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“Peace, great tours and tasteful food - don't rush to Santo Domingo” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Rancho Wendy

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Rancho Wendy
Main Street, Bonao, Dominican Republic   |  
Hotel amenities
Slovenia
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Peace, great tours and tasteful food - don't rush to Santo Domingo”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 29, 2010

We stayed on Rancho Wendy only for three days (two nights) and I wished we haven't rush to Santo Domingo. I recommend you to stay here for few days more, eat the food (meals that they offer and cook for you are really tasteful) and go on tours. We went on Killer trail that was one of the best hiking experiences for me, because we met local farmers; saw different plants and fruit trees. Tour guide Genaro is the best, helpful, funny and eager to learn language you speak. He is not like us European hikers, he hikes in flip-flops :). All on Rancho Wendy are really nice and I have to say it again food is really good. Don’t expect Italian tiles and silk sheets, it’s a hostel, not a five star hotel. Los Quemados is a town where you can find peace and quiet and enjoy in nature. I definitely recommend you to visit Rancho Wendy if you are in Dominican Republic and ready for adventure. Well if you want to rest there is a hammock in the backyard.

  • Stayed November 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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17 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Location
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    2.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room Tips
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
loboe
1 review
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 8, 2010

Popped by the ranch as many others with out any real plans, but hade I good time thanks to beutiful rural setting other hotel guest and the help and guide from Haiti, Gensnal, or Ganaro in Spanish... never figure out why spanish change names in between languages...

  • Stayed December 2009, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Baton Rouge
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed April 8, 2009

I booked a week of immersion at Rancho Wendy and prepaid (stupid - I know) for the whole week. I promised Marshall that I will not review out of spite but just state the facts, so here they are:
1. Spanish immersion: waste of money. There are no teachers. A Haitian guy was assigned to me to teach me Spanish. While he can speak passable Spanish, he is no teacher and at times I had to correct him (I am at an intermediate level). When I complained to Marshall, he said this guy can accompany me on one of the hikes and converse with me so I can at least practice my Spanish. On the day of the hike he asked for more money. I refused as I have already paid for the classes. Marshall then said that maybe I can give this guy a tip to which I answered, of course I will. But then he asks me how much? I said its a tip, will be based on the services provided!
2. Adventures: I found out just before starting the trip that I am pregnant and told Marshall that. He did not give a damn and told me that the kayaking is very safe and I shouldn't worry. Its not - the waters are rough and while the river is not deep, the currents are fast and there are many rocks. I pulled out midway as I didn't want to get hurt or hurt my baby. A guy who continued, actually hurt himself pretty badly.
3. Internet: on the website, it says that internet is free if you have your own laptop. Before leaving Marshall told me that he could have charged me $3 a day but didn't. Gee thanks!
4. Food: is awful! I am not a picky eater but soggy rice with boiled chicken for lunch and dinner everyday is enough to make one sick. We started eating out as the food was unpalatable.
5. Rooms : were OK. I had no major complaints except that there was loud music though the night for the first two days (rectified by wearing ear plugs).
6. Safety: none. Be VERY careful when Marshall says something is safe - its your life, he doesn't give a damn. Don't ride the horses. They are not broken and WILL hurt you. There are no lights in the property after dark especially around the rooms next to the "stream". After telling me that I am pregnant he sent me to a hospital where there were patients with tuberculosis, chicken pox etc. He really doesn't care for the safety of guests (btw, he used to be a doctor in the States, so he should have known).
7. Service: Marshall does not know the meaning of good service. For a hike, he told me that I will be taken on a motorcycle to the mountain (they are very unsafe -especially in my condition) and when I asked him why not in a vehicle, he says its not cost effective. So he would rather put me in danger than spend a little money.

Other guests staying there had similar experience and were happy to leave or left earlier. I left after 4 days while he refunded me the money for the food, he did not for anything else. Now I have to pay extra money to stay in Santo Domingo. Even though I had the worst experience ever with an American, I must say the people of Dominican Republic are very kind and helpful. A person I met on the bus back from Bonao, helped me find my hotel, buy a phone etc.

I agree with the reviewers who say this place is the worst there is. It really is. While I wasted money, put myself in danger and was treated badly, I hope if you are considering this place, please don't prepay. That way you can leave when you want. One more thing, the Taxi from Rancho Wendy to Bonao is about 300 pesos so consider that while planning, it gets very expensive if you want to do anything in the town.

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled solo
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ranchowendy, Owner at Rancho Wendy, responded to this review, April 19, 2009
We try hard to please even the most demanding.
From the other side, the owners view.

We at Rancho Wendy are sorry that ginieBatonRouge, Baton Rouge had a bad experience. When we were notified that she was pregnant, she was recommended not to go horseback riding, kayaking, or any strenuous activities. Also, the medical staff and nurses recommended to her not to participate in excursions through the hospital, clinic, and patient’s homes. She chose to do these activities, and she is responsible for her own actions.
Her Spanish instructor is a well educated Haitian that speaks Spanish, English, Creol and French. She had classes everyday while she was here from 8:30am to 10:00am; and afterwards was led on excursions by Spanish speaking guides, doctors/nurses and locals (this is a Spanish immersion program).
For her Spanish classes, she asked to excel to conversational Spanish which her teacher agreed. She additionally requested that her teacher be her guide on all her excursions. A meeting was set up between the teacher and the owner (her teacher asked if she would tip him) and a decision was made to continue her classes in the AM. (Her teacher was employed to teach everyday from 8:30am to 10:00am).

Hard to believe we had no outside lights. We have battery backup and 4 Diesel generators (Must have been a bulb that burnt out).

Some of the guests that were here during her stay are still here, over a week later. They, like the many guests who have left messages on our webpage, believe we have good food and enjoy being here. We know that we cannot please everyone, or live up to all expectations, but as we did with this guest, we try to see if their is a way to resolve any problems. We try hard to please even the most demanding.

A partial refund was given at time of departure.

Itinerary: ginieBatonRouge, Baton Rouge
Day 1 – Saturday, April 4
3:00pm – late arrival

Day 2 – Sunday, April 5
8:00 - Breakfast.
8:30-Spanish lessons
9:00 –Kayaking
4:00 - Return to the ranch.
6:00 - Gather for supper
7:30 - Group discussions, free time, discothèque.

Day 3 – Monday, April 6
8:00 - Breakfast.
8:30 Spanish lessons
9:00 – Hike to Charco Bonito, the waterfall
6:00 - Return to the ranch and get refreshed in the pool. After cleaning up, gather for supper.
7:30 - Gather for group discussions/ activities/ games. Then off to bed.


Day 4 – Tuesday,April 7
7:00 - Breakfast.
8:30- Spanish lessons
9:00 – upriver repelling
6:00 - Return to Ranch.
6:30 - Gather for supper.
7:30 – Group meeting/hang out

Day 5 – Wednesday, April 8
8:00 - Breakfast.
9:00 –– Killer Trail. Hike through the mountains, villages (Comunidad La Ceyba) and magnificent views. End at a 300ft waterfall.
6:00 - Return to Ranch.
6:30 - Gather for supper.
7:30 – Group meeting/hang out

Day 6 – Thursday, April 9
8:00 - Breakfast.
9:00 –Spanish lessons.
1:00 – Explore Bonao and see highlights (Ceramics, Open market, lunch, Cultural Center

Day 7 – Friday, April 10
8:00 – Breakfast
9:00 –Spanish lessons
Lunch/dinner
Easter weekend

Day 7 – Saturday, April 11
8:00 – Breakfast
9:00 –Spanish lessons
Lunch/dinner
Easter weekend

Day 7 –Sunday, April 12
Breakfast
Depart
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers are raving about these Bonao hotels

changing
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 2, 2009

I was very unsure of what to expect when arriving at Rancho Wendy. I had read some of the absolutely horrible reviews posted on here so wasn't quite sure what I was getting myself into! I am a young solo female traveler and wanted to go up to the moutains to do some hiking and experience a rural village. I caught the bus from Santo Domingo, it was pretty quick, comfortable and safe. When I arrived in Bonoa I got a motor concho out to Rancho Wendy which was around $100 pesos and a lot of fun. The motor concho even managed to carry my huge backpack and guitar. The Ranch is not out in the wilderness like the website shows but in a small village. However its very beautiful and view is incredible. I was the only one staying there, so if you are look for a nightlife and want to socialise here is not the place to stay. Sure the owner is a little quirky, but take the time to smile and talk to everyone working there and you will find it a very friendly place. They close up the main house around 8 so be prepared to entertain yourself, bring a good book! The accommodation is basic but nice, it was clean, no rats or anything just a few spiders. The shower was cold but overall I found the room to be more than comfortable and good value for money, and the food was good. I found it very safe to go off for hikes alone to waterfalls and surrounding villages. The local people very very friendly, and I had a wonderful time getting to truly experience village life. If you want a taste of local culture and some wilderness Rancho Wendy is a must! For more information and pictures see my travel blog www.tiasurfer.blogspot.com

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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California
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
2 of 5 stars Reviewed January 13, 2009

Overall, Rancho Wendy is not for the high maintenance traveler but more for someone who is looking for an adventure. It is located in a semi-rural area (people live all around you) and the accommodations are definitely roughing it but that fits the price. The people are nice but it is really helpful (if not essential to speak Spanish), and getting to the hostel can be an adventure. Plus, MAKE SURE OTHER PEOPLE WILL BE THERE WHEN YOU VISIT.

It is located approximately 4 hours from Santo Domingo using public transportation (more on that below) in a semi-rural area in the middle of the country. Unfortunately, it is only semi-rural because people live everywhere in the Dominican Republic. Therefore, if you are envisioning (as I was) a pristine backpackers in the middle of no where, your dream will not come true. Instead, it is located along a rural road, adjacent to lots of other shacks, and a little market. It is near a river and has a stream running through it. Unfortunately the river is used for bathing and people allow their trash to run into it so it is not that clean. Also, the stream flowing through the compound sounds nice but looks really brown. However, that might simply be because of sediment.

The grounds itself includes a number of 'cabins', a pool table, TVs, and access to the internet. In addition, the staff will be nice enough to make you any meal. We stayed in one of the $15 cabins. It was nice enough but had no windows. The bed has a mosquito net (which was not needed while we were there) and the room had a couple of guests (in the form of spiders). Considering this was a $15 a night place, I think that was ok. The one really strange thing about the 'cabin' was that the shower head literally was over the toilet seat. Therefore, if you are planning on showering, I would suggest upgrading to one of the larger cabins that has a more spacious shower. In addition, there is no natural light in the cabin. My wife said if felt like she was in a coffin but I think it is ok as long as you understand what you are getting yourself into.

I suggest speaking Spanish if you come here because only the owner (who is very nice) speaks English but he is not even there year round. Otherwise, the owner's Dominican wife and other staff only speak Spanish.

When we visited there were absolutely no other visitors. I suggest ensuring other people are there when you visit because while it might be fun and nice to rough it, a little camaraderie makes it all the more fun. In addition, hiking alone with a guide is not as much fun as with new and interested people.

The transportation to the Rancho can be very interesting. Based on the hostel's directions, we attempted to take a private bus service to the closest city. Unfortunately, very few people in the Dominican Republic actually use private bus companies and instead utilize local shuttles that cram in 20 more people than they should. Therefore, when we were looking for the bus company no one could point us in the right direction. Instead, we got directed to these small shuttles that would have made for an interesting experience but do not drop you off at the place designated by the Rancho and are a little uncomfortable with backpacks. So after looking for two hours (it felt like a lot more0 in central Santo Domingo for the bus stop we took the four hour drive to Bonao. That was relatively uneventful except that we were transferred to another bus stop until heading out of town. Once arriving in Bonao there will be cab drivers who will take you to Rancho Wendy. There is no need to even tell them where you are going because the only reason white people with backpacks go to town is to head there.

Overall, I think this place can be fun. It was not for us but I think a little camaraderie over the surroundings would have made it a lot more fun.

  • Stayed January 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Quebec, Canada
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 28, 2008

My experience there was great . Wow, I can’t believe the different experiences the previous writers had. It’s as if we’re all describing a different place. Bear in mind that by the time I got to Rancho Wendy I had already been in the DR for over a month so perhaps I was more aware of what would be considered typical. The scenery is absolutely gorgeous. Every morning I would walk out of my small room and just stand and wonder at the beauty. I loved the horses roaming around and while I was there two baby horses were born. As one of the previous writers stated there are many trails in the mountains surrounding the ranch where one can observe things that not many gringos have a chance to see. The ranch is located in a small town (Los Quemados) where I met and become friends with people who live there. I am a very beginner Spanish speaker and they were so patient. What a wonderful people experience. Los Quemados is located outside of Bonao; I read in The Lonely Planet that Bonao is a small industrial town without much to offer but I found it to be a lively fun place. Maybe it all has to do with the attitude one has. Yes, Bonao doesn’t have many tourists but isn’t that what most of us are looking for. If not, then we would be in Punta Cana! I can’t finish without giving my opinion about the owners. Yes, they are both special people, each with their own ways of dealing with things. But from my stay there I can honestly say that the staff was not mistreated. As with many places in the DR Haitians make up part of the staff and since I speak French and the owners don’t I could have private conversations. Those folks like working there; anyway, if they didn’t they could just leave. Bugs, sure a few but that’s expected. I have had roaches in my Holiday Inn room in Florida so that just goes with the climate.

Stayed July 2008
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
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Tel Aviv
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 6, 2008

I got to Rancho Wendy completely by mistake. I was planning on staying just for a couple of days and then head back to the beaches but i loved it so much that I stayed for two weeks. The scenery of the mountains and the river and the small village is gorgeous. And the whole experience is just very authentic - from the Dominican food (which was excellent), to the local kids always hanging out at the Ranch, to the horses roaming. so far I was very disappointed by how un-backpacker friendly the DR was. Well this place changed the picture. It was cheap, the staff was friendly, and the excursions were magnificent. I did a lot of hikes with the guides (who will stop in the middle of the trail to bring you mangoes / apples / avocados from the trees), and it was gorgeous. My favorite part was passing through all these small villages in the mountains, where pretty much no gringos ever go to. That's authentic. I read some of the other reviews on this site, and I'm so glad I didn't see them before I went, because I probably wouldn't have gone. But going was one of the best decisions of my trip. If you do go though, prepare yourself to stay at a RANCH, and not an all-inclusive resort. Yes there are bugs and stuff. I haven't seen that many but they're around. And yes the water in the shower is cold, and the shower itself is small, and the rooms are poorly lit. That's all true. But who wants to spend that much time in the room when there's so much to do outside? Reading a book by the stream, playing dominos with the kids, even going to the river for a swim is literally a 5 minute walk. And at night the little village of Los Quemados turns into one big dance party and the locals are so nice and receptive (and the beer so cheap) that I really see no need to spend more time than needed in the room. As I've said, I stayed there for two weeks and the benefits definitely outweigh the problems. One thing that I would like to add though is that one review said that the staff was underpaid and mistreated. I can honestly say that after being here for two weeks and having A LOT of talks with some of the workers (some during the long hikes) - they all love the ranch and love working for it. What sometimes seems like mistreatment is just the owner's character which they are used to and don't take seriously. So you shouldn't worry about any of that.

In conclusion, don't miss this hidden gem in the mountains of Bonao. If you're looking for an off-the-beaten-track adventure, this is the perfect place for you.

  • Liked — The scenery
  • Disliked — Light goes off randomly
  • Stayed July 2008, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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Additional Information about Rancho Wendy

Address: Main Street, Bonao, Dominican Republic
Location: Caribbean > Dominican Republic > Monsenor Nouel Province > Bonao
Amenities:
Business Center with Internet Access Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Room Service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Specialty Lodging in Bonao
Number of rooms: 15
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
We offer the unique opportunity to see and experience the Dominican Republic way of life close up. We are a basic ranch that caters to the adventurous traveler who enjoys basic accommodations and rustic lifestyle surrounded by the proximity of nature. Minutes from the city of Bonao and only 1 hour from Santo Domingo. Make our affordable mountain retreat a part of your next travel destination. We offer 15 rooms, home cooked meals, a shallow but clean pool, internet access, pool table and adventure tours. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Rancho Wendy Hotel Bonao

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