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New to Costa Rica Forum - A Few Questions

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Hamilton
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240 posts
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New to Costa Rica Forum - A Few Questions

Hi, we are thinking of coming to Costa Rica for the first time next February, 2013 for 2 weeks. We have been to Panama the last 2 years and would like to try a different country this time.

The resort we are looking at is the Riu Guanacaste. It sounds like a resort we would really like and it is only about 35-40 minutes from the airport - which is so appealing to us as compared sometimes to 2 hours or more.

We know the beach is on the Pacific side and it is not white sand and crystal clear (just like Panama) and is very hot to walk on, but is there a lot of walking we could do and is it safe to do so?

Would the construction of the Riu next door be completed before next February?

Do they use the C.R. currency or the U.S. dollar?

Just a few questions (I know there will be more from me later) to get me started and thank you to all that respond.

Happy Traveling - Ron

Hamilton
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240 posts
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1. Re: New to Costa Rica Forum - A Few Questions

Hi again C.R. lovers. After scrolling down and reading a few earlier posts on the RIU, I might be rethinking my choice for C.R. Thank you for all the info on the RIU and I will definitely check up on all info I can find on this company and this resort in C.R. Thank you for all the people who care about this planet and the environment in which we live.

Happy Traveling - Ron

Slovenia
Destination Expert
for Costa Rica
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14,034 posts
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2. Re: New to Costa Rica Forum - A Few Questions

Tigercats good that you have checked up the issues with RIU yet you should only rethink the choice of the hotel, not the choice of the country. They are working hard on preserving their natural habitat, have many different type of lodgings available, and I am sure you will find Costa Rica to be a fascinating destination.

Costa Rica
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25,655 posts
25 reviews
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3. Re: New to Costa Rica Forum - A Few Questions

If you are looking for an AI, just google and you will find a good list. Be sure to avoid the RIU -- and thanks for your awareness and caring about Costa Rica.

You don't really need an AI for Costa Rica. There is all kinds of lodging of all prices.

Some suggestions: El Pacifico in Playas del Coco, Sugar Beach Hotel, Capitan Suizo in Tamarindo and for the "small-town" feel - Samara Beach. www.samarabeach.com The nearby Playa Carrillo has one of the most beautiful beaches in Costa Rica.

Most acknowledge that the best AI in Costa Rica is the Westin Playa Conchal. Also take a look at Punta Islita - so beautiful.

Thanks again and let us know if we can help you with anything.

San Jose, Costa Rica
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46,026 posts
32 reviews
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4. Re: New to Costa Rica Forum - A Few Questions

Great that you are taking in consideration the opinion of many concern people about RIU...only one person at this forum will highly recommend that place and the reason is they pay him or her a big fat commision as travel agents...also he or she spend a few time there for free...thank you !

roadadivcsor

Central Penna
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155 posts
29 reviews
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5. Re: New to Costa Rica Forum - A Few Questions

Personally, I think you miss the whole essence of what Costa Rica has to offer by staying in an AI resort. Everything is kind of sterile and fake. Your money goes to some huge corporation not the little guy. Nothing is better than having a meal at the local soda, sitting along side the locals and taking in the real Costa Rica. Walking a private beach isn't the same as walking any of the public beaches. By trying to find a resort close to the airport, you miss 99% of whats available in this country. I guess its just a matter of what your looking for, an expensive luxury Disney style vacation or a chance to see a couple or so different areas and see how each area is so different from the other. Beaches, cloud forests, volcanos and so much more. Either way, have a great trip.....Pura Vida

Punta Uva, Costa...
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for Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
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10 reviews
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6. Re: New to Costa Rica Forum - A Few Questions

Sometimes staying in a AI resort keeps you in too much of a bubble, if you want to visit Costa Rica for its beauty is best to split your time and see different areas of the country depending on how much time your vacations is

Punta Arenas, Costa...
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71 posts
78 reviews
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7. Re: New to Costa Rica Forum - A Few Questions

The resorts of Guanacaste are all very nice and one thing that is great about this area is that while two hours may seem like a long distance to travel, what you find at the other end is from another world! Breathtaking empty beaches! Try also looking into hotels/full service luxury rentals (VRBO) in the towns adjacent to the resort communities to find very charming and authentic retreats. Two weeks is plenty of time to also allow you to visit another part of the country like the cloud forest of Monteverde!

Anchorage, Alaska
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580 posts
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8. Re: New to Costa Rica Forum - A Few Questions

ACTUALLY....NOT TRUE ON THE RIU TOTALLY! I know several people who have gone to the Riu and LOVED it.. and I myself am going in September. There is a vendetta against the Riu because of issues during their construction with the environment. (That they are trying to rectify)..however the resort itself is great. I think the thing is you need to consider is what type of vacation do you want? It is indeed further away from things so many tours are a good 90 minute to two hour commute. It is not "close" to shopping so that is something to consider. I myself like to lay at the resort most of the time and take a few day trips. It works for me. If you are going to see the country and are on limited time this may not be the resort for you. If you want great service, decent food and fun and dont mind the remote location I say... try it. It doesn't get 1500 good reviews for nothing!

Chicago, Illinois
Destination Expert
for Costa Rica
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24 reviews
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9. Re: New to Costa Rica Forum - A Few Questions

MsAlaska I can only regret your attitude that if 1229 reviewers rated the hotel very good or excellent it must be a great place, regardless of the hotel's documented and ongoing destruction of the surrounding natural environment. I might also point out that 428 reviewers reported their experience was average, poor or terrible - a disturbing 26% rate for what is considered a 5 star property.

Perhaps your use of "vendetta" is code for environmental consciousness. If the environment is not a concern of yours then I do not understand the attraction Costa Rica has for you. In any case I hope you enjoy your stay at this beach resort.

Grecia, Costa Rica
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15 reviews
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10. Re: New to Costa Rica Forum - A Few Questions

MsAlaska, you are quite right when you label the RIU comments on many threads here in CR as a "vendetta", there isn't any other topic that sparks this kind of distaste. You can also be assured that despite the mostly positive reviews, a 26% average combined review (which can be attributed to many 1 time posters and new members with other issues) is somewhat comparable to others, The Occidental Grand is 39%, The Hilton is 22% and the Westin at 15%. So what to do? The negative posters won't rest or change their minds, and travelers continue to book the hotel and generally have a good experience, it's all based on a perception. Those of us who live in CR and see the changes that have largely been forced on residents by large corporations aren't happy with the eco abuse, the government is drowning in debt and doesn't want to lose a single tourist, so the debate will rage on and on. One thing is certain, CR does not do AI well, as the RIU as nice as it is, is isolated and only going to become larger and more commercialized. You can't even do a tour of a volcano w/out a day on the road, which is a real shame, as CR is so much more than pools and Mai Tais. Use your own judgment in recommending the RIU, and please see more of what CR really is. Have a safe vacation.