Tuesday, January 22, 2013


Are you absolutely, positively sure you don't want to visit me?  ;)
 So I've been to quite a few beaches since I've stayed here and I've finally found the ultimate--Rancho Santana.  I've been to San Juan del Sur, Las Maderas, Las Penitas, Montelimar, and Popoyo, but Rancho Santana blows them all out of the water.  Mainly because they have EXCELLENT facilities mixed with activities and a great beach.  They're located practically in Las Salinas about two hours from Granada by car.  If you want more information, here is their website but in general I'll enumerate what makes them special:

  • rentals anywhere from a small casita, a duplex, or a big secluded house on a cliff overlooking the ocean
  • ocean AND pool
  • clubhouse with great restaurant and bar
  • 5 beaches making both swimming and surfing possible
  • nature trails full of monkeys
  • horseback riding
  • exercise/pilates/dance classes
  • grocery store on-site
  • close to other hotels/restaurants
  • spa

Clubhouse with bar. Right side opens out to dining and ocean. Behind me is billiards room.
We had some great meals here but the highlight was one night when we walked along the beach a bit until we encountered Buena Onda Hostal.  There, I had red snapper fish tacos for $8 and my parents had four lobster tails apiece for $10.  Soooo good.
My idea of vacation....sun, beach, and a good book!
I just have to make a side note here in ode to my friend Brenda.  When I think about our tropical adventure of beaches, tanning, and horseback riding, I think of her.  I've come away with so many good stories with her after inner tubing in Belize, rum-factory touring in Puerto Rico, and sunning ourselves in DR, I can only imagine the stories we'd have here in Nicaragua!  Are you listening, Brenda?  I'm waiting for you :)
Dining room.  Don't you love that ceiling?

Our rental
 This was our casita (for more pix and a more detailed description, click here).  We rented from a gentleman named Patrick Kearney.  He owns this casita but rents it out himself through VRBO.  What's the advantage in that?  $75!!  If you rent through Rancho Santana itself the casitas are the most economical option at $200/night but through VRBO you can the exact same rentals for $125/night.  When we first arrived, I thought we made a big mistake renting through VRBO because the concierge was telling us we couldn't book horseback riding or massages since we didn't book through Rancho Santana.  However, one quick call to Patrick and he ironed it all out for us.  Definitely 5 star.  Not just nice for Nicaragua, NICE.  If you'd like similar rentals on the same property, here's the VRBO link.
Bar with a view.  Can't you just see yourself with a  mojito, Nica Libre, or pina colada here gazing out at the ocean?!

These guys on the rocks were fishing with just wire and hook....no pole needed!  This was our view from our breakfast table every morning.

Horseback riding on the beach--how romantic!
Thursday morning we booked horseback riding at 10:30am for $25 per person per hour.  Definitely worth it!  The guides introduced us to all the horses and matched us up according to skill level.  I love horses, but during my ride I learned I need to do more inner thigh exercises.  Ouch!  I wasn't sure I'd ever walk right again and am grateful I don't want children because I'm fairly certain that would be an impossible option now.  It was great to see strong, well taken care of animals and we got to meet a fair share of babies too!  Definitely my favorite moment of the vacation.
Me and my steed Salasana.  When we rounded the road to come back to the stables a colt came running up to the fence neighing and my horse started to trot.  One of the stablehands explained that was my horse's baby and they were eager to see each other...how cute!


  1. Miss you Boo! Rancho Santana looks like my kinda place! :D

  2. RAncho Santana looks like my kinda place TOO!! beautiful...and you had at red snapper tacos...yum! and then the mojito. i too can only imagine the stories you and lil fin would have to tell. She needs to go. maybe she can pack me in her suitcase??
    love and miss you Shawn!!

    1. Luv you girls too. I keep telling you to come. You'd have a blast and we could make fun fun memories.

  3. So let me get this straight. When TJ and I are there we get the cat pee, totally run down place, but them you take to Paradise? Whatevs. :) Seriously, glad you had a nice visit at a nice place. Sorry we couldn't be there. Miss u and luv u.

    1. I know! How embarrassing, but to my credit, I didn't know about RS when you came down here. Hey, more time, more knowledge, right?!