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“Three weeks flew by...”

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Monty's Beach Lodge
Ranked #1 of 2 Jiquilillo B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Victoria, Canada
Level Contributor
9 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Three weeks flew by...”
Reviewed 3 August 2013

I spent three weeks at Monty's in July of this year and the time flew by. Lots of volunteering going on with great groups from the GIVE organization to let you know there are amazing young people who are doing great things! The atmosphere is very relaxed so that everyone interacts with everyone else allowing me to meet families as well as small groups of travelers. Watching the surfing as the sun goes down (not much a surfer myself) and seeing the local people cooling off with their families in the water made me really feel a part of the community. The food was AMAZING! When it's homemade fish sticks - prepare yourself to have seconds and maybe thirds!
Hopefully, the Women's Cooperative from Padre Ramos will be cooking bread in their solar ovens while you're there because at $1 a piece, it's a delicious way to support development work. It's my fourth time at Monty's and I can't wait to go back next year!

  • Stayed July 2013, travelled with family
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Helpful?
Thank chemurt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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177 reviews from our community

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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (49)
Date | Rating
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English first
1 review
Reviewed 1 August 2013

This hotel is in a great location! They offer a great environment for fun and have lots of volunteering opportunities also! The food is great and the rooms are beautiful! The staff is extremely friendly and are always willing to help with any problems! This is a place I would definitely come back to!

  • Stayed May 2013
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Helpful?
Thank Travelmaster1853
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Maple Valley, Washington, United States
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 30 July 2013

This place is amazing. I traveled from Seattle, Washington, USA all the way to Jiquilillo for a Volunteer trip with the organization GIVE. the Staff was amazing, and always made sure our rooms were clean and everything was prepared. The food was amazing and always was fresh. I would reccomend this Montys Beach Lodge to anyone.

  • Stayed July 2013, travelled on business
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Helpful?
1 Thank Tina W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Seattle, Washington
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 29 July 2013

It is not often that you visit an establishment in the developing world that is truly in tune with the concepts associated with Sustainable Tourism. I have been working in the volunteer travel industry for nearly 5 years now and have traveled to over 45 countries and have conducted projects in over 8 different countries along the way, it is my life. The reason I mention this is because I can relate to the trials and tribulations that are prevalent in providing any type of foreign aid. Inspiring and supporting "Development" is one of the greatest challenges imaginable, on all fronts, culturally, economically, and emotionally.

Monty's Surf Camp and the people who perpetuate the good works that they conduct have been consistent in generating worthwhile projects that will have, and are having, a profoundly positive effect on the community of Jiquilillo. I have spent a lot of time in this region (I spend a minimum of 4 months of every year there) I have gotten to know the people and have learned of the positive effects from Monty's Surf Camp first hand.

It is very easy to scrutinize and organization or establishment on their particular model of Sustainable Tourism and development. But the fact of the matter is THEY ARE THE PEOPLE DEDICATING THEIR TIME EFFORT AND ENERGY TO SUPPORTING A BETTER LIFE FOR THE PEOPLE IN JIQUILILLO. When travelers who visit Monty's return home, Monty's Surf Camp stays and continues to fight the battle of poverty and plight, while providing those who stay with them a profoundly impactful experience that can be taken home with them to utilize this exposure and experience to further benefit the world.

I love this place and what it stands for.

  • Stayed July 2013, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank Jake A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lincoln, Nebraska
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 27 July 2013

After visiting Monty´s surf camp in December 2012, I fell in love with the community, with the family the hotel staff creates and with Nicaragua people and knew I had to return. And I founf my way back as a volunteer for June and July 2013.
THE ENVIRONMENT: The powerful presence of nature. Staying in the beach lodge, in a fishing community, one necessarily connects to the nature. The fishermen and their families are dependent on the ocean, but even as a visitor, one adapts to the rhythm of the nature. Day starts early and depending on the tight I can go for a peaceful run, sometimes being stopped by local people offering me a fresh coconut to drink. I can not refuse that. If the tight is high, I can start the day with a sunrise yoga session led by a wonderful instructor and energetic camp coordinator, Tami. Or just enjoy the sunrise in a swing with first cup of coffee watching the golden tops of the waves, surfers and the fishermen coming back from the night spend on the sea. In late afternoon and on Sunday mornings, I joint he local boys for a passionate soccer game or také the kids swimming into the waves. In this part of the year, almost every evening around diner time, there are storms that remind us of the power of the nature. After a short but strong shower, one can watch beautiful show of lightning over the ocean while enjoying an evening cocktail or diner.

THE HOTEL: Employees – hardworking, respectful and caring. The employees at Monty´s are wonderful loving people who work since 5a.m. till late evening hours, trying to make every single guest happy. In the morning, they serve us fresh tropical fruit, freshly made juices and coffee, and coconut bread straight from the oven of a local baker. They make corn tortillas afterwards to serve with grilled mea tor seafood. Every meal includes fresh salad and traditional gallo pinto and homemade salsa. The cooks make sure nobody gets forgotten and you only need to as konce if you have special requierement and they will do everything possible to accomodate to your meal and time preference. THey are very modest and respectful people, but they appreciate when guests want to learn from them and include you happily to their family. I am lucky to be able to speak their language and that way really getting to know their culture and learn how loving and protective they are. One word is enough and the employees help with anything they can, before the disco, women would give me advices and I would have three bodyguards and the rest of them watching after me, making sure I am safe and comfortable. Accomodation – clean, authentic cabañas, with fans and moskito nets.

THE PEOPLE and PROJECTS: Jiquilillo people are happy and simple, although there is not much money, there is a lot of energy and love. The visitors and volunteers I met in the camp and surrounding ranchos / hotels, are travelers with amazing personalities and experiences from all over the world, and I learn from them every day, the friendships one builds here are special ones, boring and closed minded people don´t come to places like this. I am very impressed with the work the leaders and volunteer of the GIVE group have done throughout the last two years in the community and the energy they and other volunteers bring makes this place what it is. News in Jiquilillo spread in a reliable oral way, and any time something is going on, everyone is present, local people love seeing things happening around them and helping the GIVE group with their construction. In the mornings I worked with the women from a Women´s Cooperative in a nearby community Padre Ramos, weading the garden with them I had an opportunity to learn about their culture and life, and also reflect about this community. Later when the sun starts burning, I watch them preparing pastry that bakes in solar ovens and soap from natural oils. They sell these goods with big success in the hotels in Jiquilillo and learn how to become independent and economically contribute to their families. In the afternoons I head to the Los Zorros school to teach Englosh to the children and play with them. They join me on the way, when they see me walk on the road. They are very easy going and welcome any volunteer who wats to come help me, and they are always welcome. The children and very wild, eager to learn and excited to play, they are very athletic and love Tami´s yoga at the end of the class. After two hours of children hanging on me and screaming my name, I should be exhausted, but the kids chare me for the rest of the day.
Besides rest in beautiful environment and opportunity to connect with community through the volunteer projects, trips can be organized for the visitors of the camp: to the near volcano Consiguina, to León including a hike and volcano boarding of Cerro Negro or deep sea fishing.
I am leaving another piece of my heart in Jiquilillo and I know I will find my way back again.

  • Stayed June 2013, travelled solo
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Helpful?
1 Thank 331Martina331
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kamloops, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 July 2013

I traveled to Monty's with a group of students professionals for 17 days in June 2013. Although I loved spending time in Nicaragua, Monty's Beach Lodge DID NOT live up to the hype. Here are some PROS and CONS you should think about before staying here.

PROS:

1) LOCATION - The Hotel is located in Beautiful Jiquillilo. The hotel has many hammocks, a volleyball court, a yoga loft, a great outdoor sitting area, and the ocean only steps away.

2) SAFETY - The Hotel is very safe. There is an armed guard (Padro, who is wonderful) who patrols in the evening. Many people within my group slept out in the hammocks one evening due to the extreme heat - Padro was watching over them all night to make sure that they were protected.

CONS: ****in order of importance

1) Food - Upon arriving I told (Monty - the owner) that I was extremely allergic to seafood. Even after 17 days, the staff would still try and serve me seafood or other food that was served in the same bowl as the seafood. The first time this happened I spoke to Tammy (The "staff and project manager") and she said that they would make a note of it. This happened again every time seafood was served through out the entire 17 days. Often because of this I would have only rice or lettuce to eat for the entire day. The food that was served was often the same thing each day (Rice, beans, lettuce, and a meat/seafood). Despite claiming this hotel is an "all-inclusive" there is no food available unless at meal times (no snacks, fruit, etc). Meals times were never consistent. My biggest concern was the hygiene surrounding the food. Every person in our group (12 in all) had diarrhea and nausea during most of the trip despite. During my last night there I had gotten food poisoning so badly that I was hospitalized the next day in Miami (on route home) for severe e-coli and dehydration. If you do end up staying at this hotel try and pack some electrolyte powder, power bars, etc. so you have something to eat - you cannot buy any food in this specific area - the nearest grocery store is an hour car right away.

2) Volunteerism - This hotel has built its success in the past few years as being a travel/volunteerism destination. After witnessing many shady things during my 17 day visit and going out into the community and the two surrounding communities and speaking to the locals it was very apparent that the only people benefiting from the volunteerism and donations is MONTY'S BEACH LODGE. Numerous people in the community said that donations were very scarce and when there was actual donations they were distributed to only "certain people" - often people who could help benefit the beach lodge. Monty's currently has an 85,000 ++ contract with the GIVE organization that makes it possible for young adults to come and build buildings within the community. Monty's has helped "build" a health clinic that has no electricity, very limited hours, and little to no medication avail to dispense. Many Many locals said they would walk for hours to get to the clinic to find our that there was no nurse/closed or that they saw the nurse but there was no medication to give them. They also "built" a community center next door to the medical center. During our 17 days there I saw this center only being used once. It has no one that actually runs it, despite Monty and Gerry saying it has ongoing English classes, etc. It is filled with donations that are not being used or dispersed. While I was there Monty's and GIVE was working on building a pop bottle school. The communities already have several schools in the area and many locals said that this was a worthless project as there will probably be no funds at the end of it to pay for a teacher - which will result in this building being useless like all the other building Monty's has profited off of. While these "projects" are being worked on it should be noted that these communities have NO WATER, NO TRASH COLLECTION, NO WASHROOMS, AND VERY LIMITED WORK. The most disturbing thing I saw was when Gerry brought us to the "DUMP". Monty's charges 200.00 and you travel to 35 miles away to an area that was hit hard by a hurricane in 1999. The 200.00 is said to go towards food so that you can buy, cook, and serve a meal to the families still living in the dump. First off the low quality food they bought only cost 90.00 (the other 110.00 was profit to Gerry and Monty) and then they bring you to this dump, which isn't really a dump at all. Families live in "homes" that are very similar to those next door to Monty's in Jiqililillo, the dump is actually quite far away from the residential area. We then set up our food prep area in an concrete open air community center that had been donated by OPERATION NICARAGUA. The slop that we served those people made me sick to my stomach. They lined up and pushed and shoved to get 1 cup of slop in their dirty bucket. It reminded me of a scene from Schindler's List. Gerry then showed up and told us what an amazing place this was and the great work Montys was doing. The only thing Monty's was doing at the dump was exploiting the people who lived there for his own benefit and teaching them to act like savages and rely on one donated meal every two weeks. Gerry then proceeded to tell us that this immediate plans for the community center included an COMPUTER CAFE!!! (within the next few months) Let me remind you that these people have little to no food, no water, no trash collection, and no washrooms. I was mortified. Overall Gerry (a local) and Monty (a former school teacher from Vancouver) are nothing more then two very greedy men who are profiting and exploiting the local people. On their website they say "Change the World" there actual motto should be "OPPRESS" as that's what is making them profitable.

3) Owners and Management -This hotel is so poorly run. Make sure you get a quote on your rooms before getting there as they do not seem to have a set "rate" set up. We stayed in a 2-twin bed room for 80.00 a night, that was also rented out for 20.00 a night to another lady and 25.00 a night to another lady. They nickel and dime you for everything at this hotel including Internet (which they don't state what the rate is until check out - 170.00!! for probably 10 hours of internet use) as well as 200.00 for round trip transportation to the airport/hotel. The Hotel Project Manager Tammy would often set up extra activities for us or schedule sunrise yoga, etc, and then not show up! We waited several time at the yoga loft after her confirming a yoga class only to find our that she had cancelled it without tell us - usually to be found suntanning or reading on the beach! The owners Monty and Gerry often behaved like 18 year old frat boys. I have never met two individuals who were so unprofessional. On several occasions Gerry could be found extreme drunk dancing like a stripper on top of the bar - this usually included grinding and rubbing up on young girls from the GIVE program who were also staying at Montys. While this was going on Monty was videotaping him, drinking, and cheering loudly as Gerry danced. It was a disgusting and disturbing sight to be seen.

4) Rooms - We stayed in the newer rooms located at the back of the hotel. Our room was not cleaned at all for the first 4 days we were at Montys. Once we brought this up to Monty, the rooms were swept each day but the bedding was rarely ever changed. I literally had to ball up the sheets and leave them on the floor, before the sheets would be changed. Because of the location - sand fleas often get into the sheets causing itching, redness, and swelling. It is so important that the sheets are changed ever few days or at least shaken out.

5) Amenities: Like I stated above yoga was said to be offered at least twice a day. During my 17 day stay I saw Tammy teach 2 yoga classes in all, quite disappointing. Despite being a "surf lodge" Monty's has little to no selection of surf boards to rent and no classes offered despite being advertised. The only option for ocean sporting equipment is a few old body boards. Before arriving we were told that Monty's had a brand new pool, this was not the case. The pool was half complete, abandoned, and filled with water that was attracting tons of mosquitos - right next to our rooms!

6) Noise - Music from the bar was often played until 2 am. Management put no regulation on noise during our stay. This was quite annoying as the rooms are glorified "huts" which means you can hear everything. It was also difficult because our group often hand to get up between 5-6am to start work.

Overall I loved spending time in Nicaragua, the locals were so kind and welcoming. I am so proud of the work our group did there. I would love to return to Nicaragua but I would NEVER return to Monty's Beach Lodge. I do not like the idea that my hard earned money went to a business that is not transparent and actually oppresses the people that they state they are "helping".

Female, 25, British Columbia

  • Stayed June 2013, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
29 Thank MNZ88
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Oxford
Level Contributor
12 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed 16 July 2013

We stayed at Montys for 3 days at the end of our 2 week trip to Nicaragua. We were immediately impressed with the friendliness and relaxed atmosphere. Being the wrong side of 50 we were a bit worried that we would feel very geriatric - not a bit of it. The change of name to Monty's Beach Lodge is a far more accurate description of the place and it is very welcoming to all ages from university age volunteer groups to families to older people. Keep an open mind and be prepared to accept the fact that it is remote so the electricity might occasionally fail but that's part of the charm. All the staff were very helpful and a big mention has to go to Tammy who was fantastic and Carlos who is just an all round lovely guy and can mix a good rum and coke! We met some really interesting people and the tour of the volunteer projects was certainly eye opening. The location is amazing with cabanas overlooking the most beautiful unspoilt beach. My abiding memory will be the sound of the Pacific waves breaking on the beach and pelicans flying along the wave line. Finally, but by no means least, the food is delicious.

Room Tip: Go for the new bungalows and cabanas
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  • Stayed July 2013, travelled with friends
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1 Thank orienteerOxford
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Monty's Beach Lodge

Property: Monty's Beach Lodge
Address: Jiquilillo, Nicaragua
Region: Nicaragua > Chinandega Department > Jiquilillo
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 B&Bs / Inns in Jiquilillo
Number of rooms: 13
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Monty's Beach Lodge invites you to a rustic hide-away on Nicaragua's gorgeous north Pacific coast. Our Palm-thatch lodge and restaurant sits on a breathtaking sandy surf beach, just on the edge of the traditional fishing village of Jiquilillo. You will relax on our wide open beach, play in the warm surf, and kick back with fresh food and good friends. At Monty's, stay and play, and experience all the warmth of Nicaragua at your place. ... more   less 

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