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“Worth every dime!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Manatus Hotel

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Manatus Hotel
3.5 of 5 Hotel   |   Tortuguero 705 40005, Costa Rica   |  
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Hotel amenities
Ranked #2 of 9 Hotels in Tortuguero
Yukon
Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
25 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
“Worth every dime!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 18, 2012

We booked a two night package at Manatus. We were picked up very early in San Jose. There were only four of us on the shuttle bus. The driver didn't speak english, but there was another staff member on board who spoke very good english and acted as a guide. Aaron pointed out different plants and highlights on the trip to La Pavona where we met the boat. The scenery was beautiful. The van was comfortable and clean. The boat was definately a bit fancier than the others waiting at La Pavona!

The rooms at the hotel are huge, spotlessly clean and beautiful. The outdoor shower is a nice touch. We lucked out and had fantastic, hot weather! Not a drop of rain; we definately used the air conditioning! The pool was very clean, a staff member was always around to scoop out leaves! The grounds are beautifully manicured with some short hiking trails. There are howler monkeys who visit the property and plenty of iguanas lounging in the sun!

The food was exceptional. This the only hotel in Tortuguero that doesn't offer meals by buffet only. The menu was small, but there were nice choices for all types of preferences. The meals were presently very nicely and were tasty.

The staff were all very helpful, spoke at least some english and went out of their way to meet the guests' every request. The tour guide was entertaining, bilingual and a whiz at spotting wildlife. We saw turtles, three kinds of monkeys, lizards, and birds. We did the optional night turtle tour and watched a green sea turtle nest. Amazing! Not to be missed if you are there during nesting season. We used the hotel kayaks on our own too. The boat was well maintained and we were given appropriate safety equipment.

Tortuguero is a unique and fascinating place. Manatus is a perfect spot for enjoying it!

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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182 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (19)
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Edinburgh
Top Contributor
103 reviews 103 reviews
26 hotel reviews
Reviews in 41 cities Reviews in 41 cities
61 helpful votes 61 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 30, 2012

Tortuguero is one of the highlights of a visit to Costa Rica and doing it with Manatus hotel made it memorable. We stayed 2 nights. We were picked up early from our San Jose hotel and drove to the embarkation point for the bus. They provide a stop for breakfast on route and the guide gave interesting information about plants, crops, wildlife and climate on the 4 hour drive. We were taken by boat to the hotel. The boat ride takes about 50 minutes. The hotel is next to the river. We had 2 double rooms. They were spacious and comfortable with fans and A/C. There is complimentary wifi. There is small swimming pool which is good for cooling off. There is also a small gym area with a running machine, cycle machine and some weights. All meals were included and you paid for your drinks. The food was fairly good. There was a reasonable and affordable wine list. The staff were always friendly.

We went on 2 tours by boat in the national park, one in the morning and one in the afternoon on our second day. The landscape is stunning and unlike anywhere else we had visited. We saw a wide array of wildlife on each of the trips and the guide was informative. We also took the nighttime trek to Tortuguero beach to see green-back turtle laying there eggs. This is magical and, if possible, should not be missed. It does however involve a late night as the hotel may get a 10pm-12 slot. We got to bed at 1 am. I would also recommend using the hotels boots for this trip as the path is muddy/waterlogged. Also bring your own torch. It is very wet in Tortuguero and the boat for trips out has no roof, so bring a good waterproof and wear clothes that can dry readily.

The following day we were taken back to San Jose, with a stop for lunch. This was a relatively expensive trip but worth it to visit this incredible part of the world.

Room Tip: All the rooms are similar and very good
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 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 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Providence, Rhode Island
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 22, 2012

I could write a lengthy piece about our excellent two day adventure staying at the Manatus Hotel, but instead I'll try to stick to the highlights.

The experience began when they picked us up in San Jose for the three and half hour bus ride to the coast. It was more of a van than a bus, which made the trip reasonably comfortable. The first couple of hours were relatively uneventful, though we did get to see how much the terrain changed along the way and we were given plenty of information about the history of the area by our guide. We stopped about an hour into the trip for a traditional Costa Rican breakfast and later had the chance to visit a working banana plantation. Very cool. The rest of the ride was along unpaved roads, through more of the planatation and other rural areas. Once we got to the coast, we were taken to a boat for our one hour trip to the hotel. An important note. Gratuities seem to be standard for bus drivers, tour guides and the like, (and all we encountered deserved it) so bring enough small bills to hand out along the way. Dollars or Colones are fine.

Our guide on the boat ride was Rey, who would also be our guide for the boat tours the next day. He was excellent. We didn't do much slowing down for sight seeing, but the ride was great nonetheless. When we arrived at the hotel, we were greeted with cool drinks and cold towels and then were shown to our rooms. Our room (Unit 5) was very nice...comfortable beds, TV (thought we never turned it on) and believe it or not, Wifi. They also had a very reasonably priced mini bar that came in handy for a soda or snack later in the evening. And the air conditioning worked well. My wife and I have done quite a bit of ecotourism over the years and we don't mind roughing it a bit, but in the Caribbean rainfoest, sleep was much more comfortable in a cool, climate controlled environment.

That afternoon they offered us the chance to take a boat ride into town. It's a small town of 1,300 people with a few restaurants and trinket shops. We decided not to go, though those who went seemed to enjoy it. Instead, we walked around and enjoyed watching the birds and other wildlife on the property. The most important thing we did was to sign up for the turtle outing that night. It cost $35US (or an equivilent amount of colones) per person in cash. The money was a donation to the charity that runs the sea turtle protection program. And they didn't take travelers checks (there is no bank in the area). So be sure to bring enough money, because you don't want to miss it.

Meals were excellent. They have a very comfortable open air restaurant and everything they served was delicious. The service was excellent. They also had staff there very early the morning we left to serve us breakfast. Very accommodating!

The pool was a bit small, but big enough for cooling off or to sit around to relax, have a drink and read a book.

The property contains some undisturbed rainforest with relatively short trails that you can hike on your own. There are howler monkeys in the area and we did see several "blue jeans" or strawberry poison dart frogs as well. And, of course, there were plenty of mosquitos. I read many different stories about the mosquitos there before we booked our trip. Here's my take on it. You're in the Caribbean rainforest and there are lots of mosquitos. You need to wear long pants, a long sleeve shirt, a bandana around your neck and a hat. They provide the rubber boots. Standard eastern rainforest gear. Properly attired, the hiking is fine. If you go in there in shorts and a T-shirt, no amount of deet will keep you from getting bitten.

That night we went on the sea turtle outing. I won't tell you much about it, as it's something you really need to experience first hand. All I will say is don't miss it! One note. It does require some waiting around, so if you have younger children who would have difficulty with that, it may not be for them. We were with one family that had to go back 25 minutes into the program because their kids were bored and tired.

The next day we went on our two boat tours, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Fantastic experience! Rey was our guide and another, non-English speaking gentleman ran the boat. They really knew the area well and were excellent spotters. We saw a wide variety of wildlife, including caimans, a river otter, several troops of howler and spider monkeys and a host of birds, some of which we'd never seen before. One thing you want to be sure to bring are ponchos or some sort of rain gear. We used ours for the first part of our morning tour. But no mosquitos were encountered during either of these outings.

We flew out the next morning from the local airport on Nature Air. The air strip was a five minute boat ride from the hotel, so very convenient.

And that was our adventure at the Manatus Hotel. A busy two days and two nights, which was just the right amount of time for us to see most of what the area had to offer. I highly recommend this hotel if you want to have a great experience in Tortuguero.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
    • 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.
TRAVERSE CITY
Top Contributor
75 reviews 75 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
49 helpful votes 49 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 23, 2012

Tortuguero is reached only by boat or small plane. My grandson and I went by canal boat. The Manatus Hotel is right in the middle of the rain forest. All rainforest sightseeing is by canoe or boat. We did our sightseeing in pouring rain. I decided I am not a rainforest gal, but the forest and its inhabitants were certianly interesting. We had a pleasant room with two queen beds, nice little enclosed patio and bathroom.
There are lots of insects and lizards in this type of environment. If you don't like these things, don't go to this type of area.
The hotel food was delicious. The staff was warm and friendly. They were concerned that our big day of sightseeing had to be done in a downpour and offered us another trip.
We enjoyed visiting the village of Tortuguero and speaking with people who live in this isolated area.
The Hotel provides boots for doing your own walk in the forest around the area of the hotel and also provided kayaks. We took advantage of both. Great little spot to stay.

Room Tip: Get a room close to the restaurant and lounge area. This way, if it rains you are close to the food...
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  • Stayed June 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 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.
Boulder, Colorado
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 21, 2012

This place really nailed it! Detail-oriented resort in a remote region of Costa Rica. Staff is wonderful, grounds are gorgeous, and the tour guides are very knowledgeable. Everyone had excellent English language skills.

My only complaint is that the hotel encourages 1 or 2-night package stays. We should've stayed longer. Next time...

  • Stayed May 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 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Northampton, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
64 reviews 64 reviews
19 hotel reviews
Reviews in 34 cities Reviews in 34 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 27, 2012

We stayed at the Manatus in Nov-Dec 2011. A wonderful hotel with excellent accommodation, food and service. The location was magical, on the river, backing onto the jungle with howler monkeys present in the hotel grounds most days. The rooms were very comfortable and surprisingly free of any wildlife. They could be noisy from the air-conditioning or the loud tropical rain on the roof but our stay was the highlight of our trip to Costa Rica.
This was not the best time of year to see turtles but sloths, monkeys, otters, toucans, iguanas and a boa constrictor were expertly pointed out by our guide on our river trips.
The staff were friendly and attentive and the food was delicious.

  • Stayed November 2011, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 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.
Oakland, California
1 review
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 18, 2012

My family stayed here in two adjoining rooms before high season, so especially on our first day it felt like we had the place to ourselves. We were blessed by very little rain and cool breezes.
The staff actually learns your names and calls you by name, which is sweet, and they have gone out of their way to show us a good time. If we were taking an early trip, they opened early for breakfast, and offered to pack us a lunch. We wanted to take an earlier boat trip, so they arranged it. Granted, being low season and not that many guests in the hotel they can be a bit more flexible.
We went on two boat trips (Caño Harold and Caño Palma) to spot wildlife with Cloyde, who is an amazing guide, and the boat captain can spot a basilisk lizard from 100m no joke. Between the two tours the only animal we didn't see was a jaguar (they are not easy to get a glimpse of). After we got back from the tour, we got a knock on the door and it was Cloyde, who brought us ylang ylang blossoms (which we had talked about on the tour) and showed us some spider monkeys in the trees by the restaurant. Cloyde is knowledgeable and has very interesting stories about Tortuguero, having been born and raised here, and can tell you what it was like living in the jungle and his father hunting for jaguars, but he seems to have taken conservation to heart and has a genuine reverence for the rainforest.
We also took the small trail to see the poison dart frogs, which you are pretty much guaranteed to see. It's muddy and buggy, so make sure you pick up some rubber boots (for free) and bug spray.
The hotel rooms are great, could use more light, but air conditioning is a lifesaver! The private outdoor showers are a nice touch, very cold so nice for a hot day. Didn't seem to have a choice of temperature in the inside shower, so if you want a hot shower stay inside, cold shower go outside. Bed was comfy and the room in general was clean and spacious. The grounds are quite lovely and you can see a wide variety of animals just on the grounds. We saw iguanas, howler monkeys, spider monkeys, and many birds, and poison dart frogs on the trail.
I think if you're here for just a day or two you could stay entertained just by doing the Manatus-provided trips and hanging out at the pool or on the dock sipping cocktails. If you're here for longer, take a water taxi or the Manatus-provided shuttle (certain time of the day) into the village and walk around, or have the hotel staff arrange a canopy tour or a fishing excursion, etc.

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 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 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Manatus Hotel

Address: Tortuguero 705 40005, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Limon > Tortuguero
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( Wi-Fi ) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 9 Hotels in Tortuguero
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Manatus Hotel 3.5*
Number of rooms: 12
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A room at Manatus Hotel begins with an extraordinary sense of peace and comfort. Your guest room is designed to inspire, its beauty connects you with the surrounding environment of a wildlife sanctuary and the water canals, while ensuring your comfort and convenience. Here at Manatus Hotel, the first class experience is the rule rather than the exception. We offer all the possibilities for family getaways, romantic escapades, vacations and wildlife adventures. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Manatus Hotel Tortuguero
Manatus Hotel Costa Rica/Tortuguero

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