Rancho Totorol is just past the city of Ibarra, reached through a long tree lined drive. The entrance is a neatly kept grove of neatly avocado trees, their bases painted white. The clubhouse has thick white-washed, adobe walls and red roof tiles. Al fresco dining on thick-planked tables protected by white umbrellas enjoys broad views over the golf course and onto the large Lake Totorol (appx. four mile circumference), which is fringed with swaying green reeds.
The décor on this flag stoned patio is simple, white shaker that comes across, both rustic, sturdy and very clean. A fresh breeze off the lake cools the dry warm air.
Huge purple and red bougainvillea forms part of the thick tropical landscaping and cascades down a high stone wall behind the patio. A thick walled pizza oven sits behind a bird cage with several canaries that seem redundant since the whole area is filled with birds that chatter from the avocados and the numerous pines.
Walking inside you see a dining area of clean shaker tables and chairs sitting on Mexican tiles worn shiny and rich. Stained eucalyptus beams hold up rustic wooden ceilings and the whitewashed walls are accented with wrought-iron, Spanish style lamps.
The bar and lounge features a solid fireplace of heavy burnt stone and a huge block-of-wood lentil surrounded by overstuffed sofas that look onto a cobblestone courtyard and the avocados in the distance.
Lush landscaping includes foliage of every type, huge red poinsettias, eucalyptus, cactus, ice plants, Dusty Miller, sage, impatiens, honeysuckle, green wax-ivy, bougainvillea, hibiscus, pine, and fruits.
The cabins run along a small ridge at the base of part of a large maguey covered hill. The panorama below includes the golf course and further on the lake. The front of each room is a gracious deck with dining table for outdoor lounging. Inside the rooms are romantic with bathrooms made spectacular by large philodendrons running up the walls.
Sweet smells of frangipani and honeysuckle permeates the air everywhere.
The golf course is nine holes, 6 par three, 2 par four and one par five. The course features spectacular views, the lake, saw-tooth, purple mountains and valleys running far into the distance.
The first tee shoots off a cliff spilling with a gigantic, purple bougainvillea. There is total silence save the continual serenade of birds. This is a 301 yard par four (handicap 3) hole. The second tee, though short, (142 yards, par three, handicap 2) is the signature tee on a willow-shaded island surrounded by placid waters and backdropped with lake reeds. The last time they drained the small lake that surrounds this hole they picked up 800 golf balls. Enough said!
The third tee, a 447 yard par five, is lined with sunflowers. Throughout the course the fairways are surrounded by mimosa (powder puff), pine, eucalyptus, huge hibiscus and other tropical plants.
Added to all these physical features is the friendliness of the owners, Eduardo and Patricia Villalobos. Eduardo is a Chilean and Patricia Ecuadorian, but they both lived for years in Los Angeles where they met), so English is not a problem at Rancho Totoral.
The total ambience is of peace, quite and relaxation. At $20 a night ($30 double), this is an extreme bargain that those looking for a quiet getaway. Even better rates are available for snowbirds that want to come for an extended stay.