Rancho Santana Nicaragua
Rancho Santana Nicaragua is near Rivas in southern Nicaragua and is a place that we have long wanted to visit. When we discovered that we would have to leave Costa Rica early, Rancho Santana is one of the places we thought of right away.
Back in the 1980’s when we joined the Oxford Club, the development of Rancho Santana on the Pacific Ocean was already in progress. Although we loved the concept, we never got down to see the property. This was our opportunity.
Getting to Rancho Santana
Our driver, Javier got to Gran Pacifica and we checked out as he loaded our luggage into his taxi. We were soon on our way, and at the end of the dirt road, Javier turned right onto the paved highway, and we headed south to Rancho Santana. We sat back and relaxed as we glided through green rain forest on the hills. The road climbed up and wound around the hills, then down again.
Finally, we reached the Pan American Highway and soon saw a sign that said that Rancho Santana was 75 km. Other signs appeared from time to time. Just before we came to Rivas, Javier found a cafe beside the road and we stopped to have lunch. The typical meal of chicken, rice, and beans hit the spot.
We passed through Rivas, then turned west toward Tola and continued on to Rancho Santana. Soon after Tola, we came to a crew that was paving the road. The road then turned to dirt and remained so until we came to the Visitor Center at Rancho Santana. From there, an escort showed us to our casita.
Our Casita at Rancho Santana
Our garden casita was hexagonal-shaped and contained two bedrooms, and one bath. The kitchen, dining room, and living room were open with the kitchen in the center. There were 24 casitas in the area. Across the lawn from ours, was a parking lot, and down a short path was the clubhouse. Next to the path was on-going construction of a hotel.
In the clubhouse was the La Finca y El Mar (The Farm and The Sea) Restaurant, bar, and lounge along with a conference center. Nearby past the lawn games, was the swimming pool and Santana Beach, where surfers gathered most afternoons to catch some waves. Having the clubhouse so close to our casita was very convenient since we were without a car.
Tour of Rancho Santana
The next morning , we called customer service and requested a tour of the Rancho. Vera showed up at our casita to take us. First we headed south over rolling hills covered with natural vegetation and a few houses to the edge of the 2,700 acre rancho. Perros Beach is one of five beaches at Rancho Santana. We got a good look at it from a nearby hill. A short drive away was Duna Beach, which had some long, narrow strips of rock jutting out from shore beside the sandy beach areas.
This is a large property, with many building sites still available. Some with great views of the ocean and hills. We were somewhat surprised by the elevation change within the rancho as we traveled to the other beaches.
The next beach we came to was Playa Escondida (hidden beach) and without the trail down, this beach would be hidden from view. This is one of the smallest beaches at Rancho Santana, but very nice for quiet, relaxing swimming or sunbathing. We visited all five beaches at Rancho Santana on the tour that day.
Rosado Beach has a small clubhouse and a swimming pool overlooking the beach, a very pretty area. The sand here has a slight pink color, thus the name. When we visited, a group was just finishing scuba training in the pool.
We went to the condo complex next and walked through one unit. This unit had two bedrooms and a view across the sand to the fifth beach, Santana Beach and the ocean. To complete the tour, we went by the horse stables and the market, La Tienda.
Life at Rancho Santana
We got enough groceries from La Tiena to have breakfast and some meals in our casita. La Tienda had fresh fruits and vegetables, some meats, beans, rice, and other basic supplies. They also offered freshly picked herbs, so fixing tasty meals was no problem,
Still, the food at La Finca Y El Mar was so good, and the view so marvelous, that it was hard to settle for home cooking. Having lunch or dinner at the clubhouse restaurant worked for us on most days. On others, we enjoyed both lunch and dinner in the open air watching the beach, surf, and ocean from the clubhouse. On several nights, we watched the sun set into the ocean while surfers got in their last rides for the day. The sunsets at Rancho Santana were magnificent!
On two occasions, we were privileged to share dinner with David and Tuey Murdock, who live near Managua, and their family. The food was always good and the conversation and company was delightful!
We walked most mornings, sometime up and down the hills. We got over to the pool on most afternoons, where we swam, got some sun and just relaxed for an hour or two. Only a few joined us at the pool. A couple of families had kids who really had a good time swimming, diving for rocks or chasing each other. The few adults there just relaxed enjoying the water, sunshine, and each other.
All good things come to an end, and our five days at the rancho passed quickly. This was a first class resort vacation where we lived better, but definitely not for less.
Next time: Granada, Nicaragua.