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“If you like wildlife - start your Costa Rica trip here...”
Review of Mawamba Lodge

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Mawamba Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed July 20, 2010

It is very hard to rate such place because it is unique. It simply cannot be rated by numbers. Let me try to describe. This is eco-lodge at its best. Located in the heart of Tortuguero national park. This park protects breeding ground for the green sea turtles that come over and over here to continue it's generation. So the major attraction here is the surrounding wildlife. And for that it gets an exceptional rating. As per facilities... We liked the buffet style food, rooms were clean and charming. You really feel being in a wooden tent. I got a very homey feeling there being an outdoor person. in the room you got a fan, a bed and hot water. That is about it. hot water is intermitent though, but it is a global issue in Costa Rica even in 4* hotels. But again, you got Caribbean sea 50 meters right and channels 50 meters left being on an island. All situated in a jungle with all corresponding wildlife. Kayak tour is highly recommended. We saw howler monkeys, sloth and ton of birds and butterflies, caymans. You can go to the local village for some local cultural attractions. Very safe even at night (make sure you got flashlight). Lodge has free wi-fi. Village has internet cafe.

What I would do next time I'm there is to take kayak package option although it is extremely expensive. I would say overall the place is a bit overpriced especially considering kayak option which is about 350 $US alone. But, on a way in you would enjoy 5-6 hours of kayaking through the jungle instead of 1 hr bus drive and 1 hr boat ride.

Another option I would suggest is a turtle nesting tour during the nesting season: July -October. $30 pp is ok when you consider that money go towards protecting those amazing animals. Although, it is not guaranteed that you will see the turtle... but if you do -just seeing those giants may turn your life over.

Bottom line - I would highly recommend this place for adventure and wildlife loving people. If you budget allows take a kayak option. If I got that right: 2 night stay with full board + kayak option is running around $700 US.

Our guide Jimmy was the best part of our stay - great, very knowledgeable personality!

  • Stayed: July 2010, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Anton_Oksana
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed July 15, 2010

The Mawamba Lodge was quite an experience for me! I was worried at first that not having AC or TV in the room would be frustrating. However, we had a very nice stay!

The transport from San Jose to Tortugero is not a short trip. After driving for several hours on a bus, you get on a boat which takes you through the canals to the lodge. The tour guides make this transportation very entertaining, however. They teach you all about Costa Rica, stop and allow you to take pictures along the way, and they stop to look at animals anytime they can be found.

The rooms (or little cabins, really), were kept very clean. The very powerful fan in the room kept me quite comfortable temperature-wise at night, and the shower had plenty of warm water for us to get clean before bed time.

There is so much to do around the hotel (excursions on the canals and in the rain forest with your tour guide) that you really don't spend time in your room other than before meals and sleeping!

We paid extra to go on the sea turtle excursion and were very glad we did it even though it was during a thunderstorm at 10PM. The storm cleared up once we arrived on the beach, and the vast amount of stars at night here are indescribable. We were able to see a 1M long, almost 200 lb, 40 year old turtle lay her eggs and cover them back up. It was an amazing experience.

We never went into the town of Tortugero... it was too hot walk that far without AC to cool of in after. You can't swim in the carribean sea here (sharks and undertoe is too strong). However, the pool at the lodge is quite nice!

Our tour guide (Humberto) was VERY knowledgable about the plants, animals, culture, and history of Costa Rica. He made our experience traveling to Tortugero even better!

The reason I say it is somewhat like summer camp is because you eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner with your tour group at an assigned table daily. You attend all excursions with this group as well. This allowed everything we did to take place in a much more organized and safe manner... however, it did begin to feel like summer camp after a while. ;-)

PS: You can hear the howler monkeys in the middle of the night here!

  • Stayed: July 2010, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank sanddune09
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 4, 2010

Bring your mosquito repellent! Even though our guide said there were no mosquitoes at the lodge, my husband's legs were bitten up during one dinner. The rooms were large and we had rocking chairs in front. You have to pay to use the in-room safe. The hot water was intermittent during our showers. The pool looked very nice. The food during all meals was good with decent selection for practically being in the middle of the jungle. The beach was pretty and there were very few people there. The employees and guides were helpful. Nothing to do at night, but we were exhausted anyway. No alarm clocks or phones, even though morning excursions start at 6am. Comfortable hammocks were also available on the property. Suggest you bring your own toiletries.

Stayed: May 2010, traveled as a couple
1  Thank scal_patty
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 15, 2010

I stayed 2 nights at Mawamba and it was a wonderful experience!! Very nice and comfortable room. I had some problems with water but the managed to solve the problem righ away. I recommend this place for a full "tico" experience in the middle of the jungle!

  • Stayed: April 2010, traveled solo
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1  Thank Alex1426
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 6, 2010

If you like birds and animals you're going to like this place. I've seen it
called a light version of the amazon, and thats quite a good description. You have the same boat ride to get there, the rain-forest and boat excursions are similar. The amazon is more of an experience though, difficult to say why, as the birds and animals are better here (at least for us), but the amazon feels big and empty, Tortoguerro doesn't, it's cozy in comparison! The hotel in Tortoguerro was quite civilized, luxurious even, with a nice pool and good food. One comparison was won hands down by Tortoguerro, Conrad our guide in Tortoguerro was really good,
he and the boat guy found lots of good birds, and animals, and they were also good at positioning for photography, Conrad had his camera with him too, and he's an enthusiastic and genuine birder, you rarely find a guide like that. Tortoguerro is well worth a visit and this hotel is a good one.

  • Stayed: March 2010, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Spad16
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 12, 2010

We started our Costa Rica trip in Tortuguero and it was the highlight of our trip. The accommodations here are on the basic and rustic side, but very suitable for the setting and comfortable enough for short stays. The programs offered at Mawamba Lodge are the main attraction. The morning and afternoon guided boat tours are some of your best shots of observing wildlife in the whole country. You get unobstructed views of monkeys, toucans, sloths and more. The night walk to the turtle beaches is a magical experience. It is amazing to watch these gentle giants creep onto the beach, dig into the earth to lay their eggs and push themselves back into the cool waters without ever looking back at the young they will never meet. Also the whole experience of hiking through the jungle at night with flashlights and sitting on a moonlit beach watching for shadows to emerge from the ocean.

At the Mawamba Lodge, there are also a number of cool things on site. Enclosed butterfly and frog gardens, its own sanitation system, a beautiful pool, and well manicured gardens teaming with reptiles and singing birds. Near the pool is a walkway where the red eye tree frogs like to hang out at sunrise and sunset. The man who maintains this area, Eric, is writing a book on their behaviors and can answer all your questions while you watch these alien like creatures singing to one another.

The only downside is consistent in many Costa Rica hotels....front desks close early and lights around the property are shut down at a certain hour for conservation. Therefore, don't expect to leave your room late at night and if anything goes wrong and you need help, you need to go outside and yell and hope security hears you.

  • Stayed: August 2009
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1  Thank RobynPringTravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 4, 2010

Overall good hotel; the rooms are cabins with basic beds and bathroom facilities, but everything is neat and clean. Food is not so great, but the surroundings make up for everything! Besides, Mawamba Lodge is the only hotel in Tortuguero, where you have access to the beach and you can walk to the village of Tortuguero or go searching for baby turtles! Great butterfly park and swimmingpool!

  • Stayed: November 2008, traveled with friends
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1  Thank Poeticalatina
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Mawamba Lodge

Address: Tortuguero Canals, Tortuguero 10980-1000, Costa Rica
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 #2 of 36 Specialty Lodging in Tortuguero
Price Range: $288 - $474 (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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