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“Unscrupulous Owner is Deceptive and Overcharges”
Review of Miraflores Lodge

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Miraflores Lodge
Reviewed June 4, 2010

Despite the owner ripping me off, a leaky roof and fire ants in my bed, I had a wonderful trip. Miraflores has a casual tropical ambiance, the food is good, and the people who work there are lovely. I enjoyed my second-story bedroom in the attractive upstairs lodge (the downstairs budget rooms are dark and damp), going to the beach and meeting interesting people. However, being a month-long guest one sees things that short-term guests often don’t see or choose to ignore. Unfortunately, the owner Pamela Carpenter has serious ethical issues regarding money and being honest. She runs Miraflores like it’s her private fiefdom—or thiefdom. During my stay, a long-time staff person, two other guests, and several locals stated that Pamela isn’t straight in the way she charges people. Beware—there’s a reason there are no rates, and no refund policies, posted on her website or at Miraflores Lodge.

Upon booking my stay, Pamela asked for a “deposit” when she meant full payment. The first 2 weeks of my stay, it rained constantly and the roof in my (prepaid) room leaked everywhere except the bed. There were 3 large puddles on the floor in my room! Pamela (deceptively) acted like the rain was coming in the windows, when actually the roof leaked. After two weeks of rain and leaks, Pamela replaced the roof. This resulted in my not being able to use my room or the lodge for 3 days. Pamela’s TV was frequently on from midnight to dawn which prevented me from sleeping 4 nights. Another night fire ants in my bed were stinging me so badly, I had to go to another bedroom to sleep.

When I mentioned these inconveniences in the expectation of some acknowledgement of my being inconvenienced, Pamela overcharged me on my food bill! Because she told me she’d give me some free meals in exchange for working in her cafe, I worked 10 hours—bailing her out several times when no one else was there to wait tables. She’d also told me she would pay the 10% service charge because I was on a “meal plan” and eating in the café almost daily. My last night there, I was shocked to find that I had been overcharged on my food bill—with no free meals on it, and with the service charge added! When I reminded her of her agreement to give me some free meals in exchange for working in her cafe, and to not charge me the 10% service fee, she responded (twice!) with an imperial “So?” When I replied that she couldn’t change our agreement at the last minute, she shouted at me “Yes, I can!” She then rounded up my bill and charged the rounded up amount to my credit card! Needless to say, I was shocked, appalled and angered at her using me for free labor. Her behavior is mind-boggling unethical and illegal!

Pamela’s personal boundary/control issues also result in unprofessional treatment of her paying guests. She frequently snaps at guests—usually individuals, not couples or groups. On my 4th day there, after 3 days of rain—when I was the only guest in the lodge—Pamela snapped “You should have only one towel on the towel rack at a time! You’re taking over! That’s why I wanted to put you in the apartment, so you’d be contained!” (As it’d been raining torrentially for 3 days, it was impossible for anything to dry on the out-door towel rack.)

If you’re with a partner or a group and she’s racking up your bill, or if you’re drinking with her and listening to her talk, Pamela can turn on the charm. My advice: stay away from Miraflores! There are plenty of other places to stay Playa Chiquita. You don’t have to stay in a place run by a deceitful, unscrupulous owner.

  • Stayed: February 2010, traveled solo
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1  Thank starcompass
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MirafloresEcoLodge, Owner at Miraflores Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded August 14, 2010

In response to Imogene.
Thank you for having been a month long guest at our Lodge where, as cousin of my daughter's law partner, we offered you a reduced price,paid one month in advance at $20. a night, including a full tropical breakfast., a painting studio and full hotel services. .
My staff and I have done all we could to serve you.
Of course some times thing do not always work out how we would have wanted that.
We apologise for that .

Thanks for your mail It has offered me a great opportunity to get a better picture of who you really are.

Pamela

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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23 - 29 of 44 reviews

Reviewed February 10, 2010

3 women and myself just returned from 8 days at the Miraflores Eco Lodge. It was wonderful. I would go back in a second! The rooms are open air, with hammocks to lounge in, balcony showers and king size beds with mosquito netting. We stayed on the top floor of the lodge where you really felt like being in a tree house. I loved all the jungle foliage, waking up to howler monkeys and hearing the rain on the roof at night. The owner, Pamela Carpenter, prepared a lucious breakfast each morning complete with CR coffee, homemade breads, fruits and eggs prepared your way. She also arranged for expertly prepared dinners which were better than any other meal we had. It was an experience that I will remember always and would recommend to anyone who wanted to get out of the rat race and relax in a beautiful, carribean location. .

  • Stayed: February 2010, traveled with friends
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1  Thank katefur
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 18, 2009

My girlfriend and I loved staying at the Miraflores Ecolodge and have to give special recognition to the owner, Pamela Carpenter. Pamela went out of her way to make sure all of our needs were met, including arranging a special taxi to the border, making dinner reservations, and spending ample time talking with us about her experiences in Panama and in Costa Rica.

Her life story is amazing - born in Panama in the Canal Zone, helped to start a political party before having to flee the country, and started her own organic flower business that ultimately provided her the means to built the Miraflores Ecolodge (which she designed herself). Plus, since moving to Puerto Viejo she helped to setup a Monkey Bridge to ensure that the local howler monkeys can make safe passage over the street. It was a special treat to have the opportunity to spend time with you and we recommend you visit the lodge! And, the service was great - felt like they were going out of their way for us

  • Stayed: August 2009, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank MatthewNeagle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 14, 2009

We stayed 4 nights (more than we wanted to originally). Pamela, the owner, runs the place with Californian charme while - having been in the area for a long time - knowing the locals and the things to do around Viejo / Manzanillo, even in bad weather. The breakfast comes with plenty of home grown, delicious fruit. We loved the place.

  • Stayed: February 2009, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank KonradBerlin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 17, 2008

Attracted to the carribean coast, we travelled to Manzanillo and came across Miraflores and went to find out if there were any rooms available. We booked in for one night and ended up staying for seven. The people at miraflores, (pamela, lucas, mayla, and others whose names I've forgottem or spelt wrongly) gave it an extra special feeling, The warmth of the people here made it difficult to leave.

if you want to spent time in rustic cabin type accomodation, have great homemade breakfasts, listen to the sounds of the jungle as you fall asleep and wake up to sloths hanging about in the trees, then go here. If you want a homogenised hotel experience, stay away and leave the place for folk who love a truly magical and wonderfully warm time.

Stayed: February 2008
1  Thank petesloth
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 24, 2008

We just spent 10 days in Costa Rica and while the first half was very rushed, staying in a different town each night, the second half was as laid back as vacations go. We arrived on the Carribbean coat and found that there was nowhere we wanted to stay that was less than $70 a night...until we found the Miraflores. We were shown the rooms and knew immediately that we would be there for the remainder of the trip.
The rooms on the ground level are great for budget travelers in groups of 3-4 but I would recommend the second story accommodations. The rooms are simple, clean and as close to nature as you can be without sleeping outside. The showers face the open jungle (alive with sloths, monkeys and other local wildlife) and the common sitting area has beautiful furniture (and a hammock) and is a great place to meet other travelers.
I can't say enough about the food. Breakfast was delicious (and included with your room) and each afternoon and evening there are amazing freshly prepared meals at very reasonable prices.
The owner and her staff were so kind that it felt like we were staying with family.
The nicest beach we found on the east coast was just a two minute drive down the road.
I highly recommend staying at the Miraflores!

  • Stayed: January 2007, traveled with friends
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2  Thank getting_outa_maine
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 28, 2007

What a magic place, exactly what I wanted to live in Costa Rica, "I had a dream.."and it has been realised there. I discover the place one friday afternoon, walking on the street, I saw Sole and I knew whereas she was showing me the place that I would came back there and stay. Thats what happened! I felt like at home there, simplicity, beauty, calm, nature, excellent food, VERY NICE PEOPLE! those are the main things among others ones, that I really enjoyed there. I felt inspired and I hope to come back in order to give workshops about holistic health. Miraflores is perfect for that!!
Pura Vida!!

  • Stayed: March 2007, traveled solo
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Thank patchouliMontreal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Miraflores Lodge

Address: Playa Chiquita, Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, Costa Rica
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Limon > Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
Hotel Style:
Ranked #86 of 113 Specialty Lodging in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
Price Range: $45 - $271 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 19
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Also Known As:
Miraflores Lodge Costa Rica/Limon

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