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“beautiful location, relaxed atmosphere, lots of birds” 4 of 5 stars
Review of La Ensenada Lodge

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La Ensenada Lodge
Gulf of Nicoya, Manzanillo, Costa Rica   |  
Hotel amenities
Berne
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
22 hotel reviews
Reviews in 27 cities Reviews in 27 cities
41 helpful votes 41 helpful votes
“beautiful location, relaxed atmosphere, lots of birds”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 24, 2012

We found La Enseñada Lodge pretty much by accident. We were looking for a nice place to spend a night between Alajuela and the Volcan Tenorio area. It is actually a working farm with a small nature reserve next to it. We didn't have enough time to go the reserve but it would have been interesting to see it. We would have had it pretty much to ourselves as there was only a group of about 12 people staying there apart from us. They have individual bungalows which are no-frills but very clean and with hot showers. The howler monkeys walked around the area in the morning and we never got so close to them anymore during our stay in Costa Rica. We also saw some Ctenosaurs and lots of beautiful birds. The lodge has a small swimming pool and a beautiful view over the sea across to the Nicoya peninsula. The food is quite good with rice, fish, meat, salad an afters. I would call it good, solid, homemade cooking, nothing fancy. We could stroll around the property which gave us the impression of a very relaxed and laid-back place. It is possible to go horseback riding and they also offer boat tours in the Nicoya bay. Because we were only there for a night we didn't go on either. If we needed a bed again in that area we would certainly go back there and try to stay a few more nights to fully appreciate the place.

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 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.
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30 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
Manchester, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
34 reviews 34 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 16, 2012

Wonderfully relaxing spot on a working farm. Very laid back with the family owners joining the guests at meal times.
Room was detached and roomy, albeit a smallish, but perfectly adequate bathroom.
There appeared to be only a few detached rooms, others must be half the size as the buildings are similarly sized, so be careful. (Think rooms 2, 3 & 4, only)
There were no real guides, so anything you see, you need to use guidebooks to find out what they are. Having said that there is a surprising amount to see, just wandering around the ranch. Walks are suggested, altho' the map is a little basic!
No real vegetarian (" well leave the meat" kind of attitude) - luckily there was a lot of vegetables. Typical Costa Rican fare.
It's a chill out place, miles from anywhere.
There's a swimming pool set in lovely grounds.
Boat trips offered to the mangroves in the gulf where there's a lot of bird life. Our boatman didn't speak English, but pointed out interesting birds and frogs. (Take photos and identify later!).
Horse riding and tractor rides offered too.

Room Tip: Seemed to be only rooms 2, 3 & 4 which are detached, rest are semi, but are overall the same siz...
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  • Stayed February 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 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.
Los Angeles
Top Contributor
72 reviews 72 reviews
43 hotel reviews
Reviews in 50 cities Reviews in 50 cities
55 helpful votes 55 helpful votes
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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Milton Keynes
Senior Contributor
38 reviews 38 reviews
37 hotel reviews
Reviews in 36 cities Reviews in 36 cities
31 helpful votes 31 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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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lakewood, CO
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
uk
Senior Contributor
45 reviews 45 reviews
35 hotel reviews
Reviews in 38 cities Reviews in 38 cities
23 helpful votes 23 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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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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