The particular ranch in question is the wonderful Rancho Chilamate located near the beach town of San Juan Del Sur in Nicaragua. After a week of surfing I was ready for some napping.. the Rancho was the perfect end to my Nicaraguan adventures.
The rancho is an off-the-grid horse ranch that will make all your cowgirl dreams come true (well maybe not ALL of them) but if you love the romance of riding on a horse at full speed on a deserted beach, then this is the place for you!
The ranch is the vision of Canadian expat Heather (Blue) van Doorninck. She began building the property from the ground up in 2008. The ranch is not only host to beautiful horse but also at least two dogs, a turkey, pigs, chickens and maybe some puppies too. The entire property uses only solar power. The staff at the ranch were some of the friendliest people I met while on my trip to Nicaragua. Lennie and Joel are the ranch managers and oversee the day to day care of quests. Their goal is to make your stay the best! The staff at the ranch is outstanding and they love what they do! While there I was feeling a bit under the weather and they went out of their way to check in on me several times to make sure I was doing ok! It was really like staying with a friends who love to host!
Guests of the ranch get to enjoy a delicious family-style dinner. I cannot emphasize how delicious the food was .. After about 2.5 weeks of lots of rice and beans I was so excited to eat a good salad. Joel is a great cook as well as an avid surfer so hit him up if you want some surf info.
The ranch is the perfect place to do nothing... their pool deck is filled with plenty of hammocks to lay around and read while you enjoy a nice breeze. They will even cook you lunch if you decide to just lay by the pool all day. If you do decide that you don't want to nap all day you can take a stroll to the nearby stables and visit with the horses and check out the stables (you will surely find some good Instagram material!). Look for the turkey !
The Ride - Giddy Up!!
I'm a sucker for horse back rides. Which means I've had the pleasure of doing them in lots of different places. However, Rancho Chilamate is now the gold standard by which all future rides shall be judged! For the sake of authenticity (or just down right fun) the ranch has a whole closet filled with cowboy hats and jeans to outfit you for your western adventure! Hat, handkerchief, jeans and even boots will complete your transformation into a cowgirl/boy.
The rides last about 3 hours and are hosted by some lovely cowgirls with tons of experience. While on the ride you meander through the wooded hills of San Juan Del Sur .. sometimes passing small villages and other ranches. Its a nice way to experience some local culture. The turn around point is a secluded beach .. this is where the real fun begins! Most horse back riding tours I have been on will maybe let you trot with your horse .. maybe.. but not at Rancho Chilamate! With the expert guidance of your cowgirl tour guide you will be able to let your horse actually RUN on the beach. And by run I mean RUN... you know how you picture it in your minds eye.. hair flowing in the wind, heart pounding and the sound of the ocean at your side. You won't leave disappointed!