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
  • jperkin1 : Clovis, California
An enjoyable 5 days:)

My family of 3 (myself, husband and adult daughter), recently returned from a last minute decision to visit Costa Rica, and stayed at this hotel, which we booked through Expedia.We were on vacation, spending time together, so there was nothing to be unhappy about!Our room, on the 3rd floor overlooking the courtyard, was just fine. It was spacious enough for the 3 of us, and the bathroom was also adequate. Bring your own shampoo, conditioner and lotion. There is a dispenser in the shower (combo shampoo and conditioner), but we were glad we had our own. The towels are large and just okay. It is obvious that they are well used!! We never took advantage of the alcohol in the room (we just weren't there that much), but it was nice to have the very large bottles of water replaced on a daily basis. The maid service was great, and we came back to a clean room every day. There are some very hard working people there, constantly cleaning, sweeping, polishing! They do a great job.The dining service was okay. The breakfast buffet covered just about anything anyone could ever want/need. You could order your own omelets, smoothies, eggs however you would like them. There was always fresh fruit, bread, donuts, honestly, I can't imagine anyone could complain about not having something to eat. I would say the same thing about lunch. Lots of salads, hot items (my opinion is that buffet food is pretty much the same everywhere. It's all a huge variety of food cooked, then sits under some lights until it all tastes the same! There's plenty of it though. The nachos are great! Lots of toppings (queso, shredded pork/chicken, guacamole, beans, pico), always a safe bet!There are a few options for dinner. We managed to visit all of them, and they're all okay. Nothing to get to fired up about, but also nothing to complain too much about. Don't go expecting any great wines. They seem to have a standard red and white. The ones in the restaurants seem to be better than the ones served at the bars. We found the bar wines to be undrinkable. One of the reviews here said to ask for premium liquor, that never worked for us, but one can always try!Through Expedia we booked the Palo Verde National Park river excursion and the Sunset cruise. We enjoyed the sunset cruise quite a bit and would definitely recommend. The Palo Verde excursion was not quite how it was described, but it was alright and the lunch provided was one of the best meals we had! Be aware that for the next 6 months or so, there will be some construction on the road, thus adding some time for your commute.We visited the Diamante Eco Adventure Park (there are free shuttles that run back and forth). We did enjoy the afternoon there, horseback riding and visiting the park. None of us were interested in zip lining, but the folks that we spoke with that did it, seemed to enjoy it. We were there just after the hurricane, so the first morning (early) the beach was incredibly covered with debris (driftwood, an amazing amount of lighters, lots of trash). We were amazed how quickly it was all cleaned up. By late morning, you would never have known how much had been washed ashore. We never saw the beach like that again during our stay. There are some very hard workers there! We ventured down to Monky Beach and were glad that we could say that we've been there.... Service was friendly and good, and the food was okay. As mentioned, it was just after the hurricane, so things were most likely a bit off.If you're not looking for gourmet food and wine, this is a nice place to stay. I can't imagine anyone being too disappointed!

  • pkandinov : New York City, New York
Almost Perfect-review of Hotel,food,how to get to Riu,tours and everything you need to know...

I travel a lot to all inclusive resorts and in my review I will try to cover everything you need to know about this hotel...First how to get there-I read few reviews and got some info from them on who to use to get to the resort from the airport Best price I got was $65 one way for a group of 7 (DO NOT USE costa rica for everyone company they confirmed my trip but never showed up) I used local taxi from the airport when above mentioned didn't show up and negotiated same price as the one I got quoted over the internet same driver picked us up from the hotel his name is Carlos you can contact him at actourcr@gmail.com very reliable showed up 20 min earlier to pick us up.trip is about 35 min.now about Riu - One of the most beautiful hotels I stayed at when it comes to grounds(much better by the way than riu palace) Very clean and beautiful outside and inside they clean it (especially bathroom area through the day) Room was very nice and clean BUT make sure to bring your own conditioner if you use one they just have regular soap nothing else(even soap bars we only got 2 for the whole week they never replaced them I had to ask for more(even though I always left tips to cleaning lady)Food--so much variety every day but make sure for breakfast you go to main rest. before 9:30 after that they close some of the stations and not as much variety will be available. I wish they had reservation system for their restaurants because if you not in line at 615 you will not get in unless you wait for few hours but I really didn't care about these restaurants because food in main buffet was awesome...Pool -nice and clean beach - Here is why I rated Riu at 4 stars --if you like white sand and blue waters this is not for you.sand is black (volcanic) but feels nice water was dirty looking but clean and very warm my issue was with beach cleaning...They had big storm in November and every day in afternoon there would be so much junk on the beach that came from the ocean (pieces of furniture with nails sticking out large pieces of wood, plastic etc) and guys that were assigned to cleaning the beach did nothing about it. When my wife asked them if they will clean it they said no they just clean leaves???Very dangerous to walk, they just wait for the ocean to take back junk when water rises.Tours-don't be afraid to book tours with guys on the beach especially Jose and Erik from Costa rica best tours when you arrive make sure to see them they on the right side of the beach wearing pink sweatshirts. Or see Roberto (wearing green shirt) they will have better prices than hotel will(make sure to check prices at the hotel first and then always negotiate) they will provide better service and most of the time for cheaper price you will get private tours, Mega combo tour of Buena vista strongly recommended .Keep in mind most of the attractions aprox 1.5 away but they fixing main road and you may get stuck in traffic for hours(in our case we got stuck for 4 hours in one spot). Do NOT take trip to Nicaragua waste of time and money traffic and border control will kill your day.

  • mccarianp : Chester, United Kingdom
We think it's paradise

I don't usually post comments whilst I'm away but I thought I would break with tradition and write a bit of information for people who are maybe thinking or have booked to stay here 1 - 1 hour coach journey from Liberia airport pretty smooth and nice scenery 2- checkin quick easy they sort your bags for you to allocated room whilst you find your bearings or have a drink 3- rooms are a high standard tastefully furnished spacious for 2 people tv bath shower double sink plenty of clean towels it's a no smoking room and balcony all over the hotel beds are huge pillows a little on the small side but manageable 4- pool area excellent shade ,sun , part sun/shade clean more than plenty of beds and with mattresses so comfortable again no smoking anywhere round the pool 5- beach lovely kept clean by staff and locals again plenty of beds not so comfortable these ones but ok ish as people have said dark volcanic sand and a far slope to water when tide is out be careful a strong current may drag you out a little at high tide 6- food is extensive really all you could think of eating you have it hot tasty and regularly topped up 7- entertainment in the evenings is most professional kids disco at 8 to start then a live show from 9-10 huge seating area and ample amount of tables and chairs for everyone inside and out 8- staff are generally so friendly especially the restaurant staff and the entertainers I've had a few sour faces from the younger bar staff at night like it's a problem to serve you a drink but it's few and far between good variety of branded drinks and cocktails pretty impressed with the general overall service 9- note -smoking is only permitted in certain areas of the hotel a small garden just away from the outside bar and around the back of the daytime restaurant the beach is public so you can smoke at your leisure they are pretty ok with smoking but if caught in your room balcony smoking it's a $300 fine 10- hotel in general is superb it's big and I think it copes more than excellent yes it does have slip ups and gets things wrong but Rui hotels will always try to sort it out asap 11- wildlife is incredible you don't even have to go on a trip to see animals you wouldn't see at home To name a few- dolphins flying skate /rays monkeys iguanas (or similar ) a type of raccoon called Eric butterflies as large as your hand frogs 6 inches long and as fat , birds of all variety large lizards 2 foot long with tail it really has an Abundense of wildlife you will love it 12- as mentioned before boat trip to coco beach $15 return nice day out few shops and bars nice beach but it gives you a little breath of fresh air from the hotel 13- I'm sure there is other stuff I've forgotten to mention but it gives you a idea of possible important things that matter to you

  • DONNYDAVE : Gloucester, United Kingdom

This is our 3rd visit and the hotel is starting to look past it's prime. It's looking very tired, could do with a good makeover.The food as been better, this visit I was a little disappointed with the choice. The a la Carte aren't much better. You don't have to pre book these neither, which means you have to get there early and hope to get in, wasting valuable holiday time. It was much better pre booking, you only had to queue up the once to book a couple at a time. The restaurant staff are very slow at offering drinks. But the bar staff, as usual, are really efficient. The grounds are the opposite to the hotel, they don't look run down, they look fantastic. The groundsmen are probably the hardest working people on the resort, we'll them and the cleaning crew. Great location. As they say......Location, location, location......You can't get much better than this. There's a great natural beach that's long enough to take gentle strolls down and if your lucky you'll seen some great wildlife. We saw monkeys, pelicans, lizards and even a snake.

  • brian w : Gloucester, Massachusetts
Clean and beautiful grounds

We upgraded to an ocean view Jacuzzi suite - #4038. Well worth the extra money. Unfortunately, the elevator was not working most of our week making our trips up and down a bit difficult. The property is meticulously maintained. There is a strange smell near the pool bar as others have noted, not overwhelming, but definitely noticeable. The nightly shows are a bit cheesy, some better than others, but the performers seem to enjoy what they are doing so you have to give them credit for that. Breakfast buffet is pretty good. Lunch buffet no so much. The dinner buffet has something for everyone and is pretty good, the dining room is quite busy though. Our only experience with the a la carte restaurants was the Italian - just OK. The roasted sirloin of beef was pretty much a pot roast over mashed potatoes. For some reason, no one here can cook beef. The beach is better at low tide than high tide. We did get to see the howler monkeys behind the pool bar once. Drinks were all good. No place is perfect, overall it was a good stay. Note that the rooms do not have coffee makers, we brought our own travel pot that I bought for $20 and some coffee and tea bags.

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. 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.