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“Jackpot”

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Buena Vista Surf Club
Ranked #2 of 3 Hotels in Playa Maderas
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
Calgary, Alberta
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Jackpot”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 27, 2013 via mobile

Wow, where do I even begin! I stayed at BVSC from July 16-24 as a solo traveller who wanted to learn how to surf. Not only did I achieve that, I also met some great people, ate healthy food, and slept like a baby in my jungle 'treehouse' during that time. Jordan & Kathleen as well as Alex & Jett (pronounced "yet") were the best managing couples that the Dutch owners Marc & Marielle could ask for. Jordan was extremely patient during my daily surfing lessons, and the organic/locally-sourced breakfasts and dinners prepared daily by either couple were all fantastic.

As for Playa Maderas below the hilltop perch of the BVSC, I was thrilled to never encounter any vendors or many other people who weren't there to just surf and chill out, both locals and tourists alike. This uncrowded, surfing-focused beach also featured a little restaurant called "Taco Loco" that served the best/freshest fish tacos that I could've expected, aside from great mojitos and cold beer, of course. All in all, my first visit to Nicaragua couldn't have gone much better and I'm so glad that I didn't stay in touristy San Juan Del Sur instead. What a treat it was to experience the BVSC eco lodge!

Stayed July 2013, traveled solo
Helpful?
Thank nickfromcalgary
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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318 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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    5
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (40)
Date | Rating
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Sacramento, California, United States
Level Contributor
35 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 74 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 21, 2013

My spouse booked this place for us for two nights. If I knew what the accommodations were like from the get-go, I probably would have said it wasn't for me, but it turned out to be a great experience. The key is being open-minded.

This place can be summed up as luxury camping. The design of the property is stunning, especially if you love Scandinavian design, but everything is pretty much open to the jungle, including the rooms. Personally, I am not a fan of creepy crawlies, and there are lots of them here. I counted at least two dozen bug bites all over my body after our short stay here. A fellow guest stumbled across a scorpion. There are big beetles that whiz around kamikaze-style into people. It was quite unnerving for wimp like me. What made the experience so much fun and unique, though, were the people.

Alex and Jet were our hosts from the Netherlands. They were incredibly sweet and hospitable. We just adored them, but they will only be there until September, as host couples are usually on 9-month to one-year contracts. We also met a lot of other adventurous travelers and really enjoyed that breakfast and dinner were group affairs, so there were nice conversations had.

Would I do this again? Absolutely. Traveling in early July, it was cool enough in the evening to sleep (there's no A/C; just a ceiling fan). A beautiful beach is only a five-minute walk away, and that is where you can also catch a $5 truck-ride into San Juan Del Sur. We did a sunset yoga session on the deck that overlooks the ocean. It felt like paradise (except for all the bug bites).

Room Tip: We stayed in unit 6, which is the newest one and not even listed on their website as of July 2013...
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Minh H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
BVSCNicaragua, Owner at Buena Vista Surf Club, responded to this review, July 24, 2013
Thank you for your nice review and it was great having you here. Great to hear you had a wonderful stay and glad that you were open minded and managed outside of your normal comfort zone.

This year the rainy or green season has been wetter than normal and we've been able to welcome more insects, animals, etc than the last few years. This is a temporarily thing and can change per week. There's for example a week in May or June when there's a lot of brown beetles and than they disappear again, etc.

We do have scorpions in Nicaragua, but it's very rare that guests get stung. Their sting is not dangerous (unless you're allergic); it feels like a wasp sting.

Mosquitos come and go and their presence also depends on the amount of rain, etc. During the dry season months there's hardly to no mosquitos. In some of the previous reviews guests mentioned the holes in the mosquito nets. We've checked all of them and either repaired or replaced them. The nets (if kept closed) will keep mosquitos out.

Sometimes bites are mistaken for mosquito bites, but are actually sandfly or no-see-ums bites. These little creatures only show up during certain nights/days and are mostly seen around sunset at the beach.

We're in the jungle after all and with the small animals also come the bigger animals like the howler monkeys, ant eaters, sloths, iguanas and tons of different birds.

Thanks for staying and hopefully we can welcome you again in the near future!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Charleston, South Carolina
Level Contributor
9 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 7, 2013 via mobile

PROS:
Amazing clubhouse, unbelievable views day and night (stars amazing)
Clean
Good food (family style)
Treehouses (rooms) really well designed and beautiful
CONS:
Walk down hill to beach about 10 min
No hot water
Bugs (someone even had a bat) in room but to be expected since there are only 3 walls!
Mosquito net had a few small holes
Eat with all guests for breakfast and dinner, no single tables
Can't flush any toilet paper

  • Stayed February 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank tricat5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Corona del Mar, California
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 3, 2013

Stayed here with my boyfriend in December 2012. It was fabulous. I did yoga each morning with Kathleen and/or Ashley while he went out surfing for some early morning waves. I took surf lessons with Jordan- who was very patient and a great instructor. We truly enjoyed the atmosphere and getting to know other people at this place. The view from the deck is amazing, the beach is just down the hill (coming up was not THAT great), and the people were what made this place special. That, and the tree houses! It was like we were sleeping in the jungle.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Kat S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kettering, Ohio
Level Contributor
55 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 29, 2013

Buena Vista Surf Club does have a good view and we greatly enjoyed the two couples who served as volunteer hosts. The location of the facility is within walking distance of many stunningly beautiful beaches and a highlight for us was a horseback ride along the beach. The meals (breakfast and dinner) prepared were good as well as being healthy and nutritious. I appreciate the resort's efforts to be environmentally responsible through the use of solar energy and I didn't miss electricity, Wi-Fi or hot-water showers.
But BVSC is NOT picture perfect, and it is certainly not for everyone, so know what you are getting in to. BVSC is very pricey, especially for Nicaragua, but does not include the extra attention to detail that would merit the cost. Let's start with the accommodations. The tree houses are nestled in among the trees but are free-standing, not actual tree houses. They are only partially screened which puzzles me - why bother with ANY screen if you are not going to screen the entire cabana? As a result, there will be bugs and MOSQUITOS which manage to get under the mosquito net to enjoy dinner on you. The shower floor is not sloped to allow proper drainage and as result the entire bathroom floor remains wet for hours after your cold shower. The bed was a bit lumpy, there were only two small pillows and the bed linens were of only average quality. This would be adequate if the price were average, but I expect more high-end bedding in this price range. We were given two bath towels, only one hand towel and no washcloths. We were never given clean towels in the four nights we stayed. Little things could make a big difference here. Higher quality linens and towels and perhaps the small shampoo, conditioner and body wash that most lodgings offer would be appreciated.
I appreciated the meals prepared by the volunteer hosts and enjoyed the communal table. It was fun to get to know the hosts and the other guests and the dinner conversations were always interesting. Breakfast included coffee, tea, juice, granola, cereal, fruit, and either French toast or crepes. Dinners included pasta with vegetable sauce, mahi-mahi, hamburgers and a traditional Nicaraguan meal of chicken, rice and beans. Water was the only drink offered, but beer and wine were available for purchase. Again, at this price range perhaps iced tea and coffee could be offered at diner as well as an occasional dessert.
Finally, we were given two complimentary bottles of water upon our arrival. Additional water was available for sale, but I believe clean, safe drinking water should be provided at no additional cost to guests. I recommend that BVSC invest in the large water jugs with taps that so many other facilities use. This would save on plastic (BVSC is an eco-friendly resort) and allow guests to refill their water bottles.
In conclusion, Buena Vista Surf Club is an average facility with a high-end price tag. Either raise the bar on the facilities, amenities and service or lower the price.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank vlhdcl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
BVSCNicaragua, Owner at Buena Vista Surf Club, responded to this review, July 6, 2013
Hola,

Thank you for staying with us and for taking the time to review us.
We honestly do appreciate all feedback (either positive or negative) and will always try to use it to improve our lodge.

As we explain on our website, we're not a standard hotel and we're not the right place for everybody. We try to give as much information upfront to make sure that future guests know what to expect and to avoid disappointment. Some of the things you mention in your review are unfortunately more applicable for a 5 star chain hotel in Northern America, than for a small 6 room hotel in Nicaragua.

Our rooms get cleaned every day and sheets and towels are changed every 3 days. We have good quality mattresses and bed linens and we actually have special mattress covers to make the beds more comfortable. Our apologies for not changing your towels and for not putting on the cover (this may have made it feel bubbly?). We agree that this should not have happened of course.

Price is always very subjective, but we do believe that we offer value for money. According to TripAdvisor we're even within the Top 25 Bargain hotels of Central America...

Thanks again for staying and reviewing us and we hope you nevertheless had a great time in Nicaragua.

Marc & Marielle
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 7, 2013

We spent 3 days and 3 nights @ bvsc last month and had a fantastic experience... It truly lives up to all the positive reviews! It is located in a tropical paradise a quick walk to a beach with good surfing for all levels. The communal yoga sessions and meals create a really relaxed vibe; conversations lasted hours after dinner while we watched spectacular lightening over the pacific. If we travel back to nicaragua again, we certainly will come back to bvsc! Thanks for a wonderful experience!

  • Stayed May 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank betsysinger1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
8 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 8, 2013

The Surf Club is an amazing place to stay. The tree houses are awesome, each with a nice view and are very comfortable. The views are phenomenal but most importantly the owners and the atmosphere that they have created make this place truly special. The food was outstanding as well. I highly recommend to anyone going to visit Nicaragua. The Surf Club is a 5 minute walk to the beach.

Room Tip: Choose one of the treehouses.
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank CarynM558
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Buena Vista Surf Club

Property: Buena Vista Surf Club
Address: Playa Maderas | San Juan Del Sur, Playa Maderas, San Juan del Sur 0000, Nicaragua
Location: Nicaragua > Rivas Department > San Juan del Sur > Playa Maderas
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free Parking
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 3 Hotels in Playa Maderas
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 6
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

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