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"A Ranch in the Forest"

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I thought we were just stopping for breakfast but was surprised when our van drove through the gate at Rancho La Botija Mountain Hotel & Spa. It was a small, traditional Costa Rican hotel with extensive grounds and activities for their guests to enjoy.

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Proud of their heritage, the owners created an exhibit of early Costa Rican farm tools at the entrance. One of the interesting pieces was a decorated wooden yoke with two open places for the pair of oxen to wear around their neck to allow them to plow the fields or pull heavy loads.

We had a choice of American-style or Costa Rican breakfast- plantains, eggs, rice and black beans, then the guide announced it was time for our tour into the forest. Untouched nature is so beautiful and refreshing compared to living in the city. Trees surrounded the easy walking trail as we saw the sugar cane fields and bamboo forest. The highlight of the tour were artifacts and archeological rocks said to have been a ceremonial altar dating back around 1300 AC, registered in the National Museum as the petroglyph.

There was so much to see with all of the fun of wandering around the forest to see all of their other attractions. Although La Botija only had 11 rooms, they had so much to offer. Specially designed to enjoy nature, there was a lake filled with Tilapia, boating, and fishing. You could spend a few days at the ranch horseback riding along the trails to see the views of Chirripo Peak, Talamana Mountain Range, General River, Miravalles town, and San Isidro.

I was surprised to see Los Lagos Hall, 29 meters long and 5.30 meters wide, comfortable to hold 80 people for parties, business conferences or special events. The ranch had its own interests besides enjoying the forest.

They offered a playground, adult and children's pools, restaurant, coffee shop, free and each hotel room includes a cable television, private bathroom, and hot water. The archeological tour is free to hotel guests and $5 for others. Hotel Rooms are for two people depending on the season.

Being at the Ranch seems as though we are off-the-beaten-path far from everything, but the Rancho La Botija Mountain Hotel & Spa is just six kilometers from San Isidro, in Costa Rico. info@rancholabotija.com

In all of my trips as a travel writer, Costa Rica's unspoiled nature preserves, jungles, and rain forests have the best eco-tours I have ever experienced. The nature preserves are the place to go on bird watching hikes or horseback rides. This is the best way to see monkeys and other wildlife. If you want the thrills of the jungle, Costa Rica's jungles offer adventure.

The Costa Rica Tourist Board recommends romance in the mountains. "Every option found in Costa Rica complements couples. Just the two of you, walking alone in close contact with nature. The regions where you can find mountain hotels are Monteverde, Northern Plains, Central Valley, North Caribbean, or the South and Central Pacific.

The Costa Rica Tourist Board is ready to assist you in finding nature settings for weddings, honeymoons, vacation planning, adventure tours, and family reunions. Stay at eco-hotels, resorts with sustainability, and accommodations in all price ranges. Costa Rica is rich in attractions with something for everyone. Learn about their cooking tours, volcano hikes, rural tourism, meet the people, and more.

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