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Reviewed 9 November 2017

We stayed at Rancho Cecilia for 3 weeks in September 2017. Our cabana was nicely isolated so we could enjoy some privacy and jungle life. Well equipped kitchenette with everything you need was much of a help to us as we prefer to cook ourselves. Walking distance from the cabana was a small grocery store where you can buy basic stuff, food and fruit/veggies. A few nice restaurants are also within the walking distance. Playa Maderas is around 30 minutes walk from the rancho, but you can easily hitchhike back and forth - there's always somebody who gives you a ride.
The hosts Liz and Scott were very helpful, friendly, and welcoming. We were invited a few times for a beer and had a nice time sharing life stories.
Victor, who works with Liz and Scott can rent you a motorcycle or a bicycle if you want to explore around.
Overall, great experience!

  • Stayed: September 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
2  Thank MoskitaC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 May 2017

If you are looking for basic clean accommodation isolated from any noise and people, you found it for a good price! It was super clean, everything was working well, surrounded by so many animals, butterflies, birds, and insects lol can't escape those! This was a cook my own food and be alone week, would be perfect for a couple too, you can make all the noise you want! lol It is not a luxurious hotel, far from that, it is basic, good value and clean.
However it is far from the beach, 30min walk, personally i was hitchhiking to the beach all the time or finding rides here and there, in one week only once i had to walk the 30mins, in the end it's only a nice walk ;) Having a rented motorbike would be perfect.

Room Tip: i was in the little blue house - the casa cecilia
  • Stayed: May 2017, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
Thank Laurence L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 April 2017

If you are looking for quiet and secluded, Rancho Cecilia is for you! Their cabanas are simple but clean and comfortable. The solar power was pretty finnicky for us: our power cut out several times on our first day, leaving us without a fan for 15 minutes at a time, which we did not particularly enjoy. But it seemed to sort itself out and worked just fine that night and on our second day.

Liz and Scott were welcoming and helpful. They supplied us with aloe vera and bandages when we got a bit too sunburned for our own good, which we appreciated.

However, we felt pretty misled about how far the property was from the beach. We rented a motorcycle and would have been totally stranded without it. You are a solid 10 minutes driving from the beach-- and with all the hills, I can't see how you could walk there in less than 40. Make no mistake: this is not a beach property. You can't see, hear or smell the ocean here. It's not a bad option if you have private transportation: it's quite, clean, comfortable and cheap(er). But it was a different experience than what we were expecting for sure.

We decided to go with Rancho Cecilia because their prices were about half of those of the beachfront hotels, but by the time we paid for our motorcycle rental, it was almost awash for us. In the end, although Rancho Cecilia and its people were lovely, we found ourselves wishing we had sprung for something that felt like we were actually staying at the beach.

  • Stayed: April 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
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1  Thank emilycranelinn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ranchocecilia, Owner at Rancho Cecilia Nicaragua, responded to this reviewResponded 17 May 2017

Rancho Cecilia is located on 4.3 acres, in the jungle, off the Coast Highway road. We are in the Playa Maderas-Marsella neighborhood but not on the beach. From Rancho Cecilia to Playa Marsella is a 5 minute drive and bit further to Playa Maderas as the last hill is very steep.
Most of our guests do rent a vehicle, motorcycle or bicycle to enjoy getting around easily and explore our Playa Maderas-Marsella neighborhood, the town of San Juan del Sur and the beaches both north and south of town.
We do have rental motorcycles and bicycles on site at budget pricing.
Rancho Cecilia is not for everyone, we are nestled in the jungle and we are a true eco-rancho with solar for our electrical needs. Power outages are common in San Juan del Sur and usually last hours. Occasionally our solar system will hiccup but since we live on site we usually get it back on line with minutes.
We do have lots of wildlife in and around our Rancho, as we are surrounded by jungle. All our homes have screened windows and doors to keep insects outside, though if you leave food out or uncovered in the kitchen insects will find a way inside to enjoy your food.
Our common wind in Southern Nicaragua is off-shore. This means the winds blow from the shore towards the ocean. You will not be able to hear or smell the ocean with off-shore winds unless you are right on the beach. We occasionally do have on-shore winds and then the wind blows from the ocean towards the land, at those times we can hear and smell the ocean.
We do ask that everyone reads our web site information and the information we respond with on inquiries, this will help you decide if a stay at Rancho Cecilia is right for you.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 April 2017 via mobile

Rancho Cecilia was definitely not for us. My friend and I were originally looking at staying 3 nights, but left after the first.
The place is VERY secluded. They neither serve breakfast nor any other meal or drinks (when reading these reviews, I'm getting the impression they might have done so in the past), so you'll have to head out for everything (or cook yourself).

They say on their website (and when you ask them directly) that the beach is a 20min walk away - I'd say it's rather 40 mins if you walk fast. Calculate more than an hour if you're a family with kids.

They do not provide a shuttle from the Rancho to the beach (unlike many other accomodations in the area do), nor will you get free bikes or scooters. You can rent bikes or scooters for 5 or 20 $ a day. The bikes we got were completely unusable though: no brakes, no gear, no light. One of them actually broke down in a pretty dangerous way and left us hitchhiking back from the beach. Also, when renting a bike (or walking to the beach, for that matter) keep in mind that there's a very steep hill in between which you'll definitely not be able to master on a bike without gear.

What disappointed us most, though, besides the inaccurate information as to how far away the beach was, is the far too promising list of activities on their website: from yoga, to surfing, to horseback-riding. They do not offer any of these activities nor do they provide a shuttle service for you to actually take part in these activities. The list they provide is just things that other hotels and surf shops in the area provide, but you'll have to organise booking the activity, getting to and from these places etc. yourself.

We also had more ants, spiders and other insects in our bedroom than we've seen in any of the cheapest dorms we stayed at (including places in the jungle).

Regarding prices: If you see the price of 55$ per night, keep in mind this doesn't include VAT (17%), so you'll actually end up with a far higher rate. In our opinion, there are many other places in the area that offer better value for less money.
To be fair: Liz did pay us back the third night (we had to pay the second though, even if we left after the first, as minimum stay was 2 nights). She claimed she'd had to turn other guests down for us, which didn't really make sense to us as one of the 3 cabañas was empty at the time.

So, I'd say if you want the beach and some things going on (even if just a restaurant or bar), I recommend you do not book Rancho Cecilia.

Stayed: April 2017, travelled with friends
2  Thank Sarah F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ranchocecilia, Owner at Rancho Cecilia Nicaragua, responded to this reviewResponded 15 April 2017

We always appreciate reviews, good or bad, as it provides us with feedback so we can improve our information for future guests.
This guest and a friend requested a 3 night stay via our web site. This was a last minute request which we usually do not do, but we did have 1 of our rental homes available so we responded with a yes and accepted this reservation without a deposit as they were to arrive the next day.
When they arrived they did not appear happy, a bit confused even. We do ask for a minimum stay of 2 nights, as we are not a hotel but an eco-rancho with individual homes on a large acreage property. We did offer the guests to cancel completely when they arrived and were not happy but they decided to check out the area first. We suggested other accommodations that are in our neighborhood, hotels, resorts and hostels.
Rancho Cecilia is nestled in the jungle in the Playa Maderas neighborhood and this is stated on the first page of our web site. We also provide this information with every inquiry we respond to. We clearly state we have three rental homes on our property, all with full kitchens. A few years past we did do full service with breakfast, dinner and drinks available and beach shuttle service, but have lowered our pricing and moved into no additional services as local services have grown in our neighborhood. There is a restaurant located at the entrance to our property (under a 5 minute walk) and there is a resort a bit further down the road with a restaurant, bar and swimming pool. We do not advertise full service on our web site or on the inquiry information that we send out to potential guests.
Playa Maderas and Playa Marsella is a 20 minute walk for a fast walker and a 40 minute walk for a stroll down the road. Though most all of our guests arrive with a rental vehicle or rent from our foreman a motorcycle or bicycle. Our foreman is who rents these cycles not us.
As for activities we work with local companies that do provide activities such as surf lessons and horseback riding. Ten years ago when we started our business it was necessary to do all activities ourselves as there were no local businesses providing these activities. We now work with the locals in our neighborhood that provide these activities.
As for insects, yes there are insects in the jungle! The inside of our homes are clean and neat and we have screened windows and doors to keep the insects outside.
Rancho Cecilia is not for everyone, we are nestled in the jungle on 4.3 acres and we are a true eco-rancho with solar for our electrical needs. Our local restaurants and activities are run by local Nicaraguans as is the rental motorcycles and bicycles that we mention on our website.
We do ask that everyone reads our web site information and the information we respond with on inquiries, this will help you decide if a stay at Rancho Cecilia is right for you.

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Reviewed 10 April 2017

Rancho Cecilia was a great place to stay. Liz and Scott were really accommodating and helped us out a lot. It was nice to be out of the tourist zone for a while and rides to the beach and San Juan during the day are easy enough to get if you don't have a car.

I wasn't able to connect to wifi because I have a Mac and the wifi settings don't comply, something to note if you are a remote worker with a Mac as your only option. Liz and Scott tried their best to get me connected but it never worked out.

Having a private kitchen was great and the space was relaxing.

  • Stayed: February 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
Thank Mirey F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ranchocecilia, Owner at Rancho Cecilia Nicaragua, responded to this reviewResponded 14 May 2017

We have upgraded our Internet and now everyone can easily log on, even with Apple devices!

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