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.
- 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