Riu Guanacaste Restaurants And Food Review

Riu Guanacaste is an all-inclusive, five-star luxury resort in Guanacaste, Costa Rica. It is a gem on Playa Matapalo, one of the most beautiful beaches on the peninsula side of Costa Rica. Set in the beautiful coastal town of Sardinal, it is part of the Riu Hotel and Resorts Group. 

My family had a great time at Riu Guanacaste. I would give it a four-star rating for having a lot of kids’ activities and meals. Every night at 8 p.m., they have a kids’ club and a one-hour kids’ show. Because the hotel offers an all-inclusive package, everyone can enjoy all that the resort has to offer. 

Key Takeaways From This Article

Riu Guanacaste is 45 minutes away from Liberia International Airport. The resort opened in 2009 and offers 24-hour all-inclusive services. The hotel offers high-quality services and sumptuous meals at its various restaurants. I highlight a few key takeaways in the article. 

  • Riu Guanacaste has five restaurants, and because of the all-inclusive package, you can eat at any of them. 
  • You must make reservations beforehand at the Tucan and La Toscana steakhouses, as they fill up fast. 
  • The Octal Steakhouse has tables that allow you to have your meals while you admire the ocean. 

The Riu Guanacaste Hotel is described.

The hotel is a six-story building with 701 rooms and five different types of accommodations. Since the hotel is on Playa Matapalo on the Pacific Coast, most rooms will have a view of the ocean. Riu Guanacaste has a lobby full of elegant artwork. The outdoors has a fountain and well-manicured gardens comprising towering palm trees. 

Spend your day doing various activities at Playa Matapalo. At the hotel’s three swimming pools, you can swim in the afternoon or evening. The hotel’s kids’ club, known as Riu Land, has a splash pool in the kids’ club known as Riu Land. You can use the Renova Center’s sauna, gym, jacuzzi, and spa within the hotel, and all services are free if you’re 18+ years old. 

Riu Guanacaste promises a lively nightlife at the Pacha nightclub or casino.

Riu Guanacaste Restaurants

Five restaurants in the all-inclusive Riu Guanacaste resort serve buffets and a la carte menus. All the restaurants have a casual dress code. Feel free to wear your dress shorts, jeans, and sandals, but no short-sleeved shirts or swimsuits. 

Tucán Caribbean Gourmet Restaurant

My love of flavors led me to this restaurant, which serves Caribbean gourmet dishes. The meal has spicy flavors, vibrant colors, and fresh ingredients from Costa Rica. However, Riu Guanacaste does it differently by mixing Caribbean and modern cuisine. 

The restaurant mainly serves Caribbean gourmet meals, as seen in the table below. 

Tucán Caribbean gourmet restaurant dishes
Causa de Camarones Prawns and potato pureé combine to create this Peruvian dish.
Duck Magret with Spiced Wine Sauce The meal is a combination of Caribbean and French cuisine.
Chupe de Langosta The dish is a Peruvian broth with potatoes, cheese, and lobster.
Sauteed vegetable quinoa with goat cheese You can serve it as a main vegetarian dish or a side dish.
Grilled Huachinago The chefs at Riu Guanacaste serve this rare fish, which is only common in Central Mexico and South America, with pico de gallo (a Mexican salad) and yuca (a root vegetable).
Arroz con Leche Rice and milk combine to create a Costa Rican dessert.
Shellfish asopao Asopao is a Puerto Rican stew with vegetables, rice, and spiced ground chicken.
Beef filet in Mexican adobo The Mexican marinade for meat and seafood, which includes dried chiles, vinegar, cumin, onions, oregano, and garlic, comes with the beef fillet.

Ocotal Steakhouse

The steak house is near the swimming pools, away from the main Riu Guanacaste hotel. Sitting at the tables at the far end of the restaurant gives you the perfect ocean view. Please note that you have to make reservations in advance. 

Ocotal Steakhouse provides a la carte lunch and evening options. The main course includes grilled chicken, 12-ounce ribeye steak, BBQ ribs, salmon, burgers, or a mixed grill. The lunch option includes hot dogs, a salad bar, pizza, and fresh fruits. I loved how nicely the chefs at the restaurant were able to cook the steak. 

Baked Alaska was the only choice for dessert at the steakhouse. 

La Toscana is an Italian restaurant.

You can enjoy some of the most delicious Italian cuisine at La Toscana restaurant in Riu Guanacaste. The restaurant offers table service for the main course, as well as a buffet for starters and desserts.

The restaurant offers a diverse menu, and here are some dishes they serve. 

La Toscana restaurant serves Italian cuisine.
Fettucine Basil Pesto Vegetarian Cannelloni
Arancini Beef Carpaccio
Grilled beef filet Stuffed chicken breast
Fritto Misto Spinach Salad
Seafood Risotto Beef lasagna
Burrata Chicken Parmigiana
Braised Beef Short Ribs Prawns Toscana

Furama Asian Restaurant

I loved the sushi from Furama restaurant, which mainly serves Asian dishes at the Riu Guanacaste Hotel. It’s a buffet restaurant that opens with a salad selection. Next is the sushi buffet, which includes tuna, sushi rolls, salmon sashimi, and other sushi varieties. 

After the sushi buffet, you can pick any other Asian dish. At Furama Asian Restaurant, dessert is a choice between fresh fruits and other sweet desserts. While you enjoy your meal, the waiters will serve you drinks.

Liberia Restaurant

It’s the hotel’s main restaurant. The guests enjoy a buffet breakfast or dinner. You can sit in the main indoor dining area or on the terrace, overlooking the gardens and fountain.

Liberia restaurant mainly serves Costa Rican dishes like gallo pinto or huevos rancheros. Alternatively, go for the traditional American breakfast comprising pastries, bacon, waffles, sausages, cheese, pancakes, and fruits. You can also choose to have fruit juice, French toast, bread, cereals, pastries, and omelets. 

The restaurant mainly focuses on Costa Rican, Italian, or Mexican cuisine for dinner. Liberia Restaurant also serves various Costa Rican dishes. However, my youngest child preferred the special kids’ buffet.

Dessert comprises pastries, cakes, freshly cut fruits, and other single-serving desserts. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a difference between Riu Guanacaste and Riu Palace, Costa Rica?

There are significant differences between Riu Palace and Riu Guanacaste. Riu Palace offers a more luxurious stay at a higher price. Riu Guanacaste is smaller, but it has more rooms. Given its construction after Riu Guanacaste, Riu Palace exhibits a more modern aesthetic.

Because Riu Palace and Riu Guanacaste are adjacent, you may have to share some facilities. One of the facilities is Splash World, which has a lot of water slides. 

What ocean is Riu Guanacaste in?

Riu Guanacaste is on Playa Matopalo, which faces the Pacific Ocean. The beach is in the Quepos canton, in Puntarenas province. Because Playa Matapalo is on the Pacific Coast, it enjoys warm and dry weather throughout the year. 

There are no rocks on the beach; all you’ll see is sand for miles and miles. You can only access the beach through the two Riu resorts, by boat, or in the jungle. 

How far is Riu Guanacaste from the airport?

If you use Liberia International Airport, the drive to Riu Guanacaste should only take 45 minutes. The distance is 20.5 miles. 

The distance from San Jose Airport is longer, and driving to Riu Guanacaste will take 5 hours. However, if you land at San Jose Airport, you can make your trip shorter by choosing to fly to Tamarindo (2 hours) or Liberia (2 hours, 30 minutes). 


I would highly recommend visiting the Riu Guanacaste Hotel with your family. Apart from its many activities, the hotel has several restaurants with delicious cuisine. Since the hotel package is inclusive, why not try all the restaurants during your stay? 

Would you give a five-star rating to the restaurants in Riu Guanacaste? Please share your experience, whether good or bad. 

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Born in California, Michelle traveled extensively through the USA and Europe before moving to South Florida during the pandemic. Her career in Marketing has taken her all across the world. Her favorite country is France but she'll never turn down a beach vacation!

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