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“Just Perfect”

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Rancho Armadillo Estate
Ranked #3 of 11 Hotels in Playas del Coco
North Plainfield, New Jersey, United States
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Just Perfect”
Reviewed August 7, 2013

My husband and I just returned from Rancho Armadillo on August 3rd after a 9 night stay. It completely lives up to every great review and more! Rick helped make our trip enjoyable from the moment we checked in. He made calls and got us on tours, suggested great little beaches to visit, excursions to take, and every restaurant he sent us to had incredible food. The grounds are a little piece of paradise-beautiful plants and flowers with butterflies fluttering all around. I never grew tired of the gorgeous view of the Pacific during the day and the breathtaking sunsets in the evening. The nights spent star gazing with the other guests was great as well. It was the first time my husband and I got away as a couple for longer than 3 nights in 10 years and we thought it was just perfect!! Rick was even able to accommodate my gluten free diet with delicious gluten free waffle mix so I wouldn't miss out on the yummy morning waffle bar-Thanks Rick!! We can't wait to return; next time with the kids!

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank kelli m
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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195 reviews from our community

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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (23)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Kitchener, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed August 6, 2013

My family (two kids ages 5 and 7) and my husband and I, stayed at Rancho Armadillo for our entire vacation, using it as a home base and making day trips from there. While my kids would have been more than happy swimming in the pool all day, Rick helped us to plan some of the most incredible day trips. Rancho Armadillo itself is incredibly beautiful, peaceful, and comfortable. Upon our arrival, Rick greeted us personally and brought us and the kids on a tour of the grounds to see the beautiful gardens and get a closer look at family of howler monkeys. Throughout the next 8 days we took day trips to some of the most beautiful beaches and points of interest in the area and again, Rick helped us to find places that would prove just as interesting for the kids as it would be for us. There is absolutely nothing negative that I would say about our vacation here and would not think twice about returning!

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank Grace B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dallas, Texas
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed August 4, 2013

We first stayed at Rancho Armadillo Estate in April of 2012 and returned this year from July 20 – 25, 2013. It was just as wonderful our second time around!! This is truly a hidden treasure. It is away from the main drag of Playas del Coco, quiet and serene. The grounds are beautifully landscaped and well kept. But THE most wonderful thing about Rancho is the owner, Rick Vogel. This guy SO obviously loves Costa Rica, his hotel, and people. He is always ready and willing to help you with whatever you need or want. He is friendly and gregarious yet unobtrusive. He’s always there when you need him but isn’t when you don’t. The rooms are basic but spacious, comfortable, and very clean with AC and ceiling fans. We enjoy having the mini fridge and coffee maker. The communal veranda is a wonderful area with hammocks, rocking chairs, a couch, and a computer for guest use. The view from there is amazing, and it’s a wonderful, relaxing place to hang out at any time of day. The pool area also has a great view of the Pacific and is clean and well maintained. As you can see from my pictures, the breakfast is one of my favorite things about Rancho, and it is included in the price of the room. Your first morning there, Rick gives you the instructions and run down for making your own waffles with lots of choices of add-ins (chocolate chips, almonds, walnuts, orange zest, etc.). There is a choice of thick or thin waffles using two different irons. In addition, he makes THE best fruit smoothies made with fresh fruit and mango juice. If that’s not enough, add in the incredible assortment of breads from the local German bakery, three cereal choices, and wonderful fresh fruit including mangoes, papaya, pineapple, watermelon, lychees, and passion fruit. We looked forward to the breakfast each morning. In addition to the food, it was a good opportunity to visit with Rick to learn more about Playas del Coco and Costa Rica. He has owned the hotel since 1999 and has much knowledge and information to share. One of the services I really appreciate is his restaurant directory. He keeps a notebook with menus from many of the local restaurants, and each room has a detailed map of Playas del Coco and the locations of the restaurants. He is also a great resource for recommending his favorites and will give you an honest opinion on them. There are also books on Mammals of Costa Rica and Birds of Costa Rica on hand at the bar for reference use. Although breakfast is the only meal served daily, Rick will make dinners on request. A selection of sodas and beers is always available in the cooler behind the bar on an honor system basis. You simply write down what you take in a notebook and pay for it at the end of your stay. In summary, I can’t say enough about how much we enjoy our stays at Rancho. I highly and unequivocally recommend it.

Room Tip: We love the Cacique Room. It and the room next to it have a nice ocean view, are the highest on the...
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank gretchenpeterson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bali
Level Contributor
33 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed April 14, 2013

Playas del Coco has always been our home base for surfing Witches Rock and Ollie's point. The rooms are very large and have a comfortable homey feel to them. this is not a place to stay for parties, but if you hit Witches and Ollie's on a good day, you'll be too tired to stay out late anyway.

I have recommended this place many times over the years and will continue to stay here. the outdoor lounge and bar overlook the valley and is a great place to hang out and drink a beer after surf. The pool is nice and clean and Jim (I think Jim still owns the place) as a great host. It's more like a bed and breakfast than a hotel.

Jim is also good at hooking you up with a good, affordable boat driver to take you surfing. Sometimes on the way back, we drop our pole in the water and catch some fish. What a great experience! I haven't been diving here, but I hear that many divers stay here for that as well. Other than those three activities, I probably wouldn't go to Playas del Coco. It's a decent town, but not much else to do and the beach is not really ideal for swimmer.

Oh, Jim is also a good contact for directing you to a few good restaurants. Thanks to him, I had the best ceviche in Costa Rica at a place near the water. Ask him about it. There is also a good Mexican restaurant that he'll be happy to direct you to.

Been going to to Indonesia for a lot of my surfing lately, but when I head back to Costa Rica, I'll be staying here again for sure.

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank Massbro
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Temecula, California
Level Contributor
40 reviews
33 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 177 helpful votes
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
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Helpful?
1 Thank Lisa S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dieppe, Canada
Level Contributor
10 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
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
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Helpful?
Thank Vince M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
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
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Helpful?
2 Thank lowkeytraveller
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

Property: 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 #3 of 11 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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