Summary: I am a birdwatcher and discovered this lodge when I did a search for Nicaragua bird lodges online. I liked the idea of staying in a cabin by the river and having access to a private nature reserve. We stayed there for six nights and really enjoyed our stay. There is some room for improvement at the lodge, and it is overpriced, but I would stay there again.
Pros: The cabins are right on or near the river, so you can sit on your balcony and watch the river. Cabins have private bathrooms and electricity. We loved the communal veranda, the lounge with books and games, and the fact that everything is open-air. The grounds have a lot of nice birds and other wildlife. They have a bird list and eBird hotspot. Town is nearby but not too close. The staff is bilingual, friendly, and good at their job. The lodge has a fully stocked bar and cold beer. The food is tasty.
Cons: The bigger cabins are high up and some have sitting rooms that are open on the side facing the river. The minimalist guardrail would not have prevented a small child (or even potentially an adult) from falling onto the rocky beach below. And rolling objects may wind up in the river. There are no outlets in the rooms. The menu does not vary from day to day, and meals cost 4x what they do in the village for pretty much the same food. The minimal furniture made it hard to stow anything. One more table, a dresser, or solid shelves instead of sticks would fix that. The trails need some work, such as installation of small bridges where they cross a creek.
Neutral: rooms have cold water only. That didn't bother us because it was so hot and humid there and we were glad to take cold showers. I think bird feeders would be awesome. We saw part of an old hummingbird feeder but no feeders that were stocked. Maybe there's a good reason for this? Mosquito nets were a nice touch, but we actually had almost no mosquitos around the lodge even though it was the rainy season. There were bats in our room, which I think is awesome but a chiroptophobe might not be keen on. Those folks should just stay at home. No internet access anywhere nearby. Cell service is excellent, but data roaming is bloody expensive. That made it hard to adjust our plans on the fly or communicate with loved ones, but I enjoyed the break from email.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- SABALOS LODGE You can explore the beauty of the Nicaraguan wilderness along the Rio San Juan. Relax after a long day in our hammocks while you take a cold drink, and enjoy an amazing view of the river This is the place for the true adventurer and our goal is to give each of our visitors a genuine experience that will last for a lifetime. The biodiversity of the area offers you the chance of seeing exotic wildlife right outside your cabin. ... more less
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