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Reviewed 18 January 2009

Stayed here in Dec to Jan 09 for relaxing start to a honeymoon. Everyone made us feel so welcome and nothing was overlooked or out of place. Credit given to the owners who have and are still working hard to further improve facilities here in the lush cool settings 200 yards from the nearest cove.

We spent weeks here and hence saw the staff dealing with helping out the guests across a longer period of time. As it's developing slightly we are sure this place will get to be a real gem. Great memories of the times here.

  • Stayed: December 2008, travelled as a couple
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Thank MarknCathy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 January 2009

My wife and I stayed 3 nights at the Moana Lodge. The Hotel owners were very friendly and welcoming. We found the Hotel to be very peaceful and quiet...exactly what we were looking for. There are only 7 rooms on the property and a nice pool which was kept very clean.

The breakfasts that were cooked every morning were great. its sort of a group breakfast (at least it seemed that way when we were there) which I enjoyed. It allowed us to chat with others hotel guests as well as the hotel staff.

I would highly recommend the Moana for anyone staying in the Mal Pias area. The hotel is only a 5 minute drive or less into town.

In my opinion the hotel seemed to be appropriately priced for the amenities and location.

  • Stayed: June 2006, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank jwoolfall
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 January 2009

Great place to stay... as all the reviews state before me!!

We stayed 5 night at Moana Lodge over Christmas and really enjoyed our visit. Aiden is helpful, friendly and keen to make sure that you enjoy your stay at the lodge. Aiden and his wife Vicky organised drinks for all the guests on Christmas day evening was a really thoughtful extra.

The rooms are extremely clean and atmospheric with the African theme as a tasteful addition. The breakfasts were really great and different every day. Nothing to complain about.

Some new rooms and a restuarant are currently being built that will give the Lodge some amazing views.

Great place - you won't be disappointed..

Stayed: December 2008
Thank katma_UK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 January 2009

If you are going to Mal Pais, The Moana Lodge is the place where you need to stay. It is located 15 min from the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen (Mal Pais, Santa Teresa).

The Hotel is very charming and the rooms are very clean and comfortable. The service is very good. The Breakfast is included and very good too. However there is no restaurant but you will be able to find many nice places where to eat located on the main road to the beach.

The Moana Lodge consists in many lodges like bungalows. However there is a new part of the hotel under construction which should be finished soon. The new rooms will have an amazing view on the ocean (which we did not have from the room) and promise to be great.

I would advice you to rent a car or a quad as it will make your life easier when going to the beach or to eat. Mal Pais is very wild so do not expect to find a very touristic city with many big hotels. This actually makes the charm of Mal Pais.

  • Stayed: December 2008, travelled with friends
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Thank Roudych
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 October 2008

Do not go to Mal Pais to stay in Mal Pais, but do go to Mal Pais to stay at Moana Lodge. We stayed there four days in March and were very glad we did. The hotel itself was built by a man from Congo, then sold to an Irishman, Aidan, and his Costa Rican wife, Vicki, who have painstakingly preserved the African theme to this lodge without it being overbearing or tacky. African artifacts anoint every room and are prominently displayed in the pool/relaxation area. But while Africa is the theme, the place is more like a zen retreat for people wanting serious relaxation. There's swinging beds, a massage table, beautiful gardens, a great pool and jacuzzi tub that is positioned at a clearing to watch the beautiful sunsets. We had the pool to ourselves every evening we were there, which is perfect after the day’s activities. Aidan and the staff are almost obsessive about keeping the place clean: Aidan will skim a leaf from the pool before its ripples have subsided. Moana Lodge is also away from the road and the dust that coats everything in dry season.

There's nothing much to criticize about Moana Lodge itself. If you're looking for a loud, boisterous party scene you likely won't find it here. The people that haunt Moana Lodge tend to be yuppies looking for a unique vacation experience that they can keep to themselves: their own secret getaway, and most of the people we met were repeat visitors.

There’s not much to see in Mal Pais itself, and Moana Lodge does not have a full service restaurant, which makes it difficult to find a late night snack. There’s a small soda about ten minutes away that serves Costa Rican pinto in all its forms, but it closes early. There are restaurants along “the strip” but if you do not have transportation, it’s a fairly long hike down a dark road. Fortunately, Moana Lodge rents ATVs and they are in excellent working condition. It is recommended to rent them for the whole time you’re there, because you’re (gladly) away from the action in Mal Pais, and the roads are not fit man or beast. Take a bandana, goggles or a dust mask if you’re heading to the Nicoya Peninsula during dry season: you cannot escape the dust, and it just as bad around Montezuma and all the way up the coast. Molasses is sporadically sprayed on the roads to keep the dust down, giving a bizarre sweet smell, but as Vicki told us, there’s two seasons in the Nicoya Peninsula: dust season and mud season, so we’ll gladly take the former.

Mal Pais beach is nothing to write home about, but the beautiful beach Playa Carmen is only a thirty minute walk as the crabs go. If you do not have transportation, stick to the beach to avoid the dust and it’s a more direct route. There’s a wonderful Italian bar and restaurant just off the beach at Playa Carmen and the town has Internet, food, shopping, liquor and all the essentials. If you rent an ATV, travel up the road towards Santa Theresa and things get noticeably grimier as the surfer dudes and dreadlocked bums become more prominent. There are, however, excellent little restaurants, bars and sodas along the way. Head the other way from Mal Pais and visit Montezuma (about 45 minutes by ATV) and watch for the enormous vine tree at Cabuya: you cannot miss it, it’s huge. Montezuma was our original destination but we were glad we chose Mal Pais; Montezuma is crowded, with narrow streets, sketchy accommodations and hippies selling homemade jewelry. You will find the party scene here, but won’t find real Costa Rica.

If you’re looking for a quiet oasis in the Nicoya Peninsula, then Mal Pais is the place to go. If you’re looking for the best place to stay in Mal Pais (or anywhere in the vicinity) then Moana Lodge is definitely the place to stay. You can book excursions from Moana Lodge, like zip-lining in nearby Cabo Blanco, or surfing lessons at nearby Playa Carman (some of the best surfing in all Nicoya for beginners and experts), and Aidan will take care of all the arrangements. Rent an ATV and you can easily access everything along coast and avoid the crowds of Montezuma and up the coast towards Tamarindo. All in all a fabulous experience and highly recommended, just try to keep it a secret!

  • Stayed: March 2008, travelled as a couple
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Thank Rastaman10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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