Edit: I have been contacted in the comments by a new owner, and a quick look at the website confirms that the treehouse has been redone. So consider this review a story of the past. Have you been to the new and improved Poste Rojo?? If you have, let me know how it was in the comments! – Mariana
“!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!DISCLAIMER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Our guests are generally people who enjoy a rustic environment. We attract a young crowd or at least the young at heart. Our guest love the animals and insects you encounter. Our guests don’t mind a bat flying through the dorm or a group of monkeys howling in the morning. (actual TripAdvisor complaints) Our guest understand the limitations of a treehouse in the jungle and seek out the wonders that staying here offers.. If you are too unhealthy, lazy or pristine to climb 150 m or don’t enjoy being around great people, great views and animals in a natural environment. PLEASE stay at one of Nicaragua’s fine hotels with room service and A/C. We look forward to meeting the rest of you!”
This a direct quote from Poste Rojo’s website, and I’ll admit to being a little taken aback when I read it. It seemed to me whoever wrote it was on the defensive. And as a business, it seemed like an immature message to advertise to the public.
That being said, I have no trouble with bats, monkeys, or a 150m climb – but I have met the kind of travelers that do, and so I understood that it was possible the owner had had one-too-many encounters with those folks and felt frustrated.
It was with this in mind that I boarded the shuttle to the Poste Rojo Treehouse with a lot of friends and a bottle of bugspray.
The shuttle was advertised to leave the hostel in Granada at 12:30, but ours didn’t leave until almost an hour later. We weren’t too perturbed. After a month in this country, NicaTime is something I’m pretty familiar with. Eventually the shuttle came and we all piled in… literally, the shuttle was a truck and there wasn’t enough room for all of us in the cab.
But once again, no big deal. This is Nicaragua. This is Central America. And by the time we made it to the bottom of the steps that lead to the treehouse, it was clear that a high-clearance, 4-wheel drive vehicle was the only kind that would do for that road. There are often nonsensical reasons behind the things businesses do in Nicaragua. I didn’t feel that this was one of them.
We made our way up the steep stone steps. It was a climb, but nothing outrageous, and overall I think it got our group more pumped up to finally see this place we’d heard so much about from other travelers.
The treehouse was cool. There’s no getting around that. It’s nothing fancy, but I liked the ramshackle style and the views were hard to beat. The dorm was, disappointingly, not in the actual treehouse. But it was clean and not so far away. Once again, no big deal.
We got settled in and did a bit of exploring. There was a cool suspension walkway that connected the treehouse to a platform for people who wanted to sleep outside in hammocks, as well as a second small treehouse nearby for more private gatherings. The grounds were beautiful, and while the toilets were of the pit kind, they were clean enough and decorated enthusiastically.
But after we’d seen the place, there wasn’t much left to do. There was a bar run by some very friendly volunteers – which I appreciated – but the beers were 40 cordobas each for a small can (we usually pay 50 cordobas for a large bottle in the city), and the food was expensive as well. We decided to buy into the family style meal – an eggplant lasagna that wasn’t half-bad – but there wasn’t enough food for everyone to fill their plate, and I found that once again, I could have gotten quite a bit more for my money back in the city.
To be fair, the prices were comparable to what we paid for food and drink the weekend before at Laguna de Apoyo, but that was prepared by actual cooks and in much larger portions. It seems to me that the volunteers do everything around the treehouse, so you kind of just have to cross your fingers and hope someone’s around during your visit with a decent hand in the kitchen.
Just before sunset, our experience at the treehouse reached its peak. The rain slowed, the clouds cleared, and the sun exposed steaming towers rising from the trees towards its rays. It was beautiful.
Even more exciting, I spotted my first monkey in Nicaragua! This little fellow was swinging in the trees above the bar at dusk while our entire group scrambled for pictures.
Okay, I thought to myself, this is cool.
The night continued with overpriced beers but good company and a unique setting. Eventually it was time to brave the dark decent back down to the dorm, but we did so in good humor with a lot of giggling and only minimal mud splattering.
I awoke at 9:30am – the latest I have slept so far here in Nicaragua – to the chorus of a torrential downpour. I worried momentarily that all of the water might keep the truck from its scheduled ascent later that afternoon, but the volunteer at the desk assured me we could make our exit as planned just fine. We wiled away the hours of the morning in damp hammocks watching the rain with no complaints other than the lackluster and (again) overpriced breakfast. Eventually the rain slowed and then stopped completely, and as the mud dried I began to wonder when the truck would come to get us. Rumors had started to spread that it wasn’t coming at all, and I made my way to the bar to find out for myself.
The volunteer sitting there looked exasperated. She said that she had not received a call saying that the shuttle was on its way, and she could only assume that meant it wasn’t coming. She supposed that it was because no one had shown up in Granada to take the shuttle to the treehouse, and therefore it would not come to bring anyone from.
I was infuriated. Management was happy to make it easy for us to come and spend our money, but I really felt taken advantage of to hear that there would be no effort made to help us to get home safely. I could tell by the volunteers’ expressions that this was a conversation that they’d had before. They said they had no way to get in touch with the owner, that their phone only worked for in-coming calls, and that they were so unhappy with their situation and lack of support there that they were actually planning on leaving the treehouse for good that afternoon.
I’m sorry. That’s shitty.
It all worked out in the end. Our group made the slippery trek down the mountain to the main road and was able to catch a chicken bus back into town fairly easily. And while there were definitely some neat aspects to this hostel in the trees, I don’t think it’s a good idea to support businesses who care so little for their employees and guests. A quick look at Poste Rojo’s TripAdvisor page shows a hostile reaction from the owner to anyone who dares speak ill of the place. I am surprised Poste Rojo has as many good reviews as it does, but maybe the services are better during the high season.
In the end, I can’t recommend Poste Rojo to future travelers. I get that the hospitality industry is difficult and that it’s impossible to please everyone. But come on, leaving us stranded after we had just spent a good deal of money at your establishment? That’s not cool.