RIU Guanacaste

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Rates at RIU Guanacaste vary (roughly from $200 to $400 pp dbl) but there are many special rates that travel agents will find attractive, as the resort plans a massive sales campaign to draw visitors.

According to Koehler, the Guanacaste resort took three and a half years to complete. “The first 18 months were spent on construction,” he adds, “and another 18 months passed before it was operational.”

Koehler has more than a decade of experience managing RIU properties. He previously oversaw operations in the Dominican Republic and Jamaica, but he has a soft spot for the natural beauty of the Costa Rican Pacific coast.

He finds it challenging to operate a resort of that magnitude while at the same time adhering to strict environmental standards.

Koehler stresses that strict laws prevent further development near the complex since the zone falls under a Costa Rican national patrimony decree that ensures preservation of the country’s natural riches.

“I am an avid surfer and nature lover,” he adds. “It’s delightful to sometimes walk out at night to see turtles laying eggs in the sand or watch the monkeys who often even come uninvited into the lobby to observe the action in the hotel,” he says. “That’s just one of the many reasons why we take such care to preserve the natural habitat of the surroundings.”

And it’s the natural surroundings that attract a good portion of foreign visitors to the area.

The Guanacaste shore is a bio-diversity paradise. In nearby Playa Matapalo divers will feel like they are swimming in a virtual aquarium full of giant rays, sharks, dolphins, turtles and scores of subtropical fish that thrive in the warm waters.

Those who prefer drier activities will find that the inland Guanacaste province is unlike any in Costa Rica. This is a sprawl of forests and cattle ranches manned by local cowboys known as sabaneros.

Nearby, visitors can partake of such activities as hiking, jungle canopy sliding and even hikes to the Rincon de la Vieja National Park where trails lead to an active volcano and the landscape is dominated by craters, cones, thermal springs, geysers and lagoons of bubbling mud.

Fittingly, RIU Guanacaste opened to much fanfare in October with a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by Costa Rican President and Nobel Peace Prize recipient Oscar Arias, many of the country’s tourism dignitaries and Luis Riu, chief executive officer of RIU Hotels & Resorts.

Clients will delight in enjoying downtime in a brand-new complex where the living is easy and amenities are first-rate.