Coco and the national parks. If you are a Scuba diver, there is a Dive Safari location in Playa Hermosa (about 5 kilometers away) that is excellent, and they dive everyday. You can also get a PADI certification there if you so desire. There are several good restaurants if you want to explore the local cuisine outside the resort. I concur with the folks who say rent a 4X4 and go exploring. We did, it was great. Roads are a little exciting and signs in some places are non existent, be careful on unpaved unimproved roads, but the people you meet are wonderful.

There are monkeys and birds and iguanas adjacent to the resort, we heard the monkeys every morning and evening, (we were to lazy to go looking for them) we saw lots of birds and iguanas.
Staff
The Staff could give lessons on "how to provide for your guests" to most resorts and cruise ships we have been to over the past 10 years. Although the bar is small and closes at 10 PM, the bartenders are friendly and will try anything. If you want your own special drink, and you supply the materials, they will fix it for you. The housekeeping staff is always cleaning, there is someone cleaning all the time.
Rooms
The rooms were wonderful. Clean with all the normal amenities (TV, telephone, small fridge) Ours had a small patio area with a couple of beach chairs. Granite tile in the bathroom . Shower and floors. Two ceiling fans in the room. Very comfortable. There are two kinds of rooms, we had the Jr Suite (what ever that means) it did not seem very different from the villas, but it was great. The local coffee in the room was wonderful in the morning, and sitting outside the room watching the sunrise (or sunset) is hard to beat. The rooms were refreshed every morning by about 10.
Laundry service is available but expensive, they did a great job but it was costly. (~$50.00 for two of us)
Food
The food was great, it is served buffet style, but there was always plenty, and it was well prepared and very tasty. There was a mix of local food with standard fare, There were always at least three entrees at every meal. The variety was huge, There was a different theme for dinner every night. The serving staff was there at the blink of an eye if you needed something. When we compared it to the local restaurants we found we preferred the food at El Nakuti.
Pool
The spa in the middle of the pool does not work, however the pool is large, it ranges from over 9' at the deep end to 3' in the shallow end. Wading pool to the side is very little kid friendly. The regular pool is great for older kids but great for us old timers too. The plastic lounge chairs were in great condition and there were a lot of them. Pool is cleaned daily, but when it rains it gets leave in it, but the staff was very good about cleaning them out after the rain stops.
Towels
Lots of towels were available at the pool everyday until 5PM, after that you had to use your room towels. Never a problem after we figured out the system.
Beach
The beach is a short walk (50 meters) away, this time of year is the rainy season, so snorkeling and the beach activities are not great, but a with a walk of about 4 kilometers there is a reef you can snorkel around. Visibility is ok. Lots of shells on the beach. This is the rains season so there is a lot of stuff flowing into the ocean around the resort (and every other resort) so beach activities are pretty limited at every hotel in the area.
Tour Guide
There is a local tour guide that set up a couple tours for us, he was very helpful and the tours were fun (canopy zip line, tubing down rapids, horseback riding, river sightseeing tour) cost was somewhat less, but service was good.
Gift Shop
Small but well stocked, they had everything we need except they didn't have a pair flip flops my size (12) lots of sunscreen and insect repellant. By the way no one else had them that size either, so I settled with some 11s
Internet
The internet is available, and not too bad, the only issue is there is only one computer, so there is a waiting line at times.
El Nakuti Resort
Mary Ann 
Canada
March 2007
We recently spent a week at this resort. I do not feel that it is the 3 1/2 stars as advertised, but it is very clean and the staff work hard and are friendly. The food is acceptable and we enjoyed the fresh fruit that was served at breakfast, lunch and break. The resort is small, but they still offered two or three meats and fish at most dinners. I do not recommend the a la carte room as it is basically the same food served in an air conditioned room.

The room we had was small and modestly furnished, but as with the rest of the resort, clean. The biggest problem was a very noisy air conditioner. We enjoyed walking the beach to the sister resort. This resort is about a half hour walk along the sandy beach, and our wrist bands are accepted there for drinks or food.

We traveled with a Signature charter and used their rep. for local tours. There were other reps in the lobby also offering tours. This resort is comfortable, but modest.
El Nakuti Resort
Theseus 

February 2007
Second time to CR. This time stayed at the Nakuti last December and have a very good time. Room was large and excellent.. huge shower. Conserve the water and power (e.g. shower quickly and turn off the AC when not needed/out).

Food was good, although the choice had to be limited due to small size of resort. BBQ and Seafood nights were excellent.

Pool is fine but can be cool due to the shade from the numerous trees around it.

Bar had to close at 10pm (except Saturday or "Tico" night when it stayed open until 11pm).. understandable considering, again, the small size of the resort and that the last bus for the bar staff was at 10pm. They have no choice but to run out at that time and the resort, again, is too small to supply transportation for them. Its sister resort down the beach, same deal but has better view and beach / and same food. Good service, relaxed people. I got creative and went out and bought a bottle of rum for those past 10pm night caps.. problem solved!

Both sister resorts are well laid out and its nice to see a place where animals of all sorts - birds, fish, lizards, monkeys, etc. - pass by.. great for kids and a true rarity in this cement and steel world!.. definitely would go back to Nakuti for the right price and concerning CR, no doubt I will. I have so much more to see there. Plus you have to respect a country and its people who believe in nature conservation.. they can have my tourist dollars as a result. Hope it lasts as I get a bad feeling development pressures in the area could slowly ruin that. Hopefully the CR gov't will stop it at some point before its too late. If you want a relaxing, low key holiday this place is for you (except maybe middle of summer/rainy season when there is minimal staff and lots of bugs, but, hey, it tropical and has areas of jungle).

If all you want is hand and foot service then stick to the big, expensive hotels and stop whining! Tip: rent a 4x4 and explore as well... its worth it! Can get out anytime as there isn't much around and the nearest town, Coco, is a 15-20 minute drive south. Best places to eat are as you enter the town, NOT near the beach. Also go see the national parks: by boat... Palo Verde (how it must have been a million years ago). Rincon de la Vieja (I would'nt mind being buried there when I die). Iguanita WR (at end of the Papagayo bay)... solitude! Or go for an extended trip south or even east to Arenal (like I did the first trip). Visit any small town in the area, go to Coco beach or Santa Cruz, eat out as well... lots of good seafood and steak restaurants and bars to the south. Warning: black flies in evening specialize in devouring legs below the knees... take bug repelent (in a pump bottle). Main highways are excellent, side roads are horrible, and that makes it cool to drive albeit tiring after a while. Some truck drivers are outright maniacs so drive defensively. Do not buy pieces of nature ripped from the environment (e.g. coral) as it will be confiscated at customs (and rightly so).. so will your bottle of rum if you forget it in your carry on! :-(

Take it easy and the place grows on you.. expect the Four Seasons type of hotel (the other side of the bay actually :-P ) and you may as well stay home or stick to Cancun or Jamaica (or maybe a 5 star resort like Playa Conchal to the south is good if you don't mind listening to rich people complain 24x7). Either way have a good trip and, ofcourse, remember to tip what you can.
El Nakuti Resort
Michelle 

September 2006
My husband and I just returned from El Nakuti Resort in Costa Rica. We both felt that the resort was great. The food was edible. C’mon…no food in Costa Rica is great. We were upgraded to a junior suite when we got there and the room was lovely. The staff was great too. We had a great time.
El Nakuti Resort
Tom 

July 2006
The resort is a dump. The food is not fit to eat. You would have to pay me to stay there again. The flies were in the food in the drinks and all over the buffet. This is the only time I ever lost weight at an all inclusive. Angele told the truth in her review. There is also raw sewage draining onto the beach.
El Nakuti Resort
Angele 

July 2006
This message needs to be taken seriously. If you have reservations at El Natuki, CANCEL THEM NOW.

I was ever so thankful to return home today after spending a repulsive week at El Natuki "All inclusive Resort". RCI recommended this resort to us stating it was a luxurious hotel with an abudance of ammenities. We arrived last Saturday to an abandoned, dirty, poorly managed hotel... very obvious from the moment you entered the gate. The entrance to the hotel is old and rundown... the moment we approached the hotel, I thought to myself; oh no what have we gotten ourselves into!

Let me break down the so called amenities fEl Nakuti supposedly offers you:
Gift Shop
Closed because their is nothing in it except empty shelves falling off the walls
Playground area
still looking for it
Gym
still looking for it
Internet
dial up... you can't use the lobby phone if someone is on the internet.
room service
you have to have phones that work first. but even those that did there was no such thing as room service.
Conference Room
this must mean the hotel check in desk???
Restaurant
I will break that down for you in just a minute
Babysitting
don't let your kids out of your sight
Flies, Flies, and more Flies...

Everything is covered in flies. Look at the pictures taken by guests... the food and drinks are covered in flies and bees. The bartender could barely work because of the flies. The so called restaurant is a buffet set up each morning and evening with leftover food from the previous days. You eat the same thing everyday... pasta, rice and beans, and pork. Bland, no seasoning, the same thing everyday... little to no variety at all. Oh, by the way, you rarely get any ice in your drinks. Ice is a rare find at this hotel. Although, they do like to use it for the bowl of butter that sits out with the flies and then melts into a mixture of butter and water. This was a forced diet. I expected to gain weight but instead lost 5lbs because I refused to eat food infested with flies and germs.
Infested rooms...
The rooms could have been perfect it the hotel management would give them some minor attention. Your toilet paper is sand paper. There is no iron in the room. There is no clock... no alarm to wake up for early morning tours.... you had to rely on hotel staff to call you.... that is if you were fortunate to get a phone that worked in your room. We reported ours three times but no one ever bothered to fix it. The sheets were soiled and musty.

Our room would be covered nightly with these termite looking bugs. So we spent each night with a shoe in our hand killing bugs. Other guests weren't so lucky. They had to move to a different room because of the swarm.
Towels...
This has to be the worst part of the trip.... being forced to reuse dirty towels. I actually paid money for someone to tell me; "sorry, no towels... reuse the dirty ones in your room." At one point, they said the washing machine was broke. You never recieved a face towel. So your beach towel was your bath towel which you also got to wash your face with every morning! Disguisting! This hotel should be so embarrassed to treat people like this! Yet they proudly display a four star plaque in the hotel lobby. I don't understand how this is possible.
Pool
Have you ever been to a pool that has no people swimming in it... or anywhere near it? Well, at the "all inclusive El Natuki Resort" you get a rundown pool full of leaves and dirt and grime. The pool is in poor condition. The lining of the pool is hanging off the sides in the water. The hot tub in the middle of the pool does not work. The plastic lounge chairs covered in ants were broken, cracked and simply need to be thrown away.
Beach
What beach? It was rocks and mud in a dirty bay. I am still giving it way too much credit.
Staff
I must absolutely say that, with the exception of the hotel manager, the staff was tremendous. They work hard and made every effort to please their guests despite the environment and management they were required to work under. They were always friendly and helpful all the time. I feel bad that they have to work in such a horrible place.

The hotel manager ignored the guests and refused to hear their complaints. He would look at us as if we should be happy.

Oh yeah... by the way... if you don't use their own supplied tour bus, management will not allow your taxi to pick us up at the hotel reception area. They told us we have to walk to the gate. (about 1/2 mile) Why would you tell your own guests to walk down the road to the gate to catch a taxi?

We tried to get into the Occidental Grand Papagayo but RCI wouldn't allow us to go because they said there were no rooms available. We walked to Occidental and they were glad to reserve rooms for us. But we could not get anyone to help us, to reimburse our money so we could move on. Come to find out, the all inclusive fees at Occidental Grand Papagayo were cheaper than El Nakuti. It just makes me sick. El Nakuti would not help us to reach RCI via hotel phone. I spent my own personal cell phone minutes trying to resolve this issue and recieve help. But simply gave up due to the frustration. It ruined my vacation.
Bottom line
We were in a boot camp. We felt as if we were held hostage with no outside communications. For 7 days, we were forced to live below human standards. This hotel needs to be closed for good, torn down, and something new built in its place. The hotel manager needs to be replaced with someone who knows how to run a business and treat his/her guests with hospitality.

El Nakuti is a disgrace.
El Nakuti Resort
Colleen 
Windsor Ontario
April 2006
I stayed at the El Nakuti for Spring Break (March 6-13, 2006). My room mate and I booked 4 days before departing. We booked with Canadiantravel.com. This site was awesome. The service was great. After reading such horrible reviews, I decided to not tell my roomate, and go with an open mind. After all we are students... we don't have enough money to go to a five star, so I figured we'd be getting our money's worth.

On arrival we were greeted with a complimentary welcome drink. It was just delicious, some kind of strawberry concoction with fresh cut pine apple.

Our first impression of the resort was that it seemed small, and old. We were both a little worried when we saw the lack of people. It seemed as if no one was there... and it was spring break, biggest travel time. Once we were settled into our AMAZING room we clamed down. I have got to tell you the shower was size of a small home office... Ginormous!! We were upgraded to a JR Suite. Although they have more JR suites than they do standard rooms, so maybe this is what they tell everyone. I don't know, but our room was awesome.

The food wasn't the greatest. I being the pickiest eater alive, lost 5 pounds when I returned from the trip. One of the other tourists asked me in jest if "I was an eater", implying I was annorexic, which I promise you I am not. The food was basic, buffet style. One rice dish with onions and some other vegetable, seasoned chicken, pasta, potatoes which resembled the taste of glue and watermelon. There was a tiny salad bar, which consisted of lettuce, tomatoes and oil and vinegar. There were desserts, though I never liked any of them. I promise you though, everyone else seemed to be OK with the food. I am a very picky eater.

The beach was OK. The sand in neat becasue it is black from the volcanic rock. Once in the water, it is rocky. If you walk 2 minutes down the beach it is alright. There is a gorgeous white sand beach, minus the rocks just five minutes down the road. You walk to road, turn right, then you'll see a mesh metal fence which is always open on a red dirt sandy road on the right, take that and you can see the beach basically as soon as you get on that.
It's well worth your while, and it's not far at all... anyone can make this walk. I went there on scooter, and I walked there with two 80yr old men, it's not far or hard on you.

About 8 people switched resorts from the Giardini Papagayo to ours. They said that Nakuti was much better. I did not go over to Giardini for this reason, although it is Nakuti's sister resort so our bracelets were good there too!

The A La Carte restaurant that is published everywhere is not available.

The bar closes at 10pm, but everyone who wanted to stay up basically filled a table with drinks and got a few cups of ice, and we were fine. I stayed up past 2 am every night. (This is not a party resort, so don't think it's rowdy and noisy at night) I stayed up with about 5-7 other guests.

One night we asked to have a bon fire on the beach... this I would suggest to everyone. It was so relaxing.

We went into Playa de Coco for 6 USD $ round trip. This is a good trip is you want to get souvenirs. Fairly inexpensive. The beach there is quite large and not rocky at all. We also went to two different bars there. They were both very fun and we did not have any problems at all. La Vita Loca and the Lizard Lounge. Lizard lounge was more for the younger crowd we found. La Vita Loca was live band music and older crowd.

We also had the chance to go to Lana de cortez. Gorgeous waterfall about 2 hours away from El Nakuti. No tours go here. We were lucky enough to tag along with some other very nice guests who later on in the week were engaged. If you can rent a car and get directions, this place is breath taking.

We went into Liberia one day as well. Not the greatest. You get to see some of the culture, but not really. They have a Pizza Hut, Payless Shoe source and there aren't very many places to get cheap souvenirs. But there is a huge church in the centre of the city. It is gorgeous inside.

The pool at the resort was not very clean in the mornings. But it was cleaned aroung 10am.

The Howler Monkeys in the trees at the resort were a daily sight. They would travel across all the trees and all the guests would watch them jump from tree to tree... it was amazing how they do it. They do howl at about 5 am, but thats when the sun rises, so you'll be up then anyways. Plus it gets dark at sbout 5pm, so if you're not into drinking, there's notmuch else to do.

There was a live musician three out of the seven nights we were there. They were all really good. But it's not the entertainment some travellers might be used to from Cuba.

There is not disco, but there is a bar on the beach just a five minute walk to the right. It is delicious and inexpensive.

Everything is very clean, the staff are beyond friendly, and overall I had a good time. I would recommend this place to anyone who wants cheap travel. I would go there again.
El Nakuti Resort

Canada
February 2006
My husband and I just returned from this resort and since we could not find any current reviews before we booked, I thought it would be good to post an update.

We booked last minute with Sunwing/Red Seal vacations. We had been to Costa Rica last minute, in November 2004, but stayed at another resort. This was our first packaged vacation with Sunwing. We were disappointed and felt that this vacation package had been misrepresented. It was described as having been renovated and under new management as Nakuti Papagayo in one of their books and then Rhodes Paradise in another. It actually still goes by the name El Nakuti.

We unfortunately, did not experience any renovations and in fact found the resort to be quite rundown. All 20 plastic lounges around the pool were broken. There were none on the beach unless left by someone who had taken one from the pool area. We stayed in a standard room which is what we had booked, but these rooms were not at all updated or renovated. The first room we were given had no working lights, a broken lock on the connecting door to the adjoining room. No hairdryer, (included in the accommodation description) and only a bed and desk. The bedspread was soiled and threadbare in spots. We asked to update to a suite, but one never became available. We also spoke with our Sunwing rep and she was of no assistance either. We were given another standard room, which was similar to the first but in working order. We spoke with others who had also booked last minute/ standard room. They fortunately, were given one of the newer suites.

The resort description also boasted of an air conditioned a la carte restaurant, specializing in French cuisine. When we enquired at the front desk, we were told that it was not available but maybe would be in a couple of weeks, (of no use to us only there for one week). The main buffet restaurant was not air conditioned and the food was basic and the same almost every day. It was not a smoke-free eating environment and there was none available. The one bar available (two were advertised) often ran out of beer and ice. The free snorkeling was also not available.

The description of this resort also included ‘small and quiet’ which was what we were looking for but in fact was very loud all day. They played the same repetitive music at the pool from morning to night. Unfortunately, because the resort was small there was no way to escape it unless you went off the resort, which many tourists did. There were many local families who also use the resort and as a result it seemed full most of the time despite the fact that many tourists were away from the resort on tours or in rented vehicles. It was described as being ‘surrounded by exquisitely maintained lush green gardens with a small pond as a centerpiece’. The pond was dry the whole week that we were there and the grounds were very dry and lacked maintenance.

There used to be a shuttle bus that took you to the sister hotel, the Giardini de Papagayo but it also was no longer being offered. It was an hour long walk along the beach. This turned out to be a very enjoyable pastime for many people staying at both resorts. We also took advantage of this and walked over a couple of times to enjoy their quiet pool and buffet lunch. This resort was given a lower rating than the El Nakuti by Sunwing’s standards which was one of the reasons we did not book this resort. As it turned out we felt this was a better resort. They also did not have the advertised ‘a la carte restaurant’.

My husband tried kayaking but the kayak leaked and he did not feel it safe enough for me to take out so I heeded his advice. We went to our Sunwing orientation the first full day there. This was a very different orientation than what we have previously experienced. Instead of being handed a weekly planner of the resort’s activities, we were given a weekly Nakuti planner that was sponsored by Central American Tours. Our Sunwing rep came to this orientation wearing a Catours T-shirt and promoted Costa Rican tour packages the whole hour that we were there. When asked questions about the actual resort’s activities and amenities, etc. she became very vague and began attending to people who wanted to pay to go on the eco tours. At this point, many people decided to rent vehicles for the week. We rented a car for the day. We have been on many all inclusive packaged vacations and have never felt the need to do this.

Over the course of the week, in talking with others we were told that some people complained about the lack of advertised amenities and a few were given free snorkeling. This was not commonly known.

Small things that could be done to make the resort beautiful are not being done, perhaps because of a lack of funds or not enough staff. That having been said, what made this resort tolerable for us was the incredible friendliness of the staff. They really wanted to please and I felt somewhat apprehensive in writing this review for their sakes. It could affect bookings which would in turn, affect them, and they are hard workers. On the other hand, I know how much the review process helps us, each time we book a trip. For some vacationers, they might have one opportunity to go away every few years and also in booking months ahead would pay quite a bit more to stay there as was the case with people that we had spoken with. I wrote this review for them. We have stayed in three and five star resorts. I would rate this resort a two.

Overall comments on Costa Rica, it is most beautiful and lush at the end of November. The people are very kind, we felt safe there. Downside, the most horrible roads we have ever driven on, with the exception of the two paved roads number 1 and 21. The check-in at the airport for departure was unlike anything we have ever experienced. They literally checked almost every person’s luggage and it took hours.
El Nakuti Resort
Dale and Chrsitine 
USA
October 2004
My wife and I have nothing but good things to say about the Nakuti resort. We spent 7 nights there from September 25th – October 2, 2004. The resort was all-inclusive of food, drinks, and tips. Listed below are some of our key insight.

The new management is really maintaining the facility very well. Also, the small suite we had was excellent. I cannot say enough about the friendly and helpful staff. The food was excellent and the drinks were also quite good. The bartender would make any drink you requested (all included in your price).

Although not professional quality, there were free bikes and sea kayaks available. The friendly and knowledgeable hostess would go over tour options and make reservations for you. Rental cars and tours picked you up at the resort.

Although July through October is the off season (rainy season), I would prefer this over the hot and dry high season. The prices are lower in the off-season, the crowds are less, and everything is so lush. The mornings were always clear and sunny, but in the afternoon we almost always caught a thunderstorm or 2 hours of showers. We spent most of the week as 2 of only 10 guests at the resort and were waited on hand and foot. Some of the quests went on tours where they were the only two people with the guide.

There are a couple of inherent drawbacks to the Nakuti, but they were not major issues. There is no place to walk to around the resort, except the beach. However, a flat $10 taxi fare will get you to the nearby town of Coco Beach. The beach directly in front of the resort is rocky, but 100 yards to the right is sandy for a mile or so.

I would have no reservation in recommending the Nakuti resort and lovely Costa Rica.
El Nakuti Resort
John and Kerri 
Santa Rosa, California USA
May 2004
We just returned home from our Honeymoon in Costa Rica. We stayed at the "El Nakuti" resort in Play Panama May 4-12, 2004. I heard that there were some bad reviews on the Internet regarding this resort. I would like to set the record straight. I believe that this area and resort should be described as "Paradise Found." The resort and area are very unique and pleasant.

The resort itself is a "Diamond in the Rough." It has apparently changed ownership in the past several months and the resort itself needs a little "TLC" maintenance. Several items on the web site do not match what is really offered at the resort. This did not hamper the experience that we had at the resort. This area is a nature wonderland. The people and staff at the resort were friendly and trustworthy. The excursions that are available through the Hotel were fantastic and affordable. It is my belief that the staff at the hotel improved the service each day we were there. I saw improvement in not only the grounds but the staff. This was very positive. We along with others that preceded us upgraded to a room with a "Jacuzzi" tub in it. Well, it turns out that the tub did not work. We advised the staff of this and we were not charged for the $30.00 a night for the upgraded room for our entire stay. The tub malfunction was not a big deal to us as all we were going to use it for was doing our laundry. The staff was receptive to our comments and constructive criticism.

We met and became friends with Minor Castro who set up all of our excursions. Minor works for that "Nakuti" and is responsible for the tour desk at the Hotel. We instantly respected his personalized efforts he made to make us comfortable with our stay there and the excursions that we booked. He set us up on a "Canopy Tour," Horseback riding through the local hills, a long day trip to the Arenal Volcano, a scuba dive trip, bottom fishing on a local charter and shopping in local towns. We also went on an "ATV" tour of the local area which included riding our vehicle into "Sardinal." We especially liked the day trip to "Arenal Volcano" and "La Fortuna." I would strongly recommend this to anyone and maybe staying there for a night then going back to "Nakuti."

I can honestly say after seeing another of the hotels that the owner of "Nakuti" owns in "La Fortuna" (Montana Del Fuego) that "El Nakuti" will be steadily improved and in another year or less will be a destination place in the "Papagayo" region. The potential for this resort is endless. Regardless of the criticism, we had an excellent time there and would strongly recommend it. The value outweighed the inconsistencies.

For those that do not take the time to tell the staff at this Hotel that they are not happy with something than how can they possibly remedy the situation? If you stay at this Hotel, which I would strongly recommend, and you are not happy with something, tell the staff about it. The problem will be fixed immediately.

My heartfelt thanks goes to the staff at "Nakuti" especially "Minor Castro", for a once in a lifetime experience in the beautiful "Papagayo" region of Costa Rica. We hope to visit you again soon.
El Nakuti Resort
Jerry and Kristie 
USA
May 2004
Let me start by saying we flew on vacation express Pace Airllines they did a great job and were friendly.

My husband and I had done a little research and were alittle leary of what we would find once we arrived at the El Nakuti the reviews we had read were pretty bad. But we decided to give it a shot. When we arrived we were graciously greeted checked into our room and bags taken for us. We had a standard room and it was standard bed was nice bathroom clean but room was small so I went to the front desk and asked if they had anything closer they upgraded us to a Jr. Suite which I would recomend they were much larger. First we walked down the beach Costa Rica is not the place to go if all you want to do is lay on the beach black sand is nice until it gets all over you. We went to the restuarant in the hotel food was good not sure what some of it was but I would find something that I recognized and that s what I would eat. Pool and grounds were clean all the employees were friendly and helpful . It was our 17th anniversary and the chef prepared something special just for us it was great they did whatever they could to make sure your stay was good. My husband and I rented a car and drove to the Arenal Volcano and stayed in La Fortuna that was nice and everyone we encountered was more than friendly. Next we left and went to the La Fortuna waterfalls this was a must do if your in Costa Rica when we left from there we drove to Saraqui and took a ride on a float boat up the river. We then drove until it got dark and stopped in Grecia for the night. Left the next morning and headed back towards the reosrt. On Friday we went deep sea fishing with 2 other men and we caght a 50 pound Red Snapper the other guys each caught a rooster fish and then we called it a day. The chef at the resort prepared our fish for the whole table we had made several friends while staying at the Nakuti. I just can't say enough good things about the Nakuti the staff was great and its not a Hilton but its not a motel 6 we definetly had a great time and enjoyed ourselves at the Nakuti.
El Nakuti Resort
Stephanie 
Toronto, Canada
April 2004
Hola from Toronto, Canada!

My roommate and I recently travelled to Costa Rica and stayed at El Nakuti Resort, despite some bad reviews. Actually, it was probably a good thing that we read them, we weren't dissappointed in the least with possible grandiose expectations for Caribean resorts.

The resort itself was rustic, but was well suited to it's surroundings. We had a couple of cute little lizards living in our room (until we regretfully scared them off) and even had a praying mantis is our bathroom checking us out! Wonderful experience since they are so rare in Canada and are considered lucky. There were howler monkeys living in the trees and the beach wasn't the best for swimming for all the seaweed, but it was a fantastic view and perfect for exploration. Our first day on the resort's beach consisted of many adventures including being frightened by a school of sardines!

The food was tasty everyday, we didn't need to add any spices but did indulge in their awesome hot sauces. The staff wore genuine smiles the whole week, despite the heat, and were extremely patient with our minimal Spanish. They even gave us a few handmade gifts like a grasshopper made from a long leaf.

My roommate and I are single 26 year old women and were hoping for some romance under a full moon in a tropical country. There were mostly couples and families on the resort and the staff were friendly but professional, therefore love was not on the menu. This did not dampen our spirits, however, since we were so busy with exploring the neighbouring beaches. Playa Hermosa was absolutely beautiful. We met a lot of locals and watched them scaling a rockface and diving into a natural pool filled with the ocean's tide. This beach was perfect for frolicking in the surf and watching the boats float by and the sea-doos zip through the water to create extra waves for us.

The nightlife on Playa del Cocos surpassed that of Toronto, in my opinion. Great music, cheap drinks, and everyone wanting a dance partner. Most of the guys took no for an answer without any problems, although the Tico men did teach us three different Spanish words for beautiful (and not only at the disco where they were drinking).

We chose Costa Rica, not only for the weather, but because of the beautiful land and wildlife. Unfortunately, because we stayed in the dry forest and in the dry season, it wasn't as lush as I'd had hoped a tropical country would be. But, that'll be another vacation...in the rainy season.

The tours in which Swiss Travel Service hosted gave us an opportunity to see the Guanacaste region. Up in the mountains was where we found the jungle, which was quite lush with vegetation. Swinging through the trees on the canopy tour afforded us a fantastic view and made us feel like we were monkeys ourselves. Our tour guides were professional, knowledgable, humourous, patient, and made great timing - a great accomplishment considering the number of people they had to organize.

Altogether, everyday was a perfect day. We learned a lot about Costa Rica and the Ticos. I came back to Toronto with renewed vigor in my job search to afford myself the luxury of moving down there one day. I'll have to return in order to retrieve my heart!
El Nakuti Resort
Franny 
USA
April 2004
I just returned from an 8 day stay at El Nakuti. Prior to my trip I was hesitant about the resort after reading so many negative reviews. Here is my take on the place:

We booked through Apple Vacations and arrived on a Wednesday. We were greeted with a cold glass of punch, although no one offered to help us with our bags (we lugged them back AND forth from our room). Although we did request an upgrade, there was, apparently, a communication problem and we did not receive one. However, our room was fine for 2 people, very spacious and clean. Meals were adequate, and there was plenty of food. The fruit was delicious! I, personally, enjoyed the eggs and rice for breakfast! I did not find the front desk particularly helpful. We had some communication problems as I do not speak any Spanish. The servers were nice and did their best to accommodate. The tour desk was helpful in getting us a car. The pool was clean. The beach was not suitable for swimming, but the Costa Smeralda was nearby and has a beautiful beach....however, do NOT try to get to the Costa Smeralda by walking on the beach. My biggest complaints: (1) The resort advertised exchange privileges with the Giardini. However, this is no longer the case. There is no shuttle service available. We were told you could make reservations to eat there 24 hours in advance, but otherwise could not use the resort (2) There is NO nightly entertainment; we were in bed by 9:00 at the latest every night. To be fair, there was one night of karaoke, but it was boring. The bar closed at 10:00 P.M.

All in all, I was satisfied with the resort, considering I had expected MUCH worse! Although I am not planning on going back to Costa Rica, I would stay at the EL Nakuti if I did...for the right price of course!
El Nakuti Resort
Jane and John 
Toronto, Canada
March 2004
We just spent a week at the El Nakuti Resort and wanted to throw our hat into the review ring. We arrived early evening on a Monday, where we were greeted with a cold drink and a smile. We were upgraded to a junior suite, though there was never an explanation why, but we were pleased. We weren’t offered any help to get our bags to the room, but then again, we never asked. It wasn’t until we were lost trying to find the room that the staff came out of the woodwork and offered to help instantly. But we managed okay. The room was clean and much larger than we had expected. We got a chuckle out of the stenciled canvas curtains and hokey furniture, but it definitely had its charm. The room was clean, the air conditioning worked, there was bottled water in the fridge and we were ready to go.

The dinner that night wasn’t my cup of tea…too many fish dishes, but there seemed to be plenty and people were enjoying it. Over the week, the food at times was really quite good, and others, mediocre. But there was always a lot of fresh fruit, salads and tasty desserts. Considering it looked like a full house every night, we rarely didn’t have enough food for everyone. The staff refilled as needed, and in the end, if you wanted something special, or more of something, all you needed to was ask. People got eggs sunny side up when they didn’t want the scrabbled ones that were being served. The staff really went out of its way to help, so tip well. And considering Costa Rica is known for it’s coffee, it was a real bummer that their espresso machine was broken (hopefully it’ll get replaced or fixed.)

We went to Ghiardini a couple of times. It is about a 30 minute walk on the beach and the food there was a bit better, just by the fact their chef seemed to be a bit more imaginative. Their pool was cleaner but smaller than at Nakuti and their beach nicer, but it was overall a smaller feeling place, and the public areas seem a bit cramped for the crowds. The Nakuti facilities overall are a bit rundown, but we later found out it was due to money problems and that on the Monday we were leaving it was being handed over to new management/ownership. This meant a lot of stuff was being upgraded and repaired. The pool pump and plumbing was in the midst of upgrade so there were a few days of really cloudy water. The day we left the water was clear but the vacuum was still getting fixed. They’re planning to build a poolside bar, and just clean up the joint.

The ‘gym’ is pathetic but what was great, was the yoga. The man who runs the spa, Daniel, is a yoga master. He offered a free class, which I went to, and then gave my husband and I a private class when no one else wanted one. It was great, and a much needed stretch. Ask about it if you don’t see it posted or listed anywhere. All-in-all, we thought the resort was great for the price we paid. True, a 4 star it ain’t. Many of the vacation tour operators have it ranked differently, from a 3 to a 4 star. I think that only because of it’s size rather than anything else. There are definitely better resorts in the area, but this one was quiet with fewer crowds and just a nice getaway. Most problems we did see were more due to miscommunication and misunderstandings. A Spanish phrase book is necessary. Very few people have a good grasp of the English language. One thing to remember is if you don’t see what you want or aren’t getting the service you want, JUST ASK. Most of time, the staff was a bit oblivious to what was needed since they were all new to their jobs, with the management switch.

One great tip… the best beach in the ‘hood is next door at Smeralda. There’s a public access road about 100m right of the Nakuti entrance. It’s a bit rough and dirty, but an easy access by foot or car. The beach itself is great! It’s clean, the water is right there, no rocks and good shade. Just remember, that part of it is public, and the rest is Smeralda’s …so don’t use their chairs, they’ll kick you off. Another great find was a restaurant in Hermosa, called Ginger. It just opened in December and is run by a couple from Montreal. The food was great (it’s tapas), the prices high for locals, but fine for tourists. The wine selection was good, and a great change from the boxed wine at Nakuti. To get there, we had the front desk make us a reservation and order us a cab. What they forgot to tell us was to order a cab to pick us up! There’s no cabs in Hermosa and none to call easily. Another couple at the bar offered us a lift back to the hotel thankfully. The restaurant next door, Pescadaro, was also a hit with some of the other guests. The food supposedly was very good and reasonably priced. They definitely had a better lounge/bar area for cocktails.

Our first exposure to Costa Rica though limited was great. We’ll go again, but next time we’ll rent a car and go to other resorts. Too much to see, and too little time.
El Nakuti Resort
Judy 

March 2004
My husband and I visited the El Nakuti Resort in Costa Rica on Feb. 25th 2004. We were supposed to stay the week but after spending a couple of hours at the resort, we decided that we would leave first thing in the morning.

The resort bills itself as a luxury resort that specializes in attention to detail. As other people mention in their reviews, this sets you up for unrealistic expectations. Our vacation company had listed it as a medium range resort so we knew that luxury was probably a loose meaning of the term.

When we arrived, Our room was not ready which was fine so we went to lunch while we waited. Lunch is supposed to be until 3:00 p.m. but there was very little left at 2:00. There were probably only around 6 serving trays to start with at 12:00 and those of them that were empty were not being refilled. After lunch we went to the bar, but there were no blender drinks--the blender was broken. (It was fixed later in the afternoon.)

When we finally got the key, there was no offer of help with the bags which we had to carry back to the entrance of the resort. There was no mention at the front desk of payment for the safety deposit, so there was soon the need for a return trip to the front desk. Our room was clean but very basic. The curtain on the door was ancient and full of holes. The air conditioning and the TV did not work. The front desk said that this was due to power failure but all of the rest of the electric was working. They did begin to work in the evening but the remote for the air conditioning remained broken so you had to climb on the bed to get it going (and figure out that this was what you had to do).

The pool was murky and you could not see your feet if standing in it. The edging around the pool was dirty and in places, it was falling off. The "gym" next to the pool consisted of a Pepsi tent and some old weights.

Some of the guests we spoke to felt that this was the level of resort that could be expected for the price and area, but this was not true. If you were to stay at the Smeralda (which is down the street and is listed as a 3 Apple resort) you would find a resort with much better upkeep and facilities.

Talking with locals and other travelers, after we left the resort, we were told that this resort has been having financial problems and then labor problems which stemmed from the financial problems. You don't need these problems on your vacation. For a $100 more, we moved to the Sol Villas Playa Hermosa and had a wonderful time.

I have posted a couple of pictures at: http://photos.yahoo.com/judynrobwebb

Maybe these will help you get a feel for what I am talking about.
El Nakuti Resort
Nancy and Steve 
Ontario, Canada
March 2004
My husband and I just spent a lovely week at the El Nakuti resort. I spent many hours poring over various hotel reviews for Costa Rica. We picked the El Nakuti because: a) the price was right and b) we were attracted by the fact that it was on level ground whereas most resorts in this area are hillside.

The weather was great the entire week. Every day was a carbon copy of the previous one - temperatures around 35 Celsius, some cloud cover but mostly sunny. A few days there was quite a stiff wind - we actually enjoyed this as you never seemed to feel the heat.

The resort itself is quite nice - a nice layout and fairly well maintained. There was always someone doing work on the grounds, from sunup to sundown, whether it be watering, raking, etc. The restaurant and bar staff were all super nice and did their best to provide the best service possible. They work very long hours for a minimal wage so if you feel inclined, tip them generously when you leave. The food was average - having talked to people on tours that were staying at other resorts - I don't think the food here was great but it was certainly acceptable. There was lots of the same thing every day, but it was all tasty and well prepared. However, not the place for dessert lovers - not much in that category. We never went to the a la carte restaurant - I waited too long to make a reservation, but I heard from other guests that it was good. There was nightly entertainment, which was fine. A couple of nights there were some local musicians, a couple nights of karaoke, and a couple of nights of disco with dancing lessons. It was pretty low key and didn't go very late, which was fine for us.

We had booked a superior room but were upgraded to a junior suite, which was all they had available. The room was very nice and clean (never saw any bugs). The air conditioning worked great. The bonus to me was the terrace - it was great to take a glass of wine out there to end the evening and look at the stars. The stars were amazing!! The only complaint we had about the room was that there was no coffee maker although it was listed on their website as having one in the room. We asked twice for a coffee maker and we did finally get one but it didn't work. We managed to get by without it. I also didn't think they should charge for the safe in the room but they do. That is the only extra expense we had - but I do recommend it. Nice not to have to worry about passports, etc. every time you leave the room. The pool at the resort is very nice. There were always chairs available. The howler monkeys came swinging down through the trees right by the pool a couple of days while we were there. (They are LOUD - they woke us up several mornings!!)

A lot of people in their reviews weren't pleased with the beach. We quite liked it. Not necessarily a good swimming beach, but a beautiful walking beach. We walked to the sister resort (Giardini) one day for lunch - it was about a 30 minute walk. The Giardini didn't seem as nice as El Nakuti - but they have a beautiful view of the ocean and the lunch was very good. It was nice for a change of scenery. If you want a good swimming beach, just walk up the road to your right a short distance - the beach at the Costa Smeralda is absolutely beautiful for swimming. Also, all beaches in Costa Rica are public, so you are quite welcome there.

We booked three tours before leaving home with Michael Mills. If you want to do any tours, I would suggest booking through Michael. We were quite impressed. We did a riverboat tour, the mega canopy tour and a sailing/snorkelling tour. My favourite was the mega tour, which involved the canopy, a wicked waterslide, lunch and then horseback riding to the hot springs. It took the whole day and every part of it was enjoyable. The riverboat tour was also very good - lots of whiteface monkeys, all kinds of birds and tons of crocodiles. All the tour guides were great! The price was comparable to tours booked through the hotel - the bonus was that there were only 6-10 people on each tour instead of a whole busload.

We went into Cocoa Beach one day to do some shopping. As others have said, that is the place to go for souvenirs. We did check out the grocery store too - my advice, if you like coffee, get some to take home while you are at the grocery store. I only brought one bag home but wish I had bought at least a dozen. I'm really missing the Costa Rican coffee.

We had a great holiday. Would we go back to Costa Rica - definitely!!! There is still a lot that we would love to see. Would we go back to the El Nakuti? If the price was right - we would. We would use it as a base and just book some different tours or perhaps rent a car and do some things on our own.
El Nakuti Resort
Endrick 
Canada
February 2004
Reading the previous reviews and having been to CR six times, although never "all inclusive", we knew what to expect. Here is our take on this resort:

It was constructed with a good plan, and for CR, with quality materials. Not being new, it does show some wear and tear, which could be minimized by a better maintenance plan. The grounds are well kept, clean and quite nice. Roads are gravel. Plenty of critters to see right on the premises.

The "Junior Suites" are quite nice, even by stricter standards, and come with really large bath-rooms and showers for five. The plumbing throughout the place needs better care, but can be made to work. I would suggest a plunger for each room. The "Standard rooms" are just that, but adequate for the tropics, same for the "Superior room", which is double the size of the "Standard" and has a kitchen. Most bungalows have two "Standard" and one "Superior" room; the "Suites" are side by side, in blocks of seven or eight, and have better privacy ( no sound transfer: we woke up one night to one couple having a ball next door, and another one arguing; at six in the morning, one side had the TV loud enough to hear the whole program. Advice: pay for the Suite).

We had booked a suite, but were given a superior room, and only when I asked to change because of the noise, we figured out that we were in the wrong room to begin with. We moved, but nobody said "sorry for the mistake". Likewise, several people of our flight were re-routed to Giardini (the sister resort) upon arrival; this resort is on a hill ( hike down to the beach) and is not quite as nice, but it has a beach, which El Nakuty does not. They were told there was no power at El Nakuti, which of course was not true. If they insisted, they were moved as well, but some "lost" two days this way. Again, management needs to get better there, and communicate openly.

The beach at El Nakuti is, as already described by others: very "natural" with a reef cutting it off from open water. It was littered with junk when we were there, The staff did not consider ever cleaning it up. Must not be in the job description or because the Manager never left the main building! It is not suitable for swimming and not nice to look at. But a five minute walk to the neighbouring resort ( out the front gate, turn right at the paved road, and right again before the entrance to next resort) brings you to a great sand beach: bring your own mat, unless you can "borrow" a chair or lounge from this resort ( to take one of these $2.50 mats along, is a good idea in any event, if you plan to explore other beaches. We usually pass the mats then on, upon leaving). You can, at low tide also walk along the water's edge, but it's longer and you walk on Coral, with one or two deeper crevasse to bridge. This beach is very clean!

The other alternative is to walk along the beach to your right, towards Giardini, and plunk yourself down anywhere along the route: it's sandy and safe, with some trees at the edge, for shade. The beach is not totally clean anywhere from El Nakuti to Giardini - stuff left behind by mostly locals. The locals also fish there, and we saw some great hauls coming out when the tunas were feeding. The water is not crystal clear anywhere along there, something you will find in places like Manuel Antonio or at the beaches along Samara for example.
To get really deep and clear water, take the 15:00 hours/ $15:00 p.p. boat ride with snorkel stop at the opposite coast: deep water, stone beach and clear. Well worth and for a good cause -- they donate the entire proceeds to a local charity. On this trip, our guide also brought up half a dozen oysters, and we had them right then and there! Great snorkelling too!

This brings me to the staff: they are all great and try really hard! Tip them well!

The food was CR fare, quite acceptable, plenty and very tasty. Lots of fruit, raw veggies and salads. There is a "formal dining room" which you can use once every three days: book early, it's small. While the fare is almost the same as at the buffet, it's nice to get served, have the wine chilled, a linen napkin, and there is usually one extra entree on the menu. One tip: join others at a table whenever you can -- seating inside and on the outside is limited. You meet nice people this way. And don't worry, they always bring out more food, even if you have to wait.

The pool is not the greatest -- the water is murky most of the time. The chairs and lounges are limited in numbers, most umbrellas are broken ( it's windy around noon) and shade is hard to find: but you always will find something to suit you, if you look hard enough. If you want to see what a pool could look like, go next door to the "Fish Restaurant" (two minute walk, great food made fresh when you come); they let you use the pool if you have lunch or dinner there. It's also a nice change in 'scenery' and a lovely, open and airy building.

Equipment: don't expect too much! Bring your own snorkel gear if you're serious. The two ocean kayaks were okay, we saw one floating mat in the pool, two balls and that was pretty much it. There were five new looking bikes, but only one worked while we were there, and this one only had front brakes. One had no chain, one had a broken chain and one had a loose pedal, and no brakes. Too bad, but again, it's (lack of ) management! Fixing? "Tomorrow" all week long. Never could use them. I made a mental note to improve my travel kit of : Swiss Army Knife, Leatherman Tool, Duct Tape, Flashlight, Matches, Candle, First Aid Kit, WD40 and small spool of twine, by adding a few bike-chain repair links.

There is a store on the resort, which was closed all the time we were there. No papers ( Thursday you get the Tico Times, an English weekly in CR), no stamps ( "perhaps tomorrow"), and the internet did not work. There are phones, but we didn't bother. Tip: get your stamps when you arrive - do all your shopping on the first day in Coco Beach. There is a Supermarket ( with a Deli inside the store !!!) where you get CR Coffee and all Liquor you would want at normal prices! Don't buy in hotel shops or at the airport, unless you "must" spend double for the same item! The cab is 10.00 US per car -- share it! We got five and the driver into a small Toyota. And if you walk out to the main road ( 10 min) it's 1.00 US for the bus, and you have tipped generously.

Coco Beach is not meant for swimming ( dirty and nothing charming about it), but there are a whole bunch of bars and restaurants, I-net cafe cum laundry, and lots of souvenirs. There is a bank and a post office. We saw also a place for manicure, massage, pedicure etc., if you need some pampering. The resort also has a small spa for similar requests.

We had, all in all, a good time. Would we go back? Likely not, because there are so many more places to see, and so little time.
El Nakuti Resort
Marie Johnson 
Calgary AB
February 2004
My husband and I just spent a week at the El Nakuti resort in Costa Rica, Jan 28-Feb 4. We had fabulous weather for the entire stay probably around 35c everyday.

Our room was very nice, a junior suite which had a large bedroom with king bed a sunken living room with sliding doors to the patio. Our bathroom was amazing with a huge shower that could fit a family of 4! And there was no shortage of hot water. Maids came in everyday to clean the room and provide us with fresh towels.

The surrounding outside areas were very green and lush and there were the odd iguanas that we were able to photograph. Also saw the howler monkeys, actually they lived in the trees right behind our room.

The pool was nice and wasn't too busy most of the days we were there. This was not your typical all inclusive where there is alot of entertainment during the day. No whistles, some pool aerobics and volleyball but overall a much more relaxing atmosphere than the resorts we have been to in Mexico.

The food at this resort was fair- not a lot of variety which I think was the biggest complaint at this hotel. No omelette centre, just very basic buffet for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The food was pretty much chicken, pork, fish. the occasional beef of some sort. They had lots of pasta and a salad bar that consisted of mostly just green lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, sometimes beets etc. The odd day we would have coleslaw, potato salad.

The fruit was great and of course we ate some breakfast, lunch and dinner. If you are a big dessert eater there is not a big choice for that kind of stuff. Nothing chocolate!! The beach in front of the place is nothing great but a short 15 minute walk to the left of the resort and there is a beatiful beach for swimming and snorkeling, also if you walk to the other resort Giardini they have a nice beach that you can swim at and go snorkeling, kayaking. The walk there is about 30-45 minutes along the beach. You will see little crabs along the way but they pretty much run into hiding when they hear the footsteps. Went to Coco Beach one day and that is a $10.00 cab ride each way and is good for getting your souvenirs. Prices are pretty reasonable but there is not much to buy. Not a lot of silver if your into that but you will find your t-shirts, hammocks, coffee etc there.

At the hotel they do not have US currency most of the time so if you are into tours it is best to get your money in town. Overall we had a good time, met some new friends from Vancouver who we had a blast with. I guess I would say if you want a quieter place away from the hecticness of most big resorts you would probably like this one. Most older people especially seemed to enjoy it! For us it was a new destination and a stamp in our passport!
El Nakuti Resort
Andrea 

January 2004
My husband and I just returned from a 7-night stay at El Nakuti Resort (03-10 January). We had a great time, in part because we didn't have unrealistic expectations about our accommodations. We've stayed at upscale all-inclusive resorts in other places (Iberostar in Dominican Republic, Gran Sole in Tulum, Mexico, and even the Melia Cariari in San Jose), so we knew that for the price we were paying and for the destination, not to expect the same level of luxury. Thus, we were pleased, and felt we got our money's worth.

We stayed in a standard room, which was very spacious although spartanly decorated. The bathroom, as mentioned by others, was spacious also. It was clean and comfortable, and everything worked (A/C, TV, toilet, shower, hairdryer). My only complaint was that there were no coffee/tea making facilities in the room. Otherwise, it was a great place to come back to and relax after a long day of adventure!

The staff was excellent; friendly and attentive. The food was okay. It was typical Guanacaste fare, with fruit, rice & beans, fried plaintains, steamed veggies, chicken, beef and pork, salad, and a variety of flans and rice puddings for dessert. The daily selection didn't change too much, either, but we were okay with that, because we figured this is probably what the typical Costa Rican would eat on a daily basis, so when in Rome ... We didn't try the Jacaranda Restaurant, but we heard from other guests that the food was pretty much the same as the buffet.

There wasn't a lot of activity at the resort, which was fine by us. During the day, the staff could usually round up enough willing participants to play volleyball in the pool, and there were other activities offered, such as water games and water aerobics. During the evenings, local musicians would play during dinner, and they were very good. One night karaoke was offered. The bar closed down at 10 p.m., so things never got too loud or crazy. All of this plus the resort's small size gave it a very relaxed, low-key feeling, which is just what we were looking for. Another bonus about staying at Nakuti is that the resort is spread out on flat, level ground, so it was only a 5-minute stroll from our building to the beach. Other resorts in the area have their rooms scattered up the hillsides, so guests have a steep hike to get to and from the beach.

The beach was great, one of the best swimming beaches we've ever been on. The part of the beach directly in front of the resort is too rocky for swimming, but as the beach extends a mile or two around the bay, it's easy enough to find a good spot to swim. The sand is black/grey, which took some getting used to, but the water is clear and the bottom sandy. The beach is crowded with locals, especially on weekends, which is usually a good indication. It was nice to stroll the beach and see Costa Rican families relaxing in the shade, grilling out, their kids playing in the sand or frolicking in the water.

It's possible to walk on the beach over to the Giardini Resort , a sister hotel to the Nakuti. Exchange privileges are available, and there's a free shuttle that operates daily between the resorts. Interestingly, many people staying at the Giardini spent a lot of their time at the Nakuti, especially for dinner.

Resort Divers operates a tour desk at the hotel, and although we didn't use them, we heard positive things from other guests about local activities they arranged, such as horseback riding, jet skiing, and a sunset cruise. We used a company called TAM Tours to arrange our excursions, and they were excellent. We spent a long day traveling to Lake Arenal and Tabacon Hot Springs near Arenal Volcano, and another long day to the cloudforest at Monteverde, where the guide gave us a 3-hour hike through the forest, showing and explaining the incredible plant and bird life there. We also did a day trip to Buena Vista Lodge at the foot of the Rincon de la Vieja volcano, where we had the opportunity to do a canopy tour on zip lines, hurtle down a 1,000-ft. waterslide, ride horses to a waterfall, and soak in volcanic hot springs. Our favorite excursions, which TAM privately arranged for us, were a guided horseback ride at Hacienda Los Inocentes at the base of the Orosi Volcano -- a beautiful, peaceful place, a haven for birdwatchers, and more wildlife spotted during a 2-hour ride than during the whole week -- and the other an opportunity to see giant leatherback turtles coming ashore at Playa Grande further down the coast to dig nests and lay eggs. This was an amazing experience, just like something you'd see on the Discovery Channel!
El Nakuti Resort
Kim 
Canada
January 2004
I just came back from two weeks in Costa Rica and spent 4 nights at the El Nakuti resort. I agree with most of what Bonnie from Lexington (Aug. 2003) wrote and really enjoyed my stay there. I found the staff were friendly and helpful, the grounds were nice (albeit not over-manicured), the "wildlife" was interesting, ETC. I liked the more "natural" setting, and the fact that it was on the small-side with a relaxed & unpretentious atmosphere. I much prefer it to the more "luxurious" resorts I've stayed at on other vacations. I even enjoyed the food; although there was nothing special or unique about it, there was always lots of fresh fruit, juices, and a good assortment of dishes generally.

The review by Chris (August 2003) sounds like a whole different place than the one I saw! His description of the pool is puzzling (an empty hole?), as is his description of the so-called stagnant body of water. Like Bonnie, I too enjoyed watching the birds fishing there & was glad they hadn't altered this little piece of nature! As for the beach: it's not the greatest perhaps, but it was very clean when I was there & I liked the fact that Costa Ricans were at the swimming area just a few minutes away from the front of El Nakuti. Yes, the water appears dark, but this is due to the dark sands - not uncommon in Costa Rica. One didn't need to go far to get to white-sand beaches with blue-green waters. Personally, the mega-resorts to be found Cuba, The Dominican, and places like Aculpulco & Cancun, seem plastic, sterile and artificial in comparison. I'm sure there are some of those in Costa Rica too, but I'm happy to say I didn't stay in one of those!