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“Wonderful Place, Minor Flaws” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Makanda by the Sea

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Makanda by the Sea
3.5 of 5 Hotel   |   Main Road to Manuel Antonio Park, 3 Kilometers, Manuel Antonio National Park, Costa Rica   |  
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Chicago
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Wonderful Place, Minor Flaws”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 19, 2008

We stayed at Makanda for one week last October (2007) in Villa 1. That villa is fantastic - utterly comfortable, spacious for 2, and an amazing view out to the ocean. The bathroom & shower are great, and the bed is very comfy. The grounds of the hotel are beautiful and isolated. The staff is very friendly and very helpful. Overall, it's very tranquil and peaceful - a great way to experience that part of the country. I encourage anybody who stays here to take an early morning walk down the path to the beach - I saw a ton of amazing wildlife (including some animals I've never even heard of) as I crept slowly through the forest before the day really got started. Sloths and monkeys are regular visitors to the grounds.

Slight drawbacks - the restaurant on site (Sunspot) while good, is pricey (even by U.S. standards) and - in my mind - overpriced. I would have eaten there more if it weren't as pricey. There are plenty of very good places to eat in the area outside the hotel. (Mar Y Luna comes to mind.)

Lastly - lock up everything of value in the safe in your room whenever you leave. I had a book of CDs and DVDs disappear during our stay. I was surprised that somebody would bother taking this (maybe I should be flattered that they liked my taste?), but it did happen. The Makanda staff was very responsive in addressing the issue when I brought it to their attention, but it never showed up. (I didn't ask for any compensation in return.) I got the sense the place is very secure, as they have guards on duty 24-7 who walk the grounds, etc. But disappointed that I lost about 25 cds and 10 dvds.

To be fair, the positive aspects of my stay at Makanda far outweighed my lost property, which can be replaced. Just need to lock it all up next time.

  • Liked — Beautiful setting
  • Disliked — Had something stolen
  • Stayed October 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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305 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (52)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Chicago, Illinois
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 7, 2008

We stayed in Suite 11 and loved everything about our stay - especially the hammock! Makanda was great about helping us book transfers & tours before & during our visit. The staff knew our names and our favorite poolside drinks (the Sunspot with guanabana juice!). Makanda really offered a perfect blend of luxurious privacy friendly familiarity. Unlike other hotels, we did not think Makanda was 'too American,' though most everyone spoke enough English to communicate with. We hiked almost every day (20+ minutes) to the main beaches - it's an easy downhill walk with good shoes - and took the 40 cent bus back up the hill. The only drawback is the 'road' to Makanda itself - it's pretty treacherous though we insisted on walking it home from the main strip a few times. I would also definitely recommend the Sunspot restaurant down by the pool - great seafood: simply prepared but with 'typical' Costa Rican flair.

  • Stayed September 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 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.
San Francisco
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 23, 2008

We just got back from our first trip to Costa Rica and wow was it amazing. Hotel Makanda By the Sea was absolutely fantastic and felt like a gem in paradise. The hotel grounds were great because the hotel has only 11 villas and a large chuck of property which meant things felt very isolated and private. This also made for great for wildlife viewing, we saw White Faced monkeys, Squirrel monkeys, Sloths and dozens of types of birds from our balcony as well as the wonderful ocean view. The infinity pool and spa have a great ocean view and watching the sunset while drinking a glass of wine in the spa is top notch.

The Sunspot restaurant by the pool had delicious food, we liked every dish we ordered and the servers were friendly and courteous. The front desk staff were also friendly, informative and helped us decided on what tours to do. We when on a canopy tour and waterfall repelling, I’d highly recommend both I only wish we had done more activities but relaxing was great too.

We walked to 3 different beaches down the hill from the hotel (see pictures), the private Makanda beach, a public beach in the same cove as the Makanda beach and the main public beach at Manuel Antonio. If you enjoy walking like us it’s easy to walk down to the beach at Manuel Antonio and spend a day hiking around in Manuel Antonio National Park which is a must see.

We had a wonderful time at Makanda By the Sea and our only regret is that we didn’t have more time to enjoy all the wonderful things to see and do.

  • Liked — everything
  • Disliked — having to leave
  • Stayed September 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, IL
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
43 helpful votes 43 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 7, 2008

My husband and I have been to Manuel Antonio before, and this time we wanted to go somewhere romantic and luxurious to experience nature and monkeys, enjoy the Costa Rican outdoors, and have nice meals. We loved Makanda by the Sea. A nice balcony to sit outdoors with a view is top priority for us, and you couldn't do better than Makanda. As we sat out there, we could see nothing but jungle and ocean, and we watched whales jump, Blue Morpho butterflies go by, and a troop of monkeys do acrobatics from the trees, jump on our balcony, and peek in our windows. The room, complete with full kitchen and even high speed internet, was beautiful, and the breakfast brought to our balcony in the morning was to die for. Our only problem was that the night we were to check in, there was a storm knocking a tree and electrical wires across the road, and we were unable to get there. We had to stay across the road at Las Arenas del Mar---a new hotel, much more expensive, but not nearly as beautiful as Makanda. Since we ended up at Makanda on the only day their restaurant was closed (Tuesdays in the Green Season), we had dinner at the Mariposa restaurant, down the road, at their suggestion, and it was very nice. Everyone at the hotel was extremely warm and helpful. Our only disappointment was not being able to eat dinner poolside at their restaurant. I guess we'll just have to go back. We'll definitely do that.

  • Liked — Our balcony
  • Disliked — My laptop didn't fit in the lock box
  • Stayed August 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Trussville, Alabama
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 14, 2008

We arrived at Makanda around 5:00 pm local time. We were immediately met at the property gate by Jorge who works for the security staff. It was raining (which is does every day in CR) so he had someone take us via golf cart to the office where we met Leo, who was the best host we could have hoped for. Leo escorted us to our room and provided us with imfornation about the restaurant, beach, and the area in general. We had already exchanged e-mails with Leo so we knew about the tours that were available in the area. We told Leo what we wanted to do and he arranged everything including pickup and payment, it was so convenient just to add the tour charges to the room and not have to worry about it.

We stayed in studio 4, the view was amazing. Our front window was a full view of the surrounding jungle and a fantastic view of the pacific ocean. One of my goals for the visit was to see monkeys. Every day we saw white faced monkeys and on the last day they were actually eating the fruit off of the tree right outside of our room! It was awesome. Our bed was also out of this world, the sheets were of the highest thread count I've ever slept on and Gloria from the housekeeping staff made the bed every day and decorated it with fresh flowers.

The first night we ate dinner at the Sunspot, it was very good. I had beef and my husband had the tuna, it was great. I also recommend the Cesar salad, one of the best I've ever had. The breakfast in the room was also terrific, fresh fruit, pancakes, just delicious.

We just got home today and had to hurry and write my review, I'll post pictures later... I haven't even downloaded them yet.

We loved everything and if we ever get the chance to go back without the kids, we'll definately stay at Makanda again.

One word of caution, the beach is very pretty, but it's quite a hike down the steps and back. You want to make sure you're up for the hike before you go. It was a great little trip thru the jungle, but we were gasping for breath when we finally got back to the room.

  • Liked — Amazing View, Amazing Host, Amazing pool & hot tub.
  • Disliked — Trek down to the beach.
  • Stayed August 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, IL
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 5, 2008

We stayed in both the deluxe studio #11 and standard studio #3. The studio's in general were a little more rundown than all the more pricier rooms. It seems like the studio's didn't get as much of the renovations as some of the other more expensive rooms got, such as newer flooring, tiles, paint job. So if youre staying in anything above a studio it might be worth your money, but the studio's themselves needed some work.

We also had some issues with insects which is kind of expected in this area. I imagine all the hotels in the manuel antonio rain forest area have this issue to varying degrees. Normally it was an occasional ant or spider, but once we found a big cockroach in the bathroom. Our friends in studio #2 had issues with some kind of insects in their bed as they woke up with tiny red bites all over their leg. Not sure if other hotels would've been better sealed from insects.

Location is remote and the pool is one of the nicest. There aren't that many guests around so you feel like you have to place to yourself. The area is decently landscaped but I was definitely more impressed with Si Como No's common areas. It was very well constructed with manicured walkways between rooms and pools, whereas in Makanda you had to walk down a dark road at times within the hotel property to get to the office or pool.

The pool staff was great, provided towels and cushions right away. The check-in staff along with the check-in office was very minimal and looked like a 1-2 star hotel. The check-in service wasn't that impressive, they just did their job but didn't really provide any great service above and beyond giving you your key and taking your key back at checkout.

I'd probably stay at Si Como No if I went back for the same price range.

  • Stayed July 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 4, 2008

Arrived there after a week on the carribbean coast. I was expecting it to be lovely but no where near as lovely as what we found when we got there...everything was spotless and the rooms were a brilliant size. The views were unparralelled anywhere in Manuel Antonio and on top of this we got an upgrade to a Villa as a result of a Boiler problem in a studio. We spent 6 nights in the most comfortable bed i've ever slept in, finding it hard to adjust now i'm back in my own. Pool is gorgeous and the wildlife is everywhere...saw 3 types of monkey while staying here, on top of the butterflies, lizards and nyumerous birds...more animals than the national park. Overall we enjoyed this hotel 100% and would (and have) recommend it to all my friends. Would recommend hiring a car for a holiday down here, as taxi drivers know its an upmarket hotel and tend to set their own prices. Althought he hotel does offer a shuttle to top of Hill for free. Good touch. And its quiet, with only 11 rooms there was rarely more than 2 couples by the pool at anyone time..Paradise!

It's AMAZING...go!!

  • Liked — Views
  • Disliked — Can't sleep in my inferior bed at home now i've been in theirs!!
  • Stayed July 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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 Makanda by the Sea

Address: Main Road to Manuel Antonio Park, 3 Kilometers, Manuel Antonio National Park, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Puntarenas > Manuel Antonio National Park
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#6 On the Beach Hotel in Manuel Antonio National Park
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Makanda by the Sea 3.5*
Number of rooms: 11
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Makanda By the Sea is 12 acres of wildlife sanctuary, 100 meters above the ocean. Our fully equipped Villas and Studios are carefully placed in rainforest gardens with spectacular views of the sixty mile coastline. Hotel Makanda is the ideal location for guests wishing to experience “romance in nature”, dazzling sunset views and our personalized boutique hotel ambiance. Offering gourmet cuisine, first class service, and close to Manuel Antonio Park, Spas, Restaurants, Tours and Beaches. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Makanda By The Sea Hotel Manuel Antonio National Park
Makanda By The Sea Costa Rica/Manuel Antonio National Park

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