My husband and I stayed there for two nights to meet up with a family who are our friends. The town of Puntarenas is not someplace you would want a family to wander around in, so basically you would use the Fiesta as a base for Carrara and Tarcoles river, even to Manuel Antonio, although I feel it's too long a drive and there are great places to stay in Manuel for families so why do a two and a half hour - each way - drive?
The actual beach that the Fiesta is on is polluted - so don't get all dreamy thinking that you're family is going to be enjoying the beach and playing in the water - wouldn't recommend it.
The service was good, the staff worked very hard and were professional. The buffet was your standard buffet quality of food, however, the open bar and juice drinks were really really good. Our room was okay, after we asked to be moved to the newer section by the pool. For families, the older section was not someplace I would want to stay in, but our friends were fine there. They liked that the kids had their own bedroom and bathroom. The Fiesta really is about value for the money since it is an all inclusive and cheap even for that, it has a large pool area for families to hang around.
The one thing I would highly recommend is the Jungle Crocodile Safari. There are about four different companies, but the one we used were the most professional, with a lovely loading dock, new boats, and they hand you a free leaflet with color pictures and names of the birds that you may spot on the ride. Look for the yellow sign with green words that say Jungle Crocodile Safari. It was a truly peaceful ride down the river, seeing the birds and the landscape and yes, the crocodiles!
Good for the Price.
My Wife & I stayed there from Apr 18-25 2005. We were a little worried before hand about the possibility of rain as it was almost the rainy season but it ended up being great weather. Our check-in was flawless thanks to our tour operator and we immediately booked three tours in case they got booked up fast. We decided on the Canopy Tour, Arenal Volcano Tour & Tortuga Island Tour. I'll tell you about them later in the review.
The Hotel Rooms were nice and the maid was wonderful until the 2nd last day when our room door was left open, nothing was taken but I suspect the doorknob was coming loose. What I really liked about the maid service was that they would make sure your room was done no matter what time.
The grounds were good in some areas and not so good in others. The good things were that there were 3 different pools, one of which had a swimup bar. There were also multiple areas to get snacks & food. The not so good things were that the beach was way too rough and unknown to us until the last day, there were crocs in the water as my friends I met out there found out when they saw one and took pics. The meals at the main buffet need improvement as there was not the usual selection found in other resort countries we've been to, could of used more tropical fruits !!
There was also no night life, whatever was there was more directed to families with kids.
Now about the tours, the first one and the only one that was worth going to was the Canopy Tour. This tour is within an hour from the resort and we rode horses for about 45 mins and then ziplined in the jungle for 25 lines which was awesome. During the tour we saw waterfalls, monkeys and had a snack by a small waterhole under a small water fall.
The Arenal Volcano Tour was to include visits to some towns, shopping, see iguanas, toucans & butterflies, swim in hotsprings and have dinner at the base of the volcano. That was the plan but it fell short in our expectations. The so called "shopping" was a quick 10 min rest stop at an expensive souvenir shop and the only time we could shop. Seeing the iguanas, only 1 toucan and only 1 butterfly was rushed. The Hotsprings was in an expensive resort with manmade pools where thermal waters would fall into and the top of the volcano was hard to see from all the clouds and smoke, a very little lava sighted despite the brochure showing huge amounts of lava flowing...ya right !! Tour started at 9:00 AM and ended at 10:30PM !! Definitely not worth it !!
Finally the Tortuga Island tour boasted flawless beaches, white sand & snorkelling. When we got there, it was a small area with brown sand, rocky at the beach and the snorkelling was cancelled due to the waters being murky. We came mainly for the snorkelling, so once again, another tour that wasn't worth it.
Other than 2 of our tours not meeting expectations, the weather was great, we swam & played alot of volleyball in the pool and we just relaxed and soaked the sun. Feel free to email me for any info.
A week at Fiesta Resort
My husband and I are a couple in our early 30's. We stayed at the Fiesta for a week all inclusive package. We found the resort to be nice, but a bit boring. The rooms were quite nice and we had a small patio that let straight out to the pool, which was very convienient.
We did find the weather a bit too hot. Most days were in the high 30's and made it difficult to walk around much without being overcome with heat exhaustion. The sun was incredibly strong, so I recommend taking extra supplies of sunblock (its outrageously expensive to buy) and also lots of Aloe Vera for sunburn. Including us there were lots of people on our buses that were covered in sunburn and peeling skin. Even in 15-30 minutes we got burnt and we are not fair skinned people.
The day trips offered from the resort are very expensive and somewhat of a let down. You spend most of the time getting to your destination, and very little time at your destination. The day trip to Tortuga island ($89 US each) is quite the rip off. Snorkelling was almost impossbile with the dirty water and there was no coral to be seen anyway. But there were some fish. The lunch is nice, but you only end up spending about 3.5 hrs in total at the island before they pack you up to return to the resort. You also can't go far on the island as all the land behind the picnic is privately owned.
The boat ride itself is pretty average. The other day trip we did was to Manual Antonio National park ($80 US each) , for a hike in the park seeing animals and a swim at a beach. Our guide told us we would be doing a 2 hr hike though the forest to see lots of animals, but in reality it was more like 45 mintues. We didn't see any birds in the park, but we did see monkeys, sloths, quwati's and iguanas. The beach swim was nice. We were then taken for lunch at a small restaurant which was nice, then home again.
Back to the resort, the main dinning area is outside, with no air conditioning, so we found it too hot to sit there and eat hot food with sweat beading down our faces. Instead we mainly ate from the salad and fruit bar.
The food quality was pretty good, but as I said, we never had much of an appetite with it being so hot, so we didn't really try everything.
The entertainment was also pretty average, the most annoying thing was the daily aerobics where they would BLAST loud music across the resort and a guy with a megaphone to get the small group of people in the pool moving. If you were trying to quietly enjoy the serenity or be engrossed in your book, it was hard to block that out.
There were LOTS of local people at the resort which sometimes made it feel a bit crowded, they would gather in groups and chatter away pretty loudly, so if you want peace and quite and an escape, this isn't really the resort for that. They also were usually all armed with mobile phones too, which were in use most of the time. Kind of annoying if you are trying to escape all that.
We did take a taxi into Puntarenas for a few hours just to get away from the resort, and it was ok, not much to see, but it was nice to just wander around the streets a bit.
Overall, we had an ok time, but I don't think its somewhere we would stay again. We wanted to do some interesting day trips, but also spend half the time to just relax and zone out. Both of those goals were only partially met.
My two girlfriends and I stayed at the Fiesta for 4 nights from April 25-29. For the most part, we were very pleased. First of all, we rented a car (small SUV). Cheap enough. We did have to pay liability insurance, but not collision b/c my credit card covers it, so check your card before you go. The car rental place gave us really lame directions, and signs and virtually nonexistent, so we got lost (it's about a 2 hour drive), but luckily, one of my friends speaks spanish and we found a tour bus operator willing to let us follow him to the Fiesta. When we arrived, our room wasn't ready yet, but they gave us the wrist bands right away so we went and had lunch and a couple of drinks. The food was good, but the drinks, not so much. They were very weak (as is the case with most all-inclusives). It was also very hot out, so we found that the ice melted and our drinks were lukewarm w/in a few of minutes. We were surprised to realize that there are 2 categories of wristbands, also. Regular (which we had) or, for an extra $15 a night, premium, which included Smirnoff, Bacardi, and Bailey's among other pretty standard alcohol selectons. So we were pretty disappointed that we couldn't get a mudslide.
Once our room was ready, we realized we had a suite! Two bedrooms and bathrooms and a living area! Great for 3 girls, and a big surprise. We thought we'd be sharing 2 double beds. I do wish we had more towels, though. We were only alotted 1 per person, and as 2 of us have nearly waist length hair, we could have used a couple of extras. I was also told that they had no washcloths. Hmmm.
The pools were beautiful and we spent a lot of time in them b/c the weather was so hot and muggy. The pool with the swim up bar could have been kept a little cleaner. There are trees all over, so you wind up with leaves and stuff floating, but we also noticed hair. Ick!!! The "Relax" pool was much cleaner, but smaller, so just a few people made it feel more crowded. A nice touch was when they came around pool side each morning with fresh fruit. Yummiest pineapple I've had since Hawaii.
The food at the buffet was always varied, even at lunch, which was a nice change from other all inclusives I've been to. The food was also very good. The snack bar had quite a few offerings (hot dogs, hamburgers, and the like) and was made fresh and quickly. The Italian restaurant was OK, but it was great to have them prepare a Caesar salad right at the table. The seafood restaurant was excellent, and the fish was EXTREMELY fresh. We also had the BEST dessert (we weren't usually too pleased with the selection). We had crepes flambe with ice cream. They prepared the crepes right there and they were INCREDIBLE!!! And it was nice to finally be able to get some ice cream (that didn't come from the gift shop). The staff in all 3 restaurants, as well as the snack bar, was always courteous and extremely hardworking.
The shows are actually pretty funny. You definitely can't take them seriously. We had a lot of good cheesy laughs. Was it our age showing (28-34)? Whatever. There was also a "club" that stayed open until 2, but there were never more than 15 people or so in it. Sunset on the peir was also very nice. I liked the cheesy 80's hair band music the bartender played on his radio.
We drove one day to the Tabacon hot springs and arenal volcano. It was 3 hours going and about 4 coming back. Each road is only 1 lane in each direction, and I have never seen so many trucks in my life... not even on the LIE. They move very slow, and it's extra dangerous to try to pass them. But we all agreed that the hot springs were definitley worth the headache of the commute. Just be careful on the roads.
Overall, I would say we really enjoyed the Fiesta. It was more than worth what we paid (under $700 including airfare). The problems were minor and the fun was major. The grounds were always spotless. I would go back again for the price.
A Resort for the Locals
This is a place for local Costa Ricans to go to their beach club. The week-ends are full of native people getting away for the week-end. I paid extra to stay in a 600 level room. Our room had one full sized bed that was hard as a rock. My back ached every night. In addition to the hard bed, the loud music at night also interfered with sleeping.
The hotel charges $100 each way to and from the airport, so we rented a car and took a couple of day trips. We took the tram in Jaco, and we were both quite dissapointed in it. We saw some flowers, ginger, etc., but nothing special at all. The topography reminded me a lot of WV in the summer with the greenery, excect WV is not so unbearably hot. We're from South Georgia, so used to the heat, but not used to eating all of our meals outside.
Our room had air conditioning that worked well, but none of the restaurants have AC. Stay away from the Italian restaurant; it's awful. The seafood restaurant was better. The daily buffets are OK, but they serve the same food each meal: rice and beans for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The yellow pineapple is great, but be careful because there are a lot of ants and gnats around the sweet fruit.
I think you can probably find better ways to spend your money. This was not a place I could ever recommend.
Paradise in Costa Rica
We are a family of three adults and enjoyed the all-inclusive Fiesta Resort and Casino, located in Putarenas, Costa Rica. We flew to Costa Rica on Martinair. Upon landing, collecting our luggage, and walking through customs, we were met by our driver named Dimas who held up a large sign with neatly printed letters of our name. (Before flying to Costa Rica, we contacted the resort to arrange for a driver to pick us up at the airport.) We quickly discovered Dimas to be extremely knowledgeable, personable, and spoke good English. He had a large, comfortable air-conditioned van. On the 90 minute drive to the resort, Dimas pointed out and described various vegetation and plantations we saw from the road, such as coffee and sugarcane plantations. We drove up and down hills until we reached a guarded entrance to the Fiesta Resort. The fare Dimas requested was just a flat rate of $70, which covered all three of us, and the rate would still have been the same if we had more people in our group.
We arranged all tours, except a catamaran boat tour to an island, through Dimas and we are thrilled to recommend him for tours. With him, we went on the Crocodile Man Tour, visited Manual Antonio national park, and visited the Arenal Volcano and Tabacon Hot Springs. All tours were amazing and worth every cent. Three reasons why we toured with Dimas rather than the tour companies at the resort: First, Dimas took us when we wanted to go, whereas the tour companies usually offer only one type of tour once per week. Second, Dimas personalized the tour and allowed us to choose where to stop and for how long, whereas the tour companies have a strict schedule to follow and travels with a larger group of people. Third, Dimas charged rates significantly lower than what the tour companies charge!!! This guy is the best because he knows the country, culture, language, makes awesome recommendations, and has super low rates!!! You can contact Dimas Saravia A. for transfers and tours at --- (phone), ---- (cell), or ---- (fax).
After checking in and arriving at our standard room, which had two full beds and one bathroom on the first floor, we were not satisfied because the room had a moldy odor and no view. We reported this to the front desk and requested another room. Immediately, we were re-located to another room, located on the third floor in a new building (our new room number was in the 800 series) with the assistance of a bellman. Upon entering the room, we noticed that it wasn’t just a hotel room we entered, but a living room with a sofa and two arm chairs. Exploring further, we discovered two bedrooms, two bathrooms, two wet sinks, two televisions, and a dinette set. All with a view of palm tree fronds and the pool area beyond. Best of all, the suite was an upgrade at no additional charge, had cold air-conditioning, and had no moldy odor! We were impressed that the staff not only fixed the issue we brought to them, but bent over backwards to make turn this into a positive experience without any hesitation. We also discovered that the staff throughout the resort speaks English well.
The resort has four restaurants: one buffet, one snack bar, and two a la carte restaurants (Italian and seafood). Each night, the open-air buffet restaurant had a theme such as Spanish, Costa Rican, Western Barb-Q, and Seafood. During each of these nights, the staff dressed accordingly. Buffet breakfast includes fresh fruits and juices, bacon, sausage, cereal, French toast, various types of bread, and three stations of cooks ready to prepare omelets, poached eggs, and tortillas. The snack bar is located near the pool and beach and served hamburgers, hotdogs, nachos, fries, and pizza. The resort’s two a la carte dinner restaurants require reservations. The air-conditioned Italian restaurant is located near the lobby, and the open-air seafood restaurant is located near the pier and ocean. All restaurants had an excellent variety of delicious food and were staffed by attentive servers. For desserts, we recommend the chocolate mouse and the crème puffs.
Five bars are available and open at various hours. The main bar, shaped like a huge sailboat, is located right next to the buffet restaurant. This bar is in prime position to view the stage where the nightly entertainment performs. A swim-up bar serves as an island within a gigantic free-form pool surrounded by lush palms. A pool bar is open in the afternoon and is located right next to the snack bar. The pier bar is open on some evenings during sunset hours. The sports bar is open at night when the nightly entertainment ends. All bars had extremely quick service. Our drinks were always ready in less than a minute and we had them all, including beer, pina colada, fiesta resort, dirty monkey, marco polo, mango tango, fresca Latina, san lucas, and huracan among others.
The nightly entertainment had a different theme each night and is performed by talented dancers for about one hour. Some themes we enjoyed included Legends in Music and Viva Costa Rica. We thoroughly had a blast watching all the shows, which sometimes were funny and other times were so energetic, we wanted to get up and dance, too!!
The Internet café is located in an air-conditioned room containing about five computers and a coffee maker. A password is needed for computer use. This password can be purchased in thirty or sixty minute increments from the resort gift shop.
Laundry service was quick and our clothes were hanging in our closets before sunset on the same day it was sent for cleaning.
One day, we spent the entire day at the pool and beach area, where staff members walked around, offering everybody fresh cut fruit on a platter. How refreshing! Lots of chairs, chaises, and small tables are available with umbrellas and palapas (natural, palm-like umbrellas). The beach is wide, long, and black sand hot enough to require sandals. Tall, long palms line the beach and the resort.
The gift shop, located within the lobby, has something for everybody at good prices and is air-conditioned. Items available included t-shirts, water, beer, snacks, sunglasses, bathing suits, souvenirs, magazines, sun block, hats, and ice cream treats.
Since Dimas, our driver and tour guide doesn’t have a catamaran boat, we signed up to participate in the full-day Tortuga Island tour with a tour company office located in the lobby. For this tour, we were picked up at the resort in mid-morning and driven to a dock about fifteen minutes away, where our catamaran boat was waiting. Aboard the catamaran, we relaxed, had a drink, and rode about forty-five minutes to Tortuga Island, a deserted island off the Nicoya Peninsula. The day was beautiful, the beach white, and the water calm and inviting. On the beach, various activities offered at a small fee include snorkeling and kayaking. After swimming for awhile in the refreshing ocean, we sat underneath a canopy of white umbrellas atop white linen tables where we were served a scrumptious lunch, which included appetizer, salads, main entrée of chicken, and desert with coffee. During the entire time, we enjoyed the sounds from a three-piece band: guitar-like instrument, drums, and xylophone. Several hammocks were available next to a bar serving sodas, juices, and alcohol. An open-air gift shop was also present on the island, selling postcards, picturesque towels, wind chimes, and other gifts. The island had a local, tame young boar and beach cat. Near the end of the day, we boarded the catamaran where on the way back, the crew held a dance contest, which was fun!
Dimas, our personal driver and guide, took us on the Crocodile Man Tour, which was a half-day tour and located about forty-five minutes away from the resort. After we were provided bottled water on the boat, our jungle river tour guide pointed out many species, most of these species were birds, including a flying toucan! Other creatures we saw were Jesus Christ Lizards (getting its namesake from being able to sprint across the top of water), iguanas, and crocodiles. Beyond the river, clouds gathered low and nestled atop trees at the nearby Carraca cloud forest. Later, our boat driver slapped the water with big piece of fish, and then he got out of the boat, and slowly walked to the muddy bank. Here is where our breaths were taken away . . . he lured a huge crocodile about three times his size out of the water, onto the bank, and hand-fed it! Wow!
Dimas, our personal driver and guide, took us to Manuel Antonio national park for the full-day. Our drive to the park took about two hours, which had many plantations along the way, such as teak, paper, rice, African palm, and pineapple plantations. After walking through the park, we stopped at the Manual Antonio Beach, which is a stretch of white sand, bordered by dense green tropical vegetation on one side and emerald, calm water on the other side within a bay. While we were swimming, we saw a huge monkey walk along the beach. After swimming for hours, Dimas pointed out many animals as we walked back through the park, such as monkeys, crabs, iguanas, and a sloth. For dinner, we ate at a seafood restaurant called El Barco de los Mariscos, located in Jaco Beach. The seafood was excellent; the seafood platter consisted of a huge lobster, clams, squid, vegetables and fries. This restaurant serves the best iced tea we have had in our lives!
Dimas also took us to Arenal Volcano and Tabacan Hot Springs. Dimas, first called that morning to friends he knew who live in the area to determine if the volcano’s cone was clear of clouds because many people visit Arenal Volcano but don’t get to see the entire volcano because of clouds and fog. When he discovered it was clear, we didn’t waste any time getting driving there to see for ourselves the Arenal Volcano in its entirety!!! While at the volcano observatory, we saw puffs of dark smoke from the cone, then a roll of thunder before huge rocks were spit out and tumbled, with visible steam, down the sides of the volcano. Behind us, an impressive view of the Arenal Lake looked as if it were a landscape painting. Next, we stopped by the Tabacon Hot Springs for the rest of the afternoon and relaxed in the cold pools while drinking cold drinks. Above one of the cold pools, a hummingbird made its nest. The waterfalls and lush vegetation were heaven.
The day before we left for the airport, Dimas drove us to a local supermarket to buy 100% Costa Rican coffee at cheap prices. He also uncapped a bottle of vanilla, which smelt so delicious, we bought several bottles. Then, he drove us to a shop to buy souvenirs, such as t-shirts, tank tops, postcards, and colorful kitchenware.
Overall, if you are going to the Fiesta Resort and Casino, you’ll have an awesome time, and as long as you have Dimas as your driver and guide, you’ll have the best of times and still have money left in your pocket!!!