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Mar y Selva Ecolodge
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Reviewed 23 February 2013

We were in search of a base to explore the parks and outdoor activities in the south western Pacific Coast area of Costa Rica and we found the perfect spot in the Mar y Selva Eco-lodge. It had everything from a wonderful staff, great typical meals, and an ocean/rain forest view to die for. The biggest bonus for me was the 50 meter pool where I could get my 50 minute swim before the rest of the family got up. It was often just me and the sound of the howler monkeys in the surrounding trees. It is close enough for a great full day trip into Corcovado National Park and far enough south that the tourist buses don't seem to venture down here. We stayed for two weeks over the Christmas and New Year. Carlos Leon and his fabulous staff made the four of us feel like family. I stay in hotels 3 out of 4 weeks for business. This review is high praise and deserving praise from a full time traveller.

Room Tip: We chose a double bungalow that gave us room for two parents and their teen-aged children. Great views of the ocean.
  • Stayed: January 2013, travelled with family
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Thank Steve Q
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 February 2013

Being a nature lover, staying at Mar y Selva was fantastic. It is located in the forrest, with a nice view of the ocean. You can watch the wild-life from the super-sized pool (for example, there was a group of howler-monkeys in the tree above it). The rooms were modern and clean, and the service was very nice with the manager Carlos doing everything for your with a broad smile!
We liked the tour to Corcovado, but not to pay 6 dollars per person for going to the nearest beach.
We would like to go back!

  • Stayed: January 2013, travelled with family
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1  Thank ScandinaviaDoglover
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 January 2013

Our family of 5 (3 adults, 2 teens) spent 7 nights here over Christmas and New Years. Carlos was extremely helpful...he arranged a friend to travel by bus with us from San Jose to Uvita so we didn't get lost. He booked a zip line trip for us with a guide who was part Indian and knew a lot about the animals and plants of the tropical forest. He also booked us a tour by boat taxi of Corcovado National Park. The guide on this trip was also very knowledgeable.
I loved swimming in the pool, and even saw toucans from it one morning. We walked down the road from the place and saw monkeys in the trees alongside the road.

The breakfasts were tasty and to order. Esther was an excellent cook!
It was our first trip to Costa Rica, and it was wonderful to have this be our home base during it!!

I highly recommend Mar y Selva.

Room Tip: The double bungalow was good for our family with the connecting door.
  • Stayed: December 2012, travelled with family
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1  Thank Deborah L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 January 2013

We stayed at Mar Y Selva Ecolodge for four nights with the family during a trip to Costa Rica over Christmas and New Year. We loved this place! It is located in the middle of the jungle a few hundred meters from the coast road with a wonderful view of the sea. The bungalows are comfortable with nice furniture and with a private terrace. Try to get one close to the reception/restaurant to get a view over the sea from the terrace.

The beds are comfortable. The breakfast is perfect where the staff make the most to meet your wishes. There is free wifi (sometimes slow though) in the restaurant/reception and in the bungalows nearby. The pool in the beautiful garden is large and you can view birds and sometime monkeys in the trees above while swimming. There are several good beaches some 10-15 minutes by car away, e.g. playa Ballena, playa Uvita, and playa Pinuela. You can also visit Corcovado national park by boat from Sierpe. The staff can help you with reservations.

The staff and the manager Carlos are VERY nice and helpful and really do their best to make your stay pleasant. We can give our warmest recommendations to staying at Mar Y Selva.

Room Tip: Try to get one of the rooms close to the reception where there is a view over the sea and better wifi reception.
  • Stayed: January 2013, travelled with family
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1  Thank SwedenSkibum
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 January 2013 via mobile

We stayed here for 6 nights on our 2nd trip to Costa Rica. We booked because of the location (the Ballena area is lovely), and the good reviews on trip advisor. I don't know which place the other reviewers stayed but the reality was very different to the hype.

We knew about some of the downsides when we booked - it's 1km up a steep dirt track so a 4x4 is essential. I had hoped I'd be able to get a taxi to and from restaurants in the evening (not possible) and hadn't realised how hard Costa Rican roads are to drive on at night (poor lighting and cars going the other way with full beam headlights!). But that's not why I disliked Mar y Selva.

The rooms were nowhere close to being good enough for the price charged. They were akin to cheap motel rooms. Our toilet seat was completely detached from the toilet. Our sofa had a broken leg. One bedside table was broken. And across the site there were similar examples of poor maintenance or cheap fittings with steps missing tiles, gaps in the concrete steps to the swimming pool, poor lighting at night etc.

Far from being luxury jungle cabins this felt
like a site packed with as many cabins as it could take. They all overlooked each other - so not private.

But I felt most annoyed by the way we were treated. When we checked in we were overcharged - I had to argue to get the price we had previously agreed. Then when we went on a tour (Corcovado park) we found that the $110 each we'd been charged was $40 more per person than everyone else on the tour. It didn't stop there. The one day we spent by the pool (which is the best bit of the place) was accompanied by the sounds of a chain saw. And our pool towels were just taken away from our room on the 2nd day and never replaced. We never felt like welcome guests.

The area around Ballena is lovely. I would recommend staying. But not here. On our final night we ended up moving to El Castillo in Ojochal as we had had enough (and it meant we could have a glass of wine with our food!). It is a 5 star luxury boutique hotel with fantastic views. Oh - and it was the same price as Mar y Selva.

  • Stayed: January 2013
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Thank Natalie222Uk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Mar_y_Selva, Manager at Mar y Selva Ecolodge, responded to this reviewResponded 19 April 2014

I apologize that you found our accommodations less than what you were expecting. I have addressed each of your issues with the staff and implemented a more stringent inspection of the rooms to ensure that a previous guest's damage is identified during the cleaning process before an new guest checks in.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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