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“Well worth the drive”

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Blue River Resort & Hot Springs
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 29 August 2014

Our family of 4 and another family of 4 visited this property in August and it was well worth the drive from the west coast of Costa Rica. It's easy to find due to easy to spot signage. The restaurant was great and the waiters were incredibly attentive and pleasant. Lots to do for kids and adults alike and the diversity of the vegetation on the property is incredible.

  • Stayed: August 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank Sean P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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335 - 341 of 985 reviews

Reviewed 26 August 2014

We had a wonderful stay at the Blue River Resort. Here is what you can expect:

Staff--gracious, friendly, and helpful. Alberto (one of the wait staff) learned our children's names from the day we arrived and greeted them whenever he saw them. Other staff members engaged my 6 year old in a game of soccer. Giovanni-who led us on a horse back ride--was full of interesting information about Costa Rican life and culture, and all the people at the front desk were helpful and tried to meet our needs. For example, when we had to check out of the hotel at 5A to drive back to San Jose, the restaurant packed us a breakfast to go!

Grounds:
Gorgeous, well-maintained, overflowing with beautiful flowers and many hot springs pools, a cool pool with fun water slide (you go faster if you lie back), open-air restaurant, butterfly garden, and botanical garden filled with humming birds and a mud bath (pools do not smell, but mud has sulfur).

Rooms:
Huge! We easily fit 2 Queen size beds and even got a roll-away. There is a large, flat screen TV (75% of programs in Spanish), an air conditioning unit (we had some trouble with it the first day, but the staff quickly repaired it), a ceiling fan, several tables, and small fridge. The walk-in closet is more than ample and includes a safe, although a few extra shelves would help to organize the space better.
The bathroom is bigger than most college dorms, has gigantic shower, and a separate room for the toilet. It did take some getting used to throwing toilet paper in the waste basket rather than flushing it (due to being on a septic system). On the porch are two chairs, a hammock, and a small table. The hammock overlaps the chairs so they are tricky to use at the same time. Ask for cabinas 109/110 because they are the closest to the restaurant and pools so you can run across quickly without getting too wet when it rains.

Food:
The food was very tasty--we could have lived on the rice and beans alone! Breakfast was always fresh and had lots of options including cereal, rice and beans, fresh fruit, eggs, pancakes, toast, yogurt, and meat, but our personal favorites were the potatoes! The dinner meals had nice options for the kids, great salads, and tasty tropical drinks. Again, the staff went out of their way to help us and address any dietary or "picky children" needs along the way.

Weather:
This is located in a rain forest--expect rain and bugs. We went at the start of the rainy season in mid July and it was either rainy or misty most of the time. The first day we arrived we stayed at the resort the whole day to recoup from the drive and we went horseback riding and swimming in the falls in rain and it was no problem. Also, the hot springs are really great in the rain because of the combination of cool and hot (plus, no one else is in the pools so you have them to yourself). There were breaks in the rain during which we explored the beautiful gardens and the cool pool. Most days we ate breakfast and headed back down the mountain and within 45 minutes all of the rain disappeared. As far as the bugs-- I would still highly recommend repellent but the mosquitoes were not too bad. Expect a little bit of nature to get into the cabin--don't forget we are in their territory. Also, grab your phone, turn on your voice recorder and take a walk at dusk to hear all of the amazing night sounds. We forgot about how Costa Rica's proximity to the equator would affect its daylight hours and were surprised when it started getting light by 5A and dark by 5:30. Plan to rise early to beat the heat and get the most out of your day.

Activities: We did horseback riding to the waterfalls and it was just long enough with our two children (6 and 8). The horses they rode were well behaved, but mine wanted to go faster and he would often egg the other horses along so if you have you children who are uncomfortable trotting, speak to the guide about wanting to slow things down. We did not do zip lining there, but other families we spoke to did, and had a good experience.

Getting There: This should be considered an activity all on its own. We arrived in the dark and the rain. If you are driving, a four-wheel drive vehicle is a big plus. There is quite a lot of dirt road to go over on the way to the resort and there can be unexpected obstacles along the way such as horses and cows, and fallen trees. Also be careful not too go too fast in the dark as there are very narrow bridges (often with no railing) over the river. However, as long as you follow the signs to the hotel you will be fine. If you want to stay in one place and not worry about a car--Blue River Resort has many options and can help transport you off the resort to do a variety of off-site activities. If you want more freedom--rent a car while you are there and explore Liberia, the beaches, Rincon de La Vieja, and more on your own time. Having our own car gave us more flexibility and the chance to find sun whenever we wanted it.

There are many wonderful things about staying at the Blue River Resort including the beautiful setting, staff and facilities. However, staying in the middle of the rain forest has its costs. If you want to spend time at the beach--rent a car and drive the 1.5 hrs--(you will really appreciate returning home to the peace and quiet). Another cost is the intermittent electricity. We were surprised when our camera didn't charge over night. We discovered the problem wasn't with the camera, but with the fact that the electricity would periodically go off. Most of the guests and staff took this in stride. It rarely lasted a very long time and we would turn on our flash lights, or even phones to light our way. This would also affect internet so plan on relaxing and posting to facebook when you get home.

I don't think we fully appreciated how great Blue River was until we went to Coco Beach. Since we were driving back to San Jose to catch a 12:30P flight (and still had to return the rental car) we thought we would save an hour by finding a hotel at the beach to spend Sunday night so we wouldn't have to get up as early in the morning. We were so glad nothing came available! The two locations couldn't be more different. Coco Beach was full of people trying to get your attention to sell you trinkets--Blue River was full of people paying attention to you to make your stay comfortable. The center of Coco was bright, loud, garish, and teeming with tourists--the center of Blue River was quiet, peaceful, and the lights came not from neon but from the stars.

It was definitely worth the drive!

Room Tip: Get the cabanas closest to the restaurant because they are also closest to the spa, gardens, and poo...
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  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled with family
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
4  Thank Adina R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 August 2014

Beautiful hotel in the middle of the jungle. Over the top on hospitality. My disappointment was that it was SO far away from civilization. My family of 4 with 2 teenagers stayed 4 nights. To stay on the property, you'd have to spend a lot of money to do activities like zip-lining, horseback riding, etc. The pools didn't have a lot of places to sit around and there was a gym but we couldn't even spend one day on the property without doing an activity. But we are very active and don't go on vacation to relax. To leave the property is an hour to the nearest town and it's not a touristy town. Two hours one way to a wonderful beach Coco beach. 35 minutes of the drive is on a typical terrible, unpaved, pothole-ridden road. We did it in a Toyota Corolla but I wouldn't recommend it! I would have been much more comfortable in a vehicle with a higher clearance. We visited in August and it was dark at 6:30 p.m. and we wanted to be back to the hotel by then, rather than on that deserted dark road. We like to get out and experience the culture rather than stay at the hotel, have all meals there, etc. So for us to leave each day on a new adventure was just too much driving for us...personal preference. If this hotel was on the beach or just closer to things to do, I would have nothing bad to say about it. Manuel was so friendly and helpful, loved him! I can't remember the name of the man who seemed to be a jack of all trades at the hotel....he was around at meals to ask questions, book activities, drove for excursions...he was so helpful and friendly. The Blue River is aptly named, spectacular and so incredibly blue. We did zip-lining at hotel, fun but I've done better. The horseback ride to the waterfall was great...my kids liked the horseback ride and the waterfall was amazing.

  • Stayed: August 2014, travelled with family
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
4  Thank Dianne15066
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 August 2014

My friend and I stayed at Blue River for a week in August 2014. The grounds were tropical and absolutely beautiful. The butterflies (especially the morpho-blues) and hummingbirds give the resort a magical quality!!! The Costa Rican people have a beautiful spirit and the staff went out of the way to make sure we were happy and comfortable without the phony subservience that you find at a 5 star high class resort. Hola and Gracias to Gilbert, Jonathan and Robert (o)- the restaurant staff who took good care of us!! I'm sorry I forgot the name of the salonero with the curly hair :( I highly recommend the "refrescos" with water or milk. The staff will make special combinations for you. I requested Guayabana & mango w/milk and mango, papaya and pineapple with water. Robert (o) is the refrescos expert. I miss my refrescos already....

One of the owners, Daniel was very friendly and socialized with us on a few occasions and told us how Blue River came to be and it was great to hear the history.

The mosquitos are more ferocious than the animals in Costa Rica so whether it's natural or OFF make sure you bring repellant!!! You will need it in the resort- it is a rainforest!!! My friend lived doused in Calamine lotion for the week :(

I did the ziplining and water tubing which was a great experience!! Kevin and Ronald took great care of me and they make sure you are safe! Plus they are easy on the eyes for the straight girls ;) If it's your first time ziplining, go on a sunny day because the rain makes the lines slick & fast. If you go water tubing, it's a class 3 with rocks so you will get a little banged up if it's your first time. Heed my advice- Lift your butt while in the tube!!!

My only caution are the roads leading to the resort. I am more daring that most so I took the 4 x 4 Suzuki and drove the 12 mile (20KM)dirt/rock road 4 times. I have driven dirt roads in the US & Puerto Rico but nothing compared to this. They are hilly mountain roads made of dirt and rock so it's a bouncy jeep ride with small one lane bridges the whole way. And even I wouldn't do it at night. The resort is relatively new so most likely in time the roads will get better. They were going to be smoothed out a week or two after we left :) It took me an hour to do the road the first time but I had it down to 40 minutes by the end of the week. Be aware that it takes time to get anywhere else due to the unpaved road and there's nothing in the area. Just a small bodega and a souvenir shop. I have to admit though, driving an automatic on a beautifully paved road seemed boring after returning from Costa Rica :))

I recommend going to Bahia Junquillal Beach & Wildlife Refuge. It's
1 1/2 hours from the resort and they do a tour if you prefer a guide. Its a quiet beach which you might get almost to yourself. On the property we saw capuccin monkeys, iguanas, coatimundi and watusa. If you wander into the mangroves, you may see crocodiles also.

If you want an authentic, relaxing but adventurous remote vacation with no cell phone service and a desire to return to a simpler time and life, this is the place for you!! I don't regret a moment of it...

Room Tip: All rooms ( cabanas) are the same.
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  • Stayed: August 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
1  Thank lcarbone12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 August 2014

We stayed at the Blue River Resort for three nights. We were traveling with four adults and 4 kids (ages 1, 4, 8, 10). The pools were perfect for the kids. They loved the slide. The butterfly garden, hummingbird viewing, lush gardens and mud baths were a happy bonus! The food was wonderful with plenty of variety for the adults and children. The rooms were clean and cozy. I would highly recommend the horseback ride to the waterfall. Our 10 year old loved it and we all enjoyed our fast paced gallop home! Very exciting. The staff at the hotel and restaurant were spot on and paid special attention to our needs. They were great with the kids! Gilberto was a true gem. We would go back just to see him again!! Our only issue was the remote location. Easy to find in the daylight but I would not recommend trying to get there at night!! The road was rough. Bring Dramamine for your passengers! Once we got there everything was fabulous!

  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled with family
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Review collected in partnership with this hotel
1  Thank Liz O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 August 2014

Excellent modern comfortable cabins surrounded by fabulous tropical flowers, fruit trees and vegetation. We went zip lining, horseback riding, down to the beach for a day, had mud baths, volcanic hot spring pools, wonderful food, no sickness (could eat all foods, fresh fruits, vegetables, etc) and relatively few mosquito bites at the end of a week's stay. Excellent tasty food prepared in the onsite bar-restaurant. Free breakfast. Saw howler monkeys in the wet rain forest where we were, a rosy green garter snake, at least a dozen species of hummingbirds and countless other species of birds, gorgeous flowers everywhere, a dead very poisonous fer-de-lance on one of the roads, and an ant eater in the lowland dry forest near the beach. The resort had a wonderful botanical garden, butterfly garden, hummingbird feeder station, wild bird feed station, two saunas (one heated by hot springs water, the other a more orthodox Swedish type sauna) and opportunities for tubing and white water rafting which we did not take because of the abundance of rocks in the river 100 m from our Eco-resort, the Blue River resort. Most of the people spoke English well, but it was fun practicing our Spanish, too. The place was very well-managed with excellent safety processes for all the activities. It was deep in the mountainous jungles of Costa Rica high up near the northeast corner of the country.

Room Tip: All cabins are good.
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  • Stayed: August 2014, travelled with family
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Review collected in partnership with this hotel
Thank WP_golden
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 August 2014

We travelled with our 20 year old daughter and 17 year old son. We all enjoyed the hike to the waterfall and zip line adventure. The guides for the zip line were knowledgable and very safety conscious. We enjoyed our meals in the restaurant and the waiters were very friendly. Some of the portions were small but we found the food to be good. The gardens are beautiful. The restaurant is open, if you are there during the rainy season bring lots of bug spray.

  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled with family
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
Review collected in partnership with this hotel
Thank MichelleWilliams04
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Blue River Resort & Hot Springs

Address: | 600 m West of la Puente and Rio Azul, Rincon de La Vieja 21306, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Region: Costa Rica > Province of Guanacaste > Rincon de La Vieja
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 7 Hotels in Rincon de La Vieja
Price Range: £73 - £152 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Blue River Resort & Hot Springs 3.5*
Number of rooms: 20
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Blue River Resort and Hot Springs is an authentic Costa Rica experience in the rainforests of Rincon de la Vieja. Our jewel is the spectacular natural mineral "green" hot spring pools – but that’s just the beginning. There is a large fresh water pool & bullet slide, the spa, botanical gardens, butterfly farm, iguana and frog pond and much more. Set out on several authentic eco Costa Rica adventure tours, all nearby. Eco-tours include visits to gorgeous blue volcanic rivers and waterfalls by horseback, nature walks, volcano hike, zip-lining across waterfalls and much more. The breadth of eco-nature tours will amaze you. Blue River Resort & Hot Springs offers luxury accommodation in new, spacious 720 square foot cabanas. Book your dream Costa Rica vacation! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Blue River Resort & Hot Springs Hotel Rincon De La Vieja
Blue River Resort And Hot Springs
Blue River Resort & Hot Springs Costa Rica/Rincon De La Vieja

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