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“Until the ranch starts caring about their guests and not about making an extra dollar don't waste your time”

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Surf Ranch Hotel & Resort
Ranked #23 of 27 Hotels in San Juan del Sur
Reviewed 20 January 2014

Worst experience ever.

This place just cares about making money not about their guests comfort or enjoyment. It is horribly run. I would not recommend it to anyone. Even after talking to a few investors, who were staying there, nothing changed and no one was willing to help us have a better experience.

The employees are rude and will argue over everything. After asking for the included juice with breakfast they tried to argue we don't get that and wouldn't give it to us until we went to the front desk and complained.

We booked through The Clymb. Having taken trips with them before we were very excited for another amazing trip. Wrong. We bought the 4 night all inclusive trip.

After reading all that they claimed was included we figured it was going to be a great deal. Let me explain what all inclusive means to surf ranch:
-You will eat when they say and you will not get a choice of food options.
-You will still be hungry after because you only get one small plate of food
-Everyday is the same thing rice, beans, eggs for breakfast; beef or chicken fajitas for lunch and dinner (we did have a treat of fish one night woohoo)
-Only one glass of juice is included with breakfast at no point can you get juice any other time without being charged and we had to fight for that glass employees would not give it to us at first
- Rum and beer is included but they claim to use the national rum of Flor de Cana, they don't they use bottom shelf crap. I'm no rum expert I just want to get what I'm paying for. Beer in a bottle will cost you but beer in a cup is included. Even after asking about that they still tried to charge me.
- The only rum mixers available are Pepsi, 7Up, and soda water. Would have been nice to have fresh juices to mix.
- The "free" shuttles only leave at weird times if you want to leave at another time it will cost you $5 per way.
- The rooms do not have hot water or A/C. Not such a big deal but I paid a lot for the room it should include some kind of comforts. Also we were given 2 single beds instead of the agreed upon one double bed
- My boyfriend doesn't drink so he asked to just have soda. The employees stated that soda was not included. After 2 days of him only having water we went and read the paperwork of what we can get soda is in fact included but only Pepsi and 7Up. One small victory.
- The airbag is free to guests. But good luck getting them to inflate it for you.
- There is a volleyball court, volleyballs are not included.

If you do go don't get all inclusive. It is cheaper and less stressful to pay per drink/meal.

We were miserable the whole time, even after talking to management nothing was done to help us. The Surf Ranch is only there to make money. Not to provide an enjoyable experience for anyone. Avoid at all costs.

Room Tip: Try to get an upstairs room they stay cooler with the breeze at night.
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  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank Hannah P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
lukeboychuk, Owner at Surf Ranch Hotel & Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 21 January 2014

Dear Guest

Thank you for staying with us at the Surf Ranch Resort. When we talked in person, you were saying you had a great time with no complaints. I am surprised by this review. Next time, please tell me any issues that have arisen, and I will fix them right away.

Some issues you mentioned are in our policies, and some may have been exaggerated, so please let me explain. Also keep in mind, that we are doing a 1 month revamp and training of our practices and staff. We know there are some rocky paths, but we are almost there, in becoming one of the best run resorts in Nicaragua.

1. For the all inclusive through theclymb.com and even the daily breakfast included in the room rate, you will receive the breakfast, plus a coffee and orange juice for free. Anything after that must be paid for.

2. The all inclusive meals do include a similar breakfast, however for lunch and dinner they switch it up with either chicken, fish or steak. I will talk with them on how we can make the portions larger.

3. Rum and Beer is included. Since you are all inclusive, we pour the beer in a glass, as it is from the larger bottles. If you want your own personal beer, then no problem, they are only $1. The all inclusive is from a bottle, poured into a glass, however it is free & unlimited. We also need to pour the beer in a hard plastic glass as we need to be careful of beer bottles poolside.

4. Mixers - The only rum mixers available for all inclusive are pepsi, 7up, fresca, and soda water. However we do have fresh juices and other mixers available for purchase. This is also stated in theclymb package when being purchased.

5. Yes, our shuttle times are going back and forth all day. If you need to go at different times, you can book a shuttle for $5 total (1 way). If there are 5 people in the shuttle, that is $1 each. The $5 is not per person.

6. Yes, the room you purchased through our all inclusive package include the standard rooms which have a ceiling fan and 2 ground fans, which keeps the room nice and chilly. There is no hot water in those rooms at this point. However, our deluxe units have hot water and air conditioning, which you can upgrade to at the reception.

7. Upon making your reservation, we only had 1 room left which included 2 single beds, as you were coming during a time that has already been booked out 6 months ago. Before you came, we stated to you in an email that there would only be 2 single beds if you wanted to come at this date. You agreed and said it is fine. Otherwise, we would been more than happy to accommodate you in a room with a queen bed at a different date.

8. Yes, just soda is included in the all inclusive. I have just made sure all bar tenders know this.

9. The airbag is free for everyone. If you go to the reception, you just need to ask them to inflate it, and they will. I just made sure they know that they can inflate it at anytime.

10. The volleyball court has 2 volleyballs sitting in the court. If they are not there, simply ask the bar, and they will provide them to you. The bar also has a pump for the volleyballs in case they go flat.

When we talked, I was glad to hear that you had a great time in the pool, with the activities we offer, and with the staff. However I understand that a few small incidents can ruin a vacation, and we will be implementing any changes needed.

I invite you back to the Surf Ranch, and I will personally take care of your next stay.

Thank you, and we hope to see you back soon.

Luke Boychuk
Director of Operations

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155 - 161 of 302 reviews

Reviewed 18 January 2014

I was in San Juan Del Sur over the holidays and stayed at the Surf Ranch, had an amazing time. The facilities were good, I would recommend getting a room with air conditioning. The pool was always refreshing and the drinks were cold. For all the partying that went on over the holidays it was still quiet at night. Safety was never a concern for me as they have 24hr security. They had a huge pool party on New Year's Day, one of the best I have been too. All the beaches were close within a short shuttle ride. Went fishing twice and I had luck both times, it was great. Check it out you wont be disappointed everyone is friendly, will be coming back for sure.

  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled with friends
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Thank kyle s
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
lukeboychuk, Owner at Surf Ranch Hotel & Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 19 January 2014

Dear Guest

Thank you for staying with us over the holidays, and I am glad to hear that you had an amazing time. We hope to see you again in 2014.

Thank you.

Luke Boychuk
Director of Operations

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 January 2014

Surf Ranch have a number of options too choose from . I met plenty of travelers that came through there that booked through the clymb.com. The all inclusive package seems very reasonable for $50 a day.
Travis and Lucas came up with a genius Idea with the action sport theme, and I appreciate the fact Locals are welcome to use the facilities and also with the Sunday family day.
Surf Ranch is great if you are looking to stay outside of the town for a more relaxed feel, and having the free shuttle running to town often and $8-$10 can ride home at night.
Ruben Marjorie Carlos x 2 and Micheal really do a great job. People need to realize that this is not a fast paced culture so when things dont come out in 10 min like you are use to in your driven society then maybe you shouldn't travel to Central America. I will definitely be visiting the surf ranch again in my future travels. Thanks for a memorable 12 days in paradise

  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled with friends
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Review collected in partnership with this hotel
1  Thank LindsayDuP
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
lukeboychuk, Owner at Surf Ranch Hotel & Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 18 January 2014

Dear Guest

Thank you for staying with us at the Surf Ranch Resort, and it was great to meet you. I am glad to hear that you enjoyed your 12 day vacation with us. Safe travels and we hope to see you back again soon.

Kind Regards

Luke Boychuk
Director of Operations

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 January 2014

My hubby, daughter, and I went there yesterday with a friend and his daughter. A neat place. Definitely caters to the 20 something ish crowd but did not feel out of place. Unfortunately the rock wall was closed and it was to windy for the drop zone. However, lesson learned I will just email for the next time to make sure these facilities will be available. Food was good, service friendly. Some people say slow but hey relax and enjoy. One suggestion along with selling T shirts you should sell beer cozy's cause got to admit you have a pretty cool logo. Oh and maybe because families are starting to come for the day kids helmets with the board rentals...gotta say though great concept.

Stayed: January 2014, travelled with family
Thank Sollosy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
lukeboychuk, Owner at Surf Ranch Hotel & Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 18 January 2014

Dear Guest

It was great to meet you and your family yesterday and show you around the property. Yes, as we discussed, the rock wall is always open, and same as the airbag, they are never closed. But yes, I had to make an executive decision on not blowing up the airbag as it was too windy and people could get hurt.

Yes! Beer Koozies are coming soon! Yes, we do have helmets for children at the reception, for both the rock wall and skateboard park. Again, thank you for coming out, and as requested in person, I will send you the investment packages for investing in the 2nd Surf Ranch Resort in Popoyo.

Safe Travels,

Luke Boychuk
Director of Operations

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 January 2014

I went to the Surf Ranch Action Sports Resort in San Juan Del Sur over the holidays and had an incredible time. The rooms were clean, the employees were courteous and the place overall is pretty amazing. This is a great spot to come and meet interesting people from all around the world. I would most likely not stay here if I had children, but seeing as my friends are I are all young and single, this resort hit the spot. The Deluxe Penthouse I was staying in didn't have any of the plumbing issues I have read about in previous reviews and I feel like everyone I met there was totally happy with their room as well. In terms of proximity to beautiful beaches combined with affordability, I challenge you to find a better option in Central America. Throw in the extreme sports aspect and you have a totally unique combination of things to do on your holiday...the pictures you take will blow your friends away! Everyone has been asking me where we stayed after I posted the photos on facebook. I strongly recommend Surf Ranch to anyone looking for a unique getaway experience.

Room Tip: Deluxe Penthouse Condos are the best value in my opinion...definitely worth the extra $ for added co...
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  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled with friends
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2  Thank ckhoosier9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
lukeboychuk, Owner at Surf Ranch Hotel & Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 18 January 2014

Dear Guest,

Thank you for staying with us at the Surf Ranch Resort, and we are glad to hear that you had an incredible time. It is great to hear that you enjoyed the new deluxe condos with A/C, and hot water, an upgrade that people have come to love. I hope you had a safe trip back and we invite you to return in the near future.

Sincerely,

Luke Boychuk
Director of Operations

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 January 2014

I stayed at the Surf Ranch over the holidays and every customer I came into contact with was as miserable as we were. There were multiple plumbing issues at the hotel (our room was without a toilet for 36 hours), we were rarely given towels and the customer service was terrible. On top of this, we came back one night at 11 pm to find another couple checked into our room. When the night guard called the owner (Lucas) he said there was obviously a miscommunication but there wasn't anything he could do, he was in bed! He suggested we try to wake the night manager but after pounding on his door to no avail, Lucas suggested the couple go sleep in the room with the water leak all over the floor. When we contacted Hotels.com to check out early (since we had pre paid the week), they were told by the Surf Ranch that there weren't any issues with our room---even though we had photos of them removing the toilet! We had to fight with the Surf Ranch to get a one day credit for our troubles and believe me the list goes. Suffice it to say, they must be bribing people to say good things on this site all of a sudden because this place is awful.

  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled with friends
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2  Thank lmsf
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
lukeboychuk, Owner at Surf Ranch Hotel & Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 13 January 2014

Dear Guest

We thank you for your recent stay here at the Surf Ranch over the busy holidays.

I am not going to disagree with your review as the issues you ran into were unacceptable and will never happen again to any guests. I will make sure of it. I will explain what happened so other future guests understand exactly what took place.

We hired a new manager, and turns out he had no experience, and he was solely responsible for the incidents that arose during your stay. We have since let him go. Let me take the time to explain the situations below:

1. A few days in, you guys left with all of your bags in a taxi. The new manager mentioned to me that he thought you left, so he assigned your room to someone else who checked in last minute. This is unacceptable on his part, and again, will never happen again. I do apologize that he did this. This is not how we do things at the Surf Ranch Resort.

2. Your room was without a toilet for 2 hours (Not 36 hours). Our maintenance workers fixed the issue right away.

3. When you arrived and called us, it was 3am. We could not do anything as we were not at the resort, that is why we assigned the new manager to fix the problem, as he was staying at the resort. And he did so quickly.

4. The other couple, we did not assign them to a room with water on the floor. We put them in a deluxe unit, and gave them the $145 unit for free.

5. The issue with your toilet was quickly solved, and we also did move you to a different room.

6. We gave you a 2 day credit for your troubles, and honored your early check out.

The issues above happened due to many circumstances, including that the new units you were in were brand new (1 day old), and our manager at the time had no experience. I do apologize on his behalf, and on behalf of the Surf Ranch.

I can assure you, that our guests stay with us are top notch, and everyone has come to love the Surf Ranch experience. But as in every business, some people experience an unfortunate and unacceptable bad time. Our mission is to solve all of these problems, and to make sure that they never happen again.

Again, please accept my most sincere apology.

I invite you back to the Surf Ranch, and I will personally take care of your next stay.

Luke Boychuk
Director of Operations

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Reviewed 10 January 2014

I took a trip with my girlfriend to Surf Ranch and had an excellent time! The owners Lucas and Travis are great people and take time out of their busy schedule to show you what San Jan Del Sur is all about. The Surf was amazing as their are different breaks for all skill levels and Hugo (surf instructor) did an amazing job assisting my girlfriend with learning to surf. The swim up bar has friendly locals who love to interact with you which makes you feel like your really apart of the excellent culture of the community.

When you go into town for dinner and drinks you feel safe and welcome, I strongly recommend taking the time to have fun and interact with the locals. We also went to the zip line which an amazing experience as well. If you have a sense of adventure and want to have an experience you'll remember for the rest of your life, head to Surf Ranch and you can't go wrong.

Room Tip: If you must have AC make sure to book the suites that offer it.
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  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled as a couple
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Review collected in partnership with this hotel
Thank Collin_Denver
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
lukeboychuk, Owner at Surf Ranch Hotel & Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 11 January 2014

Dear Guest

Thank you for staying with us here at the Surf Ranch Resort. It was great to meet you and your girlfriend. I am glad to hear that you had a blast and we look forward to seeing you again.

Thank you.

Luke Boychuk
Director of Operations

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Surf Ranch Hotel & Resort

Address: Empalme de El Valle, 991.5 m al Este, San Juan del Sur 47008, Nicaragua (Formerly Surf Ranch Action Sports Resort)
Region: Nicaragua > Rivas Department > San Juan del Sur
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #23 of 27 Hotels in San Juan del Sur
Price Range: £46 - £129 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Surf Ranch Hotel & Resort 3*
Number of rooms: 26
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Surf Ranch in San Juan Del Sur, features Nicaragua's largest skateboard park, rock climbing wall, private gym, jungle paintball, volleyball court, world class restaurant & bar, swimming pool & swim up bar, poolside cabanas, standard rooms, villas, and deluxe condos. The Surf Ranch offers many extreme sports and activities such as surfing, skateboarding, paintball, sailing, fishing, yoga, rock climbing and more. ... more   less 
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