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“Quiet at the end of the road” 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
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
“Quiet at the end of the road”
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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39 reviews from our community

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 (7)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Top Contributor
53 reviews 53 reviews
38 hotel reviews
Reviews in 42 cities Reviews in 42 cities
33 helpful votes 33 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 5 Specialty Lodging in Manzanillo
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 25

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