It’s 5:45 a.m. The sun is already shining, and I am gingerly making my way through the cow corral, being careful not to step in anything I shouldn’t nor get too close to the long-horned cows.
I’m headed to the cow barn at Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin at Rincon de la Vieja, Costa Rica, to see how the ranch hands handle the morning milking. Inside, several buckets of steaming, frothy white milk wait in the holding area until they are carried to the hotel restaurant kitchen for processing.
One of the Costa Rica cowboys is tucked on a little wooden stool by the side of a hefty black cow placidly munching on a rack of hay. His hands skillfully worked the cow’s udder streaming milk rhythmically into a bucket. “Do you want to give it a try?” he asks me.
Guests at the Costa Rica eco-adventure hotel are invited to watch the milking process every morning, and to give it a try if they want. With a little hesitation, I took my place on the wooden stool. I managed to squirt a little milk into the bucket during my turn. Not bad for a first-time!
Life on the 3,400-acre ranch at Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin is full of surprises for guests interested in learning more about the cowboy traditions of Guanacaste, Costa Rica.
In the rolling plains and dry tropical forest that run up to the towering, active Rincon de la Vieja Volcano, the family-owned Hacienda Guachipelin raises horses, cattle, pigs, chickens and turkeys, and grows a wide variety of fruit trees as well as vegetables and herbs in gardens, a greenhouse and farmland.
Most of the fruit, vegetables, herbs, eggs, milk and dairy products that guests enjoy in the hotel restaurant are produced on the ranch. Eggs come from 350 free-range chickens in a huge henhouse. Fresh milk and homemade farmer’s cheese is served at breakfast, and is incorporated into dishes and desserts.
Learn about ranch activities and see what kind of cowboy or cowgirl you’d be on the Cowboy for a Day Tour at Hacienda Guachipelin. You can also ride trusty ranch horses on scenic forest trails to the Rincon de la Vieja National Park, waterfalls and natural hot springs. There are six different horseback riding tours at Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin.
When you are around the hotel, don’t miss seeing the traditional Costa Rican oxcart making its rounds daily at the noon hour by the Adventure Center. Brightly hand-painted wooden carts pulled by a team of oxen are an important tradition in Costa Rica and are named a UNESCO Intangible World Heritage. And you can’t help loving the faithful ranch dogs that seem to befriend everyone.
Hacienda Guachipelin is a unique eco-tourism destination in Guanacaste, Costa Rica, spectacularly located at the foot of the active Rincón de la Vieja Volcano. Stay overnight in comfortable ranch-style accommodations, or enjoy the best adventure tours in Guanacaste as a day visitor. Located only 15.5 miles (25 km) northeast of Guanacaste’s main city of Liberia, the hotel is easily accessible from the Liberia International Airport.
Article by Shannon Farley