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Rancho Makena

Rancho Makena

Destination: Arenal

At a Glance

    • Great home-style cooking
    • Relaxed, country ambiance
    • Close to Santa Elena Reserve, Selvatura, and 100 percent Aventura

Rancho Makena's 40-acre dairy farm is settled among the cloud forest five miles above Santa Elena. The ranch's 20 rooms are split up among the area's cottages; in-between horses and cows graze among dew laden pastures glistening in the morning light.

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The ranch is far enough out of town to see all the stars in the sky on a clear night, but still close to some of Monteverde's most popular attractions including the Santa Elena Reserve, Sky Adventure, 100 percent Aventura, and Selvatura Adventure Park.


Pastoral cottages dot the landscape, some with views of downtown Santa Elena, others pressed close to the trees or lined up in a row near the ranch's entrance. The cottages are split into two types: personal cottages and those divided into standard rooms. The personalized cottages come with their own kitchens, TV, King-size beds and bathroom with hot water. The standard room, $60, each has its own bathroom, plus a king-size and a double bed, but share a common room with TV, couches and tables. Wi-Fi is available in the restaurant.


The restaurant at Rancho Makena serves meals made with love (included in the room rate). There's no menu. You're left at the behest of whatever the family is making, but you're in good hands. In the mornings, the restaurant serves classic Costa Rican style breakfast with heaping piles of gallo pinto (mixed rice and beans), steaming scrambled eggs, sausage, cheese (made on the farm), fried plantains, toast, juice and your own pot of coffee. The menu for lunch and dinner is less predictable, but equally delicious with plates like homemade spaghetti, casado with sausage, rice beans, salad and juice.

On some nights the ranch hosts barbeques. Servers walk from table to table, piling your plate full of kebabs, roast corn, fresh tortillas, rice, beans, chicken, chicharrones (fried pork belly), ribs, sausage and more. Then they pour small shots of Guaro (Costa Rica's famous liquor) and cheers all the new arrivals before the meal begins. After dinner, guests gather in the room beside the restaurant to watch as the family's daughter and friend perform traditional Costa Rican dances– a red, white and blue dress with long flowing skirts. After a couple of songs, guests join in, trying their hand at the dances.

Services & Amenities

The reception and restaurant is an old fashioned farmhouse with picnic style benches and a plastic mounted bull head for practicing your lasso skills. The family has run the ranch for the last seven years, bringing with them their home-style country cooking and generosity.

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Rancho Makena in Pictures

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