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“Misleading/disappointing.” 3 of 5 stars
Review of El Zopilote

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El Zopilote
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from Madronal 200m south, Santa Cruz, Isla de Ometepe 044, Nicaragua   |  
Hotel amenities
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Australia
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“Misleading/disappointing.”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 4, 2012

To start with the good - the pizza nights and pizzas were great. The cabins were rustic but really nice and comfortable. The farm and garden areas are beautiful. The homemade bread is very nice.

Unfortunately there is much more bad. Promoting itself as a permaculture farm with opportunities to learn from experts is misleading. Having said that, Zopilote doesn't provide a good service as a hostel either. The reception staff were unhelpful and each gave us different and wrong information about tours, food, and the courses. Even confirming the bee course three times in four days wasn't enough for them to organise it properly.

The restaurant (make note there is no use of a communal kitchen) provides inadequate meals. You can't provide a plato del dia for dinner without a main and less food on it than breakfast (salad, rice, beans and bread - supposed to be garlic bread but was just dry toast). The lack of fresh produce provided on the menu by the farm is disappointing...as is the lack of fresh produce being grown in the vegie patch! While we saw people collecting fruit a few times, none of this made it to the restaurant or was for sale to visitors, the only thing that they serve fresh from the farm appears to be salad greens.

It makes you wonder how all the volunteers are contributing to running El Zopilote and what they do all day...apart from taking over the communal areas, getting high and making wrist bands (while Nicas do all of the actual work around them). As mentioned in other reviews, the place has a very 'cliquey' feel to it, not the welcoming, friendly hippy vibe you might expect. I would suggest finding a private communal area for staff unless they are willing to be friendly and welcoming to newcomers. While we stayed there they were the exact opposite.

As we are people with some experience in permaculture, we found it frustrating to see a property with such potential producing so little, while so many people were there that could make it work. Its obvious that in the past, a lot of work has gone into establishing Zopilote, but it is now going to waste.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 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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189 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (25)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Nambour, Australia
2 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 25, 2012

I didn't stay in the accommodation at El Zopilote, but I did work as a volunteer there in the garden and pizza restaurant for over a month. The staff and other volunteers are accommodating, interesting and easy going. This makes the everyday experience of working and learning in the garden, or in the pizza restaurant a positive one. The project makes many different foods and other goods from its garden, which go on to be sold in the project shopfront, including traditional bread, organic liquors and chocolate. Spanish is spoken here for the most part but English speakers and students of Spanish are readily accommodated. It is a good choice if you want to volunteer and learn in a relaxed setting in an extremely beautiful part of Central America.

Stayed September 2012, traveled solo
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Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 15, 2012

Well the place is beautiful and its a nice place to chill, read a book or take a walk but were had higher expectations that unfortunately weren't met. I was really up for learning about bee keeping and permaculture but there was no-one around and the staff I did find didn't really help. Pizza night was cool but not many people. It's an awesome place but just isn't set up to make the most of it's full potential...shame.

Room Tip: recommend a hammock for a night, cheap and they have lockable lockers
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bournemouth, United Kingdom
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 15, 2012

The actual place was lovely - up a hill, surrounded by nature, beautiful lookout tower. The compost toilets were some of the best i've seen and i really liked the outdoor showers. Really nice place to lay in a hammock and read a book and the pizza night was fun. The downside was that i went there expecting to be able to join in with some permaculture, yoga, bee keeping etc and learn a little bit. I didn't get to do any of those things and when I asked about them I found out nothing and felt I wasn't welcome to join in with them anyway. The workers seemed cliquey and unwelcoming which was a shame. I thought I might stay a couple of weeks or more but left after 3 days.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
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Aruba
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 8, 2012

It was my first time in an eco farm and I enjoyed it a lot. Bit back to basic, beautiful garden, friendly staff, ok kitchen (could use few more utensils), great pizza nights, social, just good experience!! A self organised trip with mountain bikes to the waterfall, hike up there and cycle back (lunch in local restaurant) was also an awesome day!! Easy to do from Zopilote and very cheap.

Room Tip: I slept in a hammock which was an interesting experience, but I had a good night sleep, so worth a t...
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
dominical
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 6, 2012

friendly relaxed and inpiring place, beautifull garden.nature all around not for delicate people afraid of spidier or partyanimals that need a bar and swimmingpool.Away from it all. lots of options to learn and share. great yoga clases. next to the beach, nice bikerides around the volcano

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Coker, Alabama
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 4, 2012

Finca el Zopilote is a Permaculture Farm located in Ometepe Island ( Nicaragua)
Great place for people that loves nature and don't look for the facilities of the masses.
The area is really beautiful and the facilities give you all you need.
Open rooms with tress around. Communal kitchen. Compost Toilets, Open showers, and lots of secret spots around the farm to hang out.
I see this place perfect for easygoing people with interest in farming, learning, permaculture search.
This is not a Hotel! with all services included. People cleaning your room or following you offering tours and food!
If you need to know something, you ask!!! and If you feel comfortable .... you stay and become part of the day by day of the farm!!!!
If you feel uncomfortable ... yes It is NOT the right place for you!!!!!

On the other hang and talking more about the farm:
The compost toilets are the most clean and well done that I have ever seem ....
Gardens and trails are really nice ( but better in the rainy season) Ometepe could be reaaaaaallly dry and hot!
Pizza is delicious!
Yoga plaza, my favorite!
Oh! and the organic products!! highly recommended!!! But check on them carefully before buying!!! weather conditions are not friendly sometimes.

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled with friends
    • 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about El Zopilote

Address: from Madronal 200m south, Santa Cruz, Isla de Ometepe 044, Nicaragua
Location: Nicaragua > Rivas Department > Isla de Ometepe > Santa Cruz
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 Specialty Lodging in Santa Cruz
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 9
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
El Zopilote is a permaculture farm/hostel. We have hammock, dormitory, and rooms. We have a organic restaurant serving Nica and Italian food (like handmade pastas, lasagnas, fettuccine, melanzane alla parmigiana) open at breakfat, lunch and dinner tevery day and 3 nights a week we have pizza night ,cooked in wood-bricks oven.In the reception we sell food and organic product hand made here.The land is completely planted with fruit trees, bananos and much more...Our goal is to be 100% sustainable. We have a look out tower where you can see the Volcanos and the farm. We organize tour to both volcanoes, horseback riding, spanish lessons, yoga classes (free), ceramic, bread and bees courses and there is free WI-FI 24h. You can work with us in the permaculture garden and in the work shop and learn something nice (free). ... more   less 
Also Known As:
El Zopilote Isla De Ometepe, Nicaragua - Santa Cruz

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