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Paradisus Playa Conchal Beach
Carole 

December 2007
I told my husband that I wanted to have a Costa Rican vacation where I could be treated like a princess—well lucky me-our travel agent found Paradisus. Paradisus is designed for your princess desires and really worked for my Prince of a husband.

Arrangements-We have an experienced travel agent who communicated with a reputable local Costarican travel agency. Ours used Swiss Travel in Costa Rica to book Paradisus. They were excellent. They are large and reputable and have a local agent with a local booth in the Paradisus Hotel itself, to facilitate any local tour arrangements.Swiss Travel sent vouchers and a wonderful brochure on Paradisus.
Flight
As the suggestion of our travel agent (and a good one) we flew from Los Angeles to Liberia,International Airport instead of flying into San Jose. Excellent decision. Driving from San Jose to Playa Conchal where Paradisus is located would have been a 4.5 hour drive on a 2 lane, less than perfect highway. From Liberia to Playa Conchal is a 45 minute drive. If you care to visit San Jose from Playa Conchal you can fly from the local airport in Tamarindo on a small plane (takes about 1 hour and a half), but be aware that they have a 25lb weight restriction on luggage and will charge you for each pound over that if they even allow you to take the overweight bag(depends on the number of passengers and total weight on the plane). Making arrangements so that you arrive in Playa Conchal before dark is the best way to travel, even if it means leaving home very early.

Customs and immigration at Liberia—It was a very easy process-please note that just before you go through customs there us a person in a booth who will sell you a “199viajera” card that will allow you to dial the US at a greatly reduced rate. You can buy a $10 or 20 card (you can use US dollars). From the Hotel they connect you to a 199 line, you dial the country code (001 for US) then area code and the number and you will have more than an hour of talk time . Most cell phones will not work in Costa Rica yet (except for the International Blackberry), so it is best and easiest to buy the 199viajera card before you leave the airport.
Arrival-S
wiss Travel, our local agency contact, had our transportation awaiting outside of customs (your name will be on a sign) and they provided excellent service—others were not so lucky, so beware.

The road up to Playa Conchal is only 2 lanes and more risky at night, although the transfer drivers are very experienced on the road. It is not them, it is the others. If there is one car crash or breakdown, you could be delayed on the road for a long period of time, even in the day—arriving at night is more of a risk, so try to plan for a daylight arrival.
Arrival and RS service—
We had read many reviews about Royal Service. As of this time in 2007, we think they have really perfected it. From the moment we arrived, we found the w service to be extraordinary. We are fortunate enough to have experienced 5 star service all over the world, and the Royal Service rates right up at the top with any 5 star service anywhere. We highly recommend it especially if you want top of the line service, pampering and attention in an adults only environment.. This was the best and was worth every penny of the cost.
Paradisus arrival
Upon arrival at the Main lobby , the Royal Service guests are wisked away to the Royal Service (RS) reception. You are welcomed by name, introduced to staff, including the butlers, given a refreshing drink and given information regarding your luggage (which is taken to your room immediately) room and how things work. Amazing service.
Accommodations
The suites vary according to what class of service you have chosen. We chose the RS Imperial Romance Bali Suite, It was on the top floor in Bungalow 1 which was private, had ocean views and the air conditioned room with a reception area, kitchenette, TV, living room, step up king bed, large closet, bath with large tub and bidet, was stunning. There were hats and Paradisus shirts (in our size!) laid out on the bed to welcome us. The rooms were always temperature kept neat and tidy. They were tided up with fresh towels, candies at least 3 times a day. One day we came in and there were rose petals strewn upon the bed and two towels were shaped on the bed like kissing swans. Every day there was more than one delightful surprise in the room. Just wonderful.
Service
Whether it was at the front desk reception, in the room, at the pool or in the restaurants and even with the drivers of the bungalow transportation, we experienced some of the best and more consistent service we have ever seen at a five star resort. The staff was extremely well trained and was expert at anticipating the needs of the varying clientele. That is truly a skill. Costa Rica has a very high literacy rate and it is obvious that because of that, Paradisus has the pick of some truly talented “ticos” to employ as staff at the resort, and management does an excellent job of training them to be aware of the needs of the clientele and make certain that we always feel pampered .All staff speaks fluent English. I spoke to staff in Spanish as I am fluent. They seemed to really enjoy the fact that a guest from the US would do that. When I told them that my husband did not speak Spanish, they always translated whatever they said to me, to English for him, even before I could—a most considerate thing to do.
Butler Service
We did find that they serviced guests and the rooms 24 hours. Whatever you might need, they will get it or find it. From plates of treats, to drinks,to turning down your bed, cooling your room, drawing your bath, arranging side trips, making arrangements for another City, Internet access, or anything to you desire, they will make it happen.This was really a valued RS service when you have earned some pampering in your life
Pool
The RS pool was always serene and quiet with great service from the cabana boys, who, if required, would reserve a shaded cabana for us, Caution though, because as part of the” towel game”, staff does not arrive until 8AM, so if you want a particular cabana, get up early and put you book and a hat on the cabana chairs that you desire. Otherwise, the boys will reserve one for you when they arrive at 8AM. We tipped for services such as that, but it was not required.
Sun—
It in hot during season and we were here in December. We were under an umbrella some day and just the sun’s reflection off the water caused a sunburn, so we stuck to thatch covered cabanas after that first day. Take strong sun screen and some mosquito repellent with lots of “Deet” in it if you are pre-disposed to get bitten when you go into the forrest on tour. I am and did not because I used Deet and “Avon’s Skin So Soft” which mosquitoes seem to have. The sand on the beach has fleas and the fleas fdon’t like Deet either. So its your choice—use the Deet or take the risk of Malaria or Dengue fever if you tend to get bitten. There were very few bugs at the RS pool—just great service, and great swim up bar, a spa, wonderful food even at the pool, tasty drinks ,alcoholic and fruit drinks, aand a perfet place for total relaxation, just the kind you dream of.
Food
We agree that it was very good at all the restaurants—If you like lamb, make sure to have the rack of lamb at Gaudys—it was incredible. Buccaneers Caribbean was the only restaurant that we thought was not quite as great as the others, but it was still very good and had great chocolate cake. We had breakfast at Gaudys almost every morning—buffet—great waffles!
Side Trips
They are great, but don’t miss the Canopy tour to Buena Vista. If you want to try the zip line, right at the resort that have a sample zip line that you can try before signing up for the trip. I recommend it (although I went directly to the tour) just so you will know how they hook you up and how it operates. It will help you to better enjoy the actual canopy tour and concentrate more on the beautiful forest rather than the process of navigating the zip lines. Don’t worry—it it makes you uneasy, you can do a “tandem” with a guide and they will navigate the zip lines attached to you. Its worth the ride. There was a 70 year old woman with us who really enjoyed it, and apparently the eldest person who has done it was 90. Do it Do it. You can arrange it with RS reception. We arranged ours through TAMS (who also has a local agent at the hotel because we happened to meet one of their guides who used to be one of the Zip line guides. His name is Alex—get him if you can. Alex is very knowledgeable about the zip lines and tours and is very well versed on the history of Costa Rica. He gave us a very interesting tour, and chose an expert group of guides for us that he used to work with on the zip lines. That is really important—you ant to make sure you have an experienced crew with you when you do the canopy tour. We chose the all day tour where you have horseback (or an alternative on a tractor if you do not want to ride horseback, the mud baths, the water slide, then a delicious lunch, then the canopy tour. It was a great way to spend the day. But try to get a trip with Alex at TAMS. The trip to Buena Vista is a bit bumpy, but not so bad.
Nightlife
Well actually as has been written before, the dancers do a very good job but there is not much nightlife or Salsa dancing. The band is not really top notch, but it is in the family area and the kids were having fun. The Casino is small but fun. The stores are open late if you need a Snickers or some chocolate, a magazine or various sundries. We did not find them very expensive.

Walking the premises is very pleasant at night and the butlers and staff are around if you need any assistance.

You can also go off site to Brasilito to the Golden Shrimp Restaurant. If you let RS reception know you want to go, the restaurant will send a van for you. Go early and you can see the sunset on the beach-Its about a 10 minute ride and the Restaurant will return you to Paradisus. Try the Seafood soup—there was half a lobster in it ! It was fabulous. I had Shrimp and rice as an entrée—it was like paella—wonderful! For 2 of us with wind and dessert it was about $60 and worth it. Don’t make plans to stroll around Tamarindo—its not dangerous as in “crime” but there is a lot of night drinking and its better to not get into the middle of it with the locals we were told.
Internet—
The Internet service at RS reception was free, fast, guest were considerate with their time on line, and we never waited more than 5 minutes to get on line and there were always offers of drinks when we waited. There is also an Internet Café near the shops and access is free for Royal Service clients. I went on line every day with no problem.
Departure
Our departure was smooth and just as lovely as the day we arrived. We highly recommend Paradisus and congratulate the staff and management for being responsive to all guests and assuring that they each had a memorable vacation. We will recommend it to all of our friend who want a flawless vacation.
Paradisus Playa Conchal Beach
Paul & Kathy 
Bridgewater Nova Scotia
April 2006
We stayed at this wonderful resort at the end of March....What was not to love???? The staff was wonderful, friendly and helpful with or without a tip! The food was fabulous! We're from Nova Scotia and are used to great fish dishes and we were not disappointed. There are at least 7 restaurants in this resort so I don't know how anyone could say they didn't like the food. If you don't like fish, there is a pizza, Italian food, salads, all the different types of meat you could possibly imagine, soups, Thai food, fruit galore etc....

You could go kayaking, biking horseback riding, the sunset cruise, zip lining, to the casino, walking, relaxing on the beach, relaxing by the pool, shopping, exercise classes, nightly shows etc,...We were there for 8 days and still didn't see everything!!!

Our room was great! The drinks were fabulous!! If you ask for pineapple juice, you can have real pineapples, ice and juice crushed in a blender...yum and if you add run...yum yum!!! (Bring your own insulated cup to keep drinks cool by the beach)

We brought our own beach towels so didn't have to worry about the deposit.

I would recommend you pay for your departure tax at the resort (in travel shop near internet cafe) so you can eliminate one of the line ups at the airport. It only costs $4.00 more per person.

Bring lots of sunscreen as we ran out after 3 days and had to pay $18 American for a bottle of sunscreen at the resort.

The internet cafe was great to stay in touch with people back home. It costs $3 for 15 minutes and $5 for 1/2 hour.

There is a bank machine in the lobby but you don't need much money as everything is included...room service, drinks, food and activities!!!

We went on the Buena Vista Cruise with CRT cruises and loved it!!! It included zip lining, horseback riding, mud spa, hot tubs, water slide, lunch & shopping. What an amazing adventure!!

We loved our entire experience at this resort and would love to go back!!!
Paradisus Playa Conchal Beach
Kathy & Ken 
Ontario, Canada
February 2006
My husband and I, and another couple recently spent the week of Feb 6-13/06 at the Paradisius Playa Conchal in Costa Rica. We are in our mid forties and our friends in their early fifties. We have travelled to Jamaica, St Kitts, Cuba, Mayan Riviera and been on several cruises over the past ten years. Our friends have been to both Punta Cana and Mayan Riviera in the past five years. Without a doubt, we all agreed that this resort was fantastic and we would return again. We opted for the Royal Service (RS) and our friends did not.

As the resort checks you in on the bus, the check-in for the most part went smoothly except for the fact that they did not have my husband and I down for the RS. Upon arrival at the hotel, they transported us in small vehicles to our rooms with our luggage. On the way to ours the driver reported he had a change in room for us and we would no longer have the view of the golf course. We were not happy and when we mentioned that we had paid extra for RS he dropped us off at the room and called reception. They eventually called us, apologized, sent someone to take us to the RS for check in and promised to move us to a premium room the following day. We were moved to Bldg 1, Room 011 the next day.

The rooms are large, well appointed, TV, VCR sofa, table and chairs, and for the RS customers, have all conveniences stocked including premium liquors in the fridge. Our bed had a duvet and we had your choice of pillows - i.e.: feather. Our friends room was similiar with a water, pop and beer in the fridge. The resort is very large and we were at opposite ends of the resort to our friends. Our friends room was in bldg 19 (out of 22) and we were in bldg 1.

The pool was absolutely gorgeous! The perfect temperature and lots of shade around it to lounge in. We always found a spot around the pool, however the towel game is played here. There is a special area for RS customers but we spent most of our time with our friends in the main area. Oh, and also because the swim up bar was there too! Service at the bar was great - both speed and quality of the drinks. A couple of days we spent a little time in the RS area by the pool where there is always two butlers working who will bring you drinks, lunch or whatever you need. They were very friendly and accommodating.

I must comment on how beautiful the weather was in the Guanacaste province in Costa Rica. It was hot 35C (90F) but very low humidity and windy. Absolutely no rain and very, very few clouds. It was the best weather we've had travelling anywhere. At night you only need sleeveless/strappy dresses or tops with skirts. Never needed a sweater, even in the A/C. For the men dress shorts every night is fine. During the day it was bathing suit with cover up or shorts.

The beach was very nice - long - great for walking. Not many people swim here, due to the rip tides but my husband did go in. Myself, I'm a "sit on the beach person", But I was aware that this would be a "sit by the pool" place and it was fine. There are a few vendors on the beach where we bought some souveniers. They are not real pushy and they also don't like to barter much.

Food at the resort was great. Buffet breakfast at the Mitra has something for everyone with no long line-ups that we have encountered at other resorts. There is a buffet lunch under a Palapa and a snack bar with great pizza - and I'm mean delicious - burgers, nachos, wings, fries and tasty pasta. We tried everything and loved it all! There is a buffet dinner which we had only once and 4 a-la-carte restaurants where we ate dinner the rest of the week. Our favourite was the Asian restaurant - Fusion. They were all excellent with bottled wine from a wine list and fast, friendly, professional service in a fine dining atmosphere.

Due to the terrible condition of the roads in Costa Rica, we did not venture far from the resort. The roads had many pot holes/craters which made driving uncomfortable if you have any tendency to motion sickness. If you're a one gravol (Dramamine) person, take two. There are many tours offered by Swiss tours which sounded great - canopy tours, Nicaragua, Arenal Volcano etc. but we just couldn't do it. The resort itself offers some free tours as well. We did the sunset boat tour with Xavier, which we thoroughly enjoyed. This involved a short bus trip to a marina and onto a boat. One day we also rented ATV's from Alex on the beach. We had a tour guide lead the four of us on a two hour tour around the area - three other beaches, hills and through a town. It was quite an exhilarating experience. We also took a taxi into Tamarindo one morning, did some shopping and had lunch by the ocean. Very nice.

Nightly entertainment was the usual resort fare. The dancers worked very hard and did an excellent job. We particularly enjoyed Boogie Boogie night. The band that plays before and after the show is very good too. A couple nights we went to the casino and disco. The disco never got moving while we were there but the casino did.

The men played a round of golf one morning and were impressed with the course. The views from the golf course were amazing. It's worth renting a golf cart just to drive around it and see the view.

The Costa Rican people in general are extremely nice, polite and helpful. The staff on the resort were outstanding. Best we have found anywhere. It made our vacation even more special. On the resort, they never expected tips but when you did they were very grateful. Service was great regardless. This was truly a five star experience and we would definitely return again. If you have any questions - email batt_lady@yahoo.ca
Paradisus Playa Conchal Beach
Barbara and Don 
Madison, Wisconsin, USA
January 2006
My wife and I traveled to Paradisus Playa Conchal for one week back in June of 2005. After traveling to Jamaica multiple times, St. Lucia, the Turks and Caicos, and Puerta Plata in the Dominican Republic, we would rate this our best vacation ever. So much so that we will be returning again in 2006.

We did book our trip through Apple Vacations, and had no complaints except for the awful layout of the Miami Airport, which had nothing to do with the vacation people or the airlines.

The airport in Liberia is not much more than a glorified pole building, but they are making improvements every year from what we heard. The trip from the airport takes around 50 minutes.

The grounds of the resort are very impressive, and is gated at the entrance with a long, drive up to the main lobby building which is situated at the top of a hill overlooking the golf course, the suites, and the ocean. The condos are situated on a hillside along the golf course, about two blocks from the main lobby.

Check in was not a problem and we had no complaints about our suite. We did tip the maid a couple of dollars every day, but the tipping business was not like going to the Dominican Republic, where tipping is almost mandatory in order to get any service at all. The air conditioning worked, and there was an in room safe.

One of the biggest things that did not happen, is that neither of us got sick from the food or water, and did not hear of anyone that got sick. The water is carbon filtered, treated, and subjected to ultraviolet light, at the resort. Being able to go on vacation and not having to worry about having enough immodium or cipro is a big deal.

The food at the restaurants was of superior quality, and although we enjoyed the air conditioning of the Asian and Italian restaurants, we were impressed by the food at the Mitra open air buffet as well. We did run into a travel agent who said that she was very surprised at quality of the food there.

There was plenty of room around the largest pool in Central America to relax with a good book and a cold drink, participate in a water volleyball game, or ride the zip line from the treetops. There were enough waiters working the pool area, so that you didn't wait forever to get something to drink. There is a swim up pool bar as well.

We have read all of the reviews of the resort regarding the beach, that ranged from fabulous to terrible. The sand is white sand, and although may not match the color of the sand at Punta Cana, there is not a bunch of seaweed that needs to be raked up every day either. Fact is, there is no seaweed at all, and for those beach walkers, like we are, there is an inviting mile and a half to two mile stretch, with no drug dealers to spoil the walk. The resort owns so much property along the ocean, that not many of the locals bother to go to the beach there. The sand immediately in front of the resort consists of tiny shells (Conchal) that might be a bit tough on delicate feet, but the shells end after about a half block.

If swimming in the ocean, or doing lots of snorkling immediately in front of the resort is a big deal for you, this may not be the best place to go. There are dangerous riptides at high tide, especially. People that were swimming in the ocean stayed close to shore.

We did have an evening meal at the favorite local restaurant located right on the beach in Brasilito, the Cameron Dorado, which specializes in seafood. It was an unforgetable meal, with the surf crashing in, and the sun setting. The hotel will set you up with a van to get you back and forth from Brasilito, which is just down the road from the resort. The prices are reasonable, the service was good, and the food was wonderful.

There are plenty of day trips to take, to Arenal volcano, a boat trip in Palo Verde National Park, or to Ricon de la Vieja National Park. We did take the walk through the rain forest at Ricon de la Vieja, and observed howler monkeys, three varieties of toucans, and many other birds. Be prepared for a long ride on the Arenal Volcano trip, and remember that during the rainy season, the top of the volcano is visible only about half the time.

The Costa Rican people are very friendly and the employees at Paradisus were extremely polite and helpful. Paradisus had everything that we wanted, and even though we never made it up to the casino, and are not golfers, we will be returning.
Paradisus Playa Conchal Beach
Zach 

January 2006
We went to Costa Rica from December 20 to January 1, 2006. We started our trip on the west coast at Paradisus Playa Conchal. We flew into San Jose and then flew to Tamarindo in a small plane (http://www.zbrooks.com/costarica/12seatplane.JPG) with Sansa Airline (http://www.flysansa.com). We booked the San Jose to Tamarindo trip through Costa Rican Trails travel agency (http://www.costaricantrails.com/) and found them to be helpful. They picked us up from our hotel and took us to the airport.

We stayed at a condo in Playa Conchal. We booked it directly from the owners (http://www.playaconchalcondo.com/). It was really quite nice, three bedrooms two bath and right on the golf course. The resort is two quick shuttles from the condo (one from the condo to the lobby, the next from the lobby to the main pool and restaurant areas) and is quite spectacular. We did not get the all inclusive package, but ate at the resort three times ala carte and found the food good and prices reasonable for a resort of that nature. The pool was great and even in high season we were able to get good lounge chairs by the pool. Reservations at the restaurants in the resort were more difficult and we ended up eating most meals in Tamarindo or in our Condo.

We went to two beaches, Tamarindo and Playa Grande. Both were great beach with very warm water. We liked Playa Grande best, although it was a dirt road to get there.

We booked an ATV trip on the beach outside of the resort- lots of fun - and a little dusty (http://www.zbrookscom/costarica/boysATV1.JPG). We went on the ATVs to a forest zip line and hanging catwalk center through the rain forest there (here is my son “Superman Andrew “ http://www.zbrooks.com/costarica/ziplineandrew.JPG)- and got to within Inches of huge iguanas (http://www.zbrooks.com/costarica/iguana5.JPG) and Feet of howler monkeys. I suggest you book your tours privately – and not through the resort. We used Leonardo Rodriguez (leratravel@yahoo.com) for the Tamarindo area and Jorge Fernandez (www.aventourscostarica.com) for the Tortuguerro area. You will be better treatment, better prices, and more personalized services. I found both Leo and Jorge to be contentious, knowledgeable, and fun – they really worked to make sure my family and I had a great time in Costa Rica.

The people everywhere were super friendly - this formerly agricultural county has become a tourist mecca and the people there seem eagar to show you there country and make sure you have a great time. In fact, the only people you need to be careful of seem to be the police (we got shaken down by the local cops outside of Tamarindo - on Christmas Day!- with the whole family in the car - I bribed the cop and we were sent on our way - a great lesson for the family in Latin American finance and sure kept my boys from breaking any rules while were down there).

From the Pacific, we headed to the Arenal Volcano in the central part of the country. Leo arranged travel for us by van. The roads in Costa Rica are infamous for being mostly pot holes (but craters is a better description) and it is slow going and took more than five hours from Tamarindo to Arenal. We drove up to Arenal on a picture clear day and could see the entire volcano - with smoke belching from the top. We stopped for lunch at the base of this huge volcano as the clouds rolled in and by the time we were done with lunch, we could not see any part of the mountain (and, in fact, never saw it again for the next two days were there - supposedly you can see the lava erupting at night - but all we saw was mist
http://www.zbrooks.com/costarica/jungle2.JPG). We stayed at the Tabacon Resort (http://www.tabacon.com/). The resort is nice, the rooms are plain, but they have a truly amazing hot springs river and pools at the hotel that are unbelievable - we all sat in 105 degree waterfalls and played their pool heated by the volcano. We sat there (in the light rain, mostly) watching toucans and parrots and frogs pass in the mist. Through Tabacon, we arranged horseback riding trips to La Fortuna waterfall (http://www.zbrooks.com/costarica/waterfallmovie.MOV). The kids braved the cold to get into the pool under the waterfall. On the ride back, we were able to gallop on the horses - lots of fun.

From there, we went to Tortuguerro, and stayed at Mawamba Lodge (http://www.grupomawamba.com/mawambalodge/) deep in the rain forest. Mawamba is an all inclusive “resort” with a nice pool and the best lodge we could find in the area – but it is rustic. The rooms are small, no air conditioning, no TV, etc. It is a jungle experience – but not too rough. Takes a three hour bus ride, followed by a two hour boat ride to get there. Amazing place (lots of bugs - but worth it…even my wife, who thinks camping means the resort you are in only has a FOUR star spa, had a good time and did not complain about the bugs or the heat). We got to within inches of monkeys and crocs and snakes and thousands of birds. Tortuguerro has hundreds of miles of jungle with no people - just every kind of wildlife imaginable. If you are considering going to this area, I would recommend that you contact Jorge Ferandez (jfernandez@aventourscostarica.com) – there are a number of options for tours and lodging. And, bring bug repellant.

My son put all his pictures on my website. You can see them here: http://www.zbrooks.com/costarica/
Paradisus Playa Conchal Beach
Ed 
New Jersey
December 2005
The week of February 27 thru March 6, 2005, six of us had the pleasure of vacationing at this wonderful resort in Guanacaste, Costa Rica. We are all in our sixties and have travelled extensively over the years to Europe, the Carribean, Mexico, and here in the States. We selected Paradisus Playa Conchal because of its reputation and I must now say that it was better than expected. This hotel resort is extremely beautiful, very clean, and constantly well cared for by the staff. Our room/suite was excellent. Two of the restaurants, Italian and Asian, were first class and the others very good and well enjoyed. The Costa Rica people are very hospitable and caring. The pool is one of the best we ever seen, most comfortable, with a great pool bar. Live music at the pool bar was first class for the venue. Drinks are all you can ask for. Most important we opted out of the Royal Suite and as regular guests we were treated royally. The open air lobby was always a treat and the restaurant/bar their (19th Hole) tremendous. We had no complaints at all. Never seen a bug in our room and never bothered by bugs at the pool. One night we left the resort and had dinner nearby at the Golden Shrimp restaurant, very highly recommended and a can't miss opportunity. We actually had a formal table on the beach. I definitely recommend this hotel resort. We decided not to golf and instead concentrated on sport fishing. Outstanding! I would return here.
Paradisus Playa Conchal Beach
David 

October 2005
I have stayed two times at this resort and have just come back from Paradisus Playa Conchal (PPC) after staying at the condos there. If you are not big on the all-inclusive eating and drinking, like us, then the condos are a great way to experience PPC.

We rented a car in Liberia (Dollar) and had no trouble finding our way to the resort. We first stopped in Liberia proper for some groceries. The condo owner provided us with excelent tips on where to shop and directions. The supermarket (Maxi Bodega) was fairly modern and took Visa. We jus bought breakfast supplies, snacks, beer and Guaro (the local liquor and all purpose insect repellant ;-) ). The drive was about 45 min from the airpor to the resort on fairly well paved roads.

We went to the resort and checked in with the rental manager who guided us through setting up a resort account (for golf, spa, meals tours, gift shop...) and getting us the keys and into our unit.

We had a three bedroom, 2 bath unit on the middle of the three floor buildings. It was really nicely furnished and had all the kitchen stuff we needed. We never cooked a full meal though it had pots and pans and the like. The condos overlook the golf course with the ocean in the distance. We had an ocean view, but some condos don't.

The condos are not right on the resort, but a fair bit away. You could walk it, but its downhill all the way to the resort and uphill all the way back. We could call for a shuttle to bring us to the lobby. There was also one that circulated from time to time. We often drove our rental down to the resort.

We got a great list of local restaurants from the condo owners. We ate several times in Brasilito, the closest town. The Camaron Dorado was our favorite. The Happy Snapper and Perro Plano were also very good. Marie's in Flamingo was really good and there was a local joint on the beach before Flamingo that had great 'casados' the local dish of fish/chicken/meat plus beans & rice, plantains and a small salad. All these places are very reasonable and the service was good.

We had access to the resort pool, beach, gym, etc. The condo renters get other colored wristbands to identify them as not on the all inclusive. We could have added this on, but chose not to. While we weren't treated as 'second class' vacationers, the resort is geared for the all inclusive folks. We wanted to buy drinks for cash at the swim-up bar, but they didn't seem ready for this. They wanted our account number to charge it, but all we knew was our condo number. We ended up shoving a couple of bills on the kid and he probably just stuffed it in his pocket.

We went on one tour recommended by our condo owner; the Buena Vista Combo tour. This was a great day of canopy, horseback riding, mud pack/sweat lodge/hot springs, and an awesome water slide, plus lunch. I heartily recommend it. Its $125pp from TAM, the in-resort tour company, but then I found out you could get it for less from somebody else. It was worth it anyway. A long day though.

Having been to the resort several times, I believe that the people who work there are genuinely trying their best to make folks happy. Costa Ricans generally do not like to give bad news and will avoid confrontation, so sometimes they will not give you the straight story when things go bad. Patience and respect is the key.

For additional information dweissnj@gmail.com
Paradisus Playa Conchal Beach
David 

October 2005
I have stayed two times at this resort and have just come back from Paradisus Playa Conchal after staying at the condos there. If you are not big on the all-inclusive eating and drinking, like us, then the condos are a great way to experience PPC.

We rented a car in Liberia (Dollar) and had no trouble finding our way to the resort. We first stopped in Liberia proper for some groceries. The family we rented the condo from provided us with excelent tips on where to shop and directions. The supermarket (Maxi Bodega) was fairly modern and took Visa. We jus bought breakfast supplies, snacks, beer and Guaro (the local liquor and all purpose insect repellant ;-) ). The drive was about 45 min from the airport to the resort.

We went to the resort and checked in with the rental manager who guided us through setting up a resort account (for golf, spa, meals tours, gift shop...) and getting us the keys and into our unit. The property manager was always around (his office is at the center of the condos) and very helpful.

We had a three bedroom, 2 bath unit on the middle of the three floor buildings. It was really nicely furnished and had all the kitchen stuff we needed. We never cooked a full meal though it had pots and pans and the like. The condos overlook the golf course with the ocean in the distance. We had an ocean view, but some condos don't.

The condos are not right on the resort, but a fair bit away. You could walk it, but its downhill all the way to the resort and uphill all the way back. We could call for a shuttle to bring us to the lobby. There was also one that circulated from time to time. We often drove our rental down to the resort. The condos also have their own pool, which is a quiet break from the large (thought fabulous in its own right) resort pool. In the early evening, condo people gather there and we ended up going out to dinner with condo owners that lives there full time. I played golf with one of them two days later. Very nice people!

We got a great list of local restaurants from the condo owners. We ate several times in Brasilito, the closest town. The Camaron Dorado was our favorite. The Happy Snapper and Perro Plano were also very good. Marie's in Flamingo was really good and there was a local joint on the beach before Flamingo that had great 'casados' the local dish of fish/chicken/meat plus beans & rice, plantains and a small salad. All these places are very reasonable and the service was good. We ate breakfast in the condo, were traveling at lunchtime and went out to local restaurants for dinner.

We had access to the resort pool, beach, gym, etc. The condo renters get other colored wristbands to identify them as not on the all inclusive. We could have added this on, but chose not to. We played two rounds of golf at the great course there.

We went on one tour recommended by our condo owner; the Buena Vista Combo tour. This was a great day of canopy, horseback riding, mud pack/sweat lodge/hot springs, and an awesome water slide, plus lunch. I heartily recommend it. Its $125pp from TAM, the in-resort tour company, but then I found out you could get it for less from somebody else. It was worth it anyway. A long day though.

Overall the condos at Playa Conchal are a nice way to go if you plan to go out and see some of the area, rather than hang around the pool all day. If you are not the all-inclusive type, then this is definately the way to go.
Paradisus Playa Conchal Beach
Brenda 

August 2005
We just returned (July 2005) from a wonderful trip to Costa Rica and stayed at the condos at the Paradisus. Here’s a trip report for anyone who would want to stay there. We would rate the Paradisus as 5 stars.

We just returned from a week long vacation in Costa Rica (7/2-7/9). We stayed at the Paradisus Playa Conchal condos and just loved them. We rented a Toyota Hiace van from Tricolor and ate out every meal except for a few breakfasts.

Saturday: We arrived late afternoon so I called the Restaurante Cameron Dorado for reservations for 8 people. We were able to park in their lot, had seats right on the water's edge, and enjoyed probably the best meal of the whole trip. We had our fingers washed in finger bowls before the meal and all the ladies got flowers for their hair. Although the prices are higher here than anywhere else in the area, we truly did enjoy our meal and the atmosphere. It was a great way to start our trip.

Sun: We headed off to Tamarindo to find breakfast and surfboards. We ate breakfast at Nogui's Sunset Cafe at the circle in Tamarindo and we loved it so much we ate here at least another 3 times. Again, we were oceanfront, the service was very good, and we loved their pineapple juice (it really is a pineapple smoothie). We rented boards at the High Tide Surf Shop. It was a long and hot process (it took about 1 hour to arrange this transaction). We got advice on where to take our 4 children surfing and once we found the recommended spot, we realized it would have been more convenient to rent at Iguna Surf 2. Iguna Surf 2 is right across the street from the beach area that has good surfing (and also where you can rent some chairs and umbrellas for the day if you do not want to spend your whole time in the water). The kids enjoyed their day at the beach. We had lunch at an oceanfront restaurant called Nibanya and their fish tacos were very good. We returned to the condos for a shower and headed off to the Typical restaurant in Huacos for casadas that were very good.

Mon: We decided to try surfing in Playa Grande. We had breakfast at Kike's (not very good) and rented boards at Hotel Las Torugas. They were very friendly at the Hotel and even let us borrow two chairs for the beach. (We had brought a cheap umbrella from home and used it often on all the beaches for some shade). The waves were much larger here than Tamarindo and again the kids had a great time surfing.

Tues: This was truly a day of adventure. We drove up to Rincon de la Vieja national park (about a 2 hour drive--half of it up a bumpy dirt road) to the Guachepelin resort for a canopy tour and tubing. We were very niave as to how adventurous this day was going to be. We thought the hard part was going to be doing the zip-line. We did not realize that you would also have to do a rock wall, tarzan swing, and cliff climbing to get yourself out of the river gorge they take you to. We loved!!! this whole canopy tour but I do not think we would have taken my parents if we knew how adventureous it turned out to be. After lunch in the lodge, we were taken on a two hour tubing adventure (and again I would recommend this only to people who are in resonably good shape). Five people in our group rode horses to the river but since I am terribly allergic to horses, 3 of us got a ride in a van down the road and walked the rest of the way to the river. The tubing was great and the guides do an excellent job but you have to be prepared to be flipped out of your tube many times, get beached onto hard rocks and even use a rope to pull yourself out of some difficult spots on the river. It was a very memorable experience and we had a blast. The horses were waiting for those were were riding them back and the rest of us took a jeep ride back to the lodge. We did not have time to do the mud baths (you need to be at the lodge by 9am to be able fo fit everything in one day) and after our adventurous day, I'm sure they would have felt great. One other thing you should do before heading to Guachepelin is make reservations. We did not. They were very accomodating, but I could tell they were not used to people just showing up. We ended up with takeout pizza for dinner from Il Forno back in Brazilito that was very good.

Wed: We decided we needed a down day so we hung out at the resort. The beach is beautiful and if you ask, people working at the gate will bring chairs down to the beach for you at no cost. You can snorkel at the rocks to the right of the beach. I know several posters said that the water at the resort is rough. In our opinion, it is not that the water is rough. It gets deep very quickly and the current sucks you into the deeper end very fast. I think you would have a hard time watching little children swimming at this beach. We had lunch at the snack restaurant (charging it to the card number they gave us at check in). Several people in our group took the ATV tours (booked on the beach) and loved them. It is two hours long and they said they went places it would be difficult for a car to go. They truly raved about the tour. For dinner we decided to drive to Flamingo for dinner at Marie's. Dinner was fine but nothing outstanding.

Thursday: We had picked up baked goods at the French bakery in Tamarindo and fresh fruit at a fruit stand between our condo and Tamarindo on one of our previous excursions so we had breakfast on our patio overlooking the golf course. We decided to try going to Playa Avellanas for more surfing. It had rained very hard the night before so the road to Playa Avellanas was very muddy and had 3 streams of various depths that we needed to traverse. All in all, I would say this was our most difficult drive. There is a beautiful restaurant on the beach with hammocks, chairs and tables and a bar that advertises great smoothies. The only problem was there is no place to rent boards. The women at the restaurant recommended we drive 2km to Playa Negra for boards. Again, the road was terrible but we made it and found a resort that rented boards right on the beach ($10 a board for the day) and a decent restaurant for lunch. The waves were very large here and there are alot of lava rocks. There are sandy sections of beach for surfing though and again my kids had a great day surfing. We stopped at the Monkey Park on the way home. The animals are very interesting but we did not have a great guide. We had Walter (who is very nice) but spent way too much time talking and kissing his favorite animals. It was very hot and buggy and a quicker tour would have been perfect. Ours took so long and due to the heat and bugs, everyone was a bit cranky afterwords. We went to the Happy Snapper for dinner and had a great meal right at the water's edge.

Friday: We decided to go back to Tamarindo for a last day of surfing. We rented boards at Iguna Surf 2 and I took a surfing lesson. I was able to get up on my very first try, so I would recommend lessons for anyone. It was a lot of fun. There were only two other people for the lesson so we got plenty of attention. We had breakfast at Nogui's Sunset Cafe and lunch at Frutas Tropicale (which I think had the best casadas of everywhere we ate). We rented 4 chairs and two umbrellas for the day and we were very comfortable. That night we took a sunset cruise out of Flamingo that was very relaxing. We sailed on the Shannon and had a wonderful time conversing with Jim the captain. He is an American who came to Costa Rica about 18 years ago and just fell in love with it and moved there. His son James (11 yrs old) was just adorable and we had a great time. We had dinner at Il Forno. It is Italian with homemade pasta, great prices, and again, very relaxing.

All in all we had a wonderful vacation. The people are just lovely, the scenery is spectacular, and the pace is so different from home you feel a world away. Pura Vida

Have a great day!!
Paradisus Playa Conchal Beach
Suzie 
Cape Cod, Massachusetts
March 2005
Our group of 6 (two families with teens) just returned from a wonderful week at Playa Conchal. We stayed in a condo on the property and had a terrific time. The condominiums are beautiful and spacious, and are located on the golf course with sweeping views of the Pacific. We had access to all of the amenities at the resort and enjoyed the enormous pool and beautiful beach. We did not have a meal plan at the resort, so had breakfasts in the condo and headed out for lunches and dinner. There is a small restaurant (Encanto) that’s about a 20 minute walk to the left once you get out onto the beach. They serve wonderful shrimp and rice! We also walked down there on a couple of occasions just for a beer or soda. It is a local place with Tican charm, and you can see and hear the howler monkeys in the background. Bring your camera!

If you walk to the right once you get onto the beach you can head to the neighboring town of Brasilito. It is your typical Costa Rican town. We happened to be there when a huge festival was going on and got to watch a rodeo. Quite the entertaining experience! We had dinner twice at the Camaron Dorado (Golden Shrimp), which was both delicious and fun, with great seafood. Also enjoyed The Happy Snapper and Don Claudio’s.
Sightseeing:
We rented a 6 passenger SUV from Dollar and set out to explore on our own. One day we drove to Curabande (just outside of Liberia) to go on a whitewater rafting trip. We were in two-man kayaks, and the trip was fun and exciting. The waters were Class II & III at this time during the dry season, but we were told that they become Class V in the rainy season and that it’s very dangerous. The trip went along the Colorado River which was within a canyon.

We drove to the Borinquen Resort on another day for a different experience. Check out the hotel’s website – it’s absolutely amazing! (www.borinquenresort.com) They have a great canopy tour there, and we hiked to a couple of waterfalls with a guide, had a nice lunch, and then we enjoyed the soothing hot springs and mineral mud treatment. The ride there is a challenge. It took just under 2 hours to get there on some rough terrain and windy, narrow roads, but it was well worth it. First of all, the views are spectacular, the resort is charming, and offers something for everyone. They had ATV tours, a lovely pool, etc. Great for a day trip or to stay over if you have the time.

We also went on the Congo Trail Canopy Tour, which was great fun in a beautiful, heavily treed setting. Saw lots of monkeys, and enjoyed the morning. We drove there from Playa Conchal on a “shortcut” known as the Monkey Trail. It was yet another challenging ride, but worth it. It was fun to get out and explore on our own.

We also drove into Flamingo one day to check it out. There are beautiful vistas from the top of the hill there, and it’s the place to go if you’re looking to go sportfishing or on a sunset cruise. We also brought our passports along with us that day to stop at the local bank and pay our departure tax of $26.00. It had been recommended that we do so before returning to the airport to avoid long lines and confusion.

One evening we drove into Tamarindo for dinner. Tamarindo is a surfer town located about 20 minutes south of Playa Conchal. It was fun to explore, but I was certainly glad we weren’t staying there. It was very seedy with lots of drugs. Made me feel a bit uneasy, but we just drove down the main drag, went into a handful of shops, walked out on the beach, and then had a nice dinner at Stella’s Restaurant before returning to Playa Conchal.
Playa Conchal Entertainment:
We only went to one show and didn’t last through the whole thing. The shows are your typical all-inclusive type performances. Fun for people watching and to have a drink, but that’s about it. The disco and casino are located up on a hill to keep the noise away from the rooms. The night we went up there it was totally dead. Looks like a nice facility though. There is also a convention center on the hill.

There were various pool games going on – mainly volleyball, daily aerobics, etc. A live band played a few times, too. The pool is sprawling and has lush vegetation all around it. Quite nice! We preferred to be out on the beach though, but it was odd because there were hardly any people on the beach! On the weekends the locals were on the beach, as all beaches are public in Costa Rica. It was fun to see families out there enjoying the sunshine. Speaking of sunshine, the weather was absolutely perfect throughout our stay. On a negative note, my husband’s digital camera and sunglasses were stolen from poolside. Who knows who took them? Anyway, he didn’t let it mar his vacation. Watch your belongings though. This, of course, could happen anywhere.
Overall Impressions:
The resort was fabulous. A great place for families. I don’t think it would be too great for singles as it seemed to be filled with families and couples over age 50. The people were warm and friendly, shuttles were always available to cart you around, the golf course was top notch, etc. We have traveled to resorts in the Caribbean and Mexico, and this one is right up there. Pure vida!
Paradisus Playa Conchal Beach
Bev and Bart 
Toronto, Canada
February 2005
Well, what can we say. We were initially booked with our close friends to stay at Fiesta Premier, but because of an overbooking situation, Air Canada Vacations graciously 'bumped' us and six couples to the beautiful Paradisus resort with the added "Royal Service"

The upgrade to the Royal Service has to be worth it. Your own private concierge, dinner reservations at all the restaurants without line ups, your own lobby with canapés` and bar and private pool area with butler are nice touches.

The villas, grounds and surrounding areas are magnificent. The rooms, with their electronic safe, premium liquor stocked fridge and tasteful furnishing are very comfortable. Wildlife abounds, with 'howler' or 'congo' monkeys that dwell in the trees and caused quite a bit of concern our first morning as we had no idea what was going on outside our room. At night the grounds come alive with raccoons, animals that resemble them and skunks as well. Iguanas are everywhere, basking in the sun like the guests.

The staff and service are impeccable, as is the food and wide selections of liquors and wines from all over the world.

I was not anticipating a golf course, but had to rent the clubs (Taylormade) for an afternoon 18 on the Robert Trent Jones course. It was a fantastic layout and I shot the lights out on that course (well, actually, a few holes anyways). Take the sunset cart ride with a couple of sangrias at 5:00pm and see the monkeys and enjoy the view.

Beaches are public in Costa Rica, but the staff was more that happy to drag your lounge to a shady spot. The beach was beautiful, made completely of tiny shells, the surf was manageable and fun, but snorkeling suffered because of the tides.

Not being much of a horseman, I submitted to my wife's request that I accompany her on the final day of our stay (she rode everyday) and I must say, it was wonderful. I thought I would be on some nose-to-tail beaten down nag, but these things did what you asked. I could have given Sea Biscuit a run for his money.

We did an ATV / Canopy tour combo with Milton on the beach. It was a five hour ordeal that was worth the $180.00 U.S. per couple. Four of us with our guide traveled the beaches, back roads and towns to a canopy tour/zip line that was quite thrilling. We packed sandwiches and cerveza's from the hotel and stopped at secluded beaches for dips in the ocean on the way back.

Our wonderful accommodations and stay erased any frustrations encountered at the airport as we waited in numerous lines. Once again, thoughtful planning (i.e.: numerous cerveza's and sandwiches) are the key.

A magical vacation.
Paradisus Playa Conchal Beach
Amy 

January 2005
Before we left for our trip to the Playa Conchal near Liberia, Costa Rica, I read your reviews. They were mixed, so we were a bit leery about leaving the country; however, we just returned from the best vacation of our lives.

We stayed in the condos, not the resort. People who go to the resort should remember that if they buy the all inclusive package, they buy all their meals for free. They do not get to taste the country's rich cuisine unless they leave the "plantation" and pay extra. If you do not go inclusive and eat at the resort, they charge an arm and a leg ($28 for each breakfast)

We rented a car, ate our breakfasts in the condo and found the countryside beautiful and educational. Not being herded like cattle on tours is the way to go! We did break down and go on one tour to the Buena Vista rain forest. It is a FULL day of horseback riding, spa treatment (which consisted of putting volcanic mud on yourself and dipping into a hot spring), and cabling on zip lines through the canopy trees. We saw gauchos, horses, cows, parrots, monkeys...and lots of cantinas!!

We also rented ATVs on the beach for a sunset tour (make sure your ATV has lights...ours didn't!) It was great fun. Teo took good care of us!

The resort is beautiful; the condos are elegant. The people/staff are very friendly and most speak English. (Tipping $1 goes a long way with service). We had no problem with insects, bugs or any creatures. December was a perfect time to go...85 degrees and a nice wind kept the mosquitos away.

Go. It is the most beautiful country in the world. Where else can you see a turquoise blue ocean, white sand, mountains in the background and a beautiful golf course in the same view!

TIPS:
Restaurants: in Brazilto (5 minutes away), a new Mexican restaurant called La Valentina opened up and the guacamole is fantastic, as is the Moulle sauce! Also, check out the Golden Dorado where you eat on the beach. We also went to Marie's in Flamingo and had great food (4 people ate for less than $50 WITH drinks!)