On a birding tour offered through Road Scholar/Elderhostel in Feb., we stayed 2 nights at La Ensenada Lodge (ensenada means “cove”), in a lovely cabina looking out on the Gulf of Nicoya with the mountains of the Nicoya Peninsula in the distance. La Ensenada is located in a 900-acre wildlife refuge is part of a family-run cattle ranch, with nature trails and a lake.
La Ensenada is located in a lovely setting. We were in the group of cabinas toward the dock; we had a view of the dock and the cove from our porch. Each porch came equipped with a hammock. Although my husband tried it out, I sat contentedly on the porch, taking in the beauty, avoiding the strong hot sun, and marveling at the dry air. Delicious!
The cabina was amply sized with a decent-sized bathroom and firm mattresses. We had ample hot water for showers. No television, so bring a good book! I was a bit worried about the heat. At mid-day, the cabina was 92 degrees F. (Our travel alarm clock has a thermometer in it.) The cabina had no air conditioning—just a ceiling fan. Would that be enough for sleeping comfort? (Since we spent little time in the room during daylight hours, the temperature of the room didn’t bother me then.) By early morning, the room was 72 degrees F. Perfect!
At La Ensenada, your alarm clock is the howler monkeys. Around 4 a.m., the howler wake-up call began. The cabina walls were thin; the windows were open; I’m a very light sleeper. A troop was moving through the trees just behind and beside our cabina. No sleeping through that! (You might consider bringing ear plugs, although I wouldn’t have traded that wake-up call for anything—even another hour of sleep.)
Decent coffee (by my standards, anyway—moderately strong and flavorful) was ready and waiting long before breakfast. The dining area also has a water dispenser that delivers either cold or hot water 24/7—a nice touch for tea drinkers. Overall, the food was delicious—nothing fancy, but fresh and plentiful and served buffet style. You dine in a covered, but open-air dining area. White-throated Magpie-jays are likely to dine with you, looking for unattended food or scraps or leftovers—anything they can steal. When we were there, they perched in the rafters over the tables and swooped around at random intervals (random, at least to the human brain). Watch your plates and your heads!
They have a swimming pool. However, at least when we were there, it didn't have much shade (especially at mid-day). So it was quite hot to just sit out at the pool. Being in the water, though, was just fine. But be sure to use sunblock!
La Ensenada Lodge is a lovely facility in a wonderful location. You will not be disappointed! You can read more about the area in our trip report.
trip report at http://costarica201102.wordpress.com/