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“Amazing”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of Rancho Esperanza

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Rancho Esperanza
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersBronze level
Mankato, Minnesota, United States
1 review
“Amazing”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 21, 2013

This place was just outstanding. The staff have mastered the art of being both chill and attentive at the same time. I never saw anyone rushing or bustling about, there is a whole lazy relaxed atmosphere that complements the Central American sun -- when we came in the Grateful Dead were playing on the sound system -- but at the same time everything I asked for was done promptly and politely. Food was always on time, hot and delicious. Nate and the rest of the folks at Rancho Esperanza were absolutely wonderful. I couldn't have wanted anything more from them. They were perfect. It was the best place to unwind after a week of hard work.

The beach is secluded and not even remotely crowded but not a private or gated area. Rancho Esperanza is located by a fishing village so there are fishermen out in the evening and morning. Those of you into the locked up sanitized experience that makes sure your Central American travel experience doesn't include any interaction with actual Central Americans...well this isn't for you. Go to some crappy corporate place.

The beach is beautiful. The accommodations were outstanding. The staff cool and attentive. Wonderful place!

And they compost waste and they support the community!

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank Jim D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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225 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (31)
Date | Rating
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English first
Saskatoon, Canada
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 3, 2013

My time at Rancho Esperanza was absolutley wonderful. The beach was quiet and provided an excellent morning walk! The evening food wasvery tastey, the staff were friendly & informative, the beds clean. I went on 2 tours and really enjoyed them The guides were absolutley fantastic :)

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled solo
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Helpful?
Thank Nadine R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle, Washington, United States
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 28, 2013

We had a wonderful time at Rancho Esperanza. We wanted to give our kids an off the beaten path experience without it being too rugged and overwhelming for them. Rancho was perfect. We were very comfortable in our private cabana, and enjoyed the community feeling of the main area, and met lovely fellow travelers. My kids were very happy to find books to borrow in Nate's library (thanks Nate for having Harry Potter!) and were also able to participate in "Kids club" to make art projects and play baseball with the local kids. We took a Kayak trip through the lagoon with a great local guide. The food was good, especially the fresh fish caught earlier in the day. I was very impressed how Nate, Shana and Ben were able to cater to a wide variety of travellers, including young back packers, families, and folks even more senior than us. Staying at Rancho was one of the highlights of our trip

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank Lauren P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
vancouver
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 13, 2013

We are budget travellers who are a step above the dorm style hippie hang out but below the hotel experience. This place is best for solo travellers who are ok roughing it a little bit more than average. We stayed in the private cabina ($28/nite) with a composting toilet, which would have been fine but there was 1) no sink to wash your hands and 2) it was not the best designed toilet. I've used a lot of composting toilets and camped a lot but this one was not sanitary. Bed itself was ok. All in all it was expensive for what you got when in the rest of Nica you could get a rm with a sink and normal toilet for about the same price.

Location was great though bring ear plugs as the roosters are quite active in the am. Staff were friendly.

Food was expensive and not good. For a place that does community development (which is why we chose to stay here) the food was anything but local. Frozen eggo waffles (for $4.50!), American style frozen bagels, wonder bread. This was a let down. I thought for sure a place like this would serve more regional fare (i.e. tortillas made from the lady next door).

The other downside is that we came here so we could do a cool volcano hike. The place advertised that they offer tours. When we tried to book a tour though we were told that we needed 4 pp to have a good rate. We decided to go just the 2 of us and pay more but when we went to book it, the management we unable to get us a taxi/guide, even though we gave them more than the notice they required of us. This was a big bummer. I say if you can't offer something take it off your website as it sets an expectation they were unable to meet.

So if you're a laid back hippie who likes to meet other solo travellers, ok with potential unclean post-washroom hands and cool to just lounge around, read, and sway in a hammock, this place could be good for you.

Room Tip: Bring hand sani and ear plugs
See more room tips
  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank YogaUrs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ranchoesperanza, Owner at Rancho Esperanza, responded to this review, February 14, 2013
Thank you for your honest review. I am sorry to hear that your stay with us was just average and overly priced for what you received. One of our goals is to minimize our ecological foot print by recycling grey water and all organic waste and use composting toilets. Unfortunately flush toilet systems use a lot of water and are wasteful. Septic systems are difficult to maintain due to the lack of services in this part of the country and there is no guarantee of safe disposal once the septic waste has been pumped from a flush toilet system. The composting system we do have is clean and hygienic and we have never had sanitary problems in our nine years running. I understand that the sawdust composting system can be shocking for new users, but normally our guests are happy because they don't smell and are clean. Cleanliness is my pet-peeve and first priority - I know these composting toilets are new and different for many and try to make this new experience as pleasant as possible.

I apologize that we did not provide a sink with your private cabin as we do with the shared toilets. We had plans to upgrade our private cabins with sinks and showers, however the busy season has not allowed us time to do so. In the meantime, we purchased hand sanitizer and will be placing them in the private cabanas today and plan to upgrade in slow season.

I want to correct the price that is quoted in this message. Waffles cost $3.75, not $4.50. We offer a large selection on our breakfast menu and surprisingly many travelers crave items from 'home' such as waffles and bagels, so we offer them to our guests because some want a break from rice and beans. We do offer fresh and local fare on our breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus and try to buy all of our kitchen ingredients locally when we can, including tortillas (made either by hand here in our kitchen or purchased from the lady next door) when the recipe calls for them, fresh local cheese, fresh fruits and vegetables, and milk for coffee from the farm across the road, among other items. Unfortunately, we are 35km away (an hour in car) from the nearest city and this is where we are required to buy the majority of our ingredients. Unfortunately we are limited to what we can buy there and what is labeled as "whole grain", is just "bimbo brown bread". We try to work best with what we are offered here in rural Nicaragua.

We are a hostel that provides job opportunities. We are not tour operators who offer our own tours. The prices and tours that are offered are not managed by Rancho Esperanza, but are run by local community members. If we cannot arrange a tour, it is because the local guides are not available. Normally a group of four is needed to do an affordable hike to the volcano, otherwise a group of two is more expensive. I am sorry that you could not find other guests to hike with you and the guide was not available. Some things are out of our control.

We at Rancho Esperanza do our best to provide a pleasant stay for all of our guests, but never at the expense of the local community. We try to be conscious of how we operate. We buy local, employ local and pay living wages, minimize our ecological footprint by reducing waste, and try to be of service for the local community by providing social projects for Jiquilillo's youth. I am not a fan of stereotypes and hope that this review does not mislead readers to believe that we are a "Hippy Establishment". Our goal is to provide a clean and relaxing establishment for travelers but also provide positive and sustainable community development.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston, Massachusetts
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 11, 2013

I traveled out to Rancho Esperanza with plans to stay for 3 days - 2 weeks later I finally made it back onto the bus. The rancho is a beautiful place with a super friendly staff, good food, potentially the best library in Central America + great sleeping accommodations. They also facilitate + financially support a number of local community projects - which they are also happy to chat with you about over a cup of REAL coffee. My favorite part of my stay was the Saturday beach clean up with the local surf kids - the rancho provides the surf club kids with a week of surfboard use in exchange for an hour of their time cleaning the beach on Saturday. The kids are stoked on the help + I was stoked to watch them surf.

Jiquilillo is a paradise with a beautiful beach that stretches for miles - you want peace, beauty, friendly folks + a one of a kind beach...this is your spot. If you go I highly recommend the walk up to Padre Ramos Estuary - you won't be disappointed!

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled solo
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Helpful?
Thank En-Camino12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Montreal, Canada
Level Contributor
21 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 9, 2013

this place, 2 steps from the pacific ocean could be a real paradise but the spirit is just not there.
We stayed in a private hut cabin for 25 dollars, as we didnt have towels we asked for it, they charge us 1 dollar for 2 towels, its the first time in 6 weeks travelling in central america that we get asked money for towels, its the fact not the price, everything there is too business orientated and we didnt feel welcome in this fake and cold atmosphere well maintained by the american owner.
We needed information to go hiking the volcanoe but really felt like bothering him when we asked.
This place is for sell and it might be the time for a new management where we can really have something to hope for - esperanza!

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
4 Thank Cécile L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ranchoesperanza, Owner at Rancho Esperanza, responded to this review, February 13, 2013
I am sorry to hear that your stay with us was not pleasant and you felt that the atmosphere was cold and fake. Our goal is to provide travelers with the exact opposite: a warm and friendly environment. We always welcome new guests with a brief orientation so that they are familiar with our facilities. We serve communal meals so that travelers can gather together and share a meal and travel stories. Regarding needing information about the Volcano hike, we provide a detailed guest information book that provides information on all our tours. Staff and management is always around to answer additional questions and schedule tours.

I am sad to see that your time was not pleasant and you felt like it was too business oriented. We charge fifty cents for a towel rental to have it washed by hand as we do not have a washing machine. In the past nine years towels have gone missing because they are often left on the beach where they are forgotten or lost and never returned to us. Sadly towels are not for sale in Jiquilillo and in order to accommodate our guests we need to purchase them Chinandega, located 35km away, an hour drive. I have taken your complaint into consideration and will now change my policy to provide this service to my guests for free.

As for your comment towards me I personally apologize if I made you feel unwelcome in any way. As I said above, my goal is to provide a warm environment for everyone; guests, staff, community members, and friends alike who enter Rancho Esperanza. Certainly everyone has their bad days and I apologize if you visited on one of mine. Your comment has been noted and I keep note of how I treat my guests. Please do not apply your perception of my character to the work we do in the community. Our projects have been running consistently for nine years with funds from the business put directly back into the community. Our goal is to provide 'esperanza' and hopefully you had a chance to personally witness the positive work we have done in the community.

Thank you for your review. We always enjoy hearing from our guests so we can continue to improve your experiences.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
27 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 6, 2013 via mobile

Stayed here for four nights and was very pleased with the place.

We stayed in one of the private cabanas that was spacious. It was nice to have a little safe inside the room to store valuables. The common area is great, plenty of space, hammocks in the shade and an awesome book exchange. The composting toilet system is pretty cool. One complaint I have is that it is really difficult to find a trash can there-none in the room or bathroom stalls!

The food there is really excellent, and serving family style creates a good sense of community among the guests. Very nice that they have a vegetarian option for all the meals. It seems like all the food is fresh and it's great that they have hired local people to work there! The staff is very friendly, I was happy with the service.

The location is definitely off the beaten path in terms of tourist beaches in Nicaragua, but that's part of what makes it so wonderful. It is super easy to get to from Leon. It is not crawling with gringos, and there really is hardly any tourist infrastructure there. The beach is beautiful and it is definitely a great place to relax.

Definitely stay here if you can.

  • Stayed January 2013
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Helpful?
Thank ParkerBlue
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Rancho Esperanza

Property: Rancho Esperanza
Address: | In front of the Claro Antenna, Playa Jiquilillo, Jiquilillo, Nicaragua
Location: Nicaragua > Chinandega Department > Jiquilillo
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Specialty Lodging in Jiquilillo
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Our idyllic backpacker get away combines low-impact, natural living with projects that actively benefit the village. Whether you are looking to escape, contemplate and create, or just unwind for a few days Rancho Esperanza lets you appreciate authentic Nicaraguan life at a beautiful beach setting while you are confident that your presence is doing good not harm. We offer eight bamboo cabanas, two dormitories, and camping. Surf rentals, community excursions, Spanish classes, kayak and boat tours, hiking trips to Volcano Cosiguina, and volunteer opportunities available. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Rancho Esperanza Nicaragua/Jiquilillo

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