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“Best part of a vacation in Nicaragua”
Review of Sabalos Lodge

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Sabalos Lodge
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Boca Sabalos
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed June 4, 2012

My wife and I stayed five nights here in January 2012. We stayed in the "Jane" cabin, which was wonderful. If you can, choose Tarzan, Jane, Jaguar or Chita, all of which are elevated and extremely close to the river. You have to be ready for the rigors of a true eco-lodge -- no air conditioning, no hot-water showers, mosquito netting for the bed, etc. -- and for the rewards of a true eco-lodge: the knowledge that this place has a very light footprint on the environment and that it's very involved in helping the local communities. The food was consistently very good, the beer was cold, and the staff -- and especially the owner, Yaro, and his son Rafael -- were totally pleasant people. We were in Nicaragua for three weeks and stayed in other very interesting places, but Sabalos Lodge was THE highlight of our trip.

Room Tip: Pay extra for one of the elevated cabins!
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  • Stayed: January 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank marylandtravel007
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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70 - 76 of 125 reviews

Reviewed April 3, 2012

I pinched myself every morning as I woke up at Sabalos Lodge. The howler monkeys would get going at dawn, and then the birds would kick in. We’d crawl out from under the mosquito net and stand on our porch overlooking the river to watch the water gushing by and the birds flying and diving and the fish jumping. The cabins are about as basic as you can get, but they are perfect. I felt like I was living the dreams I had of Swiss Family Robinson growing up. We were in the “Jane” cabin with a comfy bed, open air shower, and private front porch.

The food at the lodge was very tasty. A typical “Nica” breakfast is included with your stay (yummy and filling), but there is also a menu to order other items if you’d like. There was a pretty good variety of lunch and dinner options as well. The food is more expensive than in other areas of Nicaragua ($15 for dinner), but when you factor in the logistics of getting food to the lodge, it seems reasonable. Plus dinner was a huge plate of food, plus plates of plantain chips, rice, black beans, and then dessert.

The setting of the lodge is perfect, but the staff really made the whole experience. Everyone was so nice and accommodating and they were all eager to show us the nooks and crannies of the property that make it special. Plus, we were met at the San Carlos aiport upon arrival and taxied to the boat terminal, where we had spots held for the boat to the lodge (about a 2 hour ride). This was essential because we met people who waited 5 hours for spots on a boat. The owner Yaro was in Managua for most of our visit, but he still set up a tour for us and chatted with us for a while when he got back. He’s a very interesting man and I wish we had been able to spend more time with him.

Our first full day at the lodge, we got boated around the bend to Boca de Sabalos with kayaks and we were able to kayak on our own up the Sabalos River and then back down to the lodge. We also did a full day tour which included about 2 hours in the Indio-Maiz reserve, the fort in El Castillo, and a wonderful trip up and down the river where we saw caiman, monkeys, tons of birds and even a crocodile! The tour was awesome, and we were really grateful that the lodge could provide us both with rubber boots (and we both have huge feet!) because the reserve was really muddy!

I highly recommend Sabalos Lodge and I truly want to return some day soon.

  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank rahoffma
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 27, 2012

If you are looking for the road (or in this case, river) less traveled than the Rio San Juan is for you. And the place to stay is Sabalos Lodge.
The owner Yaro, his wife and crew truly understand what being a good host means. Yaro is informative, helpful, and best of all, entertaining.
The charming thatched roof cabanas sit right on the rivers edge. Sitting on the deck watching birds and listening to the sounds of the jungle and river is wonderfully atmospheric.
You can also rent kayaks, and a leisurely paddle up the Sabalos River is a fun way to spend half a day.
And the food is great!

  • Stayed: February 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank Bill M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 5, 2012

Thoroughly enjoyed my stay and the hospitality of Yaro, Rafael and their staff are second to none. The lodge is located in the middle of the jungle yet basic comforts are still accessible. If your looking for off the beaten path Sabalos Lodge won't disappoint!

  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled with friends
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Thank Eric B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 27, 2012

Any visit to Nicaragua should include a trip down the Rio San Juan. About 90 minutes downstream from San Carlos where the Rio San Juan begins is Sabalos Lodge and his wonderful rustic cabinas perched at river's edge. First off, the bird life is amazing. Sit on your deck, watch and listen. You will be amazed at the abundance of movement. The sounds early in the morning are the best. Howlers, grackles, kingfisher, toads make for a wonderful cacophonous symphony.

Yaro and Rebecca are wonderful charming hosts. Yaro's knowledge of this area and he can provide you w/ your own private guide and boat to travel further downstream. Dinners at Sabalos Lodge are excellent! I love their rainbow bass (mojarra).

Highly recommended for people wanting to get off the beaten path!

  • Stayed: February 2012, traveled with friends
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1  Thank soarman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 23, 2012

Way, way off the beaten track this essentially handmade Giiligan's Island style lodge does not disappoint. The owners are incredibly knowledgable and helpful, the food is excellent, and it was the highlight of our stay in Nicaragua.

The location--over an hour away from anything--right on the river is perfect. You can imagine pirate ships and a young Admiral Nelson sailing up river to San Carlos and Granada.

The river is not busy at all. Only a few narrow boats ply this river at all. There are practically no tourists in this area, and the dense jungle is teeming with monkeys, numerous rare birds, iguanas, and all manner of creatures. If you like an adventure, this place is it in Nicaragua.

  • Stayed: December 2011
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1  Thank ChristianGarrris
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 20, 2012

Good dining area and food. Yaro is a great guy with great tales from his Sandinista days. Speaks great English. We were picked up by his guy Louis at the San CArlos airport, chilled at their 'office' until the ferry was ready to leave. He made sure the ferry driver knew we were going to Sabalos lodge. We were 'special dropped' on the lodge deck. All very 'special' treatment which we were happy about. We were in the rooms to the right of the reception - not the ones open to the outside. The room was very small but had 2 beds. No space to keep our 2 backpacks etc comfortably. The cold water was a bit of a bummer - but part of the rustic lodge appeal. He arranged a trip to Pocosol - not too shabby. He is very accomodating and will do whatever you want - nothing pushy. My favourite was the caymans under the deck behind the dining room. Best free wildlife sighting. I would go here again. But not for a while.

Stayed: February 2012, traveled with friends
Thank Novice2010
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Sabalos Lodge

Address: | Boca de Sabalos, El Castillo, Boca Sabalos, Nicaragua
Phone Number:
Location: Nicaragua > Rio San Juan Department > Boca Sabalos
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Spa Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Boca Sabalos
Price Range: $73 - $83 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Sabalos Lodge 2.5*
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
SABALOS LODGE You can explore the beauty of the Nicaraguan wilderness along the Rio San Juan. Relax after a long day in our hammocks while you take a cold drink, and enjoy an amazing view of the river This is the place for the true adventurer and our goal is to give each of our visitors a genuine experience that will last for a lifetime. The biodiversity of the area offers you the chance of seeing exotic wildlife right outside your cabin. ... more   less 
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