A week at the Riu Guanacaste – Costa Rica

After our week of adventure touring the gorgeous Costa Rica, it was time for some R&R at the Riu Guanacaste, in Playa Matapolo. For starters, we were upgraded to a family room with side sea view which was beautiful. I’ve never been to such a big hotel before. It has over 700 rooms, 3 inter-connected pools, 5 a la carte restaurants and 5 bars, including a 24 hours sports bar. 

The view from our hotel room, over the beach with the Palace hotel on the left.

It’s situated right next to the Riu Palace Hotel – this is the 5 star one and Guanacaste is 4 star (rated by TUI). We definitely noticed a difference, but that’s not to say we didn’t enjoy the Riu Guanacaste. If I had all the money I would have splashed out on the Palace, but we couldn’t justify the spend. The gardens and pool area of our hotel were lovely. The loungers in the pool were a real novelty (just a shame when kids jump in next to you!) and the pool bar had a great selection of cocktails.


Now, this hotel was busy. Mainly because of American Spring Break. We got it, they love a good time and to get rowdy. But we definitely think our experience would have been that little bit better had it been a quieter time of year. Saying that, we did befriend an American family and some how end up at their daughters 18th birthday meal at the steakhouse – cute!

The five restaurants are as follows:
Italian – mine and Sal’s favourite. Don’t miss out on this one. The starters were buffet style with meats, cheeses, olives and pizza. The mains were lovely and the waiters were so friendly.
Steakhouse – steak, chicken and mahi mahi and shrimb kebab are on the menu with wedges, mozarella sticks and chicken caesar salad. The food is good and the service lovely, plus it makes for a more pleasant atmosphere when you dine away from the main hotel.
Tucan – miss it. Dull and silent – so odd eating a meal with no atmosphere and when you can just hear the scraping of cutlery on plates!
Asian – ALL OF THE SUSHI! God I gorged on it in here and bloody loved it. They had delicious hot dishes and loads of choice.
Liberia Buffet – give this a miss for dinner. More like a giant canteen and no table service here. Breakfast is in here and the selection is amazing – fresh fruit, fresh waffles and pancakes, omelettes to order and traditional fried breakfast items too!


This hotel was perfect for what we wanted it for – sunbathing, swimming and unlimited cocktails. We saw raccoons, howler monkeys and I lost count of the times lizards and iguanas that strolled past my sunbed and went for a dip in the pool, so the wonderful wildlife was still all around us!


The beach made for a perfect sunset. We saw 3 weddings take place here too whilst we were at the hotel.


Our room was our little haven from the heat. Great air con, double sink, huuuuge beds and plenty of room. Our balcony had a fantastic side sea view and was very private, not overlooked by our neighbours. This meant it was perfect for our outfit and bikini photo shoots!


Have you ever stayed at a Riu hotel? I have fallen in love with the concept! We booked through TUI, but you can go check out the hotel on the RIU website HERE.

Go check out my video of our all inclusive week of fun HERE! (And subscribe whilst you’re there!).

With lots of love and dreaming of those pool loungers…


3 thoughts on “A week at the Riu Guanacaste – Costa Rica

  1. Staying at the Riu in August! Pretty excited, Great Post and helpful tips about the restaurants. If you have any more tips let me know! Thanks!


    1. Hi Lindsey! Thank you for reading and I’m glad you found it hopeful. Definitely check out the howler monkeys in the trees to the right of the pool bar, behind the Ocotal restaurant. Also, if you like cocktails there a couple that weren’t on the menu but were delicious – a Dirty Monkey and a Miami Vice! I hope you have a lovely holiday, keep an eye out for the iguana that likes to swim in the pool! (I’m not joking..!) Tiff xx


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