A Birder's Paradise with over 90 bird species identified by certified guides: Rancho el Rio is another slice of heaven that the owners of Casa Cielo in Monteverde are now making available to guests. It is 112 acres of a unique combination between nature at its best and a real working ranch. You get it all: Over one mile of river front with natural pools, forested areas, mountains with beautiful ocean views, cattle pastures, orchards, and of course, lots of trees, such as palm/coconut, banana, plantain, noni, star fruit, bread fruit, oranges, grapefruit, lemons, passion fruit, mangoes, avocadoes, cashews, are all around.
The guest house is spacious and rustic. The furniture is mostly hand-made...even the flooring on the large patio overlooking the river was hand-milled. It is right by the river so you can see and hear the rush of the water all the time while you are there--a natural sound that induces relaxation and a state of well-being.
The weather is magnificent! It is warmer than Monteverde, but not as hot as the beach, so different wildlife can be seen there, such as howler monkeys, iguanas, geckos, salamanders, frogs, tons of birds (herons, birds of prey, parrots, egrets, song birds, toucans, etc.). At night you can build bon fires by the river and even camp there just for fun!
There is a TON of things to do. You can help milk the cow, feed the chickens, geese, turkeys, and fish and tend to and ride the horses, see the sheep, water buffaloes and oxen. The river itself provides hours of fun. Children (and adults!) love to jump off rocks into natural pools and wade around looking at the fish and finding beautiful rocks and tiny creatures. There are several traditional games, such as our home-made mechanical bull and other equestrian games. Collecting and eating coyoles (tiny coconut-like fruits that you crack with rocks) and other fruits to make fruit drinks is quite popular too. Night or daytime hikes by foot or on horse- back through the ranch and the surrounding town are a true delight. Discounted rates to guests. We have mountain bikes for rent for those who love cycling (also at discounted rates for guests).
Please see our other reviews on TripAdviser.
ALL OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES ARE WEATHER-PERMITTING.
It is located right on your way to Monteverde from either the San Jose or Liberia airports. It is along route 605, 3 km south from the intersections of route 605 and 606.
Coming from the Liberia airport, you would turn left on the road right past the Lagartos Puente (Lagartos Bridge) and go for 11.5 km. , then make a right, and the Ranch´s driveway is along a white fence, a few meters after you make the turn. To go to Monteverde, you would continue on for another 3 km. then make a slight left and turn onto route 606.
From the San Jose airport you can go 2 ways. Make a right at the Rancho Grande Gas Station and go until you get to El Sol Restaurant, then make a left and go exactly 3 km and make a sharp left, and you are there.
OR… make a right from HWY 1 (Interamerican Highway) onto directly onto route 605 and go 11.5 km., then make a sharp right and you are there.
Rancho El Rio is 2 hrs from the Liberia airport and 2.5 hrs from the San Jose airport. It takes 50 mins to get to Monteverde. It is an hour away from a lovely beach, Playa Dona Ana. It is close to the tiny rural community of Guacimal.
In this area of the country people still ride on horse-back to work and get around, use oxen to cart things from place to place and raise cattle... this is the real Costa Rica. There is a tiny restaurant-bar nearby or you can drive 3 km. to a much larger restaurant at the intersection of route 606 and 605. But you can just bring all your food in for the duration of your stay and cook onsite or purchase home-made meals. The kitchen is fully equipped. You can also buy lots of organic dairy products right from the people living nearby, eggs, and many other produce, not to mention eat from what is available at the Rancho. We provide you with free organic coffee during your stay as we are coffee producers in Monteverde.
Remodeled to suit and accommodate the needs of the handicapped, the house is spacious and all on one level.
It has all the amenities: telephone, wi-fi, hot water shower, stove, fridge, fully equipped large kitchen, 2 bedrooms (1 with a double bed and one with bunk beds), living/dining room with a futon that sleeps two additional guests, towels and linens provided, 2 full baths inside. There is a very large covered porch overlooking the river with a swing, a hammock and a sofa-bed, and a smaller one by the front of the house. There is a wood stove for cooking outdoors and a large wood grill (we provide you with free firewood).
Alexander was born in the San Luis Valley in the Monteverde region and has lived all his life here. He started working when he was 11 years old helping his father herd oxen to take milk to the local cheese factory. At the age of 15, he began working for the Children´s Eternal Rain Forest, then he worked for InBio (Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad) researching snails all over Costa Rica, he then worked for ProNativas, an non-profit organization that promotes the use of native ornamental plants as a conservation effort. He believes in changing the world one person at a time, starting with ourselves. He uses his farms and ecotourism business, his family and neighbors to help visitors understand the intimate connection that we have to the land. These neighbors, the local farmers and housewives get to benefit from the tourism that comes to this very rural area and get to share their own wisdom. Everyone wins.
Veronica was born in Mexico and spent 25 years in the States. She worked as a biologist, then as a licensed clinical social worker in various settings including private practice with people suffering from chronic physical illnesses and hospice care. She arrived in Monteverde a few years ago with her 5 year old son, Stuart. She founded PAWS costarica (Promotion of Animal Wellbeing Society), a non-profit organization to help educate people regarding the responsible and compassionate treatment of animals. She believes, like Alex, in changing the world from the inside (OUR inside) out. Everything we do, our choices and lifestyles sum up to our current state of affairs… we have the power to choose again so we can heal ourselves, our planet and all living beings.
Stuart is 10 years old and attends the Monteverde Friends School. He shares our family dream of enjoying the simple things and having lots of fun caring for our farm animals and bird-watching.
Our dream for Rancho El Rio is to achieve sustainabilty in harmony with nature.
We absolutely LOVE the river, which is why we called it Rancho El Rio (rio means river). The river is our source of joy and healing and our source of energy to begin conservation efforts in area of the country with few environmentalists and even fewer resources. We like all the wildlife that gathers in this oasis, eating the fruit, drinking the water, raising their little families along with ours. The weather is also a big draw. Not as cold as Monteverde, so it is warm enough to run around in shorts, but not as hot as the beaches. It is also close to everything. We like being in the real Costa Rica, interacting with the neighbors, growing more of what we eat, living a very simple life.
This is a place where we can live in harmony with nature. It is a true paradise, not just for our guests and ourselves, but for the many animals and plants that can live undisturbed. There is enough space for us to have a working farm, and to share with the wild life. We like to watch the squirrels work away at a coconut, a large iguana climb a tree, a toucan enjoy taking chunks of a plantain and swallowing them whole, and a bat come in and out of the porch to catch the insects that the light attracts. It is a true oasis for the MANY migratory and local water birds as we have set aside several acres of totally undisturbed forest and river side. Expert bird guides have identified over 100 different species of birds on our 112 acre farm.
The other unique thing is that the farm is nestled in the Real Costa Rica... we get to interact with the local people at the natural pool by the house, we see people up and down the street on horse-back and driving oxen with carts full of things and we join them in their activities. Yet, when we want to alone, we can retreat into our very own private reserve deep into our land and just be.