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“I'll be back”

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The Maderas Village
Reviewed June 4, 2013

I stayed at the village for almost 2 weeks (wish I stayed longer) in November 2012, as a birthday present to myself. I’m 28, and decided to go alone, which I have never done before, but figured I would be just fine there. Turns out I was right. I got a private room in the main house, and the room was clean, and comfortable, and did the trick. Be prepared for the howler monkeys in the early morning to wake you up, and no warm water, but other than that, no complaints. The staff are great and friendly and make you feel right at home. The food is healthy and tasty, and the drinks are cheap : ) I took surfing lessons with Dunia (wrong spelling I’m sure) who lives right at the bottom of the hill, and she’s a great instructor. I also managed to sneak in a few massages from her, and it was worth every penny.

I went into San Juan when I could, and I just love that town. I think I did 2 loads of laundry for $5. The taco place is amazing and so cheap, and the nightlife can be a nice break from doing nothing if you crave it. There are also lots of great restaurants in town, if you want to change it up for dinner. Have a coffee at the El Gato Negro coffee shop…it’s a must
I would go back; however I would rent a Casita with a few friends the next time I’m there.

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled solo
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Thank jessica d
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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62 - 68 of 147 reviews

Reviewed May 13, 2013

I was at Maderas in February, and while this place isn't for everyone, it is great at what it claims to be and shouldn't be chastised for what it NEVER claims to be.

If you want to relax, meet some awesome fellow vacationers (more so than "travelers"), network a bit, be close to the beautiful Playa Maderas beach (not a simple thing to score!), even do some work from your trip, need a bit more comfort than budget hotels in Nica offer, you will LOVE Maderas Village.

If you want the AUTHENTIC Nicaraguan experience, where you're amongst locals, experiencing the local culture and cuisine, want to do everything on the cheap along with other backpackers- then this is not for you. But then again, they don't advertise/market themselves as some "authentic Nicaraguan experience", and for that - good on them. It caters to mainly North Americans (25-40) who just want to get away and relax a bit, meet some fellow peeps. They deliver on what they advertise. I met some really nice people there. The communal vibe is awesome if you're a solo traveller. It's not quite a resort, and it's not quite a hostel but has the party/social vibe that some hostels offer.

The owners/management was great and while some people in these reviews rag on them for their "treatment" of the local staff they've hired, they employ at least 20 locals, and treat them very well. They give a fair bit back to the community, and I saw no rudeness towards staff, who are working in the open kitchen, next to where we all hang out.

I had a 10 day vacation, backpacked for 6 of it, and wanted to relax at the end of it, and not think about much. This was a great way to wind down my trip. I wanted to stay a few more days when it was all said and done.

One small note: The dorm I stayed in was in the main lodge, which can get a bit noisy at night. If you want a good night's sleep, and are two, better off to get something private outside the house.

The place isn't as cheap as other options in the country, but no prices were unadvertised. I knew it all going in.

If I'm looking for a relaxing few days in a fun environment, I would totally go back.

  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled solo
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3  Thank MontrealJon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 13, 2013

We decided to 'splurge' by Nicaragua pricing and book Maderas Village last June. It's quite the trek so once there, town is a good 30 minutes away along a bumpy road so you're kind of stuck with the few options nearby.

Pros:
-Very cool cabanas. Love the free flowing water and how spacious our unit was. Great design
-Nice family style dinner is great if you are looking to socialize and meet new and interesting people (not great if you want a private romantic dinner or some quiet time) Oh, and my boyfriend had a blast playing poker with the guys one night. Very laid back people!
-The beach area is chock full of folks ready to give surf lessons which is why we went.
-Drinks were cheap!
-They did a great job of keeping track of our bill. A lot of places fudge them up and you spend a long time checking out...they were on point here.
-The hosts/managers were really nice and wanted to make sure we were all having a good time and even planned a fun trip into town for everyone (rodea, a festival, etc made it a really authentic experience)

Cons:
-Be in shape! because this place is at the top of a steep hill. Most vehicles can't make it up. It's charming in a way, but you get over it quickly.
-Overpriced for the overall experience. Worth it if it was more beach front and not a 15 minute walk...
-Landscaping was still happening so the land was a bit barren (dirt and rocks mostly) around the accomodations. Around the main house they had grass.
-At night if your light is on at all, after about an hour your cabana is full of moths, beetles, and the like. In the morning it's like a mine field trying to avoid stepping on them. They're all over the place! Maybe if they added a little screen in that open space between the walls and the roof it would help...

  • Stayed: June 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank KerryBeach
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 13, 2013

I've been at home down here for the last 10 weeks, with great smiles and great people, the service great and a great array of good surf and activities running to keep the brain active!the guys down here are really doing there thing i personally coming from a high service industry found it to be a very personal and attentive to my my needs and requests and was glad to be apart of the village life in my stay. I've stayed in a lot of the different accomadations at the village and find them all very accomadating and clean to very high standards,I would encourage anyone coming here to put in a week to really sink into the place and make the most out of the experience, shuttles run frequently into the main town and organizing transportation in and out of the village is done with ease, sure going to miss the dogs, my surfing buddy's, and quality staff down here at maderas village, a top notch offering can't wait to return

Stayed: February 2013, traveled solo
Thank SeniorAnchovy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 11, 2013

When we first got there, we thought it was a nice cottage and place. But compared the Nicaragua, and even in the San Juan del Sur area, it was really expensive to stay.
It was big in general - at bit too Americanized, but then you at least expected some larger and better beds, when you're paying that amount of money... With a huge common area which was almost empty, and with a kitchen that didn't work, front door that couldn't be lock (which resulted in unexpected guests to mess up the toilet), one bedroom door, toilet door, the one safety box and some of the windows was also defect.
The food tasted good, but the price was also really high - compared to the restaurant at the beach, which was placed 10 minutes walk from the "village", where we could get similar food cheaper, much cheaper. They are good to exploit your situation, that you are in the middle of no where, and nearly don't have other opportunists to eat and pay for the stay. And we got really surprised, when they added 17 % taxes to all - we weren't warned about that at the website (and 6 % for paying with credit card).
If the cottage was fully equipped, in better condition, and cleaner btw and just living there was like the real Nicaragua, then you are gonna get value for the money, and I would rate it with 4 stars.

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled with friends
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5  Thank kmbt86
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 9, 2013

My girlfriend and I stayed at Maderas Village recently and it was an absolute pleasure. The staff and the owner Matt (Dicky) are super laid back, but also attentive to the needs of the guests. They make you feel as though they really do care about their guests' experience.

Other miscellaneous great points about Maderas Village:

a) They organize several great trips for their guests through the week, e.g., boat cruises, Hermosa beach trips, volunteer trips to local communities to help build schools etc. The trips are all well organized and each one is a different but great experience in its own right.

b) The chef is exceptional. We ate all our breakfasts there and a few dinners. While we were there, they had "Mexican night" and "Sushi night" as dinner themes and while we chose to eat at the beach those days, all the other guests raved about the food. The dinners we did partake in were quite delectable. One caveat - let them know before 3 p.m. each day whether you plan to stay for dinner because the chef cooks one or two dishes for the evening under the assumption that all the guests are going to eat there unless someone specifically opts out.

c) They are very responsive and empathetic to their guests' concerns. Like any other hotel/hostel catering to on-the-average younger crowds, occasionally, this place gets people committed to raging at nights. A couple of nights while we were there, we ran into noise problems. I only mentioned it in passing to Dicky without thinking much of it, and he was nice enough to comp us our stay the nights we had noise problems without thinking twice about it. He also took the trouble of speaking to the other guests involved and we didn't have any other problems for the remainder of the trip.

d) The beach is down the hill (about 1/2 mile walk) from Maderas Village and really easy to get to. We made several trips back and forth from the beach during the course of each day with no issue. The uphill is somewhat steep but if you are in any kind of reasonable shape, this is not an issue. Also, there are some amazing hole-in-the-wall restaurants in the near vicinity that you need to ask the owners about. Two that come to mind are: a) the mixed nachos at Tacos Locos nearby and b) the langostas with garlic sauce and fried chicken with jalapeno sauce at Bar Chonchilo (formerly Charanga) - note I'm butchering the names here most likely but if you ask someone there, they will know exactly what place this is.

e) They sell great headbands - you have to get one of these. You can be an ugly s.o.b. and they will still make you look good.

f) The vibe here is friendly and communal. People get together in the common area during the day to chat and hang out over a few beers. We met some really interesting and entertaining people during our time here and hope to stay in touch with some for years to come.

g) The several hammocks on the premises are great to crash in on lazy post-surf session afternoons to catch up on your reading.

We definitely intend to plan a return visit.

In the interest of full disclosure, I should mention some things that they could improve on:

a) They run a tab for all their guests, so everything you order during your stay gets put on a tab that gets closed out at check out. We stayed four nights and I would have REALLY liked a print-out or email of all the various transactions on my tab before having to pay it, so I could have taken my time reviewing it before paying. Instead I found myself reviewing my tab on a computer screen over one of the owner's shoulder after I'd already had a few beers in me, which was certainly not the best circumstances to review 5 days worth of transactions. It took us a fair amount of head-scratching and spreadsheet usage to realize that the accountant had accidentally charged us for an extra night's stay so we ended up having to return to get credited for the night. It would have just avoided a whole lot of trouble and embarrassment had there just been more transparency and either a soft or hard-copy of the bill transmitted before final payment. But then again, if things were so formalized, this place wouldn't have the really relaxed and chill vibe that it does.

b) If you are just trying to do a couples thing and aren't crazy about meeting people, then request a room that's not in the main lodge. The common areas can get a bit rowdy when the crowds are younger.

Room Tip: If you are just trying to do a couples thing and aren't crazy about meeting people, then request...
  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Chazmaster
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 8, 2013

To do something magical, you need to break a few rules. Because it's not a canned experience, being at Madaras Village is a lot like being with someone you love. They change, move, play and inspire you to make the most of your time. They offered me the space to have an incredibly unique and wonderful experience... Challange accepted!

There's a lot more happening at Maderas than just a boutique hotel. There is a passion and companionship and a dream of living free. Dive in, and you'll find that beyond some nice memories to take home with you, you'll find your own inspiration renewed.

Don't like something, talk about it - I've never seen a place and a group of people so able and willing to change on the fly, dig in to your concerns, and set them right... But be there, live the moment to see this, and you'll be right at home in a kind of paradise that longs for your participation.

It's a beautiful dance at Madaras, quite unique, and also, quite up to you... A lot like life, where play and imagination trump expectations and judgements, every time.

A seasoned travler.

  • Stayed: June 2012
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1  Thank Oskie3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Maderas Village

Address: Maderas Beach, San Juan del Sur 230492, Nicaragua
Location: Nicaragua > Rivas Department > San Juan del Sur
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #23 of 69 Specialty Lodging in San Juan del Sur
Price Range: $45 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 15
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
We are located at Maderas Beach, about 20 minutes outside of San Juan del Sur. We offer a three daily meals, either a la carte or as part of a pre-fixe menu. We are like a boutique hotel, but less pretentious. We love people who want a place to surf, read, debate, and do yoga daily; who want to lose themselves in a place, and find themselves in the people. We offer tailored packages for short-term guests and very reasonably priced rates for people planning to stay longer than 3 weeks. We are not in Lonely Planet or other guidebooks; we like having to be found. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
The Maderas Village Hotel San Juan Del Sur
The Maderas Village Nicaragua/San Juan Del Sur

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