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“Relaxing and pampered, great alternative to the large All Inclusives”
Review of Hotel Iguanazul

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Hotel Iguanazul
Ranked #2 of 5 Hotels in Santa Cruz
Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Relaxing and pampered, great alternative to the large All Inclusives”
Reviewed 13 February 2012

We just came back home from a great week at the Iguanzul resort.
Price was great and you definitely get more then your moneys worth.
David the owner built the Resort just over 20 years ago. It is a nice 3 star very clean resort
It was not to busy when we were there but the service was still great, with the staff doing everything that they can for you, unlike other Resorts I haved stayed at, where the service goes down hill in the quite parts of the season.
Rooms are a good size and were very clean. Ask for an ocean view room. They also have kitchenette rooms available.
It is around a 45 minute drive from the Liberia Airport with most of the way that is paved.
Bar service, and food was excellent. The last part is not paved but was been worked on when we were there.
They just started to offer an all inclusive package as well.
The pool was vey clear and clean, with the bar close by.
The best part is the beach. With the resort overlooking the ocean, and just a two minute walk down the hill to a private bay with a beautiful long white sandy beach, that you almost have to yourself. We saw only few people using the beach, mainlyonly a few locals.
The sunsets from the swing lounges in front offer some of the most beautiful sunsets that I have seen in more then 30 trips to the Caribbean and Central America.
I just read a bad review regarding the owner David, but i have just good things to say about him. You will see his concern to make sure everthing is great for you on a daily basis. He was very pleasant to deal with,is in costant contact with his staff, and was more then willing to take the time to answer our many questions about the local area.
While we were at the Resort David held a party during one day for 100 local area children, plus some adults, supplying the food, juices, gifts, and use of the Resort facilities. It was nice to see the Resort giving back to the locals something more then jobs. How many resort owners do that, not enough.
Did not have time for some deep sea fishing but checked into it. Will definitely try it next time.
A car rental was nice to have, (we rented from Alamo at the Liberia airport) to explore other area beaches and restaurants. Arrangements through the resort can be made for airport pick up and and return.
Just a couple minutes away from the resort, there is a new devlopment with a nice little shopping mall, which has a great new bar and restaurant in the back section, as well as a nice convience and grocery store. There are a number of other good restaurants and bars in the area as well.
We also saw lots of monkeys and Iguanas in the Resort area.
Overall if you want peace and quiet, great service, beautiful sunsets, fantastic private beach, nice clean rooms ,a friendly and informitive owner and staff, good food and drinks at an excellent price the Iguanazul is for you. At night there is enough action and music at some of the local bars to keep you happy. We will be going back next month. Enjoy.

Room Tip: Ask for an Oceanfront room and if possible a kitchenette which would be a nice bonus.
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  • Stayed February 2012, travelled with friends
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Rockymtn51_10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (22)
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English first
Chicago
Level Contributor
41 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 February 2012

We love Iguanazul. Please see my previous review. Re-cap: Service is AMAZING. The people are incredible. The person who mentioned the owner being loud and rude- we were told he is never there, the manager and all employees are seriously so wonderful, helpful and accommodating.The views are INCREDIBLE. The rooms are just average, basic- not a 5star "resort"-beds are sorta hard, pilows lumpy, curtains very thin, don't expect shampoo or hair dryers in your room. Pool is awesome, beach is beautiful, property is gorgeous. Food and drinks are great. Enjoy these pictures.

Room Tip: Ocean view or pool side get more light, but I guess you probably won't spend that much time in y...
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  • Stayed July 2011, travelled with friends
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    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank learntolive
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dallas, Texas
Level Contributor
8 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 January 2012

The restaurant was highly recommended by some friends who hadn't dined at the Hotel Iguanazul in a while. Apparently, this hotel had recently converted to an "all inclusive" service model and failed to let the staff know how to handle walk-ins for drinks or dinner. Everything about this experience was wrong. Confused wait staff. No one was in charge. We weren't "allowed" to have wine with dinner - only warm draft beer. The food choice and quality was better at my Jr High cafeteria. We couldn't wait to get out of there. We not only wasted our money, we wasted our time.

Room Tip: Didn't stay in a room - restaurant only.
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  • Stayed December 2011, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
5 Thank admiral53
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
dallas
Level Contributor
69 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 December 2011

We were not staying at this hotel but decided to have dinner here. They told us it was all inclusive but we could eat dinner here for $20 each. The menu was written on a white board! The waiter asked us for drink order.........I don't know why he asked, they serve 1 kind of beer and NO wine. We saw wine and wine glasses in the bar but it wasn't part of the ALL INCLUSIVE. Despite our explanation that we were not part of the All Inc. he wouldn't serve us wine. We should have left at this point. I ordered sea bass which arrived looking like a flat piece of tilapia. My friend ordered steak diablo, which was so tough and spicy hot. We ate very little......no need to continue.................Don't eat here. Go to MUNDO MILO.

  • Stayed December 2011, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank deltaDallas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Chicago
Level Contributor
41 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
Reviewed 16 September 2011

We stayed at Hotel Iguanazul from July 26th- July 30th, 2011. I got married here and had 17 close friends and family who came along as well. It completely exceeded my expectations and we all loved every minute of it. I agree with one writer's review- I almost don't want to write a great review because if everyone knew of how great this place was, and everyone started going there (which I strongly recommend), I might feel like a shared a secret that I wanted to be kept for myself!

I want to begin by saying I communicated via email with Iguanazul staff, Roberto and Ronald, many many times before arriving (I was planning my wedding). They were so unbelievably friendly, accommodating, flexible and helpful. Roberto is a manager of some sort and Ronald works at the front desk, and they were both awesome. Roberto helped me coordinate all the details of my wedding (which I will go into later), and Ronald helped make reservations and communicated with my guests about rooms and transport to and from the hotel. They were so great and nice to work with. I had so many questions, trying to coordinate a group, and they were patient and answered every single question.

The ride to Iguanazul is a bit rough. The roads are bumpy and it is sort of off the beaten path. We really liked this aspect, but if you are into clubs and lots of restaurants and shopping- this would not be the place for you. If you rent a car, this will be very hard to find, unless you are super familiar with Costa Rica. I recommend just arranging transport through the hotel- they are helpful and reliable. Transport in Costa Rica is not cheap, but again unless you rent a car or are familiar with public transport (which isn't as reliable, but could be fun), you have to work with what is available. I looked into MANY different companies, and Iguanazul has fair prices, they do not rip you off.

The hotel property is so gorgeous. There are various little houses that are comprised of probably 4 rooms, each with a door that opens up to outside. We got the Ocean View room, but honestly, I wouldn't spend the extra money because ALL the rooms have beautiful views. The reception area is really cute, and again Ronald was SO friendly, funny and welcoming. He helped us plan activities every single day, made numerous phone calls to get the activities set up and transport arranged and always had a smile and positive attitude. When you walk through the reception area, you go into the bar/restaurant, which is open air, but covered by a roof. The bartenders and servers worked their butts off and made amazing drinks (loved the pina coladas!). The food was delicious and we ate all of our meals there every single day, and never grew tired of the food. The nachos were awesome, and had those as late snacks several nights.

The bar/restaurant looks right at the pool, which was super clean (saw someone cleaning it every day) and the temperature was perfect. It also looks right into the ocean. You do have to walk down a cliff to get to the ocean, but the view from the pool is really cool. There are stairs, some of them crumbling. There is also a hill you can walk down if you prefer. If anyone has bad knees or a disability of some sort that makes it difficult to walk, you are going to have a VERY hard time getting down to the beach. The beach is not great for swimming because it is SO rocky. Like, really rocky. I thought we'd be able to swim anyway, but we couldn't most of the time. You can walk on it, for sure, because there is alot of sand without water, until the tide comes up. Even then, you can't swim because it is just waves and it is not deep, Unless you walk a bit down the beach. If you walk a little bit down the beach, and the tide is up, you can swim. Really though, only when the tide is up, which happened around 12-1pm. Then, the water comes up higher to where the sand is and there are no rocks. There are tons of waves but it was so fun. I would NOT let kids go alone, because the waves are STRONG. We lost 2 snorkeling masks. But, it was a blast. Also, the pool is totally sufficient, so if you don't mind not swimming in the ocean, the pool was great too. However, the pool did have some crabs that fell into it. And at night time, HUGE toads came out and sat around the pool. Super cute, kind of funny.

The entire time we were there, we were pretty much the only guests which made our service very personal and our experience very special. One night there was another family there. A few times, some other people came to the bar to drink or eat, but the place was pretty much ours. I will agree with other reviews, the dog Biscuit, was SO adorable and friendly. We all loved him. Super nice dog.

Finally, the rooms. The rooms are NOT 5 star resort rooms. The only thing I don't agree with about this place is that it called itself a "resort and spa" in some of its advertisements. It is BEAUTIFUL and we LOVED every minute of it- but it is not a resort. It is an authentic, beachside hotel- very well kept and very nice, but I wouldn't call it a spa. They DO have massage services if you want a massage, which is where the "spa" part comes from. But you have to arrange it at the front desk, and someone comes on site to do it. It is in a private little bungalow type thing, which was nice, super cute, but does not have spa amenities (like showers, bathrooms, etc, you would have to go back to your room, which would not be more than a 2 minute walk).It is just a massage table in a private little area. Several people from my group got massages, and said they were amazing though.

The rooms were nice, but basic. The pillows were lumpy and the beds were sort of hard. We slept fine, and enjoyed the rooms, but again if you are looking for upscale, high class stuff, this is not your place. The rooms were spacious, had 2 full sized beds in each room and a cute chair. They provided us with towels and the showers were really spacious too. I have read alot of reviews on tripadvisor and am amazed at some of the little nitpicky things people get really upset about. If you are one of those people- don't come here. There was some trash in our room garbage when we checked in (cotton balls or something like that), paint was chipping on the walls and onto the floor and there were rust spots in some areas. There were some tiny bugs in our room. The blankets were not very thick, the curtains were thin too and the room was not very well lit, unless you opened the curtain which everyone could see into your room then (not that there were many people there though!). None of that really mattered to us though- the room was still great, we had no problems, slept well, ate well, the people were SO accommodating and friendly and we already want to go back. Plus the price was REALLY good, and included breakfast (the costa rican typical breakfast, which was delicious, but there are other options you can pay for if you want).

SO, now on to our wedding. We got married on a Friday. Iguanazul offers a wedding package, which looks BEAUTIFUL, but we could not really afford it. Flowers are EXPENSIVE in Costa Rica. Iguanazul offers to really make your wedding fancy and gorgeous. However, we could not afford all the extras, and they were incredibly flexible and worked with us on our budget. The night was absolutely amazing and still gorgeous minus all the lavish flowers. We got married on Friday, July 29th, and they took care of all the details for us. We hired our own photographer and officiant (although they will help you with that if you need), and Iguanazul got us chairs, a ceremony site pavilion, did ALL the coordination and set up, provided us with speakers and a microphone (we hooked up our i-pod for music)- everything was set and ready to go when it came time for the ceremony. I did not have to worry about anything. I did bring my own aisle runner and fake flowers. I had 5 bridesmaids and my husband and 3 groomsmen, we brought fake flowers for them and to throw on the aisle. The site was on the edge of the cliff, overlooking the oceans. There was an incredibly beautiful swarm of dragonflies about 20 feet behind the groomsmen which was just awesome. After the ceremony and after we took pictures, Iguanazul set up a reception for us. Again- the offer DJs, and tons of fancy stuff which we could not afford, but they worked with us and we were able to afford a beautiful dinner. It was a delicious buffet dinner and we had wedding cake too. In addition, they set up the tables, tablecloths and these awesome red and white lanterns which lit up the whole dinner area. It was SO beautiful. I will post pictures soon (although I am running out of time right now before I have to be at work). Then, they had their speakers set up for us, and we hooked up our I-pod and made our own dance party, which I totally recommend. The music was loud, we just made a playlist beforehand and set it up and it was so easy, super fun and everyone danced.

Finally a little bit on some of the activities we did. Ronald organized for us (he worked so hard) and we did ziplining, horseback riding and ATV-ing through Pura Aventura (A great company, I plan on writing them a review soon). It was SO much fun- definitely recommend. Finally, we did a sunset all includive open bar boat cruise and we went to see sea turtles lay eggs. About the sunset boat cruise- NOT a cruise, definitely misleading. it was a small boat, a little overcrowded, the dinner consisted of topper-ware brought out with random cheese and crackers and a rice chicken dish mixed up, they ran out of food before everyone ate, and the "open bar" was coolers filled with beer and then they mixed vodka and stuff too. This would be awesome if it were like $30 bucks, but it was $75 maybe $85 cant remember) and you are a college student. But it was too expensive. They took us out to snorkel too, which was fun except the water was cloudy so we didn't see much. They did have pills they gave people who got seasick though, which was nice. The bathroom was downstairs which was hard to get to, and tiny. But- the sunset WAS amazing, super beautiful. Overall, would not really recommend though.

The sea turtle thing we did though, was one of the coolest things ever. We left around 10pm, because the turtles come out at night. The ride was scary because it was raining and the roads were bad, VERY bumpy. If you are not adventurous, do NOT do this :) About 16 of us went, so we paid less than $10 each for transport, and then $10 once we got there- totally worth it. We got there and it was a little hut, I think someone's house. We paid the locals to take us out on the beach. We then walked the beach and the local people had these red lamps they used to illuminate the beach. My only complaint is that there were like 16 of us, and only 2 red lamps. Unless you came up front, it was hard to see. So we walked the beach, it was raining a little with there was lightening. (no cameras allowed). When the lightening lit up the sky, you could literally see hundreds of giant sea turtles all over the beach. We stopped among a few of them, he put the light right by them and we literally saw eggs dropping out of the turtle into the hole in the sand that the turtle had dug. It was so incredible. The bad thing was a few people got scared (thinking the turtle was going to attack them, which they definitely did not!) and left and went back. So our guides went back too, and we sort of got left behind in the dark on the beach. It was kind of funny and kind of scary, but luckily we found our way back easily.

So- overall, we LOVED this hotel and absolutely LOVED the people there. We will most definitely be back, and are really excited to see Ronald, Roberto and the serving staff there. Some of the most beautiful property I have ever seen. Super relaxing, definitely rejuvenating. LOVED THIS PLACE. Could not have asked for a better wedding week. THANK YOU ROBERTO, RONALD and everyone else at IGUANAZUL!!!

  • Stayed July 2011, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank learntolive
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Mesa, Arizona
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 June 2011

I've been to Hotel Iguanazul twice, in March 2007 and September 2008 with family and I know I will be back one day. Both visits were wonderful, but March was hotter and I enjoyed that, being from dreary Seattle.

Both times I absolutely hated to leave. I sat in the sun, walked on the beach, swam in the pool and the ocean, read a book, listened to my music, had meals and drinks in the open-air bar and watched the sunset every night, checked my email a couple times a day (the internet was free, but not very fast). I didn't even notice there wasn't a tv in the room until day 3. I was surprised to find I didn't miss it! I guess I really did need a place to get away and clear my mind and spend quality time with my family.

I almost hate to review it because the lack of crowds is what I enjoy most. This is a quiet, very modest, reasonably priced hotel with a friendly staff, good food and drinks, very pretty, clean pool surrounded by hammocks and swings to relax, enjoy the view and UNWIND.

They also have a game room with a pool table. Get an oceanview room with a sliding glass door. As others have noted, it's a short walk down the hill to what feels like your own private beach. If that's what you're looking for, this is the place for you. If you're looking for nightlife and every amenity, don't stay here - please. Leave it for those of us who are looking for a little bit of heavenly peace and solitude.

  • Stayed July 2010, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank seattlerita
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Arlington, Virginia
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 May 2011

My girlfriend and I decided to spend the second half of our vacation at the beach and mistakenly chose this area and hotel as the spot. We left within a few hours of arriving and went to Playa Samara. The staff was unfriendly and not remotely attentive and our rooms were disgusting. The shower mat had obviously been used as a paint drop cloth previously as it was covered in dry paint. The room was not nice and when we asked the staff for some help in planning some local trips they were not remotely helpful and acted like we had really put them out to ask for advice and help in the area. The one person to lend credence to in the experience is whoever photo shopped the pictures on the website. The sunset is gorgeous but that was not going to suffice for three days. The best analogy is it looks like a slum lord owns the place, knows there is nowhere else to stay in the area and sees no need in fixing it up.

  • Stayed March 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
8 Thank rs271404
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hotel Iguanazul

Property: Hotel Iguanazul
Address: Playa Junquillal, Santa Cruz 50305, Costa Rica
Region: Costa Rica > Province of Guanacaste > Santa Cruz
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 5 Hotels in Santa Cruz
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:3 star — Hotel Iguanazul 3*
Number of rooms: 24
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Hotel Iguanazul is located in the northern province of Guanacaste, on the Nicoya Peninsula at Playa Junquillal. We are 35km south of Tamarindo, on a cliff overlooking the beautiful Pacific Ocean The Hotel Iguanazul is a quiet boutique hotel where you can enjoy the white sands of Playa Blanca (part of Costa Rica's Blue Flag program), world class surf breaks, great snorkeling, spectacular sunsets and much more! We have relationships with several tour operators to satisfy your adventurous side and can arrange any excursion you with. Our nearby beaches are all pristine and you can walk virtually undisturbed for hours and hours. Book now to enjoy the beautiful Hotel Iguanazul! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Hotel Iguanazul Guanacaste, Costa Rica

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