The reggaeton drum beats from Sámara’s bar scene can’t be heard from Lodge Las Ranas, where the party noise is drowned out both by distance and the chirping of hundreds of jungle frogs.
“The way I see it there are two kinds of clients, those who want to be beachfront, and those who want to relax out of town,” said hotel owner and manager Cody Nikolaychuk. “It’s loud there. Here you can relax.”
An Alberta, Canada, native, Cody bought the hotel in 2011 along with his mother and two sisters. No one else in the family was ready to pick up and move to Costa Rica, so they sent Cody, who was 20 at the time. Despite his youth, Cody finds it fitting that he is now Las Ranas’s owner, manager and maintenance man.
“My grandparents owned a hotel back in Canada and my mom was managing it at the time,” Cody said. “I was born in a house attached to the hotel. Now I run a hotel.”
Whether it was his birth in a hotel or a natural gift, Nikolaychuk’s adeptness at running a hotel shows in every aspect of the Las Ranas Lodge experience.
Everything on the property is exquisitely maintained, including the outdoor pool area, which the family renovated after taking over the hotel. New, crack-free concrete surrounds the kidney-shaped pool, and palm-covered ranchos provide shade from the hot Guanacaste sun.
Steps away from the pool area, is the hotel’s outdoor dining and reception area. Currently Las Ranas only serves breakfast, but the area’s cute white lanterns and comfy lounge make it an inviting spot to hang out later in the day.
The lodge’s 10 rooms are all equipped with air conditioning and a mini fridge. There is one room with a kitchenette available. The room’s design is simple with slick tile floors, bamboo pole bedframes and textured light shades, but at Las Ranas it’s really nature that does the talking. Each room features a back terrace with incredible views of the forest and the ocean.
Cody says he regularly sees monkeys, anteaters and coatis from the terraces and, once, late at night, he saw an ocelot.
“We are surrounded by nature here,” he said. “It’s nice, quiet and relaxing.”
Going there: From San José take Route 27 until you hit the coast in Puntarenas. From there you will merge onto the Pan-American highway until you reach route 18 towards Nicoya. From Nicoya you take the 150 to Samara (partly a dirt road). Las Ranas Lodge is off of a dirt road outside of town. Rates are between $75 and $95 a night in the low season and between $95 and $115 during the high season. Rates for 2014 are higher, starting at $85 in the low season and $105 in the high season.