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“Still Our Favorite” 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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Houston, Texas
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“Still Our Favorite”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 20, 2012

Our Group stayed at Pelican Eyes last Nov 2-8 /2011/. We have booked again for the first of November this year. 2 people in our group are getting Married to each other this year, and trying to plan their Wedding around our yearly trip. When we arrived at the 2 houses we had close to each other, it had been a very long day. Originally scheduled to arrive in Managua at 11AM-we arrived at 830Pm due to 2 mechanicals on Flights. Then the 2 hour ride to SJDS. when we checked in it was dark and everyone tired, The front desk offered the ride up the hill with our bags to the Houses but we had been sitting alot so decided to walk up, which is alot of stairs./, My Sister and Brother in law were celebrating their 30th wedding Anniversary, and I had talked them into coming here instead of their original choices/ My Brother in law gave me some angry looks when we finally climbed all of the stairs and arrived at our Houses. I knew in the morning that all would be different, with rest, daylight and the FANTASTIC views /especially from the room of the celebrating couple/. I have been coming to San Juan del Sur since 1998, and staying at Pelican since it opened in 2004. The views, Sunsets, Casas, and originality of the resort are incredible.

I woke up early our first day there and figured with the kind of day we had the day before-everyone would sleep to noon. The houses , even though next to each other, still have quite a bit distance between them /another plus to the resort-privacy/ I walked next door and saw my brother in law out on the large deck they had...he had already shot many pictures and was in awe. He said yesterday was worth every minute for what we have today! I didn't think we would get him off the deck all day. He just stayed out there relaxing and enjoying the view!

Pelican eyes has a great staff, from those you see every day to the people behind the scenes. The 3 pools are all great, and if you really want to swim, at the upper pool you can swim laps. yes, there are alot of stairs, if you find yourselves not wanting to walk the stairs, call the front desk and they will send someone to pick you up by car. I find the stairs easy when you have the lush green scenery to look at, almost to the bottom before you know it. And there are fantastic places close to the reception and lower pool.I have stayed in all of the habitacions and pool cabanas...they are close to Reception and cute. We love the sail trip and do it every year, sailing down the breathtaking Nicaraguan shoreline just puts any stressed person into a relaxed Nica state of mind. I took surf lessons, and each year there are more shops and excursions opening. Da flying frog canopy trip is alot of fun too!

The Hotel partners with Fundacion A. Jean Brugger. the last 4 years we have brought down donations for Schools, and last year we also brought down donations for the Ancianos Program. We have turned our vacation to the wonderful town of San Juan del Sur into a Volunteering Vacation, which makes it so much fun, and rewarding. the looks on kids faces when a simple soccer ball is given to them, or notebooks and markers. we bring our clothing in our carryon bag /how much do you need in a casual beach town?/and max out the checked bags with donations. since doing the donations- we look forward to giving them out as much as our own vacation!

Pelican Eyes may be more expensive than other resorts in SJDS, but take it from someone who has returned every year since opening in 2004 /sometimes more than once a year/ I never tire of the People, and Beauty at the Resort. Looking forward to our trip again this year. Is it November yet?

Room Tip: There are spacious Casas with lockoff bedrooms. if you don't want the whole Casa , you can choos...
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  • Stayed November 2011, traveled with friends
    • 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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428 people have reviewed this hotel

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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 (86)
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English first
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 19, 2012

Was only able to spend 3 nights at this luxurious hillside resort and spa out of the two weeks in Nicaragua. What you see and read on their website is what you get and experience when you get there. The description and photos posted on this resorts website are truly accurate. The habitacion was beautiful inside and out, clean and well maintained. Views of the bay and sunsets were amazing from the balcony. Situated on a hillside expect to get lots of stair exercise. But because of the well kept beautifully landscaped grounds and surroundings; it made the walk a pleasing and enjoyable one. Food was great as one would expect of a 5 star resort. I cannot say enough about the staff especially Enrique Romero. They were all attentive, very helpful, pleasant and willing to go the extra mile to make one's stay a memorable one. So if your looking for a top notch resort and spa overlooking a sleepy little town give these guys a second look. I did and didn't go wrong.

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled on business
    • 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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New York City
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed March 15, 2012

I am still traveling in Nicaragua, but wanted to get this review out ASAP.
I spent 3 nights at the Pelican Eyes Resort and it was not a pleasant stay.
The good:
1. The people are amazing...very attentive and nice to talk with
2. SJDS is beautiful and has a lot of potential.
3. My view was amazing
4. My room was very nice and very private....read below.
The bad:
1. The stairs...please do not come here if you are over 40 and not in the most amazing shape...the stairs are crazy. I do not know how people with little kids do it.
2. The food...WAY over priced...I mean WAY over priced. I ate 3 times...and the total for my food and alcohol bill was over 150 dollars...one of my meals was a burger, one was a nice dinner and one was a plate of onion rings. This was a problem for others at the resort...they left and went downtown for food and to drink. I repeat the food was so over priced!!!
3. The room was nice, but the shower in my room had no water pressure...I could not wash my hair...had to just wait till I got to my next destination. Also, the drain had hair all over it.
4. The hotel makes no effort to educate you about the area...no guides to the town for shops or restaurants are left in the room.
Conclusion
This place is expensive to stay at and I would expect a lot more for the money. It is one of the most expensive places in the area and I feel like I paid for nothing.
I have traveled to Costa Rica several times and stayed in some amazing places for a lot less money. I suggest this hotel do a review of their food prices, double check the rooms and start making the price match the experience.
PS...this is the first negative review I have ever written for a travel place and I have traveled all over the world...stayed in some real low budget places and some major high end places...nothing compares to the disappointed of this place.

Room Tip: the all require walking a ton of stairs...don't do it
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  • Stayed March 2012, traveled solo
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hillsboro, Oregon
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 14, 2012

Stunning resort built into the hillside at San Juan del Sur Nicaragua. One of the most expensive places to stay in San Juan del Sur. Multiple Infinity swimming pools and restaraunts. Rooms are incrediblly clean and have awesome views overlooking a perfect horse shoe bay. The most incredible thing about San Juan del Sur is the sunsets. It is like fireworks every night.

Pelican Eyes is walking distance to all of San Juan del Sur.....if you are reasonably physically active.
Pelican Eyes joking names itself the Stair Master resort. It is true. If you love to walk like me, expect a 300 stair climb from street to yoru room.

This is a diamond in the rough surfer town. Matthew McConnaheigh was here. I hired a driver for $100 USD for the entire day and he showed me all of the beaches towards the Costa Rican border. I was standing on beaches a mile long, the only person. Stunning!!!!!

One night I paid for an excursion at 10 pm. We drove south towards the border with Costa Rica. Thousands of giant turtles were coming ashore to lay their eggs. It was amazing.

The best bar in San Juan del Sur by far is Henry's Iguana. Big Wave Dave's is good too. The Crazy Crab....be careful. The further you walk to the north of the bay, the more dangerous you might meet a bad person.

Nicaragua is a highly misunderstood country. It was safe and the locals were cordial. It has wonderful beaches, amazing sunsets, sports fishing, first class & budget accommodationts. It also has active volcanoes if you love volcanoes like me.

The normal way to get to San Juan del Sur is via Managua. Manuaga looks dangerous to me. If venturing out at night, make sure you have a good flashlight. Beware of sidewalks or roads where people have stolen the metal grates over the sewers.

WIVD60

Room Tip: Choose the price point you want. This is an expensive hotel.
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  • Stayed April 2011, traveled solo
    • 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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Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 12, 2012 via mobile

I cam to Nicaragua originally for 2 weeks, but I loved it so much that I extended my vacation for 2 more weeks. The people are extremely nice, the beaches spectacular, and the natural beauty breathtaking. I stayed at Pelican Eyes after staying at several other places in San Juan. Next time I will only stay at Pelican Eyes. The pool overlooks the bay and relaxes you immediately. The cocktails are impressive and the bartenders are excellent. The food is incredible. I have eaten at most places in San Juan and the food at Pelican Eyes tops them all. My favorite was the tenderloin with a fondue sauce. The quality of the meat compares with the nicest restaurants anywhere. As far as the lodging goes, the rooms are immaculately cleaned every morning. The beds are extremely comfortable. The property's landscaping is stunning. The management makes you feel welcome and takes care of your needs so you can be relaxed on your trip. Overall, if you're coming to Nicaragua--- and I highly suggest that you do--- you should stay here!!

  • Stayed March 2012
    • 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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Washington DC, District of Columbia
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 6, 2012

This gorgeous resort sits perched above the Pacific in the small tourist town of San Juan del Sur, about a 2 hour drive south of Managua. We stayed there over President's Day 2012 after I purchased a spur of the moment deal from Groupon. My only criteria for the vacation were that it include sun, water, and warmth, and that it not be at an overrun tourist destination or an all-inclusive resort. Pelican Eyes definitely fit the bill!

Getting there from Managua was a bit of a trial - not so much because the driver or car were unpleasant (the hotel sent a driver for us at extra cost, and he and the car were just fine), but because you see the real Nicaragua - half-finished concrete houses with corrugated tin roofs, free-roaming livestock, feral dogs and cats, too jovial posters of El Presidente saying that all this is "for and with" the people, while you see the people walking miles upon miles in shoddy shoes and living in desparate poverty. We felt guilty as we pulled through the gates of the resort, since it is so clearly a first-world location, compared to the poverty around it. That being said, the resort certainly makes use of its first-world customers, charging largely first-world prices (e.g., a hamburger for $15; a bottle of Los Alamos, which retails in shops in the States at $5, for $45).

The staff are extremely obliging and friendly, and almost everyone speaks great English. I most highly recommend the sailing trip, which we booked for our first full day and was just my husband, myself, and the crew of two on a 40 foot sailboat. GLORIOUS. Pelican Eyes started out as a boat charter, I think, and you can see that it' its roots are still where it excels the most. We had a 5 hour private sale, including a stop on a near-private white sand beach and a lunch of freshly caught lobsters (for a mere $5 more per lobster). I can also not thank the crew enough for rescuing us on our swim to the beach, when the waves and distance proved too much for my husband. They sped up as soon as they saw trouble and pulled us both to safety, and were quite solicitious as they made sure that we were both ok.

The other guests at the resort seemed to be mostly families of teenagers and few toddlers and other couples like ourselves. The teenagers/kids were a bit overwhelming at the upper, "family" pool, but that is to be expected - the pool on the lower level was all serenity. The lower pool is located adjacent to one of the two hotel restaurants, and, while the drinks were great, I can't really recommend it for dining. The food was ok, but not stellar, and as I said before, quite pricey. We ventured into town instead and ate two of our three evenings at El Timon, on the beach. As San Juan is a tourist town, we had no problem ordering in English, and also had no problem wandering the town on our climb back to the resort.

Our room itself was lovely - not overly fussy, but large and with a breathtaking view of the Pacific below. It was also secluded sufficiently from other bungalows that we never saw our neighbors and only ever heard other guests as we sat on the porch, but never saw them walking by.

Oh, and a last note: you may have noticed certain words throughout this review, like calf work-out, perched, climb and below. Pelican Eyes is built into the side of a hill on the east side of San Juan. We counted 75 steps from the entrance to the lower pool/restaurant area, and another 160 to our room from the reception area (and our romo wasn't even close to being the highest residence in the hotel). I read the reviews on TripAdvisor before we went, so I was forewarned, and glad of it - it became part of the experience, rather than something to complain about. And despite all the seafood, my husband and I both felt quite in shape after our trip, thanks to all those stairs!

Room Tip: Rooms closer to the reception desk are also lower down the hill, if you'd like to avoid stairs!
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  • Stayed February 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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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
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
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 Pelican Eyes Resort and Spa

Also Known As:
Pelican Eyes Hotel
Pelican Eyes Hotel San Juan Del Sur
Hotel Pelican Eyes
Resort Pelican Eyes
Pelican Eyes Resort And Spa Nicaragua/San Juan Del Sur
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
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#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*
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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