The Nicaragua Tourism Board (INTUR) points out that Lonely Planet included Nicaragua on its “Top Value Destinations for 2011.” During the “Green Season,” the country’s eco-resorts and hotels most popular with North Americans are offering great deals and packages through Oct. 31—showing just how value-oriented a getaway in Nicaragua can be. At the same time, it is the country’s bevy of new lodgings that is increasingly providing reason alone to head for what people are calling “the new Costa Rica.” And price-wise, there’s no time like now. The following quartet of resorts is located on the Pacific Ocean side of Nicaragua, within an hour or two of Nicaragua’s international airport.
Orquidea del Sur is set on a beautifully landscaped private estate overlooking Yankee Beach and not far from where “Survivor Nicaragua” was filmed last summer. In fact, it was in this resort that contestants recuperated after they were voted off the show. The lucky losers stayed in five spacious suites, lolled about the infinity pool, enjoyed relaxing massages and dined deliciously, when they weren’t horseback riding and surfing. Orquidea’s 4-night Green Season package is priced from $698 for two, and includes lodging, daily breakfast and dinner, first evening sunset drink and roundtrip transport from San Juan del Sur. For more information, e-mail email@example.com or visit orquideadelsur.com.
Luxury has come to Lake Nicaragua with the opening of Jicaro Ecolodge, set on its own private island, a short boat ride from colonial Granada. The tranquil eco-resort, which was recently included on the Travel + Leisure “Best 25 Island Hideaways,” features nine stylish lakefront casitas, a plunge pool, yoga classes and massage treatments. The Jicaro Stay 3, Pay Only 2 package for two people includes three nights lodging in a deluxe lakefront casita, three multi-course meals daily and all non-alcoholic beverages, one roundtrip lake transfer from Granada’s Asese Port to Jicaro Island and choice of a Granada city tour, a romantic dinner on the floating deck, or a couple’s massage. The rate for two travelers starts at $760. For more information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit jicarolodge.com.
Set along a perfect beach crescent, Aqua Wellness Resort is one of Nicaragua’s newest resorts. Accommodations are in hillside villas, some with multiple bedrooms, plunge pools and spacious decks. An environmentally friendly place, Aqua features a yoga pavilion and open-air dining, as well as activities that range from fishing and surfing, to zip-lining and excursions to Granada. The Aqua 4-night Tropical Rainforest Getaway for two includes accommodations; breakfast and lunch or dinner; use of all kayaks, paddleboards and snorkeling equipment; 15 percent discount on all spa services; and guided nature hike. Rates run $887 for two guests in Sanctuary accommodations; $936 in Treehouse accommodations; and $1,182 in a penthouse or luxury suite (inclusive of taxes). For more information, e-mail email@example.com or visit aquanicaragua.com.
The heart-stopping Pacific Ocean views and Technicolor sunsets come no better than from a spacious casita at Pelican Eyes Resort and Spa, perched above the beach town of San Juan del Sur. Amenities here include three infinity pools, two open-air restaurants and a spacious spa, while the country’s best swimming and surfing beaches are minutes away. The Pelican Stay 5, Pay Only 3 package for two is priced from $798. Included are five nights of lodging, daily breakfast, welcome dinner, non-alcoholic beverage during dinner and a canopy zip-line adventure. For more information, visit pelicaneyesresort.com.