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Toucan Rescue Ranch
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Reviewed 20 January 2012

If you are going to Costa Rica to see animals, stay here. Leslie and Jorge Howle rescue, rehabilitate, and when possible, release all sort of animals native to Costa Rica. Their work is truly inspiring and a welcome reminder of humanity's capability for kindness and compassion. Guests staying at their beautiful ranch support their ability to care for and rehabilitate animals. By staying here, you are not only able to explore the Central Valley, but you also help in their efforts to preserve the wildlife of Costa Rica.

The well-kept, beautiful grounds of the ranch are patrolled by a flock of geese and friendly singing ducks. Our guest house was comfortable and includes a mini-kitchen with microwave and toaster oven. The guest houses are cleaned every few days, which worked very well for us. Breakfast was yummy and included delicious food such as fresh juice and fruit, banana pancakes, french toast, and typical Costa Rican fare.

We rented a car, and Leslie and Jorge were helpful in suggesting places to visit. The ranch is located a short distance from San Josecito that hosts several excellent restaurants (beware of the Argentinian place that charged me double, without telling me first, for asking to make a dish spicy. The food was good, though).

You'll need to rent a car, plan to take taxis, or hire a driver to stay here. If you want a concierge desk, luxury rather than comfort, or the public transportation available in larger cities, then this probably isn't the place for you. If you love animals, friendly hosts, and comfortable lodging, this is the place for you...it certainly was for us.

  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank Nikki70_12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 January 2012

My wife and I stayed here for a week. If you like animals, this is a great place to stay. There are dozens of animals here, which you will get a chance to see up close on your tour (complimentary with lodging, or available separately). We enjoyed visiting the nocturnal animals at the end of the day, and the diurnal animals during the day. There are roosters, so if you prefer to sleep in late, this might not be the best mix. But in this area, the restaurants close early, so even night owls like me have to shift their schedules. So in the end, the roosters didn't bother me at all. There are also some noises from neighborhood dogs.
The guest cottage was very nice. It's not glamorous, but has everything you need. The hosts helped us tremendously with planning our itinerary - this was a last-minute trip for us. They know great sites to see over a wide area. They picked us up at the airport, and arranged a rental car (at a good rate) for part of our stay, taxis for other days, a chocolate-maker visit, and provided directions. They were very accommodating - just ask. Wi-fi is available on the house's porch, where breakfast is served. The pancakes were excellent, as was all the fresh fruit.
If you like animals, I highly recommend this B&B. It is not for everyone, though, particularly anyone who doesn't like animals or animal noises, or for those who demand perfect quiet. For us, it was wonderful.
See also reviews under the Attractions category.

Room Tip: Cottage includes kitchen (toaster oven, microwave, coffee maker, electric water kettle, fridge), dining room, small living area, bedroom, bathroom, large porch. Location is at the end of a residential street and is secured. Note that water pressure varies throughout the day - and was higher in the evening/night for us - I think there was water main work in progress during the day.
  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank BSchug
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 January 2012

Wow - this is a wonderful place to feel more a part of Costa Rica. The previous reviews cover details fairly well. Unfortunately these reviews can't fully express the caring of Leslie and Jorge, the owners. As a trained OT, Leslie has perfectly translated these skills for her wonderful caring for the animals. She shares this joy with her guests. I am not an "animal lover," but I couldn't help smile, learn, and feel good here. Jorge was also incredibly friendly, and took an extra interest in making sure our children had the best experience possible. We were extremely lucky to find the Toucan Ranch. Leslie was super helpful in planning excursions, and other parts of our trip, restaurants, (including driving directions - something that can be challenging in Costa Rica!) It is the perfect place to stay for a few days when you first arrive or just before you depart to/from San Jose Airport. We all hope to stay in touch. MUCHAS GRACIAS Leslie and Jorge!

  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled with family
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3  Thank AmyRP4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 January 2012

We stayed at the rescue ranch in December and had a memorable experience. Leslie and her husband were waiting for us in the pouring rain when we arrived and welcomed us in. We settled into our guest house and were very comfortable. Leslie was very accommodating and even brought in her sloths into the guest house the first night. In the morning we walked around the grounds to meet all the animals. We were followed by a group of friendly ducks as we walked around in the morning, it was hilarious. We had a great breakfast and then received a great tour of the property and met all the animals and took some great pictures. Leslie and her husband really care about their animals and are great people. We stayed for one night and I think that was about the right amount of time before moving on to explore more of Costa Rica.

  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled as a couple
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Thank NCSL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 January 2012

My boyfriend and I stayed here only one night and it was definitely too short. The guest house is more than comfortable by our standards with kitchen. Enough space for a family, however note the beds are all together in one room (makes for fun togetherness). Included is breakfast with Leslie made buffet style and we enjoyed outside on the porch with the other guests. There are only two guest houses on site, they are very separate. As with anywhere in Costa Rica nature you will wake early to the sounds of the animals which we thoroughly enjoyed. Leslie and Jorge do amazing work rescuing local animals and are truely dedicated. We were taken on a tour of their grounds and met the animals up close and heard each of the stories of how they were found, some almost dead, and brought back to perfect health. Some can not be put back into their natural habitat and some have. One of the funniest parts of our trip was when the 'guard goose' chased my boyfriend around the grounds!! The draw to this place is the warmth, love and dedication to giving back to nature. We both wished we had planned to stay longer and highly reccomend to anyone, especially those with love for animals. Leslie and Jorge are wonderful hosts who will do whatever they can to accommodate their guests and the increasing wildlife rescues.

Note: I strongly suggest you do not try driving to this location from the aiport in the dark. As with most Costa Rican drives there are little to no road signs and twists and turns that are best found during day light. Leslie's directions are very detailed, don't try google maps.

  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Stacy37
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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