I had one of the best lunches in a long time in Costa Rica the other weekend. It wasn’t at a sophisticated, high-priced, trendy eatery in the capital city, but rather out on a sprawling ranch in the middle of dry tropical forest at the base of the Rincon de la Vieja Volcano. My mouthwatering lunch at Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin in Guanacaste, Costa Rica, presented beautifully, was fresh grilled tilapia filet with an avocado cream sauce, served over perfectly al dente broccoli, carrots and green beans alongside fluffy white rice. Delicious! The renowned Costa Rica eco-adventure hotel recently renovated its restaurant and kitchen to be bigger, better and fresher! They only serve freshly-made meals made with locally-sourced ingredients, vegetables picked that same day, sauces that don’t come from a jar or can, bread hot out of the oven, juices that only a moment ago were whole fruit, and desserts loving crafted by an on-site pastry chef.
Known in the USA as “Farm-to-table” style, this is the real deal at Hacienda Guachipelin, using ingredients found in Costa Rica and always freshly made. How fresh is fresh? A large portion of Hacienda Guachipelin’s fruit, vegetables, spices, eggs, milk and cheese are harvested daily from the working horse and cattle ranch’s 3,400-acre farm. Eggs come from 300 free-range chickens in a huge henhouse. Milk arrives in the kitchen at 6:30 every morning, hot and steaming from just-milked cows at the cow barn. Kitchen staff makes its own farmer’s cheese, served at breakfast. The restaurant also keeps almond milk and soy milk for persons with lactose allergies.
Lettuce, basil, cilantro, jalapeno chilies and cucumbers fill an organic hydroponic greenhouse. Out in the aromatic spice garden in front of the greenhouse you can find dill, parsley, lemongrass, mint, rosemary, turmeric, ginger, and two kinds of oregano. In a large area of fields and livestock enclosures, long rows of tomatoes, bell peppers and celery grow organically in the sunshine.
Natural juices and marmalade jams are made fresh at the hotel from oranges, lemons, guanabana fruit, cas, guayaba, passion fruit, watermelon, papaya and pineapple that is either grown on the property or bought from small regional farmers. They don’t use any processed sauces from jars or cans, no MSG, and no boxed juices or pre-prepared foods. Breads and desserts are made on site by Hacienda Guachipelin’s pastry chef. The restaurant even has many gluten-free bread options for people with gluten allergies, including gluten-free pizzas. And all of it is baked in wood-burning ovens (the wood comes from the farm). At breakfast, corn tortillas are handmade in the traditional Costa Rican style.
Coffee served in the restaurant comes from a small farm in Naranjo, Costa Rica that is owned by a friend of Hacienda Guachipelin owner, Jose Tomas Batalla. Tilapia fish comes from a local farm in the nearby town of Canas. Hacienda Guachipelin has its own bees and is producing honey. And all drinking water at the hotel is natural spring water produced on the property. “We don’t cut corners. We make as much as we can homemade,” commented hotel owner, Jose Tomas Batalla. “We want to run our hotel with mindfulness.” Hacienda Guachipelin focuses especially on using typical Costa Rican fruits, vegetables, breads and meals. “We want to give people an authentic experience of being in Guanacaste and Costa Rica,” said Batalla. “We are rescuing the culinary traditions of Costa Rica and Guanacaste.” The Hacienda Guachipelin restaurant has been expanded to seat 250 persons, with a dedicated area for groups, hotel guests and day tour visitors. When the hotel is busy, meals are served buffet style; however, there is always an a la carte menu available.
Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin You can dine at the best restaurant in Rincon de la Vieja when you visit award-winning eco-hotel Hacienda Guachipelin. Recipient of TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence 2015, Hacienda Guachipelin offers some of the best adventure tours in Guanacaste, Costa Rica and nature tours at Rincon de la Vieja Volcano.
Article by Shannon Farley