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“Rustic, Remote, Beautiful” 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
Harleysville, Pennsylvania
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Rustic, Remote, Beautiful”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 4, 2013

We stayed at this lodge as part of a two week Costa Rica tour. The rooms are cool wood and bamboo structures with ceiling fans, nice chairs on the porch and even a hammock. Nice touches of fixtures inside made of bamboo. the common areas are open to the air with a high thatched roof and comfortable rocking chairs. Nice pool, and view of the Gulf of Nicoya.

Buffet style meals were fine ... nothing special, but plenty of basic food.

Birding on the grounds was great with many species and even howler monkeys!

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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33 people have reviewed this hotel

Traveler rating
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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
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  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
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English first
Jacksonville, Florida
Senior Contributor
34 reviews 34 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 26, 2013

This is a beautiful place with a large dining room and lodging rooms build of wood and palm fronds. The grounds are well maintained and picturesque, sloping down to provide a scenic view of the Gulf of Nicoya. The room furnishings are basic, but adequate. There is a lot of ventilation and a fan which are welcome but do not provide adequate cooling until the morning hours. This is a HOT place. The owner is courteous and helpful. The wait staff are helpful, but not particularly outgoing. The food is good. The night sky in this area is clear and full of stars. I would recommend this property. But, understand, you will be hot.

Room Tip: As for a room that is well shaded by trees.
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Steyning, United Kingdom
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 26, 2013

The drive alone from San Jose was an education as our driver from Travel Excellence pointed out wildlife along the way. The Lodge was a perfect start to our holiday, very relaxing and welcoming, a lovely cabin looking out onto a massive tree, home to a variety of birds and iguanas. All the staff were attentive, friendly and smiley and the food was excellent - coffee and water whenever you wanted it, a nice touch. Nice swimming pool, the grounds and trails all well marked. We saw so many eagles and vultures and seabirds. A nice combination of sea and wildlife. Only there for two nights - would love to have been there longer.

Room Tip: A room facing the huge tree means you can watch wildlife all day long from your hammock
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 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.
Weaverville, North Carolina
Top Contributor
75 reviews 75 reviews
47 hotel reviews
Reviews in 50 cities Reviews in 50 cities
56 helpful votes 56 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 1, 2013

This is a good model for multiple use of habitat to support both wildlife and agriculture. The property is very large with numerous trails roads etc. The main lodge area is located on a hillside a few hundred meters from the water. The grounds are very well maintained and there is a small swimming pool. The rooms are nice and adequately appointed. There is no AC but the fans work fairly well in keeping the rooms comfortable except in the middle of the day. Temperatures were exceedingly high while we were there in November with afternoon temps in the mid to high 90's. The common area (restaurant, bar etc.) is open air ,very comfortable, and well appointed. WiFi was available in the common area. Meals were good and were semi-buffet style, so there was not a menu to select from

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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.
Bristol, UK
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
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
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Spijkenisse, The Netherlands
Top Contributor
59 reviews 59 reviews
25 hotel reviews
Reviews in 40 cities Reviews in 40 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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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Altamont, TN
Top Contributor
60 reviews 60 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 34 cities Reviews in 34 cities
19 helpful votes 19 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.

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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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