PLAYA DE MATAPALO, COSTA RICA
A Review of Playa de Matapalo, Costa Rica
The beach itself is of Playa de Matapalo set in an encroaching jungle backdrop with brown volcanic sand, it’s easy to see why this location is a perfect habitat for most of Costa Rica’s wildlife.
Despite the tourist presence here from the two Riu Resorts monkeys still swing and turtles still nest every year. The beach of Matapalo became the tropical wonderland setting for my first ever all inclusive resort holiday. Therefore, this post is actually a little unfitting for a budget travel and backpacking blog.
My First All Inclusive Holiday to Costa Rica
Travelling to Central America
|The jungle backdrop and volcanic sand of Playa Matapalo|
|A room with the view – The 5th floor of the Riu Guanacaste hotel overlooking Playa Matapalo, Costa Rica|
|Sunsets from Matapalo Beach, Costa Rica|
A Review of Playa de Matalapo and The Riu Guanacaste Resort
Playa de Matapalo Weather
Here’s the thing about the tropics – you can always expect good weather, torrential rain, humidity and that unmistakable smell that only happens when the sun scorching the ground.
Costa Rica, like all of Central America, has a rainy season and a dry season. But due to its unique geographical make up Costa Rica is a little different. Costa Rica as a country is split down the middle by the great continental divide that splits the America’s in half. This means Costa Rica has two different climates.
The weather in Playa de Matapalo is driven by the climate. This area sits in the Pacific Coast side where it’s mostly dry, whereas areas on the other side of the continental divide are more wet and tropical. These areas sit in the Caribbean side of Costa Rica. The weather and climate in this area is far different to the Playa Matapalo’s weather.
Riu Guanacaste Resort Review
The tranquil setting of Playa Matapalo, Costa Rica is not unlike the other Pacific coast beaches of Central America, although it’s access points make it very untypical in the perspective of my usual travel style.
Situated in a deep bay with imposing rocky headlands to the left and more to the right. This Pacific coast beach is unusually wind free most of the time. Playa Matapalo isn’t spared of the usual Latin hustle, the same hustle that can be found on almost any beach anywhere in Latin America.
The sellers are ever present on the private beach of Playa Matapalo, Costa Rica despite its seclusion. Handbags, pottery, jewelry and more you can find the same goods on any beach up this coastline in Costa Rica right down to Peru and up to Mexico.
If you plan on staying at either of the Riu resorts on Playa Matapalo (Riu Palace and Riu Guanacaste) you’ll have exclusive (along with the sellers) access to the beach. For the benefits of tourists you will find many amenities on the beach. Sun loungers, jet skis and massage therapy are all available. Sun loungers are free of charge on Matapalo Beach, the latter two will come with a price.
The Guanacaste resorts are luxurious, organised, clean and safe. Although I very rarely review hotels and accommodations in this detail it’s worth noting that the Riu Guanacaste Resort aims to please and that it does.
Our room was large with a balcony and great air con – essential for the tropics. I cannot fault the cleanliness or maid service of the hotel. At no point during my stay did I meet a rude or unhappy member of staff. The pool areas and public spaces are groomed within an inch of their life and as for the food. Well, that’s on a whole other level.
I’d recommend this hotel for couples, groups of friends travelling and also families as it is a very secure and family friendly environment.
Things to do in Playa Matapalo, Costa Rica
Things to do in Playa de Matapalo, Costa Rica
- Snorkeling – Try your hand at a spot of snorkeling here, the bay shields the beach from any large waves so Matapalo Beach is the ideal location for beginners to try their hand at snorkeling however, the water isn’t the clearest here so visibility might not be great.
- Paddle boarding – Rent a board and enjoy some fun paddle boarding. Sunset paddle boarders can be seen regularly on the shoreline. Try it, why not.
- Kayaking – Like paddle boards you can rent Kayaks from the resort.
- Jet Skiing – Jet Ski’s can be rented from the resort of from alternative vendors who sit further up the beach that isn’t occupied by the Riu Resorts.
- Diving – ScubaCaribe has it’s own dive school on Playa Matapalo in Costa Rica, it’s certainly an activity I’d recommend when in Costa Rica.
- Sunset cruises – Boat trips leave from Playa de Matapalo to Playas del Coco (the next bay along) why not tempt yourself to a sunset cruise. Usually food and drinks are included in the ticket price. Tickets can be purchased from reception.
Costa Rica is a country filled with endless adventure if you love travel filled to the maximum with adventure you’ll want to read about all the adventurous things to do in Costa Rica.
|The sunset cruise retuning|
|Divers waiting to head out onto the water – Playa Matapalo, Costa Rica|
Find out how to eat in Costa Rica on a budget with Costa Rica Vibes
Sunsets in Playa de Matalapo, Costa Rica
Pacific coast sunsets ignite the sky over Playa Matapalo and turn the holidaymakers into silhouettes against the headland back drop as the day turns from light to dark. Playa Matapalo becomes the ideal setting to spend an evening and a sunset stroll is recommended.
Note: Sand flies are prolific on this beach and a mere 15 minutes on Playa Matapalo will have you itching for days. Always wear insect repellent with DEET or even better, cover your legs before arriving on the beach for sunset.
Is there anything more tranquil than a Pacific Coast sunset along the shores of a Central American beach? Matapalo Beach/Playa Matapalo is no exception.
Tips for your All Inclusive holiday to Costa Rica
If you’re planning on booking an all inclusive trip to Costa Rica I’d seriously recommend the Guanacaste area. Check out the Riu resorts, which are the popular Riu Guanacaste and Riu Palace Guanacaste before booking and have a browse of what each offers.
I’d be happy staying at either the Riu Palace, Costa Rica or Riu Guanacaste, Costa Rica they are a million times the upgrade from my usual backpacker accommodation.
Costa Rica is a tropical location and the Playa Matapalo weather can sometimes be just that. During the wet season you can expect high humidity and occasional rain and thunderstorms. But if you are prepared and know this in advance that shouldn’t stop you from enjoying the majority of the hot weather you’ll experience.
My time in Playa Matapalo was in an all inclusive resort at the Riu Guanacaste was a first for me, as I’ve never actually been on an all inclusive holiday. Initially I was worried that I’d be bored or experience cabin fever, but thanks to the mass of things to do within the resort I didn’t once find myself getting bored.
When you’re planning an all inclusive trip make sure you review all the activities and facilities first and the local transport options available along with excursions to ensure there will be enough for you to do.
A 20-something travel blogger based in Liverpool. Covering all things from Latin America to Liverpool local guides and everything in between.