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“Lug's. Not perfect but nearly so! Enjoyed our stay VERY much!” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Lug's Place

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Lug's Place
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Playa El Coco, San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua   |  
Hotel amenities
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Top Contributor
96 reviews 96 reviews
44 hotel reviews
Reviews in 39 cities Reviews in 39 cities
79 helpful votes 79 helpful votes
“Lug's. Not perfect but nearly so! Enjoyed our stay VERY much!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 22, 2012

Lug's is a very special place indeed--not for everyone mind you--but some people are just going to love sleeping a stones throw from a beach they can practically call their own.

Playa el Coco is the getaway for the elites from Managua whose families have luxe houses and some of those houses are available to rent for prices that humble backpackers could never spring for. There are 2 other pricey options, but Lugs is the only place that's affordable.

The Rooms.
Did we have a crab greet us on the floor of our room the night we arrived? yep! but that's the price of sleeping just a few feet from the pounding surf. Though there are a couple cobwebs here and there, the mattresses are clean, springy, and the sheets are clean too. The rooms are sparse, but who cares? You'll only be sleeping there, and the rest of the time you'll have the most gorgeous beach at your feet.

The Food.
Kinda pricey for Nica. But then, they have to go 17 km to San Juan del Sur to get everything. But there are ways to save. For lunch we ordered a pizza and they boxed half of it up so we could save it for dinner. Another night we ordered from the limited but expensive dinner menu and we're pleased when our 300 cord garlic/pinapple/chicken pasta dish came out HUGE enough to share and absolutely lip smackingly good.

The Drinks.
Tona is 35 here and 25 nearly everywhere else. No biggie. The Piña Coladas are amazing with actual pineapple and coconut milk mixed with 2 shots of rum. Majorly yum. My favorite was my husband's Michalada. Spicy and refreshing!

The Surf.
Great for surfing! And you can swim a bit too, but be careful of the sting rays at low tide.

The Restaurant and Beach Bar: There is a restaurant upstairs with a TV, internet (which we could just about get in our rooms) and a good looking bar. The beach bar is what I liked most though. Some sofas and tables with the beach RIGHT THERE and the perfect place to sip coffee in the morning.

The Service. Robert and Justin, from Canada, own and run the place. Justin is just too nice and is constantly tidying up, or working on some aspect of this still evolving establishment. He might be the one to take your order and you can ask him for anything-like towels (for a deposit) or a shovel to help you build a sandcastle. Robert cooks dinners so good you'll cry and over sees operations. The two of them have plans to open a dormitory soon and also to start eco-cabins on the other part of their property. The rest of the staff is friendly, but seems to be on a rotational basis.

Cleanliness: All the public areas are clean and swept daily. The bathrooms are fine: not super amazingly clean feeling, but totally fine none-the-less. I wore flip-flops. I will say the water was a little off-and-on while we were there. Nearly every day for an hour or two the water pressure would suddenly evaporate for reasons I can't understand. The rooms, other than being a little rough around the edges, are clean enough, and secure for that matter.

They have a security guy that walks around at night also.

There isn't a lot to do other than hang out at the beach. But if that's your thing, you'll love Lug's.

oh, HINT! to get a free ride out there, go to the Black Whale in San Juan del Sur. A free shuttle leaves for Lug's each morning at 9:30

I wish Justin and Robert good luck in the future. The place still has a little ways to go to running perfectly smoothly, but as long as your easy going you'll find the going easy!

Room Tip: Getting a private room for 5$ more than the dormitory would probably be worth it, as the dorms only...
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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6 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    2.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (2)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Managua, Nicaragua
14 reviews 14 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 26, 2012

Sounds like the other reviewer had a rough go of it, but I can't imagine that's the norm for Lug's Place. Justin is a super nice kid who, along with his uncle, has really made something for himself with Lug's. It's a beautiful spot on a beautiful beach.

I can't speak to the lodging options (I've always stayed at the slightly more upscale La Veranera, because I'm in love with that place), but the food is EXCELLENT. I stayed at Coco recently with my family and girlfriend, and we ate at Lug's for 3 out of 6 meals. We had incredible lobster, delicious fish, great burgers, amazing steak, and the best mashed potatoes this side of mom's kitchen. We are foodies from San Francisco, and I have to say that Lug's is in the running for the best food in Nicaragua (Los Ranchos in Managua might have them beat, but not by much). Congrats Justin (and uncle--not sure what his name is): you've done well with Lug's.

PS, Justin told us he'd given up the Flor de Caña, maybe in response to the other reviewer's bad experience...

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed January 28, 2012

Lug's Place is one of only three hotels on an incredibly beautiful stretch of Pacific coast. The bay is wonderful, the sea is good for swimming and there are lots of gorgeous, deserted coves to explore by foot. Perfect, right? Well, it could have been.

To cut an extremely long story short, we went to Lug's Place for five nights around New Year's Eve. The website made it look amazing and so we booked it six weeks in advance with a 50% up-front deposit, knowing how hard it can be to find accommodation at that time of year.
Our reasons for booking are outlined below!

a) the website claimed they had the best food in Nicaragua. We love food, so we were sold.

b) it was only $25 a night, compared to the other hotels on this beach, which vary from $70-$150. Even $25 is pretty high for a hostel in Nicaragua (we've lived here a year and are used to paying less than $15 for a private room), but we decided it was worth it given the location.

c)the owner tempted us further with stories of a New Year's Eve party including lobster dinner, fireworks and a DJ on the beach.

The reality was very, very, very different.

Basically, the owner had gone home five weeks earlier for a family issue, and had closed the bar and restaurant without telling any guests who were due to arrive. We couldn't even buy water. And, the beach was so exclusive and remote that the ONLY other place to eat or drink was the $150/night hotel.

Luckily we found a tiny shop about half a kilometre along the road where we could buy basic supplies like crackers and chips and tomatoes. A teenager working at the hostel eventually agreed to cook for us at nights. It was basic, but better than spending a fortune at the posh place.

The shared bathrooms were filthy, despite being promoted as super-clean on the website.

And, no, there was no New Year's Party. The owner came back to the hostel that night, by which time we'd already given up hope and bought food from the tiny shop. The owner was clearly drunk and quite unbelievably, hadn't bothered to bring food despite the fact he allegedly knew there were about ten guests waiting. To be fair (it's VERY hard to be) he did end up using our food to cook something for us, but we had to make our own party.

We did have a great time at the beach in the end, just spending as little time as possible in or around the hostel. AND, in the end, the owner held his hands up and didn't make us pay anything for our entire stay and even gave us an additional $12 - once we explained how much frustration and disappointment he had caused us on what should have been a relaxing, food-and-wine-filled festive holiday.

Maybe we just caught him at a very bad time but whatever the reason for the shambles, I would never recommend this place to anybody after the experience we had.

  • Stayed January 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 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.
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Additional Information about Lug's Place

Address: Playa El Coco, San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua
Location: Nicaragua > Rivas Department > San Juan del Sur
Hotel Style:
Ranked #32 of 47 B&Bs / Inns in San Juan del Sur
Number of rooms: 10
Also Known As:
Lug's Place Nicaragua/San Juan Del Sur

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