Rancho Santana in Nicaragua


“You’re on the planet too. Why should James Bond have all the action, fun, money, and resort hotel living.”
― Paul Kyriazi, How to Live the James Bond Lifestyle: The Complete Seminar

When my best friend from high school came to visit us last week, they asked us to go to Rancho Santana with them. What a treat for us! We are country people at heart and usually choose inexpensive and funky places to stay, but we live on this planet, too! Honestly, why should James Bond have all the action, money, fun, and resort living?
Rancho Santana is a world-class resort and residential community on the Pacific Coast of Nicaragua. It was developed in 1997 and continues to provide first-class services to tourists and residents. 

Designed and built in 2015, the Inn at Rancho Santana is a rugged, yet romantic throwback to the days of hacienda living. It has the feel of an old hacienda, with all the rooms opening around a central courtyard, and virtually everything on display is made by local artisans or even in-house, in Rancho Santana’s iron works and wood shop.We stayed in this lovely casita near the Inn and the Clubhouse. Air conditioned rooms, fully stocked kitchen, satellite TV, wi-fi ( which is slow because we tried to stream some Netflix movies and the speed was about 1 Mbps), and my favorite…the body soap in the bathroom. It was like bathing with fresh oranges!
Rancho Santana has 2,700 acres of rolling hills, and two miles of rocky shorelines with five beaches nestled in hidden coves. We were determined to explore all the beaches with a free shuttle service that leaves from the Clubhouse on the hour, every hour.

First stop, Playa Escondida. We actually hiked from the Clubhouse to this beach and took the shuttle to the next beach. Escondida means hidden or quiet in Spanish. Playa Escondida’s remote sands are also a preferred nesting spot for critically endangered Hawksbill and Green Sea Turtles.There is a small ranger’s station on Playa Escondida, where one can rent surf boards. Since 2013, Rancho Santa has partnered with Paso Pacifico, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting ecosystem conservation, and critical to protecting the turtle nests. The rangers roam the beach every night looking for nesting turtles, then they put a sign over the nests which identify the type of turtle, the date they laid the eggs, and the date the eggs will hatch. Who doesn’t love a turtle nursery!
From Playa Escondida, we took the shuttle to Playa Los Perros. It is the southernmost beach in Rancho Santana with four miles of uninterrupted coast. Although, it is the best beach for swimming, we opted to have lunch at the snack bar where we met a group of rowdy guys from Tennessee at their bachelor party. Rancho Santana is a very popular destination wedding location.

We rode the shuttle back to The Clubhouse together with the bachelor party guys. They were late for the festivities and the best man was giving worldly advice to the groom. First, no more drinking…the wedding is in three hours. Second, keep your speech simple and short. Third, include in your speech that you are a better man because of your soon to be wife. Good advise!

Back at the Clubhouse, we played a few rounds of Bocci ball. Then, it was time to explore the swimming pools.
This is the infinity pool at Playa Santana. They gave us a little cooler on wheels, we loaded it up with snacks and lots of beer, and enjoyed the late afternoon at the pool. Ron and I even performed a water ballet show for our friends!
Early one morning, we took the free bird watching tour. The sunrise was spectacular, as well as our trained guide. He told us that Rancho Santana employs more than 600 workers. They have dormitories for approximately 70 employees and apartments for the management. All workers must take English lessons. They are employed year-round and in the slow season, they do the maintenance and repairs. Every morning, we would watch the trucks bring the workers to Rancho Santana and return them to their homes every night.
The riding stables offer a variety of horseback riding adventures for all levels of riders. Groups can take sunset rides along the beach, cultural tours to local villages, or ride the many well-maintained trails throughout Rancho Santana.
The horses are responsive, strong, well-trained, and many are gaited. Guests are matched up to the horses according to their riding experience and each ride is tailored to the interests and time frame of riders. Amazing facilities and the horses are beautiful!
Our guide brought a Costa Rica bird identification book with him and binoculars,  and we would listen for various bird calls and try to spot them along our walk.
It wasn’t easy! I don’t know how people with birding experience can identify the birds and spot them so quickly. Once I finally spotted them and prepared my camera, they usually flew away!
We were treated to a troop of Howler monkeys and Spider monkeys. It was still early in the morning and they were actively swinging, climbing, and playing hide-and-go-seek.
Two nights, we took the shuttle to Playa Rosada for dinner. This quaint land-locked beach is home to La Boquita, a Tapas bar and restaurant. For $50 we savored ten delicious tapas selections. Happy hour provided us with several pitchers of Sangria, too!
The Pool House at Playa Rosada is a smaller clubhouse and pool overlooking the pink sands of Rosada beach – perfect for a sunset meal. We watched the fishermen cast their nets from the rocky ledges, and near sunset we hoped to catch the “green flash”, but it wasn’t meant to be this time.

Our first night at La Boquita Tapas bar, our waiter jumped off a rock wall to retrieve something for the diners. He landed on a piece of rebar that was sticking out of the ground and it embedded in his foot. Yikes! They rushed him to the Roberto Clemente Clinic just outside the gates of Rancho Santana. The ranch underwrites the clinic and it is fully equipped to handle vacation or work related injuries and illnesses.

The next night, we asked about our waiter, and he has a paid month off work until his injury heals.
Ceviche at Playa Los Perros. The food is excellent. We ate at three restaurants and couldn’t ask for better service, selections, or quality of the food. They even have homemade ice-cream!
Ahhh…another pool, another glorious day! We often commented that Rancho Santana is a bubble…maybe a bubble of delight because we rarely experience resort living. Rancho Santana catered to our every need with professional and caring service.
Good night Rancho Santana. Thanks for the amazing memories!

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16 thoughts on “Rancho Santana in Nicaragua

  1. I spent time in that area about six or more years ago.. it’s lovely, and the people are so nice! My friend’s house was by Playa Rosada and the photo ops were endless… Another earlier time when I visited, I was still ‘running’ and would run as far as the site where a tsunami once wiped away a little community… each day I’d stop and rest at that spot and ponder what it must have been like… so sobering.. I asked various people that experienced that time, and they were all complimentary of the compassion and aid from the people of Costa Rica….

    ah, memories! I can’t believe that my trail hasn’t taken me back to your host country! Thanks to you, I am there in spirit!

  2. Hello Debbie, since we discovered it last year, we’ve really loved reading your blog and all of a sudden… we’re on this beautiful island for a few days! Such beauty and such lovely people.   We have no transportation other than the bus (or a moto if we rent one) but we’d love to meet you for a chat over a coffee…  Cheers, Chris and Heather Hartridge 

    Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android

  3. This looks like a lovely place to take some downtime and live the life, Debbie! Looks like the Rancho is a major employer of the area and it’s great that they’re encouraging/requiring their workers to learn English as the skill can be invaluable in Nicaragua. And thinking of the ceviche, plus your picture, made my mouth water! Anita

  4. HI!! i REALLY liked that place and reminds me to email the owner … if its the same man… with my most recent webpage showing photos etc of my destination wedding photography..so thats cool.. thanks!!!

    Im getting ready for my Puerto Vallarta trip …Sayulita , Mita …all up the northern coast in March and Im leaving here …moving to either somewhere in those areas or to Ajijic …don’t know yet whats going to show up as far as a rental house …. the end of April ……anyway ..
    Mexico is next ….no matter .. where .. first…
    so this will be interesting..Anyway, thanks for the great post!!!! AND PHOTOS!!!!!
    Light to u!!
    Heidi

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