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“Amazing food but bring a net if you hope to sleep”
Review of El Zopilote

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El Zopilote
Reviewed October 12, 2013

I only spent the single night at El Zopilote and I can honestly see the appeal as the place has a nice atmosphere with friendly staff and a community feel. I had a delicious carbonara pasta dish made with their fresh ingredients, plus some of their tasty cookies and another special dessert they had that day. It attracts some chilled out travelers and its good to see the food and the salsa classes bring everyone together in the evening (I gather the pizza night does the same).

I spent the night in the dorm room ahead of hiking Volcan Maderas in the morning, for which I would recommend a good nights sleep, one that I didn't get sadly. Admittedly, I was expecting to be hot as I figured an eco lodge would not have fans but bare in mind that the dorm is open and there are no mosquito nets meaning all night (in the jungle) you have things buzzing around your ears and biting you constantly. I had to sleep with the sheet over my head to stop this, which meant I was dripping with sweat the entire night. It really is a beautiful place but just be prepared.

As for Maderas, a little advice...in the wet season at least, the hike is treacherous (on the way down for sure), it is incredibly slippery so be very careful and take lots of water as it gets very hot, even with the tree cover. I am surprised more people do not hurt themselves.

Room Tip: Bring a net if staying in a dorm (although I don't know if there is a place to hang one) or the...
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  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled solo
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Thank randallml
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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222 - 228 of 395 reviews

Reviewed September 18, 2013

I was travelling with more tree friends so we shared the “Mariposa” cabin. We spend most of the time between the lake (that is 5 minutes from the hostel) and the bus shop, where they have free internet. The food was really good and have an average price, and the pizza was the best! I took spanish classes (for 2 dollars an hour!!) and helped to prepare the homemade Nutella and to toast coffee.. It was relaxing and really nice days in the middle of the nature. Loved it!

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank Clauuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 8, 2013

My boyfriend and I camped out in Zopilote (only 3 dollars to pitch your tent!) and loved everything about it!! The feel of being in the middle of the jungle, finding all kinds of insects and frogs, was truly fascinating. There was no kitchen for customers to cook in, which is usually a negative on our list, but the food they served was so AMAZING and fresh (right from their farm) and cheap for what it was, that we didn't mind having their delicious food for every meal. They also had pizza nights that was bakes fresh from their stone oven.

The people that we met and hung out with were great!! The mirador was amazing to go up and sit in to chill with others and look off into nature. The open shower's were also AMAZING! Nothing like showering out in the middle of nature (though still private so that no one else can see you).

We give this place 10 stars!! We recommend it to anyone who loves being immersed into nature. Would definitely return.

Stayed: August 2013, traveled as a couple
Thank Debbxi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 2, 2013

I heard about El Zopilote through a farm volunteer, while traveling in Costa Rica. It was definitely a highlight of my month long trip. The natural beauty of the place is unique... the footpaths around the farm feel like a jungle adventure :)

What follows is a jumbled stream of memories and tips:
I stayed in a hut with two beds downstairs, and a private room and hammock upstairs. It was very cheap, very basic, but clean enough. I didn't have a bug problem at all sleeping there. I felt the shower area was a bit sketchy, as it is out of sight but easy for someone to slip in when you are vulnerable. I liked the compostable toilets, no smell! The sound of birds waking up in the morning is a real treat, and it is blissfully quiet at night. The food is incredible, and you MUST try the pizza! I volunteered serving pizza for a few nights, and it was a treat. There is lots to do around the farm itself. I wouldn't recommend going to the beach, as some fellow travelers were sexually harassed and robbed there. If you feel like a drink, and more of a party atmosphere, head down the road to Little Morgans. At the farm, I had an incredible massage from Dani, and I volunteered picking and cleaning coffee beans and tobacco leaves. Beware the wasps by the coffee beans! There were free bananas to pick and eat, and I liked the safety boxes available. They are phone sized, so don't try to store a laptop or anything. Try to get there early, because it is a bit of a hike to get to the farm, and you don't want to miss getting a room! We had a chance to take a guided hike of Volcan Maderas... don't miss it! It was challenging and muddy, but the views are great and you sleep well that night :) Bring a walking stick, good boots, and a long shirt for arriving in the crater (it gets chilly). I'd say the only negative part about the farm is the owner/s... I felt like they didn't actually want people there, but needed to make some $ so they tolerated us in their paradise. But just let that slide off your back, you don't see them often anyway. The rest of the hired staff & volunteers were wonderful. In all, it is a beautiful experience for a cheap price, and you will want to return!!

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled solo
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Thank katieleblanc24
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 31, 2013 via mobile

A beautiful and calming place. Good food. We had a tent, so I cannot speak of the rooms. Safekeeping of valuables when going to the beach. Bathrooms and toilets are basic, but I didn't expect hot shower luxury...
There are interesting surprises like frog techno in the night. :)

  • Stayed: August 2013
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Thank Potovalka
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 29, 2013

Truly majestic place to be in the midst of it all. Fantastic place to retreat from the the norm with excellent scenery and there is so much to keep all of your senses on overdrive. The food on site is terrific.

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled solo
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Thank Stefan P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 12, 2013

What a beautiful place this is! The vibe is chill, people are nice and the nature is amazing. I stayed here for more than two weeks!

The many pluses:
- Free activities: During my stay there was free yoga 5 days a week, free reiki and also salsa lessons provided by a guest. They include their visitors and encourage you to partake.
- Cheap camping or hammock rental: 3USD - dorm beds at 6USD
- Astonishing views from the two look-outs.
- Really good pizzas (pizza night four days a week)
- El Zopilote seems to attract really nice people :) Both volunteers and guests here are great!

The few minuses:
- No communal kitchen and a slightly pricy restaurant
- The people working in the kitchen/reception are really nice! However, expect the laid-back Central American service style where you only get the info you ask for :)

TIPS
- Make sure to bring a flash light! It gets DARK at night and the paths aren't lit.
- From what I know, they don't take reservations and they're often full! The earlier you arrive the better. But if full, there are other affordable places to stay nearby.
- Watch a sunset from the tower furthest away from the reception. WOW!
- If you wanna camp during the rain season make sure to have a GOOD tent! Alternatively rent a hammock (under roof) for the same price.
- Walk 20 minutes to The small town of Balgue and have a delicious and affordable meal at 'Compostre' -Highly recommendable!

Stayed: August 2013, traveled solo
Thank simon f
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about El Zopilote

Address: from Madronal 300m south, Santa Cruz, Isla de Ometepe 044, Nicaragua
Location: Nicaragua > Rivas Department > Isla de Ometepe > Santa Cruz
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 7 Specialty Lodging in Santa Cruz
Price Range: $17 - $26 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 9
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
El Zopilote is a permaculture farm/hostel. We have hammock, dormitory, and rooms. We have a organic restaurant serving Nica and Italian food (like handmade pastas, lasagnas, fettuccine, melanzane alla parmigiana) open at breakfat, lunch and dinner tevery day and 3 nights a week we have pizza night ,cooked in wood-bricks oven.In the reception we sell food and organic product hand made here.The land is completely planted with fruit trees, bananos and much more...Our goal is to be 100% sustainable. We have a look out tower where you can see the Volcanos and the farm. We organize tour to both volcanoes, horseback riding, spanish lessons, yoga classes (free), ceramic, bread and bees courses and there is free WI-FI 24h and free filtered water. You can work with us in the permaculture garden and in the work shop and learn something nice (free). ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
El Zopilote Isla De Ometepe, Nicaragua - Santa Cruz

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