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Rancho Margot

Rancho Margot

Destination: Arenal

At a Glance

    • Organic food
    • Comfortable beds
    • Permaculture farming
    • Beautiful views of Lake Arenal and volcano

Rancho Margot's a sprawling 400-acre organic farm and resort settled in the hills beside Lake Arenal. Guests are free to wander the gardens and hiking trails, join the volunteers to harvest veggies for the dinner table, pull weeds or help milk the cows. Twice a day, volunteers hold yoga classes in an outdoor studio beside a creek.

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Rancho Margot's owner and founder Juan Soltheim's goal is re-defining sustainable growth with his large-scale, permaculture farm. From the soap in the showers, to the gas in the kitchen, to the food on the table, Rancho Margot makes it all.

A two-hour tour (included in the room rate) leads guests around the ranch showcasing its innovations: utilizing the ranch's streams for hydro-electric power, using compost to heat the pipes that run water to the showers, employing biodigestors to produce methane gas for the kitchen and incorporating local flora to help insulate the roofs.


When Soltheim first bought the ranch back in 2004 the pastures were overgrazed and not a single tree stood in the valley. Today, local flowers, bushes and trees line the trails that lead around the farm. Even the bungalows and the bunkhouse are wreathed in Heliconia and Cat's tail flowers.

A hammock slouches in the corner of the common area's patio at the 20-room bunkhouse. Each room, $150, has two bunk beds (with mosquito-nets and soft orthopedic mattresses), a small bed-side table and a window that looks out to the gardens surrounding the bunkhouse. Bathrooms are shared. Wi-Fi is available in the dining hall and bar.

Services & Amenities

At Rancho Margot, the word on everyone's lips is food.

Walk past the buffet at lunch or dinner and you'll never see more people crowding a salad bar to get a taste of the organically grown arugula, romaine, and tomatoes that the guests and volunteers picked themselves. All the vegetables and even the dressings come from ingredients made on the farm. Across from the salad bar, chefs unsheathe the night's menu, pork chops, lasagna, mashed cassava, all made from ingredients on the farm – even the beef and pork. Rancho Margot even makes pizza topped with homemade mozzarella cheese. All of it is included in the room rate for hotel guests.

Day tours take visitors on horseback to a waterfall hidden inside the rainforest, around the edge of Lake Arenal or up to at the top of a mountain high above the ranch with views of the rainforest, the lake and the Arenal volcano.The ranch also has an outdoor massage studio and two-natural pools.

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