El Retiro Eco Lodge

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Lanquin, Guatemala
None - 6620 0709

El Retiro Eco Lodge Lanquin Reviews

andrejav andrejav
751 reviews
El Retiro Aug 02, 2012
Little city of Lanquin was surprisingly easy to reach and the toughest part of the travel was overflowing minibus that looked more like can of sardines than to public transport. Only last 11km of the road is unpaved and even that part is totally ok. I was recommended the other hostel in town but after staying there for a day I got furious with the behavior of their staff members and decided to move to El Retiro. Price for the dormitory in El Retiro is 45Q, and that is the standard price in this town. Dorm is circular wood and straw building filled with double deck beds and stocked up with lockers. Beds are pretty good and most of them are covered with plastic, which stops bed bugs from infesting it. Lockers are more of the visual protection than serious barrier if someone wants to take your stuff, but it seems to work ok because travelers are mostly honest people. There are good but small lockers at the reception desk, where you can leave your documents and money. People that run this hostel are some kind of local cooperative and as far as I understood, their kids run it, and they do it well. Most of the workers in the hostel speak some level of English so communication is not so difficult if you don’t speak Spanish.

Hostel is located on the river bank right under the dirt road that goes towards Rio Dulce. Cool looking cabanas are all around the slope and small rock paths connect them as a general direction. Showers and restrooms are close to all buildings, clean and good. Some of the toilets are made on the pedestals that sometimes bring you too high and can expose private parts to people in the front of the door, which is kind of funny…

Everything is happening on the river, with little dock, dinning/chilling area, bar, sauna… I was constantly stuck to hammocks that are sprung all over the property and I was even thinking of sleeping outside, but did not find the mosquito net… They also organize tours but I took only river tubing with them because it looked like lots of fun and had two beers included in the price. For tours and transports always try to go to locals because they are usually cheaper than the hostel prices, and you support local families.

One REAL highlight is the buffet dinner that is made for all guests who sign for it (price is totally fair). I was there for Italian buffet that was more than superb in variety, tastiness, quantity and simple enjoyment… It really made my night.

There is WiFi available through the bar area and every night there are drink specials. Aside of that there is no much excitement in this small town. Mostly everyone gathers around the bar area or burn the fire in the chill nights. Main attractions here are Semuc Champei park, Lanquin caves and incredible nature.

To go to the park I went to local tour operator that did great job and that tour lasted whole day and included hiking, swimming through the pools and going through the cavern. That operator is located in some yellow building close to road split (I hope that this explanation helps). I also went with locals for transportation to the Rio Dulce, and that ended up good and fast (a bit saturated with 6 hours of the dust road).

Really good hostel, warmly recommended.
1 / 1 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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Rumrosinchen Rumrosin…
1 reviews
My favourite place in Guatemala Feb 13, 2011
When going to visit Semuc Champey, staying in El Retiro Lodge in Lanquin is a must. The Lodge is made off little huts sprinkled over a hillside next to the river. The rooms vary from privates with bathroom to tenperson dorms. The restaurant offers all three daily meals, especially the nightly all you can eat buffets are excellent.

Highly recommendable are also the daytours to Semuc Champey and the nearby caves. Very good guide and lots of fun included ;).
siri siri
37 reviews
May 21, 2007
This place is a must.

I think its called an Eco-Lodge because you put lime/ash dust on your poo instead of flushing a toilet but I digress.

El Retiro is about a mile outside Lanquin (not the 500 metres the sign tells you!) and is on the mini-bus route to and from Coban.

The accomodation here is 1. Bring your own tent and pitch it by the river... 2. A Hammock in an open sided hut by the river... 3. One of 4 beds in a straw hut dorm... 4. A double bed private straw hut... 5. The loft of one of the dorm straw huts.

We took a loft...It was so cool! We had our own ladder (seriously) up to our doorless doorway. Our room was cool and breezy as the roof didn't meet the floor (fine until you're getting changed and a gardener walks past and sees your pearly white arse smiling back at him - they expect him out of rehab quite soon). This made it so lovely when the rain started in the middle of the night...falling asleep to rainfall is so relaxing.

When you arrive the staff set up your tab which is paid at the end of your stay so you can lock all valuables away in one the locker available.

The reception hut has 4 computers for internet at Q10 an hour and has details of the tours avaiable as well as bus times (marvellously inaccurate!!) to get back to Coban.

Down at the river is the bar and restaurant. Every evening pretty much all guests convene for the 7pm dinner. The lodge runs a set menu with lovelies such as 'all you can eat Mexican' on Saturday and 'pizza and chips' on thursdays. It's like a fully clothed hippy comune in the evenings with candlelight, great food and chatter. There are also breaky and lunch menus and its all vegetarian!
1 / 1 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
Lasttraveller says:
I think I will come here I can not find hostel on internet as last resort google send you to TB :) and this place looks good hope prices havn't changed.
Posted on: Dec 27, 2009
Higton Higton
36 reviews
Apr 05, 2007
This place is fabulous, simple as that. Sleeping accommodations are a number huts on stilts rising up the side of a river bank. I got a single room for 55 Quetzales a night (that is about £3.60). Other sleeping arrangements range from hammocks (25Q) to dorms and shared rooms. The whole setting is beautiful; wooded mountainsides rising up from a feisty river with a pretty strong current. Seriously, if you're a poor swimmer, beware! Deciduous trees vie with their conifer cousins - it is quite odd watching hummingbirds trying to get nectar from pine cones - and at night, the whole place is lit up with fireflies.

El Retiro is also "all inclusive" in that you pay for everything at the end. Make sure you bring enough money, it can turn out expensive because of silly little things like getting 75 albums off their network for 200Q (£12). Yes, the hostel has 450,000 songs on their system, fabulous for all those tired MP3 players (unless you have a Sony). Other attractions include an onsite bar and restaurant which is reasonable, internet connections, eco toilets (you put quicklime on your poo).

They also put 5% on your bill at the end. Not because they are mean, but to help pay for local projects for Guatemalans. The lodge arranges tours to the nearby attraction such as Semuc Champey and the bat caves and the shop at the top hires out inner tubes and takes you upstream so you can float down the river and back to the hostel. Fab.

All in all, one groovy place. In the middle of nowhere, but it is worth it. Utterly.
Sunset from a hammock
1 / 1 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
Amanda says:
At the top of the review, I saw that "poo" was one of the tags. I was then suprised that the first line of the review was so positive. I understand now.
Posted on: May 06, 2007
El Retiro Eco Lodge Map
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1 review
photo by: siri