About this listing
The Rancho is the guest house on our property where we live full time in Atenas, Costa Rica. It is a very tropical-style building constructed by the previous owners of beautiful tropical hardwoods. It has a central living/dining area, a 2nd floor bedroom w/double bed, a small kitchenette with mini-fridge, a microwave oven, a sink carved from one long piece of wood. The bathroom is unique: 20 ft. long, stone walls and floor, wood structure; the walls are black lava rock from Arenal Volcano, the floors smooth flagstone, there is a stone shower stall, and a bathtub carved out of one tree trunk. A toilet, of course; modern plumbing fixtures throughout.
It is built out over our little man-made lake. The property is a birders paradise. We have 4 acres (16,000 sq.m.) with many fruit trees, are surrounded on three sides by coffee farms. This is the real Costa Rica. And this is the perfect tropical getaway for a weekend, or an interlude in between beaches, tropical forests and other activities.
The property is in the neighborhood of Alto Lopez, in Barrio San Jose Sur de Atenas, just 4 km or 10 minutes from Atenas centro. The neighborhood is very safe - everyone knows everyone else, and our property is totally secure. NOT a gated community!
We are one hour from the central Pacific beach towns of Jaco and Puntarenas, 1.5 hours from Manuel Antonio National Park, 2 hours to Monte Verde Cloud Forest and 30 minutes from San Jose airport.
The entire Rancho building, plus the garden next to it and the lake in front of it. Also, guests are welcome to stroll around the 16,000sq.m. property, which is like a tropical park full of fruit trees, and gardens including orchids.
Interaction with Guests
If you need us, we are there!! Otherwise, we prefer to leave guests alone.
Its real Costa Ricans (Tico's/Tica's.) Friendly and honest, the Ticos's consistently come out No. 1 on the World Happiness Quotient. To be expected from a county who's slogan is "pura vida" - pure life.
There is good, very reliable and very cheap public transit throughout Costa Rica - mostly buses. About 250 m. from our front gate a bus will take you into the town of Atenas, where you can catch a bus to anywhere in the country.
And roads for cars almost everywhere, although in the rainy season some may need 4W drive.
Be respectful of the unique building and get to see what living in Costa Rica is like.
Jean and Al went above and beyond in making us feel comfortable and welcome. Wonderful hosts. This space is so cool, from the open air floor plan, bamboo-style ceilings, and amazing wooden features (wooden sinks! doors made of tree trunks! counter tops of huge slabs of hardwood!).
It was amazing going to sleep and waking up with nature all around us. It is open air with curtains you can close (think "glamping"!). The temperature was perfect and the bed was comfortable. If you are a light sleeper, consider earplugs. The frogs were talkative :)
Overall fantastic experience.
I loved the place and Al and Jean. It truly is unique and I am always looking hard for unique places all over the world. 5 stars plus. Totally open air. I had no mosquito's. Jean furnished all of basic needs and there is small mini mart less than 5 minute (website hidden) and restaurant is about 20 minute nice walk. Safe area and nice people. Lots of walkers and joggers out on the toad. Your stay in the open air house is totally privite and secluded. It is a great value.
t and secluded.
What a unique place! We stayed here on our first night in Costa Rica, and it was the perfect way to tell ourselves "We're on vacation now". Jean and Al were gracious hosts, and really made us feel quite welcome. Right before dark, there was a heavy rain storm, and we sat and watched the rain, listened to the thunder, and watched sapos (huge frogs) swim in the pond below. My only regret is that we didn't spend another night there. The location is perfect for your first or last nights in CR, since it is close enough to San Jose International that you can get to and from there easily, without being in San Jose.
Jean and Al are some of the sweetest people you will ever meet and were so lovely to get to know and have as hosts. We are so glad that we spent our last 2 days of our 2-week stay in Costa Rica at their amazing Rancho. It was perfect. It is about 30-40 min. away from SJ airport, 10 min to Atenas (go to Melanie's bakery "El Balcon del Cafe" and get the Quiche Lorraine, organic passionfruit ice cream, and Iced Mocha!) and is located on their gorgeous 4-acre plot that is filled with a fruit lover's paradise of coconut, pipa, mango, avocado, and rose apple trees. It was a little hard to find, but Jean and Al came to our rescue and led us home. The Rancho is a short walk from their home, but it was still very, very private. It was the epitome of luxury and comfort amidst the open, relaxing and serene nature around it. We saw ducks, toads, turtles, and bats during our stay which we loved every second of since there is a little pond just outside the living room. At first I was worried about mosquitoes since everywhere else in Costa Rica I was being eaten up like a buffet, but it was not a problem here at all despite the open-air design because all of the other animals like the bats and dragonflies take care of them in a perfect symbiotic balance, which is amazing! So if you see the bats flying in and out at night through the house, welcome them and marvel at them. They are cute and harmless and taking care of business for you naturally and for free! We were so comfortable and at peace here. The structure itself is really gorgeously crafted and so sturdy and kept in pristine condition. The bathroom is absolutely amazing, and the giant tub hewn from a tree trunk is a surreal experience in itself! It will make you feel like you have a spa in your very own home. My boyfriend is 6'7 and it was the first tub in his life he could actually fit in haha. Their gardener Marciel was so nice as well and showed us all the different fruit trees and even cracked open a coconut for us to try. There's also a really cool lookout roost tower behind Jean and Al's home which is really neat to sit in and just relax and take the view in. Jean and Al were so sweet and even stocked some very appreciated breakfast goodies in the Rancho for us as well. Al is also a wonderfully talented painter, so make sure to ask him to check out his studio on the grounds that was so amazingly beautiful and every artist's dream. They helped us out with everything we could possibly need, and it was a real joy and pleasure talking with them, which made our stay even more memorable. We can't wait to come back and visit!
The Rancho was an incredible experience. A beautifully crafted bungalow. That allowed us to enjoy all the experience of nature with the comfort of sleeping in a bed. We were able to see many different types of animals & enjoy the sounds of nature. The location of the Rancho also allowed us to visit an area of local Costa Ricans. Jean & her husband greeted us with delicious bagels & traditional style coffee.
The Rancho @ Cielo Vanilla was a wonderful place to stay! The lodge is as beautiful as shown in the airbnb photos. It is open air sleeping, very comfortable, exquisitely crafted and well maintained. Jean and her husband are lovely, welcoming and informative about the area. The yard has fruit trees, including plump mangoes that were weighing down the branches. They offered us delicious water apple fruits that were ripe. Jean's husband is also an accomplished artist with a studio on the property. There is only the one lodge located near the house, so it is very private. The only criticisms would be the directions to the lodge could be a little more clear and it is a little far from the town center in Atenas. We also had cancel one of the nights and they were very accommodating making the change at no extra cost. Pura Vida!
This place was wonderful. Really clean and in a great location. Such a different and cool experience! Jean and her husband were as sweet as can be!
About the Host, Jean
I am an American living in Costa Rica, originally from NYC. My husband of 30 years and I retired here in 2006. He is an artist - painter. I'm a landscape architect, retired. I'm my only client now and I love it.
5 things I couldn't live without:
my husband & soul-mate, Al