Where to go, what to do, where to stay?
My family and I stayed a week at the Occidental Allegro Papagayo in Guanacaste, the northwest Pacific side of Costa Rica. It is an all-inclusive resort with a kids club, and non-motorized water sports like kayaking and snorkeling. The pool is huge. The one thing that surprised us was that the hotel sits on a black sand beach. It was much too hot to sunbath on the beach, however they do have a 10-minute shuttle boat that takes you to a private white sand beach where there is a restaurant (also included), so you do not have to shuttle back to the hotel to eat. The private beach club is abundant with natural wildlife such as monkeys and parrots and you can even take a hike on one of the trails from which we saw an anteater. The food at the resort is spectacular; there are three restaurants. One night we had a seafood buffet; lobster included. The chicken dishes are very fresh and tasty. The room we had, while on the small side, was clean and had a nice balcony with a gorgeous view overlooking the bay. The hotel offers a variety of packages with which you can explore the countryside and it was always nice at the end of the day to come back to this wonderful resort, have our meals and relax. We opted for an all day combo package which included; canopy zip lining, horseback riding, mud bath and dip in the hot springs and a ride on a waterslide in the middle of the forest. That day truly had something for everyone. The guides are attentive and safety always came first which is important especially when kids are involved. We also went deep sea fishing one day. There are other tours which include trips to the active volcanoes. Costa Rica is interesting in that the Caribbean side of the country is wet and tropical. The volcanoes/mountains that run down the middle, split the country in two so that the Pacific side has a dry, desert like climate. We flew out of New York and landed at the Daniel Oduber International Airport in Liberia, Costa Rica, (on the Pacific side) and was surprised when I didn't see much greenery. However, most of the resorts that are on a beach are on the Pacific side and are well within reach of the rain forest. The Caribbean side has hotels/resorts that in the middle of the rain forest (not beachfront at all). That is why it is so important, if you stay on the Pacific side, to venture out of the hotel and experience the rainforest and the impressive wildlife that is so abundant in Costa Rica. It is really quite amazing. I booked the hotel and fight on my own. The excursions were booked at the hotel after we arrived. I hope you find this information useful and would love to answer any other questions. All this talk about Costa Rica makes me want to go back!
Last edited by HostColleen; 12-10-2010 at 12:40 AM.