Nicaragua is hot; it’s the new ‘it’ destination among the world’s sophisticated travellers. Celebrities, world-weary entrepreneurs and the lucky few who manage to seamlessly combine professional and personal success, are travelling with their families for a well-deserved break to intimate, secluded five-star resorts in private islands and enclaves in Belize, Costa Rica and now, Nicaragua.
Much of the magic has to do with Mukul, founded by Carlos Pellas (named one of the 50 most influential people in Latin America), who runs an impressive 16 companies, one of which is the award-winning Flor de Caña rum distillery. For Pellas, Mukul (meaning ‘secret’ in Mayan) pays homage to both his family and the spectacular Nicaraguan land and seascape. In his own vision of Paradise, he offers guests stunning villa accommodations, six different spa worlds, and a challenging 18-hole game of golf amidst ancient guanacaste, tamarindo and mango trees.
There are three types of accommodation to choose from. The Beach Villas, a tribute to the undulating waters of Playa Manzanillo, boast features such as wrap-around decks, a private swimming pool and a ‘secret garden’ whose most tempting features surely has to be the outdoor shower. A perfect family getaway, the Villas offer two bedrooms and a private show kitchen, pantry and living room, made for barefoot enjoyment in fine company.
If you’ve always fancied yourself a bit of a 21st-century Robinson Crusoe, why not stay at one of Mukul’s Bohio villas, tucked into the rainforest and perched some 300 feet above Playa Manzanillo? A spacious outdoor wooden deck, high wooden beamed ceilings and native Nicaraguan wooden furniture and fabrics add a cosy touch, while the spacious bathroom, surfaced in Nicaraguan travertine marble, is an unabashed celebration of the five-star resort lifestyle.
The Pellas family additionally tempts you with the ultimate luxury: the chance to enjoy Casona Don Carlos, their very own private beach residence, when they are off chasing adventures of their own. The 20,000 square foot living area entices you with 80 foot-high palapa ceilings, six bedroom suites, a wrap-around stone terrace and a sizeable private swimming pool. All stays include a full breakfast and lunch, as well as a host of complimentary snacks and drinks.
Mukul is a sustainable resort which likewise takes the issue of social responsibility seriously. There are dedicated Adventure Rangers on staff, who will enthusiastically unveil the beauty of the Nicaraguan wilderness, with its colorful toucans, curious monkeys and sea turtle species. Cycle through a peaceful 12-kilometer stretch of nature trails or plunge into a colorful underwater world, where darting schools of fish and serenely swimming whales invite you to take part in the splendor of Nature.
At Mukul, you’ll never run out of exciting things to do: glide down the Cerro Negro volcano strapped to a board (this adrenalin-charged sport is called ‘ash boarding), visit the Flor de Caña rum distillery, or surf your heart away at the picturesque fishing village of Gigante (Nicaragua was recently deemed one of the top surfing destinations in the world). Kids, meanwhile, keep busy at the Kul Kids program (for children aged 4 to 12), creating traditional Nicaraguan arts, hiking and releasing turtles back into their habitat.
The spa experience at Mukul is unique: there is no generic reception area here; rather, the friendly staff will personally escort you to one of six individual private spa casitas, each of which works with a specific healing tradition. Each casita is inspired by a different theme and each entices you with private steam and tropical showers, relaxation areas, outdoor pools and changing areas.
The level of service and pampering at Mukul is hard to beat, comparable perhaps to resorts the level of Cayo Espanto in Belize. The latter, built on a four-acre private island, features spectacular villas nestled into the sand, just a few steps away from the tempting turquoise waters. The focus is definitely seaward at Cayo Espanto, with activities like snorkeling, fly fishing and scuba diving proving an upbeat contrast to the relaxed pace guaranteed by the attentive staff.
If you’re having difficulty deciding which resort to opt for, contact the friendly staff at Ultimate Jet Vacations; not only will they ensure quick transport to and from Nicaragua or Belize, they also have exciting family offers coming up, which brings the dream of the ultimate luxury getaway a bit closer to our doorstep. Mukul is surprisingly easy to get to: it is located just 119 kilometres from Managua International Airport. Private transfer to the resort from the hotel is included in all rates.