How Nicaragua’s First Luxury Resort is Changing the Face of Central American Tourism

The folks behind Mukul Beach, Golf & Spa, the first luxury resort in Nicaragua, are taking hospitality to a whole new level. Far beyond the call of resort duty, the property has worked to integrate itself into the community of Guacalito de la Isla on Nicaragua’s Emerald Coast and explore new ways for visitors to immerse themselves in the Central American country. Altogether, Mukul serves as a prominent catalyst for the country’s tourism industry, begetting a ripple effect that’s sure to spur positive developments throughout Central America at large.

The Mukul community contains a $250-million, 1,670-acre low-density private beach lined with white-sand beaches, lush forests and rugged coastline. It’s a vibrant snapshot of Nicaragua’s natural landscape, and what’s driven travelers to its beaches and jungles for years. But until now, those travelers never had a luxury resort option on par with the world’s finest. The intimate resort boasts 37 spacious accommodations with ocean views and private staff, plus access to Spa Mukul, an 18-hole golf course, a beach club, swimming pool, surf lessons and more. All of that is alluring in and of itself, but what really sets Mukul apart is its community efforts, particularly in regards to getting guests acquainted with the rest of the country. This is largely thanks to the Pellas family that originally came to Nicaragua in 1875 to run the Caribbean Pacific Transit Co., and has since spawned more than a dozen companies, including Mukul. Nowadays, it’s helmed by Don Carlos Pellas, who also oversees Vivian Pellas Hospital and Flor de Caña rum. With such deep Nicaraguan roots, the Pellas family use Mukul as a means of showcasing and celebrating their homeland. And from rum distillery tours to volcanic “ash boarding,” Mukul has become a veritable ambassador for Central America.

Upon arrival, all guests are greeted with a taste of Nicaragua in the form of rum. A longstanding tradition in the country, guests are welcomed with a limited-edition bottle of Flor de Caña, exclusive to Mukul. And to further delve into Nicaraguan pastimes, private tours of the distillery are available upon request. This is just a taste of what the resort offers, in terms of tours and traditions.

While visiting Mukul, guests can book various “experiences” like guided trips to Granada, the oldest city on the continent. Located on the shore of Lake Nicaragua and at the foot of Mombacho Volcano, this is a city steeped in centuries of history, and an excursion here reveals worlds of flavors, sights and sounds. From timeworn pottery shops to street-side cafes, there’s plenty of Nicaraguan lore to discover in the country’s premiere city.

For something a bit more modest, Gigante is a diminutive fishing village on the outskirts of Mukul. Casual bars and restaurants dot the town, while visitors are able to surf, swim and of course fish along the shores, woven with various inlets, coves and tranquil bays.

You’ve likely heard of sand boarding, but what about ash boarding? Similar in theory, the badass activity entails strapping onto a board and soaring down jet-black sands on the side of a volcano. The new sport can be experienced at the Cerro Negro volcano, which can be accessed via helicopter from Mukul. Bilingual guides provide training sessions for safety, before adrenaline junkies make their descent. For something a little less intimidating, visitors can also opt to run or walk down the volcano.

Another unique way that Mukul ingratiates itself into the community and Nicaraguan heritage is through its Sea Turtle Conservation Program. Considering Nicaragua is a haven for sea turtles to come lay eggs, the resort designated sites for turtle refuge to help re-populate indigenous turtles like the Olive Ridley sea turtle and Leatherback sea turtles. Guests can get up close and personal with these efforts through Mukul’s on-site baby turtle releases, typically between September and May.

What with its its rugged, forestal landscape, it’s no surprise that hiking is a big deal around these parts. Mukul offers guided hiking treks through the jungle and up to soaring lookouts that boast 360-degree panoramas of Nicaragua and sights as far away as Costa Rica. Expect to see lots of monkeys, tropical birds and iguanas along the way—while Central America only contains 0.05% of the world’s landmass, it’s home to 7% of its biodiversity, making it a hot bed for nature and animal enthusiasts.

The Pellas family even goes so far as to help guests access the Guacalito region more easily, by opening their own small private international airport, Costa Esmeralda. Designed for passengers looking to travel to Mukul or other nearby properties on the Emerald Coast, the airport hosts private jets or planes through La Costeña Airlines and Sansa Airlines.

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