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“Believe Me – It’s Magic!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Rancho Armadillo Estate

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Rancho Armadillo Estate
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Playas del Coco, Playas del Coco 5019, Costa Rica   |  
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Hotel amenities
Ranked #2 of 13 Hotels in Playas del Coco
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Bonsall, California
Senior Contributor
35 reviews 35 reviews
28 hotel reviews
Reviews in 27 cities Reviews in 27 cities
160 helpful votes 160 helpful votes
“Believe Me – It’s Magic!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 7, 2013

Enchanted evenings and dazzling days – that’s a vacation at Rancho Armadillo.

This place is a destination in itself, an amazing property that I kind of hope remains undiscovered. We stayed eight nights in November 2012. Everything positive stated in the other reviews is true, and more.

Rick is one of the great innkeepers of the world, and we feel lucky to have found him. Every recommendation Rick made was accurate, and the do-it-yourself breakfasts were amazing.

We arrived at night, and were greeted by an enchanted fairyland with strings of colorful twinkling lights and lanterns everywhere. It was a magical first impression, and the spell continued the duration of our stay. Daylight revealed countless statues, artifacts, and other décor strategically placed to surprise, delight, and charm you. The grounds are lush and spacious, the rooms comfortable and private. From the dining area, you can gaze out onto the shimmering sea over the lush treetops.

This is a meaningful place for a family gathering. There are countless birds, insects, and critters - Rick knows about every single one. Older children will love it here – the dining area with its wall hangings and artifacts and rustic lunch counter lends itself to relaxing conversation and unhurried time. The lazily swinging hammocks upstairs are a fine place to while away a few hours with a good book between swims. This place is rich with its own history: a hat rack filled with ball caps from all over the United States, a bookshelf of weathered books. This is the stuff that memories are made of.

Playas del Coco is not for everyone, and thank goodness for that. Yes, it’s a run-down little beach town. A great place for divers, but not for those who secretly want everything to be just like everywhere else they go. But then, those people won’t be reading this.

Thank you, Rick. Pura Vida!

A note: you do need a car here. We rented from Adobe through Rick and had it delivered – the transaction was seamless.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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160 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    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 (19)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Dieppe, Canada
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 6, 2013

Our family of 4 stayed here for 4 nights in mid-March. Yes, Rancho has the best view in Coco, a fantastic outdoor pool-dining-lounging area, and very nice rooms, but the one who makes this place extra special is Rick. Friendly, helpful, and respectful, Rick will make your stay in Costa Rica that much more enjoyable by ensuring all your needs are met (from recommending restaurants, treating you to one his delicious seven course meals, organizing day trips, to sharing his vast knowledge on just about any subject). Another part of the charm of Rancho is that we saw more insects, birds and mammals (e.g. bats and howler monkeys) on his property than on many of our day trips. There are also a couple beaches within a 5-10 minute drive, as well as the friendly town of Coco. It's becoming fairly touristy there so it's nice to visit, shop and dine, but be able to retreat to the relaxing comforts of Rancho, nestled on a hill just on the outskirts of Coco.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 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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Chicago
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 3, 2013

Our family of 4 stayed at Rancho Armadillo for a week over Spring break. Without having really planned anything in advance, we had an activity-filled yet relaxing and restorative vacation. We have owner/proprietor Rick Vogel to thank for this. Without being intrusive, Rick takes care of everything you might need, including planning trips, recommending places to eat, showing you the local wildlife, and so on. He even gave me a few awesome cooking lessons (I'm hesitant to mention this, since if *everyone* starts asking for cooking lessons...)

The grounds are beautiful, the rooms clean and comfortable. Be sure to mention to Rick if anything is amiss -- he will fix it for you right away (or at least try). For example our air-conditioning was a little weak, and after we mentioned it to him, it was fixed the same day. I could have spent all day in the hammocks. The other guests were interesting and fun to talk to. All around a great vacation.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reno, Nevada
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 30, 2013

Rick is a real pro. He has set up his property with his guests comforts in mind. He has thought of everything. He is also a top notch concierge and chef. He made sure that we were able to do everything we wanted to do. His property is beautiful and very comfortable.

  • Stayed March 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
milwaukee, WI
Senior Contributor
35 reviews 35 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 14, 2013

Rancho Armadillo is everything wonderful that all the other reviewers have said about it. It's all a result, I believe, of the relationships that Rick has with his guests, his employees, and the Playa del Coco community. Rooms are spotless because he treats those who work with him with great respect. Guests benefit from his knowledge of restaurants and sightseeing spots and his connections with the people who run them. For example, our family, totaling 8 ranging in age from 10 months to over 70, was planning to head to a beach restaurant one day but Rick received an email from the owner saying it was closed for a private party, so we were able to avoid the useless trip there and go the following day. An adventuresome guest traveling by herself ended up chaperoning a school trip at Rick's suggestion, and during it she went zip-lining, which she had previously said she absolutely wouldn't do. One thing to keep in mind is that Rancho Armadillo is not, nor does it claim to be, a beach vacation. There are certainly beaches nearby, but that is not the primary focus, it's not a step-out-your-door-onto-the-sand place. It is, however, a wake-up-to-the calls-of-the-howler-monkeys vacation. The pool is relaxing, the sun is intense, the restaurants are good, the town an interesting mix of bicyclists, pedestrians and dogs all wandering about in the middle of the streets, tourist shops, ex-pats and locals, American-style and Costa-Rican style stores. The only downside was leaving!

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Charlottesville, Virginia
Senior Contributor
44 reviews 44 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 10, 2013

We spent 6 nights at Rancho Armadillo and absolutely loved it. The location is close to Playa del Coco's beach and restaurants, but just far enough away to enjoy quiet evenings around the rancho and pool. We enjoyed watching a variety of colorful birds and howler monkeys. The property has a nice view of the ocean with great sunsets. The main reason to stay at Rancho is Rick, the owner who is an amiable host and guide. He has a wealth of information on directions, attractions, and is eager to help make the most of your stay. One exceptionally clear evening, he set up an impressive telescope for the guests to look at Jupiter and the stars. Every morning, he personally prepares breakfast and chalks up great conversation about places to visit (or avoid) all while pointing out the bird species. Rancho Armadillo is convenient to Palo Verde, Rincon, Guatil Pottery, zip lines, and many other sites. It's less than 30 minutes from the Liberia Airport, and Rick is great with directions. I highly recommend Rancho Armadillo if you want to explore the Guanacaste area. We miss Rick already!

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 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.
Philadelphia
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
45 helpful votes 45 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 10, 2013 via mobile

Just returned from 3 night stay - wished we would have had longer! This property has amazing views and all the amenities of home. Rick the owner really does it right! The rooms are rustic and charming- very clean. Showers are great! Breakfast was a highlight everyday- between the fresh breads and waffles and views - perfection! The pool was soo serene and actually this property and pool beat the beaches everyday! Playa Coco beach not very impressive and tourist town but fun to walk through. Soo happy we stayed at Rancho Armadillo and had Ricks recommendations for food and tours- he was spot on! Ate at Villa Italia and Los Olas- both great!! Waterfalls are a must. Rick will give you directions to anywhere you want to go although his property with soo many different species of birds and spectacular views and howler monkey visits was most appealing to us! Has had same staff for years and felt very safe on property.
Our last night had Rick as our chef upon request- ate with another wonderful couple we met staying there- and it was soo delicious and relaxing and a perfect ending to a perfect stay. I even got to see and feed a coati that occasionally visits!!! This hotel is a must for anyone who loves nature and relaxation and is not into loud rap music! Thank you Rick for your hospitality and being such a great host!! Hope our new friends have a great wedding - the pics will be stunning!! We will definitely be back someday!!

  • Stayed March 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Rancho Armadillo Estate

Address: Playas del Coco, Playas del Coco 5019, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Guanacaste > Playas del Coco
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Kitchenette Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 13 Hotels in Playas del Coco
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Rancho Armadillo Estate, a small private mountainside estate overlooking the Gulf of Papagayo. The estate is perfect for couples, families or groups. Our guests feel like they're coming to visit friends who have a really nice place to stay. Our knowledge of Costa Rica ensures our guests experience the best Costa Rica has to offer. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Rancho Armadillo Estate Hotel Playas Del Coco
Rancho Armadillo Estate Costa Rica/Playas Del Coco

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