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“Uncomfortable”

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The Secret Cove Inn
Reviewed June 26, 2013

We stayed in what I assume was the smallest room. It was nicely painted with some colourful pictures on the wall but the room was only slightly larger than the bed, with 1-2 ft of space around it. One of the previous reviewers mentioned that it was one of the worst mattresses they had ever slept on. It was remarkably uncomfortable because it was a large cheap foam mattress put over two single beds pushed together, each of which had a wooden border around it. I woke up at 4am with a sore back and had to get up for an hour before I could lie in it again.

The common area is nice but it's a family living room that was in use by them the whole time we were there so I didn't use it. There's a shower downstairs from the room and a toilet on the same floor but the toilet door didn't close properly so would keep blowing open unless you put something against it.

The one essential in any accommodation is a bed you can sleep on and on that score this was the worst place I stayed in Central America. Even putting that aside, it was the worst value at the price, more akin to rooms I stayed in for €16-18 a night.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank cion
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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26 - 32 of 43 reviews

Reviewed May 12, 2012

My husband and I stayed at Secret Cove for 2 wks and really enjoyed it! Ray and his grandson Jeremy are nice, helpful, and fun to hang out with. The whole place is very clean, though I do wish they had cleaned our shared bathroom more often - it got pretty gross as previous posters have mentioned. Our first room had a comfy bed, but we had to move for our last 2 nights bc of previous bookings, and the second room had one of the worst mattresses I've ever slept on. The breakfast was tasty, and because we had to get up early for Spanish school before the staff person arrived to make breakfast, ray made sure there was yogurt, fruit, and granola for us to eat in the morning. Overall- would definitely recommend!

  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank SGM2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 13, 2012

went there to meet my son who was already staying there and had just spoken to on their free line to usa. am amazed its not fully booked , evefrything good about it wifi, kitchen, breakfast, inexpensive,advice from an english speaking person, and just a good, home feeling.

  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled with family
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Thank kyleeric
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 23, 2012

After reading some of the reviews I wasn't sure about staying here, but I'm glad that I did. The B&B is on the edge of town. It's near everything, but far enough way from the noise of the bars along the seafront. The open plan kitchen, dining and lounge area are really cosy and welcoming. My room was spacious and I had a big fan to keep me cool. As a solo traveller I thought this was an excellent place to stay, as the living space is conducive to meeting the other guests. There have been some reviews about the bathrooms not being cleaned etc. All I can say is, if you think something needs doing or has been missed - just ask! Ray will help get it sorted. Each bathroom is shared by two bedrooms by interconnecting doors, but was fine for my 6 night stay there. The breakfasts are delicious - gallos pintos, eggs, toast and fruit. Remember, Sunday is pancake day! You can also make your own food there if you want and help yourself to free coffee. He even has a kettle for those of us who prefer a cuppa! I thought it was really good value, especially as some of the rooms in San Juan are double the price and more. I thought Ray was a fun guy to know and has a quirky sense of humour! Thanks for making the end of my trip to Nicaragua such fun.

  • Stayed: January 2012, traveled solo
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1  Thank normski117
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 25, 2011

I stayed at The Secret Cove Inn in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua of October 2011 on my surfing trip and I must say, I felt at right home from the first time I met the colorful and witty owner, Ray Jackson. Centrally located to all the activities San Juan has to offer, it is only a short walking distance to the beautiful Pacific ocean. The Secret Cove Inn is a clean, quiet B&B with a friendly staff in a very secure location that boast's it"s own private 34' sailing yacht for those sunset cruise's. I would definetly recommend the Secret Cove Inn to anyone wanting to get off the beaten path....James H.

  • Stayed: October 2011, traveled solo
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2  Thank james h
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 21, 2011

Wow, I can’t believe that it’s taken me so long to write a review about this place and share my experience with the rest of the travel community. My girlfriend and I stayed at the Secret Cove Inn, In San Juan Del Sur Nicaragua for the entire month of January 2011. The place is well... decent; it’s a small inn, with only 5 or so rooms. Aesthetically its very pleasant, nice colors, good decor, its small and cute, you get the picture. It’s owned by Ray, a retired lawyer/wanna be real estate developer from California , and his partner Donna.
So here is our story, we first arrive at the Secret Cove and are shown our room by one of the workers, the room included a queen size bed, shared bath, and last but not least a "security lock box" for valuables that was bolted into a night stand next to the bed. The room was decent by Nica standards (considering the price), we got the keys, put our stuff in the room, our valuables in the "security box" and then hit the town. The first few days were fine until we got the feeling that someone had been stealing money from the provided security box. Being owned by an American couple, perhaps we were a little naive to believe that this box and the inn itself was secure and safe to leave our money in. We had all of our cash in the box, and after a few days realized it seemed we were spending our money faster than we thought we were. About five days into our stay, we went to the ATM withdrew some US dollars, counted the money, kept the receipt, placed them in the "security box" then left for the evening. The following morning we opened the box counted the money and, surprise surprise, $60 was missing. Then it all started to make sense, what was happening was one of the people who worked at the inn had a duplicate key for the box and was stealing our money little by little when we were gone. We were shocked,and without accusing anyone in particular (they only had 3 employees), told both Donna and Ray that someone had been stealing from us out of our room. By this time we had done some accounting of cash withdrawn from the ATM vs. how much we typically spent in a day. Even using our lowest estimate, we figured that over $400 USD was stolen from us out of the "security box" in the room. Ray eventually filed a police report, but because we didn’t actually catch the person in the act of stealing there was little that could be done. Eventually other guests at the hotel came forward (remember there are only 5 or so rooms), saying that they too felt like money was being stolen from their rooms when they were gone. Ultimately one employee was let go, although we felt they had fired the wrong person (the work schedule made it near impossible for the person that was fired to steal from us). Donna was very sincere about the situation and assured us that she would compensate us for some of the money stolen with either cash or a discounted rate. Ray unfortunately didn’t handle the situation as well, and argued in typical lawyer fashion that although the money was locked in a security box provided by him that he was somehow not responsible for money being stolen. If anything, by providing us with a “security box” Ray just made it EASIER for employees to steal from the guests. Also, like I said, this happened only a week into our month long stay, but we had already PAID for the month and were kind of stuck. We decided to continue staying because Donna assured us that after the police report was finalized we would be compensated for our losses somehow. Unfortunately for us, shortly after the incident, Donna left to return to the United States, leaving only Ray in charge. A week before our stay was up we kept trying to talk to Ray about what was happening with our stolen money. He kept assuring us he was doing "something" about it, which ultimately amounted to him calling my girlfriend and I liars and doing anything about the situation. When I told him that Donna had given us her word that she would compensate us, he again called us liars then refused to give us a number or email to reach Donna back in the States.
All I can say is the place itself decent, but the vibe is weird, and the people running it even weirder. I can only liken it to renting a room in the home of your alcoholic grandparents. Like another reviewer posted before, the place really does make you feel like your intruding in someone’s private home. This was our first stop on our three months Nicaragua Trip, and because this was our first time in the country we initially felt more comfortable staying at an "American" run inn. This was a big mistake, when traveling in a country like Nicaragua, which I'll remind you all is still the second poorest country in the western hemisphere, its best to give your tourist dollars to the people who need it the most, the locals. We stayed in Nicaragua for an additional two months after leaving the Secret Cove and from then on only stayed in locally run inns and hotels, and we never had any problems. The local owners are much nicer people, the hotels are better, and they cost less.
Also the breakfast is ALWAYS gallo pinto with eggs and toast, which you can get literally anywhere in town for less than 1.50$ USD. P.P.S. don’t bother with Rays “Secret Cove Development”, the road to get to the development isn’t going to be finished anytime soon, and there’s a reason that 99% of Nica homes aren’t constructed from wood!

Room Tip: They say two of the rooms have AC, but when we were there they didnt work. Some rooms have a TV, but...
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  • Stayed: January 2011, traveled as a couple
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7  Thank doitjustin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
RJesq, Owner at The Secret Cove Inn, responded to this reviewResponded October 5, 2011

Baffling. The purpose of the boxes was to store passports, tickets and other travel documents. None of our employees were discharged. The Natuonal poloice investigated the allegations at our request. Employee prints were not found inside the box. Room keys are required for entry into a room; they are kept under separate lock and key and the box keys are only available to guests. We have since discountinued use of the boxes without problems from guests. We had no way to determine what these guests placed in the boxes but they did stay an additional month after the incident for a discounted rate.

Happy news. The tourist road south to the Costa Rican border is under construction and the first 5 kilometers has been completed.

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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
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  • Stayed: July 2011, traveled solo
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1  Thank lori r
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

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 #39 of 54 B&Bs / Inns in San Juan del Sur
Price Range: $24 - $28 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 5
Also Known As:
The Secret Cove Inn Nicaragua/San Juan Del Sur

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