A.M. Costa Rica
Playa Flamingo
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Jo Stuart
About us
This section first was published Monday, Feb. 18, 2002

Master Chef George Claudius applies artistry
. . . Delicious meals with artistic fare

A.M. Costa Rica photos/Patricia Martin
High wagers are accepted in this casino
. . . At Flamingo Bay Resort & Casino

Playa Flamingo: Beauty and beach in a community
Tica beauty Patsy Miller takes advantage of pool
at Flamingo Bay Resort & Casino.

From its high perch, Flamingo Bay Resort & Casino looks out upon a blissful portrait of sea and sky.

At her new Hillside Cafe, Mary Anne Marlow welcomes Flamingo resident Jim Valentine and Peter Martin with Valentine's dog, Lady.

The clean sand and calm waters make for an ideal beach experience at Playa Flamingo. This shot is at the Flamingo Marina Hotel.

By Patricia Martin
Special to A.M. Costa Rica
Part I

By reputation, Flamingo Beach in the northwest Nicoya Peninsula has a certain panache about it. The name still conjures up images of Hollywood celebrities and long-stemmed pink birds, although Elizabeth Taylor has rarely visited her vacation home there in decades, and those flamingos have never shown up at all. 

But if you´ll settle for birds of a feather called roseate spoonbills, fashionable resorts, an important marina and pale sands, your vacation along this "Camelot coast" will be something to treasure. There are no riptides or threatening waves to disturb your ocean swimming, and the weather is sublimely hot and dry for most months, tempered by constant sea breezes. 


Flamingo could best be described as a community rather than a town, yet visitors can find most of what they need in a little cluster along one or two streets:  A bank, supermarket, real estate office, two art and gift shops, a tour office, and the all-purpose Amberes restaurant/bar/casino/disco. Other popular spots are the Mariner Inn, Marie´s Restaurant, and the new Hillside Café with meals and baked goods. 


Costa Rica’s principal, full-service marina is located here, launching vessels for water sports, pleasure cruises, and world-class sportfishing. Of several fine places to stay in or around Flamingo, we´ll be taking a close look at two resorts in this report, each quite different from the other.


This airy, 51-room hotel opens to wide views of the calm bay and a scattering of islands. Units feature air conditioning and television, fans and balconies, with room service and Internet use available. Guests enjoy the swimming pool and bar in a garden setting, or follow the stairs down to a small beach when the tide allows. A favorite haunt of gamblers since 1994, the casino offers slot machines and all the table games, with some of the highest betting limits in the country. Attractive packages for groups of gamblers, fishermen or golfers may be investigated at infoflamingobay@racsa.co.cr. For the latter group, the choice is of three championship courses in the area. 


Major updating is currently under way to the facilities and services of Flamingo Bay Resort & Casino, guided by U.S. administrators and implemented by General Manager Fernando Herrera, a Costa Rican who brings 35 years of hotel experience to the project. A new stage of condominium development has begun to accompany the present poolside units or seascape rooms. According to the management, guests will not be disturbed as the improvements take place quietly in stages this year. 


One of the most significant changes has occurred in the dining room, where guests now enjoy the outstanding cuisine of Master Chef George Claudius. Born in Egypt and trained in Montreal, Canada at the exclusive Institut d´hotelerie du Québec, Chef George turns out devilishly delicious meals with an artistic flair. 

A buffet for 30 to 50 people might include not one roast of beef in mushroom sauce, but three roasts, cooked individually from rare to medium or well done, along with the option of fish rolls in sauce, baked potatoes and very fresh vegetables. A meal served at the table might feature yellow-fin tuna caught that day, or mahi mahi with shrimp sauce done in rosé wine, along with a dainty spinach quiche and a swirl of pureed potatoes or parslied camotes. Any one of the chef´s desserts is a masterpiece, but try the "Carmen Miranda" for the ultimate in decadence. He also excels at Chinese and Thai feasts, which can be arranged with prior notice for special occasions.


The hotel used to be known as Fantasías Flamingo, but for whatever reason has changed its name to Flamingo Bay Resort Hotel & Casino, (tel. 654-4350.  (e-mail fun@flamingobayresort.com). This has led to some confusion with the Hotel Best Western Flamingo across the street. So when you´re making reservations, be sure to check if you have the right place. 

So many types of packages are available, inquiries should be directed to the hotel itself, but we´ll mention a few examples here: For a double room with three meals and non-alcoholic beverages, the rate is $119 including tax. A quadruple room with the same meal & beverage arrangement would run $659 for a 7-day group stay. Accommodations are both pleasant and comfortable, offering the view of your choice.

Go to Part II


The Flamingo community includes resorts and a cluster of small businesses.

What we published earlier: