Located near Playa Gigante (12 kilometers north of San Juan del Sur
) on Nicaragua's Pacific Coast, Aqua Nicaragua Wellness Resort is one of the preeminent luxury beach resorts in Nicaragua. Built into a forested hillside, Aqua Nicaragua's scenic villas, spa, bar and organic restaurant make the most of one of the country's most breathtaking settings.
Aqua Nicaragua Wellness Resort is set on a stunning private cove, around the corner from the small village of Playa Gigante. The beach is large enough that you never feel crowded. Strategically placed hammocks, shades and beach chairs beckon with prime relaxation space. Most remarkable is the beach's namesake, "El Gigante" itself – a cliff (sort of) shaped like a giant's foot.
Important note: While Aqua Nicaragua's hillside backdrop means arresting views, it also means stairs. Many stairs. For guests staying in a treehouse villa, it can be a ten minute hike to and from the beach or hotel restaurant. We're in decent shape, but after a trek from the beach to reception at the top of the hill, we were winded! If making the hike a few times daily is an issue, the resort recommends staying in a beachfront villa. They'll drive you to and from reception.
Accommodations at Aqua Nicaragua
Aqua Nicaragua AccomodationsKirsten Hubbard
The villas at Aqua Nicaragua are extremely spacious, most boasting two full bathrooms, expansive bedrooms, and living spaces with futons. We were fortunate to experience both types of Aqua Nicaragua villas: a beachfront villa, and a treehouse villa. Both included air-conditioning, large decks and private plunge pools.
The beachfront villa was our favorite; the location can't be beat. The ocean was just a few steps away, and Nicaragua's warm Pacific waves were a nonstop soundtrack. The villa was also equipped with a full-size kitchen (full refrigerator and utensils only, though; no stove or microwave, so don't plan on cooking). Our treehouse villa was just as lovely, though quite a hike to the beach. In the morning, we woke to howler monkeys peering in at us!
Dining at Aqua Nicaragua
Aqua Nicaragua's Bromelia restaurant specializes in "healthy local cuisine with contemporary style and flair." We enjoyed the food, particularly the ceviche. All fruits and vegetables come from local farms, and bread is baked onsite. Breakfast is included in room rates, but lunch and dinner are only included in specific inclusive packages. Prices are among the higher end of what I've encountered at Nicaragua resorts; about what you'd expect at a nicer US restaurant. I recommend mixing it up a bit – leisurely seafood lunches in Playa Gigante, for example, and memorable dinners at Aqua Nicaragua.
Activities and Wellness
View from the spa at Aqua NicaraguaKirsten Hubbard
Guests seeking local culture can venture twenty minutes on a forested path to the village of Playa Gigante. It's best not to make the hike after nightfall (we did without any problems, though it was very dark). The village itself includes a handful of restaurants, surf hotels and residences, facing a stretch of beach as gorgeous as Aqua Nicaragua's.
Wellness is more than just a name at Aqua Nicaragua. Guests can take part in individual or group yoga instruction on a 1,100 square foot platform facing the beach. However, the very best views at Aqua Nicaragua are undoubtedly at the spa, which specializes in "Pure Wellness with Nature" services. We opted for Aqua massages. Facials, body polishes, and other services are also offered in a relaxing forest setting.
The resort offers a number of guided activities for its guests, like hiking tours to the top of El Gigante for sweeping Pacific views, day trips to Granada and Ometepe, fishing, diving, and more.