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#1 of 2 small hotels in El Jobo
4.4 of 5 bubbles
4.7 of 5 bubbles
4.7 of 5 bubbles
4.5 of 5 bubbles
Recreo Resort, a 63-acre mountain and beach estate near Playa Rajada is just 1 hour and 30 minutes from Liberia airport. Choose from one of our private villas, all with private pools and ocean views. During the holidays,included in the price of the All-Inclusive package are airport transfers, a villa cook and housekeeper, all meals and beverages, concierge and all onsite activities including kayaking, tennis, mountain biking, hiking, snorkeling and a range of beach activities.
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Property amenities
Free parking
Free High Speed Internet (WiFi)
Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room
Tennis court
Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly)
Business Centre with Internet Access
Outdoor pool
Laundry service
Room features
Air conditioning
Room service
Room types
Non-smoking rooms
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4.0 of 5 stars
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Detailed Reviews
Elida and Ryan Kane wrote a review Feb 2020
Bloomington, Minnesota
5.0 of 5 bubbles
We stayed at a villa, El Cielo Bonito, through Recreo with two other couples. Our house was huge and each couple had their own bathroom. Roomy living area and dining area for gathering and our favorite was the plunge pool overlooking the Pacific.

The location has a lookout point for amazing views and sunsets, a tennis and basketball court and fitness facility for use. There are also a variety of items for use such as coolers, beach chairs, floaties, snorkel gear etc that you can checkout for no additional charge.

Recreo helps you do it all. Our concierge, David, checked on us daily to answer questions, provide us with anything we needed, and helped us to book our excursions and any needed transportation. David was absolutely amazing - because of him we experienced some amazing adventures and he ensured that our stay was nothing short of spectacular.

We did decide to book an in-house chef for the week, and this was the best decision! Only $200 per couple for the week for all cooked (and cleaned up) meals. Carlos was our chef - the food was amazing and he was so kind and helpful. The food at every meal was perfection and we did not go hungry!!
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Date of stay: February 2020Trip type: Travelled with friends
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
John H wrote a review Jan 2022
5.0 of 5 bubbles
We traveled to Costa Rica for the first time as two families with 5 children ages 2,7,8,10, and 17. Recreo was perfect for our 10 day stay. We stayed in Villa 4 which easily accommodated our large group. The location was beautiful. The property and private pool were very well maintained. The entire staff were the epitome of professional top class service; friendly and available but also unintrusive. The pool and residence were cleaned every morning during our stay. There were a lot of activities and adventures within driving distance, and David, the concierge, did a fantastic job arranging the details for all of our excursions. Multiple beaches were within a minute or two drive and Playa Rajada beach was within walking distance if you wanted. Beautiful country to enjoy, and a truly first class place to stay while you do it.
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Date of stay: January 2022Trip type: Travelled with family
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
GRB99 wrote a review Jun 2011
Alexandria, VA
5.0 of 5 bubbles
We stayed in Villa 11, as part of a honeymoon package we purchased on a third party site. We are already planning a return trip next year.

Neither of us had been to Central America before, but we loved it! As some of the other reviews mentioned, Recreo is about 1.5 hours from the airport. It's a secluded destination -- about a 5-minute golf cart ride from the beach. Like most things, it is what you make it. It can be a relaxing, romantic vacation or a total adventure tour. We opted for a mix of both.

Our chefs were fantastic -- great cooks, totally accommodating, and all-around good people. The range of food was excellent, as was the quality. The chefs are a near constant presence in the villa, since they are generally preparing meals all day. We befriended our chefs, so we didn't see it as a nuisance. We also picked up a few cooking tips!

The house was spotless. A cleaner arrived around 9AM most days and was done within an hour.

Mike and the rest of the guest services staff were awesome. I can't say enough good things. We were well taken care of.

The fitness center was clean and adequate. Some of the machines (treadmill and stationary bike) could use updating, but again, I think it's more a function of the resort being in such an isolated location. (Not like there's a Best Buy nearby.)

Useful tips:

-- Reserve the use of a golf cart. It's the primary mode of transportation around the resort.

-- It helps to know a little bit of Spanish to communicate with the staff, otherwise Mike can translate for you.

-- If you plan on doing the tours, I would go on the Nicaragua tour FIRST and visit Rincon later. Rincon is an all-day excursion with four major activities (white water tubing, horseback riding, zip lining, and a visit to the hot springs). Make sure you bring water shoes or strapped sandals for the tubing. Flip-flops will come off, and sneakers will never dry out. Also, bring a towel and a change of clothes. For $40, you can buy a CD of images and video taken by Rincon staff of the zip lining and tubing.

-- We discovered most places in Costa Rica and Nicaragua that take credit cards only take Visa.

-- I think Recreo charges the cost of the tour transportation to your credit card. It's divided by the number of people who go on a particular day. Bring cash to pay the tour guide directly for the cost of the tour.

-- Bring your own insect repellent. Lots of it. The mosquitoes are a force to be reckoned with -- a reality of the jungle.

-- Bring plenty of money (and some small bills) for tips. Though they aren't required or solicited, but you shouldn't count on being able to find an ATM once you arrive.

-- Leave your sense of American entitlement AT HOME! You're visiting a foreign country, you're in the jungle, and you should arrive with appropriate expectations. You'll have an awesome time!

Recreo ranks among our top vacations ever!
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Date of stay: June 2011
5.0 of 5 bubblesValue
5.0 of 5 bubblesCleanliness
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
5.0 of 5 bubblesSleep Quality
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
WorldTravelerLove wrote a review May 2011
San Francisco, California
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Based on the high cost of our stay and the way Recreo was represented to us via phone and on their website, we felt that our experience did not come close – we decided to leave after 3 nights. We were paying over $4000/week for the two of us to stay at villa #5 at Recreo, and at $650/night it certainly did not live up to it’s advertised expectation!

We hope they make improvements, and also lower the price - in which case it could be a great place to stay. We would NOT recommend it for couples, but could be a good option for large groups or families, again if the price were lower and some changes were made.

The Pros: The staff – Ricardo, Mike, Corey our "Chef", and every person we encountered was very very nice, warm and welcoming. The location is VERY remote (great if you want that experience). Spider Monkeys visited us regularly right outside our balcony. The overlook from the "bar" area was breathtaking. The grounds were very peaceful and zen-like. We stayed in Villa 5 and had a lovely pool.

The Cons: We are not going to be "those" people who complain about ants or wasps (you're in the rain forest, it's a given). Or be “those” people who seem ungrateful or impossible to please. We have traveled extensively throughout the world, and have stayed in both Luxury Four Seasons Suites, as well as budget condos, and everything in between. Here were our thoughts and observations.

The Chef: Recreo is advertised as having a private chef. With all due respect, to call Corey a “chef” was far from the truth. She is a lovely woman who lives in the nearby town. But, the meals that she prepared were extremely basic. We could have done much better just cooking for ourselves.

Food Quality: We were expecting, based on the website and reviews, to have a variety of fresh food available to us. When we arrived we were greeted with homemade salsa, ripe fruit, and juice which was nice. Our refrigerator was stocked with some fruit, some vegetables, and some frozen items (fish, meat, shrimp). And there were fruit on the counter (a couple of pineapples, bananas, etc).

A lot of the food/fruit was opened. And a lot of it was very very ripe on day 1. There were tons of cheese/sour cream items, even though we indicated we didn’t eat dairy. There were packages of ham and cheese that looked pretty stale. Some tomatoes/cucumbers that looked close to going bad. And one half bag of wheat bread. Apart from one bad of tortilla chips, there were no other snacks/cookies in the house. And most importantly the meat, fish and seafood in the freezer was covered in freezer burn and the meat looked like it was going bad. There was no fresh meat/fish, all was frozen.

We didn’t think anything of it, because we assumed new and fresh items would be coming in. However, we quickly understood that Recreo was VERY remote, and getting food to the resort was not a daily occurance. The food that was in our villa was the food we were “allotted” and the “chef” would work with what she had.

One day Corey made us chicken fajitas for lunch with homemade guacamole. They were pretty good! However I later got sick from the guacamole and discovered that she used sour cream and some kind of lemon mayonnaise. Also we saw her defrost a large bag of chicken breasts, take two out, and re-freeze the rest of the entire bag! We would never do this at home, and it made us wonder how many times that bag of chicken had been or would be defrosted and re-frozen! We also saw her do this with a bag of frozen fish fillets. On our third day, we took an excursion and were gone all day, so Corey didn’t have to make us breakfast or lunch. We were greeted with the following dinner: Steamed broccoli, cauliflower, carrot, steamed white rice, one baked chicken breast, and for dessert: two slices of canned pineapple with a cherry – not what we expected from what they advertise!

By day 2 the bananas had gone black, and Corey used them to make banana pancakes, which were pretty tasty, but again very overripe so hard to eat. And by day 3, the tomatoes cucumbers, strawberries, papaya, pineapple were completely rotten and moldy, and were not being replaced! The entire bag of wheat bread had disappeared (most likely to another villa) which was a shame because that was our back-up breakfast. So on the morning of our excursion, we ate a few bites of very ripe fruit and some stale tortilla chips that we found in the kitchen.

Privacy: There was little to no expectation of privacy here. We were staying as a couple, however, Mike/Ricardo/Cleaning staff and Corey would “stop by” or come in unannounced constantly. The first day, Corey was in the villa the entire day – cooking, cleaning up, cooking again, cleaning up, sitting on the veranda, talking on the phone, kicking her feet up, cooking again, cleaning again. When we asked Mike about this, we were told that “she had no other place to go”, but if we wanted, he could have her picked up and she could wait at another villa and then be brought back to cook for us at meal times. We felt awful about this!!! But at the same time we were not prepared to share our vacation with a stranger. So we asked his to do this. We also asked that the next morning no one come in until 9:30am (because cooking was VERY loud and we wanted to sleep in). Sure enough, the next morning, with no knocking on the door, the door swings open at 8am, and Corey (unintentionally) wakes us right up.

Spa: There is no spa, and the spa services listed on the website do not exist. A lovely masseuse, Luci, came to our villa and gave us a great massage – a general Swedish massage. If you would like a facial treatment, it’s a separate person. They are only at the villa on certain days, not every day. This was a gross misrepresentation on their website.

Location: The location is REMOTE and there is an unpaved bumpy road leading to and from the resort. This adds at least $100 to any excursion or any time you want to leave/return to Recreo. Also it adds at least 1.5 hours travel time to get to almost any excursion!!! If you’re in a group of 8 people, it’s not a big deal, but if you are a couple staying, this could add considerable costs to your stay and enjoyment of Costa Rica. Again, this was grossly misrepresented.

Lack of Organization: As an example: Ricardo came to our suite and discussed excursions for 1 hour and 15 minutes. He told us about the excursions verbally, and honestly, after 1:15, we were ready to just be left alone and relax. He said things like, “this excursion is better for you” but he didn’t bring any pamphlets, photos, descriptions or a binder with him. We later learned, that if we had just gone down to the main office, many of those things (as well as internet!) were available to us, yet he didn’t bring anything with him and didn’t mention it!

Isolated: The resort is remote. The main transportation is via golf carts. If you would like one, it’s $40/day of an added charge, or you can ask to be picked up and dropped off. This seemed annoying to us, because we were heavily reliant on other people picking us up. Also, there was no internet/wifi available (which was fine) but there was also no phone. There were short wave radios that could be used, but they did not work most of the time. They radioed to the security booth (where they spoke no English) and the security would then walk over ot the main officeto get Mike/Ricardo and then they would hop in their carts and come on over (since the radio didn’t work). It was pretty clear that if anything happened (a fall, scorpion bite, spider monkey attack (kidding!) you were pretty much on your own!

Also, there were no paper towels, tissues, soap, shampoo/conditioner in the villa. So we would recommend bringing your own. Again for us, paying $650/night, it seemed crazy that those basic things were not provided.

In conclusion, we learned, that we would have gladly traded having a “private chef” and our laundry done daily for fresh high quality meals and a little bit of privacy! So we moved to another resort, and had a lovely remainder of our vacation. We rely heavily on trip advisor and wanted to take the time to provide this honest review.
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Date of stay: April 2011
1.0 of 5 bubblesValue
3.0 of 5 bubblesRooms
3.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
4.0 of 5 bubblesCleanliness
1.0 of 5 bubblesService
3.0 of 5 bubblesSleep Quality
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Response from recreo, Manager at Recreo
Responded Jun 3, 2011
Thank you for your comments about the beauty of the resort and the surrounding area and the hospitality of our staff. We take each review very seriously and are thankful that you took the time to detail your experience here. We also think it is important for future guests to read honest reviews and would like to take the opportunity to address some of your comments here as well. We apologize that it was not made more clear to you that Recreo is located in a very remote location. Because you booked your vacation through a third party company, we are looking into ways in which we can better educate people on the remoteness of the property through our partner’s websites. We try to be as upfront as possible regarding the location of the resort and we believe that while this is not for everyone, those who are looking for a truly authentic Costa Rican experience are not disappointed. We understand that after leaving Recreo after only 3 days, you booked a stay at a large all inclusive chain south of Recreo and we feel that had we had the opportunity to better understand your expectations, we could have also suggested that this would have been a better match for your vacation. We feel that reimbursing you for the days that you did not stay with us as well as not charging you for the private golf cart or the transportation for the day trip to Nicaragua, which you also expressed your dissatisfaction with, was a fair gesture and we hope you feel the same. We feel your comments are unfair regarding the food as there was also fresh meat and seafood in your villa and our staff examined the vegetables that you brought to our attention while onsite and they did not agree that they were rotten, but ripe as a lot of the recipes that we use call for ripe produce, like the banana pancakes. We also want to point out that the reason why dairy products were stocked in your villa was because you stated in your food preference form that you did want these items for dessert. Here is what you wrote on the food form, “We have a minor allergy to dairy so no cheese, no cream/milk, but it's ok for desserts, etc.”. We want to point out that you also told our onsite staff that you did not want to have the chef in the villa towards the end of your trip and wanted to make your own breakfast as it was a tradition in your family which was unexpected. Had we known from the beginning that you wanted to make your own meals, we may have been able to provide you with a more detailed supply of all of the ingredients that you use in preparing your own food as there are inevitably differences between what our chefs cook with to prepare the meals that they serve and what you would serve at home for yourself. There are always self serve snacks available to all of our guests stocked in the villa such as cookies, crackers and chips and fruit and the chef is always happy to prepare snacks for your enjoyment as well. Upon welcoming each guest to recreo, the onsite concierge will explain that the cook will be with them throughout the day preparing all meals and is available to prepare snacks and serve beverages by the pool if desired. Guests have the option to have the chef prepare and serve each meal and then leave if that is what they would like. It should be noted that you originally chose to have Corey stay in the villa, but then changed your mind, which we happily obliged and explained that there is an employee common area that she could go to in between meals. All the members of our onsite staff are from the local community that we are so proud to be a part of. Most of our staff live locally and have been with us for years, are extensively trained and take great pride in their work. We are sorry that your experience was contrary to our efforts and are looking into ways in which we can improve our training program and level of service to each of our guests. Regarding our spa services, we are sorry that you feel that we misrepresented our services, but we do want to clarify that all of the treatments on our website and on the spa services menu are available and most of our guests frequently enjoy the massages as well as the facial treatments in the privacy of their villa or in our boutique spa room. You are correct in saying that the masseuse and spa staff are not onsite full time, but if a guest would like to have one of these treatments, they can make an appointment and one of our very competent partners will be onsite at the appropriate time to indulge them. We are not sure why you mention that there were no bath products as all villas are stocked with organic shampoo, conditioner and soap. Had you brought it to our attention that you had run out of these items, we would have gladly replaced them. All of our villas come with complimentary wireless internet access for guests that bring their computers and there is a computer for your use in the welcome center. We take the safety of our guests very seriously and in case of an emergency as you mention, the short wave radios are used for you to communicate with the staff as well as for the staff to communicate with each other. We have used this method of communication for years and it is very effective. There is a clinic in La Cruz, 20 minutes from Recreo. There is also a hospital in Liberia (1 hour from Recreo). In addition, the staff at Recreo has been trained in CPR and emergency response. There is also the option of helicopter life flight from Recreo in case of a serious emergency. All in all, we do believe that the concept and the services and amenities that we offer at Recreo were not a match for your expectations and we are sorry for your experience.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
JamesH2020 wrote a review Nov 2015
Boston, Massachusetts
1.0 of 5 bubbles
I've been to Costa Rica on several occasions with my family over the last 8 years and this trip was very disappointing. Recreo was NOT a luxury resort.... It wasn't even an average resort. We felt like we were tricked and were very disappointed in the whole experience.

There are plenty of other places in Costa Rica to stay. Save your money and go elsewhere. Consider yourself warned.
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Date of stay: March 2015Trip type: Travelled with family
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Tx_s0ccer_m0m wrote a review Jul 2011
Plano, Texas
5.0 of 5 bubbles
This is an amazing place to vacation, IF you have realistic expectations. We wanted a relaxing vacation for the whole family (including a 9 yr old boy and a 14 yr old girl), with great experiences and very little hassle. Recreo provided exactly what we wanted. If you want a rousing night life, sterile surroundings (i.e. no bugs), and 5-star gourmet meals a la The French Room, then this is not the place for you. I dont even know where to start to describe how wonderful we thought Recreo was - bear with me as I try to do the place justice.
First, the staff. Without exception, everyone we met at Recreo was friendly, helpful, and welcoming. Mike was fantastic, from the first meeting and showing us around our villa, to responding to eveyr request we had. He stopped in at least once a day to ask what we wanted to do that day or if we needed anything. When we did ask for something, it was provided promptly and with a smile. For example, my son is allergic to dairy and we noticed that 2 of the 3 cookie types provided for snacks had dairy. So we asked if they could provide a few more packages of the Oreos, which my son loves. We expected 2 - 3 snack packages. The next day there were 24 packages waiting for him! We asked for a different type of deck chair for my husband who is quite tall. Voila, they were there the next morning. My son asked for a coconut - they brought us a dozen! I got a splinter in my foot that I couldn't remove and asked the maid if she had a needle. she didn't, but after a few moment's thought, she went out and brought back a thorn from a bush that was as sharp as any needle I've seen and worked perfectly. Our chef, Evlin (spelling?) was almost like a family member. His meals were great (more on the food later), and my son actually cried a bit when we had to say goodbye at the end of our trip. He still talks about him. The guys who chauffered the golf carts and helped set up equipment on the beach were great. Every staff member we met at Recreo provided the best service.
The food. Well, as I said earlier, if you want gourmet, plated meals like you would get at The French Room, your expectations may be out of whack. If you want delicious, well-prepared meals that are ready whenever you say you want them to be, then this is the place. Everything Evlin prepared for us was delicious (his salsa and gallo pinto were amazing). Fresh fruit (pineapple, mango, watermelon, papaya) and fruit smoothie-type drinks with every meal. He accommodated my son's dairy allergy and my shellfish allergy without fail. The rest of the family had amazing lobster tails for three of their meals, while I had beef or chicken. Local dishes like the gallo pinto were fantastic. And the tres leches cake and coconut flan - mmmmm! Evlin had coffee ready for us every morning and also packed us a cooler for the beach with whatever we wanted and made a great snack (fruit, chips and salsa) every day. He cleaned up after every meal, we never had to lift a finger. My son adored him and hung out with him in the kitchen, and they taught each other Spanish and English respectively.
The facilities - We stayed in Villa 11 which was amazing, in beautiful surroundings and with a plunge pool that was perfect for us. Each child had their own bedroom and bathroom, all the bedrooms were air-conditioned, and also had iPod hookups. The showers were huge, and there was plenty of hot water. The downstairs had a dining area and a little sitting area that was very comfortable. The living room upstairs had two large lounging areas and a flat screen tv that worked great for us. We brought lots of movies on the iPad to watch (and the villa had wi-fi internet access too), although there are also a few English satellite channels. The only complaint I had about that area was that is was not air conditioned, although it did have a ceiling fan. It got warm, but not unbearably so. The only other thing about the villas that some people have mentioned is that they DO get bugs. You're in the jungle people! That said, other than mosquito bites, the bugs did not bother us. Yes, we saw lots of spiders, moths, millipedes, but they generally kept to themselves, and never caused us any problems (but you have to keep the doors shut at night if you have the lights on inside!). We did also see two scorpions (outside the villa) . The geckos are your friends (they eat mosquitos!) We also saw some wonderful wildlife. Beautiful butterflies by the dozen all around the pool and beach. We saw kapuchin monkeys almost every day - sometimes as close as 10 feet away! They played and ate in the trees right outside our villa, and even played on the roof of the villa! We also saw spider monkeys nearby, and colorful lizards.
The beach - it was like living in a Corona commercial. Most days we had the beach completely to ourself or maybe with 2 or 3 other people. On the most crowded day there were 11 people total (including us 4). Wide, soft sand. Some shaded areas. Recreo provides a beach staffer who sets up your lounge pads, provides kayaks, life jackets, snorkel gear, boogie boards, etc. The family went kayaking, snorkeling and boogie boarding almost every day. The kids also went horseback riding on the beach and around the resort (horses and guide provided by Recreo).
The tours - we went on the day trip to Rincon and ziplined, rode horses, did river tubing, and went to the mudbath/hot springs. All of it was great, with an English-speaking guide provided by Recreo to guide you through the different activities. Just remember to bring your money. The transportation is added to your Recreo bill, but you pay for the tour at the tour site. We stupidly left our money at Recreo, but Norman (the guide) arranged for Recreo to be billed for our tours, so we wouldn't have to miss out. It is a 2-hour drive from the resort, so not exactly conducive to retrieving forgotten items! While the transportation can be expensive, it is understandable because the driver, guide and van are required for the entire day (about 12 hours from start to finish).
Last but not least, Recreo is isolated, about a 2 hour drive from Liberia, half an hour of which is on a bumpy dirt road. The dirt road part does not make for a pleasant drive, although not horrible either. The isolation is something we came to Recreo for. It's off the beaten path, with no touristy night life whatsoever. Not very many other people to socialize with (or be annoyed by). You don't have to get dressed up or decide what restaurant to go to. We each only brough 3 or so outfits, ALL completely casual. The maid did laundry when we needed her to (wow!), and we mostly wore our bathing suits or just lounged in shorts and tshirts. I got more reading done, and enjoyed the family time without the distractions of housekeeping, video games, cell phones, traffic, etc.
Sorry to be so long-winded (even though I left a lot out!), but wanted you to really get a picture of what this place is about. We absolutely loved it and we'd return here in an instant.
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Date of stay: June 2011
5.0 of 5 bubblesValue
5.0 of 5 bubblesCleanliness
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
5.0 of 5 bubblesSleep Quality
Trip type: Travelled with family
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Goheels98 wrote a review May 2009
Charlotte, North Carolina
5.0 of 5 bubbles
I stayed at Recreo for five nights in May with 4 friends (all females, early 30s). This was the first time that any of us had been to Costa Rica. Overall, we had a great time and Recreo was a big part of that. Many of the positives have been mentioned by other reviewers and I’ll add a few things along those lines. However, I will share information about a few things that haven’t been mentioned, but that you should keep in mind before booking and/or in preparation for a trip to Recreo.

The staff at Recreo is excellent all around – from reservations, to the concierge, to the chef…and everyone in between. There were very few guests while we were there, so most of the staff was dedicated to making our stay perfect. Even if they’d had more guests, I’m sure the service would have been just as good. Whether it was just a morning at the beach or an extended day trip, every single thing was customized to meet our needs. Perfection!

Ricardo, the concierge, stopped by several times a day to make sure that things were going well and to follow up on various issues (i.e. – one group member’s lost luggage). One friend had a birthday coming up right after the trip, so we asked if they could do anything for that. They said that they would help us to surprise her by arranging for her to get a massage and by providing a birthday cake (prepared by the chef). We knew that in advance, but when the day of the celebration arrived, they also hung a “Happy Birthday” banner and decorated the living area with balloons. Small touches like this are the types of things that the staff did again and again to make our trip great.

Our chef was very sweet and she kept us happy and full the entire time with her delicious cooking. On our last night, she went out with a bang and prepared 7 different dishes in addition to the birthday cake. Of course, we started missing her the moment we left Recreo to head home. :)

We were in Villa #7 which was great and was well-represented in the pictures. The villa had outstanding views and plenty of space for our group. While the other three bedrooms were slightly smaller than the master bedroom, all were well furnished with nice, modern bathrooms.

My only complaint about the villa is one that may not be an issue for all – there is no air conditioning in the common areas. I realize that this is a personal issue, but I really do not like being hot while trying to relax indoors…I need Freon, not a fan. :) When I arrived, I was somewhat surprised to find that there was no A/C in the common areas because there was no indication of this in any of the literature (in fact, A/C availability is something I typically look for first when selecting accommodations). While I eventually got somewhat used to it, the lack of A/C did slightly reduce my love of the villa since we spent a lot of time in the common areas. Thankfully, we did have A/C in the bedrooms though. Would I have opted against Recreo had I known this up front? Probably not since there were so many other good things offered here. I might’ve gotten over it faster with a little advance warning though.

The houses are very secluded as each one is tucked away on the side of the mountain. Recreo’s guests are definitely afforded plenty of privacy at each villa.

We arrived at the end of the dry season, so the surroundings were not lush and green yet. I’m sure it looks fabulous in the green season though…but we did not regret missing out on the daily rain showers.

Regarding the beach, I did not set my expectations too high beach because I’d read that the beaches in Costa Rica are of varying quality, particularly on the Pacific side. However, the main beach at Recreo was beautiful. It was overcast on our first day, so we did not spend a ton of time at the beach. However, as the weather cleared more and more each day, the beach got better and better. Water visibility was excellent for our last day and we had a great time relaxing in the calm and clear water for a good part of the day.

Since we were only there for 5 nights, we only opted to participate in one excursion as a group – the adventure tour at Hacienda Guachipelin/Rincon de la Vieja. After reading the reviews online, some of us were hesitant because the canopy tour description seemed a little more strenuous than what we were interested in. There is another option at Buena Vista that we asked about and that seemed a little tamer, but we ended up going to Hacienda Guachipelin anyway. I will say that we absolutely LOVED Hacienda Guachipelin! This, in spite of the fact that some of us were still trying to figure out how to opt out of parts of the canopy tour as we got our safety briefing. I have not been to any other canopy tours, so I cannot compare them. However, I think this one was excellent. The staff was very helpful and accommodating and they ALWAYS kept safety first, which is very important. The actual tour was in a beautiful setting and was filled with a variety of activities. If you really do not want to do any part, you can likely skip it. However, as one who was hesitant to do the rock climbing and what was described as a “bungee jump”, I ended up doing it all and loving it. I did, however, ask for a little extra help with the rock climb, and they graciously agreed to pull the rope more so I could climb less. Ha, ha! They were very good at meeting the needs of our group – whether it was providing more of an adrenaline rush or more of a helping hand.

We did not do the horseback riding, but we did do the river tubing. That was another great part of the day. The tubing provided a relaxing float mixed in with a fast-paced ride on the rapids. Again, the staff worked very hard to free people’s tubes from rocks, push them along the river if they drifted out of the current, etc.

After the tubing, we had lunch and did the mud baths/hot springs. Lunch was decent, though not necessarily better than what our chef made for us daily. The mud baths/hot springs were ok, but though these things are clearly in different categories, I think that the group enjoyed the canopy tour and tubing better.

During the excursion to Hacienda Guachipelin, you will have an opportunity to get one of their photographers to follow you around and take pictures and video of your group. I highly suggest this. Aside from the fact that you won’t have time to take pictures…and probably don’t want to risk losing your camera in the rain forest or the river…the photographers are able to capture pictures from angles you’d never be able to get. The images were very high quality and they also took some great videos. We got a few hundred pictures and a handful of videos. Gotta have the proof to show friends and family! This was the best $10 I spent on the trip ($50 total for the DVD).

During the trip, I also went diving one day. I am the only certified diver in the group, so I went out alone with the divemaster (no other tourists on the dive). The diving was slightly more expensive than other places I’ve been ($115 + tip for a two-tank dive), but it wasn’t outrageous. I was actually pleasantly surprised by the dive. All of my diving has been in the Caribbean and while I was excited to dive in the Pacific Ocean, I got the general impression that diving isn’t on the list of top attractions for Costa Rica. Accordingly, my expectations were pretty low. Visibility was not great, but decent. I ended up seeing some interesting fish in addition to a couple of morays, a couple of manta rays, and a cool turtle. So, I was glad that I ended up deciding to dive during the trip.

Just a few things to keep in mind regarding Recreo:
•Pack less – I am a pretty heavy packer, but after the last vacation that included laundry service, I realized that I didn’t need so much stuff. I carried on for this vacation and only packed about 3 outfits and 4 swimsuits. Aside from what I traveled in, I ended up only wearing an outfit on one occasion (for zip lining). I only wore three swimsuits – would’ve only worn two, but brought an old one that could get dirty for the mud baths. The rest of the time it was PJs/loungewear around the villa. There’s nowhere to go and no one to impress, so no need to bring a lot.

•Entertainment – this is pretty much nonexistent. The lack of entertainment is not necessarily a bad thing, but do note that there’s no nearby nightlife to speak of. So any entertainment you desire should be brought with you – either people and/or activities. We brought a few DVDs and spent most evenings chatting for a while after dinner. However, for the most part, we were in bed by 9pm or 10pm each night. Of course, we were also up pretty early in the mornings as the sun rises fairly early.

•“Nature” – this was our umbrella nickname for the many varieties of creatures that we found in the villa. Though the villas are beautiful, they are still in a very natural environment, so expect salamanders/lizards, spiders, baby scorpions, and even some unidentifiable multi-legged visitors. None of it proved to be harmful, but we’re not very “outdoorsy” (thus the desire for a villa and a chef!), so it did take a little getting used to. We eventually made jokes about it though. Just a heads up!

•Location – Recreo is about a 10 min drive from a very small town which is about a 10 min drive from a slightly larger small town. All 20 of those minutes are spent on very bumpy dirt roads. I really don’t know how far Recreo is from other attractions/excursions (i.e. – Arenal), but it was maybe 1.5 hrs. from the canopy tour. I heard that surfing was about 2.5 hrs. away (one way, I believe). I think Nicaragua may be closer as it is supposed to only be 20km away. However, depending on where you are going, I’m not sure if Recreo is the best place for the more typical “driving tour” type of Costa Rican vacation. Well, unless you just pick Recreo for a few nights of a longer, multi-stop driving vacation. I personally would not want to set up shop at Recreo and spend ~4hrs.+ per day driving to and from different activities because that would be wasting a fairly significant portion of the vacation. Recreo is fine if, like us, you are content to relax on the beach and only plan to venture out a couple of times during your stay. However, if you want to experience a different adventure outside of the resort each day, plan to spend a lot of time in transit.

Again, we had a great time at Recreo. It is definitely the perfect place to go to get away from it all and to get pampered while doing it.
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Date of stay: May 2009
5.0 of 5 bubblesValue
5.0 of 5 bubblesRooms
4.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
5.0 of 5 bubblesCleanliness
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
Trip type: Travelled with friends
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
JPWatpitt wrote a review Feb 2015
Tulum, Mexico
4.0 of 5 bubbles
The only small downside (which is not really a downside bur stopped me from giving this a five star rating is the lack of a restaurant. Now there are some close-by but this is a truly out of the way place (although for how much longer is not clear). The villas are all excellent and each has its own private pool. Ours was had beautiful views of the ocean and bay and our morning walks were very energetic (this is quite the hilly place)!. I would urge anyone looking for a quite and lovely place to relax and get away from it all to consider this place. Terrifically helpful staff as well. Take note that there is a large resort going in family close by. Good thing or bad thing who knows just an FYI

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Date of stay: March 2014
4.0 of 5 bubblesRooms
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
5.0 of 5 bubblesSleep Quality
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
bhayesparty wrote a review Apr 2012
San Francisco, California
5.0 of 5 bubbles
I am well traveled and truly can say this area is one of the most beautiful places I have seen. We stayed in Villa 11 which was essentially a gorgeous, luxury home in the heart of the Coastal Jungle. Prior to going, having never been, I was a little nervous for the “critters” you hear about in Costa Rica. I was very pleasantly surprised that nothing bothered me in the least. Yes there are some wasps but they did not bother us, and I found the little lizards to be quite cute. Never saw a big flying bug or spider. There are mosquitos at night so it’s a good idea to bring some spray. There was always something to do, and I found the trip to be the perfect balance of relaxation and adventure. Day 1 we did the Nicaraguan Day tour with Norman which was fantastic. Favorite parts were the viewpoint at one of the lakes as well as climbing up the volcano. Was perfect amount of time (full day) to truly feel like I experienced the country. Granada, a lovely town rooted in Spanish history, had a fantastic hotel and is a great place to stop for a quick beer (Tona, they are the best). Also the boat ride was fantastic, was perfect for seeing a ton of monkeys but at a nice distance. Was a GREAT day.
Day 2 started off with tennis, we live in a big city and made jokes as we approached the wide open court that it would be a long wait to get on (usually the standard). Then we had a pool day, the pool on the property is fantastic and perfect for spending an afternoon or evening.
Day 3 we hit the beach, we used the kayaks that are free of charge for Recreo, and then boogie boarded, both of which were super fun and the weather was perfect.
This propery offers so many options of activities, places to explore (via golf cart) and then we always an took an afternoon swim. Evenings were spent at the pool or sitting listening to waves crash on the beach, and we also went up to the top tiki bar for sunset a couple times which was absolutely stunning. The service that comes along with the property it was great. Staff came in and cleaned while we were gone and the property was always spotless. Our chef was super nice and made great meals, including chicken fajitas, guacamole, lobster tail, paella, and lots of fresh fruit. The coffee was great every morning and I ate more fruit than I usually do which is a plus, was delicious. The day we went to the beach our chef packed us a cooler with ice, fruit and waters. I’ve read some people with mixed reviews on food, I have eaten some excellent meals in my life and can say that the food is very good and I enjoyed all my meals. One do-not-miss thing is the local restaurant down the road from Recreo –must try the ceviche and locally caught fish.
In summary: if you are an adventurous person with an appreciation for natural beauty, yet enjoy a more luxurious setting, you will love Villa 11 at Recreo. I appreciated the privacy of the property as well, I have to constantly interact with people both for work as well as socially, and this was the perfect place to decompress and spend quality time with someone special. It was the perfect change of pace and truly the perfect vacation. Cannot wait to go back.
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Date of stay: April 2012
5.0 of 5 bubblesValue
5.0 of 5 bubblesRooms
5.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
5.0 of 5 bubblesCleanliness
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
5.0 of 5 bubblesSleep Quality
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
Room Tip: Villa 11! Next time am going to go back with friends so they can see how great this place is.
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
R P wrote a review Oct 2011
Houston, Texas
5.0 of 5 bubbles
My wife and I stayed in Villa 2 for 3 days and were very impressed. We travel a lot and are always looking for something different, but fun. Recreo was both and much more. Why spend time at a restaurant when you can have your own exclusive chef? .... unbelievable! Our chef was Caliche and he was worth every penny. He made eating fun and was very interesting to talk to, and he was never uncomfortable for my wife. Very courteous, neat, reservedly friendly, and outstanding meals. The property is vertical, as on the side of a mountain. Incredible views and a great beach at the bottom of the hill. We met other vacationers who all agreed the property and the chef concept were well worth the trip. We'll return soon! The staff of Michael, Christine, and David were very informative, helpful, and spoke very clear English, which helps a lot. Make a trip to Recreo. You'll be very surprised by the wonderful experience! Also, do the zip-line tour with River tubing and horseback riding. It's the best we've ever been on!
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Date of stay: October 2011
5.0 of 5 bubblesValue
5.0 of 5 bubblesRooms
4.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
5.0 of 5 bubblesCleanliness
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
5.0 of 5 bubblesSleep Quality
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
Room Tip: Pick the Villa that suits your needs. There's several to choose from.
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Jeanette L wrote a tip May 2017
6 contributions3 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
"Best Views, Great service"
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Zipotesx5 wrote a tip Sep 2015
Barrie230 contributions93 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
"Villa 7 is a 4 bedroom with amazing view. The higher on the mountain, the better the view."
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Bilgewax wrote a tip Apr 2015
Kansas City, Missouri59 contributions34 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
"Call and discuss the pros and cons of the various homes w/ someone from Recreo before you select one. That way you make sure you get one that works best for you. They're all different."
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Lily H wrote a tip Dec 2014
Ohio1 contribution4 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
"All of the villas are amazing.. just depends on how many people that are traveling in the group to see which villa would work best."
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Amanda C wrote a tip Aug 2014
Naples, Florida10 contributions3 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
"We have stayed in two villas and they were both wonderful."
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Recreo - Reviews & Photos

Frequently Asked Questions about Recreo
Which popular attractions are close to Recreo?
Nearby attractions include Surfari Del Mar (1.0 km), Playa Rajada (1.1 km), and Playa Copal (6.9 km).
What are some of the property amenities at Recreo?
Some of the more popular amenities offered include free wifi, a pool, and a fitness centre.
Is parking available at Recreo?
Yes, free parking is available to guests.
What are some restaurants close to Recreo?
Conveniently located restaurants include The Naked Indian Bar, Tatay Cafe Restaurante And Seafood, and Restaurante La Copaleña.
Are there opportunities to exercise at Recreo?
Yes, guests have access to a pool and a fitness centre during their stay.
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