Riu Guanacaste

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Hidden away in lush Costa Rica right on the beachfront, Riu Guanacaste has a real back-to-the-nature feel, but it isn't just for the quiet types. There are plenty of activities to do in and outside the resort. As well as a superb range of leisure possibilities, the hotel features its own casino, an exciting disco, a beautiful spa and fitness facility, and with the more active traveler in mind, plenty of watersports and a fantastic kid's area.

Location: Directly on Matapalo beach in Guanacaste. 30 minutes from Playa del Coco and 45 minutes from the airport.

tripadvisor Traveler Reviews
  • Charlotte C :
Amazing holiday

My husband and I visited the Riu Guanacaste from 2nd to 16th October. I'm not sure why there are negative reviews on here as we had an incredible time. The room (3130) was huge with two double beds, a spacious bathroom, balcony, safe, tv and a mini bar. The only TV channels in English are CNN and Fox News, but fortunately TV isn't really a big deal for us on holiday. The air conditioning in the room worked well and was always a nice relief from the outside heat. We used the safe throughout our stay and never had anything go missing-they're electric rather than key, so you set your own code. Wifi is only free in the lobby-we never had any problems with it, it seemed to work well and fast. Apparently it's only 90 mins per day but why would you want it for longer than that when your in such a beautiful country?We only ate at the Liberia buffet as there was so much choice and the food was such high quality, we didn't feel the need to try the others. Asian night (Saturday) was my favourite as there was a large counter full of sushi. Breakfast was good also with a huge variety of fresh juices available. I'm a smoker so spent quite a bit of time in the smoking areas (meeting some lovely people). Having read reviews, I knew prior to arrival about Costa Rica being a non smoking country and I think the hotel provided for us quite well. It did get quite tiresome hearing my fellow Brits moaning about not being able to smoke wherever they wanted to! Hopefully these people will do a little more research about the country they're visiting next time. We personally loved the beach. The darker sand was a complete non-issue, it's just sand! We saw iguanas on the beach and pelicans on the rocks. We borrowed snorkel equipment a couple of times and saw some wonderful fish, my husband even saw a turtle. Most of the fish are near the rocks though so do be careful, as the waves can be quite brutal at certain times. We saw lots of howler monkeys in the trees down the side of the resort, which were lovely to watch. As well as this we saw lots of bright green lizards, huge butterflies, birds and even a white faced coati. The pools were huge though we didn't spend much time there as prefer to be away from the crowds. We did go into the pool bar a couple of times but the water was so warm, we found the sea much more refreshing. I agree with other reviews that perhaps the pool bar should be adults only-it's a bit off-putting to have loads of kids splashing around and pool water going in your drink. Drinks were plentiful, and top shelf spirits available if you ask. The coffee from the sports bar was excellent!Virtually all the staff we encountered were very friendly and helpful. We tipped as and when we felt they'd been particularly good but it was nice to see that they didn't seem to treat people any differently whether they did or didn't tip. Don't book your excursions in the lobby or Thomson/TUI, they will absolutely rip you off with their prices. We booked ours through Joseli (in the green shirt, down nearer the Riu Palace side of the beach) working for Gecktico, for much better prices and excellent customer service. You also get even lower rates for booking multiple trips. The only negatives I have are fairly minor. Firstly that the resort shops were hideously over priced. Fortunately we took everything we needed so didn't have to visit them for more than a browse. Any souvenirs we bought on our excursions. And secondly the influx of locals at the weekend - it makes the hotel too crowded (particularly the bars and restaurant) and there were too many out of control, rude kids. Costa Rica is an amazing country with such diverse wildlife and landscapes. If we returned to the Guanacaste region, we'd definitely be happy to pay a return visit to the Riu Guanacaste. We thoroughly enjoyed our stay and would recommend the hotel to other travellers.

  • Stuartmckay :
Fantastic Hotel - one of best I have been to

I visited the Riu Guanacaste for 2 weeks end of Sep to beginning oct , one of 2 Riu hotels that sit next to each other . This hotel try's to cater to everyone's needs and does a fantastic job of it . This hotel is beautiful set in amazing gardens right on the beach with forests surrounding . There is nothing around it so it is really for relaxation and excursions to see the province ( which to be warned can be expensive ) . Rooms are very well kept and cleaned daily , I was amazed to see you have a fridge which is topped up every 2 days with beer and soft drinks and above the fridge there are optic which contain spirits all of which is free for your enjoyment . The food was really good you have your main buffet restaurant which is varied and good quality , but even better you have 4 al-carte ( Italian,Asian,stake,fish ) which you are allowed to use throughout your stay . You just reserve on the evening you want it ( first come first serve ) we managed to get in every night to one of them which was fantastic . The pools are huge and the entertainment around them looked fun although I used the beach everyday so stayed away from pool . The beach is not the best you will ever go to but is not over used so is great and surrounded by forest so once you get over it's not golden sand you see it for its own beauty . Go for a walk along it in the morning or evening and there are Monkey's and other wildlife to see . If you are wanting to book an excursion don't use the reps go to the beach and find one of the guys on there I used ( Erick - pink t-shirt and Hayna - green t-shirt ) we went on private tours with them and it made it all so special and the tours are tailored to your needs , they really care that you have a memorable experience the tour guides are very knowledgable and know all the best places to take you . Overall a fantastic hotel a fantastic country with the most friendly lovely people . Couple of Watchouts : There are couple of shops on site but they are extremely expensive so make sure you bring what you need . The hotel is very out the way so excursions are the only way to get around so you will need extra money if you want to venture out . The hotel gets very busy at weekends as the locals come in droves ( so Friday's and Saturdays are the best days to book your excursions . Hope this helps .

  • oakley 56 : Bridgnorth, United Kingdom
a British prospective

checkin is a long process and you will not be allocated your room until 3pm.Roomsthe rooms are very spacious with a hard bed ,mini bar ,iron,plasma tv and a balcony the higher the floor the better the view...but sadly no kettle ...most people we spoke to would swap the Bar for the coffee /tea making facility's .Restaraunts We found the food good quality in all five restaraunts with a good choice to suite all even those who can be fussy will be fine.Bars and drinks.Never had a problem getting a drink in any of the bars the staff are quick.the drinks important to a lot of peoplethe beers drinkable but not the best we have had in Costa Rica.the cocktail list is large so everyone should find something they like .here's the good news they have branded spirits behind the bar all you need to do is ask for them and bar staff are happy to pour.Definite drinks they have included are captain Morgan spiced,Gordon's,Smirnoff,Johnny walker,JB, martini,Bacardi,Jim beam.the in house spirits are ok and they use them in cocktails.poolsFar far too noisy for us and very busy ,so we spent most of our time on the beach with shade from trees if you want it and easy to get free sun beds.the water was very clear while we were there so you will see lots of fish.Scuba carribe give you free snorkel gear kayaks and paddle boards if you want them it's all included. on the beach many tour guides offer trips on quads catermarans jungle walks horse riding etc as well as the lady's offering massage in tents by the path to the monkey bar.They are all cheaper than thomson (tui) so wait before you book anything and see what the guys can offer...many are on tripadviser so if in doubt you can always check them out ,we found them all to be honest and sincere.Other guests60% Latin American 30% Amarican/Canadian 10% BritishMost latins stick to their own but the Americans and Canadians have a lot to say so you will have a laugh and some good chats over a drink.smokers!!!!!Important I am a smoker so here's the heads up .You can smoke on the beach ...front car park by reception and they have two smoking areas in the grounds one small one behind the ocotel restaraunt ,the other the large one about 100 feet away from the night entertainment stage.Be aware during day light you will fry in the heat and at night if your not rained on you will be bitten by mozzies plus there's no lights so we all sat round in the dark getting soaked .P.s if the gestapo guards catch you smoking on your balcony they will fine you,,,but looking on the bright side we met some great people who we would not probably have spoken to of all ages.Entertainment We thought the shows we saw were to a very very high standard and hats off to them for the costumes and hard work .There's always something going on somewhere volley ball darts dancing football etc so if you have teenagers in tow they will be fine.Wildlife/locationPlenty around if you look for it monkeys iguanas vultures Pelicans huge butterfly's whales Dolphins ,,,,one night a coatie came in to the bar and was stealing nachos before he went on his way to patrol his territory ,,,brilliant,,There's not much to walk to except the monkey bar which isn't cheap or catch the water taxi to coco beach(15 dollars) which we loved as bar prices and souvenirs were more in line with what you would expect to pay.To sum upIf your coming for just a beach holiday honestly it's not worth it as its to far.If you do the cloud forest 4 day tour before you arrive like us then yes it's a definite goer.Please don't think Costa Rica is some third world country it's not.Things are expensive sun tan cream $35 paracetamol 10 times the price we would normally pay.We stayed in three hotels while here and ate and drank in a lot of bars and Restaraunts and spent a fare bit.Standards of food are high while out and about and we never felt uneasy no matter where we went.Cosmetics ,phone chargers, go pros,shower gels ,shampoos etc are the things likely to go missing while in hotels ,so we locked ours in the cases and put everything else in the safes.We did come across people who suffered from this problem but don't let it worry you.We would come back to Costa Rica in an instant as its beautiful and mostly unspoilt and they are doing everything they can to keep it that way ..P.s bring mozzy rep we got bitten a lot on the coast even with jungle formula 100% deet.Pure Vida amigos x

  • Jessica B :
Sisters Trip to Costa Rica

The Riu Guanacaste was fantastic. Me and my two sisters went to celebrate one of their birthdays and we couldn't have had a better time. It was a quick drive from the airport to the hotel so not much time wasted in a car. Very easy access to the pool and there were always lounge chairs available.The pool was great! I loved the in pool lounge chairs they had. Food was very good at the buffet.I would stay away from the Italian restaurant.None of us enjoyed it much. The Asian restaurant was great. The gourmet restaurant Tucan, was amazing! The staff at the hotel was always friendly and willing to help. Sergio was by far our favorite bartender. Make sure to have a Chile Guaro. So good! And Maria Jose and Alicia were the sweetest most attentive waitresses ever. Wendy at the gift shop was pure delight. I would absolutely recommend the hotel. And I can't wait to come back with my husband and kids.

  • brianlojack : Katy, Texas
Vacation at the Riu

The Riu guanacaste is clean and staff is friendly, helpful. Only down side is the entertainment is noisy late. Beautiful jazz music during dinner and happy hour. Would recommend this very much. Go to the monkey bar down the beach and use the onsite activities. Well worth it.

Vacations packages include round-trip flights, accommodations, round-trip transfers (unless outlined below) to and from the hotel, and tourist cards (if required, unless outlined below).

If selecting an all-inclusive resort option, the package will also include the all-inclusive features as outlined by each resort.

Items not included:

  • Travel insurance (mandatory if traveling to Cuba)
  • Tourist cards ($10USD)if traveling to Dominican Republic with Sunwing Airlines
  • Departure taxes ($20USD) if traveling to Dominican Republic with Sunwing or Signarture Vacations
  • Hotel transfers for packages with WestJet to USA (with exception to Honolulu)
  • Hotel transfers for packages to Europe
  • Items of a personal nature

  • Buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner daily
  • Domestic drinks
  • Non-motorized watersports
  • Tennis
  • Entrance to disco & casino (drinks extra at both)
  • Daily activities
  • Nightly entertainment
  • 701 Rooms
  • 3 A la carte restaurants
  • 5 Bars including Swim-up bar and 24 hr Sports bar
  • Zero entry pool with adjoining Jacuzzi
  • Watersports
  • Scuba diving centre (fee)
  • Fitness centre
  • Spa (fee)
  • Steam bath & Jacuzzi
  • Beauty salon (fee)
  • Lit tennis courts
  • Casino
  • Gift shop
  • WiFi internet in lobby
  • Conference facilities (fee)
  • Golf nearby (fee)
  • Horseback riding nearby (fee)

Hotel Room includes:

  • 1 king or 2 double beds
  • A/C
  • Ceiling fan
  • Satellite
  • TV
  • Phone
  • Radio/alarm clock
  • Mini-bar with soft drinks, water, beer & liquor dispenser (replenished regularly)
  • In-room safe
  • WiFi (fee)
  • Iron & board
  • Full bathroom with double sink, hair dryer
  • Balcony or terrace
  • Max occupancy 3 adults & 1 child, in existing bedding

Family Room includes same as above, with: 1 king and 1 double bed. Max occupancy 4 adults or 2 adults and 3 kids.

Kids Deal - Kids stay and eat free. Up to two children 12 and under in Hotel & Superior room only, limited availability.

For the Kids - Kids' pool, Supervised kids' club & playground (4-12 years) and Babysitting available for a fee.

Honeymoon Bonus - Surprise welcome gift in your room, King-size bed, Late check-out, and Complimentary upgrade to next available room class. Request at time of booking. Proof of marriage required. Subject to availability and subject to change.

Free Weddings & Renewal of Vows - Please inquire for more details.

Early Booking Bonus - This hotel may offer early booking bonuses at certain times of the year. If early booking bonuses apply to your vacation, prices shown online have already been adjusted accordingly. Please inquire for complete details.

Resort Location Map

  • Riu Guanacaste
    Liberia,Costa Rica

  • Hotel Contacts
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  • Disclaimer
Hotel Riu Guanacaste
Playa Matapalo, Sardinal Costa Rica

Some restaurants may be open for certain meals only and limited visits may apply. Reservations required and dress code in effect for a la carte restaurants. Time restrictions may apply for water sports.

Child pricing may only be available with select tour operators and valid for select dates and durations. Child pricing rules are subject to change without notice. Please contact one of our vacation specialists if you require assistance with child pricing.

Photo identification and/or credit card or cash deposit may be required at check-in for incidental charges.

Extra-person charges may apply and vary depending on hotel policy. Rollaway beds and cribs (infant beds) may be available and should be requested at the time of booking; fees may apply.

Special requests are subject to availability upon check-in. Special requests cannot be guaranteed and may incur additional charges upon check-in to fulfil.

Hotels do not condone unruly behavior, parties in rooms, excessive noise or any other actions that violate the hotels terms of use. Guests may be removed from the property at their own expense in the event of any disturbance or complaint from other guests or hotel staff. Escapes.ca cannot be held responsible for any guests who may be removed from the hotel due to a violation of rules.

Escapes.ca makes every effort to ensure that the information on this page is accurate, however, all information on this page is subject to change without notice. Escapes.ca is not responsible for any changes, errors or omissions that may occur.