A rustic, riverfront 2-bed/2-bath cabin on a sustainable farm
- English, Spanish
About Veronica Sheehan
Alexander was born in the San Luis Valley in the Monteverde region and has lived all his life here. He started working when he was 11 years old helping his father herd oxen to take milk to the local cheese factory. At the age of 15, he began working for the Children´s Eternal Rain Forest, then he worked for InBio (Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad) researching snails all over Costa Rica, he then worked for ProNativas, an non-profit organization that promotes the use of native ornamental plants as a conservation effort. He believes in changing the world one person at a time, starting with ourselves. Veronica was born in Mexico and spent 25 years in the States. She worked as a biologist, then as a licensed clinical social worker in various settings including private practice with people suffering from chronic physical illnesses and hospice care. She arrived in Monteverde a few years ago with her 5 year old son, Stuart. She founded PAWS costarica (Promotion of Animal Wellbeing Society), a non-profit organization to help educate people regarding the responsible and compassionate treatment of animals. She believes, like Alex, in changing the world from the inside (OUR inside) out. Everything we do, our choices and lifestyles sum up to our current state of affairs… we have the power to choose again so we can heal ourselves, our planet and all living beings. Their work with their ecotourism business, their Sustainability Demonstration Center, and the community helps visitors understand the intimate connection that we have to the land. The entire community gets to benefit from the tourism that comes to this very rural area and get to share their own wisdom. Everyone wins. Stuart is 12 years old and attends the public school in Guacimal. He shares our family dream of enjoying the simple things and having lots of fun playing soccer and bird-watching. Our dream is to achieve sustainability in harmony with nature
Veronica Sheehan purchased this Farmhouse in 2012
Why Veronica Sheehan chose Guacimal
We absolutely LOVE the river, which is why we called it Rancho El Rio (rio means river). The river is our source of joy and healing and our source of energy to begin conservation efforts in area of the country with few environmentalists and even fewer resources. We like all the wildlife that gathers in this oasis, eating the fruit, drinking the water, raising their little families along with ours. The weather is also a big draw. Not as cold as Monteverde, so it is warm enough to run around in shorts, but not as hot as the beaches. It is also close to everything. We like being in the real Costa Rica, interacting with the neighbors, growing more of what we eat, living a very simple life.
What makes this Farmhouse unique
This is a place where we can live in harmony with nature. It is a true paradise, not just for our guests and ourselves, but for the many animals and plants that can live undisturbed. There is enough space for us to have a working farm, and to share with the wild life. We like to watch the squirrels work away at a coconut, a large iguana climb a tree, a toucan enjoy taking chunks of a plantain and swallowing them whole, and a bat come in and out of the porch to catch the insects that the light attracts. It is a true oasis for the MANY migratory and local water birds as we have set aside several acres of totally undisturbed forest and river side. Expert bird guides have identified over 100 different species of birds on our 112 acre farm. The other unique thing is that the farm is nestled in the Real Costa Rica... we get to interact with the local people at the natural pool by the house, we see people up and down the street on horse-back and driving oxen with carts full of things and we join them in their activities. Yet, when we want to alone, we can retreat into our very own private reserve deep into our land and just be.
100% refund for cancellations more than 30 days before check-in date. 50% refund for cancellations more than 14 days before check-in date.
We had a really good time here. The location was beautiful and peaceful. It is a bit farther from the town of Monteverdi then I thought - it is about an hour due to the small, twisting road up and around a beautiful mountain range!
The house was clean but had a few holes in screens so moths sometimes got in - not a big deal really and quite understandable.
The staff was very helpful when my daughter got sick and helped us out above and beyond what they had to.
The only thing I wasn’t really prepared for was the lack of food options. There are a few stores around but they are more like convenient stores and not stocked with much. There is a restaurant nearby if you want to eat out all the time but I would suggest stopping at a larger grocery store before you get into the small town where the house is located.
I would suggest having at least one home cooked meal by one of the local women - it is very good and well worth the money!
We were glad to have these nice people with us. We were happy to help as we know sicknesses do come up when we travel. The family was very interested in what we do at our experimental organic farm and how it all fits together to make a better world, and that is always very rewarding for us.
Animal Lovers Paradise!
Are there dogs and cats running around? Yes. Does it smell like farm animals? Yes. Are there occasional bugs in the house? Yes. Is Rancho El Rio one of the most wonderful places on Earth? ABSOLUTELY YES! This home may not be for everyone but my family (husband, me, 2 teenage boys) had a fabulous stay for 3 nights in July 2018. We loved all the animals, walking around the property, swimming in the river, and being "unplugged" from iPhones and video games). The weather was perfect...not too cool, not too hot. Even at night with no AC, I was a bit worried, but honestly we did not need it. Thank you to Veronica and Clare for arranging horseback riding at Finca Lindora and a trip to Selvatura for ziplining....both excursions I highly recommend! We also ate 3 dinners at nearby Restaurant El Sol because it was so delicious. Book your best vacation ever at this incredible ranch! We hope to be back soon.
Great place to stay and enjoy the natural beauty of Costa Rica
Rancho el Rio is a terrific and unique place to spend some time in Costa Rica. I recommend working out a simple itinerary with Veronica ahead of time to maximize your stay. You can help on the farm, enjoy the local farmer's market, go birding and night hiking, wade in the river, ride the horses and more. Veronica and her family are wonderful people - you will also immensely enjoy chatting with them and learning more about some of the important issues for the local area. Highly recommended!!
We love people who come to experience the real Costa Rica and who are genuinely interested in learning and making the world a better place. It also makes us feel great when people appreciate simplicity and sustainable living, all nature has to offer and what we have to offer. Grateful to be able to contribute our tiny grain of sand towards a sustainable future for all.
Great Costa Rica Experience
We loved our experience staying at Rancho El Rio! The donkeys, horses, pigs, chickens and best of all the dogs ... we loved them all. Eating oranges and bananas from the trees, and wandering the beautiful farm was a delight. The cabin was charming and rustic, and Veronica, Stuart and Alex were amazing hosts. Their work in Guacimal is inspiring and everyone should learn about the Sustainability Centre and amazing community work that takes place there. Even if you're scared of spiders, this is truly a memorable place. Please keep in touch if you ever come to Canada!
Warm, welcoming hospitality and a slice of rural life
The host family and the experience of being on a farm is what really made our stay at Rancho El Rio special. We were glad to experience something so different from a beach holiday and our hosts are wonderful people doing so much to try to make things better for their community. We felt very taken care of and were so happy to be able to support their efforts through our stay. It was great for our kids to experience chickens and piglets and taste sugar cane right from the field. We loved swimming in the river daily and riding horses on the extensive property was a highlight.
The accommodation was rustic but had everything we needed.
Do visit for a slice of life in Costa Rica.
We are grateful for people who take the time to write such a thoughtful review. It delights us to see people who are able to enjoy and focus on the positives of an experience in a rustic home and a real farm... they enjoyed the proximity to the animals and the river, the simplicity of a genuine experience of a farm being converted from cattle ranching to an organic integrated farm, and we enjoyed their positive energy and were uplifted by it.
I could not be happier with our stay at the tranquil Rancho El Rio. I have so many wonderful things to say about it that it's hard to know where to start. First, we used only a map, no gps coordinates and found the place extremely easy to find. We were greeted by the youngest member of the family, Stewart, who is one of the most mature young teenagers I have met. He was an encyclopedia of knowledge on the flora and fauna of the area and was always willing and available to help with questions, or to give guided tours of the farm.
The farmhouse itself is magical. It is impossible not to relax and enjoy the peaceful setting. The pictures do not do it justice. I was prepared for any onslaught of spiders, ants, scorpions, or other wildlife, but found very few critters roaming around the open air living area. It felt very safe and clean. I was able to sip coffee and watch my 3 children (ages 8, 7, and 2) run around with the friendly dogs, cats, chickens, pigs, turkeys and peacocks in the yard. My city kids were enchanted with helping feed the animals, care for the baby chicks and pet the 5 day old calf.
The river is clean and refreshing to swim in and there were areas that were perfect for our 2 year old to wade and swim. We took a horseback ride to a more remote part of the river and were surrounded by surreal beauty.
Veronica, her family and all of those working on the farm were kind and helpful, but also not intrusive. They were immediately responsive to any need. We also had the most amazing meals delivered every evening.
Do not make the mistake of booking only a few days here, you will want to stay longer! It is an easy drive to Monteverde, but away from the tourist traps. The weather was also much preferable, cooler in the evenings and mornings (shorts and light sweatshirts) and warm (but not overbearingly so) during the day.
I did not feel like a tourist here, it felt like our family was staying at my long-lost Costa Rican cousin's farm. I left feeling peaceful and refreshed. It is truly a gem to be treasured.
We are always so thankful to our guests who take the time to write such thoughtful reviews. We have three rental houses at our integrated organic farm, Rancho el Rio. The reviewer wrote about the original farm house, La Granja. Also listed on vrbo, but placed the review under our other house which carries the same name as the entire farm... The confusion is understandable, and it all applies as both houses share all she speaks about.
We are delighted when we see city children roll in the same mud pools as the piglets... it is so healthy for them to be in touch with the land that gives us our very sustenance and our life.
We love it when we see their delight at seeing animal babies, as if there is an instant recognition of their magnificence as new Creations. It is a good reminder of many things we lose when we grow up. We hope to see these kids back when they are old enough to do our Outdoor Summer Camps.
3 km. south off the intersection of routes 605 and 606, on route 605. GPS: N 10.19204, W 84.74440
This is a birdwatcher's dream come true. It is just amazing how many species of birds you see and how close you can get to them. In this area of the country people still ride on horse-back to work and get around, use oxen to cart things from place to place and raise cattle... this is the real Costa Rica. There is a tiny restaurant-bar nearby, or you can drive 3 km. to a much larger restaurant at the intersection of route 606 and 605, you can also join a Costa Rican family for meals or have them delivered to you. Buy lots of organic dairy products right from the people living nearby, eggs, and other produce, not to mention eat from what is available at the Rancho. There are individuals that still make things by hand and a trip into the nearby town of Guacimal can show you how.
The weather is warm, yet not as hot as the beach...just right for bathing in the river and whatever other outdoor activity you like to do. There is a rainy season, but even then, it normally does not rain all day. The river may not always be accessible, though. Because of the lower altitude and different weather, you get to see totally different wildlife than you do in Monteverde proper. People also seem to enjoy hiking more as the air is not so thin (you don't get as winded). The terrain has some mountains, but also flat areas that lend themselves to walking, biking and gentler horse-back riding.