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Reviewed 20 May 2009

The Flamingo Beach Resort, Flamingo Beach, Guanacaste, Costa Rica, is a superb and rather idyllic place to have spent a week. Beautiful property, excellent food, and wonderful service! A very laid back atmosphere boasting incredible sunsets; and a wonderful home base from which to explore the region. We arrived on 8 May, having booked a standard room. At check in, we were upgraded to a pool / ocean view room, without even having asked for availability. Our room was very clean and comfortable, with everything in working order. The staff at this hotel seems to thrive on giving something extra, be it a simple and courteous greeting, or a rapid response to any request we had. All staff members were truly warm and accommodating, from the security guards on up through hotel management. Special recognition must go to Raquel and Orlando at Arena's restaurant, Karla and Glenda at the swim up pool bar (where the party is in progress all day), and Priscilla and Bosco in guest services; you folks all helped make this trip truly remarkable.

The food exceeded our expectations, with great margin. We stayed at the hotel on an all inclusive plan, and have had previous experience with all inclusive plans elsewhere, only to be disappointed in both food and service quality. The Flamingo Beach resort has one restaurant, Arena's, whereas other all inclusive hotels we have stayed at had several, or more. Personally, I would rather have one very good restaurant with a moderately limited menu, than several mediocre restaurants offering a wide variety of cuisine. In this, Executive Chef David Smith, a very affable and outgoing gentleman, has hit the mark, taking the existing menu offerings and serving them up with inspired and savory flavor, beautiful presentation, and high quality. He has been at the Flamingo little more than two months, and brings with him several decades of experience at some very fine dining establishments worldwide. My understanding from speaking with David is that he plans to introduce a new menu, has hired a protoge who cut her teeth at the (American Nouveau) Four Seasons Restaurant, and is overhauling the wine list. I made a request of David, to make a special dinner for my parents sixtieth wedding anniversary, on 15 May, which was subsequent to our leaving Costa Rica. David was very accommodating, suggesting he would personally cook and serve table side. There was no charge for such service, and I did purchase a very nice bottle of wine and a cake for the dinner. At this writing, I do not have feedback from my parents, as they are still in Flamingo Beach. I shall update this commentary upon their return from Costa Rica.

Generally speaking, if you seek a very laid back spot for an escape, you would be hard pressed to find a more beautiful place than Flamingo Beach. The town is very small, with one small mall area directly adjacent to the Flamingo beach Resort. The mall has several restaurant / bars, a small pharmacy, and several shops purveying gifts and curios. The mall was a beehive of activity during the afternoon of 10 May, Mothers Day, with bands at the bars and vendors selling everything from tee shirts to locally grown fruits and vegetables. The atmosphere was very friendly, and people seemed to be having a great time strolling about. Opposite the mall, we found a small supermarket, more like a convenience store, stocked with everything from beer to nuts.

We took an excursion, booked through the hotel, to Palo Verde and the Tempisque River, leaving at 8 A.M. and returning at about 3 P.M. Our guide / driver, Andreas, was friendly and very knowledgeable, pointing out many interesting facts during the course of our drive of about 1 1/4 hours each way. The scenery about Palo Verde is magnificent dry forest plateau and mountains, made prettier still with the Buttercup trees being in full bloom. The time spent on the Tempisque in a covered launch, with a total of seven aboard, was both interesting and fun. Abundant wildlife is all around the river. We observed crocodile, iguana, Jesus Christ lizard, both tiger and white heron, northern jacana, long nosed bat, howler monkey, and white face monkey who sent a boarding party onto our boat. After the scenic ride on the river, we ate lunch with the group at a hacienda about 10 minutes from dockside, in the rolling hills of Palo Verde. The food served was typical local fare, both chicken and beef, and quite good.

One morning, we took a taxi from the hotel to the town of Tamarindo, a beach side community approximately 20 minutes drive. A very nice town with many shops, restaurants, hotels, and bars. Many of the shops purveyed similar turista articles, but there were a few shops with some very unique, and very nice items. My dear lady purchased a lovely emerald and sterling ring from the young shopkeep who fashioned it, and several other items as well. I chose to limit my spending, but did purchase us a few cervesa for lunch, at a very nice beach side bistro.

I would not hesitate to recommend the Flamingo Beach Resort to anyone. We certainly enjoyed our stay, and will return there at some point in the future.

Gary Schneberger
Wood-Ridge, New Jersey

  • Stayed: May 2009, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank garyschne
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 April 2009

My boyfriend and I just returned from a multi-city trip in CR. Flamingo was our last stop and our "relaxation" spot at the end of a mostly outdoorsy vacation. In the end we had a fantastic time there. However, I have to admit we were VERY upset when we frist arrived, because we were also there for the Easter holiday. FYI-- Costa Ricans get the week preceding Easter off from school and everyone goes to the beach. So when we arrived the Friday before the holiday, it was an absolutely zoo. Unfortunately the beach in not private, and a dirt road runs between the resort and the public beach. It was covered in cars and people, kicking up dust, with parties burning trash on the beach. We were not enthused. However the crowds lightened considerably Saturday and the beach was deserted on Easter, and all of a sudden it was this gorgeous getaway. A huge pool with swim up bar in the resort, also a second floor bar lounge and the restaurant where all meals are served for all-inclusives (which we were). Beachfront is not white sand or clear water (it's the Pacific), but still so beautiful and peaceful. The surf can get a tad rough, which is fun for adults but watch the undertow! All inclusive lets you either order from a limited menu or eat from the buffet. Buffet food varied nicely and was pretty good, menu food was fabulous (especially the ceviche) so we were stuffed for 4 days. Bartenders were quick and friendly, and the drinks were delicious and very strong! Our room was huge with a big plush bed, a large bathroom, large tv, and a nice balcony. Was a bit of an ant problem in the bathroom, but luckily it was cavernous enough not to really matter. Nice fitness center, spa, internet access, casino, and you get a free hour of snorkel gear each day. Also for those of us lounging around the pool all day there are fun activities such as bartending lessons, bingo, dance lessons, pilates, volleyball etc. Many people booked excursions out to do forest walks, zip lines, rafting, etc. but we'd covered that inland before coming-- I imagine it'd be quite a drive to go out. Overall, a very relaxing and indulgent stay!

  • Stayed: April 2009, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank kdunners
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 April 2009

My wife and I spent a week at Playa Flamingo returning on April 11. This stay was during Easter Week so, it was a bit more crowded than normal. We heard stories about how empty it was during the week before. This resort is located a 30-45 minute drive/ride from Liberia Airport. The roads are not great and you will need to pay attention to signs. Although we rented a car, in hindsight we would not do it again since driving can be difficult and if you're looking for a great relaxing vacation, the resort has a great tour operator on site. We do recommend flying into Liberia since a ride from San Jose will take 4-6 hours.

The hotel is located across a dirt road from the beach. You'll find wonderful sunsets and the waves can be high. We met others who broke their surfboard there. South of Playa Flamingo is Playa Grande and Tamarindo where surfing is even better.

The hotel has wonderful spa facilities. The spa was recently opened and offered great discounts. We do recommend you take advantage of these facilities. The hotel has a casino which is open in the evening.

Rooms were acceptable and well-maintained. The pool was well maintained and the bartenders at swim bar did a great job of keeping up -- you'll see that Elias is the busiest bartender in Costa Rica. We found all hotel staff to be friendly and helpful.

Regarding the food, initially we found the dinner buffet to be a bit boring. We approached the chef (David Smith) who is very friendly. He is committed to all guests and worked hard to ensure guests were pleased with the food. We do recommend the (fresh) Red Snapper -- it was superb. Also, the Ceviche served at dinner was a highlight. We saw great improvements in the menu during the week -- this chef is doing great things and it would be nice to eat here again in 6 months. We were very impressed with the chef.

We did the all-inclusive so we did not try any other restaurants but, they are very limited. Nearby is an AM Mart which sells coffee, drinks, and other foods if you're trying to save money. You'll find coffee and drinks much cheaper away from Playa Flamingo -- this shop has the town monopoly.

We did take the volcano and hot springs tours. Our guide - Gustavo - was very informative and made the trip enjoyable. We did get to see the lava side after dark where you can see 'red dots' of lava boulders coming down the side. This tour is a long day - 7:30 am - 10:30 pm but, well worth it.

Overall, this is a great resort and recommended for families.

  • Stayed: April 2009, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank DCTravels850
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 April 2009

Everyone at this resort was super friendly, from the front desk staff to the restaurant staff and everyone in between including the security guards at the walk to the beach. Rooms provided perfect space, a/c control, t.v. in case you needed to watch & the perfect amount of quietness with no worries of any loud groups. There are plenty of activities to take advantage throughout the day at the resort or utilize the expertise and super friendliness of my favorite staff member, Pablo, at the towel bar who will also set you up with restaurant reservations, a ride if needed, tours of all sorts or simply just a towel for the pool or a friendly smile. The spa also offered specials and was super relaxing! I will definitely go back to Flamingo resort & actually can't wait until that next trip!

  • Stayed: April 2009, travelled with friends
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1  Thank memphiskelli
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 April 2009

I just got back yesterday, it was an amazing experience and I hope to go back to central America in a very close future.

First of all let’s talk about positive sides of this trip:

1.Great and Unbeatable Value (Air Fare + Hotel $525, found this deal at priceline.com)
2.Hotel- unbelievably beautiful and comfortable enough, so don’t be afraid when you see 3 stars,
It will definitely exceed your expectations. Rooms are very clean and comfy, equipped with AC, mini bar and the fridge,
And a small balcony. Our room was facing the road outside the hotel which I found great, because It was very quiet, with a great view
And small swimming pool right underneath our balcony.
Room service was fine, probably it will take you couple of times of calling the front desk to get a new towels :), but over all we got our room cleaned every day.
Major Pool was great, very clean, not too much chlorine. Had a swim bar, so you will definitely enjoy being around the pool during the day and at night.
Generally the hotel stuff was pleasant, helpful and very sweet. I had a slight communication problem with some of the stuff due to my bad Spanish and their heavy accented English :), but we solved this problem by using body language in some occasions, which I found pretty funny.
3.Beach- located just a few steps away from the hotel, to be exactly across the road :). It’s not a large beach but it’s very quiet, and it’s not crowed at all. The sunsets are breathtaking…I loved to come after the dinner and watch the sun going down….
4.Food- is very Americanized, so if you are looking for something more traditional, you are definitely have to go outside the resort area. There is a nice place called Marie’s just a few min walk, food is quite nice and definitely much cheaper than inside the resort. Than next to that place there is an Italian restaurant Angelinos (I believe that’s correct name), hmmm it was well designed and pricy, average dinner for two is around $50-$80. All other places are about 20 min drive…with a good food and less expensive.
Regarding In-resort restaurant: there is a buffet right at the pool area, the food is very, very, very American…But good quality…prices vary from $13 for breakfast and $25 for a lunch and dinner.
Bars- in-resort there are 2 : drinks are fine and they had a good variety (suggest to try Pain Killer) average price $6-$8 per drink.

Ok, now a little bit of negative aspects of my trip:

1.Transportation- as many others I highly recommend you to fly to Liberia, I flew to San Jose, first it’s a 4 hours trip , second one-way trip will cost you about $75-$80 per person if you will choose to take a van, taxi is $100 per person, bus it’s about $35, but you have to go to San Jose bus terminal first to take a bus, which runs on a strict schedule (and don’t forget to check if you are travelling during any local holidays, which may interrupt bus service, like it happened to me.) I personally travelled by van and found it very comfy and safe, plus there were no stops, so I got to the place much faster. If anyone will be travelling from San Jose, you can reply to this review, and I can give you the phone number to the person who took me to Flamingo. He was very sweet and if you are travelling not alone, you can definitely bargain the price down.
Plus if you call him in advance he can come and pick you up from hotel at any time to take you to the airport. One bad thing is- he doesn’t speak English well, so I had someone in the airport speaking with him :)
2.Be aware if you planning to use credit/debit cards, you will be charged extra taxes and fees.
3. Entertainments- I suggest to check the local shop down the street from hotel , they have better variety and prices .

Over all I did enjoy it and hope you will as well.

  • Stayed: April 2009, travelled with friends
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2  Thank Multynat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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