My wife and I have stayed at many hotels throughout Central America but on our first trip to Nicaragua,, we chose the Empalme a las Playas outside San Juan del Sur.
The hotel is located about 15 minutes by car outside S.J.D.S. It’s about a mile or so of pavement and another few miles of gravel drive off the main road into town. The hotel itself is about a 15 minute walk, maybe a bit less, to the beach and is located on a hill overlooking the forest/jungle. There are local shuttles available for rides into town.
The hotel is owned and operated by Roy and Karen. A lovely couple from California. Karen does all the wonderful cooking and Roy is the resident entertainer, host, magician and all around good guy. He will certainly keep you entertained. They have lots of games to enjoy in the evenings and even have a large movie selection to watch outside under the main shelter area. Breakfast is included with your stay and it’s not just a continental affair. It’s always a full blown eggs, pancakes, fruit, juice offering. You have the option of enjoying one of Karen’s dinners each evening as well. She’s a great cook and you should try to eat there at least once.
There are several other local family restaurants nearby that serve very tasty dishes. We sampled a few of them and were very happy with the meals.
The local beaches were very beautiful with no high-rise hotels and really not many buildings of any kind. They were actually quite empty considering it was the week before Christmas. If you like nice pristine beaches and scenery and not many people mucking it up, this is the place to go. You are certainly far away from the hustle and bustle. They do have good wi-fi however, if you need to stay connected a bit.
Each day you can hear the Howler monkeys “roaring” from the trees surrounding the riverbed just below the hotel. It’s quite easy to walk down and watch them as they swing through the trees.
The refrigerator is stocked with beer, water and soda and you can just help yourself whenever you like. They have an honor system sheet with your name on it and you just mark down when you grab a refreshment.
There are four cabanas to choose from. Three are family size, the best views, and one is set up with a single bed for couples. Be aware, the showers have only one temperature-cool. But, you will soon find out that this is just fine.
Roy and Karen are wonderful hosts and are really engaging, bringing you into their family. You play games together each night and we even went out as a group one evening to a nearby family restaurant for dinner. The hotel is also very kid friendly with darts, a ring toss game and bean bag to keep the young ones occupied. And, of course there are their two dogs, Shadow and Lika.
All and all the main attractions here are the remoteness from the crowds, the beauty of the jungle and beaches, the great meals and the friendliness of your hosts. We would highly recommend this location.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- A true nature lover and beach goer treat. Spacious and quiet bamboo cabanas sitting in the jungle canopy above the river showcasing howler monkeys and many varieties of birds and wildlife. Within walking distance of Playa Marsella and Playa Maderas, said to be one of the best surf breaks in Nicaragua. A great place to relax, surf, trek and enjoy the natural beauty that is Nicaragua. We are as close to a nature reserve/eco lodge as can be without going through all the legalities to get the "stamp" of approval. Enjoy personal service and feel like you are at your home away from home. Offering personal service and satisfaction! ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Empalme a Las Playas Hotel San Juan Del Sur
- Empalme a Las Playas Nicaragua/San Juan Del Sur