Riu Palace Costa Rica Day Pass — What You Should Know Before Going

Currently, Riu Palace doesn’t offer day passes, except for wedding guests, who can buy a one-day pass for $150 plus a room for $50 per person. Others must stay at a Riu hotel to use the facilities. There are still some areas of exceptions, as you’ll find out in this article. 

The Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica in Guanacaste, right by Matapalo Beach, has four pools, a jacuzzi, gym, sauna, and the Renova Spa. If you want to stay there, it might cost you around $299 each night. People even have weddings there because it’s such a nice place.

But if you just want to visit for the day to use the pools or spa or maybe attend a wedding, you might wonder if they sell day passes. Unfortunately, they didn’t, at least not when this was written. We emailed the management to make sure.

However, if you’re going to a wedding there but not staying at the hotel, you’ll need to buy a Day Pass and also pay for the wedding ceremony and dinner.

Can you get a pass for Riu Palace in Costa Rica? Are there other ways to use the hotel’s facilities without spending $300 a night? What are the good and bad things about staying there? What about alternative day pass resorts nearby? Keep reading to find out.

Key Takeaways

  • Facilities that guests enjoy at Riu Palace include up to four pools, with one that has a bar you can swim up to, a jacuzzi, a gym, a sauna, and the famous “Renova Spa.”
  • Unlike in many other resorts around Costa Rica, you can’t buy day passes to enjoy these facilities for a day. 
  • You must buy a day pass to attend a resort wedding. You can visit the resort and consult the on-site coordinator for current Day Pass costs. 
  • Ideal alternatives for a day pass experience at an all-inclusive resort include the Westin Reserva Conchal day pass, the Margaritaville day pass, and the JW Marriot. 

What’s Included in the Riu Palace Day Pass (If They Resume Selling)?

Having stayed for five nights in Riu last year, day pass holders are in for a great time at the resort if the management eventually opens the window for day-pass tickets. 

The resort has: 

  • All-Inclusive 24 hours
  • Free WiFi throughout the hotel
  • Direct access to the Matapalo beach, next to the Riu Guanacaste
  • Swimming pools and sun terrace
  • “Riu Party” theme parties (at Riu Guanacaste)
  • Main and theme restaurants
  • “Renova Spa” with a variety of treatments
  • The water park “Splash Water World” (at the Riu Resort) is open six times a week

I will continue to contact the Riu Palace occasionally and monitor their communication channels to promptly update the post once the opportunity for day passes are opened for external guests. 

How Much For a Day Pass at Riu Palace?

Right now, Riu Palace isn’t selling tickets for people to come for just the day. So, we don’t know how much it’ll cost when they start doing that.

But I’ve been to Andaz, Margaritaville, Westin, and The Springs resorts. Based on their day pass charges, we can guess that when Riu Palace starts selling day passes, they might cost between $50 and $120 per person.

If you’re coming to Riu Palace for a wedding, the cost might be around $150 for a day pass and then $50 per person per day for a room. You should double-check with the person in charge to ensure it’s okay.

Weddings at Riu Palace can be held either on the beach or in the garden and can accommodate up to 200 people.

Also, the people getting married and 80% of their guests must stay at the Riu Hotel, where the wedding is happening. Only 20% of the group can stay somewhere else.

Pros & Cons of Staying at Riu Palace

While we weren’t able to experience Riu Palace from a day pass holder perspective, spending five nights at the hotel three months ago revealed a lot. If you’re planning to stay at Riu, consider the following pros and cons: 

What I Like About Staying at Riu Palace

Riu Palace has fantastic pool and beach spots. The pool area has plenty of chairs, and you can choose to be in the sun or shade.

There are fun activities by the pool, and you can choose between lively or quiet spots. The beach is beautiful, and the water is perfect for swimming or just walking along the shore.

While there aren’t umbrellas for shade at the beach, there are chairs to relax in. I liked the vendors selling souvenirs—they had good stuff at fair prices. Plus, getting a massage on the beach was a real treat. 

The staff at the hotel were friendly and helpful wherever we went. The food was decent, not unique, and there wasn’t a huge variety, but it did the job.

What I Don’t Like About Staying at Riu Palace 

My main issue was the strong air fresheners in all the public bathrooms. They leave a really unpleasant smell when you walk in, which is too much.

The pillows were also quite lumpy and not very comfortable. The evening entertainment options were a bit lacking—I wish there were more choices.

Other downsides included the absence of beach umbrellas, which led to getting stung by a bee when I sought shade under a tree. The noise at night made it hard to sleep, and the food was just okay. 

At the time of my visit, there was only one really good restaurant, but the wait to get in was too long. 

Riu Palace Day Pass Alternatives 

If you are interested in that day pass experience to an all-inclusive resort still around Guanacaste Province, consider the following: 

  • The Westin Reserva Conchal Day Pass

1. The Westin Reserva Conchal Day Pass

Westin Reserva Conchal in Playa Conchal offers a luxurious stay for $700 per night or a day pass for $130. 

The pass grants access from 9 am to 6 pm to amenities like the renowned Guanacaste beach, jacuzzi, private pools, and park. It includes meals, snacks, and up to 10 alcoholic beverages.

2. Margaritaville Beach Resort Playa Flamingo Day Pass

The Margaritaville resort in Playa Flamingo offers different day passes, including All-inclusive, spa passes, and day rooms. The price for a day pass at the resort starts from $110.

A day pass gives you access to the outdoor pool with a swim-up bar, lounge chairs, beach access, towel service, poolside food and drink service, unlimited food and drinks from onsite restaurants and bars, and complimentary resort activities.

It lasts from 8 am to 5 pm, and they are very strict with the timeline. 

Day Passes are available all year. But March through April are the busiest, and you may not enjoy it during these times. 

3. Andaz Costa Rica Day Pass

The current cost for a day pass ticket at Andaz Costa Rica Resort is $50 per person, plus taxes.

It’s only available to people staying at hotels on the Peninsula, such as Four Seasons, Marina, Prieta Beach Club, or Exclusive Resort.

To book it, you have to call them 24 hours in advance because they allow external guests based on the resort’s occupancy.

The ticket only allows you to access the resort facilities, such as the pools, and go to the ONDA spa (if you need a treatment, it will be at an extra charge). The Andaz Costa Rica day pass is valid from 10 am until 5 pm.

Wrapping Up

While Riu is a good resort, it doesn’t quite offer the authentic Costa Rican experience, especially if you’re considering it for a three- or more-night stay. 

So even if they eventually start to offer day pass tickets for external guests to enjoy their facilities for a day, there are still other nearby resorts I’d recommend for a day pass experience over Riu Palace. 

My top recommendations are Westin Conchal and Margaritaville Resort day passes. 

Do you have other ideas that you think should make way into this post? Feel free to share in the comments. 

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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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