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“Favorite Place in Nicaragua!” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Los Cardones EcoLodge

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Los Cardones EcoLodge
Ranked #1 of 4 Hotels in Pochomil
Culver City, California
Level Contributor
14 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Favorite Place in Nicaragua!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 14 April 2013

This was my second trip to Nicaragua, and my second trip to Los Cardones.
It is such an enchanted spot. The accommodations are simple but thoughtful.
The food/drink are delicious. Hammocks are abundant. The people/service are amazing.
Yoga and surf are fantastic. Perfect spot ... I will return again and quite possibly spend the entire time at Los Cardones.

Room Tip: Definitely go for the beach bungalows as it's warm and the breeze is essential for a good nights...
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  • Stayed March 2013, travelled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank vallierhardy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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90 reviews from our community

Traveller rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (28)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
St. Augustine, Florida
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 April 2013

Just returned from a father and son surf trip to Los Cardones and am already missing such a magical place. We have traveled extensively through Central America and knew what to expect when it came to the great waves, beaches, marine life, sunsets etc. What I didn’t expect was to find a place like Los Cardones that couldn’t be more perfect.

Paul and Daniel, the managers, are the most genuine, caring, and efficient hosts you could ever expect to encounter. The owners of the lodge were away during the week of our stay and the lodge continued to operate flawlessly. In fact, the end of the week was very busy with day-trippers from Managua (for Santa Semana) however Paul and Daniel never lost sight of their guests. A true testament to their proficiency! And it would be a crime for me not to say thank you to all the other wonderful employees- the cooks, Elvis (transportation), housekeeping, security, bartenders etc. We had a blast in the rancho! After a day or two everyone felt like family.

Our stilted bungalow (#7) overlooked the ocean- couldn’t ask for a more perfect place to get lulled asleep by the roar of the ocean, or to do a surf check by just lifting your head in bed. Our days consisted of surfing, eating, surfing, eating, lounging in hammocks, cold Tonas, exploring beaches, cold Tonas, dinner….you get the idea. The food is amazing and portions more than enough! On the afternoon we arrived, we were asked if we wanted a brick oven pizza to tie us over until dinner! We brought tons of trail mix and power bars expecting to be hungry throughout the day- we ended up giving them to the staff. We also met some great new people at the lodge.- many email addresses were exchanged and I’m confident that we will all reconnect in the future!

Thanks again “Positive Paul”, Daniel, and all the wonderful staff that made our stay so magical. Anytime you are ever in my neck of the woods, you have a home to stay in- I could only hope to be as accommodating as you! Will send photos soon.

Mike, Myles, Jason, & Evan
St. Augustine, FL

Room Tip: Stilted bungalows for views and ocean breezes!
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  • Stayed March 2013, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank 6MikeG
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Jackson, Wyoming
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 April 2013

My husband and I just spent a week at Los Cardones, and we wish we were still there!

Paul and Danielle, the managers, are kind, genuine, welcoming hosts and made us feel right at home. The entire staff of cooks, bartenders, security guys, everyone, is just awesome and so hospitable. We met so many great people there and had a fantastic time. We released baby turtles, had a full moon bonfire on the beach, surfed three times a day (we're beginner surfers and the waves were perfect), lounged in hammocks, and drank about 15 Tonas a day (unlimited beer is included in the price!).

When we arrived in Managua, Elvis the driver met us right outside the baggage claim area and he drove us 1.5 hrs to Los Cardones. While on the way there, the managers called on Elvis' cell phone and took our lunch order. What service! We stayed in one of the stilted bungalows (#6), which had a full bathroom, double bed with bug net, and a large deck with two hammocks right on the beach. The food was so great, lots of fresh grilled fish and chicken, curry, lasagna, pizza, lots of fresh fruit, wonderful deserts and did I mention unlimited beer/water/soda/juice?

We are currently spending our last week at a place in San Juan del Sur that has electricity, AC, hot showers, mediocre food and expensive beer, and an unfriendly staff and we would honestly give anything to be back at Los Cardones. Next time we come to Nicaragua we will book our entire stay there for sure.

Room Tip: Stilted bungalow #6 was sweet.
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  • Stayed March 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Sarah T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
USA
Level Contributor
44 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 March 2013

I stayed here for four nights last year, right before their renovations. After arriving in Managua, I went directly to Los Cardones. Los Cardones arranged for the driver to meet me at the airport, and he was super friendly, prompt, and even let me take a quick break when I mentioned I forgot to go to "el bano." heh.

My bungalow was pretty great - big and spacious with its own private terrace and set of hammocks. I spent most of my afternoons just lounging there or on the hammocks out in the main seating area. Be forewarned that this is truly an eco-lodge. There's no electricity in your bungalow, and the toilets are composting toilets. That is, NOT flush toilets. There's running water (very low water pressure) from water captured by small water towers, and that served its purpose for quick showers and washing up. Because there's no electricity, you might want to think twice about coming here in the summertime. Even in May the weather was pretty humid and hot. Tip: The bungalows have mesh ventilation at the top, so sleep in the upper bunk if you have a choice b/c then you'll get the cross winds.

The property itself is beautifully situated right on the beach. My bungalow literally looked out onto the ocean, and I woke to the sound of crashing waves.

The lodge itself is pretty simple, and if you're not a surfer (and I am totally not a surfer), there might be limited options for what to do in the area. That said, I knew that going into the stay, and I still enjoyed my time there. I spent a lot of time just lounging around and relaxing, which was fantastic. They had hammocks all over the main lodge area, and I lolled most of the afternoon away. I also did some beachcombing, and the variety of shells and interesting stuff was really cool. I did take a surfing lesson, which was fun in itself (but made me think surfing is not for me, heh). On another day, I took a horseback ride. It was my first one. The guide was a local who didn't speak English, but at least the horse was friendly and basically trained to follow behind him. Another guest took the ride, too, so she was super helpful in letting me know what to do to speed my horse up/make him slow down. It's a fantastic deal - $12 for the horseback ride, which lasts about 1.5 hours.

The lodging price, which may seem steep-ish for the basic level of the accommodations, includes all meals and drinks (including alcoholic beverages like beer). On top of that, they give back to the community by working to preserve habitat, wildlife, etc. and employing Nicaraguan locals. With that in mind, I thought it was a fair price for what I received. The food was pretty solid. For breakfast one day, I had huevos (eggs) and banana pancakes. Other than that one meal, though, for all other breakfast, lunch, and dinner, I didn't stray from the basic Nicaraguan meal of rice and fish. Instead of beans, I would usually ask for veggies or fruit. The fish was always fresh, and I really enjoyed my Nica food. Note, though, that they did offer other things, such as pizza and some other "Western" food.

One of the hidden gems is their massage service. I had a great 60 minute massage every day from one of the local staff, and it was $15. Yes, $15 (so, say, $20 with tip). Totally worth it, and I highly recommend it. Warning: You will undress out in the open, though, because the massage bungalow is open air. That said, it's amazing to hear the waves crashing as you get your massage.

The staff overall were fantastic. They were very helpful and always had a smile. They were also really helpful in booking transportation, and when I asked about doing one of the tours, they even suggested doing it on my last day during my drive up to Granada so that I wouldn't have to make the long return trip. I took private drivers everywhere, and it was worth it not to have to stress about timing or any dangerous aspects. The drivers were all locals, too, so it felt good to put some money directly into the local economy.

If you don't mind roughing it a little (what with the composting toilets and all), I would recommend staying here. Basically, if you know what you're getting into when you book your stay here, then you'll have a unique experience as part of your Nicaraguan adventure.

Room Tip: Sleep in the upper bunk in order to get the cross-winds that cool the room.
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  • Stayed May 2012, travelled solo
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank odderie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ottawa, Canada
Level Contributor
48 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 February 2013

We visited the lodge on two different occasions within a week. Firstly we did a day visit to check the place out and had only the lunch. We were impressed and immediately booked an overnight stay the following week. Service was very attentive. Food was very good with all drinks (except the rum) were included. The rancho's were will situated to over look the beach with numerous chairs, a table and two hammocks. Everything was spotless. This is an ecco lodge so once the sun goes down it does get dark. The rooms only have candles, walkways have solar powered lights..... but this is a good thing. No radios blaring. Good place to relax, eat, relax, eat and wander into the ocean whenever the urge hits you.
They do offer surf lessons and they have many different types of balls for anyone interest in playing catch on the beach.

Room Tip: Bring your own ice if you want to mix any drinks. They will put it in their freezers. Book either ro...
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  • Stayed February 2013, travelled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank William1098
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Montreal, Canada
Level Contributor
9 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 January 2013

We arrived in Nicaragua and went directly to Los Cardones for 4 days. We were thrilled with our casita and the setting - stunning!

It is amazing that so close to the capital that you can be on a beautiful isolated stretch of beach.

It is a true Eco-lodge - No electricity and compost toilets and NO ICE. We found the warm drinks a bit hard to handle and so had ice brought in from the closest town for everyone to enjoy!

We are not surfers but enjoyed boogie boarding.

The food was average but the beautiful setting and helpful staff more than made up for it.

  • Stayed January 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank EMVP
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Gulf Breeze, Florida
Level Contributor
59 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 November 2012

Excellent eco-friendly facility with beautiful view of the ocean. Spent the day collecting rocks and shells and laying in the hammock. Also played on the slack line. Lunch was great. Cost $10 for entry/food. Surf is great for beginners and upper level surfers. Loved the shells that were pressed in the concrete along the walkway.

  • Stayed November 2012, travelled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Nomadica1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Los Cardones EcoLodge

Property: Los Cardones EcoLodge
Address: | Km 49 Carretera Montelimar, 15 Km Oeste, Pochomil, Nicaragua (Formerly Los Cardones Surf Lodge)
Region: Nicaragua > Managua Department > Pochomil
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 4 Hotels in Pochomil
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Number of rooms: 8
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Los Cardones Surf Lodge is a Beach Resort on the most pristine surf spots of Nicaragua. Surf, get back and snap a cold beer, eat delicious meals, wake up and do it all over again... Empty waves roll in all year. The beaches are exposed to both SW and NW swells, making the surf very consistent. An epic left point break, a right reef break, excellent beach breaks await our guests, just one hour from the airport of Managua. Surf, laugh, meet people… allow your soul to play and fall in love with Nicaragua. Engage meaningfully with our local community... Volunteer with us at the local school. Become one with nature… Save endangered sea turtles. Find fulfillment in simplicity. Nurture your body with healthy food and activity… massages, yoga, surf lessons, horseback rides, bicycles, beach volley ball, ping pong, slackline, delicious, homemade, wholesome meals, mangroves and luxuriant forest, fresh air, warm ocean. This Nicaragua Surf Resort is an acclaimed Eco Resort verified by Rainforest Alliance with the highest compliance to sustainable tourism in Nicaragua. Our values: Friends and Family, Protecting our Planet, Sustainable Community Development, Healthy Living, Learning through Sharing. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Los Cardones Surf Hotel Los Cardones

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