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I would have to say that an all-inclusive vacation in Costa Rica is a tourist trap. Some people may enjoy this type of travel but I really think that if you're going to go to CR you should do it on your own. There are WAY too many things and places to see that you'll likely wind up feeling 'trapped' at an all-inclusive resort like we did. Food is very inexpensive in Costa Rica that I can't recommend all-inclusive resorts...they're just not worth the money. We might not have been the wiser to what we were missing had we not spent the week prior traveliing on our own through La Fortuna / Arenal and Tamarindo.
Unique Suggestions: If you're staying at an all-inclusive, be sure to get out of the resort for the day...a few times...
There are great tours that can be booked at Allegro Papagayo or especially through Michael Mills, a Canadian living in Costa Rica that sets up small group tours to various places in the Guanacaste region. He's extremely helpful and his guides are all Costa Rican and very knowledgable and friendly. (firstname.lastname@example.org ; http://www.costarica-realestate.com/Allegro%20Papagayo%20Tours.htm). We did the Borinquen Mega Tour and the Palo Verde Tour. Both were awesome and well worth the cost.
Fun Alternatives: If you're staying at Allegro Papagayo, take a trip (with a tour or on your own) to Borinquen in Rincon de la Vieja. At the Borinquen Resort hotel you can ride ATV's, take a WILD zip line ride, and enjoy the mud baths (really great!).
Do try to get away from your resort, especially if you have a few days and want to see what Costa Rica is really like.
Updated Jun 7, 2006
The Melia Conchal Hotel is great Ok. But if you want to visit the near town of Tamarindo you have to use the hotel transport (they dont allow local taxis to the hotel), so be prepared to pay $20 each way for a 15 kms ride.
Updated Jul 11, 2004
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