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“the best place we stayed in Nicaragua” 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 | Left Before the Road Splits to Playas Marsella and Maderas, San Juan del Sur 00011, Nicaragua   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #5 of 21 Hotels in San Juan del Sur
London
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
“the best place we stayed in Nicaragua”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 5, 2009

Me and my boyfriend spent the last 4 nights of our vacation at las emplames in March- it was the perfect end to our trip. The owners are incredibly warm and welcoming, and they really went out of their way to make sure all of their guests had a good time. We had jugs of delicious rum cocktail, wonderful breakfasts and dinners- with a different thing on the menu each day. They even took us into town to eat one evening, and packed us a picnic dinner for another. This sort of hospitality is really rare these days, and makes the place really special.
The location was great-20 minute taxi from san juan del sur, but set in the trees, a short walk from beautiful beaches of Playa Maderas and Playa Marsella, both of which were completely uncrowded through our stay. We don't surf, but had lots of fun renting boogie boards and just enjoying the views from the spectacular beach.
the bamboo cabana that we stayed in was just lovely-bright, spacious and airy, with everything there that we would need. It was really good value for what you get.
I really can't recommend this place enough, and feel really lucky to have found it. If we ever go back to nica we will definitely return..

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 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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145 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    121
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    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 (15)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Mexico
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 27, 2009

Roy and Karen are wonderful people making you feel right at home. The set up - with a nice open air lounge for all to use and common breakfast and dinners, makes it a great place to meet other travellers. Karen's cooking is outstanding - well worth the money! The cabins are very spacious and the beds good. They would need to fix the holes in the mosquito nets though, because there were plenty of mosquitos and bugs around. The cabins are built with bamboo and are not really isolated - you don't see in but out, and the air enters freely. This was great because the breeze was needed in the hot nights.

You have a 10 minute walk to the Marsella beach - 15-20 minute with kids. The beach is great but there is no shade. We never made it to Maderas because of the kids, but that is supposed to be great for surfing. There are a few restaurants close to Marsella so you can have lunch there - Karen doesn't serve lunch.

The hotel is great for kids because of the lovely surrounding where they can go and discover the nature. However, I would not recommend it for kids of 1-2 years old, because there is a large risk of falling from the cabin verandas and that is a steep fall.

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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New York City, New York
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 20, 2009

We just returned from Nicaragua, and have to say our stay here was one of the highlights of our trip! Roy and Karen made us feel like they had known us for years.Roy not only was a great conversation, but went out of his way to make all of his guests feel like old family friends. Karen's food was the best we had on our entire trip(and Karen, you should really think about offering some local cooking classes!) The bungalows we simple, but perfect, and the decks were the ideal place to watch the sunset! We highly reommend Empalme to anyone travelling their way!

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Andrew Wright
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 13, 2009

Well done Roy & Karen, You spoilt two backpackers with the greatest food we've had in Nicaragua yet. Both of you are great hosts..

Great value for money for groups as most other places in Nicaragua will Charge per person. I don't think you could find the same quality of food, personalised service and tranquility in Nicaragua. Perfect location away from the madness of San Juan del Sur.

Great place to unwind listing to the monkeys or be entertained by Roy's well honed magic tricks.. Roy & Karen give you the space to relax in your own space or if your looking to stay up Roy can keep you entertained all night as he did on our 2am departure to Managua.

Thanks Guys.

  • Stayed April 2009, 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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Cusco, Peru
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 22, 2009

I recently stayed in this hotel and found it to be overpriced for what you receive. I recommend other young and fun travelers to stay at other locations closer to the beach. This is an extremely intimate setting and the majority of your time will be spent with the owners. There is no view of the ocean and an ATV is necessary to get to the beaches (or you can walk, but it might take you awhile). If you're looking for a more social place to stay that is close to the beach then this is not the hotel for you.

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
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Alajuela, Costa Rica
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
21 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 19, 2009

To be honest, I was a little suspect of all the great reviews for Empalme a las Playas, but we could not agree more with all the other reviewers, it is simply wonderful. Karen and Roy have created one of the coolest places we have ever stayed. If you are looking for luxury accommodations, you probably want to look elsewhere, as the hand hewn bamboo cabinas, while comfortable, light and airy are indeed rustic, but if you are looking for exceptional food, interesting company, cold beer, 5 star personalized service and a beautiful setting, look no further. As another reviewer said, it is like staying with good friends, ones who anticipate your every need and bend over backwards to make sure you are taken care of. I mentioned I could use a massage and Roy had a masseuse there within hours, coffee was made and ready for early risers, we mentioned we wanted to eat at a specific restaurant in town one night and Karen immediately made reservations. There are plenty of activities, from playing Frisbee golf or horseshoes to running into town for the party scene to surfing a world class break, but it is also the perfect setting to just kick it and read a book, watch the birds and monkeys or visit with the other guests. On the day we left, we had to get up extra early and found a pot of coffee and a breakfast packed to go, complete with a thank you note, even though we knew Karen had been out late the night before. I am running out of superlatives - thanks SO much to both of you, hey to Leica and we will be back soon!

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Santa Ana, Costa Rica
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 10, 2009

Karen & Roy, hands down are the best hosts we've had in our travels. The Empalme is much more than a place to set your bags down. From frisbee golf tournaments, to horseshoes, to sling shots, to sipping rum in the hammock listening to the monkeys, you could not ask for anything more. The sound of the bell indicates that Karen is setting out a delicious spread in the club house for all to enjoy and believe me, you will ENJOY (she could write a cook book). If you are looking for R&R this is the place, if you are looking to explore and activity this is the place, the Empalme is what you want it to be, great rooms, great fun, great times and you will make great friends.

  • Stayed February 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 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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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 | Left Before the Road Splits to Playas Marsella and Maderas, 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): $
Number of rooms: 4
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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