After reluctantly leaving Jicaro Lodge, it was time for the next phase of our adventure, Nicaragua’s Pacific Coast. We transferred for a while in the van and listened to Juan Carlos tell us stories about William Walker, who we decided to lovingly refer to as “that jerk”. Truthfully, there is no way to tell Nicaragua’s story without mentioning William Walker. I encourage you to look him up online and read about his tumultuous past in Central America. His tale is pretty interesting.
We stopped for a quick site inspection and lunch at Morgan’s Rock Hacienda & Ecolodge. We have been sending our clients to Morgan’s Rock since they opened in 2004. We loved the restaurant area and the pool. The grounds are gorgeous and there is plenty to do right there on the property. Morgan’s Rock is located on a 4,000 acre area of the Nicaraguan jungle, and half of that land is a government-protected reserve. Guests can choose from any number of on-site activities, and there are some great tour options in the nearby area, as well. It was tempting to just grab a surfboard from the main lobby and head out to the beach to catch some waves. They have a beautiful beach area that is essentially private (we didn’t see a single person on the beach when we were there). As an unfortunately fair-skinned traveler, I was appreciative of their covered beach lounge areas where guests can enjoy the fabulous views and stay safely protected from that powerful equatorial sun.
We had lunch at the hotel and climbed around the property to check out some of the rooms. Morgan’s Rock offers 15 sustainably-constructed beachfront bungalows. To get to your room, you traverse a large suspension bridge that serves as a great spot for wildlife viewing. The rooms are beautifully built with dark woods and you won’t believe the cool plumbing in the bathrooms. The sinks and showers feature simplistic, yet artfully designed copper fixtures.
Our next stop was San Juan del Sur. Sadly, we didn’t spend much time there, but we took a quick trip through the small town to have a look. We stopped for a brief moment to check out the scenery at the beach and pop into the Victoriano Hotel to have a quick look around. The Victoriano Hotel was very charming and had that old-timey feel with upscale touches. We recommend the Mark Twain Suite if you stay there. This was the actual room Mark Twain stayed in while he made his trips through Nicaragua.
We left San Juan del Sur and, very shortly after, we found ourselves pulling onto the gorgeous grounds of Mukul Resort & Spa. We were very warmly greeted by Mukul General Manager, Federico Spada, and the friendly Mukul staff. Throughout our stay at Mukul, we would become accustomed to being warmly greeted each and every time we arrived at the resort lobby. By the end of our stay, we were hugging our greeters (whom we all knew by name) and telling them how much we would miss them. I cannot express how nice it was to interact with the staff at Mukul. This is an impressive collection of some of the kindest, friendliest folks I have ever met in my travels.
We took a quick peak around the gorgeous lobby, pool and restaurant area and then made our way by golf cart up to our bohios. The bohios are very nicely appointed. Hands down, these were the nicest accommodations we had in Nicaragua. The bedding was luscious, the bathrooms had large windows facing out to the Pacific Ocean, and the minibar was generously stocked with varieties of Flor de Caña rum. Mukul Resort was envisioned and created by the owner of Flor de Caña rum, Don Carlos Pellas.
We had the unique pleasure of meeting Don Carlos and his beautiful wife, Vivian, while we stayed at Mukul. They were incredibly kind and hospitable. At Mukul, their philosophy is that the resort is one big family home. We, who are guests at the resort, are treated like personal guests of the Pellas family. That felt so real after meeting the Don Carlos and Vivian in person. This is not a stuffy resort where everyone walks around with their noses up in the air. It feels like a large family estate, where everyone is a friend and you are able to sit all the way down in your chair and relax. I absolutely love this philosophy and I truly experienced such comfort because every employee at Mukul reinforced that feeling for me.
The next day at Mukul, we did an extensive site inspection of the resort. We were joined by Jan and Lisa of Andavo Travel. We explored different room options. The luxury suite was wonderful. Then we made our way over to the award winning spa. The spa consists of 6 individually-themed “temples” or casitas with accompanying outdoor relaxation areas. We were lucky enough to enjoy a spa treatment during our stay and I will personally say that it was probably the best spa treatment I have had in my life. My treatment was in the water-inspired room. It was just incredible. Do not miss out on the spa at Mukul!
For the end of our site inspection, we visited the small and very private Guacalito beach. Mukul offers private picnics on this beach and there are furnishings provided for a relaxing day on the sand. Just steps from the beach is the Guacalito golf course. The views are breathtaking and we were happy to hear that the golf course was built sustainably.
Later on in the day, we made our way over to Aqua Wellness Resort for lunch and a site inspection. Aqua is a great rainforest hideaway that overlooks the Pacific. You can hear the sound of waves crashing on the beach from every room at the lodge. The yoga platform boasts incredible views and the lush surroundings really give it a peaceful vibe. The food at Aqua was great. We had really fresh fish and everyone had a smile on their face when we were done. We think Aqua is a really great option for those seeking that rainforest lodge experience. The private plunge pools that overlook the ocean were calling our names. I can’t wait to go back and spend more time relaxing at Aqua.
We returned to Mukul and had a nice time getting to know the staff and enjoying long walks on the expansive beach. We hated to leave the resort after having such a wonderful time there. We look forward to watching Mukul blossom in the coming years. They are off to an amazing start and we expect great things for this new luxury resort. Many thanks to Liliana, Claudia, Federico, Agustina, Don Carlos & Doña Vivian and the rest of the friendly staff at Mukul for their hospitality.
For our last night in the country, we shared an authentic Nicaraguan dinner in Managua with Juan Carlos of Careli Tours. We reminisced about our adventures and learned even more Nicaraguan history! Our brains and our hearts were full after such an incredible trip. Nicaragua will be experiencing significant growth in tourism in the coming years. We hope you will take advantage of the opportunity to see this country now, as it is still an unspoiled, remarkable gem of Central America.