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“Perfect jungle experience”
Review of Makanda by the Sea

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Makanda by the Sea
Ranked #16 of 46 Hotels in Manuel Antonio
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
San Francisco, California
Level 3 Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“Perfect jungle experience”
Reviewed 20 March 2007

Makanda By The Sea is a wonderful place to experience. The villas merge nature with comfort, complete with hammocks perfect for viewing the wildlife, a complete kitchen if you feel like venturing down the dirt road to the market, and a great restaurant if you don't want to leave. I had the best Tuna steak ever, poolside, after a long hike through the jungle. The staff is very kind, the monkeys present every morning, and the sloths are hanging in the trees every afternoon. The beach at Manuel Antonio National Park is just right too. You can have lounge chairs, beer, and grilled food delivered to your desired spot on the beach for under $10. Make sure to hire a guide with a telescope when you go into the park. It should cost $20 and is worth it!
I highly recommend this destination if you like nature, but want a little luxury!

  • Stayed March 2007, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
9 Thank QueenTravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Wisconsin
Level 6 Contributor
50 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 113 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 February 2007

This is a very tardy review, my husband and I stayed here in April of 1998! I surprised him with a trip to Costa Rica for his 50th birthday.
The villa we had was beautiful and had a very well equipped kitchen. Laying in the hammock out on the balcony was wonderful. Every morning and late afternoon a troop of spider monkeys made their way down and then back up the hillside right near the villa. They were a blast to watch!
The pool was lovely and well maintained and the staff couldn't have been more helpful. The food at the restaurant next to the pool was very good although I remember it as having limited hours.
My husband and I have been lucky enough to travelled around Costa Rica since then and I have to say this will always be my favorite (and the most romantic) place.

  • Liked — Romantic and peaceful setting
  • Disliked — That we couldn't stay longer!
  • Stayed February 2007, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
4 Thank RCTravelHounds
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Limerick
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 February 2007

This was probably the very best hotel we stayed in during our Honeymoon- We had stayed in Tullemar bungaloes for 2 nights and we were disappointed and we spent a morning visiting other hotels in the area and Makanda by the sea was definately the nicest and they were willing to bargin!- We got a third off the price by just asking! We stayed in Villa 10- it was fabulous- huge 4 poster bed with mosquito netting, really high ceilings, lovely bathroom with gorgeous slate tiles and a big shower, a walk in wardroom, amazing views of jungle from your very private balcony- a hammock to sway in- breakfast automatically deliverd to your room- a fabulous kitchen- great service and lovely pool area and the restaurant was FAB- you can also walk down a very quiet country laneaffic free of to the fabulous long beach of Manuel Antonio- my number one!

  • Stayed January 2007
    • Value
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Helpful?
11 Thank ClaireHerbert
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bellingham, Washington
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
Reviewed 30 January 2007

My husband and I stayed here for a week for our honeymoon and loved it! The room was so spacious and beautifully decorated. All of the furnishings, including the kitchen utensils, looked brand new. The bathroom had a huge shower, which was also nice!

We scheduled 2 excursions... a tour of Manuel Antonio National Park and the Canopy Safari. We enjoyed the Canopy Safari more b/c of the activity and uniqueness of it. You can do the park on your own, but will likely not see anything. The guides are very well-educated and bring telescopes to look through and even take pictures through!

Makanda's breakfast was absolutely delicious and something we looked forward to every morning! We ate at the Suspot Grill 3 evenings and enjoyed it so much! Its a little pricier, but without the cab fare, its comparable. We also ate lunch at Cafe Milagro (excellent!) and dinners at Barba Roja and El Avion. The last restaurant being our favorite. Make sure and go to dinner in time to see the sunset!

Cab fares into Quepos were about $6, and fares into Manuel Antonio were about $5-6.

Our suite (#9) had a hammock on the porch and was more secluded than some of the other places. We had a short-cut to the pool, which helped with the amount of stairs you need to climb! We would recommend requesting this one!

The beach was really nice, but a 15 minute hike/walk (I did it in flip flops, although that would only go when there had been no rain). The hike was beautiful and unique and you have the beach mostly to yourselves!

Some past reviewers had not been pleased with the security, but we did not find that to be the case AT ALL for our stay! There are security guards at the entrance who do not allow anyone outside of guests and staff to drive up into the property. We never left or returned without them taking down our suite number. We even walked back from dinner down the long, dark roadway and never felt unsafe. We did not wear our rings, but other guests did and again, never felt unsafe.

This destination is not really for those who enjoy sitting on a beach all day. The nicest beach is in the Park, and although easily accesible, its still somewhat of a hassle getting there.

Also, we drove to Manuel Antonion from San Jose when we got there and took a Sansa flight when we left. We enjoyed both, but were thankful the long drive was in the beginning. It was wonderful to see the countryside, but the quick flight was fun on the back side of our trip.

We would both highly recommend Costa Rica and this hotel for anyone wanting a more secluded, low-key vacation!!! The staff was so friendly and helpful and truly made our vacation unbelievable!!!

  • Liked — Unique buildings, seculded destination, adults only (especially for a honeymoon!)
  • Disliked — A little more secluded than some of the other hotels
  • Stayed January 2007, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Check-in / front desk
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    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
13 Thank jules2007
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New Jersey
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 January 2007

We just returned from a week stay at Makanda, Studio 2. The studio was large and clean, but the best part was the view -- set in vegetation so lush, you can't see your neighbors; expansive view of the Pacific during the day; at night, you can see the stars from the bed. It is so quiet in the jungle that you can hear your neighbors if they are sitting outside or playing their TV/CD with doors open (Why ruin ambiance of jungle?), but you can't see them. Studio 2 is a stand-alone unit (no one above you but the wildlife). We had more monkey sightings at Makanda than we did at Manuel Antonio: Howlers, White Face and even Spiders were regular visitors; they often passed in front of our patio. Breakfast, which is delivered to your room, is substantial. Even the Continental breakfast was excellent. In fact, we would recommend ordering it on your first monring so that it's delivered early, and you can make a pot of coffee right away. We had some minor service issues during our week, but they were handled immediately by the staff. The walk to the beach is mildly strenuous, but worth the trip, since you'll likely be alone. The walk to the main road is also steep, so unless you're in good shape, don't expect to walk anywhere beyond the resort. Food: Sunspot, while more expensive than anywhere else, served up great meals with superb service. The waitstaff were always attentive and always were on the lookout for wildlife. Javier saw a mother sloth with her baby, just making her way up a tree, and let the pool loungers know so that photos could be taken. Other restaurants to try: #1 Salsipuedes -- excellent tappas, a great value, signature drink and sunset view -- you can walk here, if you're a little ambitious. Owners Martella and Michael really get to know their guests. El Avion (for a piece of history), MarLuna (for fish) and Ronnie's Place (highly recommended, but not sure it was worth the ride). Excursions: We highly recommend white water rafting on the Savegre (Carlos, Amigos del Rio)-- wonderful scenery and LOTS OF FUN. Don't bring a camera; you can buy a CD of your trip, complete with wildlife photos for $35. Quepos town - not much; Manuel Antonio park - OK. We got to sample termites and edible flowers, but staying at Makanda was better. Arrange for snorkeling trips in MA town - the hotel wasn't helpful in this area. All in all, a relaxing, romantic vacation. It's nice to know that even the locals recognize Makanda as the place to stay in Manuel Antonio.

Stayed January 2007
Helpful?
10 Thank Traveler058
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Greenville, South Carolina
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 January 2007

I originally found Makanda's website through Small Distinctive Hotels of Costa Rica. As a side note, I stayed at the Peace Lodge in Vara Blanca and in Grano de Oro in San Jose and thoroughly enjoyed those hotels as well. Makanda is even smaller and more private than these other hotels and was a perfect spot for my honeymoon. I chose this site for its proximity to the National Park, though I never made it there, and the reports of wildlife and a nice beach at this location. I was in no way disappointed. The experienced staff made my wife and I feel quite welcome, and with only guests of the restaurant and 12 rooms at the hotel, it was quite private. The restaurant is at the pool, which is nice for enjoying afternoon hummus or pita, not to mention the occasional complementary sorbet sample. With its infinity edge, one can lie on the deck and look on the ocean or enjoy the same view from the water. Down on the beach, I also was in for a treat. Again, given the small number of visitors at the hotel, the beach is extremely private. It is rocky, and only really enjoyable at low tide. And you should take care not to bring valuables if you are going swimming, given that the monkeys are prone to take bags, hoping to gain a snack. All of this said, it was beautiful. I enjoyed the sand and then climbing on rocky crags to get the best shot I could of the dozen or so cappuchin monkeys playing and snacking on the trees lining the beach. The water is swimmable, but not extremely clear. Seeking further entertainment, the staff are able to give advice on which tours might be the best. The half day canopy tour was recommended and my wife and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The sunset sailing tour was a bit odd in places, but altogether enjoyable and worth the price paid as well. Dining at the Sunspot Bar and Grill, the hotel's restaurant, allows for a pleasant experience. Thoughtful presentation and reasonable seafood prices were my favorite aspect. Staying at Makanda in general is wonderful. From our waking to the howler monkey calls, to dining on banana coconut topped pancakes on our porch and watching squirrel monkeys run by, then catching sloths creep along the tree tops. I was in no way disappointed and am giving my highest recommendation to my friends in South Carolina. It is obvious that the standards of excellence held at Makanda have paid huge dividends in creating a peaceful place to enjoy.

  • Liked — attention to detail, locale
  • Disliked — having to leave, internet access was an additional charge
  • Tips/Secrets — Take advantage of the safes in the room. Security is in place, but don't encourage temptation.
  • Stayed December 2006, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Check-in / front desk
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    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
8 Thank Greggtigg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Boston
Level 4 Contributor
36 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 January 2007

My husband and I spent our Christmas 2006 vacation (6 nights) at Makanda in Studio 9. The concierge staff did a very good job of booking trips, arranging taxis, and restaurant reservations. The waitstaff at the Sunspot restaurant, which serves wonderfully prepared international cuisine, were also very professional. Our studio was large and very pretty. The housekeeping staff did a great job, and even left the room every day with fresh flowers on our linens. Breakfast (hot and cold options) is served daily to your room - you order what you like and it appears in 20 minutes (the fresh fruit assortment is great)! Studio 9 is on the side of the resort that I would say has 'limited' ocean views through a swath cut throught the jungle, but still very pretty. However, if I were going again, I would book a room on the other side of the resort that has more open views of the ocean. Our studio was beneath another room, called a villa. The villa and studio have separate, huge balconies, ours was complete with sitting chairs and a wonderful hammock, and although you can't see your neighbors, you can easily hear them when on your balconies at the same time (at one point the guests above us were very very noisy). So if you are looking for complete isolation and quiet, you may find the guests above you a bit intrusive at times. Inside your room, with the A/C on, which is a must because it was very hot and humid outside, your world is your own. It was so humid that with the A/C on the floor to ceiling door/windows which lined the front of our studio were constantly dripping (outside) with condensation which unfortunately meant that when you were inside you really couldn't see the jungle outside (but that's to be expected in such a humid climate). Expect to walk about 75 steps up/down from Studio 9 to the main road on the Makanda resort - easy for my husband and I but not for everyone.
Other points to note about our trip - taxis are a must to get from Makanda anywhere, but they are cheap and there are lots of them - no waiting. Another restaurant we visited that we really liked was El Patio in Quepos (latin fusion food with flair - very pretty indoor garden area). Other good spots for 'average food' were El Avion and La Cantina, and great nachos and cold Imperial beer at Iguana Cafe on the beachfront in Manuel Antonio where you could 'people watch' the vendors and beach goers.
We did white water rafting with Amigos del Rios, zip line tour with Dream Forest Canopy and a jungle hike with Rainmaker and thoroughly enjoyed them all. On every trip our guides were just great, and the drives through rural Costa Rica to get to these tours were an adventure themselves. Tour companies are very well organized (in the morning they send a van to pick you up at your hotel, and at the end of the tour, they drop you off at your hotel).
We did our own hike in Manuel Antonio park as we didn't want to be slowed down by a guided tour, and some of the tour guides wouldn't go up the Punta Catedral route, which is where the best views are.
One last note. If you fly with Sansa airlines to Quepos, they frequently are delayed, so plan for extra time between flights on your trip home. Loved Costa Rica. Pura Vida!

  • Liked — Room
  • Disliked — Not on the beach.
  • Stayed January 2007, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
3 Thank canuckinma
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Makanda by the Sea

Property: Makanda by the Sea
Address: Main Road to Manuel Antonio Park | 800 meters from Plaza Vista, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Region: Costa Rica > Province of Puntarenas > Manuel Antonio
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#4 Green Hotel in Manuel Antonio
#7 Luxury Hotel in Manuel Antonio
#10 On the Beach Hotel in Manuel Antonio
#10 Spa Hotel in Manuel Antonio
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £££
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Makanda by the Sea 4.5*
Number of rooms: 27
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Makanda By the Sea is 12 acres of wildlife sanctuary, 100 meters above the ocean. Our fully equipped Villas and Studios are carefully placed in rainforest gardens with spectacular views of the sixty mile coastline. Hotel Makanda is the ideal location for guests wishing to experience “romance in nature”, dazzling sunset views and our personalized boutique hotel ambiance. Offering gourmet cuisine, first class service, and close to Manuel Antonio Park, Spas, Restaurants, Tours and Beaches. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Makanda By The Sea Hotel Manuel Antonio National Park
Makanda By The Sea Costa Rica/Manuel Antonio

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