Stay, Play, Try & Fly Pt. 1 – Riu Playa Blanca

My husband and I recently vacationed for a week in Panama. What better opportunity to review multiple services and products at once? My next few posts will cover Stay, Play, Try and Fly…Riu Playa Blanca, Panamaland, various products, and lastly Sunwing. With the cool weather today it will be nice to think back to scorching Panama temperatures.

Hubby and I stayed at Riu Playa Blanca in Ria Hato. Riu is known to be a more expensive and luxurious chain offering 5 star services and accommodations. Riu Playa Blanca is only 2 years old so is less costly than other Riu locations. It is also considered to be an up and coming location of Panama which provides lower prices to draw travellers in. This location is 2 hours from Panama City (so farther for excursions) but flights from Canada are now available to Rio Hato airport which was a 10 minute bus ride from the hotel.

We had a wonderful time staying at Riu. The rooms and buildings were modern and kept clean. The grounds were beautiful and maintained. Our room was considered Ocean View and this was promoted to us as a free upgrade. However, every room has a view of the ocean. Don’t pay for an upgraded room. The hotel is the shape of a U and all rooms are on the inside facing the water, beach, and pools while the open hallways were the outside of the U. Our room was comfortable and clean. House keeping attended everyday and there were never any complaints. We were on the 4th floor with a balcony so had no concerns of others entering through our patio door, however house keeping locked the door each day. We didn’t see any typical vacation bugs inside. We did have a tiny lizard on our balcony but he stayed away from us. With Zika on everyone’s minds I am also glad to say there were no mosquitos.

The grounds were well laid out providing quick access where ever you needed to go. Restaurants and bars were all located in close proximity to each other. The elevators were small so you sometimes had to wait a few minutes. I read several reviews stating that there would be very little shade but we did not have any issues getting chairs in the shade by the pool or on the beach. I also read several reviews about how far the bathrooms were from the pools. A quick walk to one end of the pool area was all that was needed. The beach had red flags for most of our stay due to jellyfish and stingrays. If you prefer to swim in the ocean rather than pools I can see this being a let down for you.

Panama is a very hot location. This means that the sand will get hot, the walk ways will get hot, and it will be stinking hot out. You should know this before travelling there and not complain about having to wear your flip flops or water shoes while walking around. There was always a beautiful breeze, tasty drinks, and the respite of air conditioned areas to help cut the heat. We had to play with our air conditioning so that the transition from hot to cool was not so brutal.

I love to eat. Food at an all inclusive is very important to me. Each restaurant was tasty and had options to suit everyone’s tastes. And OMG best coffee I’ve tasted! All areas were kept clean, food was regularly replenished, and someone was always around if you needed something. The only disappointment was the snack bar which is the only location open later at night. There were burgers you could microwave, nachos and cheese, and a small selection of sandwiches and fruit. After many drinks something more substantial would have been welcome.

Overall we loved our time at Riu Playa Blanca. If you search the hotel the grounds and rooms will be exactly what is shown. Vacation is also what you make of it so don’t be afraid to ask staff if you need something. We were able to get extra pop, towels, and our questions answered.

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