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“Quiet Oasis” 4 of 5 stars
Review of La Ensenada Lodge

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La Ensenada Lodge
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Gulf of Nicoya, Manzanillo, Costa Rica   |  
Hotel amenities
Los Angeles
Top Contributor
83 reviews 83 reviews
48 hotel reviews
Reviews in 57 cities Reviews in 57 cities
63 helpful votes 63 helpful votes
“Quiet Oasis”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 29, 2012

Situated with a stunning view of the Gulf of Nicoya. Small, modest rooms. Clean. Typical CR food. Pool. And, amazing outdoor massage room with the breezes gently passing through.

Room Tip: Be sure to have a room that is not near the kitchen and that overlooks the Gulf!
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  • Stayed January 2012, traveled with friends
    • 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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33 people have reviewed this hotel

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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 (6)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Milton Keynes
Senior Contributor
42 reviews 42 reviews
40 hotel reviews
Reviews in 39 cities Reviews in 39 cities
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 20, 2012

Stayed here for 2 nights on our tour of Costa Rica. This is a very nice and extensive working ranch where one is made to feel very welcome and at ease. Accommodation was basic but spacious, comfortable and clean. Very good food. The highlight was a boat tour of the mangrove swamps of the river delta where we saw lots of magnificent and colourful birds. The horseride round the ranch was also very enjoyable. Spectacular sunsets over the gulf of Nicoya. Howler monkeys just walk right by you and colourful Magpie Jays frequent the restaurant at breakfast.

  • Stayed November 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Lakewood, CO
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
31 helpful votes 31 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 18, 2011

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.

Tina
trip report at http://costarica201102.wordpress.com/

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 2, 2011

A tranquil setting overlooking the Gulf of Nicoya. You look out over the lawns and see only trees, birds, the bay, and acres of undeveloped land. It would be hard to imagine a more peaceful site. Although the person who took the reservation by email was comfortable using English, everyone on site had very limited English. It wasn't much of a problem because the manager, who knew only a few words of English, was good at communicating with people like me who can speak some Spanish. He was very patient and worked with me to take care of all of my questions. Request a single cabin for more privacy than the doubles. The cabins are fine in a Gilligan's Island way -- very basic but acceptable. We enjoyed the pool and mangrove boat tour, as well as lying in the hammock on the cabin porch in the shade. We were awakened by howler monkeys in the morning, and a large iguana crawled around on the roof above the shower -- it reminded me of being in Africa. Like the cabins, the food was basic but acceptable. There's not much to do there but it can be a pleasant place to get away from it all. And it's a good value. We had ants in the bathroom, but they went away when we sprayed them with Off.

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
uk
Senior Contributor
48 reviews 48 reviews
37 hotel reviews
Reviews in 40 cities Reviews in 40 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 13, 2009

La Ensenada is in a beautiful location, in the middle of nowhere, with a view of the sea and surrounded by howler monkeys and iguanas.

The wooden cabins are basic and ours was very small - we were given a twin but had requested a double and there appeared to be much larger doubles available. We didn't mention it to the staff though as they were not particularly welcoming,

We weren't given any information about what activities were available when we arrived, nor was it provided in the rooms and throughout the rest of our stay the staff weren't always easy to find!

There was a large group of Dutch bird watchers staying (they are very common in Costa Rica!) and their daily briefings seemed to take over the restaurant, spoilng it for the handful of other guests.

I was glad that I had taken Spanish lessons before the trip as the staff spoke very little English - I don't think I would have been able to arrange a horseride with without them!

The riding was excellent and the main reason I chose this lodge. However, if you are not experienced I would not advise riding here as they didn't seem to care about your abilities on a horse. The ride was definitely not suitable for novices - they are ranch horses, not well trained trekking ponies. The other guests on my ride were out of there depth and nearly fell off on several occasions when their horses took off. I had taken my own helmet but they don't provide any and most travel insurance companies won't cover you without one.

Despite all of the above I did enjoy staying here - the pool was relaxing, the food was good and it was very quiet (when the bird-watchers weren't around!) and we enjoyed the boat ride.
It does have the potential to be a wonderful place to stay but they need to improve their customer relations and provide information on all the services they offer.

  • Stayed March 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Pepperell, Massachusetts
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 8, 2009

Living in Costa Rica, it's hard to pick a favorite place because everything is so different.
This is a country of diversity. HOWEVER, I can say that La Ensenada has so much in one place that it easily has become my favorite spot. It's on a huge farm, so it's peaceful and idyllic. It's on the water so it's got beautiful views (actually overlooking the amazing mountians that are on the Nicoya Penninsula). The bird watching is first class, both salt water and fresh water birds can be found here. There are mangrove swamps nearby. Boat trips are easily arranged by the Lodge.
As far as the place, it's simple and old fashioned. The rooms are plain but charming. Although it gets very hot during the day the ceiling fans and cool evening breezes off the water are fine for a good night's sleep. The owners are Italian which provides for great hospitality, good food and drinks! Be warned that they only take cash.
There is a beautiful pool that has a great view of the water with nice places to sit on a chaise in the shade and read or just sit there in awe.

  • Stayed December 2008, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Additional Information about La Ensenada Lodge

Address: Gulf of Nicoya, Manzanillo, Costa Rica
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Puntarenas > Manzanillo
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 2 Specialty lodging in Manzanillo
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $

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