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“Oasis of Compassion” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Toucan Rescue Ranch

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Toucan Rescue Ranch
Certificate of Excellence
Avondale Estates, Georgia
1 review
“Oasis of Compassion”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 20 January 2012

If you are going to Costa Rica to see animals, stay here. Leslie and Jorge Howle rescue, rehabilitate, and when possible, release all sort of animals native to Costa Rica. Their work is truly inspiring and a welcome reminder of humanity's capability for kindness and compassion. Guests staying at their beautiful ranch support their ability to care for and rehabilitate animals. By staying here, you are not only able to explore the Central Valley, but you also help in their efforts to preserve the wildlife of Costa Rica.

The well-kept, beautiful grounds of the ranch are patrolled by a flock of geese and friendly singing ducks. Our guest house was comfortable and includes a mini-kitchen with microwave and toaster oven. The guest houses are cleaned every few days, which worked very well for us. Breakfast was yummy and included delicious food such as fresh juice and fruit, banana pancakes, french toast, and typical Costa Rican fare.

We rented a car, and Leslie and Jorge were helpful in suggesting places to visit. The ranch is located a short distance from San Josecito that hosts several excellent restaurants (beware of the Argentinian place that charged me double, without telling me first, for asking to make a dish spicy. The food was good, though).

You'll need to rent a car, plan to take taxis, or hire a driver to stay here. If you want a concierge desk, luxury rather than comfort, or the public transportation available in larger cities, then this probably isn't the place for you. If you love animals, friendly hosts, and comfortable lodging, this is the place for you...it certainly was for us.

  • Stayed January 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Nikki70_12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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199 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (21)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Atlanta, Georgia, United States
Level Contributor
155 reviews
27 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 63 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 14 January 2012

My wife and I stayed here for a week. If you like animals, this is a great place to stay. There are dozens of animals here, which you will get a chance to see up close on your tour (complimentary with lodging, or available separately). We enjoyed visiting the nocturnal animals at the end of the day, and the diurnal animals during the day. There are roosters, so if you prefer to sleep in late, this might not be the best mix. But in this area, the restaurants close early, so even night owls like me have to shift their schedules. So in the end, the roosters didn't bother me at all. There are also some noises from neighborhood dogs.
The guest cottage was very nice. It's not glamorous, but has everything you need. The hosts helped us tremendously with planning our itinerary - this was a last-minute trip for us. They know great sites to see over a wide area. They picked us up at the airport, and arranged a rental car (at a good rate) for part of our stay, taxis for other days, a chocolate-maker visit, and provided directions. They were very accommodating - just ask. Wi-fi is available on the house's porch, where breakfast is served. The pancakes were excellent, as was all the fresh fruit.
If you like animals, I highly recommend this B&B. It is not for everyone, though, particularly anyone who doesn't like animals or animal noises, or for those who demand perfect quiet. For us, it was wonderful.
See also reviews under the Attractions category.

Room Tip: Cottage includes kitchen (toaster oven, microwave, coffee maker, electric water kettle, fridge), din...
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  • Stayed January 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank BSchug
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Philadelphia
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 9 January 2012

Wow - this is a wonderful place to feel more a part of Costa Rica. The previous reviews cover details fairly well. Unfortunately these reviews can't fully express the caring of Leslie and Jorge, the owners. As a trained OT, Leslie has perfectly translated these skills for her wonderful caring for the animals. She shares this joy with her guests. I am not an "animal lover," but I couldn't help smile, learn, and feel good here. Jorge was also incredibly friendly, and took an extra interest in making sure our children had the best experience possible. We were extremely lucky to find the Toucan Ranch. Leslie was super helpful in planning excursions, and other parts of our trip, restaurants, (including driving directions - something that can be challenging in Costa Rica!) It is the perfect place to stay for a few days when you first arrive or just before you depart to/from San Jose Airport. We all hope to stay in touch. MUCHAS GRACIAS Leslie and Jorge!

  • Stayed January 2012, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank AmyRP4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
17 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 January 2012

We stayed at the rescue ranch in December and had a memorable experience. Leslie and her husband were waiting for us in the pouring rain when we arrived and welcomed us in. We settled into our guest house and were very comfortable. Leslie was very accommodating and even brought in her sloths into the guest house the first night. In the morning we walked around the grounds to meet all the animals. We were followed by a group of friendly ducks as we walked around in the morning, it was hilarious. We had a great breakfast and then received a great tour of the property and met all the animals and took some great pictures. Leslie and her husband really care about their animals and are great people. We stayed for one night and I think that was about the right amount of time before moving on to explore more of Costa Rica.

  • Stayed December 2011, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank NCSL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kelowna, Canada
Level Contributor
19 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 January 2012

My boyfriend and I stayed here only one night and it was definitely too short. The guest house is more than comfortable by our standards with kitchen. Enough space for a family, however note the beds are all together in one room (makes for fun togetherness). Included is breakfast with Leslie made buffet style and we enjoyed outside on the porch with the other guests. There are only two guest houses on site, they are very separate. As with anywhere in Costa Rica nature you will wake early to the sounds of the animals which we thoroughly enjoyed. Leslie and Jorge do amazing work rescuing local animals and are truely dedicated. We were taken on a tour of their grounds and met the animals up close and heard each of the stories of how they were found, some almost dead, and brought back to perfect health. Some can not be put back into their natural habitat and some have. One of the funniest parts of our trip was when the 'guard goose' chased my boyfriend around the grounds!! The draw to this place is the warmth, love and dedication to giving back to nature. We both wished we had planned to stay longer and highly reccomend to anyone, especially those with love for animals. Leslie and Jorge are wonderful hosts who will do whatever they can to accommodate their guests and the increasing wildlife rescues.

Note: I strongly suggest you do not try driving to this location from the aiport in the dark. As with most Costa Rican drives there are little to no road signs and twists and turns that are best found during day light. Leslie's directions are very detailed, don't try google maps.

  • Stayed December 2011, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Stacy37
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Norfolk, Virginia
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 January 2012

I have traveled all over the world to many animal sanctuaries and the Toucan Rescue Ranch is hands down the best place I have stayed. The people running it (Leslie and Jorge) were AWESOME! They went above and beyond -- even helping us arrange activities and navigate the rest of our trip. The quality of care the rescued animals receive is amazing. My favorite memory is sitting on the porch after dark looking at a panoramic view of the city lights while listening to the animals across the sanctuary. Thank you for an amazing stay!!

  • Stayed November 2011, travelled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank v4g4n
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Atlanta
Level Contributor
32 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 January 2012

Staying at the Toucan Rescue Ranch was definitely a one-of-a-kind experience. We were fortunate to be the first guests in their newly built guest house and were very happy with our stay. We planned to use the ranch as our base for our first 6 nights in Costa Rica, rather than staying in San Jose, and were pleased with that decision. Prior to our arrival, Leslie was extremely helpful in asking what activities we were interested in and arranging taxis, tours, etc. Once there, she and Jorge were very welcoming and they were always available for questions or simply conversations on the porch while watching and listening to the animals. Staying outside San Jose was not an issue, as tour companies either picked us up at the Toucan Rescue Ranch or we took a taxi to an arranged location. Leslie also went above and beyond, requesting that one tour company meet us at the toll booth close by (it was on their route), rather than us taking a taxi into San Jose. She arranged the taxi, gave us written details with her phone number as well in case any problem arose, and made sure the taxi driver knew to expect a call at the end of the day once the tour was over in order to pick us up. We honestly couldn't have asked for more helpful hosts than Leslie and Jorge.

The guest house was comfortable and met our needs. It included a kitchen with full size refrigerator, microwave, toaster oven, etc. It was very nice to have the privacy of a guest house, rather than being in a large hotel. There are just two guest houses at the Toucan Rescue Ranch, both being completely separate from each other. A full hot breakfast was provided each day as well, with Leslie asking what we'd prefer. We had the things such as omelettes, banana pancakes, and the typical Costa Rican rice and beans. Other than breakfast, we had tours booked most days and lunch was typically provided with the tour. We normally ordered dinner from some local restaurant in San Isidro near the ranch, often coordinating the order with other guests. Leslie graciously placed the orders and the restaurants delivered the food right to the door.

Last, but not least, we completely enjoyed seeing and hearing the stories of all the rescued animals. They were all very amusing, from Jou Jou, the cute kinkajou, the 4 sloths (Milo, Millie, Georgie, and Twili) who lived in buckets on the sofa and chairs of the main house, to Lorita the parrot who would loudly squawk "Hola, Lorita" when you greeted her, and sometimes begin singing and dancing while the other parrots laughed. It would definitely be hard to pick a favorite from among all the resident animals! It was very evident that all the animals were healthy, happy, and extremely well cared for.

With all this being said, a few things to keep in mind:
1) Even in the "dry" season, it is still often rainy and a bit cold at the elevation of the Toucan Rescue Ranch, especially early in the morning, and evenings. Definitely bring a jacket (you'll potentially need it for many of the tours as well, such as ziplining in the rainforest), as you can never predict the weather. We were there in December, which is normally fairly warm and not the rainy season, however, we wore pants and jackets until we left for the coast which was significantly warmer. It was nice to experience completely different climates.
2) If you absolutely hate getting up early, it may not be the best lodging choice. The rooster (along with others in the general area) will begin crowing before daybreak, and once it begins getting light, the other animals (with the exception of those who are nocturnal), will begin moving around making noise also. We didn't mind this, however, just something to keep in mind if you prefer to sleep in.
3) The Toucan Rescue Ranch is more of a small town setting, with most restaurants closing by approx. 7 or 8p.m. (earlier on Sundays or holidays), so if you prefer exciting nightlife or an urban environment, you may want to consider something different. It's a very relaxing atmosphere, which we enjoyed, however, if you want nightlife, may not be the best option.
4) The Toucan Rescue Ranch is not a zoo (some previous reviewers seemed to have expected more of a petting zoo). You will definitely get to see animals up close and hear all about them from Leslie and Jorge, however, their first concern is the comfort and security of the animals, as well as ensuring the safety of guests, therefore you likely will not be able to touch most animals.

We were very happy with our stay at the Toucan Rescue Ranch and would definitely recommend. It was an unforgettable experience due to the hospitality of Leslie and Jorge.

Stayed December 2011, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank AubieOT
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Toucan Rescue Ranch

Property: Toucan Rescue Ranch
Address: San Josecito, Heredia 40601, Costa Rica
Region: Costa Rica > Province of Heredia > Heredia
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Kitchenette Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 9 Speciality Lodging in Heredia
Number of rooms: 6
Also Known As:
Toucan Rescue Ranch Hotel Heredia
Toucan Rescue Ranch Costa Rica/Heredia

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