From the slightly too image concerned surfer hangout town, San Juan Del Sur on the South West coast of Nicaragua, you can catch a shuttle bus (an enormous zebra-striped all terrain shuttle bus at that) over some pretty bumpy roads and tracks to one of the best waves in Nicaragua at Playa Maderas. Don’t stop here - if you walk about half a mile north over beautiful sands and a rocky outcrop you come to the beach dubbed Playa Matilda, after the fantastic beachside accommodation. You can choose simple but comfortable cabanas or the ‘dog kennels’ that just fit in a mattress and your bag or even set up a tent (or just a hammock) in their camping area at the back – all right on one of the most beautiful and unspoilt beaches in Central America. There are kitchen facilities but better is to go to Maria’s shack tucked around the back where you can mix and match different seafood, fish and meat with her three different sauces, all served of course with gallo pinto (rice and beans). That is of course if you’re not barbequing the fish caught by one of the eclectic mix of travelers that tend to stay a while here. A backpacker hangout that attracts a slightly more mature crowd – expect nights round the fire sippinging the delicious but cheap Flor de Cana rum and keeping an eye out for turtles crawling up the beach to lay their eggs. Swimming, surfing, rock pool discovering and a lovely vibe will ensure your two-day stay could turn into weeks.
Nearest town - San Juan del Sur. Get shuttle bus from one of the big backpackers to Playa Maderas - then walk! Or get a taxi all the way there.
Google map: tinyurl.com/2u5znwc
A private luxury eco-resort in a private bay next to San Juan del Sur, Morgan's Rock is the perfect romantic hotel in Nicaragua. My partner and I stayed here in October; we initially booked for two nights, and it was so amazing we stayed an extra two.
Reached by travelling several miles up a dirt road, only accessible to people who already have a reservation, and with only 15 private bungalows within 1,800 hectares of private reserve including a private beach and mangrove tributary, this is always going to be a quiet, exclusive and totally romantic resort.
The bungalows are built into the cliff side, with totally private and unbroken views of the bay. Luxurious and private, and only reachable by walking over a 100m suspension bridge (we loved having to cross this; it made the bungalows seem even more remote), each bungalow is built out of sustainable wood and has an amazing amount of romantic individual features, including king size swinging day beds on the terrace. None are overlooked by any of the others, and each has private outdoor terraces, as well as impressive unique design features. You can look out and watch the sun set or rise over the pacific ocean, before enjoying the day or night at this amazing resort.
Get fresh organic coffee delivered to your room to drink when you wake up, sitting on the terrace overlooking the bay. Fill the day on the beach in one of the private lounging areas; each with a hammock and sun loungers whilst staff from the hotel bring you fresh juices and snacks, indulge in some of the relaxing activities (like kayaking through the mangroves or walking through the forests) or complete relax yourself at the massage area, before filling up on fresh, organic 3 course meals, made entirely of food produced on the estate.
The resort is owned by a French family who also own a sustainable furniture company in Managua; the forest within the grounds provide the wood for their furniture, many of which are designed by the same designer who designed the hotel. The family invests heavily in eco-touristry, including investing in the local community via employment and training, so whilst indulging yourself and your partner, you are also investing in Nicaragua, and in sustainable forestry and tourism.
An added bonus is that in the off season the place is quiet; my partner and I ended up having the place to ourselves for two days. In many places this would seem strange, but at Morgan's Rock, it was an amazing experience that totally indulged us and totally left us loved up!
San Juan is the most popular beach destination in Nicaragua,but the nearby beaches of Majagual, Gigante and La Flor are much nicer.
Base yourself in San Juan del Sur and visit these beaches for the day.
Send your feedback or queries to email@example.com