Upon arriving in Nicaragua I was admittedly uncertain on what to expect but as I was quickly swept up prior to entering customs by a VIP attendant I could tell I was in for a treat. While the airport itself is nothing to write home about the trip started without a wait in the customs line (can we all get a hallelujah here?!) my luggage was scooped up and put into my car as I went to the lounge where a strong wifi connection and local Nicaraguan coffee kept me going while the attendant took care of everything.
After a brief wait I was escorted along with two fantastic Strong Travel gals to meet a greeter from the Mukul Resort, the the first true luxury resort in Nicaragua and where I would be calling home for the next few days. The hour and a half drive was pleasant and made even better with wifi in the car and a driver who pointed out key markers along the way.
Once we pulled through the gates and arrived at the resort we were welcomed with an El Macua – the national cocktail of Nicaragua and in hand carved cups. The tranquil property sits on a few thousand acres facing the country’s famed Emerald Coast with a very private stretch of beach and ocean view villas facing the Pacific Ocean. Pure heaven.
With absolutely staggering views of Nicaragua’s Emerald Coast Mukul has 12 villas that face the beach and 23 bohios (individual suites) line the hillside like treehouses – ensuring that there is not one spot on the property where you can’t see the spectacular, breathtaking sunsets.
To get around we took the golf carts up and around the hills. It’s as easy as a simple call down to the front desk or asking a staff member – think 24/7 valet
What I loved most: The Palles’ family wanted to ensure that they were supporting and giving back to their local community so they worked with their designer to source over 90% of the art, decor, furniture and products used to build the resort from around Nicaragua. Take note of the absolutely spectacular
The Private Villa:
I entered my private beachside villa to amazement. A massive entry way that leads into a beautiful bedroom with high ceilings and wrapped in floor to ceiling windows that look out onto the the private pool, a wrap-around deck, the most lovely outdoor lounging palapa with a cushy couch and hammock all topped off with a secret garden complete with an outdoor shower. If I were in heaven I’d say that this was mine. Its charm is overpowering and I would have been pretty content just staying in my villa the entire trip.
ii visitor tip: In your private villa you can wake to a “rooster” delivery of hot coffee, fresh fruit and homemade pastries set up just in the right spot to enjoy a breathtaking sunrise over the ocean.
The Pellas Private Residence:
We had the opportunity to pop up the hillside (a less than 2 minute drive via golf cart!) to Casona Don Carlos, the Pellas family’s private beach residence. Jaw dropping doesn’t begin to describe it. The oceanfront compound features a 20,000 square-foot indoor-outdoor living area with soaring 80-foot-high palapa ceilings, four bedroom suites, a wrap-around stone terrace and a large private swimming pool. Those of us in NYC are currently questioning our dollhouse sized living situations right?!
We dined beach and poolside one evening at the private residence where it’s safe to say the meal was a once in a lifetime experience. With a tasting of 15 dishes, complete with wine pairing and desserts this was one of the most wonderful, well curated long meals I’ve had.
Noshing at Mukul:
On property you have a number of incredible options. Since we only left Mukul for one short day trip to Grenada we had ample opportunities to visit the restaurants and experience the array dishes that reflect Mexican, Italian, French, Mediterranean and even Asian accents.
A must do is have breakfast beachfront La Terraza. Think fresh fruit smoothies, a basket of freshly baked goodies, copious amounts of fresh fruit (have you ever seen any piece of fruit look as good as this bowl of yogurt topped with dragon fruit?)
Aside from the healthy options, you must try the traditional Nicaraguan Nacatamal (Corn Mesa, Pork, Potato, Rice, Sour Orange and Annatto) or my personal favorite the Cazuela.
The ceviche is quite possibly the best I’ve ever had and trust me, I have had my fair share. We did a casual lunch before my surf lesson at the uber casual Tres Ceibas that makes for an ideal spot to stop if you’re golfing, spending time at the beach or just want something very chill with a cerveza in hand.
ii visitor tip: Make sure to schedule a run tasting of the Pellas family’s award-winning Flor de Caña rum. We did this tasting in a small oak room prior to our dinner at Cocina Mukul. What we didn’t do was take the property helicopter to the distillery for a private visit. Yes you read that correctly, that is something you can do!
What to do at Mukul:
Aside from sheer utter relaxation there are ample activities to do at Mukul – I think I could have kept myself busy in the spa alone for a week. The spa is a charming massive sanctuary where visitors can experience six individual, private spa suites, each equally harnessing a different ancient healing tradition, often using local Nicaraguan ingredients. My treatment was in the Hammam room – whichever you choose you can’t go wrong. I would have tried all of them if I were given the chance.
However, what really made me fall in love with Mukul was the surfing. I’d never been surfing. I’d admittedly been quite terrified to even try it given my disdain for water where I can’t see my feet but as the staff at Mukul assured me if I was to ever learn this was the place to do it. Nicaragua has world-class surfing thus resulting in the property employing some of the best surf instructors from around the globe.
My guy Riley was beyond incredible, knowing that I was a first-timer and terrified he was with me every step of the way (and even received a battle kick or two as I attempted the sport.) Fortunately his patience paid off and I was up surfing. The feelings that came with that accomplishment cannot be described in words.
ii visitor tip: Hop on a private boat from Mukul to take you around to one of the 17 surfing spots located near by, complete with a personal surfing instructor. Hello living the life.
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