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“Beautiful”
Review of Hacienda Merida

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Hacienda Merida
Antwerpen
Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Beautiful”
Reviewed May 10, 2013

Hacienda Merida is a very nice Hotel/ hostel in Ometepe. I stayed there 4 days and had a great time. The dorm rooms are clean and nice, the food is delicious, the banana coco ice cream was perfect in the Nicaraguan heat. The sunset is one of the most beautiful ive ever seen but the moskitos are terrible but thats normal on a tropical island!. I also had a good chat with the owner and he told me about the ecologic school he is making for the community of Merida, such a great idea! I also went to ojo the aqua its a beautyful cold spring on the island.. go there if you have time.. the 3th day i went up the Madera Volcanco with the super guide named Luis.. his English is not that good but he is trying to tell a lot about the animals and plants etc. on the hike.. it was a great experience! Next time i will stay longer on the island ..

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled solo
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Helpful?
Thank mickske
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Boulder, Colorado
1 review
Reviewed May 7, 2013

I had a great time at Hacienda Merida. The isolated location right on the water was like something out of a dream. The staff here, which is totally Nicaraguan owned and operated are very friendly and made my experience great. Over my time here I was able to explore the property and see first-hand a lot of the amazing projects they're working on. On the grounds they are constructing some eco friendly classrooms and already have a class of 12 students taking bi-lingual classes. I got to meet the students every morning and they were hilarious! Oh and the smoothies here are one of the greatest things I've ever experienced. Get the pinapple-mango mix and lie one of the many hammocks! Lots to do in the area too. Kayaks, volcano hiking, riding bikes, horseback riding. Definitely one of my favorite parts of my vacation!

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank Eliot-A00
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mexico City, Mexico
Level Contributor
8 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed May 6, 2013

Great location with one of the most beautiful sunsets I've ever seen, dropping into the water next to a huge volcano. The property is located right on the water and there is a dock where you can jump off and swim all day. Although it is difficult to get here it's totally worth it. It's next to the two monkey islands and at the foot of the Volcano Maderas. I hiked it and getting to that peak, with the crater lake below was amazing! Very nice accommodations as well and friendly staff. Not to mention lots of hammocks and kayaks to explore the lake!

I was pretty surprised by the two reviews below. I stayed 6 nights and got to learn a lot about the different initiatives at Hacienda Merida and see them in action. They are doing cool projects on sight and on the island. It's one of the few places I've seen taking steps towards the amount of waste in their region and promoting recycling! I'm guessing the other reviewers were quick visits who didn't take the time to get to know the place. The owner is a very interesting person to talk too but I could see again, how someone who didn't take the time to get to know him could get have a sour taste in their mouth if they make quick judgments. Typical trip advisers who only review when they want to trash a place for some reason or another.

Anyways, this place is a definite two thumbs up and you won't regret your decision if you head on down to the Hacienda. The sunset alone is one of those sweet moments in your travels that you'll remember for a lifetime!

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank NathanielGJanowitz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Montreal, Canada
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed April 17, 2013

Come on ! Wake up ! The owner of this place uses all these attributes as marketing tools to make profits !! We had a very bad feeling when we got there . The owner was there all day long in his hammock surfing on his lap top , being served by his employees like a king . He would never looked at us when we arrived and in more than 2 days never said hello . I asked him infos about the ferry and he hardly answered to me telling me with a very condescendent attitude to ask to the desk.
The funniest thing is that the morning we left just after breakfast he suddenly came to us with a friendly attitude to tell us about all his ''programs'' , showed us his video and asked for our email ...we understood he was raising funds !!
We don' t understand they builded a school when there is already one in this very small village ??..instead of helping the village school.
He also talked about the vet team that goes every year to strerilise animals , the way he was talking he was more concerned about the image of his business than real compassion for the animals or public health concerns.

Accomodation wise , the location is nice and remote but hard to reach because of the bad road.
The walls are ridiculously thin between the rooms. The 2nd floor balcony was nice . The food was o.k. but we had the buffet only once.

If I knew I would have never contributed to make this place going !
Think about it and be aware .

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank Pakorette
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Alvaro J M, Owner at Hacienda Merida, responded to this review, May 21, 2013
I am sorry that you felt I was condescending and self indulgent during your stay. During the time that you visited I was very preoccupied with the death of my father, but I am genuinely sorry that this was your experience of me.

I do try and promote the social projects we are involved with because they do a lot to serve this small village. I am proud of these but I will explain these to you now transparently so that you are clear on how these work and so that other TripAdvisor users understand too.

The veterinary group from Oregon State University you referred to that stays with us annually has grown from 6 to 45 students since the time they first came to us and now 700 farm and domestic animals are treated for free as a direct result of our involvement. This is huge for the families here who struggle to make ends meet, but if my mention of this came across as arrogance, I again apologise.

In regard to our school, I am a father of two young children and have a vested interest in their future, the future of their friends and the other children in this tight-knit community. Just 2% of Nicaraguan children finish high school and although schooling in Nicaragua is free to attend, families find it difficult to afford books, school uniforms and all the other things that come with schooling. Class sizes at the local school in the village are very large, with some classes having up to 70 children and just one teacher. Conditions are unsanitary and many families pull their children (particularly the girls), out of school to help with maintaining their houses and farms.

Ometepe Bilingual School isn't trying to change the world, but our aim is to provide a bright future for the children here who attend, with class sizes being no larger than 12, properly trained teachers, clean chlorinated water to drink, nutritious meals and sanitary toilets. We have just finished building the first of 6 classrooms and the children are excited to be moving from their temporary area within the hotel to the new facility. My 5-year old daughter is one of the most excited students! What's more, our building is 50% constructed using trash-filled bottles collected from the local community.

I will not hide from you the fact that the hotel absorbs a lot of the running costs of the school. The school is part of the Nicaraguan education system but we privately manage it so profits from the hotel do go towards our social projects. We also have some money from private donations. Progress is slower when the hotel is quiet because there is less money in the pot. When the hotel is busy, progress with the building does so too.

I do try to inform visitors to the hotel of our work here, but if this appeared like an afterthought, I am sorry that I did not give you the appropriate attention. I certainly was not fundraising. If I was trying to raise anything by requesting an email address, it was awareness.

I thank you for your time at Hacienda Merida and hope I have addressed your concerns about our motives and organization.

If you would like more information about our projects or have any questions, please feel free to email me at alvaronica@gmail.com and I will respond to you directly.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed April 4, 2013

Where to begin with this nightmare...how bout bullets;
Pro-pretty location for a sunset nover the lake, ok rooms, ok food
Cons-very far from any kind of civilization, expensive taxi ride ($35US for about an hour, which you will have to pay TWICE unless you take the rarely scheduled chicken bus) to ports or other island locales, most staff do not speak english depsite their assurance to me via email in ENGlish that they did, except the owner who lazes around in the hammocks demanding his staff bring him drinks, or food, etc. he actually fell asleep in one our 1st night with his macbook in his lap and proceeded to snore and pass gas during his nap-this was in the restaurant area by the way. The place is infested with mosquitoes, and there were a ton of bugs and lizards in our dorm room, as well as a giant millipede over the bed. all the mosquito nets have holes in them and are useless. I was wearing 100% deet and got eaten alive depsite fans on all night. we were told there was a pizza night which was non existent, and they only serve the advertised buffet when they feel like it. our last day, we went to pay in cash, as instructed, and NO ONE in the entire place had any change. SERIOUSLY?! I later found out that the cab driver was instructed NOT to carry change becasue as it turned out, he was employed by the owner. it actually got so far that other guests were offering to help my friend and I fet change! what a racket!! they basically expected us to overpay. I had the worst 2 days of sleep and the most boring time of my entire trip at this place and regret it completely. try the cornerhouse in moyogalpa instead for great service and clean rooms.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank Megstravels621
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Alvaro J M, Owner at Hacienda Merida, responded to this review, May 21, 2013
I am sorry that you did not enjoy your stay with us and will do my best to address your concerns.

The taxi ride night seem expensive, but if you consider the conditions of the road, the distance of 25 miles each way from the port to us, the cost of fuel and the fact that the drivers still have families to feed, I don't believe it is so high. We do advise people to take a chicken bus if they can because it is very cheap and a good but admittedly not a frequent service. It does come 3 times a day so there is public transport to this area.

People at our front desk do speak English. We are in a rural area though and to my knowledge I have never assured anyone that all our staff our fluent, because this is simply not true. 75% of the hotels in the area are run by foreigners, but we belong to the few that employ Nicaraguans, run by Nicaraguans and therefore help their families earn a living.

Regarding my noisy, gassy nap in the hammock, I can only apologise if I got too comfortable. I live at the hotel so it is home. I will not from now on take a nap anywhere other than behind closed doors in my bedroom. I do order food and drink from the restaurant but if it sounded like I was making demands, it must have been lost in translation because I am courteous with my staff and, unlike other businesses in the area, I stay open even when it is quiet so they have a wage to take home.

We do have mosquitos at the hotel as we are surrounded by lake and this is a product of that. We like geckos because they eat the bugs. The dorms do not have mosquito nets, the only nets are in the private rooms, but if you had let me know about the holes in those nets, I would gladly have had these replaced.

We do not advertise a pizza night, but you may have been told that we sometimes serve pizza as part of our buffet. We only put on a buffet when there are enough people to eat the food as we do not like waste, but otherwise there is a reasonable menu available.

It sounds like you stayed at the hotel when it was quiet and when there aren't many guests at the hotel, there sometimes isn't enough change around. We certainly do not expect guests to spend more money than they have accumulated on their bill.

Your reference to the cab driver is simply misinformed. I do not own a car myself, I ride a motorbike and I do not employ taxi drivers. It is common for taxi drivers not to have change because the few banks that are on the island are located at the other side of it to our hotel, but I am sorry that you felt all of us were somehow out to scam you. Sometimes we cannot take for granted in rural communities what we would think of as normal in Western cities.

It sounds like you might have preferred a Western-run hotel somewhere a bit more developed so Moyogalpa would have suited your need. However if TripAdvisor readers want a genuine Isla De Ometepe experience and want to feel more connected with the community, I believe we have a lot to offer.

If you would like to read about our social projects or have any other questions that I have not covered, please contact me directly at alvaronica@gmail.com.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
56 reviews
39 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 64 helpful votes
Reviewed April 3, 2013

Hacienda Merida makes backpacking feel pretty posh and you’ll feel spoiled by the location and views, particularly in the morning and at sunset.
You don’t even need your comfy beds since the terrace hammocks are so comfortable. But you’ll arrive to well-kept rooms and bath towels formed with care into animals (they provide mosquito nets although it wasn’t very buggy).
The pier is lovely and sunsets are spectacular- they make the best fresh fruit smoothies, so order one and head out to dangle your feet over the water or sip from a hammock. Food was also very delicious and service friendly and well-catered to Westerners!
I really appreciate how they enforce taking a guide to hike up to Volcan Maderas for everyone's safety and good sense. If you are in good hiking shape you shouldn’t leave Isla Ometepe without summiting magical Maderas!
I wish we would have stayed longer (3 nights wasn't enough) to make time for using their kayaks to explore the waters.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank DreamOcean
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
St. Petersburg, Florida
Level Contributor
12 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed March 14, 2013

Great hostel. And, there are great private rooms facing the lake on the second floor of a stand alone building. The people speak English and are very friendly and helpful. People from other hotels came here to eat. Lots of comfy hammocks. Comfy matresses on the beds in the dorms with several fans in the room to keep you nice and cool at night. Very nice and clean, too. Good food. Recommend it.

Room Tip: I forget my dorm room number, but it had three bunk beds and was larger than two other dorm rooms I...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled solo
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Helpful?
Thank Trusty F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hacienda Merida

Property: Hacienda Merida
Address: Merida | Rivas, Isla de Ometepe, Nicaragua
Location: Nicaragua > Rivas Department > Isla de Ometepe
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 55 Specialty Lodging in Isla de Ometepe
Number of rooms: 13
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Formed by two volcanoes rising in the middle of the lake Nicaragua, Ometepe Island is a true paradise that offers visitors a unique and fantastic experience. We welcome you with spectacular sunsets, various outdoor activities, untouched wildlife, beautiful views of both volcanoes, hotel dock, direct access to lake Nicaragua and to highspeed internet. it is the perfect place for a calm yet thrilling and definately unforgettable vacation. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Hacienda Merida Hotel Isla De Ometepe

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