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“The Boychuk's bring Canadian flare to San Juan Del Sur”

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Surf Ranch Hotel & Resort
Ranked #22 of 27 Hotels in San Juan del Sur
Kelowna, Canada
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“The Boychuk's bring Canadian flare to San Juan Del Sur”
Reviewed 15 July 2014

I visited the Surf Ranch for the first time in early may during a two week trip to Nicaragua. I was happily greeted by English speaking staff who checked us in and showed us to our room. We stayed in a standard room and it was equipped with more than enough for a great stay (though I do recommend an air conditioned room for the hotter months).

The food at the resort is great and hosts an array of meals from local cuisine to North American indulgences at a fair price (breakfast was free every morning).

It wasn't long before I met with the owners Luke and Travis as they live on sight and personally greet all guests. I found out they were fellow Kelowna folk and we quickly befriended the two.

They were extremely helpful with letting us know about all the local hot spots and where to go. They hung out with us and had drinks and relaxed by the pool. On one night Travis even volunteered his truck to take us around San Juan during a Sunday Funday Pool Crawl.

I can't say enough about these two. They are the epitome of young entrepreneurs and they have their head in the game.

I highly recommend this resort to any younger individuals travelling in Nicaragua as well as families who are looking to keep their children occupied with fun daily activities.

Oh, and don't forget to say hi to Buddy the local guard dog!

Room Tip: I recommend an air conditioned room - especially for their summer months.
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  • Stayed May 2014, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Joel C
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 review, 17 July 2014
Dear Guest

It was great to meet you guys, especially fellow Kelownians. I am glad to hear that you had an amazing time!

We hope to see you back again soon.

All the best,

Lucas Boychuk
Director of Operations
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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284 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
  • Location
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (64)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
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  • Swedish first
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English first
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 July 2014

I brought my brother and boyfriend down to the Surf Ranch for an improptu getaway at the end of April. The resort was such a great value and the staff was incredibly attentive and helpful in ensuring we had a good time. They helped with everything from arranging transport to local surf breaks, advising us on the best spots to head to while in town and ensuring everyone had boards and gear to use (though we brought some of our own as well which was fine). They guys who run the place are super cool and take safety/security very seriously so we were relaxed and at ease throughout our stay. We really enjoyed the local monkeys lingering around and met so many other fun guests to skate and surf with as well. Pool was a perfect addition in the April heat. Thank you so much Travis and Lucas! We would love to come back :)

Room Tip: I would upgrade to a Bungalow or Penthouse - well worth it for the small additional cost.
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  • Stayed April 2014, travelled with family
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank NDelma
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 review, 16 July 2014
Dear Guest

Thank you for choosing the Surf Ranch Hotel & Resort, and staying with us while on vacation in San Juan Del Sur. It was great to meet you, your boyfriend and brother, and I am very happy to hear that everyone had a great time.

Let me know when you are planning your next trip and I will get you a great deal.

All the best,

Lucas Boychuk
Director of Operations
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
kilkenny
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 11 July 2014 via mobile

Myself and 4 friends stayed here after not being able to get rooms anywhere at last minute in San Juan del sur and thank god we did. There is an abundance of activities offered by the resort however we spent our 3 days at surf ranch basically living in the amazing clean pool!!! For most budget places offering pools in central expect a small swamp! The staff could not have been more helpful and accommodating especially the little guy at the front desk.. Can't remember his name and the owner Travis! Surf ranch has something for everyone... The lively and the lazy! I would Highly recommend it.

  • Stayed June 2014
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank laura3lili
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 review, 12 July 2014
Dear Guest

Thank you for choosing the Surf Ranch as your choice of accommodation in San Juan Del Sur.

I am glad you enjoyed our pool, our team takes pride in it, and they make sure it is always crystal clear.

I will let Byron from the front desk know that you appreciate his helpfulness. He is one of our newest guys, and he is doing an amazing job!

Again, thank you for your review, and we hope to see you guys again soon.

Best regards,

--
Lucas Boychuk
Director of Operations
Surf Ranch Action Sports Resort
San Juan Del Sur | Nicaragua
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Liverpool, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
25 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 June 2014

My friend and I purchased a trip to the Surf Ranch through the Clymb last year as we'd been wanting to go on a surf trip for quite some time. I was super nervous when I found out there wasn't AC or hot water...but guess what, didn't really matter!

I think this is a good choice for Nicaragua. When you go there, you really shouldn't be expecting to stay in a secluded 5 star resort with all the latest amenities, that just isn't the vibe of the country.

I was also nervous to not stay right on the beach...but since there are so many different surf spots, it really doesn't matter. It was fun to load up the boards into the truck and try new beaches.

The best part of the experience was really getting to know the other ranchers...we all ended up getting along, surfing together, going into town together, what not.

If you go in with the right expectations, you'll really enjoy your visit!

  • Stayed July 2013, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
2 Thank MeljChicago
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 review, 24 June 2014
Dear Guest

Thank you for staying with us at the Surf Ranch Resort, and I am really glad to hear that you had an amazing time with us.

Our room selection ranges from standard rooms and villas to deluxe condos. The standard rooms and villas currently do not have air conditioning or hot water as you mentioned, however the deluxe condos do have these features. At our resort, we like to offer a variety of selections.

Even though we are not on the beach, we are the closest resort to the main southern beaches and surf breaks. The hotels in town are located closer to the beach, however you can not surf on the main beach in town, so you must trek even further, past the Surf Ranch to get to the surf beaches.

We had an amazing time meeting you and we hope to see you back in the near future.

All the best!

Lucas Boychuk
Director of Operations
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Calgary, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 May 2014

My sister and I stayed at the Surf Ranch in early May for about a week. We thought it was awesome, although to be honest we might be slightly biased ;).

This is your zone if you are looking for an affordable place to stay with tons of things to do. We spent a couple mornings lounging by the pool with Buddy (the best resort dog in the whole world), before catching a shuttle to one of the beaches or in to town. It was really nice to be able to sit by the pool and relax whenever we wanted to get away from the business of the town. When we decided that we wanted to do an activity, it was as easy as going to the reception and asking. They would set everything up for us and tell us what time to be ready. We did surf lessons and zip lining which were both so much fun – I would definitely recommend (we have never really surfed before so the instructor was just kind of pushing us into the waves). As for the shuttle back from the beach, we always asked to be picked up at a certain time and they were happy to oblige so we didn’t have the same experience as some of the other reviews where there was timing issues with the shuttle. In fact while we were there we pointed out that there wasn’t a shuttle into town around dinnertime and Luke, one of the owners, changed the shuttle schedule by the next day so that there was one going in at 6 PM. We actually found that anytime we brought up an issue the owners would fix it right away. They really do care about their guest’s experience.

As for the rooms, we stayed in a budget room which had everything we needed. It didn’t have a/c, but had two fans which did the trick. We never spend any time in our room which is why we always opt for the cheapest, but the villas looked so nice I was tempted to get one for the second half of our trip! We never had any problems with the power going out – whenever it happened it seemed that the resort would run a generator – during the evenings anyways (I’m not sure if it happened during the day or at night – we didn’t notice if it did!).

We didn’t really participate much in the on-site activities except for the air bag (or ‘the blob’ as I started calling it), which was always a good time. I would also do a little of my own yoga at the upstairs bar – which was closed while we were there but was the perfect yoga spot. I watched the sunset a couple times from there which was very beautiful.

And the staff! So great! The service at the Surf Ranch is by far the best in San Juan. The food is really good too with a bit of a Nicaraguan/American blend – so you can get your burger or steak fix if you need to! It might sound weird to comment on the fries, but damn they were good ;). They also had around 4 or 5 vegetarian options that they must have added since February (one of the previous reviews mentioned a lack of veggie options). The free breakfast was also a nice touch. My sister and I have a tendency to skip meals on vacation so having the breakfast available really helped us get some food in for the day. It was the same every day, but you can add a fruit plate or other sides for cheap which helps (the fruit plate was actually quite a good value). You can also order off the menu for breakfast if you want, and the prices are quite reasonable.

To sum up I would highly recommend this place. I will definitely be back, I have to see Buddy again ;). But seriously I can't imagine staying anywhere else!

Room Tip: I think that the upstairs rooms in the budget building get a little hotter than the downstairs rooms...
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  • Stayed May 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Amanda G
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 review, 21 May 2014
Dear Guest

It was great to meet you and yes we had an awesome time as well! I know you are already planning your return trip, so let me know if you need any help planning it. Buddy also misses you and your sister already.

If I am ever in Canada anytime soon, I will be sure to visit.

Thank you.

Lucas Boychuk
Director of Operations
Surf Ranch Resort
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Washington DC, District of Columbia
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 May 2014

The bad - Booked our hotel a few weeks prior to our arrival (which was going to be during Semana Santa). I get an e-mail a day before my flight to Nicaragua telling me they tried to contact me to let me know that my reservation for the room I booked was cancelled and I can get another room at 3x the price. Extremely uncomfortable feeling for a guy travelling with little kids to a country I have never been to before - during the busiest week of the year. They let me know two days before my arrival at their hotel (after they made sure all hotels in town are booked). They even made up a fake e-mail that they "sent me". But I booked through a website (booking.com) and they told me to go ahead and pay the extortion price and they will reimburse me - they will honor my booking - unlike the hotel.
The hotel - the inflatable bag had a hole in it the day we arrived, we asked about it repeatedly and were told it will be fixed "within the hour". It was never fixed during our three days stay there. The rock climbing wall was open one morning and we were told it will take 30 min - 1 hr wait to get on it (and pay $10.00 extra). The WiFi was down for two days out of the three we stayed there.
They seem to attribute everything to being a "third world" problem (the book they put in the rooms says that a number of times - "remember, you are in a third world country") - maybe the bait-and-switch was a third world country problem.. done Canadian style. Patching a hole in an inflatable bag is "a third world problem" - I don't know. The internet - maybe - but then I have issues with comcast here in the US too. If you couldn't already tell, the stereo-typing really got to me there.
Now for the good - The hotel had a room for us when we got there (owners will probably tell you they got a bunch of cancellations two minutes before we arrived), so the lady at the front desk was very happy to let us have our originally booked room. She even extended it one day for us at the same price we booked it at on booking.com.
- The day we arrived, we were handed room keys, a cold Tona for me and two cold pine-apple juice for the kids. That definitely hit the spot. Unfortunately, that was the end of my free beer.
- The free breakfast was yummy and the orange juice came in a HUGE glass.
- The small pool was refreshing, specially at night - cools you down before you go to bed in a very hot room (no air conditioning and temps were in the 90's). Kids were in it for about 4 hours one evening.
- I can't say enough about the staff. They were wonderful. They gave us directions, recommended restaurants, taught us Spanish. In fact, this goes to everyone in Nicaragua. We met so many wonderful people and even stayed with some - even if we spoke very little Spanish.

To sum it up - A rocky start for us but a wonderful vacation.

Hotel management, please take out the stereo-type. I had 8 days of no electricity here in Maryland - so it happens anywhere in the world - even in the US and Canada.

Room Tip: The hotel was OK, just beware of management. Book through someone who can guarantee your booking, es...
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  • Stayed April 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Biggy G
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 review, 13 May 2014
Dear Guest

I am very glad to hear that you enjoyed our resort, service, free arrival drinks, free breakfast, staff and the pool.

I looked into the other part of your review, found the emails and notes, and would like to just take the time to clear up what really happened with your booking.

First of all, yes you booked with us during the busiest weeks of the year through booking.com, which makes it almost impossible to update the availability on all our 100+ OTA's (booking websites) manually as bookings come in. Upon receiving your reservation, we checked the calendar and the dates you requested were already booked out, so we sent you an email apologizing, but that their was no availability for the room, and that you would have to upgrade to our deluxe units. We had not charged your credit card, or did not hear from you after we sent out that email.

Luckily, on the day of your arrival, someone else cancelled their booking, and we were able to get you into a standard room. This is not a "bait n switch" as the title of your review suggests. It was a simple overbooking problem, that we managed to make work for you.

Now for the activities:

The airbag was running throughout Semana Santa. The great thing about these giant airbags, is that you can have a 7 ft hole in it, and it will still work...in fact it needs a hole to let air out as people jump. This was not an issue that stopped the airbag from being in service. A lot of guests think it is not working when it is not blown up, but we only blow it up when people sign up for it, otherwise it stays deflated, which may be mistaken for "out of service". To sign up for the airbag, simply do so at the reception :)

Rockwall - The rock climbing wall is always open. Same thing, you need to go to the reception to sign up for it, fill out the waiver, then our staff will bring down the ropes and get you set up with all of the gear.

Wifi - Yes, the wifi was down throughout the town as well, as when an abundance of people come to the town, the internet towers shut down, as they were not designed to handle that many people using the internet at the same time. Unfortunately there was nothing we could do about that.

About the "third world country" comment. Yes, Nicaragua is a third world country and there is no hiding it. A lot of our guests come to Nicaragua wanting 1st world everything, but unfortunately that is not how it is, and a lot of people love it that way. In our room guides, we mention this to prepare you.

For example:

Do not flush toilet paper down the toilet - This is a third world problem, as the plumbing is not designed for it, and does not go into a communal septic plant. It goes down a tube into the septic tank on site, and yes the tubes do get clogged.

Wifi - Yes it goes out, as it's not designed to handle a lot of people at one time.

Power - Yes it goes out a lot. If one branch falls on a wire, it takes out the whole town for up to 1 - 2 days. This is why our resort has a generator, to power up the resort in case the power goes out.

It seems as though this review and bad part of your experience happened due to not receiving our first email response, but our management team made it work for you, so we need to applaud them for that! Again, I am happy you chose the Surf Ranch Resort as your hotel in Nicaragua, and we would be honored to have you stay with us again.

Safe Travels,

Lucas Boychuk
Director of Operations
Surf Ranch Resort
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Travellers are raving about these San Juan del Sur hotels

Los Angeles, California
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 April 2014

We purchased a zozi deal and had a great time. We've travelled in central America quite a bit and know what to expect. The staff was GREAT and so were the other guests. The property is still a work in progress, but we knew that going in. The villas were super charming and comfortable. I stayed in Villa #1 and highly recommend this one if it's available. There is a ton to do and impossible to be bored. Two recommendations- one- have a daily surf report available. This is a surf ranch ;). We were dropped off one day at one of the beaches and it was literally like a day at the lake. We still had a great time, but were really hoping to get another day of surfing in and the return shuttle is not until 5PM, so we were stuck. The other recommendation is transportation. When I think of a shuttle- I think of a van or SUV, not being in the back of a pickup. This is okay on occasion, but this is the ONLY option and gets really uncomfortable after a while and makes it almost impossible to wear a sundress or skirt out at night. Overall, I think it's great especially for the prices. I also felt super safe here, which is very important. Buddy, the owner's dog, is awesome!

Room Tip: Villa #1 is a great layout
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  • Stayed February 2014, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank deloreshively
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 review, 4 April 2014
Dear Guest

Thank you for staying with us and I am glad to hear that you had a great time. If you ask the reception, they will provide you with the surf report for each day. The trucks that we use to bring our guests to the beach are chosen as they can climb hills, go through rivers and navigate the off road terrain to get to the beaches. Yes, it may be slightly uncomfortable, but pretty fun in the back and not something you always get to do back home...however you can always choose to sit inside the truck as well.

I am glad to have met you, and you guys were amazing. Until next time!

Luke Boychuk
Director of Operations
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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

Property: 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 #22 of 27 Hotels in San Juan del Sur
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
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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