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“Beautiful, Isolated, Enjoy! - Full Disclosure” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Morgan's Rock Hacienda and Ecolodge

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Morgan's Rock Hacienda and Ecolodge
3.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Playa Ocotal, 12 kilometers north of San Juan del Sur, San Juan del Sur 505, Nicaragua   |  
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Ranked #6 of 21 Hotels in San Juan del Sur
Toronto, Canada
Top Contributor
120 reviews 120 reviews
23 hotel reviews
Reviews in 42 cities Reviews in 42 cities
162 helpful votes 162 helpful votes
“Beautiful, Isolated, Enjoy! - Full Disclosure”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 13, 2013

We bought a vacation package to Morgan's Rock from a group buying website, the deal was for the Discover Package of a 6 night stay, meals included, a tour a day, 2 beers per day.

The cost of the coupon was $1,759 but somehow I was charged 2% more and it was $1,794.13 on my credit card. At the end of our stay, there was an extra 17% tax charge (2% hotel bed tax, 15% government sales tax) and if you have not rented your own car each trip from or to the airport is $50 USD, so my wife and I to and from the airport by hotel shuttle was an extra $200.

So the lodging, food and activities was costing us about $2,300 in total. This was our most expensive getaway we've ever undertaken. If you do book this lodge, * * get the meals included * *, it makes it a better deal, unless you're one of those people that can get away with eating a bit of lettuce and having a glass of water.

We arrived on Friday.2013.Jan.04 and left on Thurs.2013.Jan.10, which is within their high season. We were told that from mid-December to mid-January is the busiest. Our tour guide during our stay, Bismark, advised that during the off/rain season, it was something like $50 / night!!(probably doesn't include meals or activities).

So we were picked up by Hector from the Managua airport in a Toyota SUV and driven to the lodge and that took us about 2.5 hours. We got there sometime in mid-afternoon and Irene from the main desk showed us around and to our room.

The Lodge:

In the main building they have bench, sofa and individual chair seating. There are books and games to choose from, my wife had an opportunity to browse them and read a Lee Child book and How to be a Canadian (she thought it was hilarious). There was a desktop computer that was available, but when I tried to use it, even though the power was on, nothing showed up on the monitor (two attempts on two different days, it was probably down the entire week). So, like everyone else, bring your laptop, iPad or whatever device you need to connect, their guest computer is not reliable.

The restaurant / bar / pool area is just past the main desk and the swimming pool is an excellent size compared to all other hotels that I've ever been to, the only other hotel with a better pool that comes to mind was Hotel PUR in Quebec City. The swimming pool is saltwater, deep, lit at night and adequate enough for laps. There is also a shallow small pool behind it for children.

The only thing about the pool is that it has a slight mineral taste, but other than that, it's a wonderful outdoor pool. It's wide enough for 3 people doing laps. While we were there, I was the only person doing laps and almost all other guests that went into the pool didn't use it for more than just a few minutes at a time.

There are stairs and steps to everywhere you want to go, whether it be to the beach or to the rooms. If you are too old for steps, don't say you weren't warned.

The Room/Suite:

We were given room #5 which was directly beside a workstation/shelter that we felt was staffed constantly. So, if you're making any loud noises, you'll likely be overheard. We managed to keep quiet.

This was the first time I've ever stayed in such a "jungle" environment and the our room's three walls wood with large areas that are basically covered with netting and allow the sound of the jungle and the waves of the ocean to enter. The bungalows are truly unique and not what I'm typically used to, which is urban, air-conditioned, "closed" in a manner of speaking. This was truly a new experience!

As the way the rooms are designed, you will have interactions with the wildlife that manages to squeeze into your room. That includes mosquitoes, geekos, crickets, spiders and other various little bugs. We did not encounter any scorpions during our stay. If you are not comfortable with bugs, you should not be at this lodge, if you have a fear of bugs, you will die from sheer terror.

The room is very large, double sinks, safe, resting hammock-style bed, desk, telephone, chairs, sofa, water pitcher filled with drinking water and a large Nalgene water bottle for your use during tours. Tip: * * The water provided in-room had that mineral taste and I suggest prior to your tour, get the bottle filled at the bar, which tastes much better. * *

No fridge, hairdryer, tv, air conditioner, or heater, but there are 2 ceiling fans which were more than adequate during our stay. The evenings cool right down and on a few nights, we didn't need to use the fans at all.

Our room faced towards the ocean, but there was some obstruction to it by all the vegetation. It would have been nice to have a clear view, but then I guess it wouldn't be environmentally friendly to cut all the vegetation down.

The Beach:

Steps/stairs lead to the beach from the main building and the area where the suites are. It is wide and long and it is very isolated, we only saw guests of Morgan's Rock using it.

There are numerous shelters, each with two lounge chairs, small table, hammock and hammock chair. There is a towel stand stocked with towels and where you dump used ones as well. An outdoor walled washroom is available with toilet, sink, soap, towels and appeared very clean, as it's open to the air, there's no lingering smell. A water spray hose is just outside it and handy for getting sand off the body.

The ocean is quite shallow on the shore out to a good distance and would be safe for children, but there are some good waves about 2 feet tall that come in. The sand is a darker brown and the waves churn it up, so it's not very clear. There aren't many shell bits and there was no worry about stepping on anything harmful. We found a sand dollar and numerous hermit crabs abound.

The beach is wonderful for stargazing at night. A pathway is lit down to the beach during the evening. Use your cellphone as a flashlight and walk to a far shelter to get away from the lights, that'll make stargazing better, ambient light blinds out stars to your eyes. We would bring down our bed sheet and wrap ourselves in it while lying on a lounger together. The bed sheet was more for the mosquitoes than for warmth. We also encountered a skunk one night, and smelled its perfume on a different night.

Boogie boards are available in the "Tour's House" and were fun to use.

The Food:

There's a lot of choice and you can always ask them to bring extra things to you such as garlic bread. They have some local selections which were not bad but I would have preferred to see even more. From what we were told, 60-70% of their clients are from the USA, so perhaps that's why there isn't so much exotic food or drinks.

The food ranged from average to above average. The only things I disliked were that some soups were way too salty and the grilled lamb, even though it was still bloody, was tough as hell to chew through. My jaw muscles eventually got too sore and would stiffen up, unfortunately, I ended up leaving more than half of it.

The plan we had included 2 beers per day and you can chose Victorian and/or Tona. They both taste like light beers and I basically rotated through them. I'm not a beer connoisseur, so you can be the judge for yourself. We also received two 200mL rum bottles every night, one clear and the other dark.

Since, we're not big drinkers, we asked if we could skip the rum every night and have two cocktails for free instead. Management allowed it and we tried a variety of cocktails. We mixed our white rum with juice and polished that off one day and we ended up giving the other bottle away.

Pineapple and passionfruit juice were available throughout the day and included in our meal plan for nothing extra.
Breakfast is from 07:00 - 10:00, lunch 12:00 - 14:30 and dinner 19:00 - 22:00.

The staff are friendly and busy during meals. Don't expect everything right away and enjoy the relaxing atmosphere as you await your food.

The Tours:

We were allowed a tour a day, we did the Horseback Riding, Kayaking, Jungle Walk, La Pluma (feather), Sunset Walk, and Breakfast at the Farm. Each tour, we were accompanied by Bismark, who was knowledgeable about the history, flora and fauna of the country.

1. My wife and I liked the horseback riding the most, probably because it was our first time ever. (Limit of 6 people) You get driven out to the stable, everyone gets on a horse and the trail starts uphill and then downhill. The apex of the trip is at a scenic lookout where you can take photos overlooking the beach/hotel/ocean.

If you are an experienced rider, you can run the horse at the end of the tour when you finish off on the beach, which is around the time of sunset and makes for a picturesque photo opportunity.

If you bring a camera with a lens cap, put it in you pocket, there is a lot of bumping up and down and my wife's lens cap got lost during the ride. I ended up with a sore butt and my wife with sore knees, but we still enjoyed it a lot.

2. The kayaking tour is very relaxing and goes through the mangrove forest area where you'll get to see a lot of birds, crabs and a variety of mangrove species. You can bring your camera with you as there are no waves and there's no danger of getting it wet unless you're really clumsy. We didn't because we weren't sure and thought we'd get it wet.

The kayaks have two seats and you get to drag them from the beach to the water that leads to the mangroves. If you're feeling adventurous, you can try out the kayaks in the ocean afterwards.

3. The jungle walk started at 06:30 - 08:00h, make sure you advise the restaurant staff the day prior and they can provide you food to eat before you set off. We grabbed two small muffins each. Bring thin pants and a thin long sleeve shirts, we got bit by mosquitoes all along our calves and forearms. Lots of birds, monkeys, sloths and whatever else crosses your path. Bismark tells you about vegetation during this tour.

4. La Pluma is the most intensive hike through the jungle, you can wear your shorts and a t-shirt on this one as most of it takes place along the dirt road and Bismark brought bug spray for us to use. The road is shaded for the most part, but you'll still end up hot and sweating. The end part of the climb is the hardest where you end up at the top of a ridge with a great view and strong breeze. Numerous animals to see, but what's odd was that we seemed to see more interesting animals at the lodge. During separate meals, we saw a huge possum, a spotted baby skunk, native squirrels on the trees, and an iguana from our suite.

5. The sunset walk starts from the beach and goes out and up the protrusion at the end of the beach. The hike is not long but more upwards. Along the way, Bismark shows you the ready-to-eat tamarind fruit on the jungle floor, which tastes more tart than sweet. Picturesque photos at the top.

6. Breakfast at the Farm involves a short drive to the farm. On the way, we were taken to their shrimp farm, but it was dry at the time as the shrimp had already been harvested. Upon arriving at the farm, we were all given the opportunity to milk a cow. The farmhand would later milk the cow for us to drink later. You get take to the hen house to view the chickens (adult and baby) and pick your eggs for breakfast, they are actually still warm when taken.

They have ducks to see as well and then it's time for breakfast, which consists of handmade pita style bread which you get a chance to make yourself as well, eggs, milk, coffee, gallopinto (rice and beans).

The Feel:

At night, you get to hear the waves and if you're a light sleeper, make sure you bring quality earplugs. The first night, I couldn't sleep for awhile but eventually feel asleep from being too sleepy.

This place is very peaceful and you will have a lot of time for whatever you feel like doing, I finished off three books while lounging around on the beach and in our room. As there's only 15 suites, there's no big partying or bar scene. No screaming children or babies during our stay. WiFi is only available in the main building, restaurant, by the pool.

This place is perfect to get away from work and decompress. If your type holiday is being very active or being in a city for its sights, then this place is NOT for you.

It rained briefly on two different days, but it didn't last for very long, maybe 20 minutes or less. The weather was hot but not that humid. Their hottest temperatures occur around April and May, so they say.

My wife and I really enjoyed our stay here and highly recommend it!

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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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291 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (73)
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English first
Canada
Top Contributor
152 reviews 152 reviews
93 hotel reviews
Reviews in 89 cities Reviews in 89 cities
211 helpful votes 211 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 7, 2013

I'd been dreaming about visiting Morgan's Rock for three years, ever since I read an article about it. We finally had our chance to visit over New Year's, and it was exactly what I hoped for.
The beach is gorgeous and practically isolated. We walked all the way to the left on the beach at low tide and found a hidden cave behind the rocks. We walked all the way to the right and took a path that led us to the top of the largest rock. Do NOT miss this walk - the scenery and view of the resort are breathtaking!
Sunsets over the beach are amazing - some of the best we've ever seen.
We usually chose the beach over the pool, but spent the last morning at the lovely pool. Very convenient and relaxing with lots of chairs.
Other than hiking, we also kayaked in the mangroves to see wildlife in the late afternoon with Rudolfo, a very knowledgeable guide. We also participated in the Breakfast on the Farm activity, where we milked cows, gathered eggs and ate a Nicaraguan breakfast in a tiny farmhouse. We loved this activity!
We stayed in rooms 1 and 2, which are actually considered less desirable because they don't have a beach view. I didn't mind because they were close to the restaurant and pool area, and we didn't have to use the suspension bridge every time we walked to and from our room.
The food was good, and the Nicaraguan specialties at breakfast and lunch were a real standout. Nicaraguan Tipico and the Nica Way were amazing, and I had them nearly every day. Dinner entries were nice, although I would have liked to have seen more Nicaraguan choices there too. (My picky eater, a teenager, ordered off the children's menu where she found lots to choose from. And she loved the smoothie of the day.)
I can't finish this review without talking about New Year's Eve. I'm not a fan of New Year's parties, but this one was great. The staff hosted a party on the beach, and at midnight they celebrated a Nicaraguan custom by burning an effigy that represented the old year. They also set off fireworks. They handed out party masks, and it was just a fun and sweet celebration all the way around.
Morgan's Rock is a wonderful resort, although keep in mind that life in a Central American country has its hiccups. From time to time the electricity would shut off for no more than five seconds, and the WiFi (which they're in the process of updating) was a bit hit and miss. But if you don't mind the occasional "inconvenience", don't hesitate to book Morgan's Rock. It is truly one of the most spectacular places we have stayed!

Room Tip: We stayed in rooms one and two. Although they lack the beach view, you don't need to use the su...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 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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2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 7, 2013 via mobile

A long drive to the unexpected and beauriful place. Casual and underatated only 15 well kept bungalow tree houses. Food very good and well balanced. Many activities or just enjoy your own private beach under you palappa while relaxing in your hammok.Lots of stairs from beach and dining area. Bring ear plugs to sleep rhe sound of the ovean can be loud.This is not a negative. Overall great Ecolodge. A very special place to get away. Highly recomended.

  • Stayed January 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 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.
Atlanta, Georgia
Senior Contributor
42 reviews 42 reviews
21 hotel reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
48 helpful votes 48 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 5, 2013

This place is as good as all the reviews report! We arrived for 3 days after a week long mission trip.and It was amazing. We were able to relax and enjoy the property.The views are spectacular and you have the beach to yourself. There are plenty of activities for all ages and interests.The food is good and there are many choices available for all meals.

We enjoyed massages and the Farm Breakfast activity.Our son used the boogie boards for hours - great waves in the afternoon.The beach is unbelievable - clean and lots of room to take walks.

Bring your bug spray - lots of no see ums that will feast on your skin.

We definitely plan to return.

Room Tip: Avoid Rooms 1 and 2 they do not have ocean views and are noisy - close to kitchen and parking lot. N...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
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Glen Ellyn, Illinois
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 4, 2013

This place is even more beautiful than the website conveys. The natural setting is stunning. You may have the beach almost to yourself.

Delicious fresh food, but leave time for a very slow paced and leisurely meal.

The tree houses have a stunning view of the beach, but that's because they are high up so be prepared for a lot of stairs and stronger legs when you get home.

This is not for the pampered or demanding 5 star traveller.

You need an appreciation of the eco lodge concept and a sense of adventure.

But it is so worth it. I would go back in a second.

Room Tip: I think they are all lovely, but you can request a room that requires less walking and fewer stairs.
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 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
    • 4 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.
Seattle, Washington, United States
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 31, 2012

We arrived at Morgan's Rock after staying at a $20/night hostel on the beach about 3 hours north and so it felt super luxurious to land here for Christmas. Our room was a little casita - all open air with screens and tremendous private view of the ocean. Running hot water was exciting for us and the swinging bed on the patio was fantastic! The private beach was great if you really want to get away. Food good, coffee good. Activities: We hiked to the highest point of the property (its almost 1400 hectars) and saw monkeys, reforestation projects underway and fruit tree groves, went line finishing caught 2 mackerels and a jack fish - ate them for lunch, kayaking in the mangrove lagoon was cool too lots of incredible bird life. All in all it was great and secluded and very nice staff.

Room Tip: The rooms 1-9 are not as strenuous a hike. The rooms 9-15 are quite a hike up a significant hill.
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 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.
New York, United States
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 29, 2012

Imagine a fully booked resort so private that a place on the beach, at the pool, or in the restaurant never feels crowded. That was our Christmas week experience at Morgan's Rock. A physically beautiful resort created within a rain forest filled with howler monkeys, birds and wildlife, built with complete respect of the land. The sleeping cabin was completely open on one side with a day bed and chairs overlooking the ocean; the sleeping side was screened in perfectly. No A/C, and none needed. No significant pest issues either. There are steps to get to the cabin, and throughout the property; some are higher than others. That said, it was never an issue for my 55 year old body. The restaurant food was excellent and healthy as well. More fresh than fried. Wait staff was attentive without being intrusive. And never crowded despite a full house. No bar scene at all. Beautiful pool area with vanishing edge overlooking ocean, ample seating under cover or in sun. Never crowded, never loud. The beach was pristine. My favorite part of the beach were the separate cabanas; large, covered open air shelters complete with hammock, lounges, rope chair. Heavenly. We did two excursions, a private hike to the highest point at Morgan's Rock, and the breakfast at the farm, which I highly recommend. Both with the same excellent guide. Management and support staff were always available and accessible, again attentive without being intrusive. While not inexpensive, we feel the value received was well worth it. My conclusion: We've done many beach resorts, and Morgan's Rock is the best we've experienced. Highly recommended.

Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
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 Morgan's Rock Hacienda and Ecolodge

Address: Playa Ocotal, 12 kilometers north of San Juan del Sur, San Juan del Sur 505, Nicaragua
Phone Number:
Location: Nicaragua > Rivas Department > San Juan del Sur
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#3 Family Hotel in San Juan del Sur
#3 Romantic Hotel in San Juan del Sur
#4 On the Beach Hotel in San Juan del Sur
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:3 star — Morgan's Rock Hacienda and Ecolodge 3*
Number of rooms: 15
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Our exotic rain forest surroundings, private sandy beach and bay, secluded location and large open spaces makes Morgan's Rock an exceptional place that brings our guests peace, harmony and relaxation of the body and mind. Those wishing to relax in one of our bungalows can also discover nature, wildlife and aquatic activities through the option of a variety of tours. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Hacienda And Ecolodge Morgan`s Rock
Hacienda & Ecolodge Morgan`s Rock Hotel San Juan Del Sur
Morgan's Rock Hacienda And Ecolodge Nicaragua/San Juan Del Sur

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