This past spring break we travelled with another family to Costa Rica. Children were aged 12, 11, 7, 6, and 4. We really enjoyed the Riu Palace.
The buffet was surprisingly great, for all meals. Both families are not typically fond of buffets so that is high praise. It was everything from ceviche to pasta. The restaurants were okay, nothing to rave about. It was easier not to have the reservations, and everyone ate what they wanted. The lunch buffet at the seafood restaurant was also great, we ate there a few times. The BBQ by the pool was worth the wait as well.
Staff were friendly and helpful.
A security guard down by the beach showed my son a Tamarind tree. He cracked open a pod from the tree and there is fruit inside, almost like a dried crabapple, or slightly sour apricot, in taste. Make sure you ask since there are trees marked toxic as well.
It was fairly quiet while we were there. We could always find a shady spot by the pool, and a place where the kids weren’t disturbing any grownups trying to enjoy the pool as well. There was a pool with a volleyball net that we used every day. The last couple of days it was busier and there were more ‘spring breakers’ arriving. Since they were mostly at the pool with the swim up bar it did not make a big difference to us.
We did spend some time next door at the Rui Guanacaste just for a change of scenery. It was just a short walk along a path or you can access it from the beach. It was MUCH busier, with a lot more families and kids compared to the Riu Palace. I was glad we were next door as I appreciated the calmness and quieter, relaxing atmosphere.
The evening entertainment was great some nights and okay others. Young kids were not the target audience of some shows, and some parents may not have wanted their children to watch. I personally was not worried about it, but some may find it a little PG13. The funniest show involved the male entertainers dressed in drag, to give an idea of what I mean.
We did not utilize the kids club. It was tiny and never seemed to have anyone there. We did not need it, but would have been disappointed if we had been depending on it.
My ONLY complaint would have been the size of the room. I would be sure to book a 2 room suite next time. That said, we easily survived the close quarters and it did not affect the trip in any way.
Off resort, we did a river boat tour to see crocodiles, monkeys, lizards, and birds, etc.
We also rented a boat with a package to go snorkelling and watch the sunset. We enjoyed it so much we went again a couple days later for a longer day and did some fishing as well. It was amazing and well worth the money. It was so nice to have just the two families and not a tour boat with 50 other people.
This trip was super fun for the kids and still relaxing for the grownups. I would gladly return there for a holiday.