More about Rancho Pacifico
Paradise at Rancho Pacifico
Having fallen in love with Costa Rica the previous year when I visited with my daughter, I was looking for a spa resort where I could spend a week on my own. For any woman travelling alone, you know that there are certain models of resorts that....just feel more comfortable than others.
I found Rancho Pacifico on the internet, and when I saw that they offered a discount for single visitors I contacted them to find out more. This was unique in my view because most places actually charge a surcharge for single occupancy. The owner returned my call within an hour and we had a great chat, and she assured me they would take care of me and that they encouraged women travelling on their own who just wanted some alone time to rejuvenate and charge their batteries.
They weren't wrong!! I spent the most relaxing, fabulous week of my life, despite the fact that my luggage didn't arrive for 3 days after I did. The spa services are out of this world, and all the staff concentrated on ensuring that I had a beautiful holiday. I relaxed, laid by the pool, read, sunbathed, and when I wanted, I participated in the several activities that Rancho Pacifico organized for their guests. The resort is small, so every evening was like family night as we all met for drinks to compare our adventures of the day, followed by supper that was a different creation every night. The owners, Garrison and Silvia strike the perfect balance between provision of an exquisite service and giving you the space and quiet you need to take in the natural beauty of the Costa Rican countryside with the Pacific ocean as a constant backdrop.
If you are looking for a quiet holiday on your own, Rancho Pacifico is for you! I highly recommend the spa package. As well, if you are a group planning a fun vacation, RP can acommodate you in their 2 or 3 bedroom villas, and you can sign up for zip-lining, scuba diving, ATV-ing, horse-back riding or fishing - you name it - they can arrange it for you.
Looking for an alternative to the traditional "all-inclusive" experience? Check out Rancho Pacifico and you won't be disappointed - you'll turn into a repeat customer just like I did!!
Rancho Pacifico-'Eco lodge experience' with no attention to details!!
Choosing suitable accomodation in the Osa was always going to be tricky-this was our first trip to Costa Rica,and we wanted a place to unwind on the last three days of our trip- i chose the Osa,ruling out Guanacaste and Manuel Antonio,as i had read repeatedly that they were too commercial.
I chose Rancho Pacifico,because it came heavily rated on Spafinder,had a full listing of all the Osa activities(CANO ISLAND,The Ballena National Park,Blue Flag beaches,Corcovado national park),and also was built into the rainforest.-It was definitely more luxurious than staying in the Corcovado tent lodge,cheaper than Lapas Rios,and not as isolated as Luna Lodge-the other options seemed like regular tourist traps.
Anyways,we got to the Rancho,and were given our Spa suite,which,to be fair,was decent-t(he whole place,including your bed, is damp on account of the Cloudforest and the incessant rains).Our plans of chilling the afternoon away were thwarted by drilling and construction work ON the property!Now,a cloudforest carries sound very easily,and the the constant pulling up of cars in the driveway,which are situated right above the Spa,and the Deluxe suites,as well as the sawing/drilling drove me mad.Lunch was plain disgusting and the massages were mediocre-my boyfriend pulled a back muscle!Turns out the Owners were away,and the Sizeable staff were missing,either on leave,or gone for 'taxi' services,and the Gourmet Chef on leave!
I had beforehand asked the activity managers about Cano Island,and was told that all trips could be easily booked from Rancho.I was livid when the managers told me that a trip to Cano for the two of us would be 450$,as we had no one to share the trip!!!In Costa Rica,they 'forget' to mention real distances and time,and Cano would have been better accessed from Corcovado and Drake's bay.Rancho knew that ,and withheld information.Our 100$p/p ATV trip was a saving grace,although our 100$ p/p boat trip to Ballena national park was a disaster,with muddy waters,no fish to observe while snorkeling,no fish to be caught(wrong season),and just one whale sighting!I can think of better places to go see whales,or just time the season better!And,the beaches were mediocre!
We could have gone with an independent activity operator from Dominical,with better planning,but we would not have been able to save the distances and the travel time wasted!
To add insult to injury,the 200$ Deluxe suite we booked on the last day was super cramped,with hot water that ran out if the people above you had a shower before you!!!Great way to ward off the cold and damp!
Rancho is a great idea for people who dont really want to get about,might be on honeymoons,have deep pockets( this was the most expensive part of our trip-1900$ for three nights,with two dinners,a few cocktails,2 massages,1 ATV ride and taxi services only),want to stay rain locked(quite remote and isolated,but not in a rainforested way-need 15$ taxis to get anywhere one way),and die of boredom(all the families were restless at some point).Another warning are the full internal flights between cities(that means you will have to hit the road,if you cut your trip short).
To be fair,the setting is beautiful, the staff are affable,and the Gourmet Chef is talented,but they work within limitations,both created and imposed!
I definitely recommend booking around Corcovado National Park to enjoy the Rainforest experience!!!
Nothing like any of the reviews - not a good experience
First off, don't go to Rancho Pacifico if you are hoping to be on any sort of a budget. Hidden costs abound and you are nickeled and dimed for everything (bring lots of extra cash). Trips costs on average twice as much as what you are told by the hotel activities planner. For example, more than once we were told we would need just a couple bucks for lunch or an activity, but then would have to pay $30-$120 in cash (plus the fees charged by the hotel for the activity). It is not so much the excessive cost as much as feeling like the hotel activities director isn't being truthful when telling you the price of certain activities.
During the rainy season, this really isn't the place to be. You have time for possibly one activity in the morning before having to be back up the mountain by 1:30pm. If you are not back up at Rancho Pacifico before then, expect to be caught in heavy downpours. The drive up to Rancho Pacifico - an all-dirt "road" traversible only by 4x4 - is miserable on a normal day, horrible when muddy, and sometimes it is even impossible to get up to Rancho Pacifico if the 4x4 gets stuck.
The rainy season keeps everything wet (even when it's not raining). Expect clothes not to dry and bed linens to never feel dry even after they have been changed.
A little on the Deluxe Lodge Suite, the smallest room at Rancho Pacifico. It is two rooms (one bedroom, one monster bathroom). We had no problems with hot water (though we were on the top "suite"). There are no windows - everything is screened in - so you can hear everything.
Construction was a horrible problem. Every single day there was a construction project, making staying at hotel during the days miserable. Further, they did construction - on our hotel room! - during our stay. They left our door open while they replaced a window screen. That allowed dozens of bugs (which our room was generally, not completely, free of) into our room. When we returned that afternoon (after we were delayed from entering for an hour and a half because of the construction) the room was mess of pill bugs and creepy crawlies. All you can do during the rainy season during the afternoons is nap, and our bed was crawling with bugs. No one on the staff ever apologized or offered to make up for the time we had to be out of our room during the construction.
Apart from certain members of the staff, overall the staff at Rancho Pacifico was very nice. We liked the spa therapists and they did an excellent job. The spa prices were also available up front so there was no room for hidden costs!
Was our experience so miserable because we went during the rainy season? Because the owners weren't there? Because of all the hidden costs? Probably a combination of it all. Rancho Pacifico might be worth the trip during the peak months (like February or March), but based on all the little problems and lack of support from key members of the hotel staff we're not going to risk it.
A unique and fantastic experience
My husband and I just returned from our honeymoon at Rancho Pacifico. We had an unbelievable trip and would like to share some of our highlights with you...first of all the setting, the ranch is located in the middle of a mountain and as such there are spectacular views of surrounding mountain ranges, jungle, and ocean below. During our trip we engaged in various activities arranged for us by the hotel including zip lining through the jungle, an ATV tour, and surf school. After a long day of activities or just relaxing at the ranch it was nice to enjoy a spa treatment of which they have a large variety (massages, coffee scrubs, facials, reflexology etc). I found the spa therapists to be very professional and friendly. My only recommendation would be to bring an extra pair of sneakers that you can throw away at the end of the trip as your shoes will get muddy!
Paradise retreat in the clouds
Few of us can afford a home high in the rain forest with a picture-perfect view of the Pacific, sensational spa treatments,
fresh & organic gourmet meals and a honestly happy staff to care for all our whims. But you can have that experience if you stay at Rancho Pacifico.
It's in the always-lush South Pacific section of Costa Rica that hasn't been ruined yet by overdevelopment. "Getting away from it all" always takes some effort. My friend hired the hotel to pick her up at SJO for the 4 -hour drive to the resort. I flew a Sansa 12-seater into the Palmar Sur airport and had an RP driver handle the roads. I recommend flying as it is much faster, easier & about the same price. I would not rent a car unless you are gutsy & greatly skilled with 4-wheel drive. That's because the so-called "road" leading up to the hotel is... well, think of "Romancing the Stone" and you'll get the idea!
I bought a reasonably-priced package through Luxury Link and the hotel came through with all it's promises including a free dinner for two and a bottle of wine (we upgraded for an extra $10) We stayed in the Deluxe Lodge Suite, which I believe is the smallest room and still felt like we were getting the best.
The daily free breakfast is a lovely mix of fresh fruits, juice, coffee (fabulous of course!), granola, toast & eggs any way you want them. Every day there was an extra treat; incredible banana or pineapple pancakes, bacon, or fried cheese - A Costa Rican specialty worth all the cholesterol.
You can spend your day by the pool, at the spa & jaccuzi or find solace in several spots throughout the property. My favorite was actually our room's screened-in porch, watching hummingbirds feed on hibiscus just a few inches away!
Our patio also had a small fridge, so we saved money storing food for lunch & snacks. (Just ask the drivers to stop at the marcardo in tiny Uvita at the bottom of the road)
There are many daytrips & I heard great things from several guests who did zip lines, horseback riding, fishing & a steep hike to a nearby waterfalll. I highly recommend the Sierppe River day trip. An incredible guide knew where to find the hidden gems along the muddy water. We spotted white-faced monkeys, caimans, snakes & too many birds to remember. (Another guest who shared the trip with us said, "this is just like Vietnam")
On other days, I splurged at the spa, with a coffee rub (get it!) and a deep-tissue massage. The prices were high for Costa Rica, matching what you pay back home. But there's one major difference. Instead of listening to nature tapes in a tiny dark room, we got to hear the REAL THING in a wooden hut perched above the jungle!
Dinner each night was excellent, partly due of the chefs, partly because of the fresh ingredients (cheese from the man over the hill, fish from ocean that morning) Since RP is small,
we got to know all the guests during our stay. That makes it a perfect place for solo travelers. It also adds fun to cocktail hour where Olman, the manager & heart of the hotel mixes up the coolest concoctions.
I had a few minor complaints, which I shared with the owner,
Garrison, a wordly American with savoir faire who keeps a close eye on standards. Garrison tells me that in the 2 weeks since I've left, many on those problems have been fixed.
For example, instead of being charged $10 to go to the beach, guests now get 2 free transports to the Whales Tail, the landmark beach that's a part of RP's remarkable view. A new employee has just been added to handle the upgraded e-mail communication service. And I'm told they've changed the type of screens in the lodge rooms, which were constantly ripping and letting in bugs.
There are many other hotels in CR where you can easily drive to noisy beach towns, shuttle to crowded sights and be steps away from the sand, sprawled on beach chairs while waiters bring drinks at the snap of a finger. Warning: If that is the experience you are looking for, do NOT go to Rancho Pacifico. If however you want a luxurious retreat, a natural refuge from stress & life, all attuned to nurturing you back to inner peace then I believe you will share my experience and find Rancho Pacifico, a perfect paradise in the clouds.
We truly enjoyed it!
We truly enjoyed our time a Rancho Pacifico and you have a wonderful staff. I miss my daily spa treatment with Vivian, she is such lovely person and terrific therapist. I miss the wonderful dinners prepared by Alex and Juan, I have been spoiled by the mix of different flavors and have no interest in the heavy, unhealthy American foods that I have become so accustomed to and thought I couldn't live without. I have been inspired to try to cook and eat like I did at RP, another bonus, I lost five pound while I was there and didn't feel hungry and felt wonderful. I found the experience of being so close to nature without the interference of the outside world rejuvenating. I didn't realized how the influence of the media (television, newspapers, radio, etc.) creates a stressed feeling and negativity within. I don't remember the last time before RP when I didn't get up and first turn on the TV to hear the latest news and gossip. I think we were all a little scared about the no TV situation when we arrived and thought it would be something that you should consider adding, but a couple of days into the trip, after the withdrawals were over, it was all good. When I returned home I instinctively did what I normally do and found the TV to be so annoying and had no need for it. I feel more relaxed and stress free, hopefully it will last!
We are moving to Uvita beacuse of RP
Pura Vita! Rancho Pacifico is a long-awaited dream of mine. As my wife & I rode up the mountain to RP, we thought we were headed back in time. The RP staff met us and helped us get settled in. We went to the Whales Tail Bar and enjoyed a Cocnut Martini and relaxed. After chatting with the staff my wife and I had one of the most relaxing massages ever, so we thought, the best was yet to come. We did not leave RP for any activities for the first 3 days.
We enjoyed the peace and tranquility of the rain forest. I was up at 5am or before every morning to take pictures and listen to the forest come alive. I went to Costa Rica to experience the Rain Forest and we did. To walk as high as you can up the mountain, above RP and to sit in the forest and take in all the nature is literally breathtaking. We shot over 350 pictures.
The day we went down to Uvita to go horseback riding for 2.5 hours, we learned you must wear jeans. Our Guide, CUCA, did not speak English, but he knew what we wanted and took us on the ride of our life. After 2.5 hours we stopped at a local pub and downed some well awaited brews and then we rode for another 1.5 hours to the beach for pictures and a small tour of the area. When we got back to RP we had another massage. Just imagine lying there being massaged with the sound of the jungle all around you, birds, monkeys, and a light rain on the roof of the spa.
Everything we wanted and needed after 6 months of planning our wedding and honeymoon was at RP. Peace Tranquility Elegance was at our disposal. When we got home and laid in our bed, we both thought we had just awoke from the most incredible dream ever. Even now a month later my wife and I wake up in the morning and dream that we are still there.
Thank you RP for such an incredible honeymoon. We will see you on our anniversary! Love Steve & Paula
Vacation of a Lifetime! GO
I have made many hotel selections based on information in Trip Advisor, including our trip to Rancho Pacifico. However, I have never submitted a review, but after reading the last three reviews posted here, I feel compelled to contribute.
My family and I (couple mid-40s, two young teenagers) travelled to RP in June 2007, and I can honestly say it was an experience of a lifetime.
We used RP as a base camp. If you are going to go to RP to sit around, lounge around a pool, or spend a day at the spa, then RP is not for you. We are a very active family so we enjoyed all the adventures that Gilbert recommended to us. We hiked, zipped, did a mangrove tour, ATV tour, - went to Dominical Golfito, as well as drove down to Panama. We knew the activities cost extra and we budgeted accordingly. When the day’s adventure was over, we had the luxury of having a wonderfully (and freshly) prepared meal waiting for us after a dip in the hot tub or massage.
I read others complaining about the costs, and I consider myself budget conscious, which is one of the reasons that we chose CR. Yes, the excursions cost extra, but these are once in a lifetime experiences you are getting.
If you are planning a trip to CR or RP, I think you need to have the correct expectations up front. (You’re not in Kansas anymore!) I spoke with Silvia on the phone a few times prior to arriving. She helped set those expectations. For instance, she strongly encouraged us to FLY, not drive from San Jose, so we flew. We met other people while out on excursions who drove, and most of their vacations started off miserably.
Yes, there were bugs (not tons), but you are sleeping/eating in a rainforest. RP staff doesn’t go around spraying pesticides, etc . Yes, things were damp (not horribly), but it was rainy season. And, we live in Florida so maybe we’re just used to humidity
While the owners were not onsite during our visit, they called us every morning to ensure their GM was managing everything to our liking.
On property, we saw monkeys, and toucans. During our mangrove tour, we kept a journal of the wildlife we saw and it was more than two pages long - crocodiles to macaws.
In the end, this was a great family bonding experience. I left feeling totally refreshed. My job requires me to be plugged in all day/every day. This trip allowed me to just be, which in the long run makes me more effective back home.
We hope to visit again, and have the opportunity to meet Silvia and Garrison personally.
I recently visited RP while in Dominical, Costa Rica. As I write my review I find it difficult to find the right words to describe my extraordinary experience. Wile visiting the spa, I had the chance to get to know the owners. They are both amazing people! The staff along with the environment was well beyond my expectations. I would recommend RP to anyone! I hope to be able to come back again… and SOON.