We are no strangers to travelling but grew tired of the search for 'the cheapest place in town'. This creates a problem. Moving up to a more pleasing accommodation often cuts you off from the personalities that make travelling great and also sterilises your experience.
We found Buena Vista Surf Club (BVSC) attracts the same people that we used to travel with in our early twenties. Sure, they've grown up a little and their jobs carry the weight of a little extra responsibility, but our stay was punctuated by new arrivals who were a complete joy to be around. A savvy late twenty to late forties crowd who progress from 'just met' to 'good friends' at an alarming rate.
Owners Marc and Marielle set the tone. Friendly, intelligent, laid back with a sharp sense of humour. Their European background (Dutch) adds a modern design element to the BVSC whilst ensuring that the tree top canopy is the focal point. The tree houses are basic, but in a stylish way. Electricity, cold running water and great beds surrounded by clean lines and plenty of locally sourced wood. The sloping lot had our hut's balcony surveying the tree tops, sunsets and various gangs of howler monkeys in close proximity, who ensured there was little need for an alarm clock. Each hut is different with one of our new friends, Jo, having a large tree trunk growing straight through the middle of her bathroom, in keeping with the properties habit of blending with the jungle.
The main lodge is simply stellar. We heard the word modern used but to be honest modernism had given second best to comfort. The sublime and airy main lounging area has huge, custom, relaxing pads (nothing that slouch friendly could possibly be called a chair) backed by mounds of cushions. A couple of smaller tables provide surfaces for intimate board games whilst an extra large 12 person + dining table sets the scene for the family style dinners. I am not usually one for forced socialising but the relaxed dinnertime atmosphere really makes your stay personable and helps to promote the quick making of friends as mentioned earlier. The conversation was always fun and flitted across a mind boggling array of topics. We laughed, hard and a lot. An 'honour system' bar ensures that you will never want for drinks or snacks. The deck ... hmmm, possibly one of the best 'infinity' decks you will come across. Sourced from stunningly grained local wood the wide planks provide an ocean view from above the tree canopy and up close monkeys and bird life.
We had an exceptional time at BVSC. If you are considering a stay here then take it from an experienced traveller (and one that rarely feels the urge to provide a review), you will be hard pushed to have a better experience.
(Note: I rated the location as only 'Very Good' as it takes a little effort to get to and does leave you a bit out of town. I think this also means that you end up staying with a slightly more pro-actve traveller ... worth the extra hassle to get there? You bet.)
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Buena Vista Surf Club is an intimate design eco-lodge at Playa Maderas, San Juan Del Sur. A unique place for both surfers and non-surfers! Surf or learn how to surf or just enjoy the amazing beaches. Enjoy great home cooked, family style dinners with new friends, do yoga or relax at the 'infinity' sundeck and watch the wildlife from your ‘treehouse’! ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Buena Vista Surf Club Hotel Playa Maderas
- Buena Vista Surf Hotel
- Hotel Buena Vista Surf
- Buena Vista Surf Club Nicaragua/Playa Maderas, San Juan Del Sur