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“One of my all time favourite hostels :-)” 5 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
London, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“One of my all time favourite hostels :-)”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 22, 2014

My boyfriend and I had the pleasure of staying at El Zopilote in December 2013 and we had the most amazing time there. We heard they didn't take bookings, so when the bus arrived we quickly grabbed our bags and rushed up the hill to make sure we got a place to stay. We were lucky and managed to grab the last two hammocks available, which at $3 a night were a bargain. You get a huge locker which fits your whole backpack and some blankets to keep warm at night. We only planned to stay in the hammock for a night and then move to the dorm but it was so comfortable and relaxing that we decided to stay in the hammock for the whole stay.

I love the sustainability of the place and especially the compost toilets, more hostels should have these. The Japanese outdoor shower was amazing and the whole farm is stunning with is jungle paths and tropical flowers and birds everywhere.

The food at El Zopilote is all organic, homemade and absolutely delicious at very affordable prices. We ate there three times a day without breaking the bank and beer was also super cheap. They have pizza nights with stone baked pizzas three times a week which were great fun. Almost every morning there's a free yoga class and there are classes and workshops every day. We learned how to make macramé bracelets which we are still wearing now.
Despite our very bad Spanish skills we managed to converse with the super friendly staff who always had a smile for us, and if we hadn't been so lazy we could've even taken Spanish lessons for only a few dollars :-)

The best thing about Zopilote were the people we met there. We planned to stay only a few nights but ended up staying over a week as we had so much fun with our new friends, some of these friendships will last a lifetime.

Zopilote is definitely one of my favourite hostels (although it is actually much more than a hostel) of my whole round the world trip and I will always have fond memories of it and hope to return soon.

Room Tip: Try the hammocks for a night under the stars!
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  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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168 reviews from our community

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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 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (23)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 20, 2014 via mobile

This wonderful place is filled with amaizing people, everybody is friendly. The way the farm works is impressive, with a lot of recycling ( not only plastic, everything up to what you do in the toilet), organic food and free filtred water from the volcano! The best part of this farm is definetly free yoga practice in the morning with Elias, even if you are a beginer, you will enjoy every minute of it and feel transformed after. I recommend also the Temazcal activity, surely something to experience! There is also many things proposed with Xian, like a yoga workshop ( not to miss), reading your soul and many more. Best part is that those people are very humble, friendly, you could ask everything you want! Definetly a must at El Zopilote. If you are looking for a lay-back, in the middle of the jungle, relaxing and peaceful place, don't go anywhere else!

  • Stayed July 2014
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 20, 2014

I really liked my stay in Zopilote. I was planning on staying 2 nights and ended up staying fro 5. They're doing really good work on the farm and because it is a small place and not that much close by, everybody is a lot in the communal places which is really nice. The dorm may be not what you're used to; no windows but just 'holes' in the wall and no mosquito nets but although I am terrified by bugs; I had no problem sleeping there. I had an amazing time at el Zopilote and would definitely go back.

  • Stayed May 2014, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Jose, Costa Rica
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 11, 2014

The eco hut buildings were amazing and they actually transformed the place into a magical place. The sun rises early there but we woke up eagerly for the long yoga session The food at their restaurant using their own farm vegetables and fruits was amazing. The sunset from the mirador point was fantastic. Loved the concept and how it worked well along with permaculture and local food, products etc because when you see ,you will understand that the place is extremely hot and dry to cultivate anything. But it was very hard to adjust to their ecofriendly toilets. uff.. except that everything else worked well for me!!
P.S. If you are planning to go there, take the bus. But make sure you are ahead in the line to get a seat!

  • Stayed May 2014, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Reno, Nevada
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 8, 2014

Our stay at Zopilote was a dream. Finally, after a lot of traveling we were able to enjoy a relaxing 3 days without the daily management of cash and haggling that comes so freely when you pass through the boarder into Nicaragua. On the farm, eating fantastic food, long early morning yoga sessions, enjoying the abundance of fireflies at night and so much more.

Elias's yoga classes are fantastic. It's quite easy to walk out the back door and begin the hike to the top of Maderas volcano (mind you, the hike is not easy.) Pizza night is great. My favorite thing is the food is delicious and comes from the farm. This place is good.

Tips on being a good Zopilote guest. 1. You're not paying much so don't bring your western non-sense high standards here. They do amazing food and accommodation is dirt cheap. 2. Expect to exercise - You're walking up hills and living on the side of a volcanic organic farm. 3. Be grateful for the stay and the staff. They are there to serve but if you ask for western style amenities (i.e. can you call me a cab, can change my toast for gluten free and other silly requests) they are likely to be un-helpful.

It's an adventure and a great one at that. :)

  • Stayed June 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Breckenridge
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 4, 2014

Arrived at El Zopilote very excited to be staying there. Stayed in the dorms first night which were pretty cool, then moved to a private-ish cabana. The thing that bothered us was that the mosquito net was covered in a whiles worth of bat poop. We didn't even want to let it down in fear of being rained on with dung dust in the process. It wouldnt be hard for house keeping to clean but apparently it's over-seen.

Second issue is the food. We come from a very healthy community with fresh organic, and sometimes "earthy" tasting foods, farm to table food is not new to us. The problem here was how the recipes were being made, not the delicious ingredients. Our pizza was burnt, our juices were all REALLY watered down, our bread was stale, our meals were cold, chicken sandwhiches where the chicken was half unedible, and worst off our expensive (by nica standards) pasta came undercooked and the tomato sauce was horrible. Supposed to have garlic, onions, and veggies but it tasted like water and tomatoes. I'd happily pay the higher prices for good tasting fresh food, but it just wasn't good.

Other con was the service. The front desk over charged us and when we approached her to fix it, others were there for the same issue...

Great concept, beautiful environment and we had a lot of fun. I really enjoyed Elias' yoga class and the look outs are sweet... But something is going wrong. Maybe we were just unlucky based on the other reviews but who knows. Can't say if I'd recommend it or not, but I'm leaning towards probably not unfortunately.

  • Stayed June 2014
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, Costa Rica
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 1, 2014

This was hands down my fav spot i stayed on ometepe and even in all of nica. I learned about permie stuff just from how they ran things there. Beautiful space and fresh free fruits from multiple trees. I camped actually and the spots were lovely. Only prob is staff was pretty bad. They were VERY business oriented, tho they somehow attract community oriented customers. The yoga teacher, Elias, was sleazy and hit on me so much I could not attend his class. The reception staff was very inflexible and acted like every little request was killing them a bit. But great people stayed there, good prices, neat set up. Oh and regardless of what they advertise there really is essentially no wifi. Free water tho.

  • Stayed June 2014
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 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 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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