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“Phenomenal place, but new management needed”

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Casa Cubuy Ecolodge
Ranked #3 of 4 Naguabo B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Guatemala City, Guatemala
Level 6 Contributor
84 reviews
39 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 91 helpful votes
“Phenomenal place, but new management needed”
Reviewed June 1, 2012

I'm not quite sure where to start. Overall, I had an amazing experience at Casa Cabuy. I guess I'll start with what made it a great stay, and why I'll probably be back.

The location and property is simply breathtaking. The hotel perches on the edge of a hill, looking out onto a huge rainforest valley. From our room, we could see several waterfalls, and watch the clouds change over the mountains. It was relaxing, and the perfect place to find tranquility. One night, we were sitting out in the open air "lobby" area playing cards, and we saw not one, but 3 coqui frogs. Marianne, the owner, even brought one up that she'd found and let us hold it and take pictures of it before we set it free. Coquis are sometimes elusive, so this was really cool.

I love that the eco lodge is so close to so many hiking options. A 10 minute walk from the hotel takes you to a stunning waterfall, and if you continue over it, there's about an hour's worth of trails that the folks at Casa Cabuy maintain. It's a bit of an adventure; most of the trails are not maintained so much as marked. It became a sort of scavenger hunt, finding the next bit of yellow caution tape to discover where to walk next. Being young and energetic, I loved the path and feeling like I was really in the midst of nature rather than walking in a park.

Our room at the hotel was great too. One entire wall of it was floor-to-ceiling windows looking out over the rainforest. The room was comfortable and clean. No frills, but we didn't need them. There was a hammock in our room, which we appreciated.

Breakfast each morning was another highlight. The food was plentiful and delicious, and I really enjoyed conversation with other travelers who were staying there.

Now...here's why I say the place might benefit from having other people in charge. The owner, Marianne, is great. She's really friendly and helpful with information about hiking, etc. However, she's also getting quite up there in years, and I had the distinct impression that she's reached the point where she's sort of done trying to bend over backwards to please people, and she's sick of people who aren't perfect guests, because those people make more work for her. Understandable. But not a great attitude if you're in the customer service field.

Here was our situation. I called ahead to make our reservation for 2 nights. We wanted a lower level room (less expensive because the view isn't quite as great--but still good rooms). The first night was going to be just 2 people, and then 2nd night 2 more were coming. I made the reservation, clarifying that I wanted to be in the same room both nights. Matthew, who took my reservation, assured me that this would be fine. When we got there and were shown to our room by Marianne, however, there was only a Queen and one Twin bed. I explained to her that we needed beds for 4, and she said she'd need to move us to a room on the upper floor that would fit 4. That wouldn't have been a big deal at all, except that she still charged us for the upgrade. In my opinion, if I reserved a lower level room and was told it would meet my needs, I should only be charged the lower level rate once the mistake was realized. That didn't make sense in Marianne's head, however. She just kept shaking her said and saying, "I don't know what you want me to do. There are no rooms on the lower level that fit four people."

There are also a laundry list of extra charges that the place tacks on. We paid $50 for 2 extra people to stay our second night (on top of the rate difference on the room upgrade). A binder in the room lists other potential costs. Want them to do your laundry? $20 per load (washed and dried). Forget a personal item and want it back? That'll cost $25 PLUS the cost of shipping. And you'd better make sure you don't dirty the sheets! If you stain them, you'll be charged $50 for the cleaning; $75 if the stain is permanent.

The property and the vision is FANTASTIC. I spent 2 days in heaven there. I wish I could give it 5 stars, but due to poor customer service and high prices, I can't. I will, however, probably stay with them again.

Room Tip: Upper level rooms are guaranteed a great view, but some rooms on the lower level have great windows...
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  • Stayed May 2012, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank ShiningHalo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (64)
Date | Rating
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  • German first
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English first
Hopatcong, New Jersey, United States
Level 2 Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviewed April 21, 2012

We're in our 50's and have done a lot of traveling. We absolutely loved the magnificient views of the rain forest from our balcony. The sound of the coqui. Tropical floral fragrances on the night breeze. If you enjoy being one with nature, experiencing amazing waterfalls, hiking trails, and being up close with interesting flora and fauna, then add this lodge to your list of places you must experience. We're headed back for our second stay and couldn't be more excited.

Room Tip: This is not a 5 start resort with terry robes and a personal masseuse. It is clean, comfortable, and...
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  • Stayed July 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Simms413
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Berlin, Germany
Level 5 Contributor
65 reviews
31 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 102 helpful votes
Reviewed March 19, 2012

This hotel is in an amazing location - the view our our balcony door was unbelieveable! Our room was large and had three beds in it - ideal for our child but the rooms could use some work. There was no sense of decoration (sort of cheap furniture thrown together) and we paid $150 a night for the room. One of our sliding glass doors to the balcony had no latch to close or lock it (just toliet paper stuffed in the place where the latch should have been). During a rain storm the wind still came in through the cracks in the door. Our closet also smelled like mildew. One of our windows would not open. The bathroom and room were clean. The same goes for the hotel itself - it has great potential - there are hammocks to lounge on and common areas to enjoy the amazing view from but it needs some work - a paint job would help - perhaps with all the rain it is hard to maintain. The owner is very friendly and the breakfast was amazing - served family style at a large table - we had pancakes, fresh juice and coffee and fresh fruit. You are very limited for meals - there is one restaurant owened by these same people with pretty good food but it is expensive and the only other place we could find for lunch has two items left. The drive it not far from other towns but too far for meals. We had a toddler so hiking was sort of out for us due to the dangers involved. But if you love nature and hiking and the outdoors and can overlook some of the short-commings of this place then it might be for you. We felt that it was way overpriced given the condition of the room and hotel itself.

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank philo04
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed March 14, 2012

This place could be great for some, but it wasn't really our style. The surroundings are nice during the day, but there's not much to do once it gets dark. It's pretty far to the nearest open restaurant or grocery store. I would describe the place as very rustic. The room smelled a little bit mildewy as well.

As for the reviewer who compared the place to the Bates Hotel, I can definitely see how someone would get that vibe.

On the other hand, breakfast was great -- fresh fruit, scrambled eggs, and hash browns, plus fresh squeezed tangerine juice.

Stayed March 2012, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank jenh985
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level 3 Contributor
14 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed March 13, 2012

We had a very nice stay. 2 nights in a big room. The breakfasts were amazing. The views were stunning. When going to the rio hike, be prepared to walk all the way up the road until it runs out and you hit the picnic tables. Longer than we were told and the hike is very muddy, but the river at the end is nice. Didn't make it to the other side of the mountain for other hikes. We had dinners in fajardo and luquillo. The food on the mountain is very lacking, so be prepared to bring packed lunches and either eat at two of the small restaurants with cock fighting or taking the 30 minute plus ride to visit one of the local towns.

  • Stayed March 2012
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Helpful?
Thank farabee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Level 6 Contributor
80 reviews
42 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 119 helpful votes
Reviewed March 8, 2012

Casa Cubuy has some wonderful qualities and we had a good time in the brief period of our stay . But I think it is for people who are not fussy in any way.

The main thing is, once there, you have breathtaking views of the rain forest from the house which is perched on a high hillside. The drive up to it is the essential rural Puerto Rico, unchanged in the forty years since I last saw it.

There are delightful trails to three rivers, torrents crashing over huge boulders, massive ferns, bamboo groves, flowering plants of every description and the myriad sounds of rain forest fauna, fruits dripping from trees. Edenic! There is another trail into El Yunque farther up the road but we did not have time for that one. Wear sturdy footgear.

Our room, #2 if I remember correctly, was very spacious and had a superb balcony large enough for meals, with a wide and beautiful view and had the feeling of being up in the treetops.

At night you can leave open a large part of the wall (see photo) to the night sky and air and sleep with the sound of the rushing rivers and the coqui. This is heavenly.

But, if you would be troubled by a kind of general carelessness such as a grubby shower curtain lining, subpar bedding, aging plastic furniture, towels and sheets heavily perfumed with dryer fluffing additives, inattention to details, you would probably not be happy here.
Also, breakfast is not served until 9 am. We needed to get going before that so we did not partake and cannot comment. No internet or cell phone.

The so-called Casa Cubuy restaurant down the road hardly qualifies for the title. It is more like a big open-spaced bar and dance hall with a window at which you can order food from a limited and not very interesting menu. Even so, our two meager meals ended up costing $36. It is pleasant, though, to sit with a drink and gaze out at the natural world in front of you. The day we were there, it opened at 3:30 for lunch and dinner shut down at 7 because the workers needed to go to another job, or something.

And, finally, a word about the owners, U.S. ex-pats, who were kind and hospitable in every way, and provided us with the most delicious fresh native fruits when we arrived, parched after a long drive. They included a perfectly ripe and sweet pineapple, the symbol of hospitality, so it is clear that their intentions are the best and were much appreciated.

Room Tip: Upper floor with balcony.
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  • Stayed February 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Rasha36
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
NC
Level 3 Contributor
15 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed March 3, 2012

We loved this place. It is an eco-lodge. Don't expect fancy accommodations. The rooms are simple and the views are amazing. We arrived at night and opened the doors to the balcony. This left the whole wall of the room completely open to the rainforest. We couldn't see what was out there and we were lulled to sleep by the coqui frogs and what I thought was the wind. When we woke in the morning, we were completely surrounded in beauty. The beautiful sounds lulling us to sleep were the coqui and the waterfalls. Amazing! We loved the family style breakfast. The heaping plates of fruit were amazing! I am allergic to gluten, so I didn't eat the pancakes, but with the amount of fruit served, I personally can't see how the others filled their bellies with more! The coffee was great and nice that it was served early before we sat for breakfast. It allowed us to sit on the veranda and absorb the gorgeous views. The other guests were just the kind you would want to chat with...we got to hear about their excursions and suggestions! There is a guide that comes to breakfast and tells you all of the perfect places to hike.
Next visit, we will go on his guided tour. After talking more in depth with him, I can't imagine why anyone wouldn't pay for this trip!
The owners are amazing! We spent a good part of the day talking with Matthew. He's a really cool guy with some great stories. He gave great suggestions of where to go eat in town by the water. His directions are a little off, but we're used to that, being from a small town! Make sure you double check with him on directions before venturing out!
It was delightful for me to see the other images posted, as we stayed in room one and also hung out in the kitchen for breakfast.
We had a blast cooking tostones with them in the morning!

Go there if you're laid back, want to chill, want to know the great places to hike i the rainforest, want pretty hikes just outside your front door, and want down to earth owners taking care of you.

Don't go if you like posh settings, room service, and brand new accommodations.

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank southerngalNc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Casa Cubuy Ecolodge

Property: Casa Cubuy Ecolodge
Address: Route 191 Km 22 | Rio Blanco, Naguabo 00744, Puerto Rico
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Puerto Rico > Naguabo
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 4 B&Bs / Inns in Naguabo
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:2 star — Casa Cubuy Ecolodge 2*
Number of rooms: 20
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The lodge is set into the mountain with a large balcony that overlooks the forest. There are ten guest rooms and a villa down the road. Its great for bird watching. Peace and tranquility can always be found at Casa Cubuy. Go ahead; be our guest! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Casa Cubuy Ecolodge Hotel Naguabo
Casa Cubuy Ecolodge Puerto Rico/Naguabo

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