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“No 1 Hotel in the area in my book”
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 February 7, 2007

This was probably the very best hotel we stayed in during our Honeymoon- We had stayed in Tullemar bungaloes for 2 nights and we were disappointed and we spent a morning visiting other hotels in the area and Makanda by the sea was definately the nicest and they were willing to bargin!- We got a third off the price by just asking! We stayed in Villa 10- it was fabulous- huge 4 poster bed with mosquito netting, really high ceilings, lovely bathroom with gorgeous slate tiles and a big shower, a walk in wardroom, amazing views of jungle from your very private balcony- a hammock to sway in- breakfast automatically deliverd to your room- a fabulous kitchen- great service and lovely pool area and the restaurant was FAB- you can also walk down a very quiet country laneaffic free of to the fabulous long beach of Manuel Antonio- my number one!

  • Stayed: January 2007
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11  Thank ClaireHerbert
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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464 - 470 of 591 reviews

Reviewed January 29, 2007

My husband and I stayed here for a week for our honeymoon and loved it! The room was so spacious and beautifully decorated. All of the furnishings, including the kitchen utensils, looked brand new. The bathroom had a huge shower, which was also nice!

We scheduled 2 excursions... a tour of Manuel Antonio National Park and the Canopy Safari. We enjoyed the Canopy Safari more b/c of the activity and uniqueness of it. You can do the park on your own, but will likely not see anything. The guides are very well-educated and bring telescopes to look through and even take pictures through!

Makanda's breakfast was absolutely delicious and something we looked forward to every morning! We ate at the Suspot Grill 3 evenings and enjoyed it so much! Its a little pricier, but without the cab fare, its comparable. We also ate lunch at Cafe Milagro (excellent!) and dinners at Barba Roja and El Avion. The last restaurant being our favorite. Make sure and go to dinner in time to see the sunset!

Cab fares into Quepos were about $6, and fares into Manuel Antonio were about $5-6.

Our suite (#9) had a hammock on the porch and was more secluded than some of the other places. We had a short-cut to the pool, which helped with the amount of stairs you need to climb! We would recommend requesting this one!

The beach was really nice, but a 15 minute hike/walk (I did it in flip flops, although that would only go when there had been no rain). The hike was beautiful and unique and you have the beach mostly to yourselves!

Some past reviewers had not been pleased with the security, but we did not find that to be the case AT ALL for our stay! There are security guards at the entrance who do not allow anyone outside of guests and staff to drive up into the property. We never left or returned without them taking down our suite number. We even walked back from dinner down the long, dark roadway and never felt unsafe. We did not wear our rings, but other guests did and again, never felt unsafe.

This destination is not really for those who enjoy sitting on a beach all day. The nicest beach is in the Park, and although easily accesible, its still somewhat of a hassle getting there.

Also, we drove to Manuel Antonion from San Jose when we got there and took a Sansa flight when we left. We enjoyed both, but were thankful the long drive was in the beginning. It was wonderful to see the countryside, but the quick flight was fun on the back side of our trip.

We would both highly recommend Costa Rica and this hotel for anyone wanting a more secluded, low-key vacation!!! The staff was so friendly and helpful and truly made our vacation unbelievable!!!

  • Stayed: January 2007, traveled as a couple
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13  Thank jules2007
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 27, 2007

We just returned from a week stay at Makanda, Studio 2. The studio was large and clean, but the best part was the view -- set in vegetation so lush, you can't see your neighbors; expansive view of the Pacific during the day; at night, you can see the stars from the bed. It is so quiet in the jungle that you can hear your neighbors if they are sitting outside or playing their TV/CD with doors open (Why ruin ambiance of jungle?), but you can't see them. Studio 2 is a stand-alone unit (no one above you but the wildlife). We had more monkey sightings at Makanda than we did at Manuel Antonio: Howlers, White Face and even Spiders were regular visitors; they often passed in front of our patio. Breakfast, which is delivered to your room, is substantial. Even the Continental breakfast was excellent. In fact, we would recommend ordering it on your first monring so that it's delivered early, and you can make a pot of coffee right away. We had some minor service issues during our week, but they were handled immediately by the staff. The walk to the beach is mildly strenuous, but worth the trip, since you'll likely be alone. The walk to the main road is also steep, so unless you're in good shape, don't expect to walk anywhere beyond the resort. Food: Sunspot, while more expensive than anywhere else, served up great meals with superb service. The waitstaff were always attentive and always were on the lookout for wildlife. Javier saw a mother sloth with her baby, just making her way up a tree, and let the pool loungers know so that photos could be taken. Other restaurants to try: #1 Salsipuedes -- excellent tappas, a great value, signature drink and sunset view -- you can walk here, if you're a little ambitious. Owners Martella and Michael really get to know their guests. El Avion (for a piece of history), MarLuna (for fish) and Ronnie's Place (highly recommended, but not sure it was worth the ride). Excursions: We highly recommend white water rafting on the Savegre (Carlos, Amigos del Rio)-- wonderful scenery and LOTS OF FUN. Don't bring a camera; you can buy a CD of your trip, complete with wildlife photos for $35. Quepos town - not much; Manuel Antonio park - OK. We got to sample termites and edible flowers, but staying at Makanda was better. Arrange for snorkeling trips in MA town - the hotel wasn't helpful in this area. All in all, a relaxing, romantic vacation. It's nice to know that even the locals recognize Makanda as the place to stay in Manuel Antonio.

Stayed: January 2007
10  Thank Traveler058
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 6, 2007

I originally found Makanda's website through Small Distinctive Hotels of Costa Rica. As a side note, I stayed at the Peace Lodge in Vara Blanca and in Grano de Oro in San Jose and thoroughly enjoyed those hotels as well. Makanda is even smaller and more private than these other hotels and was a perfect spot for my honeymoon. I chose this site for its proximity to the National Park, though I never made it there, and the reports of wildlife and a nice beach at this location. I was in no way disappointed. The experienced staff made my wife and I feel quite welcome, and with only guests of the restaurant and 12 rooms at the hotel, it was quite private. The restaurant is at the pool, which is nice for enjoying afternoon hummus or pita, not to mention the occasional complementary sorbet sample. With its infinity edge, one can lie on the deck and look on the ocean or enjoy the same view from the water. Down on the beach, I also was in for a treat. Again, given the small number of visitors at the hotel, the beach is extremely private. It is rocky, and only really enjoyable at low tide. And you should take care not to bring valuables if you are going swimming, given that the monkeys are prone to take bags, hoping to gain a snack. All of this said, it was beautiful. I enjoyed the sand and then climbing on rocky crags to get the best shot I could of the dozen or so cappuchin monkeys playing and snacking on the trees lining the beach. The water is swimmable, but not extremely clear. Seeking further entertainment, the staff are able to give advice on which tours might be the best. The half day canopy tour was recommended and my wife and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The sunset sailing tour was a bit odd in places, but altogether enjoyable and worth the price paid as well. Dining at the Sunspot Bar and Grill, the hotel's restaurant, allows for a pleasant experience. Thoughtful presentation and reasonable seafood prices were my favorite aspect. Staying at Makanda in general is wonderful. From our waking to the howler monkey calls, to dining on banana coconut topped pancakes on our porch and watching squirrel monkeys run by, then catching sloths creep along the tree tops. I was in no way disappointed and am giving my highest recommendation to my friends in South Carolina. It is obvious that the standards of excellence held at Makanda have paid huge dividends in creating a peaceful place to enjoy.

  • Stayed: December 2006, traveled as a couple
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8  Thank Greggtigg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 5, 2007

My husband and I spent our Christmas 2006 vacation (6 nights) at Makanda in Studio 9. The concierge staff did a very good job of booking trips, arranging taxis, and restaurant reservations. The waitstaff at the Sunspot restaurant, which serves wonderfully prepared international cuisine, were also very professional. Our studio was large and very pretty. The housekeeping staff did a great job, and even left the room every day with fresh flowers on our linens. Breakfast (hot and cold options) is served daily to your room - you order what you like and it appears in 20 minutes (the fresh fruit assortment is great)! Studio 9 is on the side of the resort that I would say has 'limited' ocean views through a swath cut throught the jungle, but still very pretty. However, if I were going again, I would book a room on the other side of the resort that has more open views of the ocean. Our studio was beneath another room, called a villa. The villa and studio have separate, huge balconies, ours was complete with sitting chairs and a wonderful hammock, and although you can't see your neighbors, you can easily hear them when on your balconies at the same time (at one point the guests above us were very very noisy). So if you are looking for complete isolation and quiet, you may find the guests above you a bit intrusive at times. Inside your room, with the A/C on, which is a must because it was very hot and humid outside, your world is your own. It was so humid that with the A/C on the floor to ceiling door/windows which lined the front of our studio were constantly dripping (outside) with condensation which unfortunately meant that when you were inside you really couldn't see the jungle outside (but that's to be expected in such a humid climate). Expect to walk about 75 steps up/down from Studio 9 to the main road on the Makanda resort - easy for my husband and I but not for everyone.
Other points to note about our trip - taxis are a must to get from Makanda anywhere, but they are cheap and there are lots of them - no waiting. Another restaurant we visited that we really liked was El Patio in Quepos (latin fusion food with flair - very pretty indoor garden area). Other good spots for 'average food' were El Avion and La Cantina, and great nachos and cold Imperial beer at Iguana Cafe on the beachfront in Manuel Antonio where you could 'people watch' the vendors and beach goers.
We did white water rafting with Amigos del Rios, zip line tour with Dream Forest Canopy and a jungle hike with Rainmaker and thoroughly enjoyed them all. On every trip our guides were just great, and the drives through rural Costa Rica to get to these tours were an adventure themselves. Tour companies are very well organized (in the morning they send a van to pick you up at your hotel, and at the end of the tour, they drop you off at your hotel).
We did our own hike in Manuel Antonio park as we didn't want to be slowed down by a guided tour, and some of the tour guides wouldn't go up the Punta Catedral route, which is where the best views are.
One last note. If you fly with Sansa airlines to Quepos, they frequently are delayed, so plan for extra time between flights on your trip home. Loved Costa Rica. Pura Vida!

  • Stayed: January 2007, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank canuckinma
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 22, 2006

My new husband and I stayed here on the second day of our honeymoon in CR. Of the four hotels we stayed in, this was by far our favorite. The staff was amazing, super low-key, and very accomodating. We were able to talk to the owners for a few minutes in the spa, SUPER nice people (and so lucky). The breakfasts in the room are much better than I expected (and most are hot) the french toast with bananas and coconut is to die for, and the fresh juice is different everyday and always delicious. Our room was one of the older ones with the Japanese garden (which is nothing special) but we thought it was amazing, and our view was spectacular. they leave fresh flowers around the room every day and clean all of your breakfast dishes. The beach is a treck (took 15 minutes walking slowly) but is beautiful and great to experience once. The pool is really warm and has an amazing view, and the Sunspot cafe or whatever is right next to it. You can eat your dinner next to the rainforest and the food is expensive but good (dessert is amazing). Overall we had a great experience at Makanda and wished we decided to spend the whole trip here (my husband HAD to see Tamarindo). Oh, and be sure to do the zipline tour and Manuel Antonio tour, both were great. Oh, and go in the off season; the weather is mild, it hardly rains, and the hotels (including Makanda) are WAY cheaper!!

  • Stayed: August 2006, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank tavyheather
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 13, 2006

Makanda by the Sea is a great place to stay. My husband and I just got back yesterday from staying there 4nights/3 days. From first contact, Melissa (the lady who takes reservations at the hotel) was very friendly. I made last minute reservations (less than a week before our visit) and she even offerred a last minute discount of 10%.

We stayed in Villa #7 which was really nice. It was a large one bedroom villa with a/c. It was very comfortable. The housekeeper did an excellent job, cleaning the room every day and restocking the bathroom toiletries (which are a nice treat!). The only drawback were the amount of stairs to climb everytime you left your villa. But the great breakfast, inlcuded in the price, was a nice bonus.

When we got there, Victor the man at the reception desk, was very friendly and helpful.

The first night we stayed there, we ate at Makanda's restaurant, which was okay. Our waiter was really helpful and attentive. He even showed us a shortcut to our villa from the pool (so we didn't have to climb as many steps). The pool area was nice and clean and the temperature of the water was comfortable. It's nice that they only serve about 25 people at one time at the whole hotel. You often have the pool almost to yourself!

We didn't see Monkeys at the hotel until our 3rd day there. They woke us up in the morning and were hanging out about 20 yeards from our villa. That was really neat to see (We didn't even see monkeys at Manuel Antonio!) . On our last day, we were dropped off at the front by our tour driver and when walking back to our villa, a staff member stopped us and pointed out the sloth sleeping in the tree just above us. That was really nice of him to go above and beyond his job and show us that.

It is true - there are always a lot of staff around to look after you and your valuables, which makes you feel safe (but utlimately it is your own responsibility, as the signs say). But just like traveling to almost any country or city in the world - you should always take the normal precautions with your valuable and you shouldn't have any problems. My husband and I didn't carry anything we could handle loosing. We would carry smaller amounts of cash, one credit card for each of us, copies of our passports, and our driver's licenses. All other credit cards, passports, cash, and electronics were kept in the safe.

I would definately recommend Makanda to my friends and family.

  • Stayed: August 2006, traveled as a couple
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11  Thank TravelSuz123
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
Amenities:
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 Spa Hotel in Manuel Antonio
#10 On the Beach 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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