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“What A Wonderful Family Trip” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Surf Ranch Hotel & Resort

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Surf Ranch Hotel & Resort
Ranked #21 of 27 Hotels in San Juan del Sur
Newport News, Virginia, United States
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“What A Wonderful Family Trip”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 4, 2013

I came down with my family, husband and 3 kids. The kids loved the pool and food. This is not a party hostel filled with hippies, which is awesome for a family vacation.
I noticed the clientele here are surfers, couples, and traveler looking for adventure, and they also cater to families which we loved. We booked out
a villa with their all inclusive packages and was worth every penny. Their shuttles drove us to and from town, and even to the beaches. We brought the kids on the catamaran sail tour and they had a blast.
Thanks Surf Ranch!

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Victoria_H_91
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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268 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (63)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
South Thomaston, Maine
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 1, 2013

We booked a 5 night all inclusive vacation to the Surf Ranch through The Clymb and I admit we were a bit skeptical at first after reading some of the reviews, but the place is really fantastic. Yes, it is still under construction, yes there is no hot water, but the workers were pretty quiet and done well before dinner and it is 90 degrees out all day. A cool shower feels pretty good. When they are done, this place is going to be even better than it is now and some of the rooms will have hot water and AC for those that want it. The villa we stayed in was very simple, but neat and clean, and it had everything we needed, including very fast wifi (that was a surprise). The food was great, and the rum drinks were just amazing. Ronaldo, one of the bartenders, makes a mean rum punch, with fresh pineapple and watermelon to order. A tall one (or two or three)of these in the pool after a day of surfing is heaven. My wife and I went to surf, so we didn't try any of the other activities except the yoga (fantastic) but Lucas, the activities director, is great. He just makes things happen for you and makes sure you get where you want to go. The shuttle runs back and forth to town all day so it never feels like you are stuck there, just hop in the truck and you are in town in a few minutes. We did get to talk to the owners as well. The story of these two young guys is really amazing and their dog Buddy makes the place complete.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank sailordennis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
el paso
Level Contributor
70 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 15, 2013

The staff was great; definitely made the difference of helping us forget that the advertising of this place is not exactly what you get ( mostly because it is still a work in progress with a lot of construction going on ). That said, the place is definitely off the beaten track with a unique character.Pros: Owner went out of his way to get the paintball going for us as well as explain his vision towards the future; the food was awesome; they will try to specialize any request you put forward ( must ask for the individual breakfast buffet!!). Plenty of drinks ( make sure you understand which drinks are included in the " all inclusive ); plenty of things to do and Playa hermosa ( great surfing for all levels ) was really easy to get to with a low riding rental car. ( having a rental car I would say made everything so much easier as the place is really in the middle of nowhere; too far to walk to anything. I would also expect that during rainy season this place would be very hard to get to as you drive over several dry river beds). The all inclusive deal was really a great deal for what you get. The catamaran tour with Zach is worth the 50 bucks ( 60 if you book it with the surf ranch staff ) however its questionable if he will continnue in business as he seems not to have necessarry permits to keep operating; Locals could not be friendlier; Zipline ( offsite ) was nice. Cons: Lots of construction going on ( as of feb 1, 2013 ); Location; very far away from the really nice beach town; missed the horseback riding tour due to some sort of misunderstanding , Very windy; food would literally fly off your plate as their is no sheltered place to ead ( for now ). NO medical facilities located nearby in case of real emergency.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank ElPasoMaker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
35 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 28, 2013

We were able to connect with Tyla, the front manager who saved our skin after another accommodation gave away our reservation and totally let us down. In came Tyla, who set us up with these awesome Kelowna brothers, and here we were at the Surf Ranch.

Location: Pretty darn good. Either you need a car or a ride to town, but trust me you don't want to be any closer to town. It was super quiet up where Surf Ranch is. There were some mosquitoes and I got bitten but its somewhat to be expected in that area. I would recommend providing mosquito coils to guests in their rooms and at the bar, they are cheap and burn 8 hours long.

Price: At only $35 a night its a steal. Food was also well priced.

Food & drinks: Stiff drinks, good food. Depending on the day and time of day, they may not have all the ingredients to make some things off the menu but they do their hardest to accommodate your needs. I really enjoyed the jalapeno chicken.

Owners: As mentioned, they are great. Be sure to have a drink with them if you can and get the story of how this place came to be. Its pretty inspiring. We spoke with many locals around the region, all seemed to know and like these guys. The common theme was "I really hope this place does well for them, they deserve it". When locals say that with affection, you know you are in the hands of some standup folk. Buddy the dog is a sweetie pie too.

Facilities: Gorgeous pools and bar, and the rooms/condos had just the minimum as needed. This entire place still needs to be finished and it shows, but it is very comfortable and fun. Construction workers did their thing quietly. We enjoyed 'rescuing' the toads from the pools at night.

Other guests were a pleasure to hang out with. It was a good time. Thanks guys for your hospitality and thanks for taking us in. We are reserving five stars for our next trip there- when you are fully finished up! I'd say best of luck on your venture, but you definitely don't need it! Congratulations seem more appropriate.

Room Tip: We stayed in condo #1, it had a good bed, very nice bathroom and couple of small tables to get your...
See more room tips
  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank WhereItsWarmer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 15, 2013 via mobile

We loved San Juan and Nicaragua, but the resort did not meet the expectations that are on the website.

Positives-
Drinks were plentiful and delicious.
Bar staff was very helpful, attentive and we had great conversation with them.
Quiet and definitely off the beaten path.
Everyone was so incredibly nice.
Food, drink, souvenirs very inexpensive.
Awesome guard dog buddy on the resort.
Catamaran ride with Zack was awesome (watch out for personal belongings! Camera was missing after this excursion)

Negatives:
No one answered phone at resort, had to book via email.
No yoga
Paintball unavailable
Air pad not blown up
No hot water
Promised surf board rental for 5 days, didn't even get to have lessons
Lots of construction around
Cash only upon checkout
No shuttle(resort staff told us they would reimburse cabs which didn't happen)
We booked two excursions that both didn't work out because of communication issues with the resort staff. (Front desk needs to be on top of this stuff if they want the guests to not be stressed out on vacation!)

Overall the website and the deal we bought were deceiving and we hope that this place gets into better alignment with what it advertises because it has potential to be a really great place.

  • Stayed January 2013
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Worldtravelerdpt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
lukeboychuk, Owner at Surf Ranch Hotel & Resort, responded to this review, January 17, 2013
First off, I would like to say thank you for staying with us at the Surf Ranch in our early stages of opening. You are right, the resort is not completely finished, but we are working everyday, to have it completely finished in 2 months. These are our early stages, thus the $500 that we gave you off of your All Inclusive Package.

I would just like to comment on a few things that you mentioned.

Catamaran Sailing - I am sorry you lost your camera, but we are not responsible for this, the catamaran sailing is through another company, and we can not be responsible for where you set your camera down.

Paintball - It will be open again by the end of January. The guns are under repairs.

Yoga - We do it through another company in town and not at the resort. We do arrange yoga for customers, did you ask at the reception about it?

Air Pad - The blower has failed us, new ones on their way.

Hot Water - Yes there is no hot water, and we do not say that anywhere on our website.

Surfboard Rentals - I have just been told that you did not want to go surfing, until the last day, which we organized last minute, and the surf shop in town with your boards said no as it was too late in the day.

Cash - Credit Card machine installed soon. You can pay via PayPal as well.

Shuttle - Ready next week. This is the first that I have heard about the reception not reimbursing you. Send me your PayPal email and I will reimburse you right away.

Excursions booked - I am sorry these didn't work out, and we will be looking into the issue as why the other company did not follow through.

This is all great feedback, and as an owner of the Surf Ranch, it is my #1 priority to listen to your feedback and fix everything that you have mentioned. Thank you.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers are raving about these San Juan del Sur hotels

Minneapolis, Minnesota
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 11, 2013

My wife and I stayed here recently. When we arrived it was totally dead and we were a little disappointed. However, as more guests checked in it became much more fun. Tyla is a gem, as she truly understands the service industry and the brothers are doing it right by hiring good bar staff that speak English well.

We stayed with the Groupon, and to be honest it was a fantastic deal for all inclusive. We had some issues with our room at first, (no mirror and leaky shower) but they were rectified the next day. No small feat in Nicaragua.

That being said, this place is still under construction, and there are a lot of workers still there every day. Second, the shuttle was not up and running yet and it is not close to anything. This will be a big difference. Third, the main restaurant is not open yet , although the food by the pool was good. Additionally the paintball and launchpad weren't working when we were there, which was disappointing. All of these things can and will change, as I know they are actively seeking out a shuttle and construction is making progress.

We did the sailing catamaran and it was very nice and I'd recommend. Our stay alone was average, but I'm giving it 4 stars on potential and the price with the Groupon. I'd love to come back in a year and see where they are at, because it could be perfect for what they are trying to do.

We got planning our trip to Nica based on seeing this place on Groupon. We traveled to a number of places in Nica and had an amazing time, so I am forever grateful to the Surf Ranch for getting us down there.

In short, the Groupon was a good deal all things considered with the money they give you for activities, but if you are looking for more of a party all night, and complete place, this isn't it. Try one of the hostels.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Ryan412
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Frankfurt, Germany
Level Contributor
43 reviews
27 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 10, 2013

I'm quite surprised about the excellent reviews here as my experience was not so superb. I must admit the place is beautiful, or will be once it is finished. It was quite a surprise for me to see that it was still under construction and the room I had booked was not even ready when I got there. There are not yet many people staying in the hotel so mostly it is an empty place. Good for those who want some peace and quiet. It is also located very far from everything, the beaches and the town, so you will either need to rent a car or get a taxi every time you want to go somewhere. And the taxis are not cheap there. The rooms and villas are nice but do not have much in them, just beds. No closet for the clothes and there were also no curtains in the windows. Also note that there is no hot water at all in this hotel. The private villas have terraces on the top but the terrace has no furniture. The food in the restaurant was OK, nothing special.

Tyla at the reception was very nice and helpful but she only works until 3pm and not on Mondays. When she is not working there is nobody at the reception. Juan Carlos at the bar is also super friendly and tries to help you after Tyla is gone. The owners I found a bit weird. They kept to themselves and did not seem to care much about the clients. It seems to me that they have just built a fun place for themselves and their friends to hang out and do not know much about how to run a successful hotel business and how to kepp the clients happy.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Nelzu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
lukeboychuk, Owner at Surf Ranch Hotel & Resort, responded to this review, January 12, 2013
First off, I would like to say thank you so much for staying at the Surf Ranch, yes although when you came we were under construction, but since then everything you mentioned (curtains for the windows, etc), has been added. Except the hot water, we will not be adding hot water until the end of 2013.

We offer a daily shuttle to and from town as we were just using the taxis until we finished our shuttle vehicle.

I appreciate that you understand we are still opening, and now have a receptionist for the night. Everyday we are adding new things and your opinion will help us be the best resort in Nicaragua, and we thank you for that.

However I am confused on the comment about not being personal, after all you did party with the owners in town and you stayed at the owners personal house one night.

Again, we all thank you for staying with us and I am glad you had an awesome time :) Hope to see you back next time.

Thank you.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Surf Ranch Hotel & Resort

Property: Surf Ranch Hotel & Resort
Address: Empalme de El Valle, 991.5 m al Este, San Juan del Sur 47008, Nicaragua (Formerly Surf Ranch Action Sports Resort)
Location: Nicaragua > Rivas Department > San Juan del Sur
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #21 of 27 Hotels in San Juan del Sur
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — Surf Ranch Hotel & Resort 3*
Number of rooms: 26
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Surf Ranch in San Juan Del Sur, features Nicaragua's largest skateboard park, rock climbing wall, private gym, airbag jump, volleyball court, world class restaurant & bar, swimming pool & swim up bar, poolside cabanas, standard rooms, villas, and deluxe condos. The Surf Ranch offers many extreme sports and activities such as surfing, skateboarding, sailing, fishing, yoga, rock climbing and more. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Surf Ranch Hotel & Resort Nicaragua/San Juan Del Sur

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