logo Old Reviews - Hilton Papagayo Costa Rica Resort & Spa
Hilton Papagayo
Tim and Tracy 
Ontario, Canada
May 2008
My girlfriend and I spent a week at the Hilton papagayo, what a wonderful time we had. The resort is beautiful, nice and quiet, some days it was like you had it all to yourself, because everyone was off doing trips. We went there with a group from Canada, by the end of the week we knew everyone. There is awesome snorkeling to be had just to the left of the beach, where the rocks are just keep going around the corner, it gets even better, tons of fish, and also way down to the right, past the private beach, we saw turtles, a small nurse shark, and lots of pretty fish. We did trips everyday, but only one through the resort, there is a guy on the beach named mike, he about 30 years old, he asked us if we wanted to go fishing. If you like fishing take him up on his offer. He really knows what he is doing. We caught yellow fin tuna and jack fish. His email is,, sealife.maikol@yahoo.com and his phone number is 8306-1807. he does everything, snorkeling,fishing,surfing,tours,canopy,. Well worth looking into. We also booked some trips through vargas tours, they are also very good, the sunset cruise is awesome, zip lining is a blast also..We are definitely coming back to costa rica. What a beautiful country. Hope your trip is as good as ours was.
Hilton Papagayo
Chris 

May 2008
Costa Rica Rocks!

Costa Rica is such a wonderful location to go and spend time with your family! We were there mid-February for a very fun filled and enjoyable week. We booked last November into the all-inclusive Fiesta Premier Papagayo in the Guanacaste province. By the time we arrived, it had been purchased, and now is the Hilton Premier. For us, it was still an excellent start to an excellent vacation. The resort is on the Gulf of Papagayo and from our Bungalow, we could see straight out the Gulf to the Pacific Ocean. Beautiful sunsets and sunrises graced our days. The staff was friendly and helpful, the food excellent, and the activities numerous. I would stay there again without a second thought!

From the time we booked until we arrived, we spent numerous hours doing research into the sights and sounds of Costa Rica. Much of our time was spent perusing the various tour guide sites. We were looking for some quiet, quality time for ourselves while we toured the area. Three tour companies and some of their tours interested us so we decided to book some tours from home instead of from the hotel. We ended up taking three tours with Mainor Lara (www.tours-your-way.com). I do not know how the other tour companies would have been, but our tours with Mainor were phenomenal!! We fed capuchins, we fed coati’s, we “chatted” with Howler monkies, we bathed in mud, we zipped, and we saw red-hot lava rocks careening down the mountainside. Oh ya, and then there was this croc leaping up out of the water – enough said! Mainor was awesome; he really goes the extra mile to make every adventure a once in lifetime experience. If you book any tours with Mainor, you won’t be disappointed.

We were only in the country a day or two, and our kids were already complaining about only being able to stay 1 week!

What a wonderful place to visit. The adventures were grand, the food superb, and the people more than friendly. We all are already looking forward to returning and thinking of what adventure we will tackle next!
Hilton Papagayo
Shelbie 

March 2008
I arrived in Costa Rica ( Liberia airport) on Jan 14 2008 with my husband to be and 20 other guests on sunwing vacations staying at the former Premier Fiesta resort and Spa which is now the Hilton Papagayo for my wedding on Jan 17 2008.

I must say in general, i really liked the resort. There were a few difficulties as the day after we arrived the resort changed to the Hilton which included a change in staff, uniforms, signage, menu, linens etc to just name a few. There were some difficulties with some of my guests not having hot water in their rooms but overall i would say i really enjoyed my week.

the rooms were beautiful, clean and i really enjoyed the set up of the little cabanas as opposed to regular hotel rooms. One thing to be aware if you are going to this resort is that it is very very spread out so if you happen to be in a level 300 or 400 room it is a very long walk up very steep hills to get to your room, although the trolleys that drive you around we found to be very accessible and did not require a long wait. We as a group in general did not really mind the walk as sometimes it was the only exercise you get when on vacations :) I liked this resort for its uniqueness. But i would suggest requesting a level 100 room if possible.
Food
the food was ok...i did not find there was much selection as compared to other resorts i have been to and might have found it a bit more challenging as i would be described by my new husband as a "picky eater" we did not have the opportunity to eat in either of the a la carte restaurants but some of my guests reported that they were "pretty good" The snack bar which is where we ate most of the time during the day ,had great nachos and burritos. I never ate lunch in the main buffet, just breakfast and dinner.
Bar
The bar was pretty good although as the day progressed some of the drinks that were usually slushy such as a pina colada were watery, whether it was from the heat or the machines not being able to keep up to the demand i am not sure. Another thing i noticed was they did not give you any alcohol for your rooms and you were not allowed any. When we were in jamaica we had beer in our room and tried to get some but the resort was not co operative in costa rica.
Bar
The bar was pretty good although as the day progressed some of the drinks that were usually slushy such as a pina colada were watery, whether it was from the heat or the machines not being able to keep up to the demand i am not sure. Another thing i noticed was they did not give you any alcohol for your rooms and you were not allowed any. When we were in jamaica we had beer in our room and tried to get some but the resort was not co operative in costa rica.
Pool
the pool was ok, it got dirtier as the day progressed, likely from spilt drinks, tanning lotion etc but no different then any other resort pool.
the wedding
the wedding was awesome!! The wedding planner took care of everything. it was a no stress situation from the time we booked the wedding to when it actually took place on the beach. I had alot of contact with the wedding planner via email who was very good at answering all my bride to be questions. I met with them upon my arrival and picked out the location of the ceremony ( beach) and where my dinner would be, ( poolside) and what my menu would be ( filet mignon and chicken parmesan) to how i wanted the beach decorated and what colour flowers i wanted for my bouquet and hair, to arranging spa services for my wedding day massage with my maid of honour. The were really good as i did have anxiety surrounding the pending take over by hilton and did not want that to interfere with my wedding plans but everything was perfect.

The planner also connected me with the lawyer who was also very good and took care of all my documents and legalities which was included int he wedding package.
Photographer
As recommended by the wedding planner i used juan Cantillia from Pronto Foto. He was fabulous, all my guests commented on how professional he was, and the pictures that i got were fabulous, all 900 of them. He works with his wife who spent time in my room while i was getting ready while he was with the groom to be taking picture after picture. He was very creative in how he took the pictures and i was very very pleased with his work and how he interacted with me and my guests. if anyone would like to see them i would be honoured to post any. You can see a sample of his work is you go to www.steveandshelbieswedding.com

ANy bride who might be reading this feel free to contact me for questions as i searched looking for someone to answer my destination wedding questions who had been married in the hot sun before and did not find anyone....
shelbwallace@hotmail.com
Tours
As a group we did quite a few tours which included a river tour, the mega combo tour whic was ziplines, atving along side the volcano, a visit to a volcanic spring and volcanic spa, and horseback riding. We also did deep sea fishing and seadooning,

we booked our tours outside the resort, using Vargas Tours, they were awesome, i wanted to give our business to a smaller company that focused on customer service rather then money money money which results in overcrowding. ANyway Vargas tours like i said was fabulous, we went on tours that were just my group of guest so like a private tour,our tour guide carlos was great. he was very friendly, funny and willing to accmadate us in anyway he could. If we wanted to stop somewhere that we had jsut driven by then we could. he did not rush us or pressure us and was very knowledgeable about costa rica and answered all our questions.

i contacted vargas tours via email after reading a positive review and to my surprise i got a phone call at work within a few days. They even made several attempts leaving me voicce mail which i thought was very customer service driven considering they were calling from costa rica. After the initial contact most correspondance was via email. they set up an itenary based on the tours that i wanted that were scheduled of course around my wedding!!! Book with Vargas Tours, you will not be dissappointed.
Hotel Entertainment
well to be honest, it sucked! We went one night and did not go back. Compared to other resorts i have been to, they have alot of catchin gup to do.

Another thing i found with this resort was there was not alot of nightlife, would not be a good resort for younger people or people really wanting to party. Did not see any kids entertainment either.
Conclusion
Over all i really liked the resort as did most of my guests. It was a perfect wedding destination, if you ar elooking for white sandy beaches this is not the resort or country really, My wedding dress was balck by the end of the night but it all added to the expereince.

i only assume that the little difficulties we had would slowely resolve with Hilton taking over,

it was a trip of a life time, my wedding was perfect, my guests loved it, what a great way to start my marriage.

Thank you Hilton Papagayo
Hilton Papagayo
Tracey 

January 2008
We stayed at the Premier Fiesta Resort in Costa Rica which changed names while we were there to the Hilton Papagayo.

Costa Rica was fabulous. The resort offered really nice rooms, all re-done in marble and granite. The rooms are in separate 2 room cabana's scattered throughout the resort. Flat screen tv's and pillow top mattresses..............very comfy.

The beach was very clean with no seaweed. Lots of chairs and umbrella's. Waiter service for drinks on the beach and at the pool. What more could one ask for!!!

Two very nice pools.

Food was great. Always fresh and either hot or cold as required. Lots to choose from at the buffet, 2 a la carte's, or 2 snack bars.

Staff for the most part were friendly and helpful.

Lots of various excursions to keep you busy if you so desire. We did the Mega Combo Tour through Sunquest/Swiss Travel. It was $125 u.s. per person and worth every cent. It included a zip line through the jungle, a water slide through the jungle, a large buffet lunch, horseback riding through the jungle and a visit to the mud baths and hot springs. We had way too much fun here.

We did a couples massage at the resort which was $70 u.s. per person for 1 hour. Also worth every cent.

Shopping trip into Liberia was $20 u.s. per person. Nice seeing the town but shopping was the pits. Lots of junky little things for sale for the most part.

I would absolutely recommend this resort to others. The only two things I can think of that I would advise people of is 1) the sand fleas. Mostly everyone had bites on them but they do not bother you too much if you have lots of bug spray. 2) The resort is located on a large hill. Not suitable for anyone who is physically challenged. They do have small trams that will pick you up and drive you throughout the resort, however there is usually still a walkway uphill or stairs that you need to climb to get to your room from each drop off point. I actually welcomed the bit of exercise due to all the yummy food and drinks I consumed, however for a physically disabled person this resort could be a challenge.

For those health nuts, they have a great work out area and a snack bar with wholesome fruit smoothie beverages and fresh fruit and salads, as well as a snack bar with the usual hot dogs, hamburgers, pizza, etc
Fiesta Premier Resort and Spa
Maralea 

July 2007
There were 5 couples from Texas. We all enjoyed are stay at the Fiesta Premier. There was some construction going on near the dining room, but it didn't bother us. Seems they are adding a casino and will change names in December, Hilton Papagayo. We were in the 300's room and just the right height to thoroughly enjoy the sunset.

We highly recommend the tour company, Avispa's Adventure. You can check out their website: www.avispasadventures.com

Amy and Jose were the best. They do not rush you, they make sure you get the most out of your tours and all and all, you felt like one big happy family. Again, we highly recommend them. Can't wait to go back to Costa Rica and try some new adventures.
Fiesta Premier Resort and Spa

Canada
March 2007
After my husband’s company booked this resort for our stay with 20 other members of his company, I did quite a bit of reading about this resort, and as you will find by reading the various reviews, this is a resort that gets many mixed reviews. I couldn’t understand that until we stayed there.
Flight:
From Toronto this is a 5 ¼ hour flight with SunWing or SkyService. Landing can be challenging due to strong crosswinds, and we had a very difficult landing with many white knuckles onboard. According to flight attendants, the airlines know about this crosswind situation, and due send very experienced pilots, so no matter the landing, you are in very good hands. Quick though customs, and onto buses for the 25 minute bus ride to the resort. Taxis can do the drive in 15 minutes, for those not with a tour company.
Arrival at Resort:
As we arrived with a large group, we were escorted to the disco and given a fruit drink, and check in information there. All received keys and wristbands, and we were given the option of booking the a la cart restaurant at that time. From reading other reviews and the hard time others had booking, I booked right then, (turned out to be a very good idea!!!) and since we had two rooms (one for us grown-ups and one for our pre-teen girls) we could book for 4 nights, instead of the usual two.
Room:
We had specifically requested a room in the 100’s or 200’s bungalows, near to the main buildings, but instead got a bungalow in the high up 300’s. While the room was very clean, and tastefully decorated, and we got adjoining room, us with a King and the girls with two double beds, and yes we did get ocean view too, taking a golf cart miles away to a room, and then walking up the 3 flights of stairs to the room each time we needed to go back, well, it wasn’t what I had hoped for. We still did better then most people in the 400’s, where they are perched atop a steep hill, with water and air-conditioning dramas recited daily, which is why reviews are often mixed for this resort. One family reunion was to be in the bungalows, but they were spread all over the resort, many in the 400’s, much to their disappointment. Before you think there is nother good to say about the 400’s, if you want to see the perfect sunset, the 400’s are the best for that, with room 420(?) I believe being the best, looking out at the sea past our bay. For anyone wanting a room with a waterfall UNDER the room, ask for our room 366 during the rainy season, and prepare for the show, yes really...!!
Resort Itself:
The 202 rooms in a very expansive property mean that even when the resort is completely booked, it never feels crowded. There is always a table at breakfast/lunch and for dining in the main dining room. While getting a shade hut at the pool area may be a bit harder in the day, chairs are always around to be moved over to a palm, or into the sun for a tan. The pool area is showing its age, and can not come clean anymore. It needs resurfacing, as it now darkening and that means you can not go bare foot around the pool area, the sun heats the grey to boiling, the pool has a ring of flip-flops around it all day from this. The pool itself could perhaps be a bit larger, as it’s the only main pool for all guests, and does feel full throughout the day. The adult area has a smaller second pool, but it’s not decorative, just a functional rectangular pools for swimming laps. The grounds are well kept and neat, and dining area always clean and tidy. March is nearing the end of the dry season, and that should be noted by all how think they will see lush topical forest, not at this time of year, it’s brown and crispy around the resort, and a large wild fire burned across the bay for days due to this season. Wireless internet is available (we brought our lap-top) and much used by us to keep up with home and for the girls to chat with friends at night. Disco is ok as a building, the fact that it is completely enclosed is good for bad weather, but not so good for ventilation from cigarettes. The girls very much liked the shows; I was too tired at night to go. The bars got good reviews for their cocktails from most guests there, and for me as a wine drinker, I was pleasantly surprised by their very nice red wine and their refreshing white.
Food:
Try as I might, I just can’t complain about the food, and I’m quite fussy about food. Then again, I love a large selection of locally prepared veggies, fresh salad and well seasoned meats. Those that wished more standard foods with a more north American style were indeed not completely pleased. Also, desserts are plentiful, but not overly sweet, again a complaint for some more used to a different style of dessert; the milk cake (never heard of that before) is on the menu daily – go ahead, it’s good, really!! The Italian restaurant is quite good(loved the trout), but not my favourite, the elDorado Steak house, with its Premier Steak is SUPER. Caesar salad made at your table, Baked Alaska flambéed tableside and specialty coffees made to order are a delight!! Watch the seafood at El Dorado in case your kids order, it’s served in it’s shell, which was a bit much for them, and a bit dry, but it’s a steak house, go with what they know best, steak. For those who have voiced complaints about seeing empty tables at the a la carte restaurants and theya re turned away, they only set the tables ONCE for the complete night, so, yes, when you look, 6 tables may be empty, but those guests are coming later. If you have no reservation and really want to go there, go for the last sitting, and see if any table is still empty, they will give you a table without reservations then.
Staff:
There is no question; they are some of the friendliest staff in the world, by far. They work hard and direly wish to please. Tips are greatly appreciated, but never required to get good service from your maid or server. The spa ladies perform near miracles in their abilities to give massages that relax and invigorate all within the same massage, just fantastic. Staff do have a bit of a problem with that though, as none of them wants to see you upset. One employee will defer you to another day or another person, instead of just telling you they no longer do cash advances from credit cards, it took four employees and three days to finally get that said out loud. Same for prepaying our exit fee, three locations later and four employees, and we finally got word of where the paper work went. They also operate on “Costa Rica Time”(their expression), so a shuttle that is supposed to come in 10 minutes will most likely be 45 minutes.
Trip:
Most loved the MegaCombo trip though Swiss Tours, which is horse back, zip-line or sky walks, water slide etc, but I thought it was more on the ok side. Few animals, bruised bottoms for the slide (be warned, be very warned about the bunny hop drops twice in that slide!!), very dried out scenery for the horse ride, but WONDERFUL mud baths, and heated pools. Depending on the day, this tour had portions suddenly cancelled, as experienced by the previous day’s tour and they did receive partial refunds, but were disappointed none-the-less. Marivelles Volcano tour was our favourite. A tour of an open crater (bring your nose plugs), rare animal sightings including a sloth, toucan and alligator, the real rain forest!!!fresh and alive with a light rain and view of the cloud forest from the macadamia nut farm was perfect for the eco-tour loving crowd. The sculpture artist they take you to works with the extremely rare woods, like cocobolo which he gets mainly from old fence posts. Buy things from him you will never get a chance at again! Taxis will take up anywhere for private tours and we took one for a short town tour and souvenir shopping. Marcos and Diego up at the front desk/taxi stand are great and speak good English and only too pleased to tour you anywhere!! Most tours must take you out driving for minimally 2 hours to get anywhere, one way, so you will be tired after trips.
Resort Extras:
Animal life is here, even during this dry season, but you have to look. Monkeys are in the next cove, just over from the resort. Iguanas pop out though the day in various places, including by the restaurant and pool. Beautiful birds wake you up , and come to the pool for a drink and bath. Geckos are in the ceiling near the rest rooms at night, and raccoons on the walkways and a hybrid cross of raccoon / monkey come out at night too. Sit near the snack bar at the far end of the pool at night, with bananas, and wait for them, they are delightful to watch. Not so fun are the insects(more creapy to watch, we had few mosquitoes do the heat and the dryness) and watch for scorpions, we accidentally took one home in our luggage and found it when it was time for laundry. It’s now in the school science lab. The night brings the constellations for the southern hemisphere, including the Southern Cross, Scorpio and Signet the Swan. No, that is not Orion’s belt that you see overhead, but look to its left, that is the Southern Cross.

The big question is, of course, would we return? This is a resort where you say you love it, but…We wouldn’t return. Yes, the food is excellent, the rooms, clean, and the staff are first rate. The hick back and forth to the rooms was a problem, waiting for up to 40 minutes for a ride, the small pool, the lack of nice ocean view, and the brown/grey frothe at incoming tide due to being in a bay as well as the minimal activities in the daytime for youth would affect our personal decision to return. To each traveler his or her own, though! This was a great trip, and will be remembered with many fond memories.

I'm happy to answer questions, but PLEASE adjust your mail box to allow my mail to be sent to you- I will do a test mail for any inquiry first - to ensure it wouldn't be returned, as I've spent much time giving answers for previous resorts, only to have them returned as undeliverable!! SoXFiles@aol.com
Fiesta Premier Resort and Spa
Ken and Cathy 

March 2007
My wife and I arrived at Fiesta Premier Resort & Spa and asked for Jose, only to find out that he had left his job a week earlier for family reasons. He had been there the last couple of times we had been there and had assured us that we, as return guests, would be very pleased with the bungalow he had reserved for us. We met the new manager and he assured us that we would be very happy with our room.

The room was great. It was a newly built bungalow, closest to the ocean on the lowest level. Each bungalow has only 2 rooms. We were in Room 108 and the other room attached was Room 110. Room 110 was larger and had a separate living area.

Our room was very nice. The bathroom had double sinks, a huge mirror and hair dryer. The tub and shower were in a separate room. The shower area was 4x8 ft. with a large shower head (9 small heads around the outside and more in the middle each having about 25 small holes in them). What a blast!

The balcony overhung the cliff to the beach. We were very satisfied with our room and with the view of the bay.

After settling into our room, we went to the bar and pool area to see what had changed in 18 months since we were last here.

They had moved the snack bar to the other side of the pool, which was nice because the bar is much bigger now. They also have opened an Italian a la carte restaurant in the spa area.

We both ordered drinks from the bar, made with Cacique Guaro( a liquor made from sugarcane rum). I fell in love with this stuff the first time we came to Costa Rica. After a couple of drinks, my wife, Cathy, was tired and not feeling well after a long day traveling.

I met with Ricardo Vargas (from Vargas Tours) at the lobby to figure out what tours we were interested in doing that week.

After being to Costa Rica several times, we knew that the tour company that the resort offers is not the only choice that you have when planning a day trip. Five or six years ago, Ricardo Vargas and Michael Mills decided that people needed more personalized smaller tours. They now jointly own Vargas Tours and this is the only tour company we use for our day trips. When you go on a tour, you are able to stop to take pictures when you want to and you can also customize your trip to what you want to do.

The tours that the resort offers with Swiss Travel are large buses with 30-50 people on them. They also make stops at other resorts to pick up people. You cannot customize these trips and stop to take pictures whenever anybody wants to stop. With such a large crowd, it is noisier and more likely to scare the wildlife away. You are also on a tighter time schedule and they tend to push things through to keep them on schedule.

The Mega tour includes the canopy tour, horseback ride, hot springs, water slide and lunch. A group came back from the Mega tour that they took with Swiss Travel. A honeymoon couple that I was talking to were very upset because a couple of girls had fallen off their horses. They had never ridden before and their horses had fallen to the back of the line. One of the guides rode up behind them and whipped the horses and the horses reared up and the girls fell off. One girl had head and arm injuries and the other had a shoulder injury.

If you have 4 to 20 people in a group, call Vargas Tours. The price for this trip was $116 with Swiss Travel and $125 with Vargas Tours, but I can guarantee that you won’t regret the $10 or so extra per person it costs for the personal service and safety that you receive.

The trip that we did with Vargas Tours this trip was the Extreme Mega Tour. It is along the same principle as the Mega Tour, but you go to different places. The ranch that you go to is not governed to the large crowds. There is no water slide, but it is a much nicer ranch and the lunch is a lot better quality. Horses are ridden up to the canopy tour. The canopy ride zip lines are much higher and longer. The hot springs is where you can see the mud bubbling out of the ground. You do not get to see the volcanic mud bubbling out of the ground with the Swiss Travel Tour as they go to a different place. You get into a sauna for about 5 minutes to open your pores. There are pots that contain the volcanic mud that you smear all over your body. You let the mud dry, shower off the mud and enter the 3 thermal pools from hottest to the coolest. They vary in temperature, approximately 42 celsius, 36 celsius and then 13 celsius. On the way back to the resort, we stopped off at a very nice place to buy souvenirs,

Our second tour was the Palo Verde River Tour. This is the tour to take if you want to see wildlife. As before, I have been on this tour with both Swiss Travel and Vargas Tours, and there is no comparison.

A few years ago, we went with Swiss Travel. When we arrived at the river, there were half a dozen boats ahead of us. Wildlife was scarce because of all the noise as there are numerous boats and many people. We saw some birds, one crocodile and some howler monkeys. When we stopped to take pictures of the howlers, there were 4 boats all together on the river bank.

The next time we came to Costa Rica in 2004, we met Michael and Ricardo. We took 3 day trips that week all with the same guide and all of the trips exceeded our expectations.

We took the Palo Verde trip. They take you to a different part of the river than Swiss Travel. You are in a tributary of the main river and it is much narrower, so you are closer to the riverbank and likely to see more wildlife. You are the first to arrive because the van does not stop at any other resorts and you get there before all the big tour buses arrive.

Up until December 2005, you were allowed to feed the white-face monkeys and the crocodiles. This is not permitted now. There are game wardens that check your boat to make sure that you have no food for the wildlife. We saw many varieties of birds, small tree bats that look like bark, huge iguanas, crocodiles. A white-faced monkey jumped on the roof of our boat. Afterwards, we stopped and had a typical Costa Rican lunch, rice & beans, chicken, ribs, veggies and salad. We then went shopping in Playa del Coco.

Back at the Fiesta Premier, they had a managers party at the bar and there was a draw for a sunset cruise on their 42 foot sail boat. They drew room numbers until someone claimed the prize. Our room number came up and we won the cruise. We were unable to take the cruise as we had other plans, so we gave it to the honeymoon couple that we had met earlier in the week.

All in all, a very good week, besides a few people at the resort getting sick the last couple days of the trip.

We are already looking forward to our next trip to Costa Rica and can hardly wait to see our very good friends, Ricardo, Michael and Michelle.
Fiesta Premier Resort and Spa
Janet 
Ontario
March 2007
8 of us vacationed here and were very pleased with the resort.

Take US $ - travelers chqs hard to cash – not a lot of tipping like other countries. Water is safe to drink. We have been to other AI resorts and this is the first one that we would like to go back to next year – apparently the Hilton chain has bought it so we will have to wait and see what happens.
Arrival
Check-in was very fast but we were disappointed because they did not give us any info about the resort – I guess there was supposed to be a meeting the next day but by then we had figured everything out. We went through Conquest and they had a bus at the airport for us and we feel that the rep should have given us all the info on our way to the resort instead of trying to sell us tours that he was a part of.
Rooms
They are little semi bungalows with either a king bed or 2 doubles. We were in #359-362 and they had a great view of the ocean and big enough and very clean. We had a couple of spiders throughout the week. The complimentary safes are great because they are electronic so you don’t have to worry about a key. There was a fridge stocked with 6 bottles of water and they don’t refill it.
Food
We really enjoyed the food – we have a picky eater with us and she always managed to have a full plate with variety each day. There are 2 a la carte restaurants that you need to prebook at the towel hut between 10-11 each morning. We ate at both and enjoyed our meals – there was a misunderstanding at the steak place regarding how the steak was to be cooked – you have to keep in mind you are in a country where there is a language barrier and where the majority of residents don’t eat meals like we do.

The main snack bar is fabulous everything we tried was very good, there is another snack bar at the adult pool area that has healthier choices.
Pool/Beach
– there is an adult pool and a main pool with swim-up bar. The sand is dark grey and hot to walk on – not the prettiest compared to other countries but we still enjoyed it. Water is warm and good snorkeling to the left of the beach. We did bring watershoes and we did use them to go into the water. We went down in the morning and saved chairs with our towels –everyone seems to do that.

Drinks –good variety – only 1 brand of beer on tap – Imperial. Our group added pieces of lime which gave it a better flavour. We always bring travel mugs but the glasses they give you are a good size (hard plastic)
Tours
Deep Sea Fishing – met Jose on the beach and our guys went on a fishing trip – 7:30-12:30 $80/person and he supplied snacks and drinks. Water a bit rough so they only got 1 swordfish – they still had a good time.
Mega Adventure Tour
– Asvispas (they have a website) Found this tour group from other reviews that we read and we were very pleased with their service. For $120/person we ziplined, had lunch, a horseback ride, walked through the rainforest and visited a volcanic crater (mudbath and hotsprings). A packed day but well worth the money. We rode in an airconditioned van just for us, they will stop and let you shop if you want, they provided drinks and snacks and the lunch that was very good. It was about 1 ½ drive to get to the zip line area – our tour guide spoke perfect English so he explained things along the way. Even though we were hot at the resort it was very windy where we went and we were cold – so any extra clothing we had with us was put to use.

Overall it was an excellent trip and we would highly recommend choosing it for your next vacation.
Fiesta Premier Resort and Spa
Kathy 

February 2007
The Fiesta Premier is average compared to any all-inclusive where we've stayed. The food was good. The employees were fantastic and very friendly. When we first arrived we never received the welcome cocktail. We arrived by 1:30pm and couldn't get to our rooms until 3pm. That wasn't a problem since we took a tour to see what the place looked like. When we got into our room, which was #410, the air conditioner didn't work. It took 4 calls to finally get a new unit put in. Then our toilet overflowed by 5pm and we just put towels down and called the front desk. It was fixed before we came back to the room---the dirty towels were still on the floor. The next morning we discovered we had no cold water in the shower. We didn't bother to call because we figured it would be too involved to try to fix it. We would suggest getting rooms in the 100-200's so you will be closer. The people movers are fairly reliable. But in 90 degree heat, the couple of times we had to walk the 1/2 mile to our room, trust me it was HOT!

Be sure everyone realizes (and I can't stress this enough) the beach is ok but is definitely not like the Caribbean beaches. They are grey to black. Not unattractive, just realize they're different. The water itself is not very clear. In fact right by where the water starts, it looks black because of the black sand thats churning in the water. This didn't bother us because we don't spend a lot of time at the beach. We did walk down the beach on the right and walked back in the trees and saw many howler monkeys. There are signs saying private property because some hotel chain has now bought the property, but no one was there and we felt safe walking around. The Fiesta itself has been bought out by Hilton and that will take effect in December so I think things will improve.

Now for the good..........the side trips are what Costa Rica is all about. We hired a private guide and it was the best thing we did. We used Mainor Bustos from tours-your-way.com. He was recommended by Vargas Tours and it was the best decision we made. He found animals for us that we would have never seen on our own. He also saved us from stepping on a deadly viper in the rain forest. He did all of our transportation to and from the airport and when we changed hotels. He made me feel like we were being shown around by a friend. We also stayed two nights at the Rancho Armadillo which is a Bed and Breakfast in Playa del Coco. We would go back there sooner than the Fiesta Premier although the town is nothing to see. The owners there were great people and helped us in numerous ways. Any questions can be sent to me at saalfeldk@hotmail.com.
Fiesta Premier Resort and Spa
Amanda 
Canada
January 2007
I have some comments I'd like to submit to your website for those interested in this property in Costa Rica. I was there with my husband for one week (Jan 13-Jan 20 2007). We were in room 436.

The Fiesta Premier Resort and Spa on the Papagayo Gulf is a pretty place.
After driving by the other hotels nearby, I think Fiesta Premier has the most attractive beach front with its lawn and sun unbrellas for shade.

The resort staff is friendly and the food is decent, especially the El Dorado restaurant for fine dining. I enjoyed my trip however, the resort clearly has a water problem.

Our first night there (January 13, 2007) we walked to our room and passed a young woman in a bikini who appeared to be showering in the lawn sprinkler and she said something to the effect of not having water for days. Sure enough, once we reached our hotel room we didn't have any water.

I asked the reception desk if there was a problem and they said a tree fell on a water pipe and broke it and we should have water in 2 hours. That was 9:00 pm. By 5:30 am the next morning - still no water. In fact we were without water until 7:00 pm on January 14th. 22 hours without running water. The hotel didn't even acknowledge a problem and carried on as if nothing was wrong. They didn't bring water to you for bathing or toilet flushing purposes until we called for a bucket to flush the toilet. I was concerned about all of the guests who couldn't wash their hands properly, all eating in the buffet restaurant and touching all of the serving spoons.
Presumably the kitchen staff was washing, but who knows with what water, if any.

Other guests said they had been without water in the days prior but only for a few hours at a time. The CAT tour operator (Heiner) in the CAT office at the resort said the water problem was due to the construction of new hotels nearby and the plumbing system isn't able to handle it.

We found out some guests were without running water in their rooms for 48 hours and sporadically over the next few days.

We were disappointed with the total lack of information from the hotel and the poor customer relations around the lack of water.

Once the plumbing issue is straightened out I think the resort would be great.
Fiesta Premier Resort and Spa
Jerome 

September 2006
"A picture is worth 1000 words"... so first and foremost, I would like to share the following link to our vacation photos. I think that they will describe our experience in Costa Rica far better than anything I can write here:

http://exposedfilm.net/costarica/

With that said, my wife and I returned a few weeks ago from a 2-week stay at Fiesta Premier Resort & Spa and it was fantastic! We could not have asked for a more relaxing and exciting vacation!
Rooms:
We stayed in Room 425, and were very pleased. We had to rely on the shuttle to get around (which is not usually a problem as they made rounds every 5-10 minutes or so), but the view made it entirely worth it! Our view was of the entire resort and the bay, which made the sunsets amazing! The rooms are well-maintained and very clean!
Food:
The food was fantastic! The main buffet (La Cosecha) includes a nice variety of meats, veggies, salads, breads, desserts, etc. They featured a different theme/culture each night at dinner, not all of which we were particularly fond of, but we were always able to find something to satisfy our hunger. The reservations-only restaurants were very nice, but we especially liked the one featuring an international cuisine (over the Italian restaurant).
On-site Activities:
There were a lot of activities to get involved in throughout the day for all ages. The activities leaders (who were also the dancers in the nightly shows) were very enthusiastic and had a way of making people get involved in their daily activities. We participated in dance lessons, snorkeling tours, kayaking tours, pool and beach volleyball, cocktail lessons, yoga classes, water aerobics, etc. You were also allowed to borrow snorkeling equipment and kayaks if you did not want to participate in an organized tour. We do not have any children, but from what we could tell, the kids were having a great time, too.
All Day Tours:
We went with Vargas Tours and were EXTREMELY pleased with all of their tour guides and level of excellence in their service. This had to be the BEST decision we made while on our trip. We did a total of 4 tours with them, 2 of which we were the only couple and 2 of which we were 1 of 3 couples. Talk about personalized tours! Whenever we wanted to stop on the side of the road to take advantage of a good photo opt, the driver pulled over. They totally cater to the tourists and have that ability since they do not run tours with more than 8 people. The other tour companies on site took groups of 20-50 on charter buses. From talking to others who had used those companies, the tours seemed to have similar itineraries, but there experiences were not as personal and enjoyable as ours were (to say the least). Vargas Tours was slightly more expensive, but you definitely get what you pay for! So, I guess you can make your own decision based upon your budget and your own expectations of what you want on your tour. Here were the tours we did:

1.Miravalles – short, easy hike, with main focus being a beautiful waterfall.

2.Palo Verde – boat ride down a river in search of wildlife. What you see is hit or miss – we saw monkeys, crocodile and lots of birds. If you are looking for adventure – skip this one! It is a very relaxing of tour. The food we ate for lunch was one of the highlights.

3.Extreme Canopy Tour – of course, a must do!! A once in a lifetime experience. The views along the zip lines were amazing! Lunch at the private ranch was probably one of the best meals we had our entire two-weeks. The horseback ride to the first platform was short, but enjoyable. After the zip lines, you have the opportunity to enjoy the natural sauna (if you can stand the smell of sulfur), a natural mud bath and hot springs pools. If you are looking for a combination of adventure and relaxation, this is your tour!!!

4.Arenal Volcano Tour – another must see! This is a long trip that is broken up into various segments including a stop at an animal refugee center, a long medium-difficulty hike (with hanging bridges), photo opts of the active volcano (weather permitting) and a magnificent all natural hot springs resort. If you are lucky and the weather is clear at night, you can watch lava flow down the volcano before you head back for the night. We were not so lucky, but we talked to several tourists who were on other nights. It’s a total crapshoot, but we did get some great pictures of the volcano in the day time, which made the trip worth it.

Short Tours: We did two short tours (2-hours each) with the Resort Divers Company that was on the premise of the Fiesta Premier resort.

1. Jet ski tour – this tour was great! We followed a tour guide (you can choose a one-person or a two-person jet ski) out of the bay making stops at a couple of different white sand beaches, and a cave, which we were able to walk through because the tide was low. The highlight of the trip was definitely watching 3 dolphins jump in and out of the water only a few yards from us. We also saw plenty of pelicans and other exotic birds while in route in and out of the bay.

2.ATV tour – this tour was a lot of fun, but be prepared to be a little sore afterwards. We followed a tour guide through a rural area and then through a jungle as he pointed out monkeys just above our heads and other wildlife. The bulk of the trip was just for the excitement of the riding through rough terrain and crossing through streams of water. Very adventurous!

Of course, having stayed for two weeks, we were able to take advantage of lots of tours, while still feeling like we took full advantage of the all-inclusive resort. If we went back again, which we plan on doing someday, we would stay at Fiesta Premier for 5-7 days and then travel to other parts of the country the rest of the time. We heard that there were many other great things to see (more volcanoes, waterfalls, etc.), but the drive would have been too far from where we were.

So, whether you are looking for adventure or relaxation, you'll find it on this trip. Pura Vida!
Fiesta Premier Resort and Spa


June 2006
We just returned from spending a week (June 6-13) at Fiesta Premier Resort & Spa in Costa Rica.

We had a wonderful time. Costa Rica is beautiful and there is so much to do and see. The people are very friendly and most speak English. The rooms at the Fiesta Premier are very nice and most have an ocean view. We got a lot of exercise walking up and down form our room to the main pool and restaurant. The staff at the hotel were friendly and eager to please. There is a Dive shop located at the resort as well as two companies you can book tours with. I booked some tours with Swiss Tours and we were very pleased with them. The tours were great and the staff was very professional. I booked a dive with the dive shop, and was very happy with them as well. I also booked a ATV trip with them that leaves right from the front gate. We had an absolute blast on the ATV ride. The spa has good equipment and I enjoyed a great massage. The beach is nice and some days the snorkeling was pretty good.

My complaints are limited to the food and drinks. We were somewhat disappointed with the food. It was OK, but only a couple of dishes were very good. The deserts were pretty much the same every night, and again were not very good. The restaurant opens at 6:30, and one night they served Lobster tails which were all gone by 6:45. Most people don't show up to eat until after 7!. The two speciality restaurants were no better. The only wine that is offered is one red or one white, both were cheap wines. Only one local beer is offered as well. The best food was the snack food offered at the pool (great Chimichangas and Nachos).

We were concerned about going to Costa Rica during the rainy season, but now we are glad that we did. Everything was green, it was not to hot, and we only had a few showers that did not effect our activities.
Fiesta Premier Resort and Spa
Jill 
Canada
May 2006
We are a newly married couple in our late twenties from Ontario. We stayed at the Fiesta Premier Resort in Costa Rica from March 13 – 20, 2006. Overall, we were very happy with our experience in Costa Rica and the resort.
Staff
One of the highlights was the staff at the resort. Every single staff member was polite, helpful, and friendly. They spoke excellent English and never pressured you to tip them.
Rooms
The rooms were nice, 4+ stars is an appropriate rating. The view from the balcony was beautiful, but there was no shade (we were in the 400 section at the top of the steepest hill). For some people, walking around the resort would be difficult because of the steep hills, but the shuttle service was excellent and we never waited for more than 3-4 minutes. Our only complaint was that the mini-bar was never re-stocked. It would have been nice to have a few drinks on the balcony when it cooled down in the evening.
Beach
The beach is not as scenic as other places that we’ve been (Cuba, Mexico, Turks and Caicos, Australia, Hawaii, etc.) that had soft white sand and light blue water. However, the dark volcanic rock sand is interesting and didn’t bother us at all. Since the beach is in a cove, it provided an excellent place to swim, snorkel, and kayak due to the calmer water. We saw sting rays and a variety of fish in the reef, but beware of jellyfish.
Food
There was an excellent selection of food at the buffet, but I would not rate it as 5+ as previous reviewers did. The sushi on Asian night was wonderful. The a la carte restaurants were really good. We especially enjoyed the seafood soup, chicken dish, pasta (add calamari…yum!), and baked Alaska. The nachos and chimichangas from the snack bar are awesome! Also, the fruit smoothies on the spa side are healthy and delicious.
Activities
The jet ski tour is so much fun! We saw a pack of dolphins right beside us and one jumped into the air right in front of us! Kayaking and snorkeling are a must since the equipment is free and it’s a good location for both. As well, if you walk down the beach a little bit, past the rocks, you will find a nature reserve. We walked along the trail and saw tons of monkeys and some other interesting creatures. The canopy tour through the rainforest which we booked with Michael Mills, Vargas Tours was great! It was just us and another couple. We also had a couples massage overlooking the ocean right at sunset. It was very relaxing and my husband said it was the best massage he’s ever had.
Nightlife
The entertainment is pretty entertaining. There was also karaoke several times at the bar after the shows. To be honest, it was somewhat annoying especially if you just wanted to drink with some friends and listen to music. There wasn’t another bar that was open, otherwise, we would’ve just moved locations and it wouldn’t have bothered us, but this is a very minor complaint. The casino is very small and smoky. Our friends won $500 at Black Jack in the first 10 minutes, but we had no such luck.
Gym
I used the gym early in the morning several times and it had some good cardio equipment (2 treadmills, stairmasters and bikes), weight machines, and free weights. I think I was working out before it actually opened because it was really hot in there. Later in the day, it was much cooler. I guess they turn off the A/C when it’s closed.

Overall, we thoroughly enjoyed our stay and would recommend the resort, but we most likely won’t return anytime soon as we like to visit different destinations.
Fiesta Premier Resort and Spa
A&C 
Amherst, Nova Scotia
May 2006
Just back from Costa Rica where we stayed at the Fiesta Premiere Resort and Spa in Guanacaste from April April 29 to May 6th. What a beautiful country! We enjoyed ourselves immensely. We loved the resort and the layed back atmosphere. There were no lineups for anything. The resort was full but you would never know it. It was quiet, relaxed, clean, and everything was within easy access. I will say that the rooms are either on a steep hill or quite a walk away from the main area. However, there are carts at the Rotunda to take on a regular basis for those who don't want the exercise. We were in the 400 zone which sits on the top of the hill overlooking the main area and the beach. We enjoyed every sunset and sat with coffee each morning on our balcony.

If you have travelled to some of the bigger resorts in Cuba, DR or Mexico, you will truely appreciate the peaceful feeling here. There is no rush for papalyas or beach chairs in the mornings, no lineups for food at the buffet or the a la carte restaurants, no problems getting drinks from the bar or good seats for the shows.

The people there are very friendly, well educated, and speak excellent English as well as other languages I am sure. The food was the best we have ever had away from home. Both the a la cartes were easy to book, not even close to full and the food was very good. The Italian restuarant is the snack bar over by the spa and is outside. The other restuarant is beside the main buffet and is air conditioned. We enjoyed the beef and chicken no matter where you ate. The seafood was also good. You can book the restaurants in the am at 11:00 where you pick up the towels by the pool. The snack bar by the main pool was very good too. The chicken wings were excellent. Just like home!

The rooms were spacious with lots of room in the bathroom. There is a long counter and sink outside the tub/shower and toilet. Just so you know, the fridge is stocked with six bottles of water but you can drink the water there no trouble. We just refilled the bottles and washed them as we used them. We took our own coffee and I froze a bottle of flavoured milk for the trip which was still cold when we got there for am coffee before breakfast. Their coffee was excellent but I was not sure. It is provided in the room daily.

We enjoyed massages in the beach huts over by the spa area and I highly recommend them! We also did the jet ski tour for two hours around the coast to check out the other resorts, Monkey Island, a mangrove area and the open sea. We paid $135.00 for both of us to go on one jet ski. You can book through the Diver Shop and they leave at 8:30 am as well as 11:00 am. We went later and it was rough coming in off the open water. Calmer trip is the first one. The Canopy Tour to Buena Vista is a must! We paid $115.00 each to go for a full day from 7:30 am til I think 6:00 pm. You do 11 zip lines over the rain forest, then the water slide, buffet lunch, horseback riding down the mountain for about 30 minutes to the sauna, mud bath and hot spring pools. Then we left and went shopping in Libera for souveneirs for 1 hour. Excellent tour to take if you like a little adventure.

We only made one show but it was very good. The air conditioned disco doubles as their stage area for shows at 9:30 pm. The dancers were excellent, wonderful costumes and very entertaining. There are planned activities throughout the day there if you wish to participate. They hike up the beach past the spa area and into the forest to see howler monkeys every morning at 10:00 am for 1 hour, there are bike tours, soccer on the beach, water volleyball, games with the guests around 5:00 pm by the pool and they even had a Texas Hold Em tournament one day.

Snorkeling along the left side of the coral on the beach is very good when the wind is not too strong. The water gets cloudy when the tide is coming in or the wind picks up but we had four good days for it. Take the water feet with you as the sand gets too hot to walk on after 10:00 am along the top. Sandals will do and just leave them above the water line.

I hope you enjoy yourselves as much as we did!
Fiesta Premier Resort and Spa
The Sharets 
Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
March 2006
We just got back from Costa Rica and loved it. We stayed 4 days at the Fiesta Premier Resort and had a fabulous time. The resort is beautiful and if you don't mind climbing and lots of hiking to your room then you can ride the golf cart to take you to and from the restaurants and pool. We loved the food and the staff were very friendly. The only negative I have with the resort is you are on their time! Meaning, if you need an early breakfast or want something to eat really late everything is closed. In the morning you can get continental breakfast if you have an early tour but no restaurant is open. One day I wanted a frozen non-alcoholic drink and was told I would have to wait until 10am until the bar was open. Not conducive.

We are a couple in our fifties and we like that there weren't a lot of children at this resort. I would highly recommend this resort.
Fiesta Premier Resort and Spa
Lesley 
Canada
February 2006
Just back from the Fiesta Premier Resort & Spa, February 6th-February13th.

Absolutely amazing! We would definitely go back to this same resort. We usually travel to Barbados, Bermuda, Grand Cayman, Turks & Caicos and this was a lovely change.

We arrived later then expected in the day due to an accident on the main road, but the bus from the airport was fully air conditioned and quite comfortable. Our room was 362 which was over on the Spa side, a lovely view. A note to people who have problems walking, you may want to ask for a room on the 100 level, the stairs up to your room can be tough.

The food was great! Each night at the buffet they had a theme, French, Italian, Mexican etc. We ate two nights at El Dorado the fine dining, reservation only restaurant, fantastic!

Tours, we went on the half day canopy tour which was 40 minutes from our resort, which was just enough for us. It was scary and exilarating, so I was tired when we got back(I'm only 37 so I can imagine what it did to some others)! We took a half day tour and trip into Liberia, our guide and driver were very informative, filled us in on the cashew trees, sugar cane fields, cantelope fields and showed us some exotic birds. We also rented the sail boat anchored at the front of the resort, there were4 other couples including us. We saw dolphins along the way to a beautiful white sand beach where we then snorkled. We were lucky enough to see a sting ray, eel and many other colourful fish. We had snacks and then sailed back. We left at 9:00am and returned at about 1:30pm. It was just great! We also took advantage of the kayaks at the resort, it was a windy day, tough going and I think my husband thought we were in the Amazing Race, he wouldn't let me rest-haha! There were also Sea Doo's to rent if you wanted, they seemed to be booked alot, very popular. There are many fishing excursions to book right at the hotel as well.

The staff at the resort are soooo friendly and go out of thier way to make sure everyone is having fun. The pool side events were hilarious! The aqua aerobics every morning were fun too!

All in all, we wished we had booked two weeks to get more touring in, like the volcano and the river tour.
Fiesta Premier Resort and Spa
John and Lynne 
Ontario, Canada
July 2005
We were at the Fiesta Premier Resort and Spa in Costa Rica, in April, 2005 and can say nothing wrong about the resort or the staff - absolutely fabulous, and we will go back there for sure. We have been to Dominican, Cuba, and Mexico and this is our favorite so far. It is a smaller resort and the better for it - fun if you want it, relaxing if you want that and people from all over so you make new friends. We saw a review (this site?) from an American (New York?) about the resort being full of 'beer swilling Canadian rednecks' well, there were lots of us Cannucks there but I didn't see any red-necks - they tend to live a lot further south from us.

Anyway, the resort .............
With only 400 people when full, the resort is obviously a lot less noisy and busy than most - and we loved that. The resort is built in two adjacent coves; the main pool, restaurants, stores, etc in one, and the spa in the other. The spa area was quieter and more relaxing, a great set-up where everyone can be in either a more active place or a quieter area. They have an excellent little taxi system (maybe 4 or 6?) with open seating for nine people - and a luggage carrier at the back. When you want to go somewhere, a phone call was all it took - or you could walk 2 minutes to one of the cute thatched Cabana's, complete with chilled water coolers. We waited 5 mins tops.

Entertainment was the best quality we have seen at resorts in Dominican, Cuba, or Mexico - local performers (staff actually) but choreography, costumes and lighting were just top notch for the Caribbean. The dinner theatre has terraced seating and is air-conditioned - unbelievable for such a small resort. This becomes a disco for late-nighters and there is a Casino too - we didn't try either.

The rooms are semi detached bungalows, scattered throughout the hills above the main area of the resort, each room has it's own deck outside where you can sit and relax, or have a drink in the evening or coffee in the morning. Some rooms have a view of the bay sometimes dotted with little boats, very pretty. The rooms have king-sized beds, fridge stocked with bottled water, coffee maker with coffee and mugs, hair drier, and digital safe. TV was a mix of Spanish and English but who goes to a Caribbean resort to watch TV? They are building extra bungalows here and there but it doesn't feel at all crowded. Gardens were well watered and lush - just beautiful to wander around, hummingbirds and butterflies can be seen all over the place. Some rooms are quite high up with few trees around them and panoramic views across the bay - and what a sunset!!!

The food is great; there is the main buffet right next to the pool, a snack bar which is open all day on the other side of the pool with things like, pizza, burgers, fries, hot dogs, sandwiches, nachos etc.
There is an a la carte restaurant which is as good as any 5 star places at home; we went there twice during our stay. We had a dish called "Malibu Seafood Trio" with shrimp, scallops and mussels, all bigger than any I have ever seen and cooked to perfection. There were several choices of appetizers, main courses and desserts, all delicious, you must try the ‘flambéed’ liqueur coffee after dinner, prepared table side, excellent!!. There is a 'healthy' snack bar next to the pool at the spa. They serve healthy sandwiches - no fries - and a variety of fruit smoothies, really great for a change of pace.

The pool is actually three pools that cascade to different levels, the bottom one is a children’s pool and the other two are adult with the swim up bar being in the largest. They aren’t very big but they do the job and are clean – a (steep) walk up ramp on the largest. Herman, the pool barman, really knows his stuff. You can ask him for almost any drink and he will make it, even your favorite drink from back home will be made just like in a regular bar - try the Miami Vice cocktail, yummy!!!

The beach is typical Costa Rican - volcanic black sand, though to every sense except sight - you could be on any beach. It didn't bother us one bit but of course the holiday photos look different. Snorkeling was OK, nothing spectacular but lots of pretty colored fish and you need to be aware of the current that can push you toward the rocks/coral. See-doos are available, as well as small boats and pedal-boats. You can rent ATV's too, though we didn't see them.

The spa is a new building with its own outside pool - not just a few tables under a canopy on the beach. It has some weight machines and cardio exercise machines - all looked very new. The real 'gem' is the spa. They offer a variety of massage treatments, Lynne had the 'Costa Rican Volcanic Hot Rock massage - and thought she had died and gone to heaven. It was better and cheaper ($100 for almost 2 hours) than anything she had ever had before and the massage therapist was an expert. They also offered an outdoor couple's massage, under an open sided cabana in the trees, just off the side of the beach - private and intimate.

The only disappointment in the whole trip was nothing to do with the resort. We found Allegro tours on the internet and people said they were great. Michael, the owner, is a Canadian, and by e-mail was very efficient and attentive. We pre-booked the Palo Verde river trip and asked him to put us on a list for the Arenal volcano trip (if he got enough people). He said he would contact us at the resort to give us details. We arrived Monday and the river trip was on the Wednesday - not a word from Michael by late Tuesday so I called him. He answered the phone and the trip was on so he gave us details. As far as the volcano trip, he had almost enough people for a Saturday trip and more arriving, so he said he would call me with the details. We never heard from him again and on Friday had to book it with the resort travel office. We were really disappointed with Allegro's customer service and wouldn't use them again - however some people say they were wonderful, so you must judge for yourself.
The river trip was really good, though access to the boat was difficult for someone with any leg/knee problems like Lynne has - this was all explained to Michael and he replied with a typically Caribbean 'no problem'. We got very close to a lot of Crocodiles and White Faced Monkeys and saw all kinds of other animals. All this, a nice lunch, and knowledgeable guides made the river trip well worth it.
The Adrenal volcano trip was a full 16-hour day, and included a Rain Forest tour to see the wildlife, plus flora and fauna. Seeing the volcano was a true experience, we even saw molten lava spewing out from the sides after dark - thanks to the efforts of the guide - but the rain forest wildlife must have been on lunch break. We saw 2 butterflies and one very small lizard - and they were leaving. All in all, very disappointing. The rain forest guide was excellent and told us all sorts of interesting things about the trees, plants, and such. We even saw a 2-toed sloth hanging from a telephone wire on the way back but if you want to see natural wild-life this tour isn't the way.

Update August 28
We posted an earlier review and since then have exchanged several e-mails with Michael Mills from Allegro tours. It seems that our complaint may have been more due to miscommunication and messages not being received by us than lack of attention from Michael. Anyone who takes the time to discuss things as he has since we posted that review is definitely interested in good customer service, and making sure his customers have the best possible experience. He has also added a very visible note to his correspondence to make sure this shouldn't happen again.
Concluding, we really hope to return to Costa Rica next spring, and maybe the same resort. We would use Michael and Allegro again - so please don't let our first review put you off doing the same.


If you like good coffee you are in for a real treat. Buy the highest quality coffee you can find ($6 a pound in a supermarket in Coco Beach - but more in the resort, with less selection - probably available in any place used by the local people). We brought back 6 pounds and were sad when it ran out. Next trip we will buy much more............

Summary; We have never had a bad experience in the Caribbean but never go less than 4 star (5 in Cuba). We like to try different places to add variety to our vacations. This was the smallest resort we have been to and the ONLY one we want to return to.
Fiesta Premier Resort and Spa
John & Kathy 
Toledo, Ohio
June 2005
June 6th - we just got back from an all-inclusive vacation at the Fiesta Premiere hotel in Papagayo, Costa Rica. We were warned we were right on the edge of the beginning of the rainy season, but the weather for 7 days the end of May, 2005 was perfect. Hot, humid, mostly sunny with very little rain. The transfers with Vacation Express went smooth although it took us a delay of 1 1/2 hrs to get through customs on the flight back thru Orlando Sanford airport. They held the flingts to Toledo, Ohio for us to get home. The hotel Fiesta Premiere was rated 5 stars, but remember it's not like a U.S. 5 star hotel. The hotel property was in fact very nice. The staff were very warm and helpful. We were not crowded at the pools, buffets or other activities. The nightly shows were very good!! Only complaints, the shuttle carts were very prompt except one occasion we waited over a half hour for a shuttle to our room from the pool area - not good. The hot tub at the spa was not hot - darn.

The snack bar and buffet food was very good, however after 5days of buffets, it gets alittle boring. There is snorkeling available but the ocean bottom is dark volcanic rock so the visibility is very limited. You must watch out for stinging jellyfish.

My biggest disappointment was the tours we scheduled with Mike Mills of Vargas/Allegro tours. I read nothing but great reviews on how good his tours were.
We scheduled 3 expensive tours with him. All were very disappointing. We did not get what we were told to expect. The Arenal volcano tour included a 1 hr. trek through the hot, humid rain forest. It actually took over 2 hours and they did not provide any water or other liquids during the trek. The terrain was very rough and we saw no wildlife - bummer. We rode in a small van and the 3 1/2 hr ride back from the volcano at night was long and cramped with no leg room. Next, we took a back -to-back sailing tour all day then sunset evening sailing tour all in one trip. The so-called fabulous lunch was chips, pop and a couple of wrapped sandwiches - Big Deal!! We were told we would be sailing on a very nice sleek 50 ft. sail boat with room down below to stay in if it rained. What we got was a 50 ft trimerand catamaran which had only 4 flimsy chairs on deck. The area below was very filthy and the stench from the bathroom was awful. we were in the sun for over 8 hours with little or no shade. I called Mike to advise him of our disappointment, but all I got was the runaround. Be careful who you book your tours through. You might be better off dealing with the tour operators on the property.

Other than the tours, we had a wonderful vacation and would definitely go back again.