Unfortunately, I can not attest to the whole Costa Rica experience. When I ventured to Costa Rica, I stayed about 1.5 hours from Liberia airport at
Dreams Las Mareas Costa Rica, an all inclusive, luxury resort. The resort was situated on a private beach, and the beach was in a large alcove surrounded by tree covered hills. The sand on the beach was soft, and the water green. The water was not exactly pristine unless viewing it from the sky, light hitting it just right, and then and only then could you see straight through to the bottom. The trees surrounding the beach, were home to a tribe of monkeys, who were both curious and devious, not aggressive, just mischievous. They were nothing short of entertaining. In addition to our monkey friends on the beach, there were certain buildings on the property that they would make themselves at home and play on the patios, turning whatever they could find that they were able to lift and move, around and throwing it about. I could tell they were quite proud of themselves. I must not forget to mention the resident raccoons and iguanas. The raccoons always seemed to show up at night when the party had been going on for sometime. They seemed to enjoy the leftover beer and food that patrons had left laying around. The raccoons did not seem to be detoured by guests at the hotel, but did know the difference when the resort staff came to usher them away. But just like toddlers, they would give it a few minutes, peek around the corner and come right back. This seem to be the same sentiment of all of the resident animal friends.
The resort did offer tours through various tour companies. The only downside to that was the majority of the excursions that were offered were several hours away. The resort is out in the middle of nowhere. No close souvenir shops, no close local bars or nightspots, just the ones offered on property. I will say this, be prepared to pay a very pretty penny for any items you would like to purchase to take home with you. Our tour guide did present the opportunity to stop on our way back to the hotel in a small town, where a local family owned a small souvenir shop/local market. I didn’t go in as I had already purchased gifts at the hotels gift shop. However many guests stated it was much more reasonable than the gift shop at the hotel. The only other option for gift buying is the few vendors that were on the hotel property selling their locally made items or at the airport.
The tour I opted to take was a three in one, to include zip-lining, mud bath and hot springs, horseback riding, a locally prepared lunch and an adventure down a very long water slide. (I wasn’t too thrilled about the quality of the water and the temperature of the water, so I bypassed the water slide.) The cost of the tour was very reasonable compared to the cost of souvenirs.
The rooms were nothing short of comfortable, inviting, spacious and very nice. Each room had a Jacuzzi bath on the patio, or you could opt for a swim up suite, a king size bed, a separate walk in shower and bath tub, pay per view movies, channels that were in English and 24 hour room service, which was not fantastic but good enough to subdue any hunger pains you might be experiencing.
The hotel has many amenities to include multiple pools for every generation, even an adults only area inclusive with its own bar and restaurant, a couple different restaurants on property to satisfy whatever your taste buds might be craving, bars, a spa and gym, a ballroom, a club, gift shop and dessert shop to name a few. From my experience the best pina coladas I found while on property were from the pool side bar close to the kiddie area, try it, you won’t regret it.
All of that and my experience was limited to the resort and the immediate surrounding area, and the small city we went for our excursion. I can’t say I have legitimately experienced Costa Rica for all it’s culture, adventure, food and it’s multitude of outdoor activities, therefore I will be going back at some point. However if you are looking for a nice, quiet getaway to relax at nice resort, with beach access and fabulous pools, and you are not looking to get out much and explore, then the experience I had will suit you just fine.