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“Great Experience...trying to clear some concerns”
Review of Makanda by the Sea

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Makanda by the Sea
Ranked #16 of 46 Hotels in Manuel Antonio
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
Reviewed May 25, 2006

I stayed at Makanda by the Sea just before Christmas of 2005 (approx Dec 14 - 21). I never wrote a review and now feel BAD that I hadn't. I see some of these reviews saying that Makanda has no soul and people are let down. I believe that reviewers and travelers must understand what you are getting into when you travel to another country.

Our experience was no less than perfect. The views were beautiful, food - exceptional, rooms - immaculate, and the service was as personal as you can get. WONDERFUL!!!! The staff was extremely accomadating from booking activities, information, pointing out wildlife, and providing amnentiies that weren't even asked for but made our vacation a truly wonderful experience.

The grounds are intimate and lush wish foliage and wildlife. There is more soul here than many of the travels I have ever experienced. The grounds were under construction with the owners new house but obviously temporary. It is down a huge hill not in the immediate resort where you don't even know its there. WHO WOULDN'T WANT TO BUILD THERE HOME THERE, I was jealous.

Like I said the staff and service was wonderful from beginning to end. We even attended their private holiday party they invited us to. It had free food, transportation, drinks and entertainment. Besides that the staff went out of its way to personal know us and in turn we got to know them. The owners even offered us a ride to Manuel Antonio Beach one morining.

As far as security, you are in another country. Few countries operate like the US espeecially to foreigners. I know that I do NOT want to stay at a resort that has guards walking around or barb wire fences surrounding it. Things happen and thats unfortunate but I know that the people at Makanda would do anything to ensure their guests safety. The environement is very peaceful but like anywhere take precautions.

If you want a resort with all the soul in life, you've found it. If you want a huge corporate zoo with kids running around the pool, this is not the place for you.

take care all and safe travels...thank you all at Makanda and my apologies for not writing this sooner. miss you all

Jessie Campbell
Denver, CO

  • Stayed: December 2005
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4  Thank campbyj
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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478 - 484 of 591 reviews

A TripAdvisor Member
Atlanta, GA
Reviewed May 22, 2006

My new wife and I stayed at Makanda from May 8th to the 14th. We stayed in Villa 7 which is located below the Sun deck by the pool. We had read many reviews about Makanda, some good some bad. All and all we had a great stay at the Makanda. My only complaint was walking more steps in a week than we had all year. Remember folks this is Costa Rica, not Hawaii. This a 3rd world country and not for the faint of heart. The service at the restaurant was great and the poolside service was above and beyond; including frozen towels to cool off and small servings of ice cream. We would have liked to see a little more wildlife (Monkeys and Sloths). In reading all the reviews that rated Makanda poorly I believe some people are snotty "international travellers" who think that any hotel staff needs to bow down and thank them for gracings the hotel with their presence. I had a great time with the staff including the grounds crew, who did a great job keeping the Makanda beautiful, not to mention always pointing out weird creatures for us to see. If your going to Makanda tell Manuel I said hello. He is the smiley character with the Machete. We would definately go back to Makanda. Last word of advice; if you are frightened by bugs, crabs or lizards this place may not be for you. If you are looking for adventure Costa Rica definately offers a variety of exciting tours. We really reccommend the ATV tour in the rain forest....Very Cool! Good luck and happy travelling.

  • Stayed: May 2006
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11  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Tampa, FL
Reviewed May 14, 2006

Makanda by the Sea is by far the worst resort I have ever stayed at. It is equivalent to a one-star American hotel. I wouldn't recommend this place to anyone. We were extremely disappointed with this resort!!! If you want a relaxing enjoyable vacation at a nice resort, I would not recommend this place.

22  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 12, 2006

My husband and I began our stay at Makanda the day after our wedding in another part of Costa Rica. Although we picked this place for a honeymoon stay sight unseen, we were very pleased. We were concerned to hear about what happened to the guests mentioned in another review, especially when we stayed there around the same time, but we had none of the same problems.

Entering the studio was a great way to begin our honeymoon. I think it was studio 2. The view was breathtaking and the flowers on the bed were a great touch. We had a fantastic time just enjoying the room during our first evening there, drinking champagne and sitting on the deck in the adorable bamboo-print bathrobes provided by the hotel.

The quality of the bath products (shampoo, lotion, etc.) was another great touch. They smelled fantastic and I would have bought full bottles of them if they had been sold in a gift shop. We also enjoyed the shaped towels and flowers that took a different pattern in our room each day.

The breakfasts delivered to our room each morning were a great way to start the day. You had a couple of choices for the meal and each one we tried was good. The hotel is beautiful and we saw lots of birds, sloths and monkeys. The restaurant was tasty and the infinity pool was fun to hang out in. We also loved the little private beach that was a short jungle hike down a hill from the hotel.

We enjoyed playing CDs in our room and weren't disturbed by any loud activity or music coming from any other studios or villas.

Our only complaint was that the hotel is far from any other restaurants or other activities -- but that is kind of how Manuel Antonio is set up. Most of the nice hotels are sort of isolated. It made things a bit more of a hassle when we wanted to explore but it wasn't that big a deal.

Next time we come to Costa Rica we'll probably go somewhere a little less touristy and with a lot more going on than Manual Antonio. But we came here because we wanted a romantic, honeymoon-type spot and this was definitely it.

It you are looking for a beautiful, romantic place to stay in Manual Antonio, I highly suggest this place. If you are looking for a diverse area with a lot going on around you, I suggest you look at other areas of the country.

  • Stayed: March 2006
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6  Thank basscat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 12, 2006

My girlfriend and I stayed at Studio 9 for 3 nights in March 2006. The Makanda rests on a hillside with an amazing view of the ocean below. You will be surrounded by lush forest...with howler monkeys, sloths, etc., etc. The infinity pool would make the most anxious person "chill out." It was all truly amazing. The location of the hotel in MA, while a little off the beaten track, puts you only a short drive to the beach...but very close to a few good restaurants, fun bars, etc. The room was nice for CR standards (but don't expect to be blown away)...we had a wonderful view off of an extended balcony, no bug issues, and plenty of "creature encounters" which kept us alert. All and all, nice. While the staff is cordial / professional, they definitely do not go out of their way to comfort you. In fact, except for receiving breakfast in the morning, you are basiclly left alone. Nevertheless, this was fine for us...you sort of get a sense of being "alone in the jungle." The restaurant (while we saw the rave reviews) was simply OK to us. They actually totally forgot my meal all together...oh well, at least there was plenty to drink. In their defense, however, they were very embarassed. In summary, I would recommend Makdanda...we had an exciting time in Manuel Antonio, and the Makanda was a near perfect headquarters. While we may try another place next time to "mix it up", no doubt that we will return at some point.

  • Stayed: March 2006
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3  Thank morevacation
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 29, 2006

My new husband and I just returned from our honeymoon at Makanda By The Sea where we stayed for 5 nights. We could have gone anywhere in the world and had been considering Santorini, Greece or the Fiji Islands.....We definitely chose the Right Place for our Honeymoon. This hotel was Beautiful, Romantic, and Exclusive.

We arrived in the middle of the night, after a 3.5 hr drive from SJO. When we got to our room we were greeted by our pre-ordered champagne and a fruit basket, that was just amazing, at about midnight on 4/23. Our bed was covered with a heart made of flowers and flowers were in the bathroom and on the dining table. And there were even two candles ready to be lit!! The manager had left us a written note wishing us a wonderful stay and letting us know how to order our breakfast in the morning. We have never felt greeted more warmly by a hotel and We have never enjoyed a bottle of champagne more that we did that night.

In the morning we awoke to the sounds of the surf and the jungle. We stayed in studio 4. We found the Coffee, “Cafe Milagro”, made a pot in our little kitchenette and enjoyed every sip as we watched and listened to our first day begin!

We took heed of the warnings posted by another traveler and made sure that our room was locked and our valuables in the safe at all times. With these precautions we had absolutely no incidence. Also, there are signs clearly posted to lock things up. One sign is right by the safe and another in the room information and also at the front desk. The door had a regular lock and a deadbolt. I felt very safe.

I looked forward to the maid’s service each day to see what she would do with the flowers. Every day she did something different and it was such fun. On our last day she made swans out of the towels and put flowers on them....Our only problem was that then the towels were so pretty we didn't want to mess them up!

We loved the pool and the restaurant. The infinity pool surrounded by the jungle was serene and The food was glorious. My husband couldn't get enough of their smoked trout bocas and I just loved the trout entre and the hummus bocas. I also discovered the kaipirina **smile** YUM! They made them so good.....but....the restaurant was so good to us that one day when I asked for a shot of the sugar cane liquor that was in them, because I couldn’t taste the alcohol....well I am not sure but I think they started making them a little stronger for me!! THEY WERE SO GOOD TO US!

The Breakfast, included with the room was wonderful. My husband really liked the omelets and I loved the french toast with the coconut banana topping. We felt like we were eating all the time. In fact we got so much food for breakfast that we started putting our leftovers in the fridge and munching on them in the afternoons by the pool.

Oh I almost forgot the animals!! Amazing!! One afternoon around 3 pm a whole family of about 30 capuchin monkeys passed right by our balcony, literally right in front of our faces!! Apparently the bananas on the tree next to the villa next door to us were ripe and the whole family was headed that way. It was just incredible!! One morning I went to the office early to check on a tour and Jules asked me if I would like to see something wonderful. She took me into her apartment and right out of her window was a Motmot. I never heard of a Motmot before, but it is a beautiful bird! We also saw a Toucan by the pool on one afternoon and we heard the howler monkeys everyday, though we did not see one at the hotel.

This was a relaxing vacation for us so we spent a lot of time at the hotel or at the beach (not the beach at the hotel though, it is a long walk down to the beach....and we just never made it that far). We only booked two activities. We chose the Manuel Antonio National Park Tour and the Titi Canopy Tour.....Both were great! We did the Park tour on our second day and were glad we did it early. For four hours we walked around the park and saw every animal we had hoped to see on our trip, Capuchin monkeys, Howler monkeys, squirrel monkeys and 3 toed sloths. After taking the tour we were better at spotting animals on our own knowing what sounds to listen for helped us to find many more animals.
We were also very happy with the Titi Canopy tour. It is a shorter tour, only 2.5 hours, about, and it was done very professionally. We had a blast zip lining through the trees to 14 platforms and we bought the cd pictures to go along with it.

I just cant say enough good things about Manuel Antoinio, Makanda, and this Jungle Paradise. We almost cancelled and went somewhere else because of the negative posts on here. I Am SO GLAD that we didn't!! It was Idyllic and I now understand "Pura Vida". We will return here again and we will recommend Makanda to our friends without hesitation.

Happy Travels
Mr. and Mrs. Kanellis

7  Thank sindie2010
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 10, 2006

My husband and I just returned from 6 glorious days stay at Makanda by the Sea. We wanted to stay longer, but alas work was waiting for us.

First, I want to comment that although it is most unfortunate a previous traveler had a theft; there ARE warnings all over the place – one was right on the wall by the door of the walk-in closet/dressing room. Not to mention a safe in the room. Upon check-in we were given a list of activities, and a notice to keep your doors locked when away AND when sleeping, and to put your valuables in the safe. We followed these instructions, putting our cameras, MP3 players, passports and wallets in them and locked it without incident. Why tempt people? You wouldn't go to sleep with your doors unlocked at home, why would you do it on vacation in a strange place?

Second, the staff was beyond friendly and helpful. Our every need was met with a smile. Activities were booked for us (horseback riding, Canopy (zip line) tour, Spa treatments) by the reception, and a voucher given so we didn't have to carry money with us on these outing (except for tip money). In addition ALL of our meals, which we chose to eat on the premises because they were FANTASTIC, were also billed to our villa so we didn't have to worry about carrying money with us. Our biggest concern was picking a time for activities and meals.

The maid service was excellent - everything was very clean, they put fresh flowers around our bathroom every day, and the highlight was the one day we came back to find our towels shaped like swans with flower petals scattered in a beautiful way on them. The maintenance crew swept the walks DAILY & would even shake the leaves of plants to try & knock out the dead leaves so they wouldn't clutter the path later. Granted there's nothing you can do if a gust of wind comes by after they finish up, but who cares - they'll sweep again the next morning. They really try to make it beautiful.

If we were waiting for a ride to an activity, or sitting by the pool, the staff would come over and point out various monkeys, sloth’s, birds, etc. to us to make sure we didn't miss anything - it was so great! Maybe we had a good time and thought the staff was friendly because we were happy to be there and we were friendly, not bossy or demanding to them?? Who knows but I found everyone we dealt with in Manuel Antonio to be friendly - and not the fake friendly you sometimes get on vacation.

As American's we're used to tipping so we'd often tip, forgetting that 10% is included in the food (& spa) bill - but a few dollars to us goes a long way in Costa Rica and it was worth it for the great service we received.

Third, the tours were outstanding!! We did a 1/2 day of horseback riding, midway through we stopped and swam in a small pond with a waterfall, and rode back in a little bit of rain . It was a lot of fun, even for my husband who's never been on a horse before. The next day we went on a 1/2 day zip line tour, and had a BLAST!!! I wish we had time to go again - that was SOOOO much fun!! The guides on both tours were really friendly, and surprisingly adept at using our digital camera and video camera. "Cricket" got some amazing video footage of us on the canopy tour - he was a lot of fun, and didn't even get annoyed when I didn't follow his instructions a couple times. :}

This was intended to be a relaxing vacation, not adventurous therefore we chose limited number activities, so we didn't return home from our vacation exhausted. We picked the last day to do spa treatments; my husband had the 4 hands massage and I had the hot stones massage. Then I had a Citrus Rejuvenation treatment (nails, hair, face) and he had a honey and avocado hair treatment. We loved it, our hair still smelled good even after 2-3 washes & returning home, very nice.

On the 2nd to last day we thought we’d do a little shopping so we went down to the Manuel Antonio park where the vendors hang out. Most of it was beaded jewelry, towels, predictable summer clothing items (skirts, tops, etc.), and other dust collectors so we weren’t overly interested and instead decided to check out the park. This is also where the best beaches are. The beach at our hotel was a bit of a hike, but walking back up the many (500?) steps (it’s mini 15 minute hike up) is the best opportunity to see the cutest black monkeys, and the larger howler monkeys (they sound like a dog barking – it’s funny). They’re such goof balls, so we were pretty thrilled to see them again from our porch a few days later when we were having lunch.

Anyhow back to the park, we took the mountain side of the trail and were rewarded by some great views of the ocean and close up plant life we didn’t see while at Makanda. There is another trail that leads you to a larger beach area where tourists were taking advantage of the rays – I’m fairly pale and wore 45spf the entire time and still managed to get good color, so my vacation wasn’t ruined by a sunburn. My darker skinned Italian husband actually wore sunscreen too since the sun is much more intense that at home.

Fees - since we live in the Boston area maybe we’re accustomed to higher food prices and therefore thought that the food prices were a bit on the low side, particularly considering it was practically gourmet. The chefs were amazing! Breakfast was delivered every morning, and a pure joy to eat while sitting on our deck overlooking the Pacific Ocean and lovely landscape. As part of our relaxation, and the fact that the food was outstanding, we never ate any place else. We even ordered room service one day and we were not charged extra for this service. We spent 1/4 of what we budgeted on food, and never expected such great fare.

They have towels at the pool – in the late afternoon everyone at the pool was given a frozen wash cloth that smelled of coconut and vanilla to cool our skin, and then a few minutes later a small cup of fruit sorbet. Beach towels and paperback books in the office free for our use and a laundry service is available at REALLY low rates. There were no hidden or surprising fees, as I mentioned earlier, they billed everything to our villa and yet our bill at the end of the trip was shockingly low. I don't get a previous travelers comment of lots of fees - where, how??? I would really say we got 5 star treatment, with none of the snotty, snobby attitude.

This was possibly the most relaxing, romantic vacation we have ever had – even more than our honeymoon in Nevis. The rainforest is SO beautiful - we can't wait to go back!!

  • Stayed: April 2006
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13  Thank Texx
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Makanda by the Sea

Address: Main Road to Manuel Antonio Park | 800 meters from Plaza Vista, Manuel Antonio 60601, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Puntarenas > Manuel Antonio
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#4 Green Hotel in Manuel Antonio
#7 Luxury Hotel in Manuel Antonio
#10 On the Beach Hotel in Manuel Antonio
#10 Spa Hotel in Manuel Antonio
Price Range: $283 - $451 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Makanda by the Sea 4.5*
Number of rooms: 27
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Makanda By the Sea is 12 acres of wildlife sanctuary, 100 meters above the ocean. Our fully equipped Villas and Studios are carefully placed in rainforest gardens with spectacular views of the sixty mile coastline. Hotel Makanda is the ideal location for guests wishing to experience “romance in nature”, dazzling sunset views and our personalized boutique hotel ambiance. Offering gourmet cuisine, first class service, and close to Manuel Antonio Park, Spas, Restaurants, Tours and Beaches. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Makanda By The Sea Hotel Manuel Antonio National Park
Makanda By The Sea Costa Rica/Manuel Antonio

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