More about Barcelo Tambor Beach
Honest Overview of Tambor Beach
Before deciding on CR, we had difficulty finding what we would consider a good volume of useful reviews information for the Barcelo Tambor Beach. Either the reviews were very slanted to the negative or the positive, or they did not include very much useful information.
We took a chance and stayed at the Barcelo Tambor based on two guiding principles; we wanted to travel to CR and we were inclined to think that Barcelo was a reliable chain. We travelled from January 17th to the 24th 2006. We are previous travellers to Mexico (Copacabana Mayan Riviera), Cuba (Paradisus Rio de Oro) and the United States (well, all over) and naturally use that information in our observations.
Our trip to CR with Air Transat from Toronto was comfortable and on-time. I have to say that Transat has really improved their service since my initial voyages with them some 7-8 years ago. Everything was smooth.
Arrival in San Jose was simple and comfortable. We immediately noticed how industrialized CR was in comparison to Mexico or Cuba. The transfer via small six seater Piper aircraft (that others on our flight did not know about ahead of time) was delightful and really allowed you to take in some of the natural beauty of CR.
Once at Tambor Beach, our check-in was completely effortless and our room was ready and available. One cannot stay at the Tambor and not notice that the rooms are dated. The linens, bathroom and general state of the room (rm. 324 with oceanview) was not really impressive. This was not a problem at all given the short time we expected to stay in the room. The trip being over, we can say that this was not a major item. If you are expecting 5* accomodations, you WILL be disappointed.
The pool area was very large, clean and well-kept. we were impressed by the size of the installation and how close together everything seemed to be. Also, we never felt that there were very many people at the pool. This may be because of low occupancy, or the large size, but either way we felt that we were almost alone there. We were easily able to get shaded lounge spots at any time of day, any day...
The beach was VERY long and clean. Beautiful vistas of the mountains abounded. The only negative aspect of the area is the sand and water colour. The sand is not white, but more a volcanic brown and as a result there is zero water clarity. It is also very coarse. This is not a problem in itself, but anyone wishing to snorkel as a base activity of their vacation should NOT stay here. You will be disappointed.
Food at the resort was excellent. The buffet was very well appointed and there was much selection.
Activities were plentiful and easily found. The tours offered were reasonnably priced and were very good. We traveled back to San Jose for the last two nights of our stay and visited Arenal/Tabacon which was absolutely amazing.
That said, overall this was an excellent vacation and the price/value ratio was very good in my opinion. The highlights of the trip were the nature and weather. This is not what I would consider a 5 star and is appropriately advertised as a 4 star in my opinion. If you are expecting perfect service, accomodations you will be disappointed. If you are expecting a good stay in OK accomodations you will be pleasantly surprised.
Any questions, email at agentsmith(AT)sys3.ca
We really enjoyed are stay at the Barcelo Tambor. The rooms were large and clean. The resort was beautifully landscaped. The staff were wonderful and always ready to help. There was plenty to do including walking through the resort's private wildlife reserve where we saw a family of howler monkeys up close.
The food was excellent and there was a good variety. The beach area was huge and diserted most of the time. Many people stayed at the pool area but the water at the beach was fantastic.
We would recommend asking for a room with a hammock. There is nothing better that sitting in a hammock just as the sun goes down and listening to the animals come alive. Don't be afraid to ask for the room that you want at this hotel because the people at the front desk were very accomodating.
We would highly recommend this hotel.
Attempt at an honest review - good or bad? - you decide
Barcelo Tambor....I will start with saying that if you like all-inclusives you will probably enjoy the Barcelo. My husband and I had never tried an all inclusive resort, we truly like the more small, private and more "genuinely realistic of the culture of whatever country you are in" resorts so with that said, i think it is obvious why we did not particulary care for our stay at the Barcelo Tambor although we have nothing blaringly negative to say about it. I would chalk it up to the fact that we travel so that we experience other cultures and to get the real feel of a country you can't stay in a resort which tries to make you feel "at home". It was honestly like being in Orlando, FL in the middle of Costa Rica.
The making reservations at the crack of dawn or else - was a little irritating, the day you check in, b/c check in is after when all the guests make reservations, you don't get to eat at one of the nicer restaurants your first night - you eat buffet. Not really the best way to greet your guests on their first day. Again, that is probably just a quality of all inclusive that we just weren't used to.
The resort was beautifully landscaped, the pools were very nice and clean and the rooms were clean with a nice balcony. Yes- the rooms are outdated, but that's ok, hey - it's clean and we slept like babies!! The staff were all friendly, the drinks at the pool bar were terrific and the country of Costa Rica was absolutely a wonderful vacation destination - we just should have stayed where we were the first two nights and not changed hotels to "try an all inclusive". We stayed at the Ylang Ylang and that is just more our style. ALso - the area that the Barcelo Tambor is in is a little far away from the lush area of Montezuma, Mai Pais and Santa Teresa - we were much happier with the location of the Ylang Ylang resort and the town of Montezuma. Even if you ask the locals, they will tell you that the Barcelo Tambor is "Americanized" and a little like "Orlando Florida in the middle of Costa Rica" - we found that to be true. Oh yes - and the Casino that the Barcelo flaunts - well - to call it a casino is a tad misleading. We went one night and the casino staff were stuffy and unfriendly - we tried out best to make conversation and be friendly, but to no avail. (this was the only time we experienced a problem with any of the native Costa Ricans - other than this, everyone was beyond wonderful - truly a warm people!) The casino is very small, maybe a 30 x 30 foot room and we were the only ones in it for an hour. PS- no ATM in the hotel.
To the Barcelo's credit, they are very well maintained, the staff was friendly and spoke english and were also happy to speak Spanish to guests that attempted to brush up on their Spanish - me me!! Hey- its the only way to really learn - force yourself to use it! Happy Travels - and again- if you are an all inclusive fan - i think this may very well be the place for you - i dare to guess it would be perfect if that is what you are looking for!
Just back from a 2 week stay at Barcelo Tambor.
I cannot understand the bad reviews I've read about this pace. Ok I agree we've also had some minor issues with a la carte bookings but this is the only negative comment I can found. The buffet restaurant is good so we did not really care ... Rooms are Ok with very efficient AC, front desk people were helpful, check in and out very quick, our room was ready at 2PM when we got to the resort, no wait for flights at the small airport by the hotel and quick transfer to the hotel (5 mins). Beach is easy to walk and miles long, the natural park is really interesting, we saw monkeys and other wild life very often, even on the hotel grounds (racoons, amarillos, small parrots, iguanas etc...) Drinks are good and never had to wait more than a couple of minutes... You can book every trip from the hotel and we enjoyed all of them! We did Montezuma, Curu and Tortuga snorkel, Monteverde sky trek and Arenal from Barcelo Palacio (One review says 60$ for the Montezuma falls, it is incorrect we paid 30$, nice boat ride and falls). Our Air Transat rep. was great, he made the arangements for our 2 last days in San Jose (Barcelo Palacio) and booked the Arenal excusrsion for us.
Great place, good value, dont hesitate!
What to Expect...
We traveled in a group of 6 between the ages of 20'S and 30's. We arrived at San Jose airport and found the airport was very modern. We made a very BAD mistake of using a driver with a van to get to Tambor. The driver was GREAT but the roads took their toll. 7 hours at best but it happened to be 9 hours due to the ferry breaking down...TAKE THE PLANE RIDE!!!!
The resort was great. Very well kept and professional. The beds are a bit hard and the rooms are outdated but clean and had a cool balcony. The pool and swim up bar were fantastic and the beach was huge with a great deal of hammocks and shade. The sand is dark and the ocean water is not clear like you might find in the Caribbean. We didn't care. Most of us found the waves way too much fun, although small for Costa Rica.
We took a tour to Montezuma to see the waterfall and then went snorkeling to some island I can't remember via Kevin's Tours through a guy on the beach. Way recommend!!! We even saw a few whales on the boat ride.
The food at the resort was great. Our group, from very picky eaters to people who would eat anything, all found the selection and quality was tough to beat. If you’re a drinker, no worries. Unlike some places we have stayed in Mexico and beyond, the drinks are damn strong...HEHEHEHE. We did eat twice in Tambor at some place that has great, cheap food called... Can't remember. My bad but it is two stories with a small hotel attached. You can hear and see the wild monkeys on the other side of the road which was very cool. You can take a cab for two bucks a person one way ( 5 minutes ) or walk to tambor (20 minutes or so) but be careful.... if you walk in the afternoon, you have to cross a small "river" and in high tide you can find yourself up to your neck and there are crocs. Low tide you might be up to you shoes.
Instead of taking the taxi van back to the airport, we took a shuttle plane. Great view and felt very safe . Ours was an 18 seat twin-otter. It was a windy day but wasn’t bad at all. (um...once we landed in san jose).
All in all, would go back again for sure but I’m not much for the same unless it is completely crazy awesome. For the people who rate this resort poorly, they could have had some freak experience which I could understand... however; if they can't have fun here, they would probably ----- about any place they have stayed... just my opinion.
If you are looking for a wild party experience, go to Cancun. If you want to have a great time (sober or not... I choose not), go to Costa Rica / Barcelo Tambor and Casino... you won’t be disappointed....FYI: The people and scenery of Costa Rica are the best... I had no idea.
Great to Relax
We traveled from Toronto to San Jose on Jan 16, 2006 and returned Jan 30 2006. A 5 hour flight was followed by a 5 hour bus/ferry ride to the resort. A plane ride upgrade is offered by some Tour Operators. This was our second time here, we stayed there in 2000. Barceló states that this is one of their “Mid-range” hotels and with this in mind we were not disappointed. The grounds and buildings were well kept and we noticed very little deterioration since 2000, they even added a mini golf and a make shift seafood restaurant. This is not “Rock & Roll Central” If you want to party till you puke try Cancun and the like. This is a well run well kept resort. As in all places there could be some improvements. The beds are due to be changed, but I did not have any trouble sleeping after a day in the sun. The 402 room resort is well spread out in several 2 storey buildings. Rooms are typical of hotel rooms with balcony. I did notice some with “no-smoking” signs on the doors.
Food: All the all inclusive resorts that I have been to have a buffet style main restaurant. There was a huge selection each day. Fish, pork, beef etc with a carvery at one end. The Doctor as he calls himself is entertaining and willing to carve up the special of the day for you. Look around smoke salmon with capers, oysters on the ½ shell, pruschutto. The seafood restaurant was ok but the beef restaurant was well worth it. Reservations a must.
Pool: This is the main entertainment area for the resort with exercise class every day, pool bar and restaurant at each end. Big Jacuzzi style area, 2 shallow pool areas for kids and sports area. Lots of chairs/lounges scattered around. Plenty of shade & sun.
Beach: Get away form the noise of the pool here. Lots of room. Plenty of lounges. Beach is good for boogie boards. Waves are not big enough for surfing. Poor snorkeling, Take the trip to Tortuga Island for snorkeling. Great walking. To the right ( looking at the water) is Tambor, Tambor Tropical just past that the Yacht Club with restaurant. To the left los Dolfines and a small campground. Be aware of the tides.
You are in an isolated area of the country. Some of the trips are 8 to 12 hours long. Take the local bus to Montezuma for a day. It is appx ½ hour away 600-700 colones or take a taxi. There is a waterfall there but it is a rugged walk to the falls.
Hope you enjoy your stay
Bill & Louise
2005- Puerto Vallarta Palladium. 2004- Costa Rica Costa Smeralda, 2003 Punta Cana Dominican Republic Riu Naboa, 2002 Merida Mexico Reef Club
Barcelo Playa Tambor......Puntarenas, Costa rica
"Entrance to the hotel"
The Playa Tambor is a very nice resort hotel.
Has something for everyone...
"Looking out the back"
Staying on the outside of the hotel is nice.
You have a look at some interesting things.
The Howlers will come right buy this area,
Wake up call at 5:30.
The beach is very large and to walk it from end to end is a long trip...
things to see and do around playa tambor
"The White face monkey."
This little guy was streching...
We saw many white face monkeys in the Curu preserve.
This picture was taken around 20 feet away.
"The Hotel lobby"
The Barcelo Playa Tambor is a very nice hotel. There are plenty of things to keep you busy.
The grounds of the hotel are kept very clean.
Rooms at the hotel are average.
There are all kinds of wild flowers and trees and things that live in them.....
The hotel houses different birds.
You can take a walk down the drive to them.
Some will even talk to you.....
"What is it..."
we found this guy on the beach...
I don't no what ti was but it was big and did not look to friendly.........
does Anyone no......
The beach at the tambor is a black sand beach. It is a little rocky and much different then the west coast white sand....
But it is a great walk as you never no what you may find......
These guys arre all over the place and will take food from you, just be careful... as with any wild animal.
There not afraid of people, just go easy and they will come right up to you...
This one was a baby..
Our guide, Carlos told us that costa rica had a airforce,
Well this is what he calls the Costa Rican airforce.The pelicans fly up and down the coast all day long.
these were seem on our west coast trip.
You can see pelicans almost anywhere....
Tambor beach area
Canopy Tours from Barcelo Playa Tambor
Will be staying with family, wife + 2 children 10 & 11 at Barcelo Playa Tamboe Resort beginning July 26th for 5 days. Does anyone know of a good tour guide to set up a Canopy Tour. I have seen several mentions of a fellow named OCTVIO or OCTAVIO but I do not have an email address for him. Anyone have good experience with local tours.