Verified Review icon check navigate-up navigate-left navigate-right expand mail svg-lightning svg-24hr svg-house svg-sleeps svg-bedrooms svg-bathrooms svg-stay svg-toilet calendar svg-report-flag pet-dog svg-multiunit Default Owner Icon heart-filled Family icon
Book Online or call HomeAway Booking Assistance 888-829-7076
Book Online or call HomeAway Booking Assistance 888-829-7076

Rancho el Rio, Natural Paradise/Farm. Proceeds go to the Sustainability Demo Ctr

Bedrooms 2
Space 1,130 sq ft
Property type cottage
Minimum Stay 3 nights


About the property

A Rustic, WATER-FRONT, spacious 2-bd, 2-ba home with open air kitchen

This cabin and its sister homes, Casa Inspiracion, Casa Cielo, La Granja and their newest addition, Panorama, fund all the animal welfare, environmental and social welfare programs their owners run at the Sustainability Demonstration Center depicted in this video

The Center is located along the main route to Monteverde and right now there is a SPECIAL PROMOTION: FREE TOUR of an animal sanctuary, the historic Sustainability Demonstration Center, an Organic Farm, and the surrounding tropical paradise of forest & river! Other special ADVENTURE, CULTURAL, SPANISH LANGUAGE, RURAL, AND NATURAL EXCURSION packages for a unique Costa Rican experience with DISCOUNTS available! Contact us for more details.

WATER FRONT HOUSE overlooking the river, in a Birder's Paradise with over 100 bird species identified by certified guides: Rancho el Rio has now a sister home in the same paradise property. It is our new rental called La Granja (listing 787565). Rancho el Rio is 112 acres of a unique combination between nature at its best and a farm with farm animals and crops. You get it all: Over one mile of river front with natural pools, forested áreas trails, 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. We have mountain bikes for rent for those who love cycling.


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 brown 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 for the first morning of your stay as we are coffee producers in Monteverde and want to make sure you have an awesome start to your first morning with us! If you want to purchase more organic coffee for your stay or to take home, you can order it through our food order form via email.

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).

More Details

veronica sheehan
Member since: 2012
Speaks: english, spanish
Response time:
Within 12 hours
Response rate:
Calendar last updated:
April 14, 2018

About veronica sheehan

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.

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.

Their work with their ecotourism business, their Sustainability Demonstration Center, and the community helps visitors understand the intimate connection that we have to the land. The entire community gets to benefit from the tourism that comes to this very rural area and get to share their own wisdom. Everyone wins.

Stuart is 12 years old and attends the public school in Guacimal. He shares our family dream of enjoying the simple things and having lots of fun playing soccer and bird-watching.

Our dream is to achieve sustainability in harmony with nature

veronica sheehan purchased this cottage in 2012

Why veronica sheehan chose Guacimal

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.

What makes this cottage unique

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.


Guacimal Cottage Accommodation and Amenities

Property Type:
  • cottage
  • Catering available
  • Breakfast - Booking Possible
  • Dinner - Booking Possible
  • Housekeeper Optional
Floor Area:
  • 1130 sq ft
House Rules:
  • Check-in: 1:00 PM / Check-out: 11:00 AM
  • Max. occupancy: 6
  • Minimum Age Limit for Renters
  • pets considered ...
  • Events Allowed
  • children welcome
Location Type:
  • Mountain View ...
  • Water View ...
  • Waterfront ...
  • Adventure
  • Away From It All
  • Budget
  • Family
  • Romantic
  • Sports & Activities
  • Internet ...
  • Linens Provided
  • Living Room ...
  • Parking ...
  • Telephone ...
  • Towels Provided
  • Washing Machine ...
  • Wood Stove ...
  • Free Wifi
  • Coffee Maker ...
  • Dishes & Utensils ...
  • Kitchen ...
  • Oven ...
  • Pantry Items ...
  • Refrigerator ...
  • Stove ...
  • Toaster
  • Dining ...
  • Dining Area
  • seating for 6 people
  • 2 Bathrooms
  • Bathroom 1 - toilet , shower , watch the outdoors thru a slotted window while you shower
    Bathroom 2 - toilet , shower , rustic, slate walls and flooring
  • Extra large gorgeous bathroom with lots of space for a wheelchair. Roll right into shower stall (no steps or bumps of any kind). Shower handle moves up and down to accomodate height, or becomes detached, easy temperature regulator. Roll-under sink for extra comfort on wheelchair. Very safe (ande beautiful) anti-slip real stone floor.
  • 2 Bedrooms, Sleeps 6
  • Bedroom 2 - 1 bunk bed , Hand-crafted rustic bunk bed. Baby crib/play pen available
    Bedroom 1 - 1 double , 1 twin/ single
  • Additional futon available in living room, sleeps 2 additional people RANCHO EL RIO SLEEPS UP TO 7 people Very spacious so a wheelchair can easily manuver around the ultra-comfortable double bed. Closet built for easy access on high or low levels. Door handles easy to open with one hand. Rustic, hand-crafted furniture.
  • Books
  • Games ...
  • Toys ...
  • Bicycles ...
  • Deck / Patio ...
  • Lawn / Garden ...
  • Outdoor Grill ...
  • 3 bicycles
  • wheelchair accessible ...
Pool / Spa:
  • Communal Pool ...
  • churches
  • playground
  • restaurants
Leisure Activities:
  • bird watching
  • eco tourism
  • horseback riding
  • horseshoes
  • photography
  • scenic drives
  • sight seeing
  • walking
  • wildlife viewing
Local Services & Businesses:
  • Babysitter
  • groceries
  • massage therapist
Sports & Adventure Activities:
  • cycling
  • equestrian events
  • hiking
  • mountain biking
  • swimming
Hiking through our trails is a favorite of birdwatchers. Horse-back riding and mountain bike rental discounts to our guests. We have horses to accomodate your level of experience. Day and Night tours on horse-back. A home-made 'mechanical bull' provides a TON of fun for young and old alike!


Wonderful! 4.8/5 -
(24 traveler reviews)

87% Complete
8% Complete
4% Complete
0% Complete
0% Complete
Rancho el Rio, Natural Paradise/Farm. Proceeds go to the Sustainability Demo Ctr
average rating of 4.8333335 based on 24 reviews

Great place to stay and enjoy the natural beauty of Costa Rica

  • 5 of 5

Rancho el Rio is a terrific and unique place to spend some time in Costa Rica. I recommend working out a simple itinerary with Veronica ahead of time to maximize your stay. You can help on the farm, enjoy the local farmer's market, go birding and night hiking, wade in the river, ride the horses and more. Veronica and her family are wonderful people - you will also immensely enjoy chatting with them and learning more about some of the important issues for the local area. Highly recommended!!

  • Submitted: Apr 4, 2018
  • Stayed: March 2018
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
Owner's Response: We love people who come to experience the real Costa Rica and who are genuinely interested in learning and making the world a better place. It also makes us feel great when people appreciate simplicity and sustainable living, all nature has to offer and what we have to offer. Grateful to be able to contribute our tiny grain of sand towards a sustainable future for all.
Did you find this review helpful?
0 0
Campbell River Canada

Great Costa Rica Experience

  • 4 of 5

We loved our experience staying at Rancho El Rio! The donkeys, horses, pigs, chickens and best of all the dogs ... we loved them all. Eating oranges and bananas from the trees, and wandering the beautiful farm was a delight. The cabin was charming and rustic, and Veronica, Stuart and Alex were amazing hosts. Their work in Guacimal is inspiring and everyone should learn about the Sustainability Centre and amazing community work that takes place there. Even if you're scared of spiders, this is truly a memorable place. Please keep in touch if you ever come to Canada!

  • Submitted: Feb 15, 2018
  • Stayed: January 2018
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
Did you find this review helpful?
0 0

Living like a local!

  • 5 of 5

My husband, and 12 year old twins stayed at Rancho El Rio for 3 nights, and we all loved it and wish we had stayed longer. Veronica, Alex, the owners and their son, Stuart were all very friendly and knowledgeable. What they are doing for their community is tremendous. We loved the animals, the river and getting to partake in the local market. Stuart was a great source of information for all of us, and provided a memorable night hike and horse back ride. What a truly remarkable experience for our family, to really be immersed in the local culture and find out so much about the community. We were all sad when it was time to leave! The whole family have agreed that this was our favourite trip so far, and I get asked frequently by my kids if we can go back again next year! If you are looking for a true Costa Rican experience, book your stay at Rancho El Rio, and you won't regret it! Thank you so much for everything Veronica, Alex and Stuart!!!!! We will be back.

  • Submitted: Apr 18, 2017
  • Stayed: January 2017
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
Owner's Response: Thank you for staying with us! It is always wonderful to share with you our ranch and enjoy the river and natural setting together. We hope you can visit again and stay with us!
Did you find this review helpful?
1 0
West Vancouver, BC, Canada

Warm, welcoming hospitality and a slice of rural life

  • 4 of 5

The host family and the experience of being on a farm is what really made our stay at Rancho El Rio special. We were glad to experience something so different from a beach holiday and our hosts are wonderful people doing so much to try to make things better for their community. We felt very taken care of and were so happy to be able to support their efforts through our stay. It was great for our kids to experience chickens and piglets and taste sugar cane right from the field. We loved swimming in the river daily and riding horses on the extensive property was a highlight.

The accommodation was rustic but had everything we needed.

Do visit for a slice of life in Costa Rica.

  • Submitted: Mar 20, 2017
  • Stayed: March 2017
  • Source: HomeAway
Owner's Response: We are grateful for people who take the time to write such a thoughtful review. It delights us to see people who are able to enjoy and focus on the positives of an experience in a rustic home and a real farm... they enjoyed the proximity to the animals and the river, the simplicity of a genuine experience of a farm being converted from cattle ranching to an organic integrated farm, and we enjoyed their positive energy and were uplifted by it.
Did you find this review helpful?
1 0


  • 5 of 5

I could not be happier with our stay at the tranquil Rancho El Rio. I have so many wonderful things to say about it that it's hard to know where to start. First, we used only a map, no gps coordinates and found the place extremely easy to find. We were greeted by the youngest member of the family, Stewart, who is one of the most mature young teenagers I have met. He was an encyclopedia of knowledge on the flora and fauna of the area and was always willing and available to help with questions, or to give guided tours of the farm.

The farmhouse itself is magical. It is impossible not to relax and enjoy the peaceful setting. The pictures do not do it justice. I was prepared for any onslaught of spiders, ants, scorpions, or other wildlife, but found very few critters roaming around the open air living area. It felt very safe and clean. I was able to sip coffee and watch my 3 children (ages 8, 7, and 2) run around with the friendly dogs, cats, chickens, pigs, turkeys and peacocks in the yard. My city kids were enchanted with helping feed the animals, care for the baby chicks and pet the 5 day old calf.

The river is clean and refreshing to swim in and there were areas that were perfect for our 2 year old to wade and swim. We took a horseback ride to a more remote part of the river and were surrounded by surreal beauty.

Veronica, her family and all of those working on the farm were kind and helpful, but also not intrusive. They were immediately responsive to any need. We also had the most amazing meals delivered every evening.

Do not make the mistake of booking only a few days here, you will want to stay longer! It is an easy drive to Monteverde, but away from the tourist traps. The weather was also much preferable, cooler in the evenings and mornings (shorts and light sweatshirts) and warm (but not overbearingly so) during the day.

I did not feel like a tourist here, it felt like our family was staying at my long-lost Costa Rican cousin's farm. I left feeling peaceful and refreshed. It is truly a gem to be treasured.

  • Submitted: Feb 5, 2017
  • Stayed: January 2017
  • Source: HomeAway
Owner's Response: We are always so thankful to our guests who take the time to write such thoughtful reviews. We have three rental houses at our integrated organic farm, Rancho el Rio. The reviewer wrote about the original farm house, La Granja. Also listed on vrbo, but placed the review under our other house which carries the same name as the entire farm... The confusion is understandable, and it all applies as both houses share all she speaks about. We are delighted when we see city children roll in the same mud pools as the piglets... it is so healthy for them to be in touch with the land that gives us our very sustenance and our life. We love it when we see their delight at seeing animal babies, as if there is an instant recognition of their magnificence as new Creations. It is a good reminder of many things we lose when we grow up. We hope to see these kids back when they are old enough to do our Outdoor Summer Camps.
Did you find this review helpful?
1 0

Waterfront farm house - Best place to stay if you want to avoid the tourist traps in Monteverde

  • 5 of 5

The ranch is just the place for you, if you are going to spend sometime in Monteverde but would like to avoid the hotels and other tourist traps. It's a 40 minutes drive from Monteverde's zip-line and other attractions, a unique experience for nature lovers with kids. The farmhouse is on top of the river and connected to hiking trails. The kitchen is equipped, you can buy local food supplies with Veronica's assistance or order an authentic dinner delivered to the house. Veronica, Alex and son Stewart are great. We spent one afternoon horse back riding, visited the Sustainability Demonstration Center, kids played with the pets and enjoyed the RIO.

  • Submitted: Jan 21, 2017
  • Stayed: December 2016
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
Owner's Response: We are so glad to have guests from all over the world who teach us so much about their countries. It really is easy to make it up and down to Monteverde, yet you get to come home to the easy-going, relaxed pace of the rural community and all its pristine Nature. Community-based rural tourism helps us protect nature as Nature begins to provide an alternative source of income vs. tree-cutting or raising cattle or toxic crops for export, which has become a huge issue in other areas of the country. We very much appreciate and depend on our guests to continue our work at the Sustainability Center.
Did you find this review helpful?
0 0


Nearest Airport
111 Kilometres
Nearest Barpub
0.4 Kilometres
Restaurant-Bar El Punto
Nearest Ferry
55 Kilometres
Nearest Motorway
0.2 Kilometres
Highway 605
Nearest Restaurant
0.4 Kilometres
Restaurant-Bar El Punto
Nearest Beach
51 Kilometres
Playa Dona Ana
Car: recommended

3 km. south off the intersection of routes 605 and 606, on route 605. GPS: N 10.19204, W 84.74440

This is a birdwatcher's dream come true. It is just amazing how many species of birds you see and how close you can get to them. 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, you can also join a Costa Rican family for meals or have them delivered to you. Buy lots of organic dairy products right from the people living nearby, eggs, and other produce, not to mention eat from what is available at the Rancho. There are individuals that still make things by hand and a trip into the nearby town of Guacimal can show you how.

The weather is warm, yet not as hot as the beach...just right for bathing in the river and whatever other outdoor activity you like to do. There is a rainy season, but even then, it normally does not rain all day. The river may not always be accessible, though. Because of the lower altitude and different weather, you get to see totally different wildlife than you do in Monteverde proper. People also seem to enjoy hiking more as the air is not so thin (you don't get as winded). The terrain has some mountains, but also flat areas that lend themselves to walking, biking and gentler horse-back riding.


Rates & Availability

Taxes and fees are additional

Additional information about rental rates

Charge beyond 2 guests $5

$5 for each additional guest beyond 2 guests
For each full week you reserve, you get one day for free

Owner's Cancellation Policy

  • 50% refund if canceled at least 14 days before arrival date.
  • 100% refund if canceled at least 30 days before arrival date.
  • Service Fee fully refunded on cancellations that qualify for 100% refund.

You might like these similar properties