For many years Costa Rica was thought of as a travel haven for backpackers and thrill seekers. There were very few all-inclusive resorts and it was just not a “Family Travel” destination.
This’s all changing! Central America has become a much sought after travel destination and Costa Rica is leading the way.
Several years ago my husband and I spent two weeks in Costa Rica seeking ultimate thrills and experiencing every adrenaline rush possible. We loved the country and it’s people so much we brought our youngest children back last November.
When travelling to a new country it’s important to do a little research. The internet is a great place to start, however my favorite resource is Rough Guides travel books. And best of all, the guides are now available to download, which is a great way to prepare and get the most out of your next adventure.
We spent a fun-filled week at Dreams las Mareas, an all-inclusive resort in the Guanacaste region of Costa Rica. I love that it is the ONLY resort in this part of the region! Unlike many tropical destinations where the resort beaches are jam-packed full of giddy tourists, when you make your way out to the beach at the Dreams — no matter what direction you look — there are nothing but stunning and peaceful views of nature. You truly feel like you’re in your own private paradise.
When we stayed the hotel was fresh off it’s one year anniversary. It has two amazing ocean from pools with a steaming whirlpool, an adults only pool, a kids pool, and a fun water slide for the whole family. Both the beach and the pool have full bar service, and there was always an empty lounge chair available and plenty of towels on hand. It’s the little things that make me happy on vacation.
There are many options for room types in this resort, which I like. There’s something for everyone no matter your family size and needs; from the junior suite with its own terrace hot tub to the presidential swim out ocean front. They are all large, as far as resorts standards go, very well-appointed, and tastefully decorated for a natural, calm atmosphere. Don’t expect turquoise turtle tile with palm tree headboards; the rooms are finished in natural tones and a very zen-like decor.
We stayed in a Preferred Club Junior Suite Swim out Tropical View. Although we hesitated at the extra cost for the private swim out pool, it was worth every penny. After a long day of hard-core relaxing and dining, it was so great to have the pool for the kids to swim and play before bed while we sat out on our deck and had a night-cap.
For pictures of the room itself be sure to check out their website as I couldn’t get one with our room actually tidied! We were there to play, not do housework.
There are a ton of things included with your stay here, plus the option to upgrade to Preferred Club Privileges. We upgraded to the Preferred Club, but I’m not sold on the value of this because visitors already get so many great amenities with a regular booking.
The Dreams Las Mareas Costa Rica amenities are as impressive as the options for activities:
- Limitless access to gourmet à la carte dining options without reservations required
- Unlimited international and domestic top-shelf spirits
- Unlimited natural fruit juices and soft drinks
- 24-hour room and concierge services
- Pool and beach wait service
- Daily refreshed mini-bar with soft drinks, juice, bottled water and beer
- Daily maid service
- Endless daytime activities and live nightly entertainment
- Theme parties, oceanfront bars and entertainment venues
- No wristbands required
- All taxes and gratuities included
- Enjoy free Wi-Fi and free international calling to the US, Canada and Costa Rica with Unlimited Connectivity. The mobile app also allows you to view the schedules of all events, activities and restaurants at the resort, plus to learn about local destinations, excursions, and much more
Preferred Club Privileges:
- Concierge services
- Preferred Club rooms and suites in premium locations
- Plush bathrobe, slippers and pillow menu
- Upgraded mini-bar service
- Upgraded bath amenities
- Complimentary newspaper in suite every day (English or Spanish)
- Private Preferred Club lounge
- Daily continental breakfast service in lounge
- Afternoon hot and cold hors d’oeuvres in lounge
- Exquisite desserts and fine liquors in lounge
- Complimentary computer access in lounge
TIP Let your concierge staff in charge of the mini bar know at the beginning of your stay what you want to see more of in your fridge.
The food throughout the resort was very good. The buffet was always fresh and offered different selections and the A-la-Cart restaurant options are well done too. Unlike most all-inclusive resorts where you have to reserve dinners on arrival, here you get a little more freedom. The only problem is no reservations means wait times at the restaurants. If you go when the restaurant opens it is not a problem, if you want to dine a little later, it can be up to a 45 minute wait. There are a few adult-only restaurants, which is great if the kids have dinner at the kids club while you enjoy a romantic dinner together. We loved the room service menu! We tried it for lunch and dinner time and it was delicious and fun to sit in our own space and enjoy a meal.
The never ending VAT’O’BACON, daily Crepe station, and smoothie station is also kid approved. Obviously.
And that brings me to the subject of cocktails! I am never a fan of the cocktails at all-inclusive resorts as they either typically lack any flavour other than cheap booze or they come out of a giant slushy machine that’s then topped off with a large splash of simple syrup and cheap booze. I was so pleasantly surprised at the options and creativity the bartenders provided. They had daily drink specials and were willing to make just about anything. The Green Monster was my favourite and I’m almost positive it was healthy. Green=health food, am I right? The champagne and citrus juice bar at breakfast was a wonderful treat even if I did skip the juice most of the time.
There was even a “refueling station” set up on your way to the beach. Ready made libations complete with selections for the kids. Oh, happy day!
When we have travelled with any of the kids we’ve let them decide if they wanted to check out the Kids Club or not. None of the kids ever lasted more than half a day in the past, which we loved as it’s always more fun to hang out and swim with them on family vacations. On this trip though, we couldn’t get them out of the kids club.
The Dreams Costa Rica offers an Explorer’s Kids Club and a Core Zone Teens Club. The kids ventured out to the club on day three and never looked back. They ate lunch there and even dinner on some nights, which gave us the opportunity to check out the adults-only restaurants. The kids watched nightly outdoor movies with popcorn and snacks, they fed howler monkeys, rode bikes, tried out the trampoline bungee, played soccer on the beach, and basically owned the water slide.
In the evenings we sat together and watched wonderful stage performances. I loved the fact that when we checked the kids into kids club we received a buzzer, like in many restaurants. It would vibrate if our kids needed us or wanted to leave the club. The staff at the kids club were beyond amazing. Tip them accordingly if your kids are ever in a kids club, they earn it! My kids keep asking when they get to go back to see them all again.
Normally we like to do a day at the resort and a day out exploring, however on this vacation we were not all feeling our best since we left home a bit under the weather. This time around we spent more time swimming and chilling out, however we did get out one day for a hike and zip-lining. We went on the Spider Monkey Canopy Tours in La Cruz Costa Rica. It’s a 45 minute jungle hike where we saw sloths and monkeys, including babies, in the wild, spectacular trees and flowers, and wrapped it up with an 11 line zip line. On an adrenaline scale I give this outing a 5 out of 10. Great for kids and zip lining beginners. On a service scale I give it a 9. The amazing staff helped my son who was still feeling off have a great time and feel safe and we all learned so much about the rain forest. The drive is over one hour long and quite bumpy as roads in certain parts of the country are not well-developed, so be prepared.
This was a week well-spent in an beautiful part of the world. I loved this resort for many reasons, but the size and location are my top two reasons. There are no high-rise buildings, no lounge chair-cluttered beaches, and I didn’t see a single selfie stick! You truly felt the beauty of your surroundings. There’s a lot of attention to detail at this resort and it would be a great getaway for couples and families alike.
The country and the people of Costa Rica are amazing. I’m drawn to this country and will go back for sure! If you have been thinking about expanding your travel destinations and getting a new stamp in your passport, put Costa Rica on the list.