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“Very enjoyable although a bit isolated”
Review of Allegro Papagayo

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Allegro Papagayo
Ranked #9 of 13 Hotels in Gulf of Papagayo
Reviewed 15 July 2007

For us our stay at Allegro Papagayo was everything we expected - a clean resort, beautiful pool and decent food. To help you assess this destination here are our observations

The check in - maybe we hit it at a good time but for us efficient and hassle free. The view from the reception area is special. Changing US$ to Costa Rican colones was easy.

The rooms - as others have mentioned the rooms are pretty basic but ours was clean, made up every day and for the most part without problem. How much are you in your room anyway? Upon arrival our phone and one light did not work. Both were repaired within an hour. In spite of being on the ground floor there were no ants or bugs in our room. Nothing went missing although on vacation we would never leave anything of value in a room.

The hills - yes the hills from the beach/pool/restaurant to the reception at the top are steep, but if you don't want to walk it there are the shuttles. We never, and I mean never, found a shuttle bus to be more than five minutes. Perhaps we were just lucky but the service was prompt and the drivers very friendly.

The pool - very nicely designed pool with numerous lounge chairs. But if you don't claim one by 9:00 or so it can be difficult to find a few together until the afternoon. The swim up bar is nice as is the the bar inside, the pool tables etc.

The beach - yes it is black sand but actually quite nice to walk on. Yes there were hermit crabs but they were kind of cute scurrying around and darting into their holes. One can walk a considerable distance along the beach from the resort - very peaceful.

The Beach Club - a nice trip, not so much for the 'white sand' beach (although it was nice) but just the opportunity to do something different. The boat ride is a bit longer than indicated as you need to take a smaller boat to a larger one. Once everyone is on the larger boat it is perhaps 15 minutes to the beach. Food and drinks are served throughout your stay. Snorkling is mediocre at best. All in all an enjoyable excursion.

The food - we were very pleased. The main buffet (breakfast, lunch and dinner) offered a very nice variety of food - both Costa Rican and traditional. For a buffet serving hundreds of guests the quality and variety of food surpassed our expectations - fresh fruit smoothies, lots of fresh fruit, themed nights, and in particular very attentive, always pleasant always smiling staff. The eating area is open air and not air conditioned. At times it was a bit warm - try to sit down towards the beach end and yes there are birds that fly through. We experienced no bugs or bees. The snack bar is a snack bar. Generally fried finger foods, but as always fresh fruit.

The Italian and Mexican restaurants - we were told to call at 8:00 am the day before to make a reservation. A bit frustrating at first when we not immediately successful as the apparently one person who books the restaurant had not yet arrived. While it is surprising someone else couldn't write down a reservation hey you're on vacation. Try again in half an hour and presto, we were in both times. Both the Italian and Mexican are good, but not as good as we were expecting based on the comments of others. We found the service was better at the Mexican. As much as we enjoyed the buffets both of these restaurants are a nice change of scenary.... and they are air conditioned.

The entertainment - each night there is a themed show preceded by an hour or so of attention to the kids. Although we only made a couple of shows the staff appeared to be having fun and making a good effort at entertaining the guests.

The location - the resort is 20 km from the nearest town (which actually isn't much) and about 45 minutes from LIberia. If the isolation is going to be an issue for you there are two options - take a number of tours or rent a vehicle. Our 17 year old son took an Adrenalin Adventure tour and was well looked after. However a great way to see the beautiful countryside of Costa Rica is to rent a vehicle. We rented a 4 wheel drive for $245 for a week. Gas cost us another $90 but included an all day trip to Arenal, along with another two days out on the road. Makes it very easy to stop at craft shops or whatever. Driving was no problem, although if you get off the main roads potholes can be common (get the 4 wheel drive!)

Overall - it is perplexing to read the wide variety of reviews. Based on our experience we would both recommend the Allegro Papagayo to our friends and return some day.

  • Stayed: June 2007, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
11  Thank NSMoosehead
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 14 July 2007

We stayed at the Allegro Papagayo July 5th to July 12th. Prior to leaving a read a lot of reviews on TA. Therefore, I was prepared for the pros and cons. I kept an open mind and reminded myself that Costa Rica is a developing country where the average person makes only $300/month and lives very modestly.

Rooms:
We booked a superior Ocean View room. However, none was available when we checked in at 3:30 pm. We were given room 824 with 2 doubles for the night and was assured we would get an Ocean View room the next day. Room 824 had no ants, new mattresses, no ocean view but everything in working order. Next day, we got switched to ocean view room 622. Nice king size bed but small ants in washroom, light just as you come into the room not working and shower faucet would fall off every now and then. However, beautiful view of ocean. Fridge also got stocked with drinks and we got a daily coffee pack. We kept the air condition at a temp of 23 degrees as per previous suggestions on TA and had no problems with it leaking.

Staff:
Mauricio at front desk was awesome at check in. He also helped me make multiple phone calls to Grayline. I had booked my transportation to and from Liberia airport through Orbitz who uses Grayline. Grayline picked us up at the airport no problem. However, on day of departure, Grayline never showed up although I spent hours on the phone the previous evening confirming with them. Francisco at the Beach Club is very friendly and fast in getting your drinks. Buffet wait staff was awesome, got very good service from Hainur Antonio and a couple of others. Got prompt room service everyday. I left tip for the maid the 1st day but she didn't even take it. I guess she wasn't sure if it was for her so next day I left thank you note with the tip to make sure she would know it was hers.

Activities:
I only did the water aerobics once. It was fun but not for those who don't like to be touched or like people touching them. At the end of the water aerobics, they have everyone stand in a line and massage each other. If you don't like to be touched, leave right after the exercise part.

Beach Club was a good experience. From the beach, they take you out on a small boat and transfer you to a smaller boat. If you get sea sick, this might not be for you as it takes about 15 mins to get by boat to the beach club. It also usually takes a few trips by the smaller boat to get everyone to the big boat.

We did 3 tours while in CR. First tour was the Borinquen horseback riding, canopy and mud bath/hotsprings tour with Vargas and we got Roberto as a guide. It was just the two of us with Roberto. Roberto would stop all the time to let us take pictures. He educated us about the Costa Rican way of life and stopped to show us wildlife. Lunch at the Borinquen resort was one of the best meals I had in CR. I got a delicious tuna filet and my husband had steak. Second tour was the Palo Verde river tour with Avispa Adventures and we got Jose as our guide. Jose taught us a ton of Spanish. He stopped and picked a dragon fruit right off the cactus for us which we got to eat at lunch later that day. Also took us to a supermarket and helped us shop for coffee and Lizano salsa sauce at our request. There was also only the two of us on this tour. Amy from Avispa had made sure that Jose was stocked with cold drinks and snacks for us so we were never thirsty. Lunch was at a traditional costa rican restaurant that was very quaint and rustic. Amy from Avispas even met us on the way back to the hotel to give us further info for her tours and to make sure we had a good time. Last tour we did was the Columbia rafting with Carlos & Flaco at Vargas. This time there were also two other couples with us. This tour was fun but Carlos didn't really offer to stop at any of the Liberia shops or stop for photo ops. Carlos did have really good english, was very personable and did give us lots of info on CR. I would recommend both Vargas Tours and Avispas Adventures. Avispas Adventures is a little more expensive than Vargas but it was really nice to have cold drinks (water, juice, beer) available all the time as it does get really hot in CR.

Food:
The buffet food was okay. We did have to keep waving away flies and bees but I knew about this before going. There is a different theme everyday for dinner. After about 4 days, I was getting a bit bored with the food selection at the buffet. Dinner at their a la carte restaurant Trattoria was excellent. Its too bad I couldn't eat there every day. Its nice and air conditioned and service was impeccable.

All in all, we had a great time in Costa Rica. Allegro Papayo has great staff but some of rooms need better maintenance. It is on a steep hill but we only ever waited 10 mins for the hotel van. Everyone I talked to lost weight going up and down that hill so maybe its not such a bad thing. I think we lucked out and had great people serving us which made for our good experience. Other couples we met did not get their room cleaned daily and got nothing stocked in their fridge. Lastly, bring tons of mosquito repellent. Even when I wore long pants, one managed to sneak up the leg and bit my lower leg. So wear long socks under your pants or spray your ankles & lower legs even when wearing long pants.

  • Stayed: July 2007, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
7  Thank Beachyfun
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 July 2007

Well she is right. We were there at the same time as the lady from Chicago. The did not have our rooms ready as paid for. Staff was not helpful and ignored issues. Rides were occassional. Stories from staff were just that, stories. AC was all the time on the blink. Hot water in one of the rooms was never. Sometimes good maid service other times we wondered if there was one. Leaving tips did not seem to help. The only exception was the Mexican Restraunt which had great food and good service.

Watchout for the tour guides. They will ay whatever it takes to get your money, then stiff you in the end. Ask Chicago, she will back me up.

The private beach was a joke. The grounds were pretty but the food was yesterday's left overs from the main hotel. All three in our party ended up sick.

Not a 3 or 4 star, but a 1 or 2. The 2 above is better then it should be.

Paid for the upgrade service and better rooms, then had to fight for them. We ran into numerous people with the same problems.

This place should be called Ourpocketsgrow Cause We Gougeoh.

If you must stay, get rooms on the top floor and in buildings 9,10 or 11. But be ready for problems.

  • Stayed: July 2007, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
4  Thank willsue4u
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 July 2007

My husband and I along with 6 others stayed at the Allegro the first week of June. If you like white sand and level land, then this isn't the place for you. Our travel agent arranged for Swiss travel to provide our transports to and from. Check in was smooth and the views from the lobby bar are beautiful. Great photo spot. Once there the excursions rep ( I believe from Swiss travel ) did an orientation of what tours they offer. We had already done our homework & booked a tour w/Avispas Adventures ( --- ). We found them from other reviews on this site. They were wonderful and even offer transports to and from for approx $10 pp each way.
As for the resort, we pd for an ocean view room but did not get that. The hotel offered to move us up to the superior room or refudn us the difference. We were already settled & chose the refund. Which we did receive once we got back home. Not to mention we were very pleased as our bldg (#15) was right next to the pool & dining, no stairs involved. Room wasn't the greatest, but we didn't go for the room. AC worked great. We never left anything of value in the room so no issues there. Had to ask daily for washclothes. Others in our groud did not have this problem. There is a van/shuttle that runs every few minutes. Never had to wait very long at all. If your going for the beach, you may be somewhat disappointed as the black sand gives the appearance of dirt. They have a beach somewhere else, but we never went. There is a variety of food each day. It is open dining & insects buzzing around but we never had a problem with it. Pool bar was nice. We ate @ the Mexican rest one night and thought is was just ok. We chose to spend our evenings the bar so we never watched any of the entertainment provided by the resort. Bar closes @ 11pm and that's when the disco opens. Keep in mind this resort is very isolated. We had an issue w/making calls to the US.No one told us to dial 00 ( US country code ) before dialing our number. We ended up paying $10 US dollars for a 30 min int'l card that worked best. Until we figured this out we used our credit card from the room and was charged $39.95 per call. ( no we were not aware of how much it was ) Our US calling cards did not work very well. If humidity affects your hair, try methods such as a hat, scarf or bun/ponytail. Long naturally hair will resemble a birds nest with that humidity no matter what product used.
As I mentioned earlier we found Avispas Adventures from other travelors on this site. We emailed regarding a tour we found on their website, Miravalles Volcano, of which Amy emailed us back. Her & her husband own & operate this co.We set a private tour w/her for our group of 8. She is an American married to a Costa Rican, so we had the best of both worlds. She went out of her way to accomodate us. We stopped @ the grocery store on our way to our tour for ice. She let us grocery shop for a few things ( best prices on coffee to bring home ). Amy also keeps dog food in her tour bus for the NUMEROUS stray hungry dogs. We bought her more to help out as we are huge animal lovers. She also is the one that took us to get the int'l calling card. Our tour with her consisted of a zip line ( George and his guys are very funny ), a lunch ( DELICIOUS ), horseback riding ( where we happened across a 7-9 ft BOA ) & the mud bath. Be warned, it STINKS!!!! Everyone that was involved were very nice & made you feel welcome. We ended up booking a 2nd tour with Amy that was a river cruise where we seen Howler monkeys, white faced monkeys-which jumped onto our boat-& saltwater crocs. All this was followed by another wonderful lunch. Since we enjoyed CR beer, Amy & her driver took us to a local bar while we enjoyed turtle egg shots. ( Amy also had us a variety of CR beer for us after she knew that we enjoyed it ) She really catered to us & pd attention to everything we liked. She has really small touches that make everything special. She also collects school supllies as well as clothing for the residents there. The resort does not appear to like outside tour companies.She was not allowed inside the gate to pick us up @ the lobby. This was really not a problem until she dropped us off in the pouring rain. Fortunately she thinks of everything & had umbrellas for us to use while we waited for the resort shuttle to pick us up. Tours are pricey but well worth it. The Miravalles Volcano tour ran $120 pp & the river cruise was $75 pp. We used a fisherman we found on the beach @ the hotel. He charged $250 for 1/2 day. We didn't have to go far to catch a 100 pd rooster fish-amongst others. The boat was nothing fancy so don't expect too much. However we felt the purpose was served.
The resort pool is beautiful as are the grounds. There is a trail by bldg 15. About 10 minutes into the trial we came across a family of monkeys quietly watching us from the tree tops.

Tips: 1) Take mosquito spray 2) Ponchos if your going during the green season 3) camera with good zoom 4) small bills such as 1's, 5's and 10's. Tipping goes a long way. We tipped EVERYONE and it was appreciated.

I don't think we would stay at this resort again. Mainly because we want to explore different areas. Maybe stay at a local hotel in Coco or Tamarindo. This resort gives a compound sort of feel. Our tour guide wasn't allowed in and we couldn't make calls out. Once the phone situation was resolved, it made things easier. In addition, this resort is extremely isolated. It's ok if you just want to lay around the resort the whole time. ( your in Costa Rica, go visit the country-it's well worth it. )If you don't, then start researching tour companies to get things booked. The resort offers a tour co, but we chose not to go with them because we wanted our tours to be private and Avispas accomodated that. Not to mention we spent a lot of time emailing back and forth with Amy and felt like we already knew her.

Good luck and have fun!!!!

  • Stayed: May 2007, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
9  Thank broomhilda04
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 July 2007

This hotel is a 4 star for its facilities not its room. The room is ok - all you do is sleep in there! The grounds are beautiful. Lots of walking up steep hills, but there are shuttles that take you around and come by almost every 5-7 minutes. The staff is helpful and friendly. The food is good in the buffet and snack bar. The Italian restaurant is really good. The beach is black sand with lots of hermit crabs- great for kids. Go to the beach club and you will see lots of monkeys. We even saw a Boaconstrictor on the beach! The pool is clean and huge! The entertainment was really good. As for tours, book through Swiss Travel. All prices are generally the same wherever you go. We did Nicaragua, long day but worth it. Shopping in Liberia was good as well. Just your typical souveniers. Ziplining was really cool as well. All in all this is a great resort. Yes there are going to be bugs- its a hot, humid place. Renting a car would be recommended as Costa Rica really isn't the type of destination you go and park your butt on the beach for a week. You need to go out and do some exploring of your own. I am a travel agent and would recommend this property to honeymooners, couples and families. Don't know too much about the disco for the young singles as I was with my 9 year old daughter- but it looked awfully small. This is a great property.

  • Stayed: July 2007, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
5  Thank Reneem
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Allegro Papagayo

Address: Playa Manzanillo | P.O. Box 48-5000, Costa Rica
Region: Costa Rica > Province of Guanacaste > Gulf of Papagayo
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Spa Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#6 Top resorts Hotel in Gulf of Papagayo
#7 Luxury Hotel in Gulf of Papagayo
#8 Spa Hotel in Gulf of Papagayo
#9 On the Beach Hotel in Gulf of Papagayo
Price Range: $264 - $304 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Allegro Papagayo 4*
Number of rooms: 300
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Allegro Papagayo Hotel Gulf Of Papagayo
Allegro Papagayo Costa Rica
Allegro Papagayo Gulf Of
Allegro Papagayo Occidental
Costa Rica Occidental
Occidental Papagayo
Allegro Papagayo Resort

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