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“Welcome to the Jungle!”
Review of Manatus Hotel

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Manatus Hotel
Ranked #2 of 8 Hotels in Tortuguero
Certificate of Excellence
Los Angeles, California
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Welcome to the Jungle!”
Reviewed 4 December 2012

If you love being in green places, with lush vegetation, nature hikes and total privacy this is your place. You also must love Biology and nature - as you are truly in the middle of a rain forest. It is a once in a lifetime treat and this is one of the only hotels in this area not touristy or with too many groups. You pay the price though as it is very expensive.

Really all you need is a night or two if it is part of your trip to Costa Rica. Once you go on the boat tour (ask for a special tour with Ray Brown - a local who has lived here his entire life and very passionate about the rain forest and natural medicine) a hike and enjoy the all-inclusive meals at Manatus, this is pretty much all there is to see in the area, unless you are scientist studying ecology.

The chocolate cake at Hotel Manatus and Garlic Red Snapper is a must on the menu at the hotel. Make sure to ask for Leo - very gentle soul and always at your service.

  • Stayed December 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank BonVivantGirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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New York City, New York
Level 6 Contributor
108 reviews
37 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 October 2012

The entire experience at the Manatus -- including transport and trips -- was absolutely one of the highlights of our stay in Costa Rica.
It's a pleasure having every detail taken care of, from start to finish, and in such a professional, ineresting way.
They arrange everything. We were picked up from our San Jose hotel very early in the morning -- the pleasant driver & guide arrived exactly on time. The drive to the first stop was also fascinating, as our guide pointed explained and pointed out sights on the way -- we didn't feel the time at all. Outdoor breakfast buffet near a stream in Guapiles was wonderful.
The boat ride through the canals to get to the hotel was also part of the fun.
And then we arrived at the hotel: wow! the grounds are gorgeous, and so are the rooms.
We saw more wildlife on the grounds and in the several trips as part of our package, than we did almost anywhere else: frogs, iguanas, snakes, birds, monkeys, lizards, and more. Fantastic!
All meals were ordered from a menu. Not an enormous variety, but very good quality and presentation, and they were quite accommodating to special requests. very pleasant staff.

We, too, did the turtle nesting night tour (for an extra fee), which was also an experience. At first, it seemed a bit disorganized --- we waited on the beach, standing in the dark, for an hour. But then, it was our group's turn, and we actually saw the green sea turtle laying her egss.
Amazing!

Highly recommended. Expensive, and worth every penny.

  • Stayed October 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank anonmate
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Jose, Costa Rica
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 15 October 2012

My family of 5 stayed at this hotel for a long weekend and had a really good time. The rooms are nice and comfortable, although we had to split into two rooms. Each room is separated from the rest which makes them very quiet. The fare included all meals and tours around the canals and both were very good. Food was a la carte from a menu, only thing we had to pay on the side were drinks. The two waiters were very nice, friendly and accomodating to our specilal food needs. The rest of the people on the staff were also very nice and helpful. My only comment about them is that they keep a basket with tropical flowers at the entrance of the reception and on the way to the restaurant and on this basket they keep a boa constrictor, but nobody told us this and when walking by we had the scare of our life, we just saw a snake right next to us (we don't know much about them and did not know it was harmless) and being in the middle of the jungle it was just scary! I suggest they tell their customers so they expect it when walking by.

As for the tours, the tour guide Chito was super friendly and knowledgeable about the animals of the area. He went out or his way to show us a little bit of everything. We had a great experience since it is the time for green turtles to lay eggs on the beach, so we went on a night tour to see this. You should know that this tour requieres for you to walk on a jungle/beach with no light and the sand is full of the holes the turtles make for their nests, it's not too bad and very worth it (just wish we'd known ahead of time that we'd be doing it in the complete dark).
Luckier still that since the laying eggs season is almost over we were able to also see the turtles hatching and it was the most amazing expericence for both adults and kids alike.
So all in all I fully recommend this hotel to couples (very romantic) and families alike.

  • Stayed October 2012, travelled with family
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Helpful?
Thank cincoticos
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 October 2012

Best way to start trip to CR! Everything was amazing, from the tours to the food and of course to the outsanding bungalow! Service is also remarkable, Leo in the restaurant was always very attentive. Was an amazing experience! I totally recommend it! Thank you Manatus for the great 3 days!

  • Stayed October 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank adelia_torres
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Yukon
Level 6 Contributor
56 reviews
40 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 September 2012

We booked a two night package at Manatus. We were picked up very early in San Jose. There were only four of us on the shuttle bus. The driver didn't speak english, but there was another staff member on board who spoke very good english and acted as a guide. Aaron pointed out different plants and highlights on the trip to La Pavona where we met the boat. The scenery was beautiful. The van was comfortable and clean. The boat was definately a bit fancier than the others waiting at La Pavona!

The rooms at the hotel are huge, spotlessly clean and beautiful. The outdoor shower is a nice touch. We lucked out and had fantastic, hot weather! Not a drop of rain; we definately used the air conditioning! The pool was very clean, a staff member was always around to scoop out leaves! The grounds are beautifully manicured with some short hiking trails. There are howler monkeys who visit the property and plenty of iguanas lounging in the sun!

The food was exceptional. This the only hotel in Tortuguero that doesn't offer meals by buffet only. The menu was small, but there were nice choices for all types of preferences. The meals were presently very nicely and were tasty.

The staff were all very helpful, spoke at least some english and went out of their way to meet the guests' every request. The tour guide was entertaining, bilingual and a whiz at spotting wildlife. We saw turtles, three kinds of monkeys, lizards, and birds. We did the optional night turtle tour and watched a green sea turtle nest. Amazing! Not to be missed if you are there during nesting season. We used the hotel kayaks on our own too. The boat was well maintained and we were given appropriate safety equipment.

Tortuguero is a unique and fascinating place. Manatus is a perfect spot for enjoying it!

  • Stayed September 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank Glacier1998
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Edinburgh
Level 6 Contributor
188 reviews
42 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 98 helpful votes
Reviewed 30 July 2012

Tortuguero is one of the highlights of a visit to Costa Rica and doing it with Manatus hotel made it memorable. We stayed 2 nights. We were picked up early from our San Jose hotel and drove to the embarkation point for the bus. They provide a stop for breakfast on route and the guide gave interesting information about plants, crops, wildlife and climate on the 4 hour drive. We were taken by boat to the hotel. The boat ride takes about 50 minutes. The hotel is next to the river. We had 2 double rooms. They were spacious and comfortable with fans and A/C. There is complimentary wifi. There is small swimming pool which is good for cooling off. There is also a small gym area with a running machine, cycle machine and some weights. All meals were included and you paid for your drinks. The food was fairly good. There was a reasonable and affordable wine list. The staff were always friendly.

We went on 2 tours by boat in the national park, one in the morning and one in the afternoon on our second day. The landscape is stunning and unlike anywhere else we had visited. We saw a wide array of wildlife on each of the trips and the guide was informative. We also took the nighttime trek to Tortuguero beach to see green-back turtle laying there eggs. This is magical and, if possible, should not be missed. It does however involve a late night as the hotel may get a 10pm-12 slot. We got to bed at 1 am. I would also recommend using the hotels boots for this trip as the path is muddy/waterlogged. Also bring your own torch. It is very wet in Tortuguero and the boat for trips out has no roof, so bring a good waterproof and wear clothes that can dry readily.

The following day we were taken back to San Jose, with a stop for lunch. This was a relatively expensive trip but worth it to visit this incredible part of the world.

Room Tip: All the rooms are similar and very good
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  • Stayed July 2012, travelled with family
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Helpful?
3 Thank adeno_34
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Providence, Rhode Island
Level 4 Contributor
45 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 July 2012

I could write a lengthy piece about our excellent two day adventure staying at the Manatus Hotel, but instead I'll try to stick to the highlights.

The experience began when they picked us up in San Jose for the three and half hour bus ride to the coast. It was more of a van than a bus, which made the trip reasonably comfortable. The first couple of hours were relatively uneventful, though we did get to see how much the terrain changed along the way and we were given plenty of information about the history of the area by our guide. We stopped about an hour into the trip for a traditional Costa Rican breakfast and later had the chance to visit a working banana plantation. Very cool. The rest of the ride was along unpaved roads, through more of the planatation and other rural areas. Once we got to the coast, we were taken to a boat for our one hour trip to the hotel. An important note. Gratuities seem to be standard for bus drivers, tour guides and the like, (and all we encountered deserved it) so bring enough small bills to hand out along the way. Dollars or Colones are fine.

Our guide on the boat ride was Rey, who would also be our guide for the boat tours the next day. He was excellent. We didn't do much slowing down for sight seeing, but the ride was great nonetheless. When we arrived at the hotel, we were greeted with cool drinks and cold towels and then were shown to our rooms. Our room (Unit 5) was very nice...comfortable beds, TV (thought we never turned it on) and believe it or not, Wifi. They also had a very reasonably priced mini bar that came in handy for a soda or snack later in the evening. And the air conditioning worked well. My wife and I have done quite a bit of ecotourism over the years and we don't mind roughing it a bit, but in the Caribbean rainfoest, sleep was much more comfortable in a cool, climate controlled environment.

That afternoon they offered us the chance to take a boat ride into town. It's a small town of 1,300 people with a few restaurants and trinket shops. We decided not to go, though those who went seemed to enjoy it. Instead, we walked around and enjoyed watching the birds and other wildlife on the property. The most important thing we did was to sign up for the turtle outing that night. It cost $35US (or an equivilent amount of colones) per person in cash. The money was a donation to the charity that runs the sea turtle protection program. And they didn't take travelers checks (there is no bank in the area). So be sure to bring enough money, because you don't want to miss it.

Meals were excellent. They have a very comfortable open air restaurant and everything they served was delicious. The service was excellent. They also had staff there very early the morning we left to serve us breakfast. Very accommodating!

The pool was a bit small, but big enough for cooling off or to sit around to relax, have a drink and read a book.

The property contains some undisturbed rainforest with relatively short trails that you can hike on your own. There are howler monkeys in the area and we did see several "blue jeans" or strawberry poison dart frogs as well. And, of course, there were plenty of mosquitos. I read many different stories about the mosquitos there before we booked our trip. Here's my take on it. You're in the Caribbean rainforest and there are lots of mosquitos. You need to wear long pants, a long sleeve shirt, a bandana around your neck and a hat. They provide the rubber boots. Standard eastern rainforest gear. Properly attired, the hiking is fine. If you go in there in shorts and a T-shirt, no amount of deet will keep you from getting bitten.

That night we went on the sea turtle outing. I won't tell you much about it, as it's something you really need to experience first hand. All I will say is don't miss it! One note. It does require some waiting around, so if you have younger children who would have difficulty with that, it may not be for them. We were with one family that had to go back 25 minutes into the program because their kids were bored and tired.

The next day we went on our two boat tours, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Fantastic experience! Rey was our guide and another, non-English speaking gentleman ran the boat. They really knew the area well and were excellent spotters. We saw a wide variety of wildlife, including caimans, a river otter, several troops of howler and spider monkeys and a host of birds, some of which we'd never seen before. One thing you want to be sure to bring are ponchos or some sort of rain gear. We used ours for the first part of our morning tour. But no mosquitos were encountered during either of these outings.

We flew out the next morning from the local airport on Nature Air. The air strip was a five minute boat ride from the hotel, so very convenient.

And that was our adventure at the Manatus Hotel. A busy two days and two nights, which was just the right amount of time for us to see most of what the area had to offer. I highly recommend this hotel if you want to have a great experience in Tortuguero.

  • Stayed July 2012, travelled with family
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Helpful?
7 Thank ltt18
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Manatus Hotel

Property: Manatus Hotel
Address: located 3 minutes from the Tortuguero National Park | located 3 minutes from the Tortuguero National Park, Tortuguero 454-4005, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Region: Costa Rica > Province of Limon > Tortuguero
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 8 Hotels in Tortuguero
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £££
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Manatus Hotel 3.5*
Number of rooms: 12
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Manatus is the only hotel in Tortuguero that offers all the comforts of the modern world in an exotic and wild environment. Our hotel is an oasis of peace surrounded by a real wildlife sanctuary. Experience ecotourism and adventure, and then relax and enjoy the wonderful amenities of our hotel. Come live the Manatus experience! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Manatus Hotel Tortuguero

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