- 6 years ago
I just want to let everyone know what’s going on right now with the Riu Guanacaste in Costa Rica and Sunwing Vacations. We left on Monday for our honeymoon, Wednesday morning there was a magnitude 8.3 earthquake where we were (the rest of the country felt magnitude 7.6 but we were at the epicenter). We barely survived almost falling 50′ off a sand levy into a crocodile infested river and when we got back to the hotel we were told we had to sign waivers to sleep in our rooms or we could sleep on pool chairs provided by the hotel. The Riu thought this was a perfectly acceptable solution for the next 5 days of our trip. They refused to let us speak with our embassy, travel agents or consulates and instead insisted the hotel was safe and fully functional. When we left (and as far as I know now) the disco, casino, pool, pool bar, 3 of 4 restaurants, sports bar and the shopping mall are all badly damaged and not able to be used. The Riu Palace they were building next door that is slated to open in November literally crumbled in places and will have to be demolished in order to rebuild it. We toured several rooms and each one was more damaged than the last. Plaster and concrete are all over the floors and halls, lamps fell off walls, toilets are broken and flooding rooms and glass is everywhere. Not one person asked us or checked us to see if we were ok after the earthquake. We were basically abandoned and left to fend for ourselves after the hotel employees all fled the hotel. No one would answer our questions and every time we asked something we were either told “I don’t know” or given a different answer. We asked to be transferred to another Riu hotel preferably in another country so we could finish our holidays and we were told it wasn’t possible. We also asked to be moved to an undamaged hotel and after 4 hrs, the Sunwing reps found one that “from what they’d heard, was doing better than the Riu” and they “would try to get us 3 meals a day.” We were pushed to make an immediate decision about staying or going and we decided to stay because they refused to tell us which hotel it was, where it was or what the amenities were. They said there were 62 beds – not rooms – available and so we had to make up our minds ASAP. We chose to return to Ontario because we didn’t feel safe in our room and we didn’t pay almost $3k to sleep on pool chairs for a week and not get to experience everything the hotel and country had to offer. We knew we would never feel safe in the hotel again and that night, around 3am was another quake that moved my pool chair a foot across the floor. We also weren’t comfortable with the lack of answers or information and constantly felt like they were withholding information. Now that we’re home, our “insurance” has turned out to be a cancellation waiver and unless Sunwing is feeling compassionate, we are out $3k and a honeymoon. Riu is lying through their teeth to anyone interested in still going there, they are adamant that the hotel is safe. We heard of one couple from Winnipeg, also on their honeymoon, who had insurance and were required to provide a letter from the hotel stating it wasn’t safe and they were forced to return home, which the hotel is refusing to provide. Once their story hit the media, the Riu and Sunwing have decided to help them get their money back. Please help us out and share this story so that we can get the story out there and hopefully get our money back.