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“Roy and Karen take care of you. Just that simple.” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Empalme a Las Playas

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Empalme a Las Playas
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1/2 c N. al Empalme a las Playas Maderas y Playa Marsella, San Juan del Sur 00011, Nicaragua   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #5 of 21 hotels in San Juan del Sur
New York City, New York
1 review
“Roy and Karen take care of you. Just that simple.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 25, 2013

From the moment I emailed to inquire about lodging, Karen and Roy couldn't have been anymore accommodating. They responded promptly and even arranged a taxi for me from Ometepe to Empalme.

Once I arrived, they greeted me with a cold beer, a quick tour of the place (first-rate cabins) and an even quicker trip down to the nearest beach. From there, Roy introduced me to their awesome Aussie neighbors.

Roy and Karen were always asking how they could make the trip better. Roy was more than willing to drive the guests to a nearby beach when needed, play cards or just talk until the lights go out. Karen cooked up a great breakfast and dinner, and they both made sure all the guests felt included.

Overall, it's a beautiful part of the world and Roy and Karen's Empalme only makes it more special.

I highly recommend the Empalme.

Room Tip: Most of the cabins have multiple beds, but they gave me my own cabin as a solo traveler.
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled solo
    • 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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141 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (14)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Granada
Senior Contributor
44 reviews 44 reviews
18 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 22, 2013

It really is like coming home to stay at the Empalme - was greeted like an old friend on my second visit in six months. The cabins are quaint and clean with great beds and mosquito nets, and fabulous huge decks for watching the monkeys and birds in the treetops. Very suitable for small groups (due to large cabins), couples and single travelers, who will find it easy to make new friends in the breezy open-air lounging and dining area. Excellent breakfasts and dinners are served, while various lunch options are just a few minutes walk away - as are the wonderful beaches of Marsella and Maderas. It may be on the rustic side for some visitors, but I love this place.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled solo
    • 5 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
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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New York City, New York
2 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 14, 2013

This was the second time we've stayed at Empalme and, if possible, it was even better than the first. Roy and Karen are a delight (as always), the puppies are sweet, the food is amazing, and the experience is unforgettable. We did the sunset cruise and saw dolphins for the second time in a row on the same cruise. In general, it just feels like a great place to hang with friends (whether you are traveling with them or you are making them as you go) and I cannot recommend it highly enough.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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.
Rehoboth, Massachusetts
Top Contributor
101 reviews 101 reviews
21 hotel reviews
Reviews in 56 cities Reviews in 56 cities
50 helpful votes 50 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 14, 2013

We spent 3 nights in this lovely jungle setting near two beautiful beaches. We took the smaller cabin with the stucco walls, which was perfect for us. It has a front patio area great for relaxing with a cold Tona and a good book. Roy and Karen are good hosts and try to include everyone in the activities. My husband and I aren't big game players, but we did play a "liars dice" game one night and enjoyed it very much, and the other guests were all very interesting to talk with. Karen is an excellent cook - breakfasts and dinner two nights were wonderful and we ate out one night at a small place on the beach while watching the sunset, also very good. We had a rental 4x4 vehicle, which made moving around the area and into SJDS much easier. After driving down many Central American dirt roads in the past we didn't find this one to be as bad as people said!

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Long Beach, California, United States
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 17, 2013

My girlfriend and I stayed at Empalme for 5 nights including New Year's Eve and we had a great time! We had no idea what to expect from this place when arriving and were a little skeptic about staying outside of San Juan Del Sur but our worries were quickly put aside. All the prior reviews are right when they say that Roy and Karen are great hosts who definitely know how to have fun (as is Marty, their son who was their during our stay); the cabanas are in good shape and the property is well laid out with a central area for guests to gather around and meet with others. Karen's cooking is great and they were even able to dig out a decent bottle of wine for us on a couple of occasions. Roy keeps the good times rolling and NYE was a night to remember and an experience I'd definitely recommend.

The beautiful beaches that are walking distance from Empalme were wonderful and after a night out in town we confirmed that the best decision we'd made was to stay with Roy and Karen! This is definitely a place you should check out when you're in the area.

  • Stayed December 2012, 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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Managua, Nicaragua
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 15, 2013

We stayed there in October with our two children 4 and 6. We chose the place because of excellent reviews, first time after 3 years in Nicaragua. We needed an escape from Managua for a long week-end. Karen and Roy definitely lived up to their reputation. When we asked our kids what they had liked the most about their week-end, everything they answered was related to the hosts' legendary generosity and hospitality: Roy's magic tricks, riding the Four Wheels, the games, etc. They of course liked the beaches and tree house ambiance too. A big hit for my husband and I was the incredible food. Karen is an amazing cook, probably best food we've had in Nicaragua over the past 3 years. The place is basic: wooden cabins /tree houses without hot water or A/C, but it is very clean and we haven't encountered any unwelcomed six (or more) legged guests. You can hear the monkeys and if lucky see them around in the morning. The beaches nearby are nice - Maderas for surfing and Marsella for swimming with little kids. A nice escape and different from the rest, where the big "plus" is the experience you'll have sharing a bit of Karen and Roy's daily life. Sleep quality is excellent in terms of mattress, but for light sleepers, the sound of nature could be a bit loud.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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White Rock, British Columbia, Canada
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 14, 2013

We had such an incredible time staying with Roy and Karen Jan 2-6 2013! They have created such a unique oasis in the jungle away from the hustle of San Juan Del Sur! We loved our bamboo cabin nestled in the beautiful jungle listening to howler monkeys.. clean and comfy.. no hot water but who needs it when its so hot!! The real highlight was hanging out and getting to know Roy and Karen and the other guests! we had so much fun playing games like dice, darts, the ring game! Roy and Karen really made us feel right at home.. they will drive you to Madaras beach (or a 20 min walk..) and even give you a lift in to town if the timing is right. They were always making sure everyone is well taken care of. Karen's cooking is amazing too... yummy breakfasts! and the dinners.. oh the dinners! mmmm. Loved the honor system for getting beer, water and other drinks from the fridge..... and dont forget those amazing swinging chairs.. once you sit in one you will never get out!... If San Juan del sur is on your list (and it should be) I strongly advise you to skip San Juan del sur town and stay with Roy and Karen instead! We will be back for sure... hopefully next year!

Room Tip: There are 4 cabanas.... all of them are great!
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  • Stayed January 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
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Empalme a Las Playas

Address: 1/2 c N. al Empalme a las Playas Maderas y Playa Marsella, San Juan del Sur 00011, Nicaragua
Location: Nicaragua > Rivas Department > San Juan del Sur
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service
Hotel Style:
#2 Family Hotel in San Juan del Sur
#3 On the Beach Hotel in San Juan del Sur
#4 Romantic Hotel in San Juan del Sur
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
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

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