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De El Castillo de la Inmaculada, 8 km rio abajo. Frente a la Reserva Indio-Maiz., El Castillo 505 Nicaragua
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#3 of 8 Specialty lodging in El Castillo
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Green
Quaint
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Free parking
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Free breakfast
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De El Castillo de la Inmaculada, 8 km rio abajo. Frente a la Reserva Indio-Maiz., El Castillo 505 Nicaragua
49Reviews7Q+A6Room tips
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RichardWithy wrote a review Jan 2018
London, United Kingdom32 contributions12 helpful votes
The appearance of this lodge and its cabins might remind one of barracks, but very clean, and if you’ve come here I assume it’s for wildlife and to get away from the crowd so you won’t be disappointed. The food was great (Sandra is a great cook) although of course expect the choice to be limited. There are lots of birds and wildlife (agoutis, teriffic frog chorus at dusk, etc) in the grounds and nearby trails. Our high point was a trip up the Rio Bartola river - beautiful scenery amongst the forested river banks, again lots of flora and fauna - our guide was Gustavo (La Cascada) who knows this stretch like the back of his hand (his family farm is somewhere up river). Mainly Spanish only spoken but they work hard at understanding you. To enter the reserve one needs to sign in with the army on the opposite side if the bank but it’s a quick process.
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Date of stay: December 2017
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Eitje2016 wrote a review Dec 2016
Sardinia, Italy53 contributions20 helpful votes
If you want to be in the middle of the jungle, have nice rooms, the best steak ever and see lots of animals and nature: go to Refugio Bartola. We were in doubt, staying in El Castillo or Refugio Bartola, but I am so glad we choose the Refugio! Unfortunately the transfer the hostel offers is (way too) expensive ($60 per boat, max. 5pax) but I don't have a clue how you can get there otherwise. We travelled from Granada to San Carlos via Managua, which was really easy. Take the UCA microbus from Granada to UCA early in the morning (we took one at 6.45 and arrived in Managua 1 hour later), then take a taxi from UCA to Managua Moyoreo busterminal. One bus leaves at 9 and one at 10.15, which we took (te one at 9am was full) and arrived in San Carlos at 16.30. Make sure you book seats on the drivers side, it can get hot! We stayed in San Carlos for the night and took the boat to El Castillo at 10.30 (1,5hrs) and Edwin was waiting for us there! The journey to the refugio is about 30min. -Try the steak at the Refugio, best one in Central America! -Morning boat tour, before breakfast -After breakfast a hike in the park across the river. We saw lots of animals, monkeys, frogs, sloths, lizards and iguanas.
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Date of stay: December 2016Trip type: Travelled as a couple
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Lee J wrote a review Nov 2016
Exeter, United Kingdom68 contributions74 helpful votes
Struggled to find any recent reviews for this place so it was difficult to know what we would get. Depending who you are and what you want will influence greatly what you think of this place. We arrived with a local guide just after the lodge had reopened. We turned out to be the only two people staying there. We were looked after by two ladies Maria and Maura who produced superb food particularly good for carnivores however vegetarian options were readily available. Accompanying us on some of our daily excursions was Danillo great guy who was extremely enthusiastic and helpful. We spent 5 nights there with the days consisting of morning and afternoon activities mainly walking in the forest and canoeing on the Rio bartola. You can enter Indio maiz via the army post on the other side of the river. This lodge is situated about two and a half hours down river in a motorized canoe from the town of San Carlos. The closest small town to it is El Castillo which is thirty minutes away by motorized canoe and is worth looking at briefly on arriving or departing Refugio bartola. Opposite the lodge is an army post which monitors the comings and goings on the river. The lodge consists of nine rooms. Rooms 1 to 6 are semi detached with a small passage between them rooms 7,8,9 are attached all rooms are covered by one long roof. There was also what looked like a small separate dormitory at the end. We were told the lodge could accommodate 24 people in total. All the rooms are very basic but functional. If you go in October as we did be prepared to get wet as it will rain. Take rubber boots absolutely essential and take extra gear as the humidity does not allow things to dry quickly. I have to stress this is a personal view and might have been different if the place was full as there is not much space to retreat to and the rooms are as stated close together. In conclusion go and stay and review this place it needs more reviews.
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Date of stay: October 2016
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Trip type: Travelled as a couple
Room Tip: Room one is closest to the communal are nine the furthest away.
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Duncan S wrote a review Jul 2015
Bath, United Kingdom90 contributions94 helpful votes
Nice spot, very accommodating staff, great location on the edge of the reserve. Here you are right amongst the animals, quite different from the places at El Castillo and Sabalos. But it is rather more expensive and it is not so convenient to get to, they need to send a boat for you which gets added to your bill. The place itself isn't that quaint and is a bit utilitarian, the rooms are OK but pretty basic. We went on a good nature walk with the kids and took out canoes up the river.
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Date of stay: July 2015
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Trip type: Travelled with family
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Duckconsultant wrote a review Mar 2015
Wadena, Saskatchewan71 contributions28 helpful votes
I don't usually order steak believing that I can always do better at home. However I ordered it at lunch one day for a change and it was so good that I had it again that night as did my wife. The evening was even better than the lunch. Sandra explained to me that the meat is all local and does not suffer from transport. Sandra is extremely hard working as is her staff. Fernando the guide is very knowledgeable. When he isn't guiding he's washing boots or serving. The place is cement and boards but spotless. Quiet and relaxing except fot the howler monkeys at 4 a.m. For nature this is the place.
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Date of stay: March 2015
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Trip type: Travelled as a couple
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Mara L wrote a review Mar 2015
Montpellier, France3 contributions5 helpful votes
The most impressive about the refugio Bartola is its location. Being located directly in front the of the Reserva Indio Maíz it has a lot to offer for nature and wildlife lovers. The place is beautiful, the rooms clean. However, the owner is not the most friendly person and I have met other travellers who got sick from the food there. For me it was not the best place to be since there is still a better place for a more authentic experience, the Basecamp Bartola. The Basecamp Bartola is a community run ecotourism project in the local village Bartola, approximadelty two hours by canoo upstream the river Bartola. You sleep in tents which are placed within a thatched hut, consisting of a floor and a roof. The tent is furnished with mattress with bed sheets and you get a towel too. The villagers are extremely friendly and helpful and will do everything to make you comfortable. They offer guided rainforest tours, night walks, fishing and a chocolate tour, where you see how the locals make chocolate at the home of a local family. I enjoyed the Basecamp Bartola way much than the refugio Bartola. They have a facebook page where you can find more information: https://www.facebook.com/indio.maiz?fref=ts
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Date of stay: May 2014
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Trip type: Travelled with friends
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Jean-Michel M wrote a review Feb 2015
Leon, Nicaragua21 contributions8 helpful votes
Bartola is just at a side of Indio-Maiz biosphere protected area, a nice tropical humid forest. More looking like a big house than an hotel, life has a different rythm. No stress, time to enjoy all, the huge San Juan River in front, the jungle in back. If lazy, just sit and look the birds on the edge of the river. If more energy is available, put the boots and have a walk on the trails, in the forest. Can get a canoe also to trip on the river. Food is always nice and rooms are ok. I have been there many times, shurely over ten times, generally for a week and the experience have been wonderfull always. The owners and crew are very friendly and can always solve the problems we may have.
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Date of stay: May 2014
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Trip type: Travelled with friends
Room Tip: Quality of room is excellent for a lodge in the middle of the jungle. I enjoy the rooms front of...
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victorjackie wrote a review Feb 2015
Southampton, United Kingdom84 contributions63 helpful votes
As you would expect, simple accommodation in the rain forest, great views from some rooms. You will encounter bugs, noisy monkeys and muddy walks! Wellington boots supplied and you'll need them. Plentiful fresh food included with your stay. Multi-tasking and very hard-working staff are your chefs, waiters and guides. Don't forget to charge any electrical items in the restaurant area during the evening when the generator is on. It's an interesting river journey to get here......
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Date of stay: February 2015
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Trip type: Travelled as a couple
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lou9em wrote a review Aug 2014
Bristol38 contributions17 helpful votes
Such a lovely place to stay. Immaculately clean rooms. Very helpful and wonderful staff. Absolutely awesome food. The soups and juices (HOMEMADE!) were to die for ... I am crying now just thinking how much I miss them. The surroundings are stunning and all the noises of the rainforest are just wonderful to hear.
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Date of stay: August 2014
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Trip type: Travelled on business
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Lonnie1743 wrote a review Aug 2014
Blowing Rock, North Carolina259 contributions36 helpful votes
+1
Wonderful people, food, experience and clean lodging. You need to arrange to be picked up in El Castilla. They provided boots for walks in the jungle that almost fit. It's been seven years sense I was there, I don't know if the same people are still here, is so I highly recommend.
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Date of stay: September 2013
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Trip type: Travelled with friends
Room Tip: This is a remote jungle with great service.
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LOCATION
NicaraguaRio San Juan DepartmentEl Castillo
NUMBER OF ROOMS
11
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Frequently Asked Questions about Refugio Bartola
What are some of the property amenities at Refugio Bartola?
Some of the more popular amenities offered include free breakfast, an on-site restaurant, and a lounge.
What food & drink options are available at Refugio Bartola?
Guests can enjoy free breakfast, an on-site restaurant, and a lounge during their stay.
Is parking available at Refugio Bartola?
Yes, free parking is available to guests.
Is Refugio Bartola accessible?
Yes, it offers wheelchair access. For specific enquiries, we recommend calling ahead to confirm.