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“Jungle life” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Mawamba Lodge

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Mawamba Lodge
3.0 of 5 Lodge   |   Tortuguero Canals, Tortuguero 10980-1000, Costa Rica   |  
Hotel amenities
Certificate of Excellence 2014
northern ireland
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
35 helpful votes 35 helpful votes
“Jungle life”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 29, 2013

The thing to remember about this place is that it is a wildlife lodge, so don't expect it to be wall to wall luxury. The rooms are basic, but clean, no aircon or any other electrical gadgets. Beds are big and comfy, but due to getting up early and returning late, you don't spend much time in them!
The food is basic but tasty, the bar and pool area are lovely. Sitting there watching the large green iguanas sunbathing by the pool and having an afternoon cocktail, I was in heaven!
The wildlife experience is great, but beware, the animals are wild and not easy to see. We did an early morning and afternoon boat trip. Our highlight was going on an escorted night beach visit to watch a large Green turtle lay her eggs, wonderful, magic experience.
The nearby town is very small, just really the one street but worth a walk through.
The gardens in the lodge are great, I recomend that everyone visits the butterfly and frog house. The poison tree frog are spectacular but tiny and very hard to spot in the wild.
The hotel is sandwiched in between a fab black sand beach and the lagoon, so the best of both worlds.

To sum up, you will love this place if your expectations are realistic, leave the high heels at home, and don't go near the place if your not into jungle and wildlife.

Stayed September 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ejurado, Director of Sales at Mawamba Lodge, responded to this review, October 8, 2013
Dear saraleet,
We were delighted to hear about your visit and to know that you had an excellent enjoyable time in Tortuguero. Glad that you got to see the great wildlife that lives in the area, the turtles and enjoy the wonders of nature that surround us.
Thank you again.
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567 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 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 (66)
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English first
Houston, Texas
Senior Contributor
35 reviews 35 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 21, 2013

My partner and I stayed here for 3 days/2 nights and it was an incredible experience. I was very fortunate to have met a family member whose Aunt & Uncle own this place. The service was great. The cabin was very clean and well kept. The food was excellent. We did two excursions; eg, the night time sea turtle experience and the early morning boat ride through the canals. Both tours were excellent. This lodge is smaller than another lodge we stayed at on our first visit and we both enjoyed. The grounds were well kept. The lodge had a butterfly & frog sanctuary and very nice landscaping throughout. We definitely would stay here again.

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  • Stayed September 2013, 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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Newark
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 8, 2013

I have somewhat mixed feelings about this hotel. The wildlife sightings (done with our guide, Ed) were GREAT, and he was very straightforward about telling us which hikes/tours would see the most. It is annoying that if you stay for longer, you have to pay for the early morning boat ride, while if you only stay one night it's included, as the early morning boat ride was by far the best wildlife spotting opportunity (we saw a sloth, spider monkeys, howler monkeys, capuchins, caimans, a toucan, and so many birds and lizards. The turtle nesting tour is also REALLY cool, although you're very much at the animals whims (our night saw two turtles, while the next night saw 8 turtles AND babies hatching).

Since so many others have commented, I thought the food was fine. In general, food in Costa Rica was simple, and this fit the bill, but it was tasty and didn't upset my (generally very sensitive) stomach.

I did feel as though the organization, etc. could use some work, but maybe with tour groups of 20-30 people it's just not going to be very efficient. We were generally asked to meet up 15 minutes before we actually left. Also, our group included both English and Spanish speakers, so our poor guide had to repeat everything he said in both languages. Exhausting for him, but boring for us, and harder to focus on what he was saying, as every other sentence was in a language we didn't understand.

Room Tip: Be sure to confirm your room type. Their standard rooms have either one full or three twins, and ev...
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ejurado, Director of Sales at Mawamba Lodge, responded to this review, October 2, 2013
Dear Jessie S,
Thank you so much for writing and for sharing your experiences about Tortuguero and Mawamba Lodge. I am so delighted to hear you thoroughly enjoyed the wildlife sightings and the overall experience.
To clarify your concern about the early morning boat ride, all of our tours include a boat tour in the canals, but those people who come here for only one night, only have the early morning hours to do this boat tour, as their return boat leaves Tortuguero at 9:30 am the day after coming in, and thats why we include the boat tour for them at this hour. If you stay longer, you get your canal boat tour included, and if you want to additionaly do the early morning one, then it is an extra cost. All tours and hours are wonderful for nature observation, most probably if you take the included and the optional you will see more animals as you will be more time exposed to nature in the outdoors. Its not only the hour, but many factors (like weather) play a role on seeing more or less animals on one tour. IT is nature, and its a natural event, so theres no way to guarantee seeing more or less animals at an specific time. What we DO guarantee as that our guides and captains will always give their best effort, and even go beyond that, to help you enjoy the hours you are out at the most and try to spot as many wildlife as they can for your enjoyment.
Mawamba Lodge has been in business for quite a long time, 28 years this year actually. Through this time,I believe we have learned to handle operations the best way that one possibly can, understanding there is always room to grow and correct, and that we work hard on. I am surprised that you found the Spanish/english speaking of our guide, uncomfortable. It is true that most of the people who visit speak English, but being Spanish our mother tongue and considering that many people who are Spanish speakers do not speak English, we do feel there is the need to do the tour in both languages. It is a consideration for our own language, and for the people who dont speak or understand English completely.
I understand your frustation if not being able to depart immediately for the tours at the agreed time, it is hard to please everybody and not leaving other guests behind when they show up a little bit late for the departure. We appreciate your punctuality and I am sure that with all visitors help and cooperation on this respect, tours can always depart at the agreed times. If for any reason we depart a couple of minutes later, we will always make it up on the tour, so you dont lose any tour time.
Muchas gracias (thank you so much again) for writing and sharing, it is really helpful for us
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Monterrey
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 3, 2013

We stayed here with our two young children and had a great time. Our guide Steven was fantastic and very knowledgable. He made this stay a great success! We saw a lot of animals and enjoyed the fantastic nature surroundings. The tours that are offered are a lot of fun, but they are overpriced. Our kids (4 and 6) paid the full price for everything. We did the night tour in the rainforest. Steven did a great job, but the hotel should never allow that many people in one group. We could not hear anything he told us, because we were the last people in a line of 25-30 people walking through the forest. The hotel is basic, the food average - but that did not bother us at all since we did not expect great food in such a remote location. Pool is great, beach is fantastic (even though you can't swim). The hotel manager is kind of rude, the service staff not very friendly (apart from one barkeeper). The managers only interest seems to be to squeeze out as much money of every single tourist as possible. The turtle tour at night is a must - what a great experience. All in all, I would recommend Tortuguero (not necessarily Mawamba lodge though) - but don't expect luxury.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 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
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vevey, Switzerland
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 2, 2013

Wonderful scenery
It’s a nice eco-loge; you can’t find what you dream about there, but for a loge in such a remote area and applying lots of environment program and animal protection – it’s a very good.
The management is present, staff is friendly. The boat trip on the jungle is out of the world.
My recommendation: The bath rooms needs to be renovated.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • 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
    • 4 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.
Tampa, Florida, United States
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 29, 2013

This hotel was personally recommended to me by my trip planner, my husband and I paid an extra fee to stay here because of the extra transportation cost. We were quite disappointed by our stay though for a number of reasons. We went in August and it was extremely hot and very very humid on the river, which of course is not the fault of the lodge but the boat ride felt like it took forever in the heat. I hated the transfer point where you get into the boats that take you to the hotel. It was muddy and there were people everywhere, they make you pay to use the bathroom and it cost $6 USD for a mini can of Pringles! What a rip off. I felt like a member of a herd of cattle being herded down the hill onto the boat, I sat in the back and took notice of a man in the back of the boat literally bailing water out with a half of a milk carton. Not very trust inspiring there.

When we finally got to the lodge it was very nice, the manager met us on the dock with welcome drinks and told us he'd upgraded our room because it was our honeymoon. I appreciated that very much! He also told us about the turtle tour at night and kindly offered to put us on the list and let us pay later when we went into town to get some cash as they do not take cards for the turtle tour and have no ATM. We said we'd let him know our decision later and he said that we could go by the reception desk at any time before 4pm and tell them if we wanted to go. We attempted to do so around 1pm but the reception desk was closed for hours with no sign of anyone around so we gave up on this.

After walking around and our long day we were exhausted and sweaty and went straight to the room to try to cool off and put our things down. The room was nice and clean, they have nice hammocks outside overlooking the river and wildlife everywhere including iguanas that will walk right by you. It was even hotter inside the room than it was outside, even with the windows open but the bathroom had a HUGE tub and a nice looking shower that we were looking forward to using later. We decided to get some lunch and try out the pool to stay cool. This is an all inclusive resort and the food was nothing short of awful. It made my husband and I sick and it was very bland. In the morning the eggs were the same way and for dinner they served pasta and it was the same. I couldn't believe they could screw up eggs! We were glad we'd brought our Immodium.

The pool was lovely, it was our favorite part of this resort. The grounds were also beautiful and there is a black sand beach steps away that is breathtaking. If you stand around at the bar until someone who works there notices you (there is no bartender) the drinks are very delicious as well and reasonably priced. We got complimentary honeymoon drinks which was a very nice touch!

After our disappointing dinner we headed back to the room ready to take a hot bubbly bath. The water was freezing cold and the tub leaked so that was short lived. We were woken up in the morning by the sound of chainsaws at 7:30 and decided to take a shower, which was also freezing cold. I understand that in places like this you can't always have all of the "comforts" but we stayed in four hotels during our weeklong trip to CR and this was by far our least favorite. We were more than ready to get in that boat and get out of there!

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
Dublin, Ireland
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 14, 2013

We stayed here in July 2013 and, despite the rains, we couldn't have asked for a better introduction to costa rica! The lodge itself is beautiful, well managed with great foo and rooms. The staff are extremely friendly and the guides were really excellent. All of the excursions and tours were well organised to ensure you can make the most of the weather and surroundings. Despite it's large size the lodge gives off a nice family feel making you feel welcome and comfortable. The sea turtle nesting trip was amazing and very well run too! Would definitely recommend a stay here if visiting the Tortuguero area.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with friends
    • 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 Mawamba Lodge

Address: Tortuguero Canals, Tortuguero 10980-1000, Costa Rica
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Limon > Tortuguero
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #7 of 31 Specialty Lodging in Tortuguero
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:3 star — Mawamba Lodge 3*
Number of rooms: 54
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Nestled in the heartland of the lush rainforest of Tortuguero Canals, Costa Rica, Mawamba Lodge and Tortuguero National Park are worth visiting year round. What makes us different? *Unbeatable location on a strip of land between the Tortuguero Canals and the Caribbean Ocean, providing direct access to both * The closest Lodge to Tortuguero town within walking distance (no need to take boats to town) * Free WI FI in selected areas of the hotel * Complimentary safety deposit box in your room * Unlimited free visits to our MAWAMBA PARK: where we offer two butterfly gardens, one iguana and one frog garden. A guided visit is also included in our 3 day / 2 night package * Private nature trais for nature walks * Exciting optional tours including night walks in the forest, kayaking, fishing and the NEW! Katonga floating restaurant for sunset tours or dinners / lunches on board. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Mawamba Lodge Tortuguero Hotel Tortuguero
Mawamba Lodge Costa Rica/Tortuguero

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