Old Reviews – Sol Papagayo (Formerly Nakuti Resort)

Reading the previous reviews and having been to CR six times, although never "all inclusive", we knew what to expect. Here is our take on this resort: It was constructed with a good plan, and for CR, with quality materials. Not being new, it does show some wear and tear, which could be minimized by a better maintenance plan. The grounds are well kept, clean and quite nice. Roads are gravel. Plenty of critters to see right on the premises. The "Junior Suites" are quite nice, even by stricter standards, and come with really large bath-rooms and showers for five. The plumbing throughout the place needs better care, but can be made to work. I would suggest a plunger for each room. The "Standard rooms" are just that, but adequate for the tropics, same for the "Superior room", which is double the size of the "Standard" and has a kitchen. Most bungalows have two "Standard" and one "Superior" room; the "Suites" are side by side, in blocks of seven or eight, and have better privacy ( no sound transfer: we woke up one night to one couple having a ball next door, and another one arguing; at six in the morning, one side had the TV loud enough to hear the whole program. Advice: pay for the Suite). We had booked a suite, but were given a superior room, and only when I asked to change because of the noise, we figured out that we were in the wrong room to begin with. We moved, but nobody said "sorry for the mistake". Likewise, several people of our flight were re-routed to Giardini (the sister resort) upon arrival; this resort is on a hill ( hike down to the beach) and is not quite as nice, but it has a beach, which El Nakuty does not. They were told there was no power at El Nakuti, which of course was not true. If they insisted, they were moved as well, but some "lost" two days this way. Again, management needs to get better there, and communicate openly. The beach at El Nakuti is, as already described by others: very "natural" with a reef cutting it off from open water. It was littered with junk when we were there, The staff did not consider ever cleaning it up. Must not be in the job description or because the Manager never left the main building! It is not suitable for swimming and not nice to look at. But a five minute walk to the neighbouring resort ( out the front gate, turn right at the paved road, and right again before the entrance to next resort) brings you to a great sand beach: bring your own mat, unless you can "borrow" a chair or lounge from this resort ( to take one of these $2.50 mats along, is a good idea in any event, if you plan to explore other beaches. We usually pass the mats then on, upon leaving). You can, at low tide also walk along the water’s edge, but it’s longer and you walk on Coral, with one or two deeper crevasse to bridge. This beach is very clean! The other alternative is to walk along the beach to your right, towards Giardini, and plunk yourself down anywhere along the route: it’s sandy and safe, with some trees at the edge, for shade. The beach is not totally clean anywhere from El Nakuti to Giardini – stuff left behind by mostly locals. The locals also fish there, and we saw some great hauls coming out when the tunas were feeding. The water is not crystal clear anywhere along there, something you will find in places like Manuel Antonio or at the beaches along Samara for example. To get really deep and clear water, take the 15:00 hours/ $15:00 p.p. boat ride with snorkel stop at the opposite coast: deep water, stone beach and clear. Well worth and for a good cause — they donate the entire proceeds to a local charity. On this trip, our guide also brought up half a dozen oysters, and we had them right then and there! Great snorkelling too! This brings me to the staff: they are all great and try really hard! Tip them well! The food was CR fare, quite acceptable, plenty and very tasty. Lots of fruit, raw veggies and salads. There is a "formal dining room" which you can use once every three days: book early, it’s small. While the fare is almost the same as at the buffet, it’s nice to get served, have the wine chilled, a linen napkin, and there is usually one extra entree on the menu. One tip: join others at a table whenever you can — seating inside and on the outside is limited. You meet nice people this way. And don’t worry, they always bring out more food, even if you have to wait. The pool is not the greatest — the water is murky most of the time. The chairs and lounges are limited in numbers, most umbrellas are broken ( it’s windy around noon) and shade is hard to find: but you always will find something to suit you, if you look hard enough. If you want to see what a pool could look like, go next door to the "Fish Restaurant" (two minute walk, great food made fresh when you come); they let you use the pool if you have lunch or dinner there. It’s also a nice change in ‘scenery’ and a lovely, open and airy building.

Equipment: don’t expect too much! Bring your own snorkel gear if you’re serious. The two ocean kayaks were okay, we saw one floating mat in the pool, two balls and that was pretty much it. There were five new looking bikes, but only one worked while we were there, and this one only had front brakes. One had no chain, one had a broken chain and one had a loose pedal, and no brakes. Too bad, but again, it’s (lack of ) management! Fixing? "Tomorrow" all week long. Never could use them. I made a mental note to improve my travel kit of : Swiss Army Knife, Leatherman Tool, Duct Tape, Flashlight, Matches, Candle, First Aid Kit, WD40 and small spool of twine, by adding a few bike-chain repair links.

There is a store on the resort, which was closed all the time we were there. No papers ( Thursday you get the Tico Times, an English weekly in CR), no stamps ( "perhaps tomorrow"), and the internet did not work. There are phones, but we didn’t bother. Tip: get your stamps when you arrive – do all your shopping on the first day in Coco Beach. There is a Supermarket ( with a Deli inside the store !!!) where you get CR Coffee and all Liquor you would want at normal prices! Don’t buy in hotel shops or at the airport, unless you "must" spend double for the same item! The cab is 10.00 US per car — share it! We got five and the driver into a small Toyota. And if you walk out to the main road ( 10 min) it’s 1.00 US for the bus, and you have tipped generously. Coco Beach is not meant for swimming ( dirty and nothing charming about it), but there are a whole bunch of bars and restaurants, I-net cafe cum laundry, and lots of souvenirs. There is a bank and a post office. We saw also a place for manicure, massage, pedicure etc., if you need some pampering. The resort also has a small spa for similar requests.

We had, all in all, a good time. Would we go back? Likely not, because there are so many more places to see, and so little time.

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