We spent the last three nights in San Juan Del Sur at Rancho Chilamate. It was incredible. We loved everything about it and dream of one day returning. The Ranch is about twenty minutes drive from town up a bumpy road that becomes remote from the towns hustle of surfers and beach bums. It was amazing to us that our little rental car made it there and back on a 4x4 road. As you drive into the ranch you immediately feel like it is an oasis in a dry land. Nicaragua is in a drought and the locals have lost their crops this year and their wells. There is a small community near here that lives in very simple shacks and as we drive by you can tell that they have very little. Most families have chickens in the yard or a horse and cart for transport if they are wealthy enough. We also saw several ox carts pulling loads of food and firewood. Bicycles are a hot commodity here to get around or people often wait at the side of the road for a pickup truck to come by and will all pile into the back. We rode Nica style a few times going to and from the beaches. Nica is a poor country but has put itself on the map in the last ten years with tourism. Gringos are everywhere in San Juan Del Sur, and come to party and surf as there are some amazing beaches nearby. We went to two of them, which happen to be where Survivor was filmed. They are untouched and not yet developed and absolutely beautiful. We watched a sunset at one and went at sunrise for the other. Both were breathtaking and remind me of a warmer Tofino. The horses ride at both beaches. And we saw lots of howler monkeys in the trees and wild birds on the way.
The town of San Juan is tiny and feels like a fishing village with a lot of funky surfer shacks and taco stands with palapa's on the beach and little fishing boats in the bay. The price of things here is reasonable, we spent $10 US on lunch with two great burritos. And the price of an iced coffee is around $2. Cervesas are about a buck. Cheap!
Back at the ranch we enjoyed playing with four brand new puppies and two older dogs. I would catch a glimpse of the horses in the field below the house and loved meeting the Ranch Parrot. We would swim when we felt like it and swing in the hammocks all around the property. But the most fun we had was getting Cowgirl'ed up and doing a photo shoot with My friend Heather. Playing with a fake antique gun which was a lighter, dressed in my red cowboy boots and Hat, and sprawled across a beautiful red velvet couch with Chris Cowboying up too. Oh what fun!
The ranch has a lovely little pool to cool off in and a variety of scenic vistas to relax in, my favourite was a day bed in an alcove looking out over the pool. There are big ranch doors that swing wide open and let the breeze flow thru. And puppies sleep on the ledges of them or chew on the bull skull beside them. Between fabulous food served around a big table family style and great conversation amongst the other guests here, we dreamed up plans for 2016. There is inspiration in everything here and it is contagious! We left San Juan Del Sur with a lot of great memories, especially reconnecting with Heather and reminiscing about Crooked lake Ranch in BC and all the fun we had there. It was amazing to visit her ranch of the tropics! We are grateful to have had such an amazing experience here, and we won't so forget the magic of Rancho Chilamate!