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“Peaceful and near beautiful beaches + free shuttle from SJDS” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Casa Maderas Ecolodge

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Casa Maderas Ecolodge
Playa Maderas road | 200 Meter From the Junction, San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua   |  
Hotel amenities
San Jose, Costa Rica
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Peaceful and near beautiful beaches + free shuttle from SJDS”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 4, 2014

Just got back from a lovely relaxing break!
What we liked:
The free check in and check out shuttle from San Juan Del Sur was ideal, and also the free shuttle to and from the nearest beach. It was a very tranquil hotel, with instructions from hotel that 10:30pm onwards is quiet time. Very relaxing, nice setting, in a rustic, ranch land.
Staff were very friendly, especially the Nicaraguan restaurant staff.
Wifi everywhere.
Yoga area, which we used the space to meditate. If you want a yoga class you have to book.
The Food:
The restaurant food was ok, nice selection especially for vegetarians, but some basic cooking skills seem to be lacking, i.e. we had totally uncocked vegetable kebabs, even after sending back they returned with inedible eggplant. Recommend the red lentil salad and Vietnamese spring rolls. 1st day breakfast was limited as we are vegetarians, the eggs were good but fruit salad was just a few small pieces of fruit, and the coffee was absolutely un drinkable!!! and sugary cheap juice not tasty. However the next two days we were blown away with delicious passion fruit juice and plentiful granola and pancake options! (I guess they went shopping!!)

The rooms:
Nice exterior, pretty basic but clean. Some of the furnishings were very cheap and tacky, i.e. ugly curtains with plastic hooks and the mosquito net was in a bad position so only covered one of us in bed properly. Cold showers (no hot water!) Wasn't too cold though.

The location:
Nearby beaches is the main reason to use this hotel! Playa Maderas which the free shuttle takes you to or a 10min walk-(very steep) is for the surfers (not our seen). The nearby deserted, swimming beaches- Playa Marsella is a 12mins FLAT walk from hotel (turn right and take the first right again down a little dirt track) Playa Majagual also beautiful and totally deserted beach walking distance 12mins from Playa Maderas.
If you want a nice lunch with incredible views- Pacific Bay Hotel 7mins walk from hotel towards Playa Masella has incredible views and lovely food-try the goats cheese salad!

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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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77 people have reviewed this hotel

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (9)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
15 reviews 15 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 20, 2014

We stayed at this very nice hotel 3 nights and it wasn't enough... The free shuttle service ( twice a day) was enough to get to San Juan del Sur when we wanted to, but it was it's proximity to Maderas beach (10 min. walk) that was a big plus for us. The rooms where big, clean and quiet and the pool area was nice. The only negative point of our stay was that the specials menus and happy hours deals advertised in our room were not honored in the restaurant.. Other than that, I would recommend this hotel to anyone who wants a nice stay near San Juan del Sur!!!!

Stayed January 2014, traveled with friends
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A TripAdvisor Member
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 26, 2013

This the place to stay. It's close to the one of the best surf spot in Nicaragua. The owners are very helpful and they do everything to enjoy your trip. For the price of an hostel, you've got a brand new resort. The food and the service are worth the price. At the end, we are just feeling that we are in heaven.

It's very easy to book tours: horse riding, surf trip, zip lines, fishing, name it!

In conclusion, if you have to go San Juan Del Sur, go to Casa Manderas. It' the palce to stay!

Stayed December 2013, traveled with friends
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Saint Louis, Missouri
5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 22, 2013

I wanted to give Casa Maderas a higher rating, but I found myself pretty frustrated with management by the end of my stay.

The pros: It is a beautiful, nicely maintained lodge located outside the party scene in San Juan del Sur but close to the surf beach Playa Maderas and a nice walk from Playa Marsellas (no surfing but muy bonito y tranquilo). The tranquility, yoga platform, pool, and distance from the beach are what kept me there for almost 2 weeks.

The cons: It is not quite the magical paradise that is advertised, and little fees here and there add up to cost a lot.

There are limited food options in the area, and the on-site restaurant is pricey. Lonely Planet advertises use of their large, nice kitchen, but they have changed their policy to make it strictly employees only.

The activity book located in the dorm and at the front desk advertised that a spanish teacher would come to Casa Maderas to teach 1-on-1 classes, but when I asked at reception, no one knew anything about it. The French manager was argumentative with me and acted like I was a stupid entitled traveler for asking a them to arrange something like that (a service they advertise!).

When I arrived, I took a yoga class. It was $8/class and not exactly the style I was looking for, so I asked to borrow a mat. The kind yoga teacher and local staff were happy to honor my request, but the French manager did not quite approve and tried to argue me into taking classes. Eventually, they started charging $4 just to borrow a mat.

The signs in the dorms and activity book said laundry was self-serve for $1. When I inquired at reception, again, the French manager acted like I was stupid, entitled and arguing for a discount (which I wasn't, I just went up to the desk with $1 as I thought it was the fee), informing me their long standing policy was to charge $5 for laundry.

These things might seem small, and they were small enough for me to tolerate and stay for a while, but they added up to be frustrating. The local staff, especially Carmen at reception and Orlando in the restaurant, were really incredible, however the management made my stay less enjoyable.

I would still recommend it if you are looking for a tranquil and beautiful spot away from the party scene in San Juan and close to the beach.

  • Stayed November 2013, traveled solo
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CasaMaderasEcolodge, Manager at Casa Maderas Ecolodge, responded to this review, December 29, 2013
We are pleased to know that you have enjoyed Casa Maderas for 2 weeks. The average stay is about 4 days so you must of liked it very much, thank you for choosing us. Lonely Planet 2013 travel guide's content is based on information collected up to 2 years before they proceed with their printed version, and back then we did not have our restaurant on site so we offered the common use kitchen to our guests. Our prices back then were special promotion opening prices which are now different and the increase is based on the quality of the services offered at the resort. Lonely Planet did not contact us to review the information before printing their travel guide, we did not even know we were in Lonely Planet until recently.
It is recommended to always check the website for updated information or send an email before your arrival date.
Casa maderas is a small resort, affordable for middle range budgets but can be considered expensive for small budget travelers. Our dorm bed prices of $16 per night include taxes, a nice breakfast a la carte, good quality wifi, 24 hres security, a beautiful large pool, free access to a beautiful a yoga platform, and many free shuttles to town and to the beach. Our restaurant on site offers quality healthy meals with prices ranging from $5 to $13, which may seem expensive for small budget travelers. There are 3 local food restaurants / snack bars at Maderas Beach and 3 at Marsella Beach, both beaches are within 8 min walk from Casa Maderas. There are also many other small hostels offering cheaper accommodations at Maderas Beach.
As for Spanish classes, our receptionist has mentioned that the teacher we are working with was out of town, so we are sorry for the misunderstanding, many times caused by the difficulty for the local staff to express themselves in English.

Good luck in your journey and thank you again for staying with us.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 16, 2013

A beautiful place to slide away too for a few days of peace and tranquility, 10mins from the beach, a great surf beach playa maderas. They have yoga in house, horse riding to the door, surf lessons and other activities that you can organize at reception. The hotel its self is amazing a collection of cabins set on the side of a hill with a great pool at the center, important for those windy days when you don't want to be covered in sand, it even papayas growing in the gardens!!!! They also have great shuttle service that runs you to and from the beach and the town!

15$ a night for a great spacious dorm with a great breakfast i thought was fine and for the feeling of escapism worth every penny. They also have a great restaurant situated open air above the reception, it has an amazingly varied choice and as a preferential vegetarian i was really please with the selection of dishes available.

Before going I had read a few reviews talking about the lack of eco for an eco-lodge but on digging a little deeper and talking with the owner, Lilly, a fantastically Charming Canadian lady, Casa Maderas in my opinion has a lot to offer in a country where eco dose not exist, they have a water filtration system that recycles the water for use in the garden, the walls have been insulated using plastic bottles and large amounts of wood that was used in the construction was reclaimed timber, also all the food waste from the restaurant is given to locals for animal feed and the other stuff is separated and taken to a recycling place. Also no A/C for this level of place in nicaragua and no Tv's in the rooms is exceptionally environmental, not to mention peaceful.

All in All a Perfect get away after a few days in San Juan Del Sur.

  • Stayed April 2013, 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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south wales
Senior Contributor
47 reviews 47 reviews
33 hotel reviews
Reviews in 36 cities Reviews in 36 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 11, 2013

We stayed two nights at the Eco lodge and found it a very pleasant place to relax. It's big advantage is the cost as the majority of places in Maderas are very pricey and beyond the means of many travellers. There is a daily shuttle to the beach which is a bonus though it is only a ten minute walk down a quiet road otherwise. The room we stayed in was very spacious and clean with a lovely terrace overlooking the pool. The staff were friendly. Our only criticism was the standard of the evening meals which really did leave a lot to be desired. The breakfasts were ok - standard travellers' fare! All in all, this place is certainly worth staying at.

Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
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Top Contributor
64 reviews 64 reviews
27 hotel reviews
Reviews in 32 cities Reviews in 32 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 28, 2013

We decided to stay here after seeing the adverts at Casa Oro. The booking process was a bit strange... Basically four of our friends went ahead of us. A couple of hours later we asked the lady at the reception of Casa Oro to call Casa Maderas to see if there was room for us two and she was told that the hostel had a group of 70 checking in later that day, so we would have to call back in 20 minutes to see if there was room. We were a bit alarmed by that, and then we thought our friends might have booked us spaces anyway, so we mentioned that and the people at Casa Maderas confirmed that they did actually have room for us.
Well, we got there and our group of 6 were the only people staying there in addition to two other couples, and no one else checked in that day. So that was all a bit weird.
Other than that, this is a nice place to stay for a night. The dorms and pool area were nice but it was expensive at $15 a night, and certainly felt like a 'treat', being the most expensive dorms we've stayed in, in Central America. And then they told us that we should have paid $10 EACH for towels when we checked out! It's also not an 8 minute walk from Playa Maderas, which is what they advertise. It feels like it's in the middle of nowhere.
Food and drinks in the restaurant are expensive and while some in our group enjoyed it, the meal I had made me ill. They have a large kitchen but it is very clearly marked as being for staff use only.
Finally, I have to reiterate other reviews. I read the 'eco manifesto' of this 'eco lodge' and found it pretty dubious, and my experience there does nothing to convince me of any eco credentials ("our rooms don't have AC." Please!). But if you fancy something a little more luxurious than the average hostel, and a day away from the party scene in San Juan, it's a nice place to go.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Casa Maderas Ecolodge

Address: Playa Maderas road | 200 Meter From the Junction, San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua
Location: Nicaragua > Rivas Department > San Juan del Sur
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #20 of 53 Specialty lodging in San Juan del Sur
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Welcome to CASA MADERAS, an affordable Eco-Lodge located only 9kms from San Juan del Sur and an 8 min. Walk from a world-renowned surf break, Maderas Beach. Our resort is designed for travelers who want to experience nature, and awaken to the natural songs of the bristling winds, singing birds, and howling monkeys, without sacrificing comfort. Come relax in our little piece of heaven, away from the commotion of downtown SJDS, which is easily accessible by our daily shuttles. Our Eco Lodge consists of 24 rooms divided into cabins. Each cabin has a terrace with a hammock, a bench, and a table. Each room is fitted with comfortable beds, with new mattresses and mosquito nets, as well as a locker (please bring your own lock). You will also find a restaurant on site, a large swimming pool and a splendid Rancho (traditional wooden building with a palm leaf roof) on the hills of the property, providing a breathtaking view of the surrounding countryside and an ideal place to relax alone or during a yoga class. Enjoy a delicious breakfast on our restaurant's terrace overlooking our large swimming pool. Ask about our various daily activities, including surf lessons, yoga, zip-lining, sailing, fishing, horseback riding, and Spanish classes. We also encourage you to visit our Eco-Pavilion to be aware of all our nature-friendly initiatives. You will have the opportunity to get involved in our project and let your own ecological footprint taking part in one of our sea turtle expeditions for example. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Casa Maderas Ecolodge Nicaragua/San Juan Del Sur

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