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“Turtle tracks in the sand!”
Review of Mawamba Lodge

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Mawamba Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed June 10, 2013

Mawamba was just excellent. The food, the ambiance, the pool, the butterfly gardens, the tours- we did the three day/two night package. Every step of the way was well planned and comfortable. In the early mornings I walked on the beach and found turtle tracks and then turtle nests. Exciting! Monkeys and Caiman and interesting birds on the tour. It was everything I hoped it would be.

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank SalvajeCindy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed June 7, 2013

We recently stayed at the Mawamba Lodge with my family and brought our 17 month old son. I was a little nervous bringing my son here but overall it turned out great! I was expecting to be roughing it but honestly it felt homey! Yes there will be bugs so I recommend covering up with light clothes and everything will be damp and smelly but everyone else is too!! In addition read the reviews others have written before you book so you know what to expect and get helpful hints..ie saving the wash colth on the first day :) Now for the toddler necessities - They do not have cribs (we purchased the lotus by guava family and I highly recommend it!) but they do have highchairs which was a life saver!!! The kitchen was great and would always fill up my sons sippy cup with milk even out of the usual meals. It was also hard cause they were constantly changing the hours of tours on us and so I couldn’t really coordinate naps with the tours. There isn't a gate around the pool so you have to watch your toddler (which you have to do everywhere). I never felt like my son was not welcome...the staff were always attentive and happy. My son loved it and he saw so much wildlife!

My husband and I did the morning Kayak trip while grandma watched the lil guy and honestly it was one of the highlights of our trip! It was an additional fee but well worth!

Now for the reasons that I did not give the hotel the full 5 stars was because the transportation back was bad....we waited over an hour between the boat and the bus which was not fun with a toddler and could have been ok except for the fact you are in the middle of no where and there is no AC. Also we were told we were going to see a turtle museum and never saw one.

Overall, it was a great experience and I would reccomend it.

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled with family
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Thank chandrea13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 26, 2013

If you enjoy camping, this is the place for you. Keep in mind there is no tv, alarm clock, internet access, coffee pot, or air conditioning in your room. I've never eaten so much rice and beans, eggs, pineapple, papaya and watermelon in my life. It was pretty much on the menu for every meal. Although, the coffe was wonderful - unfortunately, none that I found was available until breakfast was served at 7:30 am. I'm an early riser so this was a bit difficult for me. I had expected to see more wildlife, but as explained by our guide on the way to Tortuguero from San Jose, it's a false expectation. Between the noise of the motorboats and nature's ability to blend into the environment, you'll only see a handfull of monkeys, herons and butterflies. I would forgo the night nature walk. Our guide tried to keep us exited with a couple of spiders and grasshoppers. I thought it would never end. It certainly was not worth the extra $30 per person. Let's just say, it didn't sway any of us to sign up for the next day's early morning adventure. It is a lovely property and well maintained, however, they do need to improve the amenities. Access to a cup a coffee first thing in the morning is not too much to ask.

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank do244
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 15, 2013

There are few areas needing any improvement at all. Great guide, pleasant accommodations, everything taken care of, and an excellent value. Enjoyed fellow guests from several countries. Tortuguero is a treasure, and the Mawamba staff knows it well. Staff fluent in several languages, and familiar with the variety of birds and animals we could see up close.

  • Stayed: April 2013
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Thank JosephLowrey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 15, 2013

Had a wonderful stay at Mawamba, I will try to give some helpful advice that others may not have covered. As in past reviews the ocean is not swimmable do to the riptides , but it is a lovely beach. You must be off the beach by 6pm as for turtle protection. They have a few cabanas that have electrical outlets to them which is nice if you would want to hook up a kindle or other electronic devices. They also let you borrow hammocks where you can hook up on some trees by the beach it is a nice way to beat the midday heat. Beach towels are provided for the pool which is nice. They provide water at meals, but that is it. you will have to pay 4 to 5 dollars a bottle. Glass of wine is $6, soft drinks $3 and beer $4. They offer an afternoon boat ride, depending on who you booked through, make sure you look at your itinerary. My travel company said that I had a morning tour and an afternoon tour. When I got to the lodge they said that they only had me down for an afternoon tour. They were kind enough to call the company and get it straightened out. I did have the morning tour included. I know others have had issues with that so make sure you know what you are signed up for before you go so that you get what you paid for. Each day that you do a boat tour you will need to pay a 10 dollar national park fee. , unless it was pre bought in your package. You can pay in us dollars just make sure that no bills are ripped. A guy in front of me had a ripped bill and they wouldn't except it. If you are not signed up for the morning tour I highly recommend it. You see more wildlife and it is much cooler than the afternoon heat. Wildlife that you can hope to see are 3 species of monkeys : Howler, spider and Capuchin. You also may see sloth, river otters , Caiman and crocodiles. Lots of iguanas, basilisk's, snakes and many bird species. Mosquitos were not that bad when I went, but I always use 100 % Deet when I vacation, just to be safe. Make sure to bring plenty of sunblock and keep hydrated. As mentioned in previous reviews they do not provide wash cloths, so when you get your welcome drink upon arrival hold on to the wash cloth they hand you if you would like to use wash cloths. Another helpful hint is to bring some fabric softener sheets to wipe on your clothes and a small bottle of febreeze to keep your clothes smelling a bit nicer. you will sweat a lot and if you reuse your clothes it helps a bit. I have tried to wash clothes myself on vacation and hang them out to dry, but because of the heat they always end up smelling like wet dog...lol. if you do need your clothes laundered they will do it for you for a fee. You will not need to carry cash around with you as they will set you up on a tab system and then you can pay at the end of your stay. So keep your passport and your other valuables in the safe provided. You do get internet service in the lounge and by the bar area, but it can be slow. On the way to the resort make sure you get off the bus at the banana plantation there is an old man selling fresh coconut milk and he has some rhinoceros beetles you can hold on a banana. They look monstrous, but they are kind of cute. Hope you have a wonderful stay!

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled with family
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3  Thank Heatherob
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 25, 2013

Set in extensive gardens/grounds, the rustic cabins are comfortable, but lack air-con & rely on fans, which are effective … & allow you to fall asleep to the sound of the ocean if you’re in cabins 37-54, at the back of the camp & about 5 minutes walk from the hotel’s facilities. The lower numbered cabins face the lagoon & are closer to reception, the bar, pool & restaurant. We have three main gripes with the lodge; firstly, no drinking water is provided (other than at meal times) & we were advised not to drink the water (from the taps in our bathroom), but to buy water – at $5 a bottle. I think that at the price we paid, we should get drinking water. Rooms lacked tea/coffee making facilities, but there was no coffee station, say, in reception – again, we had to buy mid-morning/mid-afternoon drinks. The food served is of an acceptable standard, but making us sit on long tables with other members of the party made the experience feel like a school canteen.

On the plus side, the rooms were clean and airy, there was ample hot water & towels, & the grounds were superb for an early morning walk. However, two chairs on the veranda area would have added to our relaxation. The real highlight of our time at Mawamba Lodge was the time we spent with Humerbto, our guide around the waterways. His knowledge was outstanding and his eyesight incredible as he spotted things that we would have certainly missed.

The beach is impressive, although not 'tropical paradise golden sand & you're advised not to swim in the sea.

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank joys59
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ejurado, Director of Sales at Mawamba Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded May 7, 2013

Dearjoys59, Thank you so much for taking the time to share your experience about Tortuguero and Mawamba Lodge. We are delighted to know ytou enjoyed the walks, the waterways and your tour guide. Tortuguero is definitely a gem and a great hideaway for nature lovers, as opportunities for spotting wildlife here are just excellent, and with the help of a good guide, it definitely adds to the experience, and we do take that very seriously. Our guides have been trained and have tyears of experience in the area. Thanks for the photos too!
We also thank you for pointing all the things you enjoyed about this visit and also the ones you thought could get improved. We do have fresh water in our restaurant to refill water bottles, at no charge, we would have been delighted to refill your water bottle. we do have appreciate your comment about wanting to have more coffee available, we have made a note of this.
As for sitting with other participants in your groups: This has been a long tradition in our company. We are a family run, Costa Rican business, where we believe that travel is not only enjoy the great natural beauties about the area, but also a great opportunity to meet people from other parts of the world, that you would probably wont get to talk to or meet if it werent for your traveling experience. With this in mind, and with our vision of "Tradition of Costa Rican hospitaly" we like for our visitors to sit along with their tour and fellow travelers during meals, so they can share experiences of their travel, what they've seen on the day, what they are trying to find next day, and in general, share their experiences about their traveling in Costa Rica. This has been something that our travelers really appreciate and something we'd like to keep so we provide an opportunity for new friends to be made, new accquaintances and new experiences to be shared.
Thank you again, and Pura Vida!

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Reviewed April 24, 2013

This was a very good & interesting 3 day / 2 night trip, but going at the start of the rainy season gave us........rain - and lots of it!
We were collected from the Holiday Inn Express in San Jose at 6am & it took about 7 hours in total to get to this place including stops for breakfast & at the Del Monte banana plantation - which was fascinating seeing what is needed to get these to the supermarkets of the world. There were 16 people in our bus from all over the world & most of us seemed to get along very well, joining up throughout the days for meals & chats.
We had rain most of the journey, but it cleared for a few hours in the afternoon to visit the town. We were up at 5am the next morning after a very wet night to go on the early morning boat trip (extra charge of $30pp) but this was then abandoned after just half an hour due to the torrential rain which stayed with us until lunch time. We then took a walk around the grounds including the frog & butterfly farms, & in the afternoon had another boat trip, but this time in glorious sunshine - very hot & steamy.
We saw lots of wildlife including many different birds, crocodiles, monkeys etc & this was a good boat trip, the cost of which was included in the tour. The guide suggested we would have a longer trip than normal due to the morning tour being abandoned - we had 20 mins more - not sure if this made up for the 2 hours lost in the morning!
We had planned to do the night hike (extra charge of $30 pp) but decided against it - pity the hotel did not offer some sort of discount off this due to the morning trip being abandoned & the money not refunded due to "nature". Maybe if the hotel had said a % discount off then most of our party probably would have taken this as well. As it was, no one did this & the hotel missed out.
The food varied a bit from good to average - all buffet but the bar was quite expensive - $4 for a bottle of beer, $28 for a bottle of wine & $7 for a cocktail. Not many people took this up. Our room was fine - large with a huge bathroom, but others did say their rooms were "tired" and needed some work.
Left around 9am and dropped back in San Jose at 4.30pm so another long day travelling.
Not sure I'd do it again but what we did we enjoyed - pity the hotel missed out on what would have been a bit of good PR which left us all a bit unhappy.

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank 6nationschampsagain
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ejurado, Director of Sales at Mawamba Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded May 7, 2013

Dear 6ntionschampsa,
Thank you so much for writing a detailed description of your visit. We truly appreciate it and I am sure it is really helpful for future travelers. Getting here is a ride of around 4 30 to 5 hours, as we depart San Jose at 7 am (after picking up at the different hotels in San Jose) and will be arriving in the Lodge for lunch time. I know it is an important distance, but the views are usually pretty great, and the trip is break down by the bus ride and then the boat ride. Many comment on the boat ride to be their favorite part of the journey. It is definitely an adventure to arrive in Tortuguero.
We are located in the heartland of the rainforest. Because of the rains in the area, is that we get these lush, rich, evergreen forest, and it is hard to predict the amount of rain we will get, it is very difficult to predict that in the tropical rainforests. The natural haven we have in this area for the great wildlife you mention is much possible because of the weather. We always plan on doing all the activities that we offer, and it is very difficult that we cancel an activity because of the rain, but if we returned early was because the tour guide considered it was necessary to. When that happens, we do, as you say, try to compensate our visitors as much as with can in the upcoming tours, but, who can predict the events of nature? That is all just part of touring in a natural environment.
We are delighted to know you got to see lots of wildlife, and I am sorry you decided against doing the night tour, it is a great opportunity to enjoy the forest from a completely different perspective of what you get to see in the daytime. The sounds that you hear on the forest at night, and just the fact of standing in the middle of the jungle at night with just the light of your flashlight, is definitely a great experience.
Pura vida

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Additional Information about Mawamba Lodge

Address: Tortuguero Canals, Tortuguero 10980-1000, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Limon > Tortuguero
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 34 Specialty Lodging in Tortuguero
Price Range: $277 - $576 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Mawamba Lodge 3*
Number of rooms: 54
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Nestled in the heartland of the lush rainforest of Tortuguero Canals, Costa Rica, Mawamba Lodge and Tortuguero National Park are worth visiting year round. What makes us different? *Unbeatable location on a strip of land between the Tortuguero Canals and the Caribbean Ocean, providing direct access to both * The closest Lodge to Tortuguero town within walking distance (no need to take boats to town) * Free WI FI in selected areas of the hotel * Complimentary safety deposit box in your room * Unlimited free visits to our MAWAMBA PARK: where we offer two butterfly gardens, one iguana and one frog garden. A guided visit is also included in our 3 day / 2 night package * Private nature trais for nature walks * Exciting optional tours including night walks in the forest, kayaking, fishing and the NEW! Katonga floating restaurant for sunset tours or dinners / lunches on board. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Mawamba Lodge Tortuguero Hotel Tortuguero
Mawamba Lodge Costa Rica/Tortuguero

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