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“A unique experience, first class views and second to none service!”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of Totoco Eco-Lodge

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Totoco Eco-Lodge
Ranked #1 of 5 Balgue B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Mexico City, Mexico
Level Contributor
24 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“A unique experience, first class views and second to none service!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 15 May 2011

My first impression of Totoco Eco-Lodge was much different to that on the day we left. We arrived on one of the chicken buses and hiked up the hill (approx one and a half km from memory). I was so tired and sweaty, and I remember saying to my friend that I didn't want to stay here - why were we hiking to the middle of no where?

But upon reaching the hotel, we were greeted by the incredibly hospitable, polite and friendly Pablo. And over the nights that we stayed there we began to realize that all the staff were like that - from the kitchen staff, restaurant staff, office staff and room service, they were all so incredibly friendly and helpful. I don't think I have stayed somewhere with such amazing personal service and attention to detail. For example, I mentioned in passing that I would love to have an 'Economist' to read for an upcoming interview I had, and the next morning there was a copy on my bed.

My friend whom I was traveling with doesn't eat tomatoes or onion. This was mentioned to the waiting staff once, and from then on she never received any onion or tomato in her meals, without ever needing to make that request again. She was truly touched by their thoughtfulness and attention.

It was the small, thoughtful acts like this that made our stay at Totoco, a truly remarkable and memorable experience. Coming from Australia, it is unlikely that I will be over this side of the world for a while again, but if by chance I do happen to pass through I know where I will be staying!

The mouthwatering meals in the restaurant, the second to none view of the volcano - best viewed while relaxing or reading a book by the pool, the beautiful hikes around the property and the AMAZING staff provide me with no hesitation to recommending this Totoco to anyone, wanting a truly unique experience! Thank you to Martin for all your help, recommendations and friendship during our stay there. Anyway, my words don't do our experience justice, it has to be seen to believed. 10 gold stars!!!

  • Stayed April 2011, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank LizzyWizzy007
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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335 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (43)
Date | Rating
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 April 2011

We're just back from a three-night stay at Totoco. And like every other reviewer, we wish we had stayed longer! It's an absolute original in nearly every sense. Sunset at Totoco definitely qualifies for the world's eighth wonder. So does the hour-long "dirt road" ride leading to the lodge. We could hardly believe the tires stayed on the car. But it's all part of the adventure and our Totoco-arranged driver, Jorge, stopped often to point out great views or hop out of the van so that we could sample fresh sesame seeds or eucalyptus leaves. Jorge was a perfect example of why it was the people who made our stay on Ometepe and at Totoco so special (by the end of our stay, he was treating us to snacks and coconut drinks).

When we got to the lodge, we were met with iced glasses of fresh tamarind juice. Pablo, our concierge, was unfailingly — almost unbelievably — polite and professional, in flawless English, no less; he's well on his way to being the best hotel manager in Nicaragua. Co-owner Martijn (he and his lovely girlfriend Patricia are like the Brad and Angelina of Ometepe, except real and friendly) mixes a mean mojito and, importantly for us, was honest about what to expect from the surrounding "nature." We're experienced travelers but *very* squeamish when it comes to insects of the large and creepy variety. And sure enough, those found their way into our cabin. After some mild hysteria (on our parts), Martijn handily dispatched a scorpion from our bathroom with his bare hands; he’s likely done the same with scores of tarantulas. If you're not into nightcrawlers, take it from us (the original bugphobes): It's still very worth staying here. You'll get over it and get on with the best vacation you've ever had.

What the Totoco team has done in terms of creating on "off the grid" hotel is fairly amazing. Almost nothing is wasted, everything is recycled. And we mean everything: The compost toilets are an experience in themselves. Not to worry, they are easy to get used to and nearly odorless. The filtered drinking water is fine and Totoco was actually the only place we stayed in Nicaragua that came with hot shower water (and that includes "upscale" hotels not on the side of a volcano). The beds and pillows were super. The food was tasty — especially the breakfasts — and very filling, just be sure to order lunch well before you're famished, as the midday service can take a while (Nica time!), which is no big deal considering you'll be looking at an unbelievable vista while waiting.

As far as activities, you can fill your days with hiking, biking, swimming, horseback riding, Spanish lessons, massages, or ... nothing at all. This might be both the most adventure-minded and most relaxing place on Earth. We spent quality time poolside, hiked to the San Ramon waterfall, swam in the Ojo de Agua natural springs, and galloped along the beach at Santo Domingo. Sometimes we felt like we were living in a movie, it was that cool. The "taxis" were a little expensive but worth it and gave us more opportunity to chat with locals and learn about the island. The nights were relaxing and quiet — you can mingle with other guests or the owners, or just keep to yourself and read. Pack a flashlight to walk back to your cabin at night, and some earplugs if you're a light sleeper. The jungle buzzes with chirping creatures and howler monkeys after dark.

Don't come here expecting the Ritz. Come here expecting something *better* than the Ritz. You won't get thread counts and caviar (yawn) but you'll get insane views, real characters, adventure, peace, and maybe even a new eight-legged friend or two :) THANK YOU, thank you, thank you, Totoco for such a special time. We have already told anyone who will listen to visit and will be back ourselves someday soon!

  • Stayed April 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank 3Schwestern
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Minneapolis
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 April 2011

My husband and I stayed in the Bamboo cabana and loved every minute of it. It is an interesting juxtaposition of feeling like you are "roughing it" but in a luxurious way. We loved the open air shower, the hammocks on the porch, the big, comfortable bed. We loved waking up every morning to the sounds of nature: birds, cicadas, howler monkeys, etc. The staff was great, very friendly and helpful (we especially liked Pablo). They even made our ferry reservations for us, for getting our car on and off the island. The food was delicious-- some of the best we had on our entire trip. Ometepe itself is absolute paradise, with so much to do! We highly, highly recommend Totoco!

  • Stayed April 2011, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank devushka24
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
2 reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 17 April 2011

It's a place far away from everything up on a hill, where you can watch the sunset, see the volcano and the bay from the bungalow, the lounge and the swimming pool. Just perfect. It's not just ecolodge, it's much more than this - a developing program - very smart idea. We were impressed how such a nice place could be built in that are. And the people are incredible nice.

  • Stayed April 2011
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank picasso1976
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 April 2011

After 2 weeks of travelling in Nicaragua me and my girlfriend planned to finish our trip by staying at Totoco for 3 days. Upon arrival and after seeing the beautiful lodges we quickly extended our stay with 2 days. That was our best decision ever. The variety in breakfast was great, the 3 course (vegetarian) dinners were fantastic. The local staff is very friendly and helpful, even with our lack of the Spanish language and the 3 owners were perfect advisors in planning our activities. The activities were excellent, culture, ecotours, hiking, climbing the Maderas (yes we did it!) and kayaking. All activities were perfectly arranged. Did i mention the best views ever, the beautiful garden and forest, and the delicious food? We stayed in three different cabanas: Tonatiu, Bamboo and the family lodge. All have awesome sunsets, but Tonatiu was best, although similar to the view from the restaurant. Its clean and roomy, beds are huge and the showers are excellent. There's no better place on the Island to spend the night.

  • Stayed March 2011
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank JoostKlijn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Tennessee
Level Contributor
244 reviews
73 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 195 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 March 2011

We stayed at Totoco for 3 nights and I don't feel the need to repeat all of the plaudits. The view was outstanding, our cabin was charming, the employees tried hard to please. The drawback of staying more than 2 nights is that in order to visit most places on the island (San Ramon falls, Chaco Verde, the beach, kayaking, etc) it is a full HOUR over a terribly bumpy car--EACH way. Yes, we were aware it was off the beaten path before we got there. But if I were to return to the island, I would definitely stay somewhere that is perhaps 1/2 hour drive away. Two hours round-trip is significant. They are working on improving the roads, but laying the pavers by hand as they are, it looks to be a while. If you are going for two nights -- GO! Horseback ride, take a resort walking tour, get a massage, enjoy the gorgeous views. But if you want to see all of the sights on the island, I recommend a more convenient location. P.S. If you plan on visiting San Ramon waterfall, make sure you instruct your driver to drive as far as he can. Ours dropped us at the very bottom of the hill -- not even to the ticket-stand--and we added a good mile to our 2 mile straight-up hike.....

  • Stayed March 2011, travelled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank Codeedo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Delhi, NY
Level Contributor
13 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 March 2011

Oh my goodness, I can't say enough about this place! My husband and I stayed at Totoco for 4 days in January with our two kids (ages 5 and 10). The experience exceeded our already-high expectations. From the time we awoke to the sound of the howler-monkeys calling each morning to the moonlit walk back to the cabana after dinner each night, we loved every moment of our stay on Ometepe in general and Totoco in particular.

Roslyn was the ultimate hostess, and she and Pedro Pablo gave us their full time and attention whenever we had a question or request. I am still astounded by the energy these two must have!

There is no doubt that Ometepe is a magical place, and Totoco captures that perfectly. I will definitely return to explore more of Nicaragua's treasures and plan to visit Totoco again as well.

  • Stayed January 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
Thank hilsonj
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Totoco Eco-Lodge

Property: Totoco Eco-Lodge
Address: Maderas Volcano, El callejon publico la palmera, Balgue, Isla de Ometepe, Nicaragua
Region: Nicaragua > Rivas Department > Isla de Ometepe > Balgue
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 5 B&Bs / Inns in Balgue
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Number of rooms: 5
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located on the edge of a pristine biosphere nature reserve with an abundance of wildlife and a cloud forest above you, the Totoco experience is pure comfort in pure nature. Guests can stay in one of our custom designed private lodges all made using local materials and labour. Each lodge enjoys a private garden setting and offers spectacular views of Lake Nicaragua and active Concepcion Volcano. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Totoco Eco Hotel Balgue
Totoco Eco-Lodge Nicaragua/Balgue, Isla De Ometepe

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