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“Awesome trip” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Tarponville

Tarponville
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Tarponville
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Tarpon, Manzanillo, Costa Rica   |  
Hotel amenities
anchorage
1 review
“Awesome trip”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 10, 2012

My wife and I spent last week in Tarponville. The owners, Jim and Anne, made us feel like family the whole week. They were very knowledgable of the area and it was a great time sitting around the dinner table and talking with them. The staff was very friendly and attentive as well and we had a great time with them. The food was prepared Carribean style and was great. We probably ate healthier than we have our whole lives. The staff told us to feel at home and to help ourselves to anything that we needed. The beer was always cold and ready.

Our room was cleaned and our bedding was changed daily. It was nice to just sit on the front deck and relax with a cold beer after a day of fishing. The sea was about 40 yards from our front door and it was calming to watch and listen to the surf every day. This was my first time in a jungle atmosphere and it was awesome, although being from Alaska it was hot at times. Every morning we woke up to the Howler Monkeys and I prepared for a day of fishing. My wife also went on a jungle hike with the lodge manager, Dolphi. She was able to photograph monkeys, sloths, crocodiles, frogs and numerous other flora and fauna.

Now to the fishing. The first 3 days it was kind of tough fishing. Anybody that knows anything about Tarpon knows that they are highly migratory and can be here today and gone tomorrow. I caught a few jacks but we just weren't seeing any tarpon. On about the third day we started to see tarpon around the boat but they just weren't on the bite. On the 4th day of fishing, my last, we had about 30 minutes of fishing left and my guide, Delly, said that we were going to Gandoca to give it one more try. I have to admit that at that time I thought that I wasn't going to realize my dream of catching a Tarpon on a fly rod.

We arrived at Gandoca and and I let loose a cast and let my fly sink a bit and started stripping the fly. First cast and all hell broke loose. Fish on! The Tarpon jumped 3 times and cleared the water by about 4 feet. As the fish took off there were at least another 12 Tarpon jumping around. The bite was on! The fish then made a run that was beyond belief. It went so far into my backing that I thought that he might spool me. I told Delly that we have to chase him but he was already on it. We were able to get almost all of my line back when he took off again. He proceeded to do this 4 or 5 more times. Now, I've caught Halibut and King Salmon but nothing that was even close to being this powerful. After an epic battle we could tell that the fish was beginning to tire. I started to put more pressure on him and I was able to get him to the boat. I asked Delly what time it was and he said it was 12:45. I hooked him at 10:45. A 2 HOUR battle!!! Delly was able to grab the leader and ease the fish to the side of the boat. We were just about ready to put our hands on the fish when the fly just popped out and the fish was gone. I slumped over, totally spent. I have never been that worn out in my life. I'm sure that I was about 2 minutes away from heat exhaustion but I was ecstatic. Finally, a Tarpon on a fly rod!

We've only been back to Alaska a couple of days but we've told some of our friends about our trip and we may have a couple people that want to do that trip so we may be going back to Tarponville again next year.

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 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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19 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    7
    6
    0
    1
    5
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Families
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7
1
Business
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (3)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
leon Iowa
2 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 1, 2012

Started as a get warm in the winter to reward my wife,with a sidelight of tarpon. We got plenty of both. My wife doesn't require posh, and was most impressed by the staff's great food and attention to her. Felt more like we were visiting friends the whole time, whether fishing, turtle watching, or just hanging out being warm in March. After losing my first 6 tarpon, I was at a loss to explain my emotion, but would sum it up as I have never had so much fun being unsuccessful in my life. Number 7 did get landed, and it is not if, but when will we and emphasize WE will return. Monkeys for alarm clocks are most effective. Did I mention good food and great guides? Some pleasant intellectual discussions during rainy periods weren't mandatory, but a most pleasant time, and the wood, my what neat stuff. I agree more with George and stlhead, and wonder what it would take to make gigi happy.

Room Tip: Get a GPS on your rental car, and it will take you right there. A whole ocean, who needs a pool? B...
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  • Stayed March 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 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.
Arnold, California
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 27, 2012

My fishing Partner and I were at Tarponville in April of 2011 and we are going back agin this year. The people who rate this place as poor are either not fishermen or must need 5 star accomodations. The lodging is more than adequate and the food is typical Carribean fare. The staff is very friendly and accomodating. My friend and I both landed Tarpon on a Fly and jumped at least 20 fish. the coast is exceedingly beautiful as is the jungle setting. This year we are gong to take a day off from fishing and do a jungle tour in the middle of the trip. I would highly recommend Tarponville as a fishing lodge. The creek you have to wade is very shallow and is little price to pay for a stay in a natural wonderland.

  • Stayed April 2011, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
Bozeman, Montana
2 reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 17, 2011

I am an experienced angler and traveller, so I was shocked to see a review of this property that was so negative. My experience there was fantastic!! The fishing was great, and the guides more than competent. But, the accomodations were spectacular. All native hardwoods and a really nice "homey" atmosphere. The food was all home cooked in an Afro-Caribe .style. Every meal was from a family recipe and was delicous. Every night the Howler monkeys serenaded us and we saw lots of sloth and other animals, including a fairly rare dolphin. Since being there I have recommended this place to friends and all have raved about it. Is it possible that the negative review was a competitor? If you want to catch a 100+ pound Tarpon on a fly rod Tarponville should be right at the top of your list!!

Room Tip: Stay in the rooms that are above the kitchen/dining room for up close views of the Howlers.
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  • Stayed February 2011, 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Long Island City, New York
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed February 25, 2011

In my opinion, Tarponville is a family house in Manzanillo, Costa Rica where the owners poorly added some rooms and call it a lodge of some kind. I had a bad experience in dealing with the management and have no intention of going back. One thing that I would like to point out is that the Tarpon fishing in the Manzanillo Village is indeed magnificent but to make your trip worth shop around for a hotel. There are plenty in the area.

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boca Raton, Florida
1 review
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed April 27, 2010

Where to begin… Tarponville disappoints is so many ways that it’s hard to count them all. First, make sure you buy industrial-grade bug juice, cortisone anti-itch cream, and any other medication you’re going to need in the jungle. Getting there wouldn’t be so bad – it’s a long drive over potholed roads – if the place wasn’t such a letdown. The road ends at a mudflat in the middle of nowhere. That wouldn’t be so bad if the lodge were nearby. But it isn’t – you have to wade across a stream that can be filled with water that looks a little suspect. Then you walk along an unlit trail to the lodge, which was little more than a lean-to with a couple of bedrooms upstairs and an unclean outdoor kitchen-bar downstairs. I wasn’t sure I wanted to eat anything prepared there because of all the insect life that seemed to be everywhere.

  • Stayed March 2010, traveled with friends
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
British Columbia, Canada
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 28, 2010

My husband is an avid fisherman and after we decided that we wanted to go to Costa Rica on our next vacation, he set about to find a spot where he could fish for tarpon...part of his "Bucket List". We have done the "all inclusive resort thing" and the "overpriced hotel on the beach thing" and had grown tired of vacations involving only lounging around the pool, eating, drinking and going home an inevitable 10 lbs heavier (and lazier). We wanted an adventure! Tarponville did not disappoint! I admit when the shuttle bus pulled up to "the end of the road" in Manzanillo and we were greeted by a gentleman who gathered up our 2 backpacks and encouraged us to roll up our pant legs and wade across the river in front of us...I feared we may have gone to far. But what the heck, I wanted an adventure, didn't I? After getting to the other side of the river, we tramped down a cleared path, beautiful palm trees and ocean beach on our left with jungle on our right. Our destination was a rustic lodge, the main floor being an open air dining room with a tiny simple kitchen. Our room was upstairs, spacious and simple with a private bathroom and a great balcony facing the beach. The large ceiling fans and the screened windows provided our air-conditioning. (the weather is hot and humid there - but it does cool down at night). Mosquito nets on the beds were provided...but we didn't use them.

The staff at this lodge are AMAZING! 2 local ladies ("Chino" pronounced Cheena and "Mommie") cooked the most amazing authentic Caribbean meals during out stay. From breakfast to supper, each meal was a new treat to experience. From fresh red snapper off the boat that morning to tender steak to rice'n'beans to freshly cut fruit to homemade donuts...these women can cook! I'll admit my bathing suit got a tad tighter during the week!

I was alone during the day while my husband was fishing with a guide (and his first time tarpon fishing was a raging success by the way) and Dolfi, the lodge manager, was kind enough to entertain me with some once in a lifetime experiences. He (and his dog) took me hiking through the jungle, pointing out the different species of trees as well as local wildlife including two-toed sloths, three toed sloths, red (poisonous) frogs, howler monkeys, toucans, and even a mother caimon and her young. He also accompanied me on a bus ride to Puerto Vieijo as I don't speak Spanish and wanted to see what that community was like (great shopping for souvenirs and great restaurants). I also spent time snorkeling in the ocean in front of our lodge...the reefs of that area were amazing for seeing fish! The water was pleasantly warm, not unlike bathwater. With all these activities...my favorite was just to sit and relax on our balcony in one of the old wooden rocking chairs provided, writing in my journal or reading while Chino and Mommie chattered back and forth (in Creole English) to each other below me in the kitchen. Everyone was so friendly, including the owner, Jim and his wife Anne. They made me feel right at home in their jungle. Anne and Dolfi are very involved in the protection of the Dolphins in the area and also educating locals and tourists about them. Fascinating stuff if you get the chance to chat with them about their experiences!

In the evenings, we drank rum&cokes and Imperial Beer downstairs in the open air dining room and chatted with Dolfi (and if we were lucky, his son Antonio, joined us). I loved to listen to Dolfi's stories of growing up in Manzanillo and the history of the lodge.

We were so sad when our vacation at Tarponville was up....my husband was elated by his experience tarpon fishing (and he also caught some bone fish on the fly) and I had grown fond of the laid back, slower lifestyle of our vacation lodge.
With any luck, we'll be back!

In parting: if you're looking for an all inclusive 5 star hotel with a pool to lounge around and a waiter to bring you drinks, this is NOT the place for you. If you're looking for an adventure off the beaten track, a great (and successful) fishing trip, an authentic Costa Rican experience and memories to last a lifetime...Tarponville is your spot!!

Recommend bringing: Bug spray/cream for some evenings or jungle walks, definitely sunscreen if you're going to be out in the boat or on the beach, a good pair of walking shoes for exploring, snorkeling gear (you can rent in town if you forget) to explore the reefs, water shoes (the coral can be hard on your tender feet).

  • Stayed March 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
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Additional Information about Tarponville

Address: Tarpon, Manzanillo, Costa Rica
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Limon > Manzanillo
Hotel Style:
Ranked #10 of 12 Specialty Lodging in Manzanillo
Number of rooms: 20
Also Known As:
Tarponville Hotel Manzanillo
Tarponville Costa Rica/Manzanillo

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