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“Excellent Place” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of The Surf Sanctuary

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The Surf Sanctuary
Carrboro, North Carolina
Level Contributor
12 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Excellent Place”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 27, 2014

We stayed in a villa at The Surf Sanctuary for about 9 days in April, 2014.
We liked our villa very much. It was a simple 2 bedroom villa, but it had everything we needed. All was pleasant and good.

The pool, at the center of it all, was well kept. Numerous hammocks were available for lounging. Food from the kitchen is good. I balk at calling the kitchen a restaurant simply because of the mellow manner in which it is staffed and food is served. It's open all day, starting early (5:30am - 8:00pm?) for those seeking an early surf break. The ladies who staff it are always flexible and ready to make you a meal or help you get a cup of coffee or a beer. I think the prices for this type of flexibility and individually made meals are very reasonable and everyone is very pleasant/friendly.

The disclaimer that needs to be made with this review is that your satisfaction will be dependent on your expectations. Note that this is an awesome place near great surfing in a remote part of Nicaragua. We liked it. We liked the people who own/run it and we think they do a great job. Remember that this is a remote place with little other action and few luxuries. We found it clean, well kept, and it offered a fair value, but this is not the place for someone who wants a fancy resort.

Room Tip: We loved the villa we rented - go for that if you want a kitchen.
See more room tips
  • Stayed April 2014, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Carrboro64
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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43 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    30
    5
    1
    6
    1
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (7)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 27, 2013 via mobile

My girlfriend and I stayed in Nicaragua for two months over the summer and it was a wonderful experience. Tony and Nancy from the surf Sanctuary where extremely accommodating and welcomed us like family.
The room was very comfortable and clean, and the food was fantastic! The atmosphere of the entire resort is very tranquilo, tucked away from all the hustle and bustle on the beach ; it feels like your living in a garden with beautiful flowers and butterflies everywhere. However when it's time to surf it's only a two minute walk until your getting some of the best waves in the world. All in all my experience at the surf sanctuary was excellent and I will be sure to stay here next time I venture to Nicaragua.

Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank Derekstalhut
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oceanside, California
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 21, 2013

I am amazed as well at some of the reviews on tripadvisor of the Surf Sanctuary. It's been almost 3 weeks since I returned to CA after spending 10 days there and my experiences were nothing but positive. We paid for the 2nd of 3 packages they offer and I didn't spend another cent there the whole time. The owners Tony and Nancy even paid for our dinner one night when we went with them to a local pizza joint. I had read the negative reviews before going and now that i've experienced the place first hand, it's hard to believe these people were even talking about the same place.
Like I said it's been three weeks since i've been back and I am still thinking about the experience 2-3 times everyday. I cannot say enough good things about our surf guides, the layout of the place, the accomodations and the incredible vibe that rode with us the entire time. We were there to surf and surf we did. 2-3 sessions per day at a variety of local spots, usually chosen by the guides who knew exactly what was happening when and where. Boat trips, at no extra cost, made the experience that much more incredible. Good on ya boys!
I've personally been on some crazy, amazing vacations heli skiing and the like and this one ranks among the top two or three because of the Surf Sanctuary and their staff. Sure, you might have to carry a bag from the truck to the boat, you will travel on a bumpy dirt road, but put your expectations in check and go with it. A trip like this is not about bell boys in tuxedos. If you want someone to wait on you at every second, go find a Club Med in another part of the world. I couldn't be more happy with what I experienced. I will for sure be going back to Nica and will certainly stay here again.
Donald, Andrew, Tony and all the rest of the staff, thank you all for the fabulous times!! Hope to see you again soon.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank drbeltz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Diego, California
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 1, 2013

I am baffled by the negative reviews of the staff at Surf Sanctuary. For the past 15 years I have been staying in accommodations that cater to surfers, and this one stood out in a good way: no attitude. Every single staff member was friendly and genuinely seemed happy to have you there. None of that swaggering about thinking they're cool because they surf. Possibly as a result, all the guests there were super friendly, as well. It was like going on vacation with a bunch of friends.
We rented a house at the SS that was clean and comfortable. The pool area was perfect for relaxing and hanging out. Food was tasty with good sized portions and reasonable prices. You can also walk to an excellent pizza place just up the road.
We did our research on the waves BEFORE coming on this trip, so we knew more or less where the breaks were and what tides they work on. If you are too cheap to pay a guide, you're going to need to do a little legwork on your own.That is a standard policy in the world of surf accomodations.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank enk77
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Atlanta, Georgia
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 8, 2012

I had such a great time at The Surf Sanctuary this past week. I met my sister in Nicaragua and we spent a few nights here. The rooms are lovely & clean. The a/c works well and the beds are comfortable. It is a 5 minute walk to the beach & the hotel has a nice pool, hammocks, pool table and tv. The manager, staff and owners are very helpful and friendly. Really couldn't have asked for more! We were supposed to stay at another hotel for my last night but after seeing the dumpy room (there were wasps coming out of the walls) we quickly called the sanctuary and they were able to accommodate us. Overall, a great place and awesome vacation.. can't wait to go back!

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank lhoell
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dallas
Level Contributor
50 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles 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
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Laura R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
59 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles 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
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
14 Thank Jeff T
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 6 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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