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“beautiful casa and the price is right” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of The Secret Cove Inn

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The Secret Cove Inn
Oak Island, North Carolina
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“beautiful casa and the price is right”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 26, 2011

I enjoyed my stay in San Juan del Sur mostly because the accommodations at this lovely B&B were excellent. Clean spacious rooms, and free use of internet and a landline USA phone line made staying in touch with home easy. The host, Ray Jackson, is a very knowledgeable help with travel arrangements and an all around good conversationalist. I can highly recommend this little place for long or short term visits. The large rooms share a bath and some are airconditioned. The casa is close to everything.

Room Tip: all rooms are clean and comfy
See more room tips
  • Stayed July 2011, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank lori r
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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42 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    23
    6
    5
    4
    4
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (7)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Venice, Florida
Level Contributor
244 reviews
82 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 133 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 22, 2011

We stayed 2 nights and really enjoyed ourselves. There are 4 rooms, 2 of which have A/C so make sure you specify what you want. A/C costs a bit more, but not significantly. Ray & Donna can provide info about the area and help with travel plans. The common areas are very comfortable and you feel like you're visiting a friend's house. Breakfast is included and in SJDS this place is good value. Overall, a good experience. Thanks Ray & Donna!

  • Stayed January 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Gary B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Stockholm, Sweden
Level Contributor
13 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 12, 2011

The place itself is nice, but its a bit too pricey for what you get (we paid 22 USD for a double room). The common area / kitchen is very clean. However, they did not clean either our room or the bathroom (that we shared with another room) for the whole time we stayed. The room was alright but the shared bathroom got a bit gross after 4 days..

Brakfast is included in the price, which is alright. They do not have any computer you can use. The staff (one in the day, and one in the night as a guard) were very friendly. They don't speak English but are doing their best in communicating. (they work about 12 hours a day and 6 days a week, dont forget to give them a tip :)

It was only one owner there when we stayed, American Ray who's in his 70s, he's in general a quite nice and very talkative man but we felt a bit uncomfortable around him unfortunately. When we had breakfast and he was there, we felt like we couldn't eat "too much" (and we're two girls that don't eat that much really). That could have been just a feeling in our minds, I really don't wanna be unfair to him. But then, if we watched a film or something on the tv in the common area in the evening, he could come to sit down and just change channel in the middle of our film, without saying anything! It felt like he wanted to show us that he was the owner and he decided what to watch on tv in his house. Very strange to me. (Well, we payed to stay there and there's no tv in the bed room. It felt like if you would stay with friends or relatives just a bit too long, that will say when it's a bit uncomfortable atmosphere) Well, the place is nice and staff friendly, but due to the price, the uncleaned bathroom, and the atmosphare we felt from the owner I would not really recommend this place and I'm really sorry to say that.

..And a highly personal oppinion - if I would go to San Juan again I would try to find a place with a local owner, they probably need your dollar the most. This was the first place we stayed in during our travelings in Nicaragua and we decided to go there due to the great reviews on tripadvisor, unfortunately we could not really agree this time.

  • Stayed October 2010, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
5 Thank Myranm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
usa
Level Contributor
31 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 4, 2011

I spent 4 nights at the Secret Cove at the end of December. Ray and Donna, the owners, we’re away on vacation so I never met them. Their son and grandson were watching over the place. Both were great people. Friendly. Helpful. Polite. Their staff doesn’t speak English, but they try really hard to communicate and take care of you. You can’t ask more. Sean arranged a session with their massage therapist (or just massage lady) on the roof deck. She did an excellent job. They also set up surf lessons for me with Louies next door, which was great.

The downside…
No hot water. Normal, I think, for this country.
Breakfast could vary slightly. But it was very good.
No views from room windows. But I didn't go there to hang out in the room.
Their website pictures don’t do the place justice. So you have to take a leap of faith.

The upside…
Like home.
Friendly people.
Affordable.
Free phone calls to the states.
Kitchen to use.
They help arrange things like surfing, massage, etc.
They offer advice on restaurants, getting around, and keeping safe.
Great location right in town.
Etc, etc, etc.

On the whole, it’s a great place at a great price. I’m considering staying there for a month someday while learning Spanish.

Enjoy your day.

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank km3021
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ann Arbor, Michigan
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 31, 2010

We read the great reviews on TripAdvisor and decided to give it a go. It was a little hard to book, since we had to call a couple of times just to make sure they got our reservation. Even then, they forgot to record it and we had to proactively email them so that Donna could send us the security deposit request. She said she'd send us the final payment request a day or two before we arrived and help us book tours, which of course never happened.

When we first arrived at the Secret Cove, the atmosphere was very unwelcoming as no one spoke English or smiled. We were shown to our room, which consisted of two twin beds we had to push together. The room was tiny and the windows were very small. On the bright side, the common room area was very nice looking and there was a hammock in the upstairs common area that was nice if you felt like relaxing.

As far as cleanliness goes, everything seemed very clean when we first arrived although our room and bathroom were never cleaned throughout the duration of our stay which got a little gross. Since the toilet paper in Nicaragua must go in the waste bin rather than the toilet, the toilet garbage got very full in our 5 day stay and the wind knocked down the garbage a few times, making the floor unappetizing to step on. The toilet also eventually got clogged and proved itself useless, which was never attended to.

Service-wise, the people were nice but not helpful. The American owners who speak English didn't help us book anything when we asked and if we wanted to make a local call they simply directed us to places where we could pay for a call. Breakfast was free which was nice, although it was essentially the same thing every day. Since we never received the final payment request for our stay over the Internet as promised, they forced us to pay for our stay in cash the day we left.

This was extremely inconvenient, as it took away from our cash for the remainder of the trip. Even when we asked if they could just have Donna send the final PayPal request that day like she said she would so that we could pay by card, her son and grandson refused, as if it was our problem and not theirs. Out of all of the places we stayed in Nicaragua, this was by far the worst (and ironically more expensive than the other places we stayed).

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank TMS86
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Alajuela, Costa Rica
2 reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 18, 2010

This was the second time I've visited San Juan Del Sur. I loved the Secret Cove the first time, and I stayed there again for four nights this week. The facilities are nice, the prices are great, and the owners (Ray and Donna) are more like friends than business owners. They'll do most anything to help. I highly recommend the Secret Cove!

  • Stayed September 2010, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Phil_H078
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Juan Del Sur
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 29, 2010

This is the perfect place to relax and enjoy your time in San Juan Del Sur. It is a beautiful house where you feel totally like you are in your own home. Ray, the owner and Waleska are absolutely wonderful. The house is about 2 blocks from the beach so you are super close to everything but still far enough away to not be disturbed by the noise of any of the bars. We looked around at a lot of places before we chose the Secret Cove and it is by far the best value in town. Not a party spot at all so if you are looking for a quite place to hang out and relax after surfing or just hanging out in the sun we highly recommend the this Secret!

  • Stayed August 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank LouiseandAndres
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Secret Cove Inn

Property: The Secret Cove Inn
Address: Av El Albanil, San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua
Location: Nicaragua > Rivas Department > San Juan del Sur
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi )
Hotel Style:
Ranked #40 of 53 B&Bs / Inns in San Juan del Sur
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 5
Also Known As:
The Secret Cove Inn Nicaragua/San Juan Del Sur

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