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“Active and yet relaxing ecotour for the socially conscious” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Finca Esperanza Verde

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Finca Esperanza Verde
Albergue Campestre, Apartado 28 | San Ramon, Matagalpa, Nicaragua   |  
Hotel amenities
Durham, North Carolina
1 review
“Active and yet relaxing ecotour for the socially conscious”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 14, 2010

FEV is not just a hotel it is an educational, relaxing, active experience for those who want to learn about central american customs, language and way of life and eat wonderful food. It is set in a beautiful mountainous rain forest on an active coffee farm. There are miles of hiking trails, exotic plants, animals and birds, and a wonderful staff who is willing to share as much or as little as you want about their country, language and culture. Part of the experience is going into San Ramon, a small nearby town and learning about all the microbusinesses that have grown as a result of the social justice efforts of the founders of FEV.

  • Stayed February 2008, traveled on business
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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36 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 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 (10)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
UK
Top Contributor
77 reviews 77 reviews
60 hotel reviews
Reviews in 58 cities Reviews in 58 cities
94 helpful votes 94 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed January 20, 2010

I feel uncomfortable writing this review as I know this hotel is linked to a scheme which is working and involving the local community and I don't want to disadvantage that. However, the accommodation does have a number of limitations. Finca Esperanza Verde is a very basic lodge and it doesn't pretend to be anything else in its' literature and advertising. However, even for a basic lodge the rooms were exceptionally small - we only had two cases and we had to move a small cupboard outside onto the small porch to get them in and even then we could hardly walk round the room. The bed is large, which was good, but it takes up almost the entire width of the room to the extent that you have to crawl to the end of the bed to get out - there's insufficient room to get out at the side.

The shower was cold even when we tried to use the complicated solar system and we were told we could use a warm shower which was in another about 30 metres away. I resolved the problem by not having a shower during the two days we were there! It can be quite cold in Matagalpa and if you're visiting, you need to take a warm jumper/jacket.

The food was good, limited choice, but it was interesting and 'help yourself' coffee and tea always available in the dining area. This open area is a good place to meet and chat with other visitors.

It's a lovely location with good birding and if you've never visited a coffee farm before then you can get a good demonstration of how it's made. The butterfly farm was OK. Other than this, there isn't too much to do.

The staff are very friendly and helpful and keen to ensure you have a good holiday but, even though I've stayed in quite a number of basic lodges, this was just a bit cold and uncomfortable for me.

  • Stayed December 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 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.
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 14, 2008

It was my first visit to a Latin-American country and also my first to an eco-lodge. I wasn't sure what to expect, but all my fears were put to rest once I caught a glimpse of La Finca.
AMAZING sunsets EVERY NIGHT, a hammock pavillion to relax in during the endless evenings filled with long shadows and howlermonkey cries, THE BEST FOOD I'VE EVER HAD (although I thought I wouldn't like it, expecting it to be like Mexican food, which I do not care for), and wonderful people to show me around.
There are cabins to stay in (bunkbeds, simple and plain but not at all uncomfortable or dingy), a hammock pavillion, a dining area, many hiking trails, a butterfly house nearby, a waterfall nearby, and much much more. I'd recommend this to anyone I know- I'll NEVER forget it!!

Stayed March 2008
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, ONT
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 6, 2008

We visited FEV for three nights in December 2007 and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

The staff was very enthusiastic and friendly. The surroundings are incredible and the weather at that time of year was about 75+ in the heat of the day and about 55 overnight. A little extra layers of clthing were helpful.

On our last night, we enjoyed the campesino music by the fire - it was a full-on Nica dance extravaganza. The tunes were great at the musicians were awesome.

We took advantage of the trails on the property to get some hiking and bird watching in. There are lots of birds right at the lodge itself - motmots, orioles, tanagers, hummingbirds and more.

One challenge is getting there, but with a little planning - and double-checking, it's not so bad. A 4WD is definitely an asset, however we came and left by car and driver.

The lodge is true to its sustainability mission and deserves full credit for the awards and praise it continues to win.



The sunsets are a daily highlight

  • Liked — Clean, great setting
  • Disliked — Solar heated showers
  • Stayed December 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 6, 2008

We just stayed at FEV last week, and enjoyed the natural beauty and being able to mingle with the lovely local people who work there. I'm pasting below the review/instructions on how to get there that I wrote up for a friend we made in Ometepe.

From Granada, most of the drive to Matagalpa was just fine, good roads on the inter/pan american highway, just need plenty of gas because there aren't a ton of gas stations along the way. When you get to Matagalpa, the roads get really bumpy like in SJDS. You need to have a good sense of direction because the road signs are few after that. You drive straight through the outskirts of town (you're more or less to the west of the city center). The main road then curves to the right as you pass the town so you kind of go from driving north to driving northeast/east a bit. (we actually stopped at a gas station to make sure we were going the right way to San Ramon and we were). The roads are not paved after Matagalpa, so very bumpy! When you get to San Ramon, and get on the turn off for the Finca - that road is TERRIBLE! For the last 3 miles it really isn't a road, just driving over a path of dirt/mud/large rocks! We unfortunately could only get a Ford Fiesta for the trip (it was the only car left in Granada for rent because we didn't pre plan. We should have planned this but I didn't know if we'd be driving in Nica at all, I was a bit nervous about it).
Right when we got to San Ramon, it started to rain, so we were traveling up this road in the rain, and we did have some tire spinning. I was having panic attacks that we wouldn't make it in the car. I thought for sure we'd get stuck in the mud or because the car had such low clearance, stuck with a large rock underneath. We did make it finally to the Finca, but literally my heart felt like it was pounding through my chest - I was really scared. Thank God my husband is a fantastic driver. Tell anyone who wants to go there to get 4 wheel drive and preferably a jeep or something like that.

The people who work at Finca Esperanza Verde were all local and just lovely. You should know some Spanish because there is no one there who is fluent in English. A couple of them are learning English though. We don't speak Spanish fluently but did just fine with my translation book. The food was good, well prepared and delivered almost daily fresh to the farm. Wonderful fresh fruit, and local honey to die for!

It isn't an exciting place to be, but relaxing and pretty. There are 4 hikes, a small mariposa breeding house, horseback riding, beautiful birds to watch including one toucan sighting, the coffee plants and workers who pick it daily, and you can take a tortilla making lesson. We enjoyed the hikes and the mariposas, talking to the employees and other guests. There was a couple from Seattle there with their kids (the kids looked really bored!), and a Swedish family also with kids (they'd had 2 flat tires since driving in Nica!). It's very rustic and laid back, just little cabins with cold water showers and solar electricity. They have small bags of water sitting outside for sun warmed showers, but if there's no sun that day, you're out of luck. We were only there for 3 days, so I did quick cold showers without washing my hair. It was just fine. (this is a girl who's never been camping, so I'm a bit of a wimp!)

It was chilly at night, so after dinner they made a fire in a small wood-burning oven in the area where we ate. it was nice and cozy, and provided an environment for great conversations with both the other guests and the employees. Francisco and Kati were especially charming. I'm really glad we went to FEV.

  • Liked — Nature and an authentic experience with the locals
  • Disliked — the road to get there
  • Stayed January 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 23, 2007

Just came back from an Eco-tour sponsored by FEV. You can reach their web site at [--]

Started in 1991 by two x-Peace Corp volunteers consisting, of among other things, a 200+ acre organic coffee farm run totally on hydro and solar power (the showers have warm water, solar of course). Among other things, is a Butterfly Farm, horse back riding, expert trail guides (plants, birds, insects…), cooking classes, blind coffee tasting and just chilling out. And the school they build nearby where we all had a great time playing Frisbee. Finally, anyone who has been there will mention their food, with out a doubt some of the best if not the best in Nicaragua.

As the winner of the 2004 ‘Best Eco-lodge’, I highly recommend taking the kids along as an educational opportunity they will never forget. It’s a bit tough getting there but I didn’t meet anyone who was disappointed after arriving.

  • Liked — scenery, food, weather.....
  • Disliked — Getting there
  • Stayed February 2007, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hudson Valley, NY
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 22, 2007

Finca Esperanza Verde is off the beaten tourista path (which is mostly, in Nicaragua, the beaches, Granada, Leon, Managua) but it is well worth the extra time and effort to make the trip up past Matagalpa to enjoy the cool, clear gorgeousness of the ecolodge in the mountain cloud forest.
The sunsets are amazing. The staff at the lodge is exceptionally good -- friendly, helpful, knowledgeable and so much fun. And the food was great, really great.
We enjoyed all the nature walks (from easy to moderate and even more challenging, depending on the whim/ability of the hikers) -- through shade grown coffee plantings, past big leaf-cutter anthills, to the butterfly house, and then we saw a sloth! Lots and lots of birds we don't see in the Northeast U.S. - wonderful critters such as toucans.
Lots of ways to kick back and relax, too. Did I mention the hammocks? And the rocking chairs?
Lots of possible outings... to nearby San Ramon to see/buy crafts or make nacatamales, to a coffee plantation, to a local school.
The staff can arrange horseback rides, too, though gringos may be put off by the skinny Nica horses. (They're tough, though.)
FEV is not for people looking for the posh, pampered life (the springwater is potable and excellent, but hot showers come from solar-heated bags that one hoists into position in the shower stall), but it is an extraordinary place to visit to get to know the people and to actually make a difference in their lives... and in yours.

Stayed February 2007
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Finca Esperanza Verde

Address: Albergue Campestre, Apartado 28 | San Ramon, Matagalpa, Nicaragua
Location: Nicaragua > Matagalpa Department > Matagalpa
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 10 Specialty lodging in Matagalpa
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Finca Esperanza Verde is a unique experience in ecotourism and local empowerment - part organic coffee farm - part tourist lodge. The finca sits prominently on the edge of a quiet country road at 4000 ft (1200 mts) above sea level, providing spectacular views of the Dariense mountain range and the green valley of Matagalpa far below. The farm provides local Nicaraguans with profitable and sustainable ways to share their culture with visiting tourists and has received international recognition as a model of poverty alleviation through sustainable tourism and other socially responsible programs. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Finca Esperanza Verde Hotel Matagalpa
Finca Esperanza Verde Nicaragua/Matagalpa

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