|We spent 12 days at the Allegro Papagayo in April 2007 and thought the hotel was fine. Our room was clean and in good repair, no problems with the air conditioning. The grounds and amenities are all attractive, except the volcanic sand beach is not good for swimming, but nice for walking. The private beach reached by boat shuttle is definitely worth taking the time to visit. The open air buffet was the only disappointment, with food never being hot or even warm, and flies or wasps all over the dishes and sometimes the food. We have been to many resorts in the past and this buffet was not up to par. The a la carte restaurants were much better. There was an active kids club for those with children, and the pool was very nice. The landscape is very steep, but not a huge hike like many of the reviews will lead you to believe and the shuttle van runs every 10 minutes. The internet services ($) in the lobby worked well and the computers were not too slow. The staff were all very nice and friendly. We would recommend the day trip to Arenal volcano and the Hot Springs, a long day, but so worth it. Monteverde Cloud forest and the Sky trek are amazing. A shopping trip to Playa de Coco for local souvenirs at reasonable prices is also a must. Do not be intimidated about renting a car, the driving is not that bad and many of the roads are recently paved. The mountain roads are still bad, but just take you time and make sure you are not driving after dark in the mountains (it gets dark all year round by 630 PM, as they are so close to the equator). An excellent road map of the area is available by National Geographic for about $10. Liberia is good for a day trip and for a huge, delicious and very reasonably priced meal; check out Pasa Real just opposite the town square. This Guanacaste region of CR is nice, but dry and not representative of the rest of CR. Be sure to get out and see the lush country side as well as trying some of the local cuisine in the sodas (diners). Be sure to say the local phrase of “Pura Vita”, meaning pure life, it is a common greeting when meeting someone or toasting over a drink.
Overall, we loved our trip to CR and plan to go back, hopefully next year. However, we will not stay in a resort; rather rent a car and just drive, getting hotels where we please. Local hotels are available for about $35-40 a night in the mountain areas, and are usually privately run, just ask to see the room and then decide of you want to stay. Still for those wanting a resort, the Allegro Papagayo is just fine, I would rate it a 3-3 1/2 star but not a 4. All the best to those planning your trip, be sure to pick up a travel guide at your local bookstore to help you out, we found Frommers very helpful and accurate. Most everyone involved in tourism can speak some English, but a Spanish/English phrase book did come in handy in some of the more non tourist areas.