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“wonderful place - amazing and delicious cuisine”
Review of Hotel Moana

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Hotel Moana
Ranked #3 of 8 Hotels in Mal Pais
Reviewed 10 May 2012

Just wanted a room for one night and ended up for almost one week. Moana Lodge, a former hotel owned by an African, is situated on the hillside of Malpais and is surrounded by forest. Its now well and with love redesigned still keeping the touch of Africa. Staying there means you have enough privacy - I had the feeling to be the only guest there :-). The restaurant offers an amazing view on the Pacific ocean and an excellent cuisine - local as well as international. Do not hesitate to try all the delicious tapas! Great staff and friendly service! I just can highly recommend this Lodge!

  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank ba-global
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 25 April 2012

We stayed at the Moana Lodge for 4 nights in March. We rented the standard room and it was very comfortable and cozy. Our unit had windows on 3 sides facing the jungle and was steps away from the lovely pool area. It was hot while we were there, so we really appreciated the pool and air conditioning in the room. (My DH also liked the honor bar by the pool.)

We decided not to rent a car while we were there and were happy with our decision. When we wanted to go into town, Jose, the lodge's taxi driver, took us there for a small fee. He also took us to Cabo Blanco and returned for us several hours later. One day we rented an ATV for the day and used that time to explore beaches and towns further north.

Breakfast was included in the lodge's price and we enjoyed, and looked forward to our hike up the hill every morning. We had an excellent dinner at the lodge the first night and then had sunset cocktails and hors d'oeurves there each evening before we explored other restaurants. The views from the restaurant were beautiful. The food is very good.

I would recommend this place to anyone. It is off the beaten path, but you can walk to the beach. We appreciated the seclusion.

  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank rpowell
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 April 2012

My husband and I just took our third trip to Costa Rica but this was our first time in Mal Pais/Santa Teresa. The hotel was wonderful and we really enjoyed our stay there. We stayed in the suite and it was magnificent (especially the bathroom)! It was definitely a trek to get up to the room but it just meant that I could eat a little more and not feel too bad about it! :) We found the bed to be comfortable. Not a huge deal but the tv was really tiny compared to the size of the room. Also, there wasn't much furniture in the room so the only place to unpack our clothes was in the bathroom and we didn't love that. As all the other review say, the restaurant was great for both breakfast and dinner and would highly recommend it! It was a bit of a pain that there were no phones in the room because the only way to contact reception was to hike down the stairs to get there and then hike back up...

You definitely need a car or ATV/quad to get around the area. It is very dry there and the roads get really dusty. We did do the walk from Playa Carmen to the hotel at night and it wasn't bad at all, you just don't want to be doing it during the day - it's way too hot! We booked a fishing trip through the hotel - we thought it was $65 but it turns out that it's $65 / hour so be aware of that! It was a little expensive but we had a great time out on the ocean. We caught 19 fish and brought some of them to a local restaurant and they made us ceviche. Fantastic!

We also did a little beach hopping. The main beaches there are Playa Carmen, Playa Santa Teresa and Playa Hermosa. I'm pretty sure they are all really one, very long stretch of beach with not much shade to be had. We don't surf but there were lots of people out there and it looked like a lot of fun! I still prefer the beach in Manuel Antonio though - I'm more of a shade person.

Overall, the hotel was great and we would definitely go back - two thumbs up!

  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank lmntoronto
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 April 2012

The area of Mal Pais itself is rather unique. The beach that is closest to the hotel is aweful and you must go down to Playa Carmen for a decent beach. If you are staying in Mal Pais you really must have a car, there is no way around it. This hotel is not close to the crossroads (Mal Pais and Santa Teresa) and the walk (we timed it) takes over 25 minutes and it can be rather hot, smelly and dusty. I didn't have a great experience with the owners in which I will leave out, but the other young lady at the receptionist desk was fantastic and really did go out of her way to make sure we had what we needed.

The restaurant on site really was the reason that I rated as high as I did for this hotel. ITS GREAT! The breakfast is great, the views are great, the cocktails at sunset were great, etc. Our bed was highly uncomfortable, it was our worst sleep while in Costa Rica. The pool was refreshing but didn't provide a lot of "sun time" which some may like with the hot weather as an escape from the sun. The hotel advertises a pool bar, but when we were there (maybe they were out) the only thing in the pool bar was a few soda's.

Overall, I cant speak to how this would rate compared to other hotels in Mal Pais but I would reccomend staying in Santa Teresa altogether (better beaches).

Room Tip: Maybe the suites and junior suites have better beds.
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  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank Travel1142
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 April 2012

We originally thought we'd go to St. John or possibly Hawaii. Then we thought Costa Rica might be fun for our two kids, 8 and 9, who both love lizards, crabs, snakes... I must have read every review on every town in Costa Rica. We finally landed on Moana in Mal Pais. We truly had our best family vacation yet. Moana is one if not the nicest location in Mal Pais. On hot days, we'd head to the honeymoon suite (large enough for the four of us) and catch the ocean breezes. The room was impeccable. Waking up every morning to see the ocean before you (although a 1/4 mile away) was truly relaxing. The kids crawled all over the property looking for lizards. My 8 year old daughter caught many lizards and snakes... that's just her thing. The restaurant was perfect. We're definitely food snobs and this on did not disappoint. Breakfast was huge and included in the cost of the room. The banana bread french toast was amazing! I gained three pounds on this trip. One warning, we did find food throughout town pretty expensive. They definitely know the gringos are in town. We had lunch an a great little open air restaurant in St. Theresa and it ran about $45 for the four of us. I didn't even eat... just had a beer. The Moana restaurant is also spendy, but the food is of a quality matching higher priced restaurants here in Boulder. We loved Mal Pais/St. Theresa. We rented a Bego (small SUV) from Toyota in San Jose and made the drive. Very easy to get around (with GPS) and SO worth it once you get to Mal Pais. It wasn't cheap... about $700 for six days with full insurance. One issue we hit upon return with Toyota... they wanted to charge us extra for "cleaning" the Bego. I was floored. There was no trash in it (like there might be when I rent for business). It DID have lots of sand and dust, but c'mon... it's Costa Rica! I told them there was no way I was paying to have it cleaned after paying $700 and getting the full insurance. They shrugged their shoulders and said they would not charge me. We used an ATV one day and I was covered in dust. For the family, being in the car was the way to go. We snorkeled in the cove just South of the lodge (sorry, forgot the name... short 4x4 road to a short trail and then down to the beach... very private). My daughter went nuts over the hermit crabs there. We did the zip line tour in Mal Pais (also just South of the lodge). We did the 9am tour and were the ONLY family there. We got great attention and the two guys said they had 20 people for the 1pm tour. SO happy we went early. We were also there just before Easter. The whole town was pretty quiet. Even the lodge was somewhat empty. We made the hour drive over to Montezuma for the waterfall. Aiden suggested we head to the top of the fall (not to park at the bottom). Up top were two pools with cliffs and lots of jumpers, us included. It was a fun and adventurous day. They even had a rope swing... felt like a little kid again. We ate a late lunch at the Cafe d'Artistes at the bottom of the falls on the beach. Montezuma wasn't my favorite. The beach wasn't as nice and there were a lot of people there. Back to Mal Pais. We spent two days North of Santa Theresa at Playa Hermosa. This was one of the best beaches I've ever visited. Waist deep for about 30 meters and a nice sandy bottom. It was perfect for learning surfing. We highly recommend the Kina Surf Shop. Caroline there was very helpful. My wife left with three new bikinis... why, I'll never know... but who's complaining? We rented boogie and surf boards at Kina. $6 and $16 respectively. We also made friends with a Canadian family that had been in town for about six weeks with their two daughters. They invited us to the Playa Carmen beach. At sunset, lots of families come out to watch the sun disappear into the water. We played in the waves and then ate pizza in the sand at Avicii's. Mary's restaurant was also a good family spot. Again however, each dinner ran us $100-$120 with one drink for my wife and me. Yes, there are many stairs at Moana... but it was no trouble even after a long day. They were very helpful with the bags. The Costa Rica Rough Guide says Ticos aren't accustomed to tipping. We were dissuaded from that thinking on day one. Tip everyone. Yes, sometimes the tip is included so pay attention, but mostly, the folks at the lodge (housekeeping, baggage help) will appreciate a tip. The drive turns to dirt about 30 minutes out of Paquera. It's a rocky road for sure. Very similar to the dirt roads here in the mountains or any country dirt road in the US. The road many times goes from two lanes to one each time there's a bridge. There's also the occasional bicycle, pedestrian and iguana to look out for. I found the drive bumpy but very fun. Lot's of ups and downs. For GPS, we used the Navsat product based in CR. It got us there and back with no problem. Even warned when there was a bridge coming up or a radar trap. We had friends on previous trips that got hit by the flat tire scam and other friends that were pulled over by the police and hit up for a bribe... about $20. We had absolutely no problems like this. One product that I thought really gave us piece of mind was a Pacsafe bag. I bought the Pacsafe camera bag and put it in my backpack. While we snorkeled, we put all of our important stuff in the Pacsafe back and locked it (still in my backpack) to a tree. If someone wanted to steal it, they'd need a heavy bolt cutter. In the end, we felt safe the entire trip. The ATMs in town work very well. One dispenses just Colones while the other spits out Colones and dollars. I used Colones all week. All in all, one of our best trips ever. We've been to Cancun and St. John (as well as Europe) and this trip just felt more genuine that those. Mal Pais is laid back and the people were very friendly. We live in a pretty nice town and I didn't feel like Mal Pais was "slummy" at all. There are lots of young 20-somethings there to surf and hang out for sure. We will likely return to Mal Pais and Moana. Go!

Room Tip: We stayed in the honeymoon suite. Best spot on the property. I'd say the junior suites would be...
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  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled with family
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3  Thank GoodSteve
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hotel Moana

Address: 1.5 kilometers to the south, Playa Carmen, Mal Pais 60111, Costa Rica
Region: Costa Rica > Province of Puntarenas > Mal Pais
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#2 Family Hotel in Mal Pais
#4 Romantic Hotel in Mal Pais
Price Range: RM280 - RM597 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Hotel Moana 3.5*
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Moana is a small private luxury ocean view hotel. Located in the magnificent tranquil region of Mal PaÌs Beach on the Pacific Coast of the Nicoya Peninsula of Costa Rica. During your vacation with us you'll encounter high quality modern hotel suites and rooms that blend comfort with style leaving you with an unforgettable personal experience. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Moana Hotel Mal Pais

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