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“Loved it - would go back tomorrow” 5 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
Bristol, UK
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
“Loved it - would go back tomorrow”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 10, 2012

We adored staying here in January 2012. The setting is exquisite and we just spent the days doing the walks around the estate that were provided on a leaflet when we arrived, lazing in our hammock and watching the monkeys play around the cabins (they even had gorgeous babies when we were there). We also did the mangrove boat tour, which was beautiful and peaceful (although less wildlife sightings than we had on other similar trips during our stay in Costa Rica). The staff were kind and caring. Just be aware that only the owner speaks English (which was interesting when I locked myself out of my cabin – with my phrasebook inside!) We felt very well looked after.

In terms of food and drink, the meals are buffet when there are enough people, and table service when less people are around. We ate every single meal in their restaurant during our stay and there was a nice mix of traditional Costa Rican food and Italian lunches. They also gave us jugs of refreshing homemade lemonade and fruit drink. There is a bar for you to order drinks too - the range was limited but the price seemed reasonable to us. We had actually brought some beers and soft drinks from our previous stopover in a town with a supermarket so we only bought drinks to go with our meals.

The honesty of the management is extraordinary – we didn’t know that our tour operator had paid for us to do the mangrove trip on our own so when they asked if another family could join us, we didn’t think anything of it at all. But when we settled our bill at the end of the stay, they had deducted the extra amount for a trip on our own vs the shared trip from our bill – it was like getting all our food and drink for free!

The only downside was the small number of bugs and ants in the shower room – there is no glass in the windows, only mesh, so it was hard to see how they could be kept out. We sprayed fly spray (despite the fact that it would only be slightly effective due to the mesh) and made sure to look where we were stepping in the night. None of the bugs or ants looked big or scary. Please don’t let this put you off – of all the hotels we stayed in Costa Rica, only the airport hotel was 100% bug free.

My husband still talks about how much he loved it - and he NEVER does that.

Room Tip: The "detached" bungalows are larger and have better terraces than the "semis".
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  • Stayed January 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 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.
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33 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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    15
    5
    1
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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
Spijkenisse, The Netherlands
Top Contributor
59 reviews 59 reviews
25 hotel reviews
Reviews in 41 cities Reviews in 41 cities
37 helpful votes 37 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 21, 2012

The cabins, restaurant and bar are really very simple, but the relaxing location makes it worthwhile visiting. The view and the tranquility are marvelous. The lodge has a small swimming pool. The lodge also offers a boat trip through the mangroves of Palo Verde, which is very nice.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Altamont, TN
Top Contributor
70 reviews 70 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 36 cities Reviews in 36 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 27, 2012

La Ensenada is a working ranch with one section cordoned off for guests. There are a dozen or so small "duplex" cabins reminiscent of Scout Camp, without the bunk beds. No A/C, but paddle fans in every room and a decent breeze from the Gulf made it tolerable, especially in the hammock on the front porch of each cabin, but it was still hot and dry in Mid-March. There's a large pool for swimming if the heat doesn't bother you, and the dining area is a large open pavilion. Food was pretty basic, and this was the only place during our entire two week trip in Costa Rica where we had any episodes of "Montezuma's revenge" (and we stayed in more than half a dozen different places). But we came here for the riding, and the horses were sturdy Criollos that handles the terrain with aplomb, though the tack was old and rather worn, not very well-maintained. Unfortunately the head wrangler, Albin, spent almost every ride talking on his cell phone the whole time, paying little or no attention to his customers. We had to ask repeatedly to do a variety of paces, but we ended up doing only walking or galloping the last stretch back to the barn, with little in between, which was frustrating for those of us who like to trot and canter. The trails here are few, and in three days, we ended up repeating them all. The two-hour "sunset" ride was 40 minutes riding, 45 minutes of sitting around on a hill waiting for the sun to set, and 20 minutes back to the barn. The last day, however, Albin's horse cut his nose on barb wire, so the lieutenant wranger, Michael, took over, and did a great job. Suddenly he was pointing out more wildlife (besides the monkeys and birds that are everywhere here), and listening and watching and responding to our needs. It was much more enjoyable. So if you come here to ride, try to get Michael as your guide. It was a good experience overall, but it wasn't the best of the places we visited while we were here.

Room Tip: The cabins farthest to the north have the best breeze, but they are also the farthest from the dinin...
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  • Stayed March 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boulder Creek CA
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 2, 2012

We were booked at this location by our birding tour company and, overall, we enjoyed it very much. Staff was friendly and the food was very good. Howler monkeys woke us up in the morning. Good birding opportunities on the property. Nice pool area. Rooms are rustic but comfortable. Walls are quite thin so hope for quiet neighbors. Hammocks on every porch for relaxing. Beautiful scenery looking out on the bay.

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
Berne
Senior Contributor
38 reviews 38 reviews
27 hotel reviews
Reviews in 33 cities Reviews in 33 cities
49 helpful votes 49 helpful votes
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
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Manchester, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
36 reviews 36 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
12 helpful votes 12 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles
Top Contributor
83 reviews 83 reviews
48 hotel reviews
Reviews in 57 cities Reviews in 57 cities
67 helpful votes 67 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.
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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 3 Specialty Lodging in Manzanillo
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 25

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