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“High-class Camping”
Review of Mawamba Lodge

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Mawamba Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Honolulu, Hawaii
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“High-class Camping”
Reviewed 27 July 2014

Firstly, do not go here if you are not an outdoor person. This is most definitely an outdoor experience.

That being said, I loved it. I had a room with three single beds, which, from what it sounds like, is the format for all rooms. The beds are a bit on the firmer side, which is really the only thing I didn't like about it.

The lodge is sandwiched in between the canal on one side and the Caribbean Sea on the other, so it is very humid there, and everything is just slightly damp at all times, but not enough to be of any inconvenience. However, if you turn on your ceiling fan, things tend to feel drier.

If you've ever been camping at a beach, then you'll understand the experience.

There is no swimming either in the canal or in the ocean, because there are things in both that are higher up in the food chain than you, but the lodge has a very beautiful pool, which is the much better swimming option. It is located between the dining plaza and the bar, so it is a great place to socialize.

The only way to get here is by boat, so if you're afraid of the water, I do not recommend it. But I must say, the boat rides were always fantastic. There is no way you can go on a boat ride and not see some kind of wildlife along the trip. The boat drivers are locals, and have been trained since childhood to be able to see even the small things, like a foot-long lizard lounging on a tree branch while speeding through the canal.

All of our meals were included, and the food was fantastic. Again, this is not some gourmet restaurant, but they do have at least four different meal choices from the fully stocked buffet for every meal.

On the lodge grounds are places to see frogs, butterflies, and small turtles. If you go during turtle nesting season, they offer optional night tours. Birds are always around for you to find. There's even a big iguana that seems to live on the grounds there, and is quite used to having its picture taken.

The staff was very friendly, and very real about what you should and should not do. You are a human in the middle of nature's world out there, so it is important that you know your place.

The town of Tortuguero is just a twenty-minute walk away. There you can get souvenirs, eat other food options, and also find a grocery store if you need it.

It was very humid while we were there, so shorts, light tops, and sandals are good attire. However, you will also need a good rain jacket, sunscreen, sunglasses, and mosquito repellant. I never applied my repellant, but others in my group did need it. Some of us were bugged by the bugs, and some of us weren't...I have no idea why.

The area is prone to sudden showers, so the rain jacket or a poncho is a must. You might also want to consider a different pair of pants for each day, in case your pants from the previous day doesn't dry in time.

Sunscreen and sunglasses are good because, even though it is almost always overcast, the UV rays tend to still be strong, and you can still get sunburnt.

If you intend to go on any of the night tours, you will need covered shoes, preferably something that is waterproof.

If you are the outdoorsman, then this is a must. They have planned everything so well, and they have made sure that you are comfortable while there. It is the perfect blend of outdoor activity and serene relaxation. I would definitely do this again if I ever have the opportunity.

  • Stayed July 2014, travelled with friends
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank ulutree
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Welle, Belgium
Level Contributor
40 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 July 2014

When we travelled through Costa Rica this hotel was one of the first stops...and it was an impression to never ever forget. The personnel in this hotel is very friendly, it has a very well maintained garden, where you can see several different types of animals and plants. The pool was nice, the kids loved playing in it. The bar by the pool was good, the food was good. We didn't go there with the expectation to have a 5* hotel and in this point of view the food was really good. I ate the best Gallio Pinto in this hotel !
They organise a lot of different tours from which we did 3. The night tour is a very nice experience and our guide which we had during the days we stayed there (Stephen Weston) was just super! The kids loved him, my wife loved him...and I loved him :-) I would recommend this hotel to everyone!

  • Stayed July 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank davyvandelsen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Francisco, California
Level Contributor
17 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 July 2014

This place exceeded my expectations. And that's hard to do. The place was heavenly, the staff was fantastic and the food was delicious. One could not want for anything. I would love to go back there when the turtles are laying their eggs and or nesting...

Room Tip: our room was very clean and comfortable. They don't have rooms, but individual cabins...cottage...
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  • Stayed February 2014, travelled with friends
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Margaret M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Seal Beach, California
Level Contributor
75 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 July 2014

The grounds are amazing and very well kept. The lodge and rooms were made out of wood yet still very modern, comfortable and very clean. Was nice and peaceful. The pool area and bar were beautiful. Drinks were reasonable food was good....not great but good. Nice that they had vegatarian food as well. They offered lots of different excursions, we saw monkeys, sloths, and various birds on the boat. We saw the turtle laying its eggs on the night tour. Close walk to little town and very close to the black sand beach. Well worth the money...a hightlight of our trip for sure. Oh yes hamocks outside each room, iguanas on the grounds, like you are in the rain forest.

Room Tip: Wifi is in the lobby, all rooms are very beautiful and tranquil, in the front you are closer to the...
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  • Stayed July 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Rooms
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Helpful?
Thank LinLaz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 15 July 2014

We went to Mawamba Lodge for three nights with 9 family members. It was the only activity we did on this stay in Costa Rica. Mawamba is a nice combination of an Eco camp and a resort. Nice pool to refresh in for instance. We had some rain, after all we were there in the rainy season but it did not dampen our spirits. Enough sunny breaks to enjoy. Our family had a great time. The staff was very helpful, knowledgeable and friendly. In particular Cynthia, Olman, Abraham and Dino looked after us well. The facility exceeded our expectations. Food reflected local cuisine, was good and plenty, something for every taste. The bar served up great cocktails, the service was top notch and always with a smile.The dinner on the boat was one of the highlights. Great steak! The offered excursions were well organized and interesting. Wifi is restricted to a specific area of the resort but is free.The San Jose pick up and drop off worked flawlessly and the breakfast and lunch on the way were appreciated. We will highly recommend Mawamba Lodge to our friends.

Room Tip: We found the upgraded room (single bungalow) well worth the extra cost. Very spacious, great bathroo...
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  • Stayed July 2014, travelled with family
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
1 Thank Dietrich L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Orlando, Florida
Level Contributor
285 reviews
69 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 187 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 July 2014

We spent 2 nights at the lodge, and it did not rain while we were there it poured buckets. We had the thunder and the lightening all around. However, we still got on the lodges boat tour and went into town. We made the best of it, and tried to enjoy it. I even did a little souvenir shopping. I walked back along the beach admiring the very rough ocean waves, and the harsh surf as it pounded into the shoreline leaving foam and debris behind. I found an almond tree with 6 or more Macaw up in the top, so that was an exciting photo opportunity.

That night I went on a night tour in the rain to see the green turtle lay her eggs. We were lucky to see one dig a hole, and lay her eggs in action because turtle season was 2 more weeks out. The groups before us had not seen any in a couple of weeks, so that was exciting. It was scary walking on the beach in complete blackness, once you had seen how many logs, holes and other things you can fall over in the daylight. We partnered up, supporting each other up as we inched our way along the shore line in blackness.

The second day it rained hard in the morning, and I was scheduled to go on a morning kayak tour, but I did not really want to go out in the pouring rain and lightening. Other people did not feel that way, and said they enjoyed it. I went back to bed until the morning tour. The rain had turned into a drizzle, as we wandered around the butterfly gardens, and frog enclosures taking pictures. The rest of the morning was pretty much lay in a hammock, swim in the rain, try the WiFi, or read. I wandered around taking pictures of flowers, frogs, birds and such in the rain. It finally stopped raining in the afternoon and were able to enjoy an open top boat tour of the canals. We saw lots of monkeys, iguanas, lizards, sloths, snakes, and birds. Besides the seeing the turtle lay her eggs, it was the best part of our trip.

The food was good, the staff excellent, the rooms basic (had hot water) the lighting in the room was horrible. Bring a led light that you can use to read, see in your suit case, or find stuff in your room. Our fan worked, and I did get a little chilly at night, although during the day it was miserably muggy. The hotel has big umbrellas to use, but a poncho is a must for the rain.

All my clothes were soaked, so asked the hotel to dry a couple of pieces...cost $1.00 apiece. It was worth it to pack dry clothes back in my bag!

Bring bug spray, wear light weight long pants at night. Bring a waterproof camera cover.

Highly recommend a stay at the lodge

  • Stayed June 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Travelwithnise
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
21 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 July 2014

I stayed at the Mawamba Lodge for 2 nights of a 10 day trip through Costa Rica. I am a teacher and was there with 24 students as part of a travel / school trip. The students LOVED this place. They specifically loved the hammocks and lounging in the gazebos with each other. Being from the suburbs of Chicago, USA, it was extremely different from anything we are used to. The little lodges were so quaint and reminded us all of a summer camp! There was no A/C and it was rather warm during our stay so it was a bit uncomfortable at night. Our room's ceiling fan didn't work properly so we were sweating! The first night we stayed there was a major thunderstorm and the electricity at the resort went out. The owners activated the backup generator and then informed the guests during dinner that they'd be shutting the generator off at 10pm. Which was fine with us and gave us a good excuse to make sure that all students were in their beds by 10pm! Power was back up around 11:30 and it was bright and sunny the next day! The lights in both the rooms and bathrooms were rather dim, but we didn't spend much time there anyway. We took a walk through the garden area and saw all the butterflies! It was so beautiful! The pool area was very nice and the food was great. Loved the fresh juice and fruit for breakfast. The pasta bar was great, too! The owner was so sweet and we spent some time speaking with him in the reception - where we were also able to cool off in the A/C! There was only WIFI in the lobby area or in the restaurant/pool area. It would've been nice to have it in the rooms, but it was also nice to disconnect a bit and that's part of the charm of this place. You feel like you are really getting away. The owner met us at the boats at the dock to wave goodbye to us. One day we took boats out on the water and saw some incredible wildlife including monkeys, sloths, caymans, rare birds, and snakes. It was amazing! That same evening we paid 20 dollars and did the walk up the Tortuguero beach with the hopes of seeing a sea turtle laying eggs. And we did!!! It was incredible and something our group will never forget. We will have fond memories of Mawamba Lodge and our time in Tortuguero.

  • Stayed June 2014, travelled with friends
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank lovethesun920
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Mawamba Lodge

Property: Mawamba Lodge
Address: Tortuguero Canals, Tortuguero 10980-1000, Costa Rica
Region: Costa Rica > Province of Limon > Tortuguero
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 34 Speciality Lodging in Tortuguero
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £££
Hotel Class:3 star — Mawamba Lodge 3*
Number of rooms: 54
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Nestled in the heartland of the lush rainforest of Tortuguero Canals, Costa Rica, Mawamba Lodge and Tortuguero National Park are worth visiting year round. What makes us different? *Unbeatable location on a strip of land between the Tortuguero Canals and the Caribbean Ocean, providing direct access to both * The closest Lodge to Tortuguero town within walking distance (no need to take boats to town) * Free WI FI in selected areas of the hotel * Complimentary safety deposit box in your room * Unlimited free visits to our MAWAMBA PARK: where we offer two butterfly gardens, one iguana and one frog garden. A guided visit is also included in our 3 day / 2 night package * Private nature trais for nature walks * Exciting optional tours including night walks in the forest, kayaking, fishing and the NEW! Katonga floating restaurant for sunset tours or dinners / lunches on board. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Mawamba Lodge Tortuguero Hotel Tortuguero

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