Bucket List: Nicaragua

Nicaragua is swiftly building a rep as “the new Costa Rica.” An influx of luxury resorts and boutique hotels—plus new direct flights from major U.S. cities—is making it tough to keep this tropical-adventure spot on the back burner. Translation: we’re dying to go. And this is how we’d do it.

Park It On The Pacific Coast.

We’ve heard great things about Mukul, on the country’s stunning Emerald Coast. The 37-room resort offers both treehouse-like “bohios” nestled in the rainforest canopy (from $500 a night) and beachfront villas. Either way, you’ll be treated to a killer ocean view, a butler, and furnishings crafted by Nicaraguan artisans (sugarcane twig headboards, carved teak tables).

Good Luck Staying Dry.

Water play is intrinsic to the fabric of Nicaraguan culture. There’s no shortage of Instagrammable places to surf, paddle, kayak, or snorkel. And if fishing is your jam, you’re in luck: Mukul brings anglers into the Pacific in a thirty-one foot double-engine boat to cast for Spanish Mackerel, Mahi Mahi and Yellowfin. Ask the resort’s chef to cook up your catch for the ultimate in ocean-to-table dining. Sport fishing starts at $875 a day.

Aim, Rally, and Hike.

Mukul offers a full archery program, plus hard-surfaced tennis courts and bikes that are readily available. Bring your little explorers on one of the Pacific Dry Forest’s myriad nature trails that are peppered with tropical birds and iguanas. Or, trek outside the resort to visit nearby dormant volcanoes, one of the country’s most magical features.

Hooray For Kul Kids.

Mukul’s complimentary kids’ club is the real deal: there’s a playroom, pool, playground, and open-roof activity center. Littles can create Nicaraguan-style art, collect shells, hike to see monkeys, or release turtles back into their natural habitat.

Take A Beach Break To Time Hop.

Founded in the 1500s by Spanish conquerors, Granada will truly take you back. The oldest city in the Americas lies just over an hour away from Mukul, with sand-and-gold colonial architecture, horse-drawn wagons, and thriving cafes. It’s wonderfully walkable: visit the historic Don Carlos mansion, have lunch at Espressonista (try their soft scrambled eggs, yucca polenta ,and mixed berry pavlova), and spend some time counting monkeys at the nearby Las Isletas.