Nicaragua is often referred to as “the next Costa Rica,” and for a number of reasons. First, the country offers as many adventure travel options as its popular counterpart; it’s much more budget friendly (Lonely Planet says “you can travel for almost twice as long in Nicaragua as Costa Rica”), and it’s safe—judging by crime rates, it’s the safest country in Central America, and the second-safest in all of Latin America.
Tourism is picking up quickly in Nicaragua, and plenty of people in the industry are watching the country with high expectations for its future. And with all those incoming visitors, it’s a good thing Nicaragua offers plenty to see, do and stay active.
Do your clients enjoy watersports? Get them to the beach where they can find tons of watersports tour operators to take them to private surfing beaches (try Dale Dagger Surf Tours), the best offshore reefs for snorkeling and scuba, or up into the air for a little parasailing action.
If land-based exploration is more their style, no fear. Nicaragua features more varieties of birds, animals, plants and fish than your clients could count in a single day. Cloud forests abound, offering zip-line tours (The Original Canopy Tour) and elevated platform walks, while volcano hikes (Selva Negra Ecolodge offers packages)—in conjunction with ash-boarding back down the volcano’s black sand slope (Tierra Tours)—have also become tremendously popular.
Rest Your Eyes
Rio Indio Ecolodge is the perfect place for your clients to enjoy an adventurous day outside without straying too far from the comfort of their private suite. Located in the Rio Maiz National Park, Rio Indio Ecolodge features hiking tours and elevated walkways that wander through the backyard jungle, and kayak tours to explore the lagoon beyond.
In addition to these activities, three sportfishing packages and two ecology packages are available for booking from $995 to $3,075 pp, depending on the package and the guest’s level of participation. Packages are commissionable at 20 percent, and include air or ground transportation to and from the property, all meals and snacks, beer and rum bar, and other beverages.
For those clients who prefer not to book a package, standard advertised rates start at $168 pp per night, but agents can determine their own commission when they book their clients with rack rates starting at $95 (suggested nightly rate of $136 pp per night).
For more information, call (866) 593-3176 or visit therioindiolodge.com.
But if your clients are interested in experiencing the tranquil side of Nicaragua, send them to Pelican Eyes Resort and Spa. The property, sitting on the hills overlooking San Juan del Sur, offers a spectacular 6-day Spa package. During their stay, guests will enjoy one daily spa treatment pp at Casa Tranquila Spa, including a 1-hour facial, a 75-minute body cocoon, a signature Tranquila Massage, a 45-minute foot massage and a mani/pedi. In addition, they’ll enjoy breakfast daily plus one healthy lunch that includes appetizer, main entree and dessert.
Guestrooms and suites at Pelican Eyes Resort and Spa feature high ceilings, arched windows, handcrafted furniture and expansive terraces. Elsewhere throughout the property, guests will find both casual and fine dining options, three pools and gift shop, with activities available including yoga and water aerobics.
The Spa package is available for booking through Nov. 30, with travel through Dec. 15. Rates start at $1,299 for two guests. To work with Pelican Eyes Resort and Spa, e-mail Melissa Castillo at email@example.com. For more information, visit pelicaneyesresort.com.
Pack(age) It Up
Austin-Lehman Adventures has recently debuted its first itinerary to Nicaragua with its 8-day Nicaragua: Cerro Negro to San Juan del Sur itinerary.
“This is Austin-Lehman’s first foray into the wilds of Nicaragua,” says founding director Dan Austin. “We wanted to design a tour that offers a broad, behind-the-scenes look at Nicaragua’s extraordinary natural and cultural treasures.”
The tour does just that. During their 8-day journey, travelers will climb to the rim of the Cerro Negro crater, then surf down its black volcanic sand on an ash board; tour through the galleries and museums of Leon, known as the “intellectual capital of Nicaragua”; hike through Masaya Volcano National Park; kayak through the Mombacho islets of Lake Nicaragua; zip line through Mombacho Nature Reserve; and splash and sunbathe on the beaches of San Juan del Sur.
Accommodations are provided at Hotel El Convento in Leon, Hotel Granada, and Morgan’s Rock Hacienda & Ecolodge in San Juan del Sur, where clients will enjoy staying in a luxury bungalow that opens out to the ocean.
Departure dates are available throughout 2013 in January, March, July, August, November and December. Rates start at $2,398 pp dbl. For more information, call (800) 575-1540 or visit austinlehman.com/nicaragua.
The 9-day Nicaragua’s Nature & History, offered through Pacific Holidays, includes plenty of adventure, too. Beginning in Managua, travelers will investigate Alcahulinca Indian tracks, explore the UNESCO-ranked ruins of Old Leon and travel by ferry to the volcano-formed Ometepe Island, all before transferring to Playa Montelimar for a relaxing beach day before heading home.
No need to worry about sub-par accommodations on this trip, either: your clients can look forward to stays at hotels and resorts including the InterContinental Metrocentro, Villa Paraiso and Barcelo Montelimar Beach Resort.
Through Dec. 14, rates start at $1,885 land-only or $2,395 with air. Rates are pp, based on double occupancy. For more information, call (800) 355-8025 or visit pacificholidaysinc.com.
Air + Hotel
Alternatively, if your clients prefer to do it on their own—no tour guide necessary—the Nicaraguan Tourist Board has partnered with Taca Airlines, and is offering airfare and accommodations deals at 33 percent off standard rates on expedia.com. Sample packages combining roundtrip airfare plus 5-night accommodations include stays at Hotel Mansion Teodolinda (from $664 pp dbl); at Hotel Casa del Consulado (from $666 pp dbl); or at Hotel Internacional Managua (from $668 pp dbl).