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“Somewhat Basic Accommodation in Idyllic Spot”
Review of La Ensenada Lodge

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La Ensenada Lodge
Reviewed April 2, 2014

Lovely setting a stone's throw from the Pacific Coast, and fabulous selection of wildlife. The rooms are a little spartan though not much worse than other lodges in Costa Rica except for the varied assortment of ants in the room (plus gecko on the roof!) which did not make for a restful night. Also the hosts were not particularly welcoming. However the food was OK and the lodge served its purpose by providing accommodation in such a memorable spot.

  • Stayed: February 2014, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank steve s
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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21 - 27 of 81 reviews

Reviewed February 24, 2014

Spent two nights here as a member of a seven-person tour group. Cabin had a hammock outside on the porch, along with a rocking chair -- nice place to just kick back. Walking trails through the tropical dry forest, great for birding. The dining area, as is the case in most Costa Rican venues, was open air. White-throated Magpie Jays came to watch us eat lunch from their perch in the rafters above; a few White-lined Bats roost above the TV area (only one TV here, none in cabins) and fly in and around the area at night. Meals were served buffet style. The buffets were not extensive, but were certainly adequate and the food fresh and good tasting. Beer and wine were available for extra charge. The cabin had a ceiling fan in addition to the flow-through air circulation, so nights were comfortable with just a sheet or light blanket during this dry season visit. Friendly, helpful Spanish-speaking staff. Wi-Fi in the dining area. Cabins are a bit dated, but were clean, no problems with insects. Good water pressure in the shower, too. While the separation walls were thin between units in these duplex cabins, I did not find noise to be an issue. Overall, a nice place to kick back and enjoy Pura Vida.

  • Stayed: February 2014, traveled with friends
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3  Thank WYbirdwatcher
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 8, 2014

What a beautiful property! This is a working hacienda where they produce cattle, salt, and melons in addition to the lodge business. I was here for three nights as part of a horse riding tour of the region. The cabinas each have two units (with very thin walls--you can hear EVERYTHING that happens in the adjoining room). There is no air conditioning, but there are lots of (thankfully screened) windows you can open for a cross breeze, and there is a powerful ceiling fan. Most cabinas look out over the property and have a view of the nearby gulf. The rooms are clean and include an ensuite bathroom with shower, but are basic. They have a solar water heating system to provide hot water to the bathrooms. Outside each room is a small private veranda with two chairs, a small table, and a hammock.

Meals were Tico-style with a bit of Italian influence, as I understand the owners hail from Verona, Italy. The eating area is a large, open air space where you can enjoy your meals with tropical breezes and beautiful views. Each morning a couple of magpie jays were right on time, hoping for leftovers. Breakfast, served buffet style, included fresh fruit, juice, lovely coffee with hot milk available, gallo pinto, toast, scrambled eggs. Lunch and dinner were also served buffet style with two or three courses plus dessert. Lovely and filling, which we appreciated after a day of horseback riding!

They also have a couple of "conversation" areas with chairs and comfortable rockers. There is limited wifi available everywhere in the restaurant area, which gets better the closer you get to the TV. The wifi works pretty well, but it seemed like it REALLY slowed down if anyone was watching the outdoor TV.

The pool area is just beautiful, with chairs and chaise lounges available for relaxing as well as an outdoor shower to rinse off before/after swimming.

Our small group added a boat tour of the nearby mangrove swamp/forest. Definitely a highlight for us. We saw LOTS of wildlife, especially all kinds of waterfowl. One of our party enjoyed a massage at the small spa.

As part of our horse riding tour, we spent quite a bit of time in the saddle on the ranch's responsive horses. We toured the ranch grounds and the surrounding area, ranging from jungle to meadows to a beautiful overlook of the sunset over the gulf. You can arrange a guided horse ride for your group, too.

The only downside for me was the bugs--welcome to the tropics, and don't forget your insect repellent!

  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled with friends
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Thank AndreaQ007
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 4, 2013

We were heading down the road from the Nicoya Beaches back to San Jose before we left from our 12 day CR adventure when I saw the little brown sign saying Bio Lodge and I turned off. It was getting late and I didn't want to look for a place in the dark. The dirt road is very long, but the best maintained dirt road in all of Costa Rica. We had no reservations so we were taking a chance, most places were closed or very slow in Oct. Fortunately the family in the gate house was home and he made a call and took us up. Cash only, we arranged for breakfast. We pulled up right at sunset and the giant tree right out our door with the bay beyond was stunning. As the lighting flashed and thunder rumbled across the bay, howler monkeys and the fire flies twinkling, we knew we had found a special place. We were the only guests on this ranch and they could easily have said they were closed. The evening temperature was perfect for a great night sleep on nice mattresses and linens. I couldn't get any hot water though. Birding early the next morning was great. Breakfast was simple and our hike was hot and muddy, but beautiful. I would have liked to stay longer, maybe next time.

  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled with family
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2  Thank jancd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 25, 2013

La Ensenada is a very attractive lodge attached to a working ranch in a fairly remote location. It has beautiful sea views and lots of good walking trails. As birdwatchers we were disappointed that the lake was dried up - since this was the end of the dry season and very hot it might be better at another time of year. However we still saw lots of birds around the cabins, along the well marked trails, on the beach and at the salt pans - which are within walking distance. As we were almost alone in the lodge the food was freshly cooked for us and was generally hot (which made a change from the generally luke warm buffets in other hotels). Our room was an individual cabin and was very nice - quite roomy, with a fan and a balcony, although we did get ants in the bathroom at night. The staff were friendly, but only speak Spanish, which was not a problem for me. In conclusion, a very peaceful and lovely place for walkers, birdwatchers or for relaxing, but not for those who like nightlife or with children.

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Des Langford
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 4, 2013

We stayed at this lodge as part of a two week Costa Rica tour. The rooms are cool wood and bamboo structures with ceiling fans, nice chairs on the porch and even a hammock. Nice touches of fixtures inside made of bamboo. the common areas are open to the air with a high thatched roof and comfortable rocking chairs. Nice pool, and view of the Gulf of Nicoya.

Buffet style meals were fine ... nothing special, but plenty of basic food.

Birding on the grounds was great with many species and even howler monkeys!

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank MarcL99
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 26, 2013

This is a beautiful place with a large dining room and lodging rooms build of wood and palm fronds. The grounds are well maintained and picturesque, sloping down to provide a scenic view of the Gulf of Nicoya. The room furnishings are basic, but adequate. There is a lot of ventilation and a fan which are welcome but do not provide adequate cooling until the morning hours. This is a HOT place. The owner is courteous and helpful. The wait staff are helpful, but not particularly outgoing. The food is good. The night sky in this area is clear and full of stars. I would recommend this property. But, understand, you will be hot.

Room Tip: As for a room that is well shaded by trees.
  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled solo
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1  Thank Jim530
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about La Ensenada Lodge

Address: Gulf of Nicoya, Manzanillo, Costa Rica
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Puntarenas > Manzanillo
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 5 Specialty Lodging in Manzanillo
Price Range: $38 - $65 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 25

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