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“A worthy adventure and kind people!” 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
Austin, Texas
Level Contributor
54 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
“A worthy adventure and kind people!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 9 August 2014

I stayed at Totoco for two days with my two young children (girls, 6 and 8) and my mother in law. It is the real deal ecolodge! My kids loved the pool and the amazing views of the volcano and lake, as well as the birds and sounds of nature. The room (we had Ecechatl) was comfortable and clean by ecolodge standards, and the composting toilet was well-maintained because it did not smell at all.

My kids did not balk at the rustic conditions (despite the contrast from our lodgings in Managua where we had stayed with well-to-do relatives in a very fancy house). The food was good and creative, although somewhat expensive by Nicaragua standards, especially because the location of the lodge makes it pretty much impossible to eat anywhere else unless you plan ahead well. If you are here without a car (as most people are) you will also need to plan for the expense of taxis to any towns or sites, or be prepared for some serious hiking around. The staff at Totoco is very helpful in arranging all of these things, including coordinating ferry schedules and transfers.

The highlight of the trip for us was the walking tour of Balgue with Patricia, the wife of the proprietor and the head of the Totoco Foundation, which is doing amazing things in the community. Ometepe is very much a rural community with minimal resources, people tend to live very simply, with latrines and outdoor cooking fires for example, and Totoco Foundation provides an array of services that previously did not exist here, or were minimal. There is a lot of information about their work on the website, so I will not list them here, but be assured they are significant. As you are planning your trip, consider bringing children's books in Spanish, and items for the soccer team they support.

On our last night, my younger daughter came down with a fever and stomach issues, and coincidentally we lost power in our room. I was very worried about how to keep her cool without a fan and the staff went above and beyond in coming up with a creative solution - they ran the longest extension cord I've ever seen from the main building all the way to our room so that she could have a cooling fan. Very kind and responsive, and also helped us find some ibuprofen for her, as I had left my medicines bag in Managua and had nothing on hand to help bring down the fever.

I feel like the location of the lodge has pros and cons - on the pro side, the fact that it is up high means fewer mosquitos (we had no problems), better views, and extreme peace and quiet. On the con side, you have to pay a little more to get around, as you are far from things, which means a little more expense and advance planning.

We would definitely visit again!! Thank you, Totoco, for a great adventure!

  • Stayed August 2014, travelled with family
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank LauraMAustin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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331 reviews from our community

Traveller rating
    233
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    15
    7
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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 (42)
Date | Rating
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Los Angeles, California
Level Contributor
9 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 August 2014

We stayed at Totoco Ecolodge because we wanted something out of the ordinary and more remote while traveling through Nicaragua. The scenery surrounding the area is stunning and full of exotic flora and fauna. However the grounds and rooms are a bit more rustic than what their website would have one believe. (The pool is not as beautiful and clean as their website photos display. It was actually cold and filthy and the bottom of the pool was black.) My boyfriend and I loved the peace and serenity and beauty all around. And the composting toilets were not as bad as I thought they would be. They were actually fine. This is eco-lodging and there's nothing pretentious about it.

We loved the absolute stillness and peace at all hours of the day on Ometepe and at Totoco. The rain, birds, insects, Howler monkeys all added to the charm and fun of being literally in the middle of nowhere. The steep, nearly 1 mile hill that leads to you Totoco is no joke in that it's rough, bumpy, winding and a hard drive for taxis. You need to be driven in a truck or hike up this demanding hill to reach the grounds, so if you plan on going out for a quick bite, this isn't the place to be. Which brings us to the issue of food. The meals at Totoco are not very delicious. I feel that if guests are isolated on top of a hill where transportation is limited, excellent food should be a priority. Instead, we were given mediocre meals without flavor or thought put into it. My boyfriend and I got sick on one occasion. Food options are extremely limited; you get a choice of either a meat or vegetarian dish. For about $12 USD per meal, per person is not cheap for bad food. We were shocked and disappointed.

Aside from the bad food, the stay was pleasant with the amazing nature surrounding us but we felt that nobody was there to see that all the guests were taken care of. I think we saw the owner once briefly in the office (but never met him) and his wife and children in the main dining area eating their dinner while their baby was lying on a sofa cushion on the main walk way. For the most part, they were aloof.

Room Tip: You're in the middle of nowhere, all the rooms are quiet.
See more room tips
  • Stayed July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Sunny P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Martijn_Priester, General Manager at Totoco Eco-Lodge, responded to this review, 21 October 2014
Dear Sunny P, I'm sorry to hear you didn't enjoy the food during your stay at Totoco. More often than not it's one of the highlights for our guests who enjoy the fresh home cooking and the fact that we have some more original dishes on offer. I't true that we don't have a large menu which is difficult to do due to our remote location and small size. I also feel bad you thought the pool was dirty - I promise it wasn't! The 'black dirt' on the bottom is just the cement floor showing though where the paint has faded. We're re-doing that later next month. I also wanted to aplogize for not finding the time to speak with you during your stay- I do my best to have a chat with all of our guests but with 2 babies on the scene now I don't always manage that. At times when things get hectic I appreciate I can come across as a bit distracted. I'm glad you were still able to mostly enjoy your stay and hopefully we can host you again in the future and show you that we do know how to cook good food! warm regards, Martijn
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New Jersey
Level Contributor
163 reviews
38 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 87 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 July 2014

My cabin has a view of the Madera Volcano, its beauty changes with the time of the day.
The Staff is pleasant, Eddie wears many hats, he manages the place, prepares alcoholic beverages, translates Spanish to English and he was born in Nicaragua
The landscape of the Totoco Eco lodge attracts birds, butterflies, hummingbirds, howler monkeys and so on ......

  • Stayed July 2014, travelled solo
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Veronica660
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Portland, Oregon
1 review
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 20 July 2014

Perhaps it was luxurious at one time but the photos on the website did not represent the space we saw. The floor was dirty and the shower mat hadn't been recently washed. There was a spare toilet seat set on a shelf in the bathroom- not what I expected for the price I paid.I realize it is in a rustic area but there's no excuse for dirt. The dining area and the view were amazing!!! The food was really tasty and healthy. The top bunk had no safety rail and so 1 adult and 2 kids were in the king sized bed while my spouse slept in the bottom bunk. Very disappointing overall.

  • Stayed July 2014, travelled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank anontravel2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
19 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 June 2014

It is about a forty five minutes trip to reach Totoco from the ferry if you have your own car, the road is perfect till you take the narrow one to climb to the lodge( we got lost as the entrance is poorly indicated and we were there at 630pm).
It is not a dirt road but a stone and concrete one, and so very unconfortable , which means you think twice before going out!(and of course you need a 4x4)
All was very dark and we were welcomed by an employee Ith a flash light to guide us to,our cabanas (we were three in two cabanas), even if they knew we were arriving (we called for the directions) the cabanas were not lit ,and we had to carry a part of our stuff ,
My cabana (115$) was simple, open on the vegetation, with cheap furniture, bright bulbs, old plastic glasses and two bottles of filtrated water,there was a safe,the worst being the bath room!
Of course a compost toilet is totally outdated and not confortable but you know that before you come, but a black rubber mat to epgetbin, a dirty beige floor mat to get in the shower , that is gloomy! You have an old dirty plastic pump with liquid soap (the worst eco talking .)
We were asked for dinner when we arrived and declined it ,but when we changed our mind a little later(730pm) were told that it was closed, so we had to take again the road to go to the village (to Campestre , the only place anyway )the night iwas cool, with some animals noises,,another unbelievable point is that breakfast is not included ( and you have no other place to go!) they charged 10$ ! for two scrambled egges, one glass of watermelon juice,a tiny ramequin of cheap fruits, two slices of bread, a super tiny cup of butter and marmelade ( really in Nicaragua ????)
Back to my room i had a real big spyder under a pillow and decided to leave) if they had put the net on the bed as they did at my friend s room , that would not have happened,
Anyway they did not charge the breakfast for that!
Totoco could be much nicer , the place needs to be updated, the service improved (same for the food) the location is ok but the vegetation hides the view, there are not that many animals ( but obviously spyders)

  • Stayed May 2014, travelled with friends
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank franckplus
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Vancouver, Canada
2 reviews
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 May 2014 via mobile

Great place to get away from it all. Beautiful landscapes and great staff. Owners are truely passionate about creating sustainable farming techniques and working with the local communities. Good way to support thoughtful tourism.

  • Stayed May 2014
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Julia H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Diego, California
Level Contributor
14 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 May 2014

We were only able to stay one night in this beautiful Eco-Lodge, but it was worth the trip. We arrived late by Taxi, and the driver refused to drive up the dirt road so we had to hike up about 1 Km. Which as rough as that sounds, was a pretty enjoyable experience. The front desk clerk who checked us in was extremely accommodating, making sure we felt welcome. Our room nice, especially the outside shower. The location on the base of the Volcano gives an amazing view, and makes the tropical appeal perfect.

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Pjcook77
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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