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“Get away from it all...” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Rancho Santana

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Rancho Santana
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Limon 1, Popoyo, Nicaragua   |  
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Hotel amenities
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Thousand Oaks, CA
1 review
“Get away from it all...”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 9, 2010

My husband and I rented a newly built house in Rancho Santana. The price was really reasonable for what we got - a brand new house on a bluff above the Pacific, infinity pool, two ladies who cleaned and a pool guy, and complete peace and quiet. No newspapers, no phones, and the TV hadn't been hooked up yet, which was fine with us. There was a huge kitchen where I cooked a couple meals a day, plus a club house with decent food and drinks if you don't want to cook. We spent some time at Rancho Santana and some time in other parts of Nicaragua, and the people, who often have almost nothing in comparison to us in the US, are content and friendly. Nicaragua is a nice alternative to Mexico these days - very safe and pleasant to travel in. Our only warning is to watch out for the police outside of the Managua Airport if you choose to drive yourself - cops attempted to give us tickets for "moving violations" (i.e. - the car is moving, I think) twice in the first mile. If you speak Spanish and have some time, you can usually get them to "forgive" the violation or reduce the fine to something much smaller that can be "taken care of right here."

  • Stayed June 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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199 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    170
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (57)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Ocean City, Maryland
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 21, 2010

Just got back from staying at a friends house at Rancho Santana. First of all, they were not kidding when they said we would need to have a 4 wheel drive vehicle, thanks so much to Nestor for accommodating us with one. Weather was perfect, sunny everyday with a fair amount of wind that kept it from feeling too hot. The house was perfect, 3 bedrooms with an infinity pool overlooking the ocean, (just don't get too close to the cliff). We were picked up at the airport by Nestor who brought a cooler so we could shop at a supermarket in Managua(for $200 US we got more than enough alcohol, snacks, breakfast and lunch foods for 4 people who like to eat and drink). We also stopped along the road and picked up even more fresh local fruit. Rancho Santana has a number of beaches, all very unique, but you need a vehicle to get to them. None of us are surfers, but if you are - this area is the place to be; we met plenty of surfers even some from my local home town of Ocean City, Maryland (what a small world). We found some great local places to eat, one right on the beach not far from the rancho santana club house, also we ate at Yolandas in town, and drove a little North to Paypayo(?sp) and ate at el Toro and another pizza place the name had something to do with red frog. The club house at rancho santana is overpriced for the are but the food is good. Biggest surprise to me was that the fish was not that good - the best fish we had the boys caught fishing. Fishing - the boat left right from the beach and was $150.00 for 3 hours. Best deal is horseback riding at rancho santana - $10 an hour, on good, well-kept horses, we rode on the beach and swam the horses across some water - awesome. We only did one daytrip, as we had a truck a driver cost about $35 for the day, I highly recommend a driver, lots of police out, we were stopped once in what looked like a roadblock. Our daytrip was to SanJan del Sur - if you go - go to Pelican eyes to eat, expensive but excellent food and views.
To sum it all up, the Rancho Santana area is very safe, very friendly, we were lucky to stay in a home, there are casitas there to rent which would be a great option since you would not need a 4 wheel drive vehicle to get up the hills to the homes. Oh and you do need to spend a little extra time on your way to Managua to the airport to stop at the live volcano - what a treat.

  • Stayed March 2010, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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so cal
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 17, 2010

This was the first time I stayed in the clubhouse and it worked absolutely great for two (my teenage son and I) Had two single beds, ac, catv, nice bathroom, ocean view, near bar, restaurant and pool. I had previously stayed at a casita with my mom and while they are much bigger (casita means small house) and can sleep 4 the clubhouse is closer to the pool and beach. The bonus with the casitas is they have kitchens, living rooms, dining rooms, ours had wireless internet, and they are much bigger. You can rent a house at RS (I have never done this) and many are very nice but they cost more and are better suited to larger families or groups of people.
You can surf at Playa Santana or take a local boat to go fishing or explore other surfbreaks up and down the coast, of which there are many. Great place to chill, get away from it all but still have internet access and hear howler monkeys. It is a good 45 minute drive on a dirt road to get here so if you are not up for driving in developing countries then arrange a van to pick you up at the airport.
It was dry season in March (not so green) when I went with my son and wet season in June (hyper-green) when I went with my mom. Highly recommend a stop in Granada, the canopy tour at nearby Mombacho and the Flying Frog canopy tour in San Juan del Sur.

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Saugatuck, Michigan
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 16, 2010

I have stayed at Rancho Santana 4 times in the last 3 years. I have fallen so in love with the place my partner and I have purchased land in the development and hope to build a vacation home soon.

In the previous review it appears a group of dinners had problems at the security gate. The management was contacted about this and it boiled down to the fact that the people who had a problem at the gate had not paid their bar bill ( I am sure by mistake). The waitress had called down to the gate and asked the watchman to ask them to wait until the waitress could meet them at the gate with the bill. Evidently there was a problem in translation and the dinners didn't understand the situation. It is ashame they let their paranoia spoil what I am sure was a lovely evening. Nicaragua in general is one of the safest countries in the Americas and Rancho Santana, with their very good security, is even safer.

The restaurant at Rancho Santana is very good and you will have a great time at sunset as the bartender serves you at a most scenic table right next to the surf. Believe me, I have spent many an evening relaxing with friends doing just this.

The small hotel at Rancho Santana makes you feel like you are the only guest and the resort was placed there for your enjoyment alone.

Getting there is not easy, but once you do, you will realize you have discovered a very special secret who's memory will stay with you for a lifetime.

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Florida
Top Contributor
57 reviews 57 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 32 cities Reviews in 32 cities
32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 8, 2010

Our family of 7 and our extended family rented two houses. This is my daughter's and her husbands 10th or so trip to Rancho Santana. We loved it! The house was on a breath-taking bluff. Be prepared with groceries if there for extended time. Be prepared for the drive to the ranch, rough.This is for hardy travelers who love luxury and absolute isolation. We will be back, even possibly to buy. It is a safe place!

  • Stayed January 2010, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
denver co
1 review
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed January 5, 2010

Group of us had a late dinner at Rancho Santana's restaurant. We were last party to leave and lingered a bit after paying bill. We then drove the five kilometers out to the gate house of the development. Guard at gate wouldn't let us leave. We asked several times what was the problem and we were told no problem but we have to wait here for the waitress. We had tipped excessively and had not left anything at the table. Guard would not explain why we were being detained. Two other cars came up and he stopped them. He let one car out and tried to stop second while we waited on side. Second car followed out first and I did the same. Very certain that this was a set up for a mugging or extortion of a tip. AVOID THIS PLACE AT ALL COST.

Stayed January 2010, traveled with friends
Was this review helpful? Yes 9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Miami
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 15, 2009

I'm a surfer from Miami so we don't get good waves here. Rancho Santana has great waves just a one minute walk from the club house. We rented a casita, which means small house in Spanish. It was a two bed, one bath about 1,200 square feet.

I took my family to Nicaragua. While I surfed great waves my kids rode horses, played in the pool and had a great time. There are lots of Americans and Canadians there and all friendly. The restaurant is clean and the food is fresh. The bar is just near the beach and you can watch the sunsets with a drink. The staff were amazing friendly. The seafood comes straight from the ocean. I don't have anything bad to say about the place.

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Rancho Santana

Address: Limon 1, Popoyo, Nicaragua
Phone Number:
Location: Nicaragua > Rivas Department > Popoyo
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 4 Specialty Lodging in Popoyo
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Number of rooms: 75
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Rancho Santana, set serenely in the Southwest Pacific offers a collection of distinctive seaside experiences. Though little more than two hours from Nicaragua's capital city of Managua by car, the property has grown into a quiet community that enjoys purity, authenticity, and a somehow romantically rustic elegance. Both residential and resort, "the ranch" boasts over 2,700 acres of majestic land along two miles of shoreline which include five unique beaches. And while this paradise is the perfect setting to do nothing at all but sunbathe and stargaze, its remarkable range of terrain, unique climate and soothing coastal breezes make it a coveted destination for the more active and adventurous traveler. Tucked between the open sea and the immense Lake Nicaragua, "the ranch" has the distinction of being one of the only isthmuses on the entire Pacific Ocean. This unique geographical phenomenon creates gentle tropical breezes, which when paired with year-round warm ocean waters make the beaches' surfing conditions some of the most coveted on the planet. With the early sunrise, "shredders" of all ages and origins take to the breaks of Las Cinco Playas de Rancho Santana, which include some of the world's most vertical waves, providing both visual drama as well as world-class surfing. Lookers-on walk the water's edge watching the surfers dance across the waves while just yards behind them fisherman bring in what will be the evening's fresh catch in the clubhouse's renowned restaurant, La Finca y el Mar. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Rancho Santana Hotel Popoyo
Rancho Santana Nicaragua/Popoyo

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