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“Great place!”
Review of The Surf Sanctuary

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The Surf Sanctuary
Dallas
Level 5 Contributor
50 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“Great place!”
Reviewed November 7, 2012

The Surf Sanctuary is clean and comfortable and literally right up the road from the beach. The staff was very helpful and friendly. I'd advise you to steer clear of the "casitas," as they're attached to the backside of the kitchen and are very loud in the early mornings as the cooks are firing things up in there. But other than that- you can't go wrong. Beautiful grounds, great place! And definitely try the "Sanctuary Special" for breakfast. So delicious!

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled solo
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Helpful?
Thank Laura R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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45 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
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  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (8)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Level 5 Contributor
64 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
Reviewed August 20, 2012

First off, arrange your own transportation from the airport, Tony just tacks on $20 to the cost of a taxi each way. We rented one of the house, the house its self was nice...clean..not so much, someone puked or left a melted piece of powerbar on one of the beds and the cleaning crew "missed" it. so the one bedroom was full of bugs eating the puke. (not to mention the smell of puke fermenting in 100 degree room for a day or two)
the Camp was nice, they have a outdoor pool table/bar thing set up, a nice pool..if they would skim it once in a while, restaurant was just ok and over priced.
Service (or lack of service) was terrible, Tony was nice, but wasn't to concerned about anybody but himself. We wanted to take a boat trip to some different spots...it took him 3 days to even give us an answer if he would do it. we would have to pay of course (I believe $300) for a half day. What he didn't tell us is 1/2 the time is getting the boat to the water and back.
the camp is a good 1/2 mile from the beach and they get the boat there and back by rolling it on two logs (which he thinks your party should do most the work) So if you want to pay $300 for nicaraguen style navy seal training...have fun because you ll be to tired to surf. So we never ended up doing a boat trip....also trying to get a ride to Popoyo - never happened. In fact...just walking to the beach, he'd drive right by us..you think he would stop and give us a lift...nope..just keep drivin by.
This place could be run so much better. We wound up hanging out at Villa Jiquelite which was right on the beach, Jose and Mama would watch our stuff let us hang around..drive us to popoyo for a couple bucks (there is also a trail which takes about 20 minutes to walk and is mostly in the shade untill the end.)

so besides that the house was nice; not much good stuff to say about the Surf Sanctuary
If you rent a car and just need a place to stay..ok, but if you want tours/local knowledge...go somewhere else.
oh and i see he has tour packages online for like $1500pp. I drank, ate and partied for 8 days and only spent $300. If you have a group of 4+ people willing to spend 6k your going to get hosed at the Surf Sanctuary....that is a joke

  • Stayed September 2011, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
14 Thank Jeff T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wilmington
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed March 13, 2012

Surf sanctuary is a sanctuary for surfing. Not a whole lot of other activities around. American family who runs the place are very hospitable and helpful. They are living their dream. Guides and service are both excellent. Two breaks nearby but playa popoyo is further and appox. A 10 min. Drive during good road conditions. They also have a panga boat for other spots or fishing.

  • Stayed January 2012
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Helpful?
1 Thank 3toedamphihuma
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Stamford, Connecticut, United States
Level 3 Contributor
20 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed January 29, 2012

This is an amazing place - close to the beach, for surfers (who are mostly the clientele, at least during the season), a beautiful pool, and gorgeous new rooms. Tony has an architectural background, and he and his wife have done a great job of making the rooms spacious, colorful, soundproof, and fun. The staff is great - very friendly and helpful. It's also cheap, relative to other places to stay in the area. Their restaurant is good, but, if you get tired of it, there are other really good places within a short distance.

  • Stayed January 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank Paula H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Harlingen, Texas
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed November 20, 2011

We did a ton of research before we went to NIcaragua and really wanted to stay with surfari charters they were booked and recommended the "sanctuary" to us. We went with it and while it was a super nice place to stay, we were completely disapointed with their hospitality we wanted to know about the local breaks and when and where the surf was going to be good but no one was much help. We asked for rides (we were willing to pay) to other beaks and the respone we got back was oh it's just a 15 min walk(which that wasn't accurate)! The most helpful was one of the locals that worked in the kitchen. They also were very discouraging about us going to San Juan and informed us if we wanted to go to take the local bus to Rivas. The bus ride was fine but once we got to Rivas it was crazy, we speak spanish but for someone that isn't familiar with being harrassed and can't speak spanish this is a horrible idea for them to reccomend guests doing. If you want to go to Nicaragua and it's your first time I wouldn't reccomend this place.

  • Stayed November 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
6 Thank SouthTexas_11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Baltimore, Maryland
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed October 2, 2011

While this lodging "sanctuary" as they call it was decent, it's just too amateur and simply too far from where you'll want to be for your surfing and other jungle or ocean excursions. If it were half an hour closer to San Juan del Sur, it would be a better deal. Too far out of the way for the cost to get there. Some people are willing to go this far for their vacations but expect a first-class celebrity style retreat once there - and this (sadly) disappoints.Roosters in this rurally located surf spot woke us every morning while still dark outside! Not a peaceful retreat as far as that goes.For the same cost, you can go elsewhere and save a lot of time. Sorry, Surf Sanctuary.

  • Stayed May 2011, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
6 Thank Calypsogurls
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tampa, Florida
1 review
Reviewed August 10, 2011

If you are looking for an out-of-the-way place to relax, this is it. The staff are super-friendly and casual, so you'll feel right at home. The accommodations are very nice. I stayed in a "casita," which has air-conditioning, a private bathroom, and sleeps five. The pool is really nice, and the restaurant is casual and offers great food. (Get the ceviche if it's available!) It's mostly surfers here, so if you don't surf, there's not a whole lot going on, but it's a beautiful and quiet escape with all the amenities.

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
Thank JanaBielecki
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Surf Sanctuary

Property: The Surf Sanctuary
Address: Meters East Of Playa Santana 600, Rivas, Nicaragua
Location: Nicaragua > Rivas Department > Rivas
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 9 Specialty Lodging in Rivas
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 4
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A friendly & comfortable surf resort just a few minutes from one of Nicaragua's finest surf breaks. The Surf Sanctuary is family owned & operated. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Surf Sanctuary Nicaragua/Rivas

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