Though Nicaragua is still a developing nation, one of the poorest in Latin America, it was once a major colonial power and is clearly on the path to greater glory again. This country controlled one of the world's most important waterways, the fastest connection (prior to the Panama Canal's construction) between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Thus Nicaragua's cultural and architectural treasures include splendid Spanish colonial cities replete with opulent churches and magnificent buildings, most spectacularly displayed in the popular tourist and retirement destination of Granada.
Here, remarkably reconstructed colonial edifices have been transformed into some of Central America's most atmospheric hotels, while the nearby beach town of San Juan del Sur has attracted one truly incredible resort and several other relatively upscale properties. Granada's sister city, León, less developed for international tourism, is also home to quite comfortable colonial-style options. Between these ancient towns, the sprawling new capital of Managua, a city of opportunity and growth, is home to quality business-class and boutique hotels designed for international travelers accustomed to the finest service and amenities.
In the past decade this Central American country has made great strides in improving its infrastructure and tourist facilities for those coming from abroad for their vacation or holiday. As interest in Nicaragua grows, expect new luxury properties to pop up along the coast, joining high-end healthy yoga resort Yemaya on the fabulous Corn Islands.
Best Granada Hotels
Pacaya Lodge & Spa — Apoyo Lagoon
Top Managua Hotels
San Juan del Sur Region Resorts
Morgan's Rock — Southern Pacific Coast
Mukul, Auberge Resorts Collection — Southern Pacific Coast
Aqua Oceanfront Resort — Tola
For now, however, keep in mind that only a few of these listings can be considered world–class (see the individual reviews for details). Apart from at Mukul, visitors expecting the same quality accommodations that our Mexico and Costa Rica listings provide will probably be disappointed.
Nicaragua is still an up–and–coming destination, perhaps not yet suited for those tourists who require the convenience of a full–service, Cancún-style resort. Regardless, each of these fine properties was chosen for its charm, comfort, and commitment to excellent service. Amenities include unique and fabulous rooms, fine–dining restaurants, and classic colonial antiques and artwork — plenty to allow discerning travelers to explore this fascinating country in comfort and style.