Experience wildlife and adventure at a Costa Rican ecolodge

Walking toward the lobby of the Hacienda Guachipelín, I appear throughout a male carrying a large boa constrictor. But this is not a pet. The ecolodge grounds are brimming with wildlife and this unique snake was slithering too close to the restaurant for guests’ ease and comfort. So a worker is gently relocating the snake farther from the center of issues. He affably stops and poses for photos. The snake flicks his tongue, telling me to hurry the heck up.

There’s lots of area for snakes and individuals on the grounds. And monkeys, birds, tapirs and even jaguars. Hacienda Guachipelín Volcano Ranch Resort and Incredibly hot Springs is element of a 3,400-acre functioning ranch surrounded by jungle and borders Rincon de la Vieja Volcano, one particular of Costa Rica’s countrywide parks. It’s a incredible put to savor substantially of what Costa Rica gives holidaymakers.

Relevant: Dreamy Costa Rican retreat uses a pavilion concept for minimal affect

Man holding a boa constrictor

Hacienda historical past

The hacienda is in the Guanacaste area of northwestern Costa Rica, about an hour northeast of Liberia airport. There’s been ranching and cowboying on the hacienda’s land due to the fact about 1880. The Batalla spouse and children, who still owns the ranch, acquired the property in 1975. It turned an ecolodge by accident.

In 1982, a Lonely Earth writer was operating on a Costa Rica guidebook. She advisable checking out Rincon de la Vieja, which experienced turn into a countrywide park about 9 years before. When the guidebook was posted, holidaymakers shortly descended on the area. Back then the hacienda was only a household farm, Maria Membreño, manager of the hacienda’s reception place, told me.

“The street was too challenging,” she claimed, conveying that by the time people obtained all the way from Liberia, it was much too dim to see the park. “Usually they arrived late at night. So they asked the relatives, ‘Can I keep tonight?’” And so the farm began to lease out rooms.

In the ensuing forty many years, the hacienda has designed into the type of mountain vacation resort wherever you could spend an overall week. There are 79 visitor rooms, an journey centre, trails, waterfalls, a attractive swimming pool, sizzling springs, dining places, occasional are living new music at night time and even a corral whole of horses and cowboys.

Hacienda Guachipelin hotel room front


“We check out to be as sustainable as we can,” Membreño tells me as we sit by the pool. “We use solar panels for scorching water.” But there’s also an electric powered aid considering that visitors aren’t always affected person about restricted incredibly hot water. Oops. Is she looking at me significantly? I’m a single of those visitors that repeatedly questioned why my h2o wasn’t hot.

The hacienda grows a ton of the food it serves in its restaurants. “We have our greenhouse,“ Membreño claims. “We check out to cultivate our possess vegetables. For illustration, our salads come from there. Also, we have a tiny farm in which we create our eggs. And milk, for instance, cheese, all the things we will get ready here.”

In addition to a recycling software, Membreño states one of the hacienda’s proudest eco functions is a biodigester to split down natural squander.


I spent a handful of times on the property as component of a trip with Pick out Lifestyle Sober Adventures. A person of the several wonderful issues about that team practical experience was the awareness of our guidebook, Marco Fallas. When visiting the hacienda or the adjacent park, you are going to have a much far better probability of seeing wildlife if you retain the services of a area guidebook.

On our walks and drives with Marco, we saw all three kinds of neighborhood monkeys: capuchins, howlers and spider monkeys. We watched monkeys swing by trees, passing about our heads in the forest. We also bought to witness a entire band of howler monkeys getting turns crossing a telephone wire. Only one would cross at a time, lest they throw off the others’ balance. It was like human pedestrians strolling across a janky suspension bridge, but only as extensive as a finger. One particular of the young monkeys was nonetheless finding the cling of it, shifting ahead in stops and begins, almost falling off, and most likely not appreciating an viewers taking films.

Monkey crossing a telephone line

Just one night we noticed a beautiful purple, yellow and black striped coral snake crossing the road in entrance of our bus. We all received out to get a closer appear at the remarkably venomous snake. Luckily for us, they have small mouths, so they can’t seriously chunk people unless of course they handle to strike between your fingers or toes.

We also observed loads of huge rodents called agoutis that appear a very little like short-eared rabbits. But we didn’t see any tapirs. The piglike mammals are a rare sighting, according to Membreño. She laughingly advised me about envying a German family members who lately encountered a group of tapirs. Membreño herself has however to see a person.

Things to do

The hacienda’s action heart is truly amazing, with a extended menu of experience excursions. You can zipline, consider a guided waterfall hike, experience horses and go river tubing, all on the residence. You can also indication up for a farm and ranch tour where by you hang out with cowboys all day. You don’t need to be a registered guest to use the experience centre. You can demonstrate up and sign up for a general public tour, or prepare a personal tour for your group forward of time.

My group took whole advantage of the actions, which include jumping into waterfalls, ziplining and river tubing. The guides ended up great and the equipment durable. We also loved the hacienda’s incredibly hot springs, where 9 pools diverse by temperature and you could slather on your own with therapeutic mud.

Two queen beds in a room with ceiling fan and window

Rooms and foodstuff

My room was large, at ease and colorfully adorned with huge paintings of jungle animals. I experienced a non-public bench outdoors the sliding back door and a hammock around my front doorway. I meant to spend time lounging in my hammock, but I was as well hectic ziplining and splashing all over beneath waterfalls.

The hacienda has a massive key buffet restaurant and another restaurant where by you order off the menu. We ate most of our meals at the intensive buffet. There was tons for vegans to try to eat, which include the salad bar, endless black beans and rice and lots of veggies. The omnivores I was traveling with held praising the rooster and the large range of desserts. Given that it’s Costa Rica, the coffee was often very good.

If you want to working experience tons of adventures in a person spot, Hacienda Guachipelín is a enjoyable and hassle-free way to see component of Costa Rica. I extremely suggest it for wildlife fans who like a variety of physical things to do — without having sacrificing resort amenities like exceptional food and a cozy mattress.

+ Lodge Hacienda Guachipelín

Photographs by means of Teresa Bergen