In Nicaragua, houses have names instead of numbered street addresses. On occasion the house name adopts a personality and transforms into a life form of its own. Over the course of the past 10 years, a vacant 8.6 acre Hacienda lot in Las Fincas de Escamequita was converted into an awe-inspiring eco-guest ranch under the extraordinary vision and tireless care of Heather Van Doorninck. The locals call her Blue. And it’s her anthem that rings through the walls of this solar powered Spanish colonial masterpiece – “at Rancho Chilamate we endeavor that our life and activity in Nicaragua continually respects and benefits our local community and environment.”
The main Hacienda boasts over 4,500 interior square feet with expansion outdoor living spaces. Rancho Chilamate was built by local hands using regional resources. The entire construction crew was hired from the nearby villages of El Carizal and Escameca. Building materials were all sourced from Nicaragua and local oxcarts delivered the wood and sand. The iron work, doors and windows were installed by a neighboring carpenter. The wooden beams were hand-cut by chain saw, the cement holding them together was mixed by hand and it’s recycled sun-baked clay tiles that line the roof-tops. As advertised, the entire ranch is truly and proudly “solar and horse powered.”
Every corner of the property boasts of historic detail and character. The entrance is defined by a pair of 13 foot antique blue doors which has been used by many as the beautiful backdrop for photo-opps. The dining hall hails exalted ceilings lined with exposed wooden beams. You can almost hear the laughter of past travelers lingering in the walls. The kitchen looks out across a grassy prairie lined with ancient trees and bordered by a river.
The guest ranch consists of 4 rentable rooms, a casita and the owners barracks. El Romanitco is the most luxurious room offering a beautiful iron cast framed king size bed, antique furniture, colorful artwork and saloon style doors leading to a 1/2 barrel cowboy shower; named for the privacy of its backside balcony with hammock. El Pirata and El Sueno each offer a queen bed, private entrance and bathroom in parallel Chilamate design quality. El Nido offers 2 bunk-beds (4 pax sleeping capacity) a private outdoor shower and plenty of horseshoe hooks to hang your cowboy hat. There’s also a stand alone owner’s casita and ranch helper’s quarters consisting of 4 bedrooms and 2 baths.
Despite the masterfully designed sleeping quarters, the ranch was intended for outdoor communal living. And it’s in the pool and among the outdoor patio that you’ll want to spend most of your time. There’s a covered BBQ and bar area for outdoor grilling, next to an outdoor shaded living room lined with palms. The patio is filled with several options for relaxation. If it’s quiet time you seek, try the cushioned day bed and nook, or the hammock filled rancho in the garden. The layout and configuration of the ranch was designed with relaxation and comfort in mind.
The entire ranch is solar powered with electric backup and wifi accessible. There’s a private well providing solar warmed pressurized water to the ranch. Equestrian facilities include hay barn, 15 covered stalls, fenced paddocks, washing stations, round pen and a blacksmith shop. The property entrance is gated and the 1/4 acre are of the main hacienda and flower gardens feature a privacy wall.
The eco-guest ranch at Rancho Chilamate is ranked # 1 on Trip Advisor for speciality lodging in the region. Travelers who have visited always rave about their experience as evidenced by the 100+ 5-star Trip Advisor reviews it has to its name. The property has the potential to continue as a fully operation B&B or converted to a private residence.
We’re ringing in the bell on the beginning of a new era as we announce that Blue is officially moving her headquarters from Rancho Chilamate across the road to the new Big Sky Ranch. Rancho Chilamate is officially on the market for sale. You can grab all the details and schedule a tour with Blue here.