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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
  • DawnW4_MN : Minneapolis, Minnesota
Nice place in a gorgeous country!

We traveled the first week of April with 6 families including teenagers over spring break. Riu Guanacaste was a comfortable destination for us all. The grounds were gorgeous- much more mature and welcoming than the Palace next door. We found the food to be average, and the no reservation system was clunky- it was clear that it was only started in January.We all enjoyed the pool areas, and the high energy of the resort. The drinks, though not top shelf, were tasty in all cases. The staff did go out of their way to show their hospitality, which we appreciated. If you go, be sure to bring plenty of cash to tip with- the staff clearly appreciated it.They need to buy new towels- I had read it in reviews, and they aren't kidding...both beach and hotel towels are ready for a change-out.We loved the Monkey Bar down the beach from the resort- went every morning and have amazing pictures to show for it with so many cute, but not obnoxious monkeys.Overall- it was a nice place to spend a week. I'd recommend it to families with high school age children.

  • dina_seremet : Boston, Massachusetts
Hotel Riu Guanacaste trip!

This was an extremely fun vacation! The hotel has great activities to keep everyone active. I did stretching classes on the beach every morning with the entertainment staff and it felt great. The beach was a little rocky but once you get passed the rocks you find sand and it is very clear. There is no seaweed. In April, the weather is extremely hot, but we had the water and waiters to help us stay hydrated. The waiters do everything they can to keep you happy. The pool is a great size and there is a swim in bar which is great and always full of people to meet. Every morning you can hear the monkeys. There are also excellent shows at nighttime with great dancing and music. The food is amazing especially the beef!!! I enjoyed the buffets and I had a lot of fun. The excursions are also great to do!! The room is clean as is the whole resort. This was a great vacation and I hope to come back as soon as I can!!

  • Potch24 : Birmingham, United Kingdom
Fine for a base.

We booked this through Thomson/ Tui which I cannot recommend but there are plenty of positives to this hotel. The rooms are large, with massive beds, and everything you need to be comfortable. Although the decor was not to my taste, the hotel was clean and staff were extremely friendly and helpful. We had some lovely food, including a very tasty steak at the steak house restaurant. Even the food in the buffet was good and plentiful. As other reviews have said, this is not 4 star in European standards but I would go back. Customer service was great, addressing any issue very quickly (tv stopped working but was fixed in an hour).I did not like some of the activities (teenagers twerking was one afternoon activity, with middle aged men watching) and some guests abused the free bars leading to some unpleasant scenes at the pool.Fundamentally my title sums it up; Costa Rica is a fantastic country. Get out and see it (we used Mardigi Tours- fab) and avoid Tui/ Thomson. The Rep service at the hotel was appalling, as was the customer service in the UK and on the plane.

  • janj11-02 : Barnstaple, United Kingdom
Ignore moaning reviews!

Before we visited this hotel we read many of the reviews posted here and were slightly concerned by some of them! Having spent the last two weeks at this hotel I can say it is brilliant! Everywhere is very clean and most of the staff smiling and friendly (although one or two in the Filadelfia Bar were a bit grumpy!).As a family of 10, two with special dietary requirements, we had no problems with getting tables in the restaurants. We usually ate soon after 6pm as the children were hungry by then, but even when we chose to eat later we had no problem getting a table in the a la carte restaurants. For breakfast and lunch, there were always spaces in the buffet restaurants. The food was mostly of a high quality although on one occasion one steak was a bit tough.In reviews, Many people had moaned about the quality of the towels, both pool towels and those in the rooms. We had no problem with them.Others stated how busy and noisy the hotel was, especially at weekends. Again, we were there for two weekends (one was Easter weekend) and we found it seemed quieter if anything. Our rooms were on the ground floor behind the theatre but we heard no noise from that and rarely heard a sound as people returned to their rooms after a late night.The only disappointment was that my daughter left her spectacles in the bathroom and returned to find both lenses broken. The bathroom was left half cleaned on this day so the maid obviously broke them, panicked and fled! The hotel would accept no responsibility for this and the Manager was constantly unavailable to discuss the issue. Other than this a great hotel.

  • solidbond67 : London, United Kingdom
what a holiday!!!

Booked for a holiday for myself and my 2 children, 11 and 14 for a magical holiday at Easter.What an amazing place Costa Rica is.. a little expensive but more on that later!On arrival, we had a reasonable check in, and we paid up for WiFi rather than using the paltry hour a day in the lobby.Prices for that are $15 a day, $39 for 3 days or $70 a week for up to 4 devices. This then enabled use virtually all over the hotel. Sometimes it was a bit flakey but, it was possible to watch netflix or FaceTime in the room. (I know reviews on here state why should you need it in such an amazing place, but there are the evening if you don't want to watch the entertainment and if you wanted to hide from the heat inside too).We'd arranged a 3rd roll away bed for the room which hadn't been put in there, but a quick call and it was there within half an hour!Our room was on the 4th floor overlooking the animal sanctuary next door and the hills surrounding. Really good for sunrise and dawn. We saw monkeys in the trees below our room! Amazing.. also heard the howler monkeys at both ends of the day.The room had a huge 6ft bed, and a 4ft bed and still had room for a single roll away. The bathroom had a shower above the bath (which was a little dark when the curtain was drawn as it's in an alcove.On entering the room there is a reasonable large area with the wardrobes on one wall and mini bar opposite, almost like another room.The balcony had a plastic table and a couple of plastic chairs (note, if you sit on them in the sun, sit very straight or the legs give way as the plastic heats up!) It was really pleasant in the early morning sun. I was hoping maybe to sit in the evening but there wasn't an outside light.What seemed to be missing in the room which the hotel next door had was coffee and tea making facilities. Also, the mini bar was only refilled every other day, so had to ask for more if need a top of water or mixers.The pool was huge and there were lots of sun loungers all around, most in shade if you wanted. However, it suffered that blight of people reserving them way before breakfast, and many with towels on all day and no sign of anybody using them.. I wish all that could be dealt with!! The hotel provides pool towels. Due to it being a holiday time in both the UK and USA etc the pool it never seemed really crowded, in fact the hotel didn't even though it was full.The beach was a light grey, not as dark as i was expecting from the descriptions on here. It was never busy either.We only ate in the buffet as it worked well for the children, they loved it. There was a good range every day for the meals and each day was different for the week. It wasn't all chips and pizza etc. The fruit was amazing!Things we was spring break for the USA and Canada so there were large amounts of boisterous groups of young people there who took over the pool bar and sometimes played loud loud music round the pool and nothing was done about this when asked.April is just about the hottest time of the year to go. Constantly in the 95-100s range. Take plenty of sunscreen as the prices in the hotel are eye wincing!!! $38 for what would cost £9 in the UK.Take snacks if you feel you'd like some crisps/chips in your room or on day trips. For instance a large bag of Doritos were $10 the shop!!!!!Make sure you take pool shoes/flipflops/sandals for around the pool and the beach due to the intense sun and heat, the sand and pool surround was burning!After reading on here about taking thermal mugs, to keep drinks cool etc we did just that and what a great suggestion it was. Much better than the little plastic cups supplied round the pool!Trips we took were Nicaragua for the day, yes it's a lot travelling and the border could be a pain but it was so rewarding. We went to Palo Verde for the river boat which was good, and the Sloth adventure thing, which was ok as we saw few. We took the Water taxi to coco beach which was good trip out but there wasn't much there for a family other than bars and souvenir shops, it was a fun couple of hours!Also we went to the animal sanctuary next door, which seems a bit pricey, nearly $100 for the 3 of us for a what was basically a small zoo, luckily they had some interesting animals there!!All in all though those trips cost around a $1100 for the 3 of us!!!!!!!People on here have noted about the behaviour of some children, but we found, maybe it was the parents who should have been kept in check on their behalf! Mine were horrified to see a little girl whizzing around the main buffet dining room one night in Wheely trainers!!!!!! Dangerous for both her and everybody around! And another time, at the pasta bar, a parent was helping a child to food, who then, after seeing a portion put on a plate, that there was some green stuff (god forbid) in the pasta.. the parent them promptly tipped the food back into the serving bowl!!!!!!We had no problems with mosquitos, I usually get eaten alive but had no more than half a dozen bites over 2 weeks.. hardly counts.. probably as its the hot dry season.Souvenirs and crafts were good value along the beach in the car park half way to the Monky bar and the service friendly.The Monky bar was good too, the owner/bar man recognised us a week later after we'd been in the first timeYes we saw monkeys in the trees there too!It was also pleasant due to the no smoking policy (though we got wafts from balcony next door even though prohibited on them too) There appeared quite a nice seating area for smokers outside though.Beware the prices in the airport.. items in the shops aren't all priced and if you have to buy some food there, make sure you have credit card handy or plenty of cash! $6 dollars for a small water. $86 for a burger and chips, pulled pork roll and chips, chicken strips and chips, a small beer and 2 milkshakes to eat in the "fast food restaurant"!All in all though we had an absolute fantastic time and would highly recommend it (maybe avoiding Easter!!!)

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
  • Extra Info
  • 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. cannot be held responsible for any guests who may be removed from the hotel due to a violation of rules. 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. is not responsible for any changes, errors or omissions that may occur.