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Hotel La Joya del Golfo
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Reviewed April 21, 2013

My wife and I were looking for off the track places as we aren't surfers but love the ocean. I was over the moon when my wife described the activities as fishing, swimming, kayaking, fishing, hiking and fishing.

The hotel itself is perched on the waterfront which allows for stunning sunrises and has access to Oyster beds so you can request freshly dived oysters for dinner. Issac and Freddie ensured that we were looked after brilliantly and the food we ate was some of the best food we have eaten in 3 months of exploring Central America.

Richard was fantastic and even showed me to the places he has had success fishing off. We went out in the boat the following day to trawl and spin for King Mackerel, Jacks, Bonitos, Tuna and the elusive Rooster Tail, endemic to the Pacific side of Central America. There are Kayaks available and the calm waters of the bay allow you to paddle all the way around the Bird santury island a quarter mile away.

The scenery is stunning with the Volcano of El Tigre looming in the distance and wonderful views from the tower at the top of the island overlooking the entire Gulf.

My only regret is that we didn't have longer to stay.
Many thanks for an unforgettable stay

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank Stjohn and Clar... N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 26, 2013

I stumbled upon this hotel in of all places, the Rough Guide of 2011 - they recommended it as a "special treat." Many people will by pass this part of the country, because it is difficult to get to. However, it is worth the effort. We took a "directivo" bus from San Salvador's Terminale Oriente to La Union (4 hours); then with the owner's spot on directions, got down to the Port of Coquitos and boarded a public lancha for $3 each, plus another $3 for our luggage and persons to be transported by a wooden cart, pulled by a man at least 70 years old, to the boat so we wouldn't get wet - what an experience! If you wan to avoid that, hire the hotel to pick you up for $60 USD - will take only 45 minutes, versus our 90, but what memories!

Upon arrival to the island, the staff met us at the public dock (although we should have asked the boat to take us on to the hotel), but no worries. The captain phoned the hotel and two of the staff were there in minutes. They had to lug our heavy suitcases up the very steep hill and down the very steep road to the hotel, but they did so with smiles. When we walked through the gates of the Hotel La Joya, were were immediately greeted by Issac, the owner's step-son, who is the captain of this ship!

We had been on the road for almost 8 hours, having come from La Libertad, so he showed us to our rooms, gave us a refreshing drink, and told us we could come down to eat whenever we were ready. We showered and headed down to dinner. Our first night we feasted on excellent soup and lobster, then took our bottle of wine (and ordered a second) over to the lovely palapa roof common area, and relaxed on the over the water patio, being cooled by the ocean breezes. Issac's mom, who is the head cook at that hotel, had prepared fresh brownies, and we treated ourselves to a chocolate orgasm with a strawberry on top! Heaven!

The next morning, quite frankly, I didn't want to do much, being beat from the previous day's travel. But my fiance wanted to go fishing, so the owner, Richard, took him out for over 3 hours. They caught 15 fish in that short period of time, which as we understand, is not unusual. Issac learned we loved sushi and ceviche, so he took some of my fiances catch (the mackeral) and made fresh sushi and ceviche for us! We sat at a private table on the second story with amazing view and ate one of the best and most personal lunches we've ever had. This kind of service is all in a day's work here at La Joya.

One thing we loved to do was sit in our room, on our bed, and read or watch a DVD on our laptop (they had tv's, but we never used them), because you could see the views all around you still (we had the front corner room on the second story - best room in the house if you ask me). Also, the wifi here is excellent, everywhere on the property. Issac says you can even get it out on the water in front of the house, as boats sometime come by to use it.

The next day, we had them take us out on a wake boarding outing, which we combined with an island boat tour too. On both of our outings, they packed a cooler with whatever we wanted - water, soda, beer, a sandwich - whatever you desire. After a great morning of boating, Issac accompanied us on an island foot tour. His little sister, Rachel, was with the other guests, helping them hike to the local beach (there's 3, small, medium and large). They are so happy to do this stuff, and the information he shared was wonderful.

One of the things we had hoped to accomplish was eating the El Salvadorian staple, pupusas, but because it was Semana Santa (Easter) week, no one was really in the mood to open their restaurants. So Issac asked his mom if she could make some for us. When we came down to dinner, they surprised us with them for appetizers.

I can't say enough about our experience here. It is truly like having a staff of butlers at your service. Issac, Freddie and Christian were always nearby, checking on us to find out if there was anything we needed. The cute cleaning lady even did our laundry for us one day (for a nominal fee). It seems nothing you ask for is impossible.

If you're looking for a getaway at a B&B type environment (remember, this place is isolated, so the owner, his family, and his cute pets, Gordo the dog and Arnold the cat all live here), then do yourself a favor and visit. The rooms have a/c, a fan, tv, high end furnishings, comfortable bed, nice towels, bath products, pillows, tons of closet space, and I do think I mentioned the views!! I'll never forget these three days. Thank you so much Issac & Richard!!

Room Tip: The front corner room on the second story (where all four of the guest rooms are located, owners live on the 3rd floor and 1st floor is common area) is the best)
  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank WealthShips
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 9, 2013

I make it a goal of mine to sniff out the really unique places to stay. The hidden beaches, the treehouses, etc. And this, this place beats them all.

The short story is that the family that operates this little hotel go above and beyond. The food was all amazing, the best we had on our 2 week trip in Central America.

The room was very comfortable with a queen sized bed, TV and AC. My only problem is that I found the bed a little firm, but all the beds on our trip were on the firm side so it wasn't out of the ordinary and still completely comfortable. I slept pretty well, falling asleep to the sound of the waves.

My husband and I spent the majority of our time lounging in the hammocks and reading, from sunrise to sunset for 3 days; exactly what we wanted to do on this vacation. We took a break on one day to go kayak around the island nearby and Richard also arranged a boat for us to go over to a beach on elsewhere on Meanguera since we couldn't hike (my husband had injured his toe pretty badly a couple days before). It was a lovely beach with soft sand, and I saw rather large reddish lizard.

Back at the hotel, at low tide, Richard showed me some different creatures that hung out there. I got to hold a starfish and a sea urchin (boy does that feel weird, it crawls across your hand), which I had never done before.

The small staff they employ were really attentive and had perfect service. The son (which sadly his name escapes me at the moment) made us some sushi out of fish that was caught that day. That's not something normally on the menu, but we asked if they had any sort of snack or appetizer and he said they had sushi, so we took it! It was great. I was really impressed with their service, that alone would make me return. Not to mention the food...the view...the perfect weather....the remoteness.

Richard also helped us out when we were trying to figure out how to get back from La Union to the airport. His family ended up driving to San Salvador that day and dropped us off for a pittance compared to a taxi. A much more comfortable and pleasant ride as well!

I advise coming for at least 3 nights to truly enjoy it. It's a little bit of a trek to get out there via boat, but so worth it. Out of all of the hotels that I've stayed in in Central America, this is my favorite. Best value, best location and best food.

Room Tip: All have an amazing view, but the honeymoon suite is in the corner with windows and balcony on two sides.
  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Carolyn B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 9, 2013

We are on an 8 month sailing adventure through central america! So glad we found this little paradise. The hammock view of the boat in the cove while drinking an ice cold beer can't be beat. The family who owns this bit of paradise is happy to see you and bends over backwards to do what they can. Plus, the food is awesome. If I didn't have a boat, I'd stay in the rooms above for a month and write a novel or something. Awsome.

  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank codysheehy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 18, 2012

We just returned from El Salvador. We did not stay at Hotel La Joya however we arranged a day trip through Raul Castro at Dolphin Tours in La Union. It was a wonderful boat ride and a beautiful lunch at La Joya. The staff was most accomodating and the food delicious. We were able to lounge on the deck/sofas until the time to go. This part of the trip was a highlight. I would recommend not only Raul but the restaurant of Hotel La Joya!

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank ann v
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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