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“Gem in Nicaragua” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Pelican Eyes Resort and Spa

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Pelican Eyes Resort and Spa
4.0 of 5 Resort   |   De la Parroquia 1 1/2 cuadras al este, San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua   |  
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Ranked #11 of 21 Hotels in San Juan del Sur
Toronto, Canada
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Gem in Nicaragua”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 4, 2012

This was a short 4 days getaway for my boyfriend and I. We were blown away by the beauty of the resort, the individual casas and habitacions spotted all over the property. It was a pleasure to walk amidst all the lovely greens and flowers and so much space.
We love our spacious beautiful room with an ocean view and the food was scrumptious and great service all rounder by the staff.
Gabriel, the manager has exceptional people skills and recommended many great things for us to do at san Juan Del Sur but we hardly stepped out as the resort was both relaxing and luxurious. His team of staff were all really friendly and helpful.
There are loads of privacy and 3 different pools for the sun lovers.
Our best day was spent sailing with the resort. We chartered the sailboat out and had the best time swimming at the Pacific Ocean and the skipper is very experienced and took us to his favorite island and we sailed through the sunset and spotted dolphins.
It will be hard to top our time at Pelican Eyes. I highly recommend this for couples wishing to find romance and luxury.
We were very well taken care of! Definitely will return.

Room Tip: ask for ocean views
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  • Stayed March 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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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474 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (106)
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English first
London, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
51 reviews 51 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 1, 2012

We stayed here for 3 nights during which time there were some very good points but also some pretty bad.

Starting with the good. Firstly, the rooms are large and cosy and the staff are generally very friendly and do want to make your stay a happy one.

However, we were originally placed in phase two which was so far away from everything with so many steps to get anywhere that it quickly took the relaxation out of the meaning of our stay. To walk from the reception to our room involved (we counted to pass the time) 320 vertical steps and a 10 minute walk along a rocky road. The main pool and the only evening restaurant is also down by reception making it a hot 45 minute round trip/hike. You can ask for a car to take you back and forth but really it would be more preferable to be able to get around on your own terms.

We wanted to see the spa, that was another 400 step round trip in another direction. When we eventually got there, they looked surprised to see someone walk in, and were rude and un-interested. The two ladies whispered to each other and made private jokes while we looked around, leaving us very uncomfortable with no choice but to say goodbye and not return which was disappointing as one of the things we were really looking forward to was some relaxing spa time.

Good point again. The food was always of excellent quality and on the first night we had a great dinner. Unfortunately, on the second night we had to wait 70 minutes for our starter to arrive and then they bought the main courses at the same time on the same tray. When you're paying $14 for a starter and $30 for a steak, you don't want to eat them both at once! It turned out the steak was already cold so it didn't make much difference. Frustrated we were offered a complimentary dessert for the following day as compensation but we didn't return. Eventually they agreed to forego our drinks by way of apology.

After much frustration regarding the distance of our room we decided enough was enough and asked to be moved which was eventually agreed and this did improve the rest of our stay which we appreciated, but it was all just a little too hard work. In a place that promises rest and relaxation we found ourselves increasingly stressed and frustrated.

In all this is a beautiful place with a lot going for it but it needs work when it comes to organisation and staffing because for the price you are paying things really should be more efficient and functional.

Room Tip: Don't stay in phase 2 and request to be near the reception.
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  • Stayed February 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ottawa, Canada
Top Contributor
70 reviews 70 reviews
23 hotel reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
51 helpful votes 51 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 27, 2012

We were very lucky to stay at Pelican Eyes for the views of the sunsets alone. We stayed in phase 2 - it is a very steep incline, but they offer a shuttle van or pick-up truck to take you in and out from 7am to 10pm. This as great, but 10pm made us feel like we had a bit of a curfew (and there was no way we'd be able to hike to the top after a few rum!).
Our first 2 days we stayed at Casa Sueno Del Mar.. beautiful, but covered in red ants. You could smell the raid when you went in the room. We figured it was just hazard of being in the mountains, but after losing some sleep, and finding where they had eaten through and made a nest in one of the window seals.. we mentioned it to the reception desk - who were wonderful! They moved us to Casa Trinitaria which was literally a beautiful loft home with all the amenities (for the same price)! We made breakfast every morning after in the full service kitchen, but I'm very disappointed to read one of the reviews below say that breakfast was included! We were not told this either. I think one of the larger casas would be fabulous if going with a big group or a family. The second pool in phase 2 with the other restaurant was wonderful as well. All in all a great stay.

Room Tip: If you do not want to rely on shuttles, or have some mobility issues - stay in phase 1. If you are a...
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  • Stayed February 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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PelicanEyes, Guest Relations Manager at Pelican Eyes Resort and Spa, responded to this review, February 28, 2012
Dear Guest,
Thank you for your thoughtful review of the hotel. We are pleased to hear that our reception staff was able to assist you with your concerns and we are thrilled to hear that you enjoyed the views! You pointed out some very important issues which we continue to address. Unfortunately, ants are a part of the climate here, but we are continually looking for new ways to address the problem. We will also look into the possibility of expanding our shuttle hours, based on occupancy in certain areas of the hotel. Breakfast has not been included in the rate since the new year, so it's possible that other reviews were referring to visits in previous years.
Thanks again for your helpful feedback. We hope to welcome you back to Pelican Eyes again!
All the best,
Pelican Eyes Management
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 22, 2012

We had the fortunate opportunity to stay at Pelican Eyes in the Casa Pacifica for 2 nights. After hiking in Ometepe, we were very much looking forward to staying at a resort to relax. First, we were blown away by the remarkable view through the open bar area with infinity pool, which is adjacent to the front desk.

After checking in, we headed towards our Casa. It is hard to put in words how magnificent our casa was when taking into account the luxury accommodations and amazing view. The Casa Pacifica is a two story, two bedroom, two bath house with a kitchen, dining room and living room. The bed and sheets were very nice and comfortable. The fans and AC units in all the rooms helped keep the entire casa at a reasonable temperature during the warm days. Even the small things, like a water cooler in the kitchen supported our amazing experience.

The casa overlooked most of the city and had a clear view of the ocean. The patio area out front had two tables with ceiling fans and lights. We definitely hung out there late at night, which was very peaceful and quiet.

Having had seafood and steaks in "dives" throughout Nicaragua, I had a good idea of local cuisine. The restaurant at Pelican Eyes was an amazing combination of Nicaraguan flavors and modern technique. There were several amazing seating options which shared similar views of the city and ocean, and were somewhat secluded lending to a very intimate dinner. We split the ceviche, which was very refreshing. My wife ordered the surf and turf while i had the beef tenderloin for dinner - both were spot on, cooked to our order and notably in large portions.

The infinity pool at happy hour was where it was at! I was surprised to see large group of young people hanging out and drinking like at a Vegas club. The cocktails they were mixing up were really BIG and delicious.

My wife went to the Spa for an hour long massage. She said it was very relaxing and enjoyable. Relative to resort spa pricing in the US, this was very reasonable.

Again, we had an overall awesome experience. I can definitely see myself coming here again with my wife for an intimate getaway resort, or even bringing a bachelor party here renting a casa to have a nice luxury spot to crash as we explore the cities and nearby beaches.

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
New York
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 20, 2012

I would evaluate this hotel as not a super deluxe resort, BUT it does have a lot going for it.
The rooms are very creatively put together with high bamboo ceilings and kind of an undulating bumpy but smooth painted cement wall surface. Seating emerges from the undulating walls. The beds are built with this same construction so you are sleeping upon a cement platform with a very comfortable queen size bed mattress. There were 2 queen size beds in our room. The rooms are air conditioned and all seem to have beautiful views of San Juan Del Sur harbor. The hotel is built on a hillside so yes there are lots of steps. There were some small ants cruising around the floor in our room but after all you are in the tropics. I have seen the same thing in Miami so not a big deal. If I had it to do over again I would book the "Jasmine" room. Closest to the pool, restaurant and fewest stairs. Their infinity pool overlooking the harbor is beautiful and well tended to. The staff at the hotel were extremely friendly and gracious. All in all, the people of Nicaragua are warm, friendly & very helpful should you need directions along the road. (We drove here from Costa Rica) This hotel is a short drive from the CR border about 35 minutes or so.
San Juan Del Sur town is very charming with one waterfront Tiki Hut restaurant/bar after the other, right along the waterfront. My wife and I felt very safe walking the streets even at night. There are very few cars in the town so that makes strolling the streets fun and safe. Don't miss the brick oven pizza (Forgot the name but right in the main restaurant row along the beach). Also, Henry's Iguana is a fun bar with decent inexpensive food.
We drove to the colonial city of Granada from here (About an hour & a half drive) and it was well worth the trip. Have lunch at "Lily's" it is awesome.
The Nicaragua countryside is lovely and peaceful. Traveling north, you are driving along side Lake Nicaragua with the twin Volcanoes as a backdrop. There are more horse and buggies than cars.

Ironically, you see many wind turbines along the way that make you wonder why we can't get this going in the U.S.?

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Washington DC
14 reviews 14 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
31 helpful votes 31 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 9, 2012

My partner and I stayed here for 3 days in January. Everything about the facility (the rooms, the pools, the view) is beautiful and lends itself to relaxation. We were very pleased to have chosen Pelican Eyes for our stay because, quite frankly, there really isn't that much to see and do in San Juan del Sur. On the plus side, the staff upgraded us when we arrived from a room to a casita, which was higher up and afforded gorgeous views of the water. The casitas are impeccably furnished and had everything we needed (coffee maker, fridge, bottled water, etc.). We loved hanging out on our porch, watching the sunset and drinking wine.

On the downside, there are some problems regarding communication with the staff. We speak some Spanish, so I don't think it was a language issue. Perhaps they're understaffed (it's a huge property and it was a busy week). But we were a little frustrated with the front desk staff at times. As an example, we asked the front desk to make a reservation for dinner the next night at El Colibri. When we checked the next day, however, the reservation had not been made (fortunately the restaurant still had open tables). Another example: the staff never told us that breakfast at the bistro was included in our room rate (we discovered this on our own a day before checkout). We also tried to book a sailboat cruise one day, but the front desk said there were not enough people. Instead we rented a lancha down by the water for two hours, which was very nice. But imagine our surprise when, on returning from our tour, we saw the Pelican Eyes sailboat going out of the bay! It was a little frustrating

Previous reviews have mentioned the number of steps at Pelican Eyes. It's true, there are a lot of steps to climb. We're in our 40s and pretty healthy, so we didn't have a problem. But If mobility is an issue for you, definitely stick to rooms in Phase I close to the reception area.

Room Tip: Casa El Faro was lovely and had a great view.
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  • Stayed January 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 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
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Flanders, New Jersey
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 7, 2012

We stayed at Pelican Eyes for 5 nights during the last week of January, first of February, 2012. We were mortified that we had to go through the main dining room, the bar and the pool area to get to our "cabina", but after the first day as the hotel was not busy, it began to feel like our own villa. We loved the private patio on our cabin that overlooked the bay, the breezes and birds. The cabin appeared to be adobe and quite comfortable except for the steps to the coffee maker, bathroom and closet. The beds had the only mattresses that my husband has found to be comfortable in all of the places around the world where we have stayed.

The staff is cheerful, but most of them have so little English that it is almost impossible to communicate. We have some Spanish and between that and the little English and sign language, we managed. Despite the hotel not being busy, we were forced to use the pool at the bar because the desk staff refused to allow us to use the other pools most of the time on the pretext that they were too busy. There were only 4 lounge chairs and they did not recline or have cushions. Neither did they have pool towels available during our stay. Good thing for those breezes.

The property is extremely steep with stairs everywhere, up and down, too much for most. They do have vehicles to take you down to town and around the property if you require, although, most of the time we got the pick up and not the suv. They have a sign up about their own sailboat, but they could never get enough people to book it and tried to rent it to us for $600. They couldn't arrange any other sailing trip, or snorkeling or anything else, so we simply walked around San Juan Del Sur for 5 days. The place appears to be geared mostly to young surfers who want to pay $15 per night for a room and extra for sheets. Most of the restaurants are that way too. We had some concerns about Nicaragua, but found the people charming. We were happy for the experience, but are not likely to return.

This hotel is somewhat pretentious for the surrounding area.

  • Stayed January 2012, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Pelican Eyes Resort and Spa

Address: De la Parroquia 1 1/2 cuadras al este, San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua
Phone Number:
Location: Nicaragua > Rivas Department > San Juan del Sur
Bar / Lounge Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#3 Spa Hotel in San Juan del Sur
#6 Romantic Hotel in San Juan del Sur
#9 On the Beach Hotel in San Juan del Sur
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Pelican Eyes Resort and Spa 4*
Number of rooms: 65
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Pelican Eyes Resort & Spa offers a stunning hillside location and panoramic views of San Juan del Sur and the ocean beyond. Our infinity pools, spacious accommodations, romantically lush gardens, wonderful restaurants, open air bars, and one-of-a-kind San Juan Del Sur coastline sailing adventure are a unique experience.A visit to our Tranquila Day Spa is an experience of sheer indulgence. We offer a menu of massage and body treatments to ensure that you truly relax on your romantic Nicaraguan getaway. Experience more of Nicaragua with day trips to Granada or the artisan markets in Masaya. Here at the resort, open air yoga classes, water aerobics, and active local excursions (arranged by our concierge) help keep you fit while visiting paradise. Even our brick stairs—winding up the hillside — contribute to the cause!Our San Juan del Sur hotel’s mission is to provide a unique and memorable Nicaragua vacation experience in every aspect of your stay. Our friendly staff endeavors to fulfill every possible need or special request (and to predict those wishes perhaps not yet even realized!)No request is too big or too small. Let us know what we can do to enhance your stay in paradise. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Pelican Eyes Hotel San Juan Del Sur
Hotel Pelican Eyes
Resort Pelican Eyes
Pelican Eyes Resort And Spa Nicaragua/San Juan Del Sur

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