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All reviews papaya lounge amazing views place is great surf lessons the pacific ocean jacuzzi beaches trees monkeys dust hillside canopy porch
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Reviewed 20 April 2007

I have nothing but positive feedback for the Moana Lodge and the wonderfully efficient, professional, helpful and friendly staff.
My husband and I knew the minute we arrived, as we met the owner, were escorted around the beautiful and well designed property, that we'd found the right place. From our window and the comfortable chairs outside our door on the deck, we could watch the ocean and hear the waves. The Moana, like most of the accomodations in Mal Pais and Santa Theresa, is not directly on the beach but the beach is close enough! We walked every day to Playa del Carmen and surfed, beginning the first day with a lesson from an excellent surfing instructor the Moana Lodge recommended to us. I was very impressed with the level of integrity displayed by the owners of the Moana Lodge, Vicki and Aidan. It's such a friendly place that we know the names of all the staff and I felt very welcomed and comfortable practicing my Spanish skills with them.
Breakfast each morning at the Moana was just right. On different days we had omelets, pancakes, toast, smoothies, GREAT coffee, and FRESH fruit every day! And for other meals we walked (literally) across the road to a spot ON THE BEACH for a sunset meal with fresh fish, beans and rice, fajitas, chicken... and we explored the many other restaurants close by.
I'm just so overjoyed that we found this place and we cannot wait to return. Our thanks to Aidan, Vicki and their staff for an amazing vacation. See you next year!
Sarah Lakosky

Date of stay: April 2007
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
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Thank shadowtravels
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 April 2007

I did extensively research in Mal Pais/ Santa Teresa (using Trip Advisor, Conde Nast, & Budget Travel), booked the Moana Lodge, & was very pleased with the result. We stayed in March, had 2 rooms for 4 nights.

The place has been recently purchased by a new owner from Ireland (Aiden), who runs it with his partner (Birginia?) & they do a fantastic job. Their cutomer service is phenomenal, but not overbearing. They assisted us booking horseback riding on the beach, recommended excellent places to eat, & even checked on the ferry for the trek back to the mainland. I was more than impressed with the management here (which, I will honestly say, if rare coming from me). Aiden even went as far as to find me in the morning one day to show me a coati, I believe, an animal that hangs out near their cabina. One evening we stayed in the little outside sitting area & Aiden borrowed us some DVDs to watch there, while we relaxed with our beers. The rest of the staff is just as great. The girls that put our breakfast in the morning are so sweet. Breakfast is simple (good bread & fresh fruit), but plentiful, tasty, & included in the price. I loved the maintenance boy. He doesn't speak English, but keeps the place spotless & one day we traipsed through the bushes near the hotel as he tried desperately to point out monkies to me.

I was very worried about the location, because we came to surf. Let it be known, I could not find any quiet, safe, clean properties near a sufing beach anywhere in the two towns. The ones that are near surfing beaches are loud "surfer" hostel like places, which are not my scene because I am not a 20 year old college drunk. You, of course, will have a vehicle & the drive is simple & there is a great surfboard rental spot right by Playa del Carmen. I'm not sure that I would stay much further south down the road though or, for that matter, very far up the road in Santa Teresa.

The deluxe rooms (a great price at $120) are attached to just one other room. I could hear our neighbors, but it wasn't terrible. Aiden has done a great job with remodeling. He even showed me photos of what the place looked like when he bought it! The rooms are SPOTLESS! The bed was comfy & you can even see a glimpse of the ocean from your room. (it is across the road though & that beach is too rocky for swim/surf) The window above the vanities has banana trees behind them. The pool is tiny, but refreshing in the mid-day heat. There are beautiful flowers on the grounds. We never saw monkies outside our room, but our friends did & we heard them one morning. There is air conditioning in each room and, although, it is not as poweful as US AC, it got very chilly when left on all night! I only had 2 complaints about the entire stay. The water pressure in our room was horrible. However, I checked our friend's room before we checked out & their's was great, so I should have just told Aiden because I know he would have fixed it immediately. The first night we stayed, there was distant but loud bass pounding all night. I don't know if it came from the nearby house or across the road, but I almost lost it. Luckily, not another peep of music the rest of the 4 day stay. I LOVED the modern rooms &, really, the entire hotel.

We were going to book at Casa Chamelon (because it is rated #1). We emailed asking about availabilty & they finally responded two weeks later. We then said we wanted to stay 2 nights (2 rooms each night), instead of 4. They responded (after many emails) over a MONTH later, stating they were booked. I am STILL upset at their rude & inefficient customer service. By the time they responded, other hotels could have been booked! Mind you, we contacted them months prior to our stay, so my belief is that they were not booked, but wanted someone for a longer stay. We tried to look for their property while in Mal Pais to ask them about the situation, but strangely never found it. We also debated about staying at Hotel Milarepa because it is beachside. We did go scope the hotel & eat dinner there. The grouds are great & the view amazing. The negatives are that it IS right on the beach & I do wonder about theft, as other reviewers wrote. Also, there isn't air conditioning. This would not bother me, but it does get very warm & just be aware what your needs are. The only other negative I could obviously see was that to get down to the hotel, you must go down many many stairs..... plus it is not on a surfing or swimming beach & further from town than Hotel Milarepa is.

Read this paragraph for city tips.
The trek from the mainland was not nearly as bad as I had researched. The venture to Monteverde is MUCH worse. Many of the roads have been worked & the two biggest obstacles are dust everywhere & the ferry. The Puntarenas ferry was on strike on our drive back so we had to travel up to Narajo. Just leave very early both days to get on your ferry.
The surfing is very good. The easy waves at Playa del Carmen are similar to Pacific Beach, but change throughout the day. We did not surf at Playa Santa Teresa, but they look just as easy & more consistent. We also ventured north to Playa Hermosa & the waves look the biggest there. The most amazing & completely empty beach (seriously, only one other person there: a fisherman) was north on a gorgeous drive at Manzanillo. On the drive there, we saw at least 15 monkies on the side of road & watched them for 20 minutes.
Aiden will recommend great places to eat & these are some of them. We loved Pizza Carmen right by the beach (good pizza/pasta/beer). My fav spot was Marys, just up the road from Moana Lodge (fish tacos & cocktails). Soda Del Mar is just across the street with an amazing view & dirt cheap prices. We also had seafood in Santa Teresa at Barisa del Mar & BBQ in town at Las Piedras. The restaurant at Hotel Milarepa was good, complete with candelabra, view, & great service (but a little pricey). Stop near the pharmacy in town at the little fruit shake/ ice cream shop: the owners are wonderful & attentive.
FYI: there is no ATM in town yet. One is coming, but get your cash before heading out!
We loved horseback riding on the beach & the Spanish speaking guide & his son are fantastic. I would recommend passing on the very strenuous hike at Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve. You don't get a guide on the hike, so you never see any wildlife. After you finally hike 2 long sweaty hours to get to the beach, you will find riptipes, coral &, surprisingly, other people on the beach. Then you have to hike back!

In summary (after a far too long review), I can recommend WITHOUT hesitation, to go to the Nicoya Peninsula & stay at The Moana Lodge. I never repeat vacations, but will be back here (although nowhere else in Costa Rica, even though it is a lovely country) & should only be lucky enough to have Aiden still running the place!

Date of stay: March 2007
  • Trip type: Travelled with family
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2  Thank COhotelcritic
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 April 2007

The grounds were beautiful and the rooms were spacious and clean. Aidan and Vicky, the couple who own the hotel are spectacular hosts. They directed us to wonderful places to see and great things to do in the area. During my stay, Aidan and Vicky prepared a 5 course meal for everyone in the hotel using the fish I personally caught that day!! They made me feel at home. This is the nicest hotel in the area and I highly recommend staying here during your time in Costa Rica.

Date of stay: January 2007
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1  Thank mlevine422
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 April 2007

Probably the best place to stay in Mal Pais. We Stayed there March 23-25 and came back on the 26 after experiencing terrible accomodations at Tropicano Latino.

The rooms here are great with queen sized beds and fantastic decor. There is also a great breakfast in the morning which is great as well. The grounds are just beautiful with wildlife abound. We were bleased with both monkeys and an ant eater in the trees while we were there.

We loved this hotel so much we are planning on staying here next year for our wedding.

Jason & Peggy

Date of stay: March 2007
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
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2  Thank x81sd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 March 2007

Date of stay: January 2007
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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