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“Close to paradise” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Mar y Selva Ecolodge

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Mar y Selva Ecolodge
Costanera Sur Highway | Marker Km 170 go 500 south and 1100east, Ballena 60504, Costa Rica   |  
Hotel amenities
Sweden
Top Contributor
58 reviews 58 reviews
43 hotel reviews
Reviews in 38 cities Reviews in 38 cities
35 helpful votes 35 helpful votes
“Close to paradise”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 6, 2013

We stayed at Mar Y Selva Ecolodge for four nights with the family during a trip to Costa Rica over Christmas and New Year. We loved this place! It is located in the middle of the jungle a few hundred meters from the coast road with a wonderful view of the sea. The bungalows are comfortable with nice furniture and with a private terrace. Try to get one close to the reception/restaurant to get a view over the sea from the terrace.

The beds are comfortable. The breakfast is perfect where the staff make the most to meet your wishes. There is free wifi (sometimes slow though) in the restaurant/reception and in the bungalows nearby. The pool in the beautiful garden is large and you can view birds and sometime monkeys in the trees above while swimming. There are several good beaches some 10-15 minutes by car away, e.g. playa Ballena, playa Uvita, and playa Pinuela. You can also visit Corcovado national park by boat from Sierpe. The staff can help you with reservations.

The staff and the manager Carlos are VERY nice and helpful and really do their best to make your stay pleasant. We can give our warmest recommendations to staying at Mar Y Selva.

Room Tip: Try to get one of the rooms close to the reception where there is a view over the sea and better wif...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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79 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    55
    12
    5
    4
    3
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26
37
3
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (9)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
UK
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed January 5, 2013 via mobile

We stayed here for 6 nights on our 2nd trip to Costa Rica. We booked because of the location (the Ballena area is lovely), and the good reviews on trip advisor. I don't know which place the other reviewers stayed but the reality was very different to the hype.

We knew about some of the downsides when we booked - it's 1km up a steep dirt track so a 4x4 is essential. I had hoped I'd be able to get a taxi to and from restaurants in the evening (not possible) and hadn't realised how hard Costa Rican roads are to drive on at night (poor lighting and cars going the other way with full beam headlights!). But that's not why I disliked Mar y Selva.

The rooms were nowhere close to being good enough for the price charged. They were akin to cheap motel rooms. Our toilet seat was completely detached from the toilet. Our sofa had a broken leg. One bedside table was broken. And across the site there were similar examples of poor maintenance or cheap fittings with steps missing tiles, gaps in the concrete steps to the swimming pool, poor lighting at night etc.

Far from being luxury jungle cabins this felt
like a site packed with as many cabins as it could take. They all overlooked each other - so not private.

But I felt most annoyed by the way we were treated. When we checked in we were overcharged - I had to argue to get the price we had previously agreed. Then when we went on a tour (Corcovado park) we found that the $110 each we'd been charged was $40 more per person than everyone else on the tour. It didn't stop there. The one day we spent by the pool (which is the best bit of the place) was accompanied by the sounds of a chain saw. And our pool towels were just taken away from our room on the 2nd day and never replaced. We never felt like welcome guests.

The area around Ballena is lovely. I would recommend staying. But not here. On our final night we ended up moving to El Castillo in Ojochal as we had had enough (and it meant we could have a glass of wine with our food!). It is a 5 star luxury boutique hotel with fantastic views. Oh - and it was the same price as Mar y Selva.

  • Stayed January 2013
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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Mar_y_Selva, Manager at Mar y Selva Ecolodge, responded to this review, April 19, 2014
I apologize that you found our accommodations less than what you were expecting. I have addressed each of your issues with the staff and implemented a more stringent inspection of the rooms to ensure that a previous guest's damage is identified during the cleaning process before an new guest checks in.
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San Jose, Costa Rica
1 review
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 14, 2012

I stayed with my family a couple of days and I was attended dramatically, excellent service and friendliness. I felt like at home.
The beautiful location, a spectacular sight in the mountains but very close to the beach.
I recommend it if you want to relax and enjoy nature.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Buffalo, New York
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed October 19, 2012

I booked a stay at Mar y Selva for August. As required, I made a $110 deposit to hold my reservation. However, four months before the trip, I had to go into the hospital to receive an unexpected lung transplant. My illness was severe, and I had to cancel my reservations. Their policy requires ample notice if you want your deposit back. I gave them two months' notice. Dozens of emails, phone calls, and false promises later, I still have not received my deposit. They have been unprofessional and have now resorted to ignoring my requests. This hotel has the beauty of Costa Rica to its advantage...but nothing else. I'm sure you can find another place to stay, one of merit that will treat you with respect.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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Mar_y_Selva, Owner at Mar y Selva Ecolodge, responded to this review, April 19, 2014
I am sorry that you feel that we did not respond quickly enough in reimbursing your deposit. As you know, but did not say in the review, we provided you with a full refund. The challenges that we had were the easiest way to refund money is to simply provide a payback to the same credit card that was used for the payment. Since we do not keep any credit card information on a guest's record, we would need that information again. This was not provided to us. We asked if we could send the refund with an international wire transfer, but again the information was not provided to us. Ultimately we had to transfer money to an account in the United States and then write you a check on that account to send to you. I apologize that this did take as long as it did to work through with you.

We take our responsibilities as business owners very seriously and we will work diligently to ensure that our customers have the best experience possible at the Mar y Selva!
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Heredia, Costa Rica
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 5, 2012

That's an amazing place near to the beaches but located on the high lands in fron of the sea.

The Staff was amazing, you will be treated as in your home, very warm and friendly.

The Bungalows are very comfortable and there is a big pool were you can enjoy of the sun.

100% recommended place if you want privacy and at the same time have the possibility to enjoy all the options that Ballena National park has.

Room Tip: Near to the hotel is the Roadhouse restaurant, about 1km road to Uvita, it's a good option for l...
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tel Aviv, Israel
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed September 27, 2012 via mobile

they are overpriced. lie about the ac working and claim that ecolodge doesnt include running water in the sink. they cant understand your english only when you ask something from them.the parking is far away from the rooms. stay away!!!

  • Stayed September 2012
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mar_y_Selva, Owner at Mar y Selva Ecolodge, responded to this review, April 19, 2014
We have looked through our reservations, but can not find where this person ever stayed with us at the hotel.

Needless to say, every air conditioner in the hotel and in the bungalows are functional at the time the rental is made and we have a repairman on site if there is an issue with anything during your stay. Each of the rooms have full baths and sinks and, yes, the water is included with the reservation!

Our manager Bernan speaks english very fluently as do I. The other staff speak english at different levels, it is Costa Rica after all :)

There is parking located next to the bungalows and also at the main building. The distance from the parking to the furthest bungalow is less than 150 feet. If you need help carrying bags or any other assistance, there are always willing and ready helpers if you ask :)
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San Jose, Costa Rica
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 6, 2012

We stayed here for 3 days and it was fantabulous. It's far from noise but it's close to everything. There are nice supermarkets, drugstores, gas station, restaurants, "sodas" (tico cafeterias), and different beaches whose beauty is indescribable. The service at the hotel was excellent, and so it is the food, the facilities, the pool, everything is gorgeous. Architecture is magically combined with nature and wildlife. The first day we stayed there was magical for there was no electricity and we used a candle, we took advantage of the moment and told tales to our son. Next days were great too, Don Carlos recommended us a whale-watching tour which was fantastic. We enjoyed a lot the swimming pool and the food...... ¡it was the food! Delicious breakfast included and the lunch was .... no words to describe that meat. Leslie is a very good cook. Our last day was really sad for we had to leave this paradise, and our son said "I don´t wanna go home never ever!" He was captivated by the place, the large amount of birds, plants, and the pool. This was one of those trips you are never going to forget. I hope we could go back there again. Thanks Don Carlos and the staff for your great attention. Todo fue maravilloso, algún día vamos a volver

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Mar y Selva Ecolodge

Address: Costanera Sur Highway | Marker Km 170 go 500 south and 1100east, Ballena 60504, Costa Rica
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Puntarenas > Ballena
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 2 Specialty Lodging in Ballena
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Eco-style elegance! Mar y Selva Ecolodge is immersion in the jungle with all the comforts of home. Close to pristine beaches including Punta Uvita - famous Moses Pass and Whale’s Tail; Semi-Olympic pool, and personalized service. We overlook the Ballena Marine National Park; near Corcovado National Park; Caño Island Biological Reserve; the mangroves of the Sierpe and Terraba Rivers, Manuel Antonio National Park and several waterfalls, including Nauyaca Falls. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Mar y Selva Ecolodge Hotel Ballena
Mar y Selva Ecolodge Costa Rica/Ballena

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