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“5% extra if you pay with credit or debit card”

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Buena Onda Beach Resort
Ranked #1 of 11 Tola B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 7 February 2014

Lovely place, very friendly staff, good food. However all the beatty and good demeanor is blown off when you try to pay with a credit card and they add 5% to your bill. When brought it up to Connie, the onsite Manager, and Paul, the other Manager, they just said, you have an option to pay with cash and defended their poor practice. I told them that none of the other places in Managua, or the rest of the world do that, Connie kept insisting on we carry cash. I told her noone carries that much cash anymore, if your cash is stolen, you are at a loss, if your credit card is stolen, you call the credit card company and all is settled. She still did not agree with me. We had to go to Rancho Santana and beg to use their ATM machine, because its only for guests use. Its not the 5% extra, which we can afford, its just the principle. Which is a charge the owners have to abosrb, just like any other stablishment in the world. Only in Nicaragua, very cheap of the owners part. I would stil come back here, as I am planning my friend from Burma's Birthday, 20 people, but hopefully they change that policy. One last thing, the waitress, would not bring our food to the cabana by the pool, because she said it was too far away, and the restaurant was empty. She asked me to go get it, finally she brought, and said it was the owner's policy. They automatically add a 10% tip to your bill, but you still have to get your own food and drinks if by the pool area.

  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled with friends
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Thank rafaelantonio
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
buena0nda, Owner at Buena Onda Beach Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 10 February 2014

Thank you for your review. We are glad you liked your experience at Buena Onda Beach Resort. And we are even more happy that you decided to come back with a group! Please send me an email to the resort address as I (the owner) answer all communications personally. I will also try to make things right for you!

Let me explain a couple of things. I am of course not happy that you had to go over to Rancho Santana to get cash out. If I would have been there this would not have happened. I will instruct in order to this never happen again. The reason is that we have 99% of our guests reserve prior to staying at Buena Onda. They are always instructed the our prices are cash prices and we add a 5% charge for card payments. If you know this in advance, you bring cash and save the 5%. I understand that this may not be the case in Managua. But I also find it unfair calling us cheap to do so. We do not do it for monetary gains but for cash flow reasons. We are not in the fortunate situation to have a bank close. The next bank is 1hr away and you wait another hour in line to get money out of it. All our providers are paid in cash and more importantly, so are our employees. None that I know of in this remote rural community has a bank account. It is all cash. This is the reason why we try to keep the payments in cash. We worked for years without a credit card terminal and so are many business in the area. We added the option (at a 5% rate) in order to give people the possibility to pay card if they decide not to bring cash.

About the 10% service charge for Food and Beverages. It is mentioned on all our menus (even online) and is done at every restaurant in Nicaragua. However, it is a voluntary tip charge that is distributed evenly between all our local staff (not the foreigners) in order for them to have a good income. If you had asked and decided not to pay it we would have taken it off your bill. We have done that before and it clearly says VOLUNTARY tip on the bills.

I will personally look into the waitress situation. You should have been served outside the restaurant.

Thank you very much for your review. We always strive to better our service, your opinion is very valuable to us!

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168 - 174 of 334 reviews

Reviewed 17 January 2014

Stayed here June 2012 with a buddy and had a blast. Waves didnt live up and the wind was onshore instead of offshore all day long. But locals said it was strange to be onshore 8 days in a row! Had some great times watching some futbol with Phillip and the staff. Meals are great. The daily specials were awesome and Phillip's tenderloin is amazing. One downside was that Phillip had an all inclusive group that he was occupied with and we could not book a fishing or surf trip. No worries, right on the beach you can hire a boat from a great family. Ask for Eddie or his dad Juan Sr. Thanks again guys!

Room Tip: if you have extra coin get the a/c room
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  • Stayed: June 2013, travelled with friends
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Thank Jorge R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 January 2014

I spent 6 great nights at Buena Onda with my family.
The good:
- The location is beautiful, we rented a villa and it was clean and spacious. The grounds are well maintained and the pool is perfect for both adults and children.
- The beach is great for surfers and it is not crowded. We were there over New Year's and even at that peak time it was empty.
- The staff is efficient and the place is well run.
- From Buena Onda you can access other beaches (by car) and the Rancho Santana hotel (very nice!) by both car or walking on the beach.
Things to know before you go:
- Access is not easy, it's 20 miles on a dirt road to the nearest town (Tola) and another 10 (on pavement) to Rivas (nearest city). The dirt road gets old after a few trips. We visited Rivas, Masaya and La Flor Beach (where turtles nest) and were exhausted after every day trip. However every one was worth it.
- There is no public transportation around Buena Onda. If you plan on doing any exploring you need a car. 4X4 not required but recommended for the dirt roads.
- The beach is great for surfing but not for novices. There are waves!
- Food at the restaurant is basic but good. For nicer meals you have to walk or drive to Rancho Santana.
- You must do your own research on trips/activities. The hosts are great but they don't have materials or brochures - there are lots of touristy places in San Juan del Sur (1 hr drive) that can organize almost any tour.

Overall Buena Onda is a great place to stay and explore Nicaragua. Bring a sense of adventure!

  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled with family
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1  Thank LosAngelesRC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 December 2013

I wanted to express my sincere gratitude for the phenomenal accommodations, hospitality, positive energy and all-around amazing atmosphere at Buena Onda. Buena Onda simply has a top-notch offering and team. I wanted to share my appreciation towards Buena Onda for the wonderful hospitality and for contributing to my tremendous first Nicaraguan experience. I'm already eager to plan my next trip down there, and hopefully, for a longer stay. Playa Santana is a majestic place and I can not wait to return.

  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled with friends
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Thank Gabriel S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 December 2013

I spent 10 days in July/August 2012 with my wife and son in this hotel and we had fantastic surf vacations ! We rented a very clean bungalow with A/C. We enjoyed very much the quiet place, uncrowded beaches, the nature and the surf spots at walking distance. We surfed au least 4 hours every day and had very good conditions. The staff is very friendly and helpfull and Philip helped us to organize 2 or 3 surfing trips and he also joined us. We also met new friends there from UK, US and Canada. We can really recommend this place and the location.

Room Tip: Take room qith A/C as it can get hot
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  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled with family
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Thank Didier M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 December 2013 via mobile

The staff, location, atmosphere and food make this one of our regular stops on the pacific coast of nicaragua - need I say more?! The villas are amazing for a group with a nice kitchen and modern feel. The standard rooms are less private but a great value. Nice to have a car if you want to explore as there are few buses and taxis in the area.

Stayed: December 2013, travelled with friends
Thank sandj1971
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 November 2013

I just ran across Buena Onda site while planning another trip and had to shoot a quick review, because this place deserves it. I was there for a surf trip last Christmas - New Years with my wife and 14 year old daughter. I have been traveling in Central America (Nica, CR and Panama) for over 20 years, and this place is a good as it gets. Sarah and Philip are super cool, considerate hosts. The grounds of the place are gorgeous, like you would expect if you were paying 3 times as much. We rented one of there villas (very nice), but I totally would have been just as happy staying in one of their basic rooms. The grounds and pool are so nice, it wouldn't matter. One of the coolest things about it is they have the plush villas all the way down to hostel style dorm bunks for a few dollars per night, which means you get a good mix of travelers to kick it with by the pool in between surf sessions....which makes it for me. If I was to complain about anything, I would say to the surfers that the surf out front isnt an epic spot (Playa Santana is pretty much a punchy close-out beach break) and Popoyo, which is an easy, beautiful walk down the beach, while being one of the most beautiful, cartoon perfect waves in the world...is freekin' packed with agro bodies in all but the most off-seaon times of the year. But I say who cares...the place is so killer its worth it. Go drop in on a Brazo and smile (I did). There are good waves to travel to (with the BO staff) like Lances Left, Rosada, Colorados, etc. Anyway, I got to give this place nothing but high marks. Great value, a paradise for seasoned travelers. - Andy C (Wendy and Ana)

Room Tip: ...its more about choosing a good hammock
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  • Stayed: December 2012, travelled with family
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1  Thank Andy C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Buena Onda Beach Resort

Address: Playa Santana, Popoyo, Tola, Nicaragua
Region: Nicaragua > Rivas Department > Tola
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 11 B&Bs / Inns in Tola
Price Range: £73 - £147 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 15
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Our seaside hideaway is just a stones throw from one of Nicaragua's finest beaches, Playa Santana - where our nearest neighbors are grazing cows and howling monkeys. We have superb, consistently breaking, barreling surf right out front. Sunshine, tropical warmth, warm water and off-shore breezes 300+ days a year, comfortable (and affordable!) Accommodation, and most of all, BUENA ONDA (good vibrations) morning, noon and night. Your Swiss hosts, Philip and Sarah, will make sure that you spend your well-deserved holiday hassle free, in style and that you are well looked after during your stay. Come and explore - we'd love to share our little piece of paradise with you. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Buena Onda Beach Hotel Tola
Buena Onda Beach Resort Nicaragua/Tola

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