Heading to the north east coast of Spain and looking for some water park fun? There are two aquatic parks relatively close to each other within the Costa Dorada. Costa Caribe (linked to the massive Port Aventura theme park) in Salou, and Aquopolis in La Pineda. We visited both, and I’d like to share my views on how they compare. I’m not here to discuss the costs, there are deals you can find for both, and it would be difficult to compare as we purchased our entry to Costa Caribe as part of our Port Aventura entry.
Rides and slides
Costa Caribe 3/5
If you’re looking for variety, head to Aquopolis. If you want Europest tallest drop slide, head to Costa Caribe.
Aquopolis has plenty of boat slides (including a dark one), a rather strange rapids, a race slide, a boomerang slide and an awesome drop slide ridden on a board that if you keep your balance right you fly straight across the water without ever touching it.
Costa Caribe has Europest tallest free fall water slide. For thrill seekers this is a must. But aside from this the park has standard water park attractions. Regular water slides, a race slide, a regular lazy river.
My preference would be to add the free fall waterslide to Aquopolis and you have a perfect water park.
Costa Caribe 4/5
The cost of the lockers were similar, a couple euro plus a deposit. At Costa Caribe you are issued a fabric wrist purse with the key attached inside by elastic. At Aquopolis this is a standard plastic wrist strap that is more uncomfortable. For both parks you need to head to a staff booth the purchase a locker key, this is more noticeable at Aquopolis than Costa Caribe (we wandered around a fair bit before we understood how the locker system worked).
Costa Caribe 4/5
Unfortunately we arrived at Aquopolis for opening and had to deal with this awful queuing system. If they allocated more staff to letting people in than standing around with cameras everyone would actually be able to enter at their advertised opening hours. This put us in a rather stale mood at the start of the day.
Staff were fine, but didn’t inform us that one of their attractions was not working. Instead they pointed us in that direction and let us find out for ourselves.
We were late entering Costa Caribe so don’t know if they have a similar queuing problem at the start of the day. We were issued barcodes on entry too which gave us access to ride photos. A really neat idea. I also left my necklace on by mistake, which was pointed out to me by staff after my first slide so I got this put away straight after.
Aquopolis also has a dolphin show each day at 4pm. Perfect way to end the day (though it is open until 6pm). There are also interaction sessions at an extra cost and we had our photo taken with a sea lion. We didn’t buy the photo but it was great to just get up close.
Aquopolis also has a lovely beach area for relaxing, compare to Costa Caribe which just has standard sunbeds by the pools. A mini golf course and a surfing attraction can also be found at Aquopolis, but these were not open during our early June visit.
Unfortunately Costa Caribe doesn’t have anything extra to talk about, aside from the fact it is next door to Port Aventura. But obviously there is an extra cost for this. It does have an indoor pool and slides, but I hope you don’t need to use them.
Actually, an extra Costa Caribe has that Aquopolis doesn’t is the freedom from pushy photographers. I know I’m enjoying my day, and I have a camera if we need some photos to remember it. Please leave me alone!
So I have missed off anything the kids will like. As a childless couple these were not things we looked at so cannot comment on the better of these.
To conclude, as I said above, the perfect match would be to have the thrill ride of Costa Caribe’s free fall slide within the greater water park of Aquopolis. I would say I had more fun at Aquopolis and haven’t even gone in to all the other exciting activities this park has to offer.